12 September 2019

Earning Elsa Doll

I had big plans to venture out and explore Slide Rock, AZ for Labor Day. The rest of the family had big plans to be lazy, they won (this time). We rested and cleaned in the morning. Justin took the older kids to Mesquite Groves pool in the afternoon while Josie took a short nap. I met them there around 3 pm. Josie is developing quite the little personality. She is determined to dress herself, do potty alone, choose her outfits and shoes, and all her activities. So many opinions suddenly developed in less than a month! We loved the pool time with Justin in attendance. After swimming we stopped at Bahama Bucks for a cold treat. The boys played battleship for the first time. Phillip cheated and never put his ships down, moved the ships when a hit was imminent.

Josie adores going to her class most mornings at the gym. I did not think she would love it as much as she does. Her favorite activities are playing outside on the bikes and the cars with the big eyes. I sweat my eyeballs out for an hour. After a few weeks now of intermittent fasting and exercising I hoped for some progress. Dang it! Nothing. Still weigh the same. On a positive note, I can still do the splits. Ha ha ha ha.

Phillip spent a good hour converting Clue into Guardians of the Galaxy Clue! He replaced the tokens for Lego figures and the weapons for more appropriate Galaxy weapons. We played a game or two, he won both games (mostly because he withheld cards when he should've shown them). One night last week Jacob, Phillip, and Everett had a rousing game of Pokemon after dinner. I sure enjoy listening to the boys work together and play. Everett is mastering his piano assignments, he practices several times each day! After a couple days he is ready to move on to the next pages. Phillip is actually the better player but will not practice so is quite a ways behind Everett.

Josie finally earned her Elsa baby. She worked all day Thursday trying to listen to her body and poop in the potty. Around 4:30 she finally did the dastardly deed. She was on cloud 9 to FINALLY earn that baby doll, I guess a week seems like an eternity at 3.5 years old. She's since put her poops in the potty...at least for the remainder of this week. The next morning we went for a spot of shopping to pick up an embroidered jacket (with GCA logo) for Mia I ordered like 2 months ago. Next to that store was a Goodwill and on the other side a ReStore run by Habitat for Humanity. Josie found a toy chair that folds into a bed. We are all laughing over her antics with the couch thing and her Elsa baby. She's taken to watching TV with her couch and sleeping with her Elsa doll on the couch at night.

Justin stayed home from work on Friday. He worked from home until noon then ran errands in the afternoon. The restoration crew finished painting and trimming off the work upstairs! Now we are just waiting for carpet next week...more like the week after. I think the paint fumes and a slight cold caused a very nasty migraine. Oh man, I was in dire straits. Justin stayed home so I could attend the RS retreat up at the Wolford's cabin. I ended up staying home instead. He still made dinner and watched the kids. At one point I came home to find Ronald and Phillip had smashed a block of plaster of Paris in the sidewalk and street with hammers and even a crowbar! There was chalky stuff for a good 10 foot radius. Justin told those boy a solid "no" when they asked to extract the gems. Cheeky buggers. They missed part of dinner cleaning up the mess with a vacuum. I spent a couple hours with a small group of ladies who could not go up to the retreat due to nursing babies. I'm not in the nursing category but those were some exciting hours of mom talk (Ashley Boyle, Brooke LaBarr, Kelly Roberts, and Caitlyn Kleisler). I got home near to midnight, Justin let me sleep in to rest my pounding headache on Saturday.

Justin and I are quite enjoying the Finance class. I was more than a little resistant, but the program is truly inspired. So far nothing required is over the top or unexpected. Next week is budgeting, which could create a bit of tension since I hate the idea, but seems like it is finally time to put on my big girl pants. We had Call family dinner at our house this month. I made chicken Tikka Masala and rice pilaf, the others brought raita, naan bread, and lentil stew. That was a delicious dinner. We celebrated 4 birthdays for September, Spenser's three girls and Tyler's belated birthday. Laura tried to teach me how to correctly dutch braid hair, that was hard to retrain my hands, turns out I need more practice than I realized. If only I had a willing daughter to practice on. 

02 September 2019

Evelyn's Birthday

And that concludes the kid birthdays for the year. Phew. Justin finishes the birthday run in our family come November. Evelyn finally turned 6 on Tuesday. She's waited 364 days to enjoy her day again, that's a long wait when you are five. August is by far our most popular month for birthdays, 3 in one month is nothing to sneeze at.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Moreno's to celebrate Phillip and Evelyn's birthdays. The kids go crazy over the fresh cucumber slices and avocado sauce, this time around the sauce was quite spicy. We made up for at least 80% of the noise inside the restaurant. That was our FHE as well since we combined our Come Follow Me on Sunday for a longer lesson knowing we would miss Monday's devotional. We did have a talent show on Monday after we got back. Our lesson was on the gifts we have that come from God. Justin was a goober, so cranky tired, he would not even give us a Kermit the Frog impersonation. Our talents went accordingly: Josie danced to Let it Go (got adorably shy at the end), Evelyn danced to a song (I managed the black light as her effects), Everett played piano, Phillip showed off some karate moves, Amelia performed a dance routine, and I recited some Shel Silverstein poems. So fun!

Tuesday was Evelyn's big huge birthday day. I am quite surprised she was not up pestering me at 5 am. I sent her off to school with a promise to come back in a few hours. Josie and I picked up some (gross) Walmart cookies that Evelyn insisted upon for a class treat. Josie picked out two balloons and a lollipop for Evelyn. We delivered the cookies then took Evelyn out for a special lunch. Before and after school she asked me about 40 million times about opening her gifts. I was a sweaty mess making rainbow spaghetti carbonara. It took bacon cooking in the oven and 5 pots of boiling colored water to make that dish, all with no air conditioner running, I was dripping sweat. I took a portion of our meal to a family in our ward. Quite honestly, I was embarrassed at my lack of preparation and the lame meal I delivered. It was a crazy, busy day for me with piano lessons, a sick Everett, wrapping gifts, running errands, and Evelyn's birthday. My family half ate their dinner in the van as we headed to Skateland for Evelyn's school party there. Evelyn brought a gift to open at the skating rink. Justin met us at the rink, got there before we did and skipped the long, brutally hot line outside the building. We enjoyed an hour or so of skating. Josie surprised me by actually skating around the rink 20+ times. Josie skated more than Evelyn did! Justin took Evelyn and Amelia home early because Amelia had some unfinished homework to complete. At the end of our session the kids were allowed to run on the rink floor with socks, that was a fun highlight for the boys and Josie. It was still 110 outside at 8 pm, boo hoo. Evelyn was not so patiently waiting for us to get home. She ripped into her gifts, FINALLY. I punked her by wrapping small gifts in large boxes. She got a Fuzzy Pet (LOL toy), Hairdorable doll, and drumroll...her OWN kindle. Thank goodness for Amazon sales. She was thrilled to get a Kindle! I told her that was a big gift that would have to wait for Christmas sales. Lots of happy faces from our Spicy pizza girl.

Everyone washed their cars on Wednesday, must have because we finally got a smattering of Monsoon rain. The lightening was so fun to watch. Josie was impressed and scared at the same time, she seemed to enjoy the show outside with Justin and I. Evelyn was cowering between my legs in a ball of scared little girl. The rain was not sufficient enough to wash off the bird poo on the van. The older kids enjoyed a half day on Wednesday. They were all home, with Chloe as well, in time for lunch at noon. I went grocery shopping alone for the first time in forever. Evelyn was gifted an hour of device time to try out her new Kindle after school.

My right ear was all stuffed up Thursday and Friday. I could not hear a thing out of that ear plus my balance was completely off. I'm glad nothing was hurting, but the vertigo was disconcerting. Still, I soldiered on and got things done. Josie and I went to Dollar Store in search of party favors for Evelyn's Fashion Show. I am in my third week of intermittent fasting, no progress yet. I should see some results since I am exercising 4-5 times per week. This is the cheapest diet ever and ever so easy! Just don't eat, and when you do eat make it healthy.

Friday was a busy day for our family. We cleaned up a bit Thursday evening. I spent the morning cleaning and setting up for Evelyn's party. Right when I returned home from dropping off kids to school I found the ATI Restoration guys there ready to start the drywall. The guys were working from 8-1 on the drywall and prepping the rooms for the next steps of mud, tape, paint, and trim. We are happy to have the hole patched up, visions of scorpions dripping from the ceiling made me uneasy. Evelyn invited over 8 friends, two older siblings showed up for the fun as well. At the last moment two girls stayed home due to tummy flu. Amelia, Chloe, and Zoe did most of the work for the rest of the party! I tasked the girls to do hair, make up, and nails for the Fashionistas. After the girlies got all dolled up we headed to the runway for some photos. Amelia started some fashion show music and the show was on! Each girl took several turns walking the "cat walk." So fun. Thank goodness for the older girls, they shouldered the task to amuse the littles for the next hour with art projects (glitter included), play dough, and marble runs. We had sloppy joes for dinner. Opened gifts, more play, and then the ever so fun cake. I made a delicious cake. My delicious cake flopped in the oven, stupid pan. I can never remember that I really need to bake one portion at a time because the cupcake pan does not bake evenly. I cheated with a store made cake, the kids don't eat it anyway right?! Evelyn spread mischief by blowing handfuls of glitter on the boys, little stinker. Party was over at 6:30 pm, Isla and Taylor stayed until 8-9 as an extra bonus. They gave each other make overs, played with Barbies, and used Evelyn's gifted pedicure kit. Evelyn told me her party was sooooo booooooring halfway through her party. She also told me her school teacher would make a better mother. I try not to take her comments seriously. One moment she is gushing with love, the next spewing whining words.

Evelyn blindsided me this week. She said, "Mom, I hate myself. I am ugly!" I almost panicked. What kid has a complex at age 6? Turns out Evelyn just wants to wear make up all the time because she is prettier with make up. Still I worry about her self image, she's too young thoughts like that.

The kids got to spend the afternoon with friends on Saturday. Amelia and Evelyn went to the Emmert's home (Zoe and Taylor). I took the boys to play with Anson and Gary for a couple of hours. I did a spot of thrift shopping just for the heck of it. I found a cute outfit for Amelia, she wore it on Sunday.

Josie is driving me crazy this week. Tuesday I had a Ministering Interview, at the house was a playroom with an Ariel baby doll. Josie and Hannah fought like cats over that doll. Josie got in her mind that she needed an Elsa baby doll, all of a sudden her Aurora doll was not cutting it. She cried for three days, whining about the Elsa baby. "Mom, where my Elsa baby? I can't find it. Go to store and buy me one." Nope, nope, nope. She is still pooping her pants so I told her no Elsa baby until she puts poop in the potty. I actually found an Elsa baby at Deseret Industries for $2, she was thrilled until I took it away once we got home. It's been a week now, no Elsa baby for Josie. I think she gave up, "poop is too scary, pee-pee is fun" potty training according to Josie. She whined for days about that doll, the entire family was tired of her pleas. We did not give in, no never.

29 August 2019

Phillip's Birthday

We are now proud owners of two sexy air conditioners. The pair of them just make me want to tear up and cry with joy. Now....to get the upstairs restored. The company we are using is pushing us back and making it hard to get this sewed up. The loan people are breathing down our necks wanting to close the loan but can't until the new work and units are inspected. You can only imagine my dismay when on Saturday I noticed the ceiling leaking, rapidly leaking. I called AirFit over to come take a look. They had rigged up the units to code but apparently the extra PVC vent (not to code) was there for a reason, the correct set up leaked. He sucked out 6 gallons of water from the ceiling unit before rerouting the water vent. It seems to be jolly good now. Andrew said he'll come back in the winter and figure out why the proper vent is not working.

I went to Big Lots this week to find a gift for Evelyn. She wanted a very specific gift and the last time I saw the item was at Big Lots. No luck, but I did score some summer clearance items! The kids went crazy over "The Blob." We made one several years ago, this one cost less ($5) and was much more durable. I was surprised it lasted one session, even more surprised it survived 10 active boys during a birthday party. Josie was keen on using some cute sprinklers she spotted also in the clearance aisle. We quite enjoyed several water parties the latter portion of our week. The lawn is finally perking up after a good soaking! I enjoyed the kids enjoying "The Blob." Amelia finished her homework in time to play for an hour, she was grateful for the diversion. I love that she can still play like a kid.

Josie decided using the potty for number two was overrated. After her bout of constipation she refuses to poop in the toilet. I started sneaking Miralax and Fiber into her beloved pink milk. I have to be careful when I give her the doctored milk. She's now regular but regular in her undies. I rejoiced prematurely! Guess potty training is not as easy this time. We're just rolling with the punches. The first day I got to use my gym pass she pooped in her undies while in the kid's corner, after just 20 minutes. I've done more laundry this past week than I care to admit. Josie REALLY wants an Elsa baby doll. Mmmmm, bribery? Yes! Let's see if she takes the bait and earns a thrifted baby doll.

Friday Josie and I enjoyed birthday treats with Phillip at school! We joined his class for morning recess. Boy, it was stifling hot outside, over 105 at 10 am. Phillip was so pleased to show Josie around the play area and spend time with her. That kid can really smile, he just beams when he's happy. After school the boys came home bringing Conner, Ronald, Jacob, and Ryan over to play until Phillip's party. I spent the morning cleaning as swiftly as possible. Phillip wanted a late-over with his best friends over. He let Everett invite three friends so that Everett would not feel left out! His generosity always touches my heart. By 5 pm we had lots of rowdy boys over to play on the Blob and in the pool. Phillip invited: Ryan, Ronald, Anson, Jacob, Owen, Conner, Xavier, and AJ! The boys were having a great time playing for several hours. We had some pizza for dinner. One of the boys came up with the brilliant idea to smash sealed soda cans on the rocks making a fun explosion. They got away with smashing 5 cans before I noticed what was going on. Phillip wanted a Costco cheesecake for his cake, yum. Phillip could not just blow out his candles, he did this weird "Mummy" breath action with his mouth wide open. Josie wanted a birthday too so the little girls took turns shoving candles into their ice cream. After gifts the boys settled down to watch Detective Pikachu. The party ended around 9:45 as friends trickled home. Anson got to stay the night, so FUN. Phillip got two Pikachu lego sets, so he gave a set to Anson! What kid shares birthday gifts? What a kid.

Justin dug more trenches to replace 50 ft of sprinkler line on Saturday. That is brutal hot work during the summer. Justin spent a lovely afternoon with the girls at a church sponsored Daddy-Daughter date. I helped set up a photo booth so got to see some of the fun action. The kids got to paint nails (yes, Justin came home with pink nails), shave Dad's face, play games, and other fun activities. The boys and I enjoyed a lunch at Cafe Rio then some birthday shopping for Phillip. Towards evening Phillip, Evelyn, and I braved Nichols park in the humid heat and infestation of mosquitoes for birthday photos. We only lasted 20 minutes or so, the bug spray was not effective. I went to a gardening class taught by a master gardener. Mostly, I learned that gardening here is tough, mostly a September-April affair. The citrus trees sold around here are not proper for the area, the bog box stores use the wrong root (sweet citrus) instead of the hardier sour citrus root. That means most trees die after about 10 years. The soil is also very alkaline so composting is crucial. Most trees need iron to release the fertilizer. How fun would it be to plant a Pecan tree?!  Amelia shaved her logs for the first time. I hate shaving, but the torture of woman kind continues. The peer pressure! She did a good job. I shaved most of one leg so she could watch how to hold the razor and how much pressure to apply. She got one small knick, not bad for her first shaving experience. I laughed over her reaction, those smooth legs are quite lovely!

Phillip finally turned 10 on Sunday! He was so excited. Amelia made chocolate chip pancakes as her gift to him. He got to sit by me up on the stand while I lead music. He got to open one present to tide him over until the evening. Phillip requested tacos for dinner. He was delighted with his gifts: a Lego Avengers set, Optimus Prime 44-step transformer, BeyBlade Stadium, and a Dino Smashers Egg. I about died laughing when he literally smashed the dino egg with his fists. His response was, "Mom! Aren't you glad I can actually smash this toy and not break it?! This is the best gift for me because I love to smash." We sure love our Phillip boy.

20 August 2019

Regular Week

We are sleeping in our own beds! Finally! Took 4 weeks almost to the day for the upstairs air conditioning issue to resolve. Our neighbor and his team did an excellent, professional job installing the unit. It was a beast to install, took the guys about 10 hours of labor to shove that condenser into the right place up the attic. They were grateful for the hole in the ceiling, if the hole was not there they would've made one! Our thermostat is upgraded to a fancy Nest system. It is sleek and we can adjust it with our phones remotely. I felt so bad for those guys sweating their bums off in that furnace of an attic. Josie and I spent half the morning at Walmart shopping just to be out of the way. Josie slept through quite a bit of noise during her nap, she sure loves her afternoon naps. Blessed cool air poured out of the vents around 4 pm. Justin nearly chewed me out for leaving on the air during high electricity bill hours, but I really wanted to sleep in my own bed so just left the air running in spite of the cost, we had to save money for the 4 weeks it was off right? I laughed when I saw the new unit compared to the old one. We went big and awesome! Not really, the rebates from the electric company more than made up for the Seer rating we got. While the guys slaved away, I slaved away on the weekly mountain of laundry and typical household chores I love so much. Ironically, we did not sleep well that first night in our real beds! Guess we got used to the inconvenience of floor sleeping!

Everett finally cooked a hot dog in his third solar oven, in fact his new favorite snack is hot dogs if he remembers to cook it an hour before he's actually hungry. The boys are totally into Beyblades now, Anson and Gary introduced them to the rules and game play. Phillip and Everett spent their allowance money this month on several new Beyblades. We hear the words of "Let it RIP!" echoing off our walls now when the boys are home. Everett was obsessed with getting a Genesis Voltryek because it has the highest ratings in all battle attributes (endurance, battle, performance, energy, etc). Everett found the cheapest one (with my help) on Walmart.com, we ordered it and he payed me. Waiting the 5 days til delivery was torture. Simply put, the game is played with two gyros bouncing off each other in a battle.

Josie regressed with her potty training. She's constipated something fierce, her poops hurt too much because she holds them in. It feels better to her when she poops standing up?? In a corner?! She is doing fine with pee so that's good. I backed off of the potty treats this past week and did not remind her as often. She does the potty dance and often recognizes when she needs to pee. A couple of times she half peed her pants but made the rest in the potty. After Phillip pooping in the heat registers and all over the house, a couple accidents here and there seem like no problem at all. She was thrilled to pick out some undies I found in clearance (yes! Those panties are so expensive).

One day we went to Target for the kids to spend some allowance money on toys. Josie had her heart set on a Minnie Mouse purse. I told her she just got a new baby doll so no purse set. Ooooo The tantrum. It was epic. Folks were staring, I waved and said, "she's three, pay no mind." At home Josie took her new Cry Baby and threw it down the stairs. She yelled, "I hate you Cry Baby, stupid toy, I don't want you anymore, I love Minnie now." Oh fickle toddlers. The new baby did leak something fierce so Josie and I took the doll back to Walmart as a return. She slammed the doll on the counter, "I hate this baby." Whelp, we all tried hard not to laugh over her little feelings. A few minutes later she was skipping down to the check out kissing the package of the Minnie Purse set. All is right in her little world.

Amelia surprised me with a cute little fox she made with GCA's 3-D printer! She tied a green string about it's neck and made a cute little card as a late birthday gift! That was so thoughtful of her to think of me and worry about a gift. So sweet. Thursday we had some issues with Chloe distracting Mia and Zoe with her phone while the girls were studying. Amelia had to stay up past 10 doing homework because Chloe just didn't care about getting anything done while at our house. This coming week her phone is going into lock down until all homework is completed. I found a cute desk set for sale on Wednesday. We picked it up that night and set it up while Mia was at mutual. Now she has a quieter corner to study with her door closed in her room.

Friday we used our Pogo passes for an evening of play at KTR, an indoor skate and parkour park. Evelyn's school friend invited her to his birthday party so we all went along just for the heck of it. Everett was tearing up the cement this time on his scooter! He had several falls, one where he banged his knee quite hard. Neither of the boys would attempt the shallow "pool" getting over that lip is the hardest! The girls spent their time on the trampolines and playing tag on the large bouncy floor area. I wished for my younger self back, the one that could do front flips and ariels without peeing my pants or falling on my face. Justin went along for longer than I predicted! Usually, he wants to go at the first opportunity.

Saturday torture this week was cleaning the yards. Justin worked whack-a-mole on the sprinkler system for the umpteenth time this summer. The rest of us (minus Amelia, who was suffering from major muscle cramps after a hard PE lesson) cleaned up all the stuff littered about, picked up dog treats, mowed the grass, washed the play house out, and spiffed up the garden. Amelia made up for her reticence by cleaning with me in the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. Evelyn had her friend Taylor over for the afternoon. The girls spent most of the afternoon playing on the slip n'slide and watering the lawn with the hose. They had a great time with the hose and the slide.

14 August 2019

Potty Training and a Tween with a Phone

The potty training saga is going so well, I can hardly believe my luck this round. She did have one poopcident yesterday but mostly because she was so constipated she wouldn't sit down because it hurt too badly. I keep telling her to eat those fruits and veggies, they will help out so much sweet girl. After just a week I can say this little girl is trained! She even naps without a pull up and is dry most mornings. She's even acquiesced and wears undies now. Yay! She totally punked me during our Walmart trip this week. The kids ruined her potty prize by opening it as soon as I got it. At Walmart she found a cry baby doll, huge head, cries when binky is not in mouth sort of toy. She pointed doe eyes at me and said, "I'm a big girl now?!" She tries to punk me every week so this was nothing new, I caved this time.

Monday Evelyn started at the MEC (Montessori Education Center). She was a bit nervous but went right in a started playing. I don't much enjoy dropping her off and picking up all the time. I joined a carpool with two other mother's to cut down on all the driving. By mid week Evelyn was telling me she hated school, it was boring, and refused to attend school. After a short email to her teacher she had to sit out of an activity for chatting. One teacher told me Evelyn is quite the smarty pants, she scored higher than the older kids in many areas. Whelp, there went my worries. She has to take a home lunch and snacks, no sugar or nuts allowed. I'm grateful Evelyn really loves her fruits and veggies. Evelyn gets a good 30 minutes with me before we have to leave. Mornings are much more relaxed with the kids leaving at staggered times now.

I celebrated my 42nd birthday at home waiting for a tow truck to take the van to Tony's shop. Justin was sure the started was shot. The tow truck took 3 hours to arrive instead of the predicted 30 minutes, that was annoying. Course it finally came when I left to retrieve kids from school. We also got a second opinion on a new air conditioning system. The first quote we got totaled $10k per unit! Yikes. Our neighbor owns a small company so I had him give us a quote as well. His quote was $12k for BOTH units. Justin worked getting all the money in the right places. We received quite the wonderful miracle. The timing of this all lined up with our 2 year anniversary in this house, which means our house has appreciated enough where we can pull out enough equity without raising our monthly mortgage! Then the mortgage rates dropped so our payment went down $20 per month. The excess after taking out a loan is only an extra $5 per month. Talk about a large amount of money for suddenly assumed back into our house loan for only $5 more. Had we accepted the other offer I'm sure we'd pay so much more. Glad we were not in a hurry to get the unit replaced, now we're used to sleeping on the floor. Sonoma Ranch hosted a pool party that evening. The kids and I quite enjoyed a couple hours of evening swimming. Justin came for a bit then left early to take Mia home to finish her homework. She was still up past 10 working on math by the dim light of her chromebook.

Phillip finished reading 12 chapters of Harry Potter in one sitting! He spent the entire summer reading the first 12 chapters. He discovered audio books and had the great idea to reading the book words along to the audio version. He was so proud to finally read quicker than Everett. Everett is totally consumed with solar cookers. We made 4 versions of solar cookers this week trying to find the best version. We tried shoe boxes, pringles can, and pizza box styles none are actually fast cookers but take forever. The last version was the best, a variation of the shoe box with modifications. He made a can version as a school project. Now he really wants me to invest in a parabolic solar oven. Friday his class took their cookers outside to cook hot dogs in their ovens. Luck would have it that Friday was completely overcast! Some kids had condensation in their ovens but most did not. The parents ended up microwaving the food instead. Josie had a little home lunch she ate with Everett's class. Everett was so cute when we arrived. He gave Josie the sweetest hug through the fencing.

Tuesday evening I attended a very short version of Amelia's new school. I used Amelia's schedule and map to find my way around for a 10 minute visit to each class period. Amelia was worried I would not be able to find my way about! This mom is pretty good at finding my way around school campuses. It was nice to meet all of Mia's teachers and get an idea of what GCA is all about. Monday and Tuesday after school got me pretty worried about her survival, it seems extreme for a 12 year old to work like a college student. I spoke with my mom and realized I was in community college at age 14 taking general arts classes with 20-50 year olds...and getting perfect grades. I think Amelia just needs to do her math homework faster, the homework grades don't count (getting it done does), it's the tests that are graded and weighed against her grades. It's hard to believe a few months ago she was in elementary school, now she's jumped from this to THAT, a big that. I gleaned that her homework should take: 90 minutes for math, 15 for English, 20 for History, 30 for Science, 15 for Viola, and 15 for Latin each day (when they have homework), and grand total of 3 hours per day. Add in piano, YW, and just being a kid leaves not much wiggle room.

The kids got to use their library summer reading program reward on Thursday! All the kids earned a free book, state park passes, Peter Piper pizza reward, and a free basketball game. Evelyn was all over me begging to use their pizza coupon. Done! It was a good reward for all that reading. Josie used her tokens the fastest, she was done after 15 minutes. Earned herself a lollipop with her tickets. Amelia almost had to stay home but managed to finish her homework. Chloe was quite the distraction, the girls annoyed Zoe so much I had to take her home early. Amelia and Chloe were FaceTiming another friend while sitting next to each other, the feedback loop was terrible(ly) funny.

Friday night Justin took me out for a date! Wahoo! He is so thoughtful, he brings home flowers every other week! I love all the pretty colors decorating the sink bar area. We arrived just in time for our favorite sushi place, got there before the doors opened and before the rush started. Dinner was nice and quiet. We went to Verizon right after and purchased a new phone for Amelia. I had my heart set on a flip phone but those were terribly expensive. It was practically free to add a smart phone to our plan. We had quite the discussion about rules Amelia will have to follow. I had a birthday baby party to photograph so Justin tagged along! We had to wait a while, worked out well especially since I forgot the memory card. To end our date we watched Lion King, it was sort of boring, I've seen it so many times there were no surprises.

Saturday Justin got up early to get the truck and van inspected for emissions.  I started to rearrange the junk cluttering the garage. The HVAC guys needed access to the unit in the garage, so cleaning in the summer heat was unfortunately necessary. I'm not sure how the garage gets so cluttered so quickly, feels like the rest of my life. If I don't give something my utmost attention, BOOM, turn around and there's a mess. My cupboards are already cluttered again after my spring cleaning. When Justin got home we sat Amelia down. Quite sternly, Justin said: "Amelia, Mom and I talked about some serious things concerning you last night." Amelia was smiling out of nerves, so we stressed how serious the situation was. She stopped smiling until we told her about the phone, busting out our own smiles. She had to take notes on all the rules. Justin and I have an app that can remotely control her phone, turn it off, lock her out, track her phone usage, text messages, control downloads, and restrict usage of data. Pretty much turned her phone into a basic piece of nothing. She was thrilled! I'm happy to finally have a way to contact her about school pick up, ability to reach her at home when she's baby sitting, etc. Evelyn had her bestie Isla over. The girls played makeover...pretty much threw everything out of the closet! I deserved that after my years playing House and McDonalds. Evelyn is making sure her friends Taylor and Isla are still her friends. Isla's dad ordered us a pizza snack as a thank you. The kids swam most of the afternoon so the treat was much appreciated.