09 August 2020

Utah Trip and My Birthday Week




We took a week off to visit family in Utah last week. We drove the 6 hours (YES!!!!) down to Bountiful first. I made the mistake of passing Burley around 11:15...thought process was we could catch the next town for lunch. The next town was 2 hours away in Tremonton. I did not pack many snacks because the drive was not "very" long. I was also low on gas so stopped "In the Middle of Nowhere" gas station aka Sublett Fuel Station. It was a lonely scene...nothing EXCEPT for the cutest llamas, goats, donkey, and pony ever! We all enjoyed a moment outside to admire the animals. Inside I was hoping for snacks to tide the hangry beasts for another hour...even a potty. Nah, those amenities are not offerered except in the extreme price gouging category. You need gas? Try $5 per gallon. Need a bag of stale chips? $4 for a snack size? Need a potty drive 15 miles in either direction for the next rest stop. At least the store decor was amusing: a corner barred off with a sign advertising baby rattlers...baby rattles in the bottom. Local calls on a tin can with a string! We listened to a few chapters of Fablehaven book 2 while we finished the Middle of Nowhere tour of Idaho. First stop was a short visit with Charity and crew. Reagan is making really cute bracelets if you need some darling in you life. We drove down to Grandma Debbie's for the night. We spent the evening roaming her gardens and pulling out all the toys. Grandma introduced us to the Fighting Preacher movie. So good! It went hand in hand with our Pioneer Day devotionals. 

Tuesday morning we played with Hannah and Rachel while Aunt Jana went to work. We sweated at the park for a few moments. The little girls spent a happy couple hours playing dress ups. The older kids vied for Rachel's attention. I made a terrible batch of mac n'cheese, one of the boxes was a bit rancid. So we were all very hungry, I stepped out to buy lunchables for the hungry crowd. Aunt Jana took us swimming at Grandma Eileen's indoor swimming pool. Eileen is a very fun soul! She had my older kids doing tricks using two pool noodles! Hannah is quite the little swimmer. She was all mermaid. We made our way down to the Eagle Mountain Lance compound towards evening. Seth celebrated his 17th birthday?! Say what? Miekka and the kids made their famous pizza. Yum. The rest of our days there were a blur of cousin activity. Seth has a big person job, he worked most days from 7:30-2 at the Good and the Beautiful curriculum center. 

Highlights: 
*the customary gas station visit with all the cousins. 
*kids running in between the Lance(s) homes in various stages of dress and undress
*my sciatic went out on Wednesday, I had tears in my eyes for hours from the extreme pain. I went to Dr Crack-a-lack for several adjustments. A tens unit and other interventions have my back pain under control (for now). 
*so many snacks
*lots of embroidery thread bracelets, including two hair wraps for Mia and Evelyn
*a fun visit to Manila Creek Park with cousins and neighbors. All the snack and ladies hovering in the shade. Lots of fun stories. Lots of sand, sun, and kayak riding. Sodalicious to rehydrate the soul. 
*Full day of thrift shopping with the girls...and Jacob. John watched the remaining gaggle of kids at his home (three movies worth of time plus chicken nuggets). Mia and Lia found lots of cute clothes. I found lots of kid books for my library. A fiasco wait for legendary chicken sandwiches at Popeyes (?). We ordered online but had to wait 30 minutes in the drive thru, then they forgot my order. Miekka has black-listed them. 
*Drove 45 minutes to wait at Bok-Bok restaurant for Jeremy and Yulz plus kids who were driving thru headed for home. We got to kiss the babies for a few moments while we gulped down Korean chicken. They had to make it to Cedar City before bed time for their kiddos. Since we were in the area I took Mia, Lia, and Josie to the BYU Bookstore before it closed. The kids all got a new shirt and hat! Josie was most excited for her super-sized lolly. 
*I took several kids with me to Grandma's house while I took Jana's family photos. I was gone much longer than expected. We ate dinner near 8 pm! Sorry kids! Grandma fed the kids french toast snacks. Rachel was a total cutie, showing off her cute shoes. The kids helped Grandma water her plants. The kids all kept some lamb's ear leaves, Phillip used his leaves as Baymax ears. 
*had home church with our families. Enjoyed testimony meeting. Had a delicious dinner to celebrate my birthday, Emmie, and Hannah's birthdays! Grandma, Jeffrey, and Jana's family came down for dinner. Jana made her yummy apple cheesecake bars. 
*spent Monday morning playing. Stopped at the chiro for another adjustment. Headed home around 3 after stopping at Grandma's for Josie's BYU hat and give Jana and girls hugs. We arrived back home before Justin around 9:25 pm. Yay

We recuperated on Tuesday: aka cleaned out the van, worked on laundry, and went grocery shopping. 

I celebrated my 43rd birthday on Wednesday! Amelia made me a smoothie in bed, Evelyn added in a card and some toast. Yay! Justin upgraded my phone to the iPhone 11 pro! Yay yay! We went to lunch with Justin near his work. The boys had Activity Boys, working on their fishing skills. They also learned about several types of fish in the local ponds. Mia had a CES broadcast for the Idaho region. Justin made dinner and cleaned up. That was pretty amazing. My cake was actually a visit to Dairy Queen for a butterscotch cone plus whatever the kids ordered. 

Miekka and Lia drove up to Idaho on Thursday. Lia wanted a girl's trip! We tidied the house. Took me several hours to get the girl's room back in order. I purchased a fun AG doll-sized ice cream truck with lots of fun accessories. The kids are enjoying the new toy. I picked up a load of barnwood to make a new photo backdrop from a place past Caldwell. I stopped to use the restroom, a guy with a skirt strutted out of the ladies room. I felt a little strange, I wonder how s/he felt? 

Friday we explored Eagle Island State Park. The weather was quite cool and breezy, made the beach tolerable! The pond is smallish but very pretty, lots of grass nearby with a fun park. We snatched a picnic table in the shade for our stuff and picnic food. The kids played with the large Flamingo. The little girls got mermaid tails. Evelyn was a punk and ruined Josie's tail just for spite. I let Josie takeover Evelyn's tail...no reaction. Stinker. Miekka, Lia, Mia, and I all headed out for a girl's night on the town and a sleep at a hotel! We left Phillip with the little kids watching and playing until Justin got home. I heard no negative reports so all went "smoothly" there. We stopped at Guitar Center to check out Ukuleles. Mia got a really nice one for a really good price. Next stop was sushi dinner in a fancy part of town full of hippies and cool cats. We brought the level down with silly teenaged girls and no alcohol. The gelato store next to the sushi joint looked yummy until I saw the boozy flavors and prices. I'll take soft-serve or a diet coke thanks. We got to the hotel in time for the girls to swim, the pool supposedly closed at 9 but the girls enjoyed the water until almost 10. The rest of our night was full of Diners, Drive ins, and Dives, baths, and silliness. Next day we searched for doughnuts, I am disappointed in Boise's doughnut offerings. Shopping next at Bath and Body for an awesome sale on lotion. Target for cute stuff and last of all DI. Justin was sitting on the lawn with the kids engaged in yard work! YES! Everyone survived another night without Mom. Thanks Justin for holding down the fort for 24 hours. Phillip got ear candle treatments. I read later that all that dust is actually not earwax...sure looks like it to me, gross. 

We had home church today. Miekka and Lia headed back for Utah afterwards. That was a fun little trip for us all.    

Pioneer Day

















I had big plans to write about this particular week during our trip to Utah, alas I was too busy with all the stuff going on. So here I am writing a couple weeks later. My memory gets hazy fast. Ha. Thus the plethora of photos, they tell most of the story without words. I'll add a spot of narration:

Monday we finally got a dog door! Mr Jennings came and installed the door I got on Amazon. I was a little worried about the depth being sufficient but it all fit perfectly. The kids used the remaining supply of dog treats to teach Vader how to use the new door. He happily goes in and out now...hopefully he will keep his pee and poop outside instead of in my house. We learned some basics of tie-dyeing for our Make-It Monday. Mia tried several fancy methods, one that did not work out like she wanted. After washing it the shirt looked much better. For some reason the dye did not stain her shirt except for the blue shade. I tried several different folding methods including the popular heart tie-dye. The boys were very enthusiastic to use every shade of color and were talented with saturating their shirts. Amelia made a bunny out of white socks, she named it "Thick Boon-ny." She also made several treats using phyllo dough and croissant dough. Wednesday was a rainy day so I declared it a "Miraculous" marathon day. Mia made chocolate croissants for the movie treat.  

Josie learned how to brush the top half of her hair. This process takes an entire bottle of detangling spray and the Frozen brush. She stands in front of the bathroom mirror, sprays the bottle of detangler the brushes the parts of her hair she can see. The last step is to admire the hair style with gasps and kissy lips. I found her 5-6 times last week in the bathroom with saturated hair...the back and ends are left alone. 

I spent quite a few hours researching curriculum and trying to narrow down my resources for school. It is a daunting task. I found a fun google sheet to keep track of expenses for each child. I don't want to pour money into curriculums we may not need or use. My focus will be using what we have and ordering what we need as I see a need crop up. I see a tendency to over order stuff then get frustrated about it not working well with a certain child's learning style. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed but confident the kids will do well because we love them. Love and patience will be key this first year of our adventure. 

Thursday we went back to Jump Creek! It was quite breezy down near the waterfall, caused the girls floaties to take several adventures blowing up the canyon. This time Josie made it to the waterfall with me. We love how cold the water feels on a very hot day. 

Friday we had a water fight. Mia thought she could join us and throw a couple balloons without needed a swim suit. I took that as a challenge. She was soon soaked to the skin with pitchers full of water and a good hose dousing. We all ended up in the pool (in appropriate and inappropriate clothing). That was a fun diversion for us all. Phillip hit me square in the eye with a water balloon, a while later he splashed a pitcher full of water down my ear canal. I felt rather water-logged the rest of the day. We enjoyed snow cones for a post-fight treat. Friday was also Pioneer Day. Evelyn was excited to wear the one Pioneer dress we have and don a bonnet. She was so excited to take a few photos in costume. I tried to organize a fun Pioneer day parade around our neighborhood, posted the idea on FB and texted it out. I was disappointed there was no interest. Maybe FB is broken in our new ward, I got used to communicating through FB in our AZ ward. 

One evening dinner meal Evelyn started a discussion asking why she couldn't mow the lawn like the boys. Amelia took up the gauntlet: women should be able to mow the lawn, girls can do anything boys can do...etc Amelia and Evelyn found themselves committed to mow the lawn on Friday with Justin. On said torture day, Amelia was so mad she really had to mow the lawn. Phillip exacerbated the mood by plopping himself down in a comfortable camp chair, feet resting in the wading pool, watching the show. I made it even worse by snapping a photo of the hilarious situation. Mia stormed off to her room, misunderstood and angry. She had two choices: mow the front lawn or lose all electronic privileges for the weekend. She mowed the front lawn. Her allergies reacted terribly so the rest of her weekend was a nasty nightmare of stuffy nose and headaches. 

Justin, Amelia, Phillip, Evelyn, and Everett all came down with sore throats, runny noses, and coughs. I tried to get the kids tested for Covid but decided to save our money and time. Maybe it was just a cold, maybe we caught the 'rona. We stayed home from church just in case. Justin says he lost his sense of taste for a day after he got sick so who the heck knows? Our Walmart is mandating masks and only has one entrance and exit open. My parking fairy skills don't work under such pressure! Everett had a sore tummy on Saturday adding to his misery. 

Sunday we watched 17 Miracles after home church. We all cried and cried while watching that movie. Stirs the soul to watch and experience part of the hand cart sufferings. After the movie we pulled up Family Tree and played around with some of the fun activities offered there. We could see photos and read snippets about pioneer ancestors, loved playing with the "Compare-a-face" function, and "Where and I from?" Phillip has features that favors both sides of our family, 52% with the Crapo and Hinckley sides. Josef Seth Lance, Minnie Mabel also had very high percentages for all our kids. That was a fun activity for us.  

20 July 2020

Jump Creek Falls, Princess Dance Camp











Princess CAMP! The little girls were following the calendar for a couple weeks counting down the days until Monday evening. I signed the girls up for a fun little dance camp with a Princess theme. The girls could come all dressed up as their favorite Princesses and dance their little hearts away. Evelyn was so ready for camp, she spent a good while on her make up and outfit...then she spent another good while getting Josie ready! Lately those two are playing and playing together, warms my heart to see them interact positively. The girls had 5 evenings of dance as Cinderella, Ariel, Elsa, and some repeats. I quite enjoyed watching the girls dance. During the first session the instructor asked the girls to put their noses near their toes...Josie took that literally and planted her toes on her nose. Wednesday Josie was too tired to dance so she spent half the lesson with me watching the girls. Evelyn has natural flair and grace that will carry her far. It's time again for dedicated lessons once things calm down. I got information at the rec center for home-schooling PE (yes! Mia moaned at that thought) and gymnastics.

Our Monday crafts were a dismal failure. I took the kids to the Dollar Store to get cheap art supplies. We stocked up on paper doilies, shaving cream, glue, color books, toothpaste, shells, paint, and other such items. Everett kindly bought Phillip a present, and Phillip returned the favor. The boys even spent their own money to get the girls a little treat. Mia lead the pack making several failed batches of slime, toothpaste slime, glue slime (the glue was terrible), and some other form of slime. Bummer. I spent the evening cleaning the clutter upstairs and in my bathroom. Justin is not happy about our later bedtime. He was miffed we had scripture devotional yet again at 9:50 pm. As a family we made a goal to hold devotional at 9 pm instead. Let's do it!

Tuesday morning we left at 8:15 to head over to the Palmer's home. Esther was out painting the last few coats on the trim for the morning. I painted the garage trim, the porch, and door trim white. Esther was up on the roof burning her legs as she tried to paint the roof trim. We had fun listening/singing to music and talking. The kids kept amused watching a bit of TV, swimming, and playing in the yard. I worked until noon then headed home to clean my own house. Thankfully, we did a family clean session so most of the cleaning was just the mommy stuff like mopping the floor, deep cleaning bathrooms and the kitchen. The kids did an excellent job cleaning up the yard clutter with Justin after dinner. John, Courtenay, and kids stayed the night with us on their way to Oregon for a family reunion. We quite enjoyed their short stay! Had a moment to show off our new home, learn how to do twisty ponytails, and get some exclusive cousin time. I ended up with a 3-day migraine, kicked my booty to the moon and back. My Great-Uncle Mel passed away early Wednesday morning with his family surrounding him at home. I teared up over the flag display the Boy Scouts put in Aunt Mary's yard. I will never forget his candy handshakes and kind words.

Thursday we beat boredom by swimming for a couple hours at Lincoln pool with Ambree and a new friend for Evelyn, Scarlet. Her friend Ellie was gone so I walked to another neighbor with a girl near Evelyn's age, knocked on the door and asked if we could take Scarlet swimming! I'm grateful her mother said sure and lent me Scarlet for the afternoon. Mia and cousin Clare stayed home doing whatever teens do for fun: reading, slime making, bracelet making, music listening, and gotcha life art. The kids and I got a little crispy at the pool! We went at noon instead of 3 pm plus I ran out of sunblock. Josie and I were a bit pink, the boys just under their eyes. Most of my kids have achieved summer skin so don't burn much anymore, just pale Josie needs extra sunblock. It felt great to reach out to an unknown neighbor! We both needed our kids entertained outside.

Friday we headed to Jump Creek for the day. I miscommunicated the time to Sarah Ostler earlier in the week. She said afternoon was better but I said morning was better, she literally meant the water was warmer in the afternoon since the sun passes over the pool area after noon. We went in the morning. Esther and kids met us up at the pool as well. We hiked in with a picnic lunch and drinks. The water was chilly! Did that stop the boys? Nope! The boys literally jumped right in whooping and hollering all the while. Mia and Evelyn eventually got wet. Josie and I were content to wet our feet in the frigid pool. Josie and Eli made piles of rocks and sand. Josie was moving huge rocks half of her body weight! There was a fun little rock perch next to the waterfall, everyone present vied for that exclusive spot. Evelyn scraped herself a couple times while we played Floor is Lava. She earned a nasty scrape on her thigh. I was surprised Evelyn was brave enough to swim out to the waterfall, the water was quite deep out there. Esther and I captured a couple crayfish much to the kid's disgust or delight. Mia insisted the sand made her skin glow stick glowing! Justin and I went on a little date for pizza! That was nice to get out.

Saturday we were all tired, it was a busy week. Dog Vader peed and pooped inside the house several more times this past week. So, I put up an ultimatum: dog door or the dog goes. I ordered a dog door and found someone to install it next week. Guess he gets to stay. Evelyn bugged me for a week to update our 74 hour kits. She was thrilled I finally got out the packs. The kids are in love with the stuffies inside their packs: Aurora kitty, derpy cheetah, Sir-Hops-a-Lot, and White Dog Vader. My main objective was to update the clothes since a couple years had passed. Basically Phillip's pack is Everett's now, and Evelyn's is Josie's. We made a trip to Goodwill for clothes to fit Mia, Phillip, and Evelyn. I wanted to check out an Army Supply store. There was one in downtown Nampa area we went to check out. Turns out it was an Apocalypse themed gun store. We were all impressed with the inventory of Trump hand guns and America is Great themed guns. The only surplus items carried were a few boxes of MREs. The kids each picked out 2 meals and warmers for their packs. So fun. Our living room area is cluttered with stuff as I figure out the best way to update our emergency preparedness. The older kids all need larger packs, more food, and more supplies. The evening project time table is now looking like a longer project. Most of the SOS bars will expire next year, some expired a couple years ago, so those need replacing as well. Let's get this project finished! Everett had a spiritual experience connected with the 72-hour kits. He prayed about what we were doing and felt like we will need the packs in the near future. Today he prayed again today and felt like April 7th (year unknown) will be the date in question! He wrote down his experience in his devotional journal. He was thrilled to finally have an experience with the Holy Ghost. He was quite emotional and very sincere...who knows? Regardless of the date we will be ready. 

The boys and I are reading book 2 of Fablehaven. Last night we read about the revenant with the thorn in his neck and Seth getting swallowed by the demon glutton. As I was leaving their room Phillip started discussing how revenants got their nails. He supposed maybe there is a cursed nail gun popping random people into zombies. Ha ha ha. Those two boys stay up past 11 pm most night chatting away in the dark.

13 July 2020

Trampoline Park, Lake Day 2
















My cute little garden is coming along slowly but surely. The temperatures are much cooler this year so most of my plants have yet to grow like crazy. Don't you love the cute pink and purple flowers on the pea plants? I thought maybe I accidentally planted sweet pea flowers, but no the pea pods are forming. We are all anxious for the tomatoes to ripen. All the kids love to help me water the garden, snip off tomato suckers stems, and pick fresh chard to munch on. 

We made more fun epoxy stuff for our Monday crafts. The week prior I found cute buttons at Walmart to use in the larger molds. Mia and Josie made the cutest little necklace charms! I found an ABC mold and now want to cast 3-4 batches of letters for the girls to use for spelling manipulatives. Phillip sported his lovely glitter ring and bracelet for a couple days! So fancy. 

Justin got us all ready for a decent family bike ride. We biked a good 6 miles together! Evelyn was the star of the show keeping up with all our larger wheels and biking a decent pace. We stopped halfway at a fun little park for Evelyn to rest her legs. Her chain popped off a few times, those second-hand bikes can be a challenge. I think Justin adjusted the chain/wheel after our ride. Towards the end of our route we stopped again for snow cones! Such a fun way to exercise and earn all those calories back. Evelyn was all ready to ride again the next day. Amelia tried to ride her bike around the the block but her sit bones were too sore the next day. Ha ha ha. I know that feeling. 

Wednesday was a Dr appointment day. I went to the chiropractor for hip adjustments again, darn hips get all wonky after a while. When I came home there was a dead bird on the driveway. A couple hours later it was gone. Thursday afternoon I spotted a white paper towel resting near our tree. Sweet, thoughtful Evelyn buried the dead bird under a paper towel surrounded with rocks to keep it covered up. She was thoroughly disgusted that the ants were eating the eyeballs. 

Mia had a Perthes check up on Wednesday. We met with Dr Showalter at the St Luke's Orthopedic clinic in Meridian. He took a couple updated x-rays. Mia got to wear fancy blue shorts for the occasion. We met with the Dr who looked quite confused, he said I see no trace of Perthes! Indeed her hip x-rays showed both femur heads looking quite similar. The only real discrepancy could be found in her hips tiled 2 inches higher on the left and the distance between the iliac crest and acetabulum is short, could cause her muscles to ache more than usual. Mia is going to try a month of a higher dose anti-inflammatory then not take ibuprofen for a couple months! The Dr literally said, "What we are looking at here is a miracle! To go from a group BC diagnosis to normal is not possible." There are groups of severity: (Mild) A, AB, B, BC, C (worst). I think she still experiences pain due to the power of the brain to create pain, her x-rays indicate her leg is about 95% the same as her right leg. We will do a round of PT to help her stretch the muscles on the left and strengthen those muscles. Pretty exciting stuff. 

Thursday we went to Defy! trampoline park with the Ostlers. Luckily, it was nearly deserted! We pretty much had full run of the facility. Sarah was performing flips and such! Go girl! I was hobbling about with my hips all wonky. I did lose my socks several times in the foam pits. That was quite exciting. I played dodge ball with the kids, Everett was frustrated that I would not follow the rules. I had a fun time nailing him every chance I got. Next day we were all sore in places we forgot were part of our bodies. 

Mia spent Friday afternoon with a family in our new ward. I hear they enjoyed painting nails and making macrons in three flavors! The rest of us cleaned up the loft area and worked on messy bedrooms. Justin took me out on a date. I was more excited about not cooking dinner! We tried a Hawaiian BBQ place for dinner. It was ok, still on a hunt for a favorite date night joint. We found a ceiling fan and light fixture for our bedroom, the light we have is weak...WEAK I tell you. Next we stopped at Fred Meyer for lake day snacks and a supply of washable masks. 

Saturday we drove back to the same spot past Arrowrock dam for a day of kayaking and fun. The water was about 15 feet lower this time and 15 times more chocked with people shoving water toys into the lake. So many boats, skidoos, rafts, paddle boards, kayaks...all with competing music blasting for dominance. The kids wanted to take the dog. I was annoyed at the creature for barking at everything and everyone. We discovered Dog Vader can swim but hates the water. I splendidly tipped over backwards with my bum stuck in a round floatie...got a nose full of lake water and stuffy ears for the effort. I'm sure that was an America's Funniest Video moment. Evelyn put her life vest on upside down like a huge diaper. Soon all the kids sported diapers and played a very silly game called Diaper Children. Mia and Phillip adopted rocks named Bock-bock and Rocky as part of the game. I forgot bread to make sandwiches! We made do with just meat and cheese rolls. I enjoyed taking my camera this time. 

My Great-Uncle John Robert was buried on Saturday. His casket was a beauty! I hear all his kids burned their brands into the coffin before it was laid to rest. I pray for comfort on the Hicken family. This week uncle Mel is near death's door. David and Shanae made it to Utah beforehand to say goodbye and help out with his last hours on Earth. I've not heard any updates today.