06 July 2020

4th of July 2020




























Monday was forecasted as rainy and cold. The forecast was correct! It was a cold 50 degree day with constant drizzle and rain. I whooped for joy because the weather gave me an excuse to paint my bedroom. I was able to remove the decor, paint two coats, and update the decor before the end of the day. I had a sudden inspiration towards 4 pm to paint the door used as a headboard a fun shade of reddish pink. The door turned out so cute! Justin was shaking his head thinking my plan was strange, did not enjoy the color...until it was all put together again the next day. I think it all looks fun a fresh. I am delighted at the changes a bit a paint can make in a room. The kids tried several times to go play in the rain, Phillip and Everett ended up on the tramp and then the pool for a few minutes. I am unsure how they can stand that cccccold water. While the paint was drying after the first coat we made epoxy jewelry for our crafty Monday. Let me just say that epoxy is MESSY, sticky and impossible to clean without copious amounts of rubbing alcohol. I cannot find rubbing alcohol in stock at any of our local stores. 

Amelia was gone Tuesday at a fun Stake Girl's day held instead of girl's camp. She had a fireside Monday evening via zoom. Next day I dropped her off at 8:30 am. I was a bit miffed about the entire situation. Amelia was getting emails about the event but had no reason to open her email so never got the information. I asked for my address to be added to the email list a couple months ago, guess that never happened. I learned Monday about all the details, like we were supposed to sign a waiver and pick up a packet with t-shirts and info on Saturday morning. We figured it out but all this could be avoided by emailing mothers AND daughters not just daughters. Amelia quickly found Clare her cousin so had someone she knew. The rest of us took Justin out for lunch just to get out of the house for a moment. The kids and I ate our lunch at our little community park. This time it was packed with kids there for the school lunch program. The kids were excited to have other kids to play with for the first time since February. 

Wednesday my Great-Aunt Nancy invited us out to their home for raspberry picking. The kids were thrilled that Uncle Richard kept 4 horses in his corral. My kids soon convinced him to punch up a horse and let the kids ride. All my kids were naturals up on the horse. Before long Mia, Phillip, and Everett were directing the horse (Remington) around the corral. Evelyn caught another horse with a lead attached to its bridle, she egged the horse around the pen with a fist full of hay and some coaxing. I think she was treating the horse like an over-sized dog. Esther's family was also there so we had kids running all around the yards. Nancy started a fire for roasting hot dogs for lunch. Nancy and I had a fun conversation about books we love to read. She had a little book for recording her favorites, reviews, and such. We had a wonderful day out in the sun and fresh air. Josie went with me grocery shopping after we got back home. She is such a funny little imp! 

Thursday morning the kids donned their 4th of July clothes for our yearly tradition of photos for mom. It was all quite a mess as the kids just wanted to play and not pose for me. I resorted to a gas station treat as a bribe. It is easier to decorate the kids instead of my house for holidays! I took the kids swimming to a new community pool for a couple hours. Amelia refused to swim, she sat bored reading her nerd book. I get it, getting your hair wet is a nuisance...gotta wash it, brush it, dry it, all just to play for an hour. Mia's hair is especially sensitive to chlorinated water, she has to use special shampoo right after swimming or else her hair turns into a nasty tangled mess. The pool was also quite small with only a handful of people swimming. Josie amused us with her baby shark imitations. The boys both passed a swim test to jump off the diving board and swim in the deep end. Towards evening the kids agreed to take some sunset/silhouette photos with the flag. I was in heaven, especially when the little girls found some wish flowers (dandelions). We stayed at the culvert until the mosquitoes started to bite. 

Justin had the day off on Friday for the holiday. He took the middle kids out in the truck to explore the southern Sawtooth mountains. Sounds like the kids were bored due to the amount of driving to hiking ratio, in favor of driving. I had several hours of quiet to edit photos with just Mia and Jojo at home. That was a nice change. 

Happy 4th of JULY! I spent an hour in the morning baking the crust for fruit pizza, over-baked the first one...and the second one as well. Everett was salivating over the crock pot of baked beas! It smelled divine. The little girls went to Walmart with me to find some cool slingshot fliers the neighbors had, no such luck. We celebrated with a fun family swim session at the same pool we went to earlier in the week. The other community pool only had 5 openings when I checked, the other one had 89 openings...so yeah, the boring pool won. Josie exclaimed, "this is the best day ever, I love the slide!" She went down the little water slide about 40 times in a row. That girl is so close to swimming, she does it in shallow water but won't try in deeper water yet. Justin grilled chicken thighs with BBQ sauce to go with fresh corn on the cob, and the beans. We watched "Hamilton" after dinner with Mia and Phillip. It was quite entertaining. I hate how they took creative license to add in a harlot scene and extortion. Stupid. Take a good story and add in unverified stories to make the play "better." As dusk approached our street turned into a war zone. I am sure most of America was under fire due to all the shows cancelled thanks to 'Rona. We added in our measly collection of ground flowers and tanks as a minor role in the night's show. Justin amused himself with the blowtorch and bug spray, whoomph! Evelyn, Ellie, and Avia all hid in the garage for a couple hours wearing "boom protectors," they were not appreciative of the noises. Evelyn even refused to try out the long sparklers. We stayed out and enjoyed the scene until 11 pm. The booms did not stop until well after 3 am. I enjoyed chatting for a moment with one of our homeschooling neighbors! Found out her family is from Morgan Hill where they just went camping for a reunion a week or so ago. 

We were quite sluggish the next day. Somehow lost track of time until Mia announced it was 11:40 and church started at noon. Evelyn and Everett were still fast asleep. We made it to church with 5 minutes to spare! Even found time for Josie's marshmallow cereal and to brush hair. Towards the evening we drove out to Richard and Nancy's to pick raspberries and pal around with the animals. Nancy wanted to chat with Justin about his family connections in Heber. We enjoyed fresh, creamy cherry ice cream from the cherries we picked a few weeks prior. I used the left over cherry pie filling as the ice cream base. It was delicious...and very rich. We were able to finish listening to Fablehaven while driving there and back. Justin stopped putting the girls to bed at night since our nights are quite late recently. We usually switch back and forth, I read out loud to the boys on my nights with them. Since we are missing those I've started listening to the books when we drive places.  Josie was very excited to get eggs from the chickens! She even ate her eggs Monday morning for breakfast. Yum. 

I am quite saddened that Great-Uncle John Robert Hicken passed away at 10:30 pm July 4th from complications of the Corona Virus. He caught the virus at a family event some weeks ago, several in their family got sick but he did not recover. I am sure their family is just heart broken they could not be near his bed while he was so sick. Once again this virus stinks...I even postponed our Utah trip until after summer is over. 

I watched a series by Jodi Stoddard Signs and Wonders presentation. I've always loved the mysteries in Daniel, Revelations, Isaiah, and in the scriptures. I never realized until several years ago how literal most of these prophesies are in relation to the second coming and millennium. I feel very strongly that the hinge point mentioned in April General Conference was heavily significant. I feel we need to be prepared for the other half of the years of tribulation, now and not later. I feel quite excited to be part of these events and pray to have myself and family prepared for what comes next. Seriously, so cool. Get ready and buckle down. 

05 July 2020

Lake Day with Justin


















Evelyn can snap her fingers. She snaps loud and fast when she is angry! I hear her snapping fingers all around the house. Snapping makes me smile, especially when she doesn't realize what her own fingers are doing. Everett has not learned how to snap, drives him crazy that Evelyn can!

I got a distressed phone call around 1:50 pm. Amelia was due to land at the Denver airport. She got terrible motion sickness on descent. Poor kid barfed all over herself, the seat, the floor, etc quite suddenly. Her seat pocket didn't have a barf bag for her to use. She was quite distressed and embarrassed. Some kind soul gave her a pack of wipes to clean up with. The flight attendants gave her some trash bags to put her soiled items in. She had sufficient time to clean out her hair with shampoo in the terminal bathrooms. I got another call from her standing at the top of an escalator scared to ride it with her carry on plus several heavy trash bags. She made it down the escalator with a flight attendant cheering her on. Amelia had to change planes in Denver so was quite anxious about finding her way (I was anxious as well). Once off the escalator she found her gate nearby with plenty of time to spare. The same flight attendant who cheered her on was also on her flight to Boise. An answer to my prayers. Amelia made it home in one piece around 4:30 pm. I met her at the gate to escort her out of the airport. A mom hug and vanilla slushie lifted her spirits some. She was not quite her usual self until later in the week. Chloe's house is very quiet...ours not so much. Chloe is quite a night owl keeping Mia up until after 3 am most nights. So lots of sleep helped to restore her energy.

Tuesday and Wednesday we all went to Esther's house since her sister Carla was there visiting. Aunt Nancy came down for a bit to visit. All the kids had a roaring time swimming, enjoying a large slip n'slide, and of course airsoft wars. Mia was left alone since Clare was gone for the day babysitting. Esther got out supplies to make epoxy jewelry! That was so much fun! The boys were completely converted to airsoft. Hyrum, Sawyer, and Carson let the boys suit up and play airsoft in the back yard with them. My boys were woefully unprepared in the art of warfare! It did them good to play with older boys who work hard. The kids all earned delicious slushies from the slushie shack. Everett even walked to the shack with his older cousins. We went back the next day to actually help paint the house. This time Clare was home to Mia went swimming with the kids. Later she helped Clare make another art project. September arrived shortly after we got into the house painting with her 3 cute kids. The boys played air soft most of the afternoon. 

Everett got a tennis racket for his birthday. While at the recreation center a month ago he noticed an advertisement for tennis lessons. I signed up the middle kids for a tennis clinic from 6-7 pm Monday-Thursday. The kids learned forehand and backhand strokes, foot work, hitting the ball over the net, and lots of fun exercise. It was quite hot on the courts but the kids didn't seem to mind much. The coach even had Phillip running here and there fetching balls. The last two days the kids scrimmaged against each other. Everett was quite mad the boys lost to the girls, he stormed off with tears in his eyes. Justin watched the kids play on Wednesday. Mia, Josie and I went to Hobby Lobby to buy epoxy supplies! 

Justin took Friday off so we headed to the lake for a day of relaxation. Esther let us borrow a couple kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. Justin led the way around Lucky Peak Lake. It was a bit crowded so we drove past Arrow Rock along a very dusty road to a more deserted stretch of beach. The final location was quite perfect! We had a good stretch of beach to ourselves, plenty of room to paddle around on the kayaks. Mia and I found a large flamingo floatie at Albertson's, the little girls thought that was pretty amazing. Justin used his power tool inflater to blow up the flamingo and a cute little boat I found for $20. The boat was stupid, it was row boat style which meant none of us could really steer the craft. I pretended to know the ins and outs of rowboat paddling, Amelia and Justin had to rescue me several times. Amelia and Everett accompanied me across the lake to the distant shore. Everett hopped out to climb the rocks for a moment. It was hard work paddling across the lake, harder coming back since the currents were against us. Both kids stuck to it and made it with good time! Josie was the cutest tooling about in the kayak. She naturally took to the craft and intuitively paddled about. Evelyn struggled with steering her kayak, needed help to get back to shore several times. We snacked on sandwiches, fruit, and slurped down lots of yummy drinks. The kids were quite taken with a cute duck leading her duckling back and forth our stretch of shore. We stayed until 7 pm when more folks started to arrive with their fancy camping trailers. 

Saturday Justin took me and the boys out to a local gun range to shoot some of the .22 weapons in our arsenal. We got to shoot a fun little kid's rifle, the .22 rifle, and a .22 pistol. Everett was quite the good shot. He made the most contact shots out of us all, until the larger rifle came into play...I pounded his score into the ground. If Justin had shot more he would've sunk my score. Phillip held his own as well once he got the hang of aiming the different weapons. Mid-way through our adventure a family pulled up next to us and set up an impressive array of weaponry. Good gracious...sounded like a brigade of cannons going off. Justin took the off-road way home jerking and jumping along a little dirt road made for dirt bikes and crazy men driving 4-wheel drive trucks. Amelia is so going with us next time. Evelyn and her new friend Ellie had a late night on Saturday. We stayed up until past 11 watching the new Trolls movie. The girls sure love to trash Evelyn's bedroom. It gets all shades of crazy up there. 

23 June 2020










Charity got a spa treatment thanks to Evelyn! Evelyn recently declared she wants to be a nail technician AND a mom. Of course she needed to practice her nail art. I've gotten several nail makeovers this week as well. Half of Monday was spent dropping Mia off at the airport for her surprise visit to Chloe. We were both quite nervous about the trip per Mia flying solo for the first time. I was able to accompany her to the gate after a bit of a scene at security. I only had my new paper driver's license which apparently did not suffice. I had to hand over my debit card, credit card, even my diving card to verify my identity. I got a thorough pat down as well! We spotted a fun Darth Tater shirt for Justin Father's Day gift at the airport gift shop! I watched Mia board the plane so knew she was in good hands on the other end in Arizona. She did have a layover in LA for an hour but did not need to change planes. She did experience a spot of motion sickness during descent. Amanda and Tyler met Amelia at the gate, I hear they were a couple minutes late but Mia just stayed put. Amanda told Chloe she was bringing home her new boyfriend! Ha ha ha. Chloe was super surprised to see Mia at the door instead of a boyfriend.

Tuesday the kids and I made a short trip to Office Depot and Lowes. As we were driving to our location Phillip noticed a business advertising "The Blinds Gallery." He thought about it a moment then suggested we go visit the Blind Gallery after we start home schooling in the fall. He was very interested to learn how Blind people do art and how many blind people he would see at the museum. I died laughing (inside) before explaining that the Blinds Gallery was really a store selling window treatments. I admit, a gallery full of blind art would be fascinating. The kids helped me pick out a few things to decorate Justin's office for Father's Day. Josie picked an elephant tape dispenser, Phillip a new desk organizer, Evelyn a rainbow stack of sticky notes, and Everett chose a new plant. I looked for new bathroom backsplash tiles but nothing caught my eye, came home with a bag of grout. The boys helped me scrape and clean off the tiles from the up and down stairs bathrooms. With the additional tiles from the downstairs bathroom I did not need any new backsplash tiles. The tiles matched the counter perfectly so that was nice. Justin worked on the plumbing and I finished the rest of the bathroom vanity update. It looked so nice! Twice the size of the old unit and with drawers to hide toothbrush supplies. I am a terrible tile sealer, the silicone looks so chunky and odd so if you come visit don't look too closely.

Wednesday was the day I really, really missed Amelia. I took the little food shopping with me at Winco. Spent double my usual budget and left with my nerves especially frayed. The boys were steering a separate cart and of course acting like Captain Dufus Pants. Evelyn was throwing a fit because she wanted to steer and run down the aisles. Josie wanted candy from the bins. Mom, I want this...Mom! I NEEED that. We made it with only four new white hairs on my head. To reward myself for an amazing shopping trip (meaning all the kids left alive) we had lunch at Jimmy John's. Everett was so mad because he hates the sandwiches. Well, he stooped down from his lofty perch and tried a hunter's club...ummmm, yes sir....it was delicious. Everyone was happy.

Thursday morning the kids and I quietly packed up the van with art work, wall decor, two new plants, and other trimmings to decorate Justin's office. I coordinated with his boss Jen Freeman and Sara the office lady to come in while most folks were at home telecommuting. We framed some art, cleaned up stuff from the previous office dweller, and decorated. The kids were so excited! The noise level went up several decibels from quiet to medium loud. Someone told Justin he saw the family at the office but Justin was sure he meant the visit from a few weeks back. Justin had no idea. We drove home with the intent to keep our special surprise a secret. Evelyn almost ruined the surprise the next morning when she said "we never went to the office at all" in a coy tone. On the drive back we listened to Beauty and the Beast, Phillip asked what "Brute" meant. Everett chimed in from the back, "it means a handsome man in wedding clothes!" Ha ha ha ha. Justin asked where went for Travel Thursday, we said a nice drive around town. Amelia spent a lovely day celebrating Chloe's 13th birthday at Main Event, the Mall, and Sonic.

Friday Justin was so surprised it took him 10 minutes to admire our work before calling! Evelyn giggled for several minutes straight! That was darling. Yay! Success. I wanted to try cherry picking so we drove out to Caldwell to Williamson Orchard for Foodie Friday. We waited in a hot line for 20 minutes before we got buckets and paid the fees. The kids were so excited to find the perfect dark cherries with the most stems. Joyful shouts of "Double Cherries, BABY!" and such rang loud and clear. Josie picked mostly sour cherries within her reach. We loved the experience of picking our own fruit. We cannot wait to go back next year! We left with 4 (5.5) lb buckets brimming with cherries. The kids immediately wanted to visit Dad at his office and show him personally what we did. So we drove the 50 minutes to his office from the orchard. Everett insisted we introduce Justin to the delicious Hunter's Club so back to Jimmy's Johns we went. I finished ripping out the downstairs vanity since the backsplash was already missing. I seriously banged my knuckle with the sledge hammer. Ye ouch. Josie earned a large prize. This girl kicked her binky sucking habit to the curb. She "lost" her giraffe binky and her favorite elephant binky had a leak. So she slowly cast it aside longer and longer each day. By Friday she had not used it to sleep for several nights. We are so proud! Josie chose a Rainbow-corn surprise as a reward. This kid is getting ready for school! She is consistently using the potty for her poops now, dresses herself, gets her own shoes, puts away the silverware, kicked her binky habit...go JOSIE!!!!!

Saturday Justin took the proverbial bull by the horns and finished the downstairs bathroom vanity install. We are very different in our approaches. I just barge in and hope it all works, which sometimes it works, other times I make it work. He carefully spent the morning reworking the cabinet drawers to fit the needed plumbing changes. He measured and remeasured to ensure the plumbing and the cabinet worked as needed. The end result looks so good! Yay! Thank you Justin for making the new vanity work! I just realized the vanity was never screwed into a stud...better get on that one before some little person tips it over. Now to paint the master bedroom to match my new, pretty bedding set. I used black trash bags to warm up the pool water, it was freezing after our week of rain. The boys decided to swim with the bags, they made merman tails with the bags...the cinch ties became suspenders. They splashed out more than half the water out of the pool that day. Evelyn's little friend Ellie (from across the street) brought over 5 large floaties to play with. So much fun for everyone. Later Ellie convinced Evelyn to play dress up, Ellie was the princess and Evelyn was "the help!"

We were able to attend church on Sunday. That was an odd experience! We went to a new chapel with completely new people. The RS president introduced herself then asked which kid fell out of the window! Ha ha. Every other row was blocked off to allow the 6 feet of space. Our meeting was very quiet and reverent. The bishop said a few words, we hummed songs, then went home. I whipped up a homemade cherry pie for dessert. Grilled some steaks up for dinner. Yum. We went on a little family bike ride to the park and back. I was able to FT my with my Dad on Saturday. We mostly talked about home schooling and the socialist brainwashing that occurs in most schools nowadays. We love our Justin and our Father figures. I tried to have the kids do a skit about the Ammon story, that was a failure! Ha ha.

The kids all miss Amelia. Phillip said he misses Mia's hard punches and angry pushes. Everett said Amelia could stay away for the next 375 days...she makes him the most angry and makes him cry the most. Both little girls miss Amelia quite a bit. The boys said they mostly miss Amelia because she makes their games more fun.