15 April 2019

New Camera!!!!







I've read "Go, Dogs Go!" over 76 times in two weeks. Josie is obsessed. When we are out running errands she pay special attention to the red and green lights now. When I read it, I can't just read it. We have to decide which dog is our favorites, pretend to be scared about the toy dog, use a squeaky voice for the tiny dogs, and bark out Happy Birthday. It's pretty intense. Maybe she could read it to me after 76 times of hearing it!

Using my new serger I whipped up a knit dress for Mia in less than 30 minutes. Her Easter dress is complete. I also finished a darling bunny dress for Josie.

Tuesday was an epic day. My highly sought after new camera and lens came at precisely 2:36 pm. It looks the same as my old camera but man, oh man, the new insides make all the difference. Amelia was more than willing to pretty herself up and take some 12 year old photos for her upcoming birthday. She is a weird child...I think all 12 year olds are strange. A strange ring showed up in any photo taken under f/2.0, I knew it was some sort of setting I needed to change. Thankfully, the firmware setting did not affect the actual photos just the thumbnails. It's quite sharp and able to handle just like I imagined. Giddy!!

We had two days this week in the 90's, totally broke down and turned on the AC. Crazy to think that it was blizzarding in Nebraska! I have to admit it did get WINDY here, like a bona fide wind.  I heard stories of trampolines ending up in swimming pools. The wind squished our empty above ground pool against the wall! By the end of the day our lawn was littered with papers and toys.

I found a suit for Everett's baptism. His best friend is getting baptized this month so Kristin and I wanted some photos of the boys together. Everett's suit was quite large on him, the size 8 was more like a size 10/12. Unfortunately, the next smaller size was a 4. I hemmed the pants a good 5 inches and took in the waist 3.5 inches. He looked pretty snazzy in his cute baptism suit. Kristin and I met at the temple for some photos there with the boys. The sunset was so gorgeous. Everett was spoiled with three dates alone with me this week. I love the silly things he says, "mom, I could get used to be alone with you all the time." We enjoyed getting his scriptures together at Deseret Book, an outing for a hair cut, and then to the temple. He is a little poser! Towards the end his eyes started to get dry, he quipped, "this posing thing is hard on the eyes!"

Justin and I snuck out to watch the new Shazam movie on Friday night. Amelia managed to get all the kids to sleep...in their OWN beds even. The angels are singing! Ok, confession...I LOVED the movie. It was funny, ever so funny. A nice change from the normal super hero stuff.

Amelia had her spring piano recital on Saturday. She practiced her piece and performed it perfectly. After she claimed that she flubbed up by pressing the wrong pedal. No worries! The kids used up all the referral cards at the performance center, it kept them quiet. We were just down the street from the Mesa temple, took a drive by it to see it was barren and empty. Lunch, yummy, yummy lunch at Morenos. MMmmmmm. Amelia earned her first babysitting job watching the Jackson kiddos. Our stake organized the most amazing Easter concert, One Voice. President Tinker arranged for a sound system that blew our socks off. I got to attend while Justin stayed home with the rest of the kids. I rode my bike over since parking was limited. What a privilege! The concert was breath taking. So many talented folks in our stake. I was expecting something half done, but this was worthy of a concert hall like Carnegie. 

Evelyn adopted a worm. She made it a habitat and named it Hermie. I was stunned she actually touched it and held it.

09 April 2019

Crunchwrap Supreme











We experienced a death in the family. Cajey, aka Barry Allen, aka the Flash, Phillip's beloved hamster entered hamster heaven on Sunday the 31st of March. The water bead in the water bottle was quite stuck so the poor animal had no water for days on end. Just the night before he was performing back flips off the side of his cage. Now I think he was hallucinating and out of his little mind crazy. I felt so bad! Phillip was completely devastated. He did not sleep for a week, anxious out of his mind, couldn't stop thinking about Cajey.  He spent many sleepless nights on the floor in my room vying for space with Evelyn. Last week our bedroom felt like a hotel with kids sprawled all over the floor. Phillip and Evelyn carefully packed the hamster inside a toilet paper roll stuffed with soft toilet paper. After school Phillip dug a shallow hole to bury Cajey in. The hole was not deep enough so Evelyn brought in the paper roll a few days later, caused another 2 nights with insomnia. I reburied the hamster in a better place. We thought replacing the hamster would help...

Monday was also April Fool's. We had little jokes going all over the place. Amelia replaced the toilet paper with rolls of tape, stuck silly notes inside the fridge, and served brown E's for dessert. Everett printed out a cute photo of his face and taped the papers to the toilet seats. He loved surprising us all! Phillip's heart was not into celebrating.

Tuesday right after school Amelia informed me she had a choir concert at 5 pm. It was 4 and this was the first time I heard of this event. I did not get any emails from Mrs Munley so we called and clarified the information, which was correctly reported to me by Amelia. I rushed to get Phillip to Scouts, Everett was able to stay as well with the bears much to his delight. The little girls and I went to a furniture store downtown for the school district art show. Josie pretended to be a cute bunny hopping about with a bunny ear headband on. Amelia sang gorgeously! She sang American tears (again) and several new songs with her mates. I picked up the boys and Justin on our way to grab a quick dinner at Taco Bell. The boys wanted their very own crunchwrap for dinner, it was taco Tuesday and the dinner I had planned was put off due to the impromptu concert. After dinner we went to PetSmart to check out hamsters. Phillip found a larger white male hamster as his new friend. He was friendly at the store! We tried out a dozen names but I threw out crunchwrap, that was a hit! Justin wants the name to be spelled, krunch rapp! LOL. The kids and Justin got the new hamster settled in his new digs. His new wheel is so squeaky I kept waking up unused to the new sounds.

I got a new to me serger! Finally got it set up and ripped through a dress like butter! I am so pleased with me new machine. I had some frustrations with it but that is next week's story. The new machine is 10 times quieter and smoother than the one I inherited. I sewed up a pink dress for Josie using fabric she chose! Of course the dress is pepto pink with Princesses! I cannot wait to try sewing up some of those popular knit dresses. I sure have enough fabric to learn on. Most of my week was spent editing the plethora of photos I snapped on Saturday.

I invested a couple dollars in meal planning system through Etsy. The packets come with master grocery lists, weekly lists, month of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), AND the recipes. I'm hoping to save money by eliminating the excess and eating some different meals. So far the meals are delicious. I've switched around a couple days so the Monday and Thursday meals are either easy or crock/instapot easy. We really need to invest in a used freezer and fridge for the garage. I would be able to shop sales and buy more in bulk. Sunday we dined on oven roasted chicken with scalloped sweet potatoes. Yum!

Friday night we took the kids (minus Josie) to see The Music Man performed at Gilbert High. Our neighbor Jacob was in the production as Winthrop Paroo and his sister was one of the Pickalittle ladies. Jacob worked hard for 3 months going right after school to practice. We were all excited to watch them perform. The songs brought back memories of my mother singing those songs around the house. My favorite was the Wellsfargo wagon! It was quite a lovely evening. Evelyn enjoyed the first 20 minutes then was ready to leave, by the end she was almost asleep.

Conference weekend was so lovely. All the talks were focused on the Savior, simplifying our lives to easily turn towards Him. After three months of Come Follow Me, the talks all seemed to support what we've learned so far this year. Elder Holland! He's my favorite. Sell the ox and fill in the mire! LOL. Read his talk. We heard many references of the time being short, this chapter is soon closing, gotta step up our game and work hard as missionaries and at our temple work. The Chandler Calls came over for conference crepes Sunday morning. Laura brought cookie butter, quite possibly my new favorite way to eat crepes. The boys got bored, so decided to hoe deep holes into the back lawn and fill the holes with water. They threw mud and grass on the walls as a finale. Guess that's one way to aerate the lawn. Phillip wrapped up Crunchwrap in his ball in some paper to look like a giant candy. He was pleased with his creation.

05 April 2019

Just a Week







Mia has new glasses! She looks adorbs in her new frames. I "might" have upgraded her glasses because her old ones were too dark for her upcoming 12 year old photos. Geeze, that sounds vain. BUT when you have a vision...lol. I made the mistake of taking all the kids with me to Walmart. A load of kids whining about snacks, drinks, visiting the toy section....Argh. Drives me batty. Evelyn told me she hated me on the drive back home. Good girl! That's my job, you can't always visit the toy section and get a free (to you) toy. I had to smile when the littles found matching walmart doll carts. That offset the cranky me just a smidge. FHE was put on the back burner. Justin held down the fort while Mia and I went to a presentation by a non-profit group "porn kills love." Lots of valuable information went down like how to avoid porn, places where kids are introduced, sexting, and sexplotation. Crazy world out there. I feel naive even as a 40+ woman.

Spring is upon us! Half of us are suffering from allergies, the pollen count is hovering in the 90s lately. My head constantly aches from all the reactions my body is trying to tame. Our allergy sufferers are Justin, Mia, Evelyn, Everett, and I. Our area always seems green but WOW! the greens this week are electric with new growth, budding flowers, and freshness. I wish this season could stay, I don't enjoy the extreme heat.

Wednesday the kids dressed up as their favorite book characters! Mia as Heromine, Phillip as Chewbacca, Everett as Geronimo Stilton, and Evelyn as Shine. Josie spent the day dressed as a ballet, she quite enjoyed tapping around in her tap shoes. Her class switches between ballet and tap every other week. I had quite a few photo sessions including a cake smash, newborn cowboy, maternity, and a senior session! Phew! Josie helped me out during the studio sessions.

I was changing Josie's dirty diaper one evening. I exclaimed, "Dang! Josie is a Stinkerella!" She immediately replied without hesitation...."No, I a Stinkerelsa!" It was more the immediacy of her response that tickled my funny bone.

Mia had a long class at the library from 9:30-1:30 to earn her babysitting certification. The kids are taught basic lifesaving methods, how to protect themselves and the kids, and what questions need to be asked before babysitting. We have a certified babysitter now!!! Yahoo. We went straight from the class to pick up cookie dough for the YW camp fund raiser. I had no idea the girls and leaders made all the dough from scratch. Yum. Amelia earned enough to cover all her costs! Justin worked hard to empty the rest of the gross water from the pool. The mosquitoes are back and plaguing the kids. It took a sump pump and the water vac to finish the job. The little girls played trick or treat/santa for a good hour. Sitting near the laundry room knocking on the door and swapping toys and fake food! Josie got a crown at Burger King, dressed up then persuaded Justin to be her prince! He obliged and danced a few turns with her. I mopped the floor like 5 times just to make sure Gabi has a clean place to crawl about.

24 March 2019

Ballet Baby











Spring break continued this week through Monday. Bahama Bucks ran a special that was hard to pass up...so we went. The kids chose their flavors and quite enjoyed their treat. I had to talk Phillip out of ordering pickle juice and root beer. Blech. I had piano lessons in the afternoon like usual. We had cousins over plus Ronald and Chloe. It was quite the full house. The boys made a base out in the yard with chairs, snacks, drinks, and weapons. They played hard. I made a menu (finally) listing dinner for the week. The kids seem to love it, like a lot! Such a simple thing.


Josie started ballet lessons at our local community center. She was thrilled to don a tutu, leotard, and slippers. Her class studies ballet and tap. I think she is by far the youngest one in her class. Josie was not thrilled I left but she stemmed her tears and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She talks non-stop now about her ballet! The boys started karate classes on Friday, we were late so no photos this week. Josie was upset the boys had class in the same room she had ballet, could not understand why she could not stay to dance. Both boys were thrilled to learn the first 4 positions of self-defense. They got a kick that one position is Roku, the same name as our TV box. After ballet we headed to the park for a couple hours. Josie had a monopoly on the swing. I showed her how to do airplane on her belly. She only left the swings for a couple forays to the climbing area and slide while another kid took a turn on the swing. Gabi amused herself tasting all the wood chips she snuck by my notice.

Gabi is on the move! She is crawling and pulling herself up to stand. I had her nap on Evelyn's bed, put her towards the wall, she rolled the entire length still staying swaddled up! I had visions of her rolling off so I watched her sleep for an hour. Guess we now need a pack and play or use the floor. We love her funny patch of long hair, she looks like a cute troll.

Wednesday was quite a warm day so I filled the wading pool for the kids to enjoy after school. It's not warm enough to fill the big pool yet, I imagine within a month it will be! I enjoyed sewing two pinafore dresses for the little girl's Easter dresses. My serger is not functioning correctly, I've had it serviced twice since we moved here. I about chucked it out the window. I don't sew enough to earn a new one...but gah! It's annoying to have one that does not work properly. Laura Webster came over for help sewing up summer rompers for her daughter. We also headed to Walmart vision center for new glasses for Mia. Her lenses are scratched beyond repair after a year of use. Our insurance only covers new frames every two years, how?! So annoying. Phillip just broke his glasses just a bit ago. Those lasted a good 6 months. The kids looked quite silly trying on all the glasses.

Saturday Mia hosted American Girl book club. The girls read a Samantha book this month. They enjoyed making tissue paper flowers and going on a scavenger hunt. Only two other girls were able to come this month. Boo. Still we got the house cleaned up. Justin took the rest of the kids out to the park to play and ride bikes for an hour. I took Amelia and Evelyn to the crazy SAS Fabric store. I wanted to find a coordinating fabric to make an Easter dress for Mia. Somehow I pulled a magical length of knit from a towering pile of knits, it matched perfectly! Now I cannot wait to sew up all the knit twirl dresses I can. Since we were out the girls also got much needed hair trims. Much better. Towards bedtime I finally got word about a twin bed I inquired on to purchase used. Amelia went with me to pick up the bed. We have plans to switch Josie and Amelia in preparation for next school year.

I had an interesting doctor appointment with Wendy Nielsen from our ward. I want to switch clinics from the one I use now to something cheaper. Wendy specializes in natural hormone therapy and other treatments. She listened carefully to what I had to say! Seems like she will be able to help me out at a fraction of the cost. Phew. She even suggested I get my heart tested out since my history of fainting could be quite detrimental to my heart. Josie had to bring her pink pool floatie along to the appointment. She pretended to be a baby bird for the hour long visit.

Spring Break, Lances Visit, St Patrick's Day
























We had such an amazing Spring Break with cousins visiting from Utah. The Lances drove in late Saturday night after a full day of driving and touring Montezuma's Well. James came down to help with the long drive. I hear snow made the drive down quite white-knuckled. We are happy they arrived safe and sound. The kids waited outside for hours until they finally arrived. Justin took the entire week off to enjoy at home vacation.

James flew back to Utah Sunday afternoon, they wanted to check out Tonto ruins as a family before he left, we only saw James for an hour on Saturday! The weather was cold and rainy for the first part of the week. Nebraska endured a terrible blizzard with 6 foot drifts and white out conditions. The weather pattern looked like a hurricane over land with the eye centered in Denver, Sidney got hit HARD. We got the tails of that bad storm down in Arizona! Not exactly the best way to celebrate Spring Break. Having cousins here made it all better. The kids enjoyed a day watching TV, playing games, and snacking. I taught 3 piano lessons toward the end of that afternoon.

Evelyn lost her first tooth, meaning she lost her first tooth naturally. She started screaming upstairs because she found blood on her tooth brush. I tackled her to the floor and quite literally did nothing to get that little tooth out. It fell out onto the tissue! She was quite surprised it did not hurt at all! The tooth fairy was quite confused and put her tooth money under Miekka's pillow and not hers! Silly fairy, Miekka was sleeping in Evelyn's bed! Evelyn quite literally moved into my bedroom. Saturday she moved in blankets, stuffies, books, three changes of clothes, and even a store of snacks in case she felt peckish during the night.

Our week of devotionals and Come Follow Me lesson was centered on the 12 Apostles. Tuesday for devotional we talked about people in our lives who made hard choices to join the gospel (how sometimes the gospel can be a sword and not peaceful). Miekka told stories about her Grandpa and Mom coming over from Holland. Everett asked if they came over on the Mayflower! Ha ha ha ha! We told stories about Grandma and Grandpa Baerwaldt and Anson Call as well.

Tuesday the girls enjoyed some time at the mall checking out Claire's, Disney Store, and Build a Bear. It was still drizzling but that did not stop the fun. Josie was quite taken with the princess crowns and fairy wands! I was anticipating a major tantrum but the older girls took so long choosing what they wanted to waste their money on she grew tired of the objects. Miekka and I threw away more money on cookies at Crumbl, a new cookie joint started in Utah. Huge, massive cookies in so many flavors. My favorite was the biscotti cookie. Fun times. Amelia and Lia babysat the younger kids while the older peoples went to watch Captain Marvel.

Wednesday the weather was partly cloudy, windy (yes, not breezy), and cool. It was nice enough that we made the kids go hiking to Lost Dutchman. The amount of whining was impressive but the parental figures were not deterred. Josie perched on my back for the hike up and on Justin's for the hike down. I could not believe the green landscape and blooming foliage as compared to when we hiked there in December, paired with the pretty clouds and blue sky...goodness, gorgeous vistas. Amelia took charge of my camera for a while. We made it halfway up the hill before we turned back. Josie took a short snooze on the hike back. Evelyn stayed with her best friend Miekka. She even conned Miekka into holding her purple purse! Not really, Miekka was being the nice aunt and asked to carry it. On the way back I had Justin stop at a rock store, I had a sudden hankering to crack open some geodes! I love spur of the moment excitement! Makes me feel giddy. Phillip and Everett accompanied me down to the store, we each picked a geode from a large bin. We paid by weight for the rocks. My geode has a pretty pink strip across the surface. We introduced the Lances to Gyros, they chickened out and ordered burgers or sandwiches. The rest of us enjoyed our gyros. At home we took turns cracking open the geodes. Phillip's had the most crystals and color variation. Everett's was quite dark and really set off the crystals, he had a streak of pink in his as well. My geode was the hardest to crack...probably because it was completely solid. After researching, turns out the pink strips indicate a solid (younger) geode! Miekka decided to extend their visit a couple days...had to experience some of our amazing weather.

Thursday we opted to tour Tuzigoot. The drive up was slow due to an accident. We relished the long moments to admire all the wild flowers sprouting up along the freeway medians. Amelia got quite carsick in the Lances van. The kids (except Mia) completed their Junior Ranger programs. Josie and Evelyn lucked out with a simple 6 item checklist! Tuzigoot is a site showcasing a 110 room pueblo perched on the spine of a ridge. A small museum contains many artifacts discovered while excavating the pueblo. We got to hear a tour guide tell his stories as we walked about the Pueblo. We had pizza dinner at Costco. It was Pi day after all! Not to outdo the pizza we got a couple pies for dessert! No better way to celebrate Pi day than with pizza pie and dessert pie.

Friday we headed to Riverside park for a morning of fun in the sun. The crazy Calls just had to enjoy the splash pad. It was not terrible warm especially with that nice breeze. Still undeterred the kids all got quite soaked...and loved every moment. Evelyn rode her balance bike through the spray! Josie was by far the silliest, she reminded me of a little robin hopping about in the rain. She was content to dry off after her lips turned blue. Seth and Jacob followed her about the park. The last time we visited that park half of it was under construction, thankfully the park was completely open! I really wanted to introduce the Lances to Sonoran hotdogs at our favorite Mexican haunt. They weren't terribly impressed with the cheap hot dogs. Bummer. Miekka and I fit in a fun afternoon thrifting at several stores close by. I totally lucked out at Goodwill with summer dresses, blankets, and books. Dinner was a fun affair outside around the fire pit. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and enjoyed S'mores for dessert. YUM! Vader was quite excited with all the food we had down at his level. After clean up we enjoyed several games at the dinner table, Sushi Go!, Slamwich, and Yahtzee. Things got a bit rowdy during Slamwich. That game is fast and loud.

As a last hoorah we had a picnic lunch at Riparian with cousins. Talk about a gorgeous day! Perfect weather. Bee Bop (aka Jacob) and Sesie (Seth) are by far Josie's favorite people, at least this week. She had those boys following her every whim...either that or the boys were bored. Miekka and Lia made matching t-shirts for Amelia and Lia. The girls looked darling together! The rest of our Saturday was quite boring, missing family and wanting more. 

Sunday was St Patrick's Day. The boys woke up at 7 am to rush about all the rooms exclaiming over what items they thought the Leprechauns had moved during the night. "Everett! I think the Leprechauns put my shoes in the strangest place! (laughter)" Soon all the younger kids were laughing about silly things the Leprechauns may or may not have arranged. Any day to wear green is my favorite day! Josie's hair is finally long enough for a ballet bun. I put dangling earrings in her ears just for kicks and giggles. She made us all smile with her cute preening as she admired her bun and ears. After church we came home to find the leprechauns had visited for real! The little stinkers turned our milk green, left green footprints and green color on the potty, tied up their animals, and perched kermit on the ceiling fan! For dinner we had corned beef, roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, and a half-baked soda bread. My oven turns baking into guess work, I can never bake anything correctly...either over or under done in a matter of minutes. We enjoyed the bread crust! Ha ha ha. Grandpa and Grandma Call sent a box of European candy and chocolate they scored while visiting Germany and France with Melissa. We LOVED the gummy pigs, those were amazing. Justin manned the spinner during a rousing game of "The Floor is Lava" after dinner. We have quite a few fun games in our closet right now. The cousins hated Life so that game was not played. Right around bedtime I got a message from a former mission companion. She was visiting Gilbert to see her mother. Within 10 minutes she was at my house with another one of my companions! I was thrilled to visit with Amy (who lives 10 minutes away) and Tiffany! We had so many stories to swap in the hour we had available. My heart was overfilled with joy! I love those two gals more than cake. Amelia missed their visit, she was overtired after a week of cousins and sleeping on the couch so went to bed early.