01 December 2019

Thanksgiving 2019











The kids were all on board to fill up our Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree this year! Everett was by far the best contributor! He added new ideas every few minutes and reminded us all to add our items to each leaf on the tree. I love how the Come Follow Me lessons also coincide with the holidays! Whoever wrote the manuals took so much thought and effort to align everything. We have so much to be grateful for!

Tuesday night we had a very sad family council. Justin was offered a job to work for Pennant Group based in Boise, ID. Justin and I spent many, many moments in prayer before and after making a decision together. We hashed out pros and cons:

Gilbert: pros: stay near family and cousins, good schools, love our ward family, love the area
             cons: the heat is not our favorite, terrible commute, current job is not satisfactory, concerned               about survival in case of disaster
Boise: pros: Justin likes the team there, new area of expertise, will be near new family, closer to                     SLC, 4 seasons, better compensation and pay, less of a commute
           cons: moving after only 2 years (Justin does not move well, the anxiety is high), starting over,             coordinating house sale and purchase, hiring moving company 

Justin received a powerful answer in the temple on Saturday, a burning in his bosom, that this move is where the Lord needs us to go. I get frustrated with the lack of answers I seem to get. I wish answers were more forthright, however, I am glad that Justin gets the answers for us both. Tuesday we told the kids of our decision to pick up and move. Right before this Amelia and Phillip were fighting. I lost my temper, told those two pickle-heads I would make them share a room if they don't stop the bickering. With tempers already high we just plowed right on! Amelia, Phillip, and Everett burst into immediate tears. We carefully explained the decision process and how the Lord is blessing us. Justin was inspired several times to take the Personal Finance Class with me, he had the impression that a new job would not be offered until after we took the class. We finished our last class on Sunday the 17th, had the job offer on the 19th! Talk about miracles. Justin was so inspired to give us all Father's blessings. That was a sweet, tearful experience for us all. So many words of wisdom given from our HF to each one of us. I equate that spiritual family experience to a sort of Pentecostal rush of the spirit. I hope our kids remember that for the rest of their lives. We all felt much better after being blessed. Everett said he felt in his heart that moving was the right choice, even though he will miss all his friends. 

The kids were especially grateful for only two days of school! Yee HAW! Our piano recital is coming up so I moved around lessons to accommodate the holidays. I love to hear all the practicing after school each day. I got all the recipes chosen, lists made, and grocery shopping done for Thanksgiving on Tuesday. Wednesday we had Chloe and Ronald over for the day as well since Amanda had to work. I taught lessons then made 2 batches of pie dough so it could chill for hours. We went to McD's for lunch since the day was cold and rainy, the kids needed to play. I indulged in a very rare Diet Coke from McD's! The caffeine kick kept me up past 1 am! I quite love not being dependent on a drink for my energy source. Justin actually got home at a decent time so was able to go see Frozen 2 with us all. We had seats all over the theater but it worked out in the end. Josie was so funny during the movie, she belly laughed at all the funny parts and yelled, that she LOVED Elsa! Josie mostly enjoyed playing with the reclining seat. I think she inclined and reclined the seat 159 times during the movie. She was starving so asked me every few minutes for a drink, course she had to go potty twice. I thought the movie was darling. The music was fun and the story line a perfect segue from the first. After the kids were in bed I made a pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cream pecan pie. Making pies is a dance in coordination! Two pies needed half baked shells, both at different temperatures, the apple needed two temperature changes and a half-turn mid-baking. The masterpieces were done at 1 am!

Thanksgiving! Josie woke up excited to eat turkey meat! Both girls looked adorable in their cute matching dresses. The boys came down wearing gym shorts and ratty t-shirts, they were not happy I asked them to wear nicer clothes. We all looked so snappy in our Thanksgiving outfits. Course, had to take a few photos of the occasion. Justin took up the role of potato master. He enlisted the kids to help him peel a 10 lb bag of potatoes, he even cut up the potatoes and started the crock pot. I prepped green beans, whipped cream, and cranberry salad. We went over to the Calls around 11 am to share our traditional "Horse-duvers" lunch. Nothing quite as tasty as salty appetizers to get the juices running. The boys had an epic laser tag battle that lasted most of the day. Anna is such a great game keeper! She had those boys involved in game after game. My boys were quite taken with the bow and arrow set (it was REAL!) and target. Anson and Phillip attacked a pile of scrap wood, made a sand scraper to use at the park. I hear they dug several holes just for the fun of it all. Josie and Evelyn amused themselves with all the fun boy toys upstairs. Towards dinner I wrapped green beans with bacon and drenched the bean packets with a lovely rosemary brown sugar topping. Laura's two sisters and family came over plus a family from the Calls ward. We had quite the merry gathering! Never a quiet moment. Josie even pooped her pants and messed up her cute dress. Thank goodness I had a back up in the van. The spread of pies was something to behold! It was magnificent. I was quite glad my apple and pumpkin pies came home almost unscathed...more leftovers.

Friday and Saturday we got out the Christmas Decor. The kids were keen on decorating their tree, they had it assembled with a little help and completely decorated before lunch. I packed up all the living room decor and frames into boxes for our move, that process took me a bit longer than usual. I love the nostalgia of the familiar decorations. I adore my nativity sets so much. Justin worked on patching up our shower and fixing drywall damages in several places about the house. I put up my tree on Saturday morning. Anson got to spend the night with us Friday-Saturday! The boys were in heaven. We got a bum offer from OpenDoor for barely enough to pay off our mortgage. Using them to sell our house would be nice because then we don't have the hassle of dealing with buyer's demands and would get a specific move out date. The $18k price tag was hard to swallow. We will confer with an agent in our ward about the offer, maybe sell it the traditional way. One stress we've not had before is Pennant's HR is not organizing the move, we are getting $10k in the form of a taxable bonus, so really we have $8,500 to move from here to Idaho. That is tricky! I've been on the phone with many companies, trying to find one who will not swindle us last moment. Deciding between self-pack or hiring a crew. Listing our house is another stress. I need to get rid of clutter again so showing the house is not a huge stressor. Moving is not for the faint of heart.

We are so excited to start #lighttheworld today! Our devotional tonight focused on the new initiative. We read several scriptures about being a light to the world, watched the new nativity video, and checked out the service calendar. So fun. 

Lots of Rain! Gilbert Parade


















Rain means a big party in this house! We enjoyed three days with rain, some folks bundle up under a blanket inside, other folks drag out bikes, umbrellas, and bare feet to enjoy the rain. We belong to the last class of folks. So much fun. Josie forgot all about windshield wipers, she laughed for 10 whole minutes each time my wipers cleaned off the window. I about died laughing over her reaction. Phillip had the big broom out to sweep a large swath through the water from driveway to driveway. All the kids went through many changes of clothes, I don't mind the extra laundry if the reason is rain. Several places flooded due to the rain, one area was a large puddle close to our house but on the outside "oval." I got a worried Phillip race into our house telling me Everett was stuck in his bike chain. Somehow Everett's pant leg jammed into the bike chain, he simply fell over mid cycle right into the pond/puddle. Brigdon Godard came in for the rescue, apparently the choice was save the pants or cut them off, the pants were saved! Hallelujah. We may have invited the rain by washing off the driveway via hose to clear the way for more chalk art. Josie had the best time spraying the kids...erm, driveway.

Everett finally earned some cubscout awards! He came home with a handful of awards and a huge smile. Phillip also earned quite a few awards, our pack is desperately trying to get the boys through as much of the program as possible. Amelia (and Chloe) attended the last Young Women in Excellence program, a historic last for the girls. Several girls earned the last medallions before the program ends in December. I still have all my medallions earned so many years ago.

On Thursday evening Evelyn had a special hour with Mom and Dad to herself at school. The 1st year kids had a "Show Me" night at school. Parents attend with their child (no siblings), the student gets to show off their work. Evelyn was rather excited and reticent at the same time. She finally showed us how she learns spelling, reading, and math. All of her learning is done with manipulatives and quite ingenious! She was insistent we stay the entire hour just to follow her around and see what she does each day. That was a fun evening for the three of us.

Saturday we got up bright and early to grab a parking spot for the van and ourselves to see the Gilbert Days parade. We ended up parking a good mile away, Evelyn and Josie made the trek in good spirits on the way there, the way back they both almost expired from effort. We went so slow Justin had to come back to rescue us. We found a spot with the Payne family and friends. They were kind enough to squish together for the 7 extra bodies in our party. I smooched myself down in front so Josie could have a view on my lap. My legs fell asleep something major after two hours of sitting cross-legged. Phillip and Everett collected Frisbees, about 7 each?! Lots of candy, fliers, sunglasses, flowers, and joy came with each float! I always love a good marching band, all the feels deep in your chest, boom! boom! trill! One float had millions of tiny bubbles floating about, all the kids loved that one. Almost the last float was a contingency of Disney Princesses! Josie got to give Elsa a handshake! Swoon. Justin and I went to a temple endowment session around 4 pm. We had something quite major to pray about and seek answers for. Amelia held down the fort while we were gone for several hours.

Sunday we drove up to Payson early the morning. We went to church with the McEntire family. Everett lovingly sat right by Amber with his head snuggled on her arm. Evelyn was also quite taken with Aunt Amber. She was in heaven with all the little kid attention. We enjoyed a lovely pre-Thanksgiving dinner after church. I brought up a chocolate parfait dessert and Mac n'Cheese. Amber insisted on making the rest of the meal. We helped peel potatoes and snap beans. Everett, Evelyn, and Josie loved the playhouse outside! Dinner was a yummy affair. Afterward we went on a short hike about their wooded neighborhood. Amber was kind enough to give Evelyn a piggyback ride most of the way. We found a small pond on the way around our hike. Of course the boys threw every stick within a 10 foot radius into the pond water. We left Amelia pondering by the side of the pond without meaning too. I thought she left early with her cousin to head back, instead we got a phone call a while later asking where everyone went to! She realized it was too quiet for us to all be around. Amber and Mike went back to get her.

**while dropping of Josie to Nursery last week she bounced into the room, declared, "I had a birthday!" She was quite excited about Justin's birthday and got confused. She told her teacher she was 4 while holding up 2 fingers. Her teacher said you only have two fingers up! Josie replied, "well, I can't do dhose fingers, it too hard!"

17 November 2019

Justin's Birthday version 44







 
Justin had to work on Veteran's Day this year. He said most other folks at his office were gone so he was able to bust through lots of work he needed to catch up on. The rest of us enjoyed a quiet morning. We went to Uptown Jungle for a couple hours to play using our Pogo Passes. This time we went to the Chandler location instead of the Mesa one. It was a little bit smaller but still quite engaging. Josie was terrified of the upper "hamster" runs most kids seem to enjoy. Instead I followed her around the ball pit and the toddlers area. We made a special visit to McDonald's for lunch after our play session. We've nearly cut out all fast food visits, down to 1-2 eat outs per month (excluding trips). I had another desert photo session out past Lost Dutchman. It's funny the tiny parking lot is empty at 3:30, come 3:45 it's like a migration of photographers and families swarm the area. I photographed a family we knew in Sidney, NE! They have three gorgeous daughters, two stunning redheaded girls! Swoon! Amelia is raking in the babysitting money while I am gone working! She loves the extra bit of money, I love saving money by hiring her. Evelyn got to play with Taylor for the afternoon. We had salad for dinner. Josie has pretty much removed herself from dinner and is content waiting for hours until bedtime treats or such. She hates all fruits and vegetables, seriously, has not eaten any fresh produce for over a year. She did slurp down baked potato soup but dug in her heels when I asked her to take a bite of lettuce. I told her no more food until she eats one little bite. Well, she is as stubborn as they come. Little twerp did not eat a morsel of food until after noon the next day. I took her plate of lettuce hoping the toy aisle or a treat would be an incentive. She refused, decided toys were dumb and treats were for tomorrow. She finally nibbled a centimeter scrap of lettuce wrapped up in a large piece of deli turkey. I was oddly proud of her strong will to stick to her guns and frustrated about her disgust of foods. After her nap she proudly told the kids she ate her "leluce." I think we both lost the battle of the lettuce. Again on Saturday she went without food after dinner because she would not even lick/taste her lasagna. In desperation I even washed off the sauce so it was just a plain noodle, NOPE! She would not be persuaded. Went to bed hungry again! I decided it was not worth the fight to continue into the next day, she happily ate a large bowl of oatmeal (with chicken sugar).

Tuesday after school I photographed Amanda, Chloe, and Ronald. Amelia stayed home with work on Science Fair with Zoey. Phillip watched the younger girls at the Riparian play area while I took photos. Phillip accidentally bonked Josie's head while giving her a Piggy-back ride, other than that little incident the kids had a great time running about. Phillip is really such a sweet, loving big brother. He tries so hard to be kind and attentive, his wildness often overwhelms his sisters, I wish the girls could see past that and admire his big heart. Josie lately has taken an affinity to Everett, she calls him the best brother. Everett dotes on her in return. Those two have an ongoing kitty (Josie) and master (Everett) game going on.

Mornings this week were quite difficult for Evelyn. She woke up Monday-Wednesday bawling for Daddy; complete water-works even all the way to school. Justin took her on a special gas station trip on Tuesday. Wednesday he took a moment to draw her a picture, just like all the pictures she draws him! She proudly put her prize up on the fridge! She was delighted! Thursday and Friday mornings went just fine. She loves her Daddy!

Everett is participating in a running club during lunch recess. He reported to me that he is in his best shape ever! Well then! Keep up the good job. The boys loved scouts this week. Everett went on a hike around the Riparian with his troop. Phillip had a treasure hunt in the church, they had to use a compass to find their clues. Ronald seemed to quite enjoy himself, all the boys had flushed cheeks and ran over 2 miles in and around the church building. Thursday the boys opened the bike garage door when a loud snap shattered three of the window panes. Somehow the garage door support ripped off and buckled the top of the door. After a couple of opinions looks like we need to replace that door, it cannot be fixed. Took a bit of time to sweep and vacuum up the glass, makes me nervous with so many bare feet running about. The girls expressed a desire for sidewalk chalk. We ran to the Dollar Store for chalk! Soon the driveway was covered with rainbows and Josie's line drawings.

Justin celebrated his 44th birthday this year! Hooray! We were totally lame and did not do much this year. It seemed excessive to celebrate by spending money when we're trying to eliminate some credit card debt. Josie and I drove up to have lunch with Justin at Jimmy John's. Josie devoured her entire plain sandwich. Josie got to spend a bit of time in Daddy's office without the bustle of her older siblings, she loved the attention. We (blush) went out again for dinner at Moreno's for his birthday dinner. We both adore their shrimp cocktail and shrimp ceviche tostada. The kids were over the moon to eat out at a restaurant again. I think the kids ate several plates full of cucumbers and avocado salsa. I made Diana's marshmallow brownies from scratch for his special treat. I hope Justin felt the love from all of us that day! He turned the ever so lofty 44 years of age.

Saturday was a busy, busy day. Amelia was up past 10:30 working on homework since she missed school on Wednesday and Thursday with a sore throat and cough. She worked consistently for 6 hours to catch up. Poor Zoey left our house in frustrated tears and tantrums because the printer would not coordinate with her laptop and print out their Science Fair forms. Pretty tense moments. Amelia earned her downtime for sure on Saturday. I had an early morning session with Sarah Burton's family. I was the button pusher and attention grabber for a very energetic extended family photo session. She is paying me in cookies! Best money ever. Amelia had her much anticipated piano recital at 11 am. We dropped off Phillip and Everett to the Chandler Call's home for Anson's birthday party. The boys got to have an epic 3 hour long Nerf gun war. The rest of us listened to an amazing piano recital. Amelia performed her pieces so well. I got chills as the last note hung in the air from O Come Emmanuel. Mrs Nurenberg recently upped the cost of piano lessons and is only taking serious students now. We could tell a definite difference between the April and November recitals. These kids performed beautifully. I had a few moments of "what kind of piano teacher am I?" I am the kind with no formal training but who can teach out of a book sort of teacher, the kind best for Primer-level 2. I am ok with that! I had another two photo sessions starting at 2:30 with an Indian couple expecting their first baby. Goodness sakes, that mother to be was absolutely stunning! Second family made me a bit nervous, 4 boys under the age of 5 would make most photographers a bit nervous. I take my cap off for those two amazing parents. Their boys were complete angels. Finished their session in less than 30 minutes, even got home before it was dark.

Today was our last Personal Finance meeting, 12 weeks of growing with a group of people we came to dearly love and appreciate. If you have the chance to take this class, DO IT! You learn so much more than personal finances, you learn how to be Spiritually and Temporally Self-Reliant. We zipped through the last chapter quickly in order to watch the Face-to-face with Elder Gong. Busy Day! Church, choir, class, broadcast, then dinner with our group. I had a roast cooking for dinner in the crock pot and made cookie dough the night before. I called these cookies Harry Potter cookies because my kids would not eat oatmeal-butterscotch cookies. The broadcast was quite amazing. It was interactive with technology, scripted, interspersed with video, music, and word. Our kids were completely bored, almost lost them to boredom several times. I was quite inspired with the new program. The church is continuing the effort to start the gospel with the individual as the focus and the church as support. Love it! The YM even have a theme to memorize and recite now. A program for kids, run and directed by kids is novel and exciting. I can't wait to start! Dinner was quite fun. We really lucked out with our group, the Browns hosted the dinner. We sure love the Lamberts and Cheryl (facilitator) and Shannan.

**in my next career I might become a plumber. Justin thinks my business should be called "Say no to Crack." Make a group of woman plumbers! I *might* just make that happen. I deal with enough poop to be quite immune to most gross smells and situations.

16 November 2019

Compassion Experience







Well, I am most certainly in the midst of busy season. Gracious, I can't seem to get a good night's sleep per all the extra work I've got for Fall Family Photos. The day starts at 6:15 and ends after midnight for me lately. Thank goodness for extra work though, it means Christmas money! I can do this.  Josie was bored one morning so we went to the Riparian and played on the large cement snake there. Tuesday night I prayed to be of service to someone and got a text at 6 am asking for emergency childcare! That was cool, I prayed someone called! That's the way to be of service. Monday I went on a long bike ride for 10 miles, not too far but far enough for me. Josie seemed to enjoy her time in the bike carriage, she had lots of snacks and books to keep her occupied. My bum was not so certain of the ride next day, it was a little sore. Phillip did pass his nasty cough on to a couple other family members. I caught his bug and lost my voice for a good 6 days, had a nasty cough, and many nights with doses of Nyquil. Felt like a rough week for me!

Funny story about Everett. He gets up most mornings with some new ache or pain. Thursday he woke up complaining that his finger, thumb, and arm were all really sore. As he said this he started snapping his fingers. Turns out he wanted to learn how to snap so was practicing his new skills for hours on end. He can now manage a soft snap...and earned those sore muscles! Took him 5 days to get a decent snap! 

The boys are loving their last few weeks of cubscouts. Everett is so gung-ho about most things. He completely enjoys the challenges of scouting. He got to "swim against the current" for his most recent belt loop activity. Phillip finally convinced Ronald to try out scouts with him, Ronald is now totally sold. He gets to see all his school friends and have really fun time. The boys played "sockey" in the gym for a really fun activity. I was also at the church that same evening teaching the Activity Day Girls some watercoloring skills. Earlier that day I purchased a bottle of Frisket Mask Liquid, it's like a liquid glue mask you can paint on plain paper then watercolor over, remove the mask after the colors dry a bit, leaving nice white spaces. The girls painted their names with the Frisket then water colored the paper with a gradient of colors. Turned out really fun and super cool. I ditched the menu that night for an easy meal of cereal! We did not get home until after 6:30, just in time to take Mia back for YW Activity.

Thursday a crew of guys came and removed all the furniture from the boys bedroom in preparation for new carpet. Since the room was empty I took advantage of the space to paint their room. Went to Home Depot at 6:30 pm for paint and supplies. I got the walls where their bed goes cut in and painted. I finished the rest of the room after the new carpet and pad went in. I color matched a swatch of Everett's minion pillow case, so their room color is "Minion Blue!" Phillip requested that I paint a mural of fluffy clouds, blackbirds flying, and a clothesline with Minion clothes flapping in the breeze. I'll get right on that! Their room is FINALLY done, 4 months after the air conditioner fiasco. We are so pleased with the carpet match, the new carpet is a slight shade lighter but you can barely tell especially at night. All those paint fumes gave me a couple nasty headaches. The kids tried to help my paint, that was interesting. They all got one chance with the paint roller, thankfully Justin chased them downstairs to let me work quickly in peace. 

The Frozen car broke. The left wheel motor somehow came detached, to reattach it would require some specialized tools or a lot of time. The kids love that car so much! It really gets a lot of use, hummm, do I get another one or take back the garage space?

Saturday morning I willingly went to a lady who stabbed my eyebrows back into place. My last session of eyebrow shading and microblading did not last more than 3 months. I guess all that sweating when the air conditioner broke destroyed my eyebrows. Because I was sick and having my womanly time the numbing agent did not work. Did you know your eyebrows are quite sensitive? Gracious. The lady gave me some stress balls to squeeze while I struggled to lie still. Honey! I am paying you to stab my face. Here's to hoping these brows stay a bit longer. I might be back to drawing in my eyebrows for the rest of my life. I cannot wait for resurrected eyebrows. Ha ha ha ha.

I signed the family up for the Compassion Experience. It's a child development organization that tackles childhood poverty. A few years ago the foundation came out with these semi trucks converted into several rooms that you can tour and learn about two children's stories with poverty, Yannely and Sameson. We were all equipped with headphones and an iPod. We toured 4 rooms telling different parts of Sameson's story. The kids were all impressed he started working at age 3 herding cows. We got to experience part of his Aunt's house, the school, a kitchen, and lastly his woodworking shop. The kids all donated a dollar from their allowances at the end of the tour, if they felt like this was a good way to donate. We listened to Sameson's story in his own words narrated as we went from room to room. Seemed like a good way to introduce the kids to other living conditions even for a few moments. 

09 November 2019

Halloween



















We laid waste to 6 large pumpkins! Went to Walmart for pumpkins at 5:30 and two hours later we had a pile of pumpkin guts and scraps flying all over the kitchen table. The kids had a blast designing their creations and doing their best to cut out their designs. Mia and Chloe carved BFF pumpkins, Phillip had his usual special creation with farts and stuff, Ronald mostly got frustrated, I helped Evelyn carve a sleeping unicorn face, and Josie wanted a silly face pumpkin. Oh yes, Josie was laughing her head off when she chose her pumpkin. She found a pumpkin with a butt on one side, I tried to steer her to another pumpkin but that misshapen gourd caught her fancy. I caught her singing a bum-bum song to her pumpkin. Justin arrived home in time to assist a couple kids on the carving portion. Two days later the pumpkins were oozing and growing mold. Traditions are tradition!

Tuesday early, early morning Phillip came down with croup. He and I were going between freezer air and hot water in the sink to clear out his airways. That took an hour of hot/cold treatment, breathing treatment, and breathe oils. He slept until well after 10 am that morning, even slept through the garage door opening and closing multiple times. Little person spewed his germs everywhere, wiping his boogers, spraying cough germs all over the place, he was not selective at all. He lost the towel I gave him to cough into about 10 times. It's no wonder the rest of us caught his nasty cough.

Phillip's grade performed a Spooky selection of songs for Halloween. The kids all dressed up in  Halloween costumes. Mrs Munley had the kids do a little play acting this time, the kids were all part of a ghost-busting squad trying to catch the Purple People Eater! Josie and Everett wanted to dress up as well just for the fun of it, Josie went as Elsa! Phillip got to be the telephone operator at one point in the concert! He quite enjoyed the action. Seemed like all the kids either had a speaking or solo singing part.

Thursday was of course a busy, busy day. I was on double duty carpooling that entire week, most of the time only morning or afternoon. Amelia got her costume on for school, she could wear it if she paid $2 or donated canned food. The boys wore their costumes for Sonoma Ranch's costume parade. Josie and I rushed between dropping off kids and trying to make the parade. We got there with just a couple minutes to spare. Josie loved watching all the kids parade by wearing costumes. Our favorite costume was a girl wearing a horse contraption, looked like she was actually a full-sized horse. Josie especially enjoyed the Princess costumes and the T-Rex blowup ones. I had to run a couple errands afterwards. Phoenix had a cold spell the high for Thursday was only 70 something, I had to run out and get long-sleeved shirts for the girls. After looking at Target I headed home, on the drive home I realized my phone was missing. Instead of grabbing both my phone and wallet, I only got my wallet. I ran back to Target but could not find my phone. I filed a report at Target and left Justin's phone number. Back at home I logged into "find my iPhone" saw my phone traveling towards the inner parts of Mesa stopping here and there, mostly Mexican marts and medical offices. I went back to Target after Josie went down for her nap. A very helpful security guard tracked down the individual who picked up my phone and logged the information. The lady who took it (out of kindness) eventually called Justin's number. I was able to text her and coordinate a time to pick up the phone. At 4 pm I headed back to Target to wait for the lady who never showed up. That was a stressful hour of waiting, knowing the kids were anxious to go party and eat dinner. Justin finally texted her in Spanish and was able to coordinate times and places. He met up with her back at the same Target on his way home from work. I picked up $.50 corndogs for a quick dinner at Sonic. The kids had done their best with costumes. Amelia put on makeup for the girls! I took a couple photos then we were off to the block party. I was asked to do face painting at one booth. I was so stressed out and without my phone to help me paint designs that we ended up putting that table away. Amelia looked so awesome in her costume! She really thought out each part of her costume and either made it or enlisted my help. At one point I noticed Everett watching the movie with a pile of candy by him. I asked where his bucket was, he answered, "I lost my bucket and candy so I played that game over there to get some candy in case I never find my bucket!" What?! What kid loses a bucket of candy? I snooped around the street and finally found his bucket under a table where a matching game was played. Justin came halfway through the party with my phone in hand. Phew, that was a huge fiasco just because of my inattentiveness. Ronald wandered away from the party with a bunch of school friends his age to trick or treat around the other streets. His parents and I were quite frantic looking around for him. Brother Payne (a police officer) finally found him two streets away calmly gathering candy. Drama! We walked around our neighborhood to finish out the night. Only a few houses actually had porch lights on. Our group was the first to trick or treat our street at 8:30 pm. Most houses gave each kid handfuls of candy just to get rid of their stashes. The kids were thrilled! At home the great candy trading and sorting game ensued. The dislike pile had Snickers and Heath bars, I acquired all the Baby Ruth bars and a couple Almond Joy. The kids enjoyed their candy for a day or two then forgot about their bags.

Woke up Friday with a bunch of grouchy kids! The teachers had quite a handful of hyper and grouches for that school day.

Saturday I had a couple photo sessions. My first appointment was a set of 1 year old twins. Phew, we adults were all sweating as we attempted to get the littles to cooperate. Took some elbow grease but we got some really cute shots. I was glad these sessions were close by at the Riparian. I got a couple fragmented texts from Justin and Mia about dinner prep...after 6 pm. I came home to the oven on, some cucumbers chopped up, and frozen gyro meat. At one point Amelia texted me, "Ugh! Men!" after Justin couldn't find the meat in the freezer. I died! Laughter for days. We did not starve but did eat a lovely late dinner after 7 pm.

Sunday we had our monthly Call dinner. I had to prep big time before church this time, cheesy potatoes and a baked chicken. During our class I quietly asked Justin to text Mia to ask if she'd flipped the chicken. Well, she texted back that flipping the chicken was way too hard for her. We were all laughing, since my comments were clearly not quiet enough. She did her best! Flipping those chickens is not easy. Dinner was delicious. Laura made Cold Stone style ice cream using the kid's Halloween candy. Yum. The boys were so funny to observe, they have the best time together.