2 weeks ago
14 January 2019
School is back in session. Come Monday morning we were all in shock getting up at 6:45, seems like getting up because you have to is not the same as wanting to wake up at that time! Evelyn about lost it every night this week come 7 pm. Those early mornings are hardest on her. Everyone got back into the swing of things quickly. Gabi sure enjoyed three weeks with her mom. She refused to nap and take a bottle this entire week. Thankfully, she was not crabby just wanted to be held. Amanda says she just nurses non stop from 4 pm through the night.
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday taking down Christmas decor and switching up my wall arrangements. Justin got me windmill blades and a cute window frame for Christmas, I HAD to redecorate. I took down the kid tree during Josie's nap. She started crying when she came downstairs, "Oh No! Mom! Christmas is GONE!" It's so fun to take everything down and change things up. Our house was a disaster zone through Thursday due to all the switching of the items in totes and not keeping up with the normal clutter. The little girls decided to be princesses one evening and dance to Disney music. A while later I heard Evelyn say to Josie, "This door is NOT paper!" Sure enough, both girls were decorating the bathroom door with crayon, marker, pen, and pencil drawings. Josie was quite proud that she drew three "Ws". Her form was impeccable. The girls often present me with their freshly painted faces. Most of the time their painted faces look quite spectacular. Evelyn wants to start a YouTube channel showing off her makeup skills.
We are enjoying the new "Come Follow Me" program. I signed up with loveprayteach.com to get cute lesson plans and handouts. We have journals to use as we study the New Testament. I am finding lots of resources on Meridian Magazine and LDS Living. Seems like we will have an hour lesson on Sundays then 5-10 minutes devotionals each evening in lieu of our family Book of Mormon reading. I am now reading 5 verses before the kids go to school from the Book of Mormon. I finished reading the Book of Mormon on the 22nd of December! Hooray for me.
Dog Vader and I are going on a long walk each morning. Josie enjoys her stroller ride, most of the time. She giggles so sweetly when Vader's leash comes near enough for her to grab. Friday she stuffed all her Paw Patrol pups at the bottom of her blanket. I'd randomly catch glimpses of a pup or two having a turn out of the blanket. Vader is a stinker to take on walks. He poops as he walks right on the sidewalk. Then he often pulls the stroller right off the path just to sniff a bush. We are working on walk etiquette.
I hung Justin's new hammock swing this week. The kids love it. The newer saucer swing is already torn to shreds from the harsh weather and kid treatment. I found Everett snuggling the hose making strange sound effects. When questioned, he replied, "Mom, I using the hose to keep me from getting pulled into a worm hole...duh!" Well, then! Carry on.
Josie, Gabi, and I enjoyed a picnic lunch with several other ladies from our ward at the Riparian. A large goose, taller than Josie was pestering the picnic table area looking for handouts. That gander was up to MY chin. We shooed him away after considerable coercion. Josie loved walking on the stone snake. We love the mild winter weather, just wish it would last longer. Gabi finally took her first nap of the week in the front carrier.
Amelia is quite the social butterfly of late. It seems she always has a friend over to play or is begging to go out and play. She went to play with George and Priscilla for an hour or so. I asked her what they did, a literal move by move explanation. The kicker was when she reported that her and George had a nice chat about the serious things of life. Ha ha ha, what? Seriously, the serious things of life. I'm intrigued. Wednesday night she crept into my bedroom around 3 am worried about her lost library book. She worried for hours, knowing she had it that morning but could not find it after school. The book turned up under a seat in George's Mother's car (she got a ride to student council meeting).
Everett and Phillip got into a drawing contest. Phillip drew a rather neat dragon and gorilla. Everett took the challenge a step further. He drew a tiny version of Phillip's gorilla in the bottom corner of his paper than drew a large figure in the center. He made about 20 other drawings each with the previous drawing replicated in tiny size in the bottom corners of all his papers. The final drawing was Mega Mom who was about 20 billion sizes larger than Phillip's Gorilla. Justin got a laugh over Everett's enthusiastic drawings. Justin and Phillip started designing and cutting out a pinewood derby car for the upcoming race next week.
Justin is crazy busy with work again. He even worked most of Saturday up at his office. Boo. Seems like Justin only sees the kids at their worst, right near bedtime. Hopefully, things will settle down again once this latest deadline comes due.
The Payne's invited us over to celebrate Liberty's first birthday. I was able to take her first year photos on Friday afternoon at Nichol's park. The area I chose was bogged down with mud, gotta make sacrifices to get the perfect location! Photos were amazing! Corynn went all out with decor. They had a pasta bar and three cakes for food. A tightrope area, bubbles, volley ball, etc for the kids to play with. She throws a really good party. I bought Josie the companion baby doll to the Shimmer she got for Christmas, can't have Shimmer without Shine. Ha ha. Josie was so cute when I showed her the new doll. Whenever she sees Gabi, she'll rush over cooing, "Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello, baby!" It's adorable.
Kristin Russo told me a funny story about Phillip. The boys were over playing with Owen last week. Everett and Owen locked the door so Kristin could not get outside. Phillip chastised the younger boys saying, "You need to treat your Mom like a Queen, Queens don't get locked inside!" Bless his heart! Kristin was impressed that Phillip said something like that. Phillip's prayers wax on the long side, he blesses everything he can think of. He asks for the sweetest things, like orphans getting the love they deserve. He's a sweet boy, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of his sweetness when he is acting like a hard-headed nincompoop.
Amelia reported that Sunday School with the boys and girls was really cool. She loves her new teachers. Young Women's this Sunday was awesome. She got to help make goals with her new class. We got her all signed up on Family Search. She even found 5 names to take to the temple for baptisms.
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:02 PM
10 January 2019
I hear New Year's at home was quite tame. Justin took the kiddos "bouncing" for an hour or so towards evening. The kids stayed up until 10:42 to celebrate the New Year. It was too wet for sparklers so that activity did not work out. I flew back home early the next morning. Flying out of Provo was even more awesome than Mesa! I cleared security in less than 5 minutes! As soon as I walked in the door Josie yelled, "Mom! You came back!!!!" Lots of sweet hugs and kisses welcomed me back home.
It snowed in the higher altitudes on Monday, after some texted with my cousin Amber we learned the snow was still sleddable up in Payson. We quickly tracked down winter gear and loaded up the van. Within and hour of arriving home we were back on the road headed up to Payson. There was a ton of snow up in Flagstaff, but that drive is 3 hrs each way. Amber picked us up in their utility 4-wheeler due to the slushy snow. She was afraid our van would get stuck without 4 wheel drive. Amber dropped us off at their family's favorite site and left us to enjoy the snow for a couple hours. Josie put her boots in the snow then yelled, "Mom! I stepping on OLAF! Olaf is everywhere!" I die! So funny. The little girls were done after 30-45 minutes, but they somehow made it another 90 minutes. We tried out several hills before the kids settled on their favorite, the hill with a snow ramp at the bottom. Amelia made a cute snowman, Josie and Evelyn tromped about throwing snowballs and making angels. The boys were enthralled with the sleds and racing down the slope. I got to ride down a few times with an Evelyn or a Josie on my lap. We caught the ramp most times. Justin caught some hilarious cell phone shots showing the little girls catching air as we flew off the ramp. We had the little try sledding down a shorter portion of the hill with the saucer sled, Josie loved that. Evelyn had a good time, that is until she sled over a cactus and got spines in her pant leg and boot. Towards the end the kids wanted to try belly-whoppers, the same belly-whoppers Frosty the Snowman taught his little friends in the classic animated short. That was quite silly and fun, Amelia tore a rip in her down coat so was leaking feathers like a wounded bird. I like going to the snow, not living in the snow. Amber treated the kids to cups of hot chocolate. My other cousin Tiffany was at Amber's house when we got back. That was a treat!
At home the kids enjoyed sparklers on New Years Day! Josie is quite the little pyro. Evelyn was too chicken to even try. Of course the boys were over the moon to burn fireworks. Both boys soon had 4-6 sparklers lit at the same time. It was quite cold for Arizona last week, highs were in the low 50s.
Justin went back to work on Wednesday. The kids and I settled in to enjoy those last few days of Christmas Break. I misread my calendar thinking I had an early morning dental appointment on Wednesday. In preparation the middle kids all had a play date with the Payne family. I dropped of Mia and Josie near the park entrance so they could play for a while. It was way too cold, so they were back home less than 30 minutes later. I ended up with 45 minutes of alone time driving about. We cleaned up the house a bit and worked on laundry. The boys made an elaborate blanket tent out on the patio for Evelyn and Josie.
Thursday morning I spent a lovely 3 hours in the dentist's chair getting two crowns seated, another crown preparation started and two cavities cleaned out. My mouth was so, so sore afterwards, especially since my entire mouth was numb. We were quite stir-crazy by that afternoon so we went to check out a cool park the Chandler Calls found. It is a obstacle course slash parkour course park with lots of climbing and hanging stations. The Calls joined us after 45 minutes for just a little while. Hooray for cousin time. We visited one more park on our way home that was more fun for the little girls.
Friday we headed to KTR for the morning with the cousins. KTR is an indoor skatepark, parkour park, and trampoline area. It was pretty fun! I even got a couple flips in while taking a turn on the trampoline. Josie was obsessed running down a tramp runway to a large covered foam pit. Phillip even took a turn with the scooter on the skate park side. We cleaned up the house a bit more before going to have fun. Justin was still not feeling well so he came home ready for a weekend of sleep. Sleep he did! I think Justin slept a good 30 hours over the weekend, add in the night hours and we did not see him much. Amelia is now a Beehive! She got to go ice skating with the Beehives on Friday night. She was stressed out picking an outfit she could skate in! None of her jeans fit and her leggings were not up to par. She ended up wearing a pair of my smallest leggings. That girl is growing faster than I can keep her decently clothed. Over the last month she went from a size 4 shoe to a 6.5, same with clothes, went from a 10-12 to a ladies small. Gracious. Sunday she was all in a tizzy planning a cute outfit proper to wear to young person's Sunday School. We went to the Primary breakfast on Saturday morning so the kids could meet their new teachers. I had to laugh that Amelia was acting all cool and so over Primary when she was excited to be there just last week! Thankfully she forgot about her new status and opted to visit with her friend Averie. Half the teachers were not in attendance so only Phillip met his new teachers. Seems that Primary will meet combined for opening then split into jr and sr for singing time. The leaders served delicious pancakes, eggs and sausages. Josie ate THREE large pancakes! Evelyn and I spent the rest of Saturday morning food shopping. She insisted each kid get a new calendar, I chose a really silly calendar for Amelia. Amelia was not amused at all, she later broke down crying because she hated the calendar but knew I wanted her to have it, so she removed the packaging then sat in the car crying. Everett took the silly calendar and we returned his wolf themed one. The boys and I figured out how to put together the magic box Everett got for Christmas. The little girls were delighted and stunned that Everett could make things appear out of thin air. We celebrated the end of Christmas break with the Russo kids at Sodalicious for yummy drinks and cookies. Josie and Jack unscrewed all the decorative panels covering one side of the wall (thankfully hidden from the front). We quickly reinstalled the panels so no harm, no foul.
My teeth are so sensitive. I can barely eat foods that have any structure or density. I'm dreading the next month of just eating soups while my teeth heal. For those who know me, I sorta really HATE soup. I'll eat it and make it but soup is not my favorite. Cheers. Josie loves taking baths with baff bomps. Evelyn put in a green and dark blue "baff bomp" the dark color really freaked out Josie. She jumped out of the tub shivering with fright, crying her head off. She hate dark, scary "baff bomps!" LOL
Posted by Jenni Call at 10:43 AM
07 January 2019
Christmas Eve! We enjoyed such a lovely day, a bit of fun, some relaxation, and lots of traditions. The Chandler Calls invited us to join them for early morning rappelling. Dr Auxier has a large collection of helmets, harnesses, ropes, and other climbing gear needed for rock climbing and rappelling. We met at Papago Park around 10 am. Lots of homeless folks were using the tables and benches as lodging. A bit further from the park was a large rock formation where the Auxiers set up the rappelling courses, one short and one long course. Josie and Evelyn amused themselves climbing up the steep rock face. Phillip and Anson skipped about the top of the rocks like normal exuberant boys. Everett stayed right near Aunt Laura (she manned the short course) and "helped" give instructions to those waiting for their turn. He was even more verbose after he took his own turn, by then he was an expert. Sorry Laura for my know-it-all kid. We quite enjoyed all the funny faces the kids had while concentrating on their way down the rock face. Ranae took the little girls to play at the park once they got tired of playing mountain goat. Amelia ripped her pants on the rock face much to her chagrin. Phillip surprised us all with a near perfect descent twice in a row. We completely enjoyed learning how to rappell.
We came home to clean up our house, well, Justin and the kids cleaned up. I went to complete some last moment food shopping for our clam chowder! We had to have some freshly made sourdough from Winco. The James family joined us for Christmas Eve. As always, Christmas clam chowder is magical. I made a double recipe that vanished quickly. We ate by candlelight serenaded by excited kid voices. Amelia was tasked to collect costumes for the nativity play, she had a checklist to keep her on track. After dinner cleanup we had our play, this year we repeated the play 3 times so everyone got to play their favorite parts. Everett made quite the serious Joseph, his adoring faces with Mary (Evelyn) were quite convincing. My favorite costume was the sheep with the pink hat and sheepskin tied to Amelia's waist. Our nelves delivered Christmas candy and PJs right during the reading of "The Night Before Christmas." Josie was thrilled she got two PJs!! Phillip made us all laugh with his rather obnoxious stegosaurus impressions. We tired out the James family with all our noise and chaos, even I felt tired. The kids went to sleep anxious for the magic of Santa to transform our tree.
The kids slept until 6:30 am! They spent 30 minutes enjoying their stockings in our room. The boys were thrilled to get beyblades to battle each other with. We woke up Josie at 7, gave her some time to open her stocking before we let the kids line up. Whoops and hollers soon filled our house for the next hour as wrapping paper filled the air. Santa went crazy and got Phillip a drum set, maybe he thought Phillip really could be the next Muppet Animal. Some favorite highlights: Josie wearing her helmet for hours, Evelyn sporting makeup for days, Everett's reaction after opening a large magician's set, Phillip and Everett racing each other with radio controlled cars, zipping down the driveway on the long board, Evelyn surrounded with a pile of LOL wrappers, Amelia contentedly giving makeovers to herself and I with real make up, Amelia squishing slime for days, and a code 4 level mess. We enjoyed the mess for several days, wading through paper and losing toys under mounds of paper clutter. Towards evening the Calls and James families came over for dinner. We ate tamales, rice, beans, guacamole, chips, and fresh salsa. Evelyn saved one of her LOL balls to show Aunt Charity how they work. Reagan got an Evelyn makeover. The drums are residing in the garage.
Wednesday I was going stir crazy, needing to get away from the clutter and mess. While Justin napped away the afternoon I took the kids for some exercise at the park. We brought along bikes and the long board. The kids took turns riding the long board down the hill! Even Josie took her trike down the hill much to my surprise. The weather turned chilly so we headed home once the sunset. It felt amazing to get outside and play for hours.
Thursday we toured the Phoenix zoo with family. I love that we have cousins close. Evelyn decided that Reagan is her favorite person, she rather got attached to her. Reagan was not so sure how to handle our pestering little nerd bonker. I'd say the highlight of our visit was the goat petting area. Evelyn loved it until a goat pooped as she watched. Her expressions! Gracious. The cheetah's were on the prowl this time. Amelia totally loved watching them on the move. Josie only wanted to visit the zebras. She spent a good amount of time examining the zoo map in search of the zebras. We visited Evelyn's favorite bird, the bustard. I hardly caught sight of Phillip, Anson, Everett, and Gary. Those boys were extra busy zipping about. We enjoyed a delicious ham dinner at the Calls. We had to say goodbye to the favorite Aunt Chi-chi. Everett was especially lovey dovey, dolling out hugs and kisses. We loved their visit.
I don't remember what we did on Friday. Ha ha ha. Most likely the TV was on all day while I worked on editing the bridal session from the prior week. Saturday was about the same. I did sort and pack a suitcase for my short jaunt to Utah. Justin went ahead and booked me a ticket since I was too hesitant to get one, none of the dates I showed him worked. We payed a bit extra to fly me out over the holidays but he wanted me to go while he was on vacation. My case was stuffed with baby props, just enough room to stuff in a change of undies, a shirt, leggings and some sundry items.
I drove myself to the Mesa airport at 4:15 am. It is a really small airport, but I was through security in less than 20 minutes. Soon I was in the air headed towards Utah. The hour flight was totally worth the trade of the 14 hour drive. Amelia lent me her fox to document my short trip. Jeremy and Melissa picked me up at 9 am from the Provo airport. That airport was even smaller than the Mesa one. We attended church at Mom and Dad's building, just a random ward holding sacrament at a convenient time. Justin survived sacrament meeting alone for the first time with all 5 kids. The afternoon I spent taking photos of Pasha then Rachel (and Hannah). I scrounged props from around Mom's house using what she had on hand. Uncle Scott lent me some strobes, light stands, modifiers, and a trigger. It was a very overcast day so natural light was out of the question. Borrowing Scott's equipment was quite the weird experience for me. I would rather rent next time than borrow from Scott. We both hurt each other's feelings (thought I'm still confused about what I did wrong). Both babies were so sweet and lovely to snuggle. I did not get much time with Rachel, Jana was anxious to get back home. Jana had surgery the next morning so needed to get back home. Dad regaled me with his awesome plans to create a foldable handcart he is designing with Uncle Matt. Next morning Mom and I went to visit Grandma B at a care facility. Seeing her there, all swollen and near death about broke my heart. Getting old seems to be the worst part of life, losing control over all the things you used to do, turning back into a baby while your mind is still conscious. Mom was in a flurry arranging the pieces so Grandma's stuff could be moved into a new apartment with better care. Mom let me stop by Walmart to grab a couple ballerina dolls for Hannah. We got her a happy meal from McDonalds before we stopped by for a short visit. I missed seeing Jana again, when she got out of surgery I was already headed down to Eagle Mountain with Miekka and Courtenay. They were up north enjoying a day of shopping, we had lunch before a spot of shopping at DI. Penny was quite upset that I left Evelyn at home. She told me to never visit again without my kids! We spent a quiet evening at the Lances playing a couple games and snacking on food until the ball fell in NY at 10 pm Utah time. Miekka took me to the airport early the next morning. By 11 am on New Years I was back home with the kids. Justin took the kids bouncing at Uptown Jungle for a fun activity one New Years Eve. I quite enjoyed being alone for the first time since Amelia was born. Hannah joined me in the bathroom on Sunday, I was feeling rather lonely since I rarely get to potty alone.
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:07 PM