06 November 2018

Halloween 2018


















We welcomed Halloween week on Sunday with a pumpkin carving session. This year our tools were pretty awesome, I got the next level of cheap kits. Ha ha ha. The kids enjoyed designing their own faces with a marker. I quite enjoyed that this year the older kids emptied their own pumpkin guts, especially enjoyed their silly faces. Both boys jumped right in and tried to carve on their own, they did quite well with a bit of guidance. After the pumpkins were carved the kids used an entire package of light sticks to make their jack-o-lanterns glow. In the line up from right to left we have happy face Josie, unicorn smile Evelyn, "E" for Everett face, Silly mustache pumpkin, and sleepy unicorn Amelia. They kids carried their cute creations outside and spent a good while chasing each other around the yard. 

For FHE on Monday we had a short lesson taught by yours truly. For activity Brooke delivered a box of freshly baked sugar cookies, tubes of frosting, and bags of sprinkles. Josie caught on quickly to the gist of decorating cookies! She piled about 2 inches of frosting on her one cookie with relish. Amelia showed off some seriously awesome designs! We dug into the cookies for our FHE treat as well. This round of FHE "glory" each kid earned loads of glory for earning amazing grades their first quarter. Amelia earned A's and one B! The other kids all earned in the top tiers number wise. 

Tuesday morning I had my photo studio set up in the garage for several mini sessions. I snapped some photos of Baby Gabi and the kids in their Halloween costumes as well. It's no small feat to set up the studio stuff. I am quite swamped editing a million photos right now. I hated to add so many new ones with all the canyon photos still on my plate. Such is busy season for photographers. I also committed to photograph another wedding come December for our Stake President's oldest son. 

Wednesday morning found us scrambling to get costumes on, hair curled, make up applied, and accessories located. I drove the kids to school so Josie and I could watch the Monster Mash parade. The kids all had the option to wear costumes to school then parade along showing off their costumes to those family and friends assembled along the parade route. Josie was so excited to wear her BATGIRL costume. We all got a kick singing, "do-do-do-do-do-do-do" Josie usually responded with a cute "batgurl." So much fun. After school the kids rested a bit then dove into their costumes for photos. Amelia and Phillip helped make pigs in a blanket for dinner while I worked on hair and makeup. We were all ready a few moments before six. Justin somehow made it home early enough to catch us in the driveway! I was not expecting him to get home until after 7, his new normal arrival time. Our ward hosted a block party, inviting anyone who wanted to join. We handed out candy while the older kids roamed the street and fun activities like fishing for prizes, face painting, movie, etc. I helped out with the face painting center after one of the ladies had to leave. Josie caught on to the candy craze faster than fast. She soon snatched candy whenever she could from an unattended bowl here and there. Amelia helped pass out candy so I could monitor Josie. Justin found Phillip manning the fishing activity without being asked. We headed home around 8 pm then walked around our block. I'd say half of our neighborhood houses were dark, the kids raced around to those with porch lights on. They scored big time since hardly any children were trick or treating on our street. 

Friday Justin spent the day at home. He worked in the morning on work stuff. Josie and I did our grocery shopping for the week while he worked. We enjoyed a lunch date at Outback. We were both disappointed in our meals. UTI celebrates Veteran's day a week early thus the reason he had the day off. Justin caught up on yard work during the afternoon. Isla and Brooklyn came over for the afternoon and evening to play. Evelyn wants to know when Isla can move into our house. She loves having a new best friend. The girls stayed over until after 7 pm. Amelia and Brooklyn were invited to play outside with a bike gang of some friends from school. Not long after they left Amelia came home crying with Brooklyn in tow. Some of the boys were using foul language and prank calling pizza stores. The girls settled on making friendship bracelets instead. Evelyn and Isla amused themselves hiding plastic Easter eggs filled with Barbie accessories for a couple hours. Evelyn came home from school stoked to finally be chose as QUEEN BEE for the coming school week. She could not wait to decorate her poster. She filled it with 5-year old scribbles with Isla helping out. During her reign as Queen Bee she can bring a poster about herself with photos, share her favorite book, and bring a short show and tell. She got up the next morning at 6 am ready to keep working on her poster. All weekend she talked incessantly about queen bees. 

Justin took the kids to Freestone park after lunch. He pumped up tires so they could ride their bikes! It is so lovely outside right now. I followed a couple hours later once Josie woke up. We passed each other as he was returning home with Evelyn (she had a potty accident) and I headed to the park for Josie to play. The older kids and Jacob were playing a game near the skate park. I checked on them several times as I moved from play area to play area. We enjoyed about 4 hours outside at the park! 

I ordered a home sleep study test, still trying to get to the root of my fatigue issues. Sleeping all hooked up with a nose cannula, chest strap, and finger oxygen monitor did not bode well for a good night of rest. Add in that Josie woke up twice and Evelyn joined us in the bed bringing her hacking cough along. I am so tired of being tired. I stopped the keto diet since it was not helping and causing my joints to hurt (gout is a common side effect).  I am floundering. My left eye is also giving me grief. A few times a week it starts to burn intensely for no good reason, maybe I am allergic to my mascara. I hate to give that up since I don't wear much make up to being with.  

27 October 2018

Pumpkin Patch and Fun Run





















 Blush. Seriously?! Ok, I love pumpkin patches. Something about the fall weather, the colors, the crisp air, playing in corn mazes. Makes me giddy. The kids had their last day of Fall break on Monday. We worked hard to clean out the van (thanks to Justin and the kids), put away clothes, bags, and cleaned up our mess. The temperature was only 75 so I determined it a perfect afternoon to spend at the local pumpkin patch. We brought along Chloe and Jacob to join in our fun outing. Last year we were miserable as the temperature hovered over 100. We felt lucky to enjoy a rare cool day in the desert. The kids played and played until well after dark. Josie was obsessed with the racing duckie games, she "owned" that particular pink duck and track number 3. All the kids loved the hamster wheels, the trampolines, the slides, the animals, etc. We split into teams for the corn maze. I wisely took a photo of the map before we entered. My team got all 6 stations but we still lost since Chloe earned two 500 point scratch offs on her ticket, the other team only found 4 stations. Amelia is convinced we cheated. More like, used the brain in my head, since last time was miserable with crying kids. Josie and Evelyn loved the cow train, rode it twice, the second time illegally (only 1 ride per visit). Good thing the patch was not busy at all. The train bounced my brain too much, ouch. I can't seem to enjoy those rides anymore. I had no dinner ready at home so we stopped for cheap tacos to being home. That was a great, fun way to end fall break.

Tuesday morning I spent playing with new baby Eirene and her sister Alta. Meaning, I had a newborn session with 2 week old Eirene. She was a testy little spitfire. Pretty much only cooperated if wrapped up tightly and nursing. I loved chatting with Brooke, we seem to be bosom friends. Old ladies trapped in younger bodies, one word: lots of lace. The baby would not cooperate for some outdoor photos so I had Brooke bring her back the next afternoon since it was warmer and not breezy. Totally worked, I'm drooling over her precious face in those photos. Later that evening, Amelia held down the fort at home while Evelyn played at Alta's home. I took Everett and Josie with me to the park for an amusing photo session with Kamal and Mandeep's extended family. They somehow managed to stuff 18 people into 2 cars and one house for two weeks. I went over after lunch to help choose outfits for the kids to wear. The ladies had so many questions! I about died laughing inside when they wanted to include a photo from last year's reunion perched on a Paw Patrol easel. We settled on just the photo in a large frame and no easel. The session was a complete riot. All the little boys were either crying or running about like escaped chickens. We finally had some success before the light ran out. Ironically, it was seriously chilly outside as well. The adults were complaining and quite uncooperative.

Sonoma Ranch hosted it's Fun Run on Wednesday morning. The kids all wanted a costume or cape to wear for the event. Amelia had me write "SU" for super unicorn on a paper she pinned to a cape. A few minutes later Evelyn requested a paper with the letters "FU" for Fabulous Unicorn. Amelia blushed deep red and whispered to me, "Mom! You can't write FU, you know what that means right?" Oh gosh, I spent the morning randomly laughing out loud. We settled on "US" for unicorn sidekick. Everett wore a Power Ranger jumpsuit, those skinny legs sure looked skinny. Phillip was melting on the floor crying by the time the bus rolled around. He could not decide what to be, it's hard to be indecisive.  Each grade was assigned a different time to run starting with kindergarten-2nd grades starting out. I had Gabi strapped to my chest and Josie hanging from my other arm, she was quite out of sorts off and on all morning. Evelyn looked splendid, she fairly shone as she ran her laps. That skirt totally helped her fun faster. She ran a total of 9 laps. Everett lead the pack and earned himself a total of 13 laps! That skinny suit helped him fly like the wind. Phillip came out next to run. All the kids started out with warm ups then ran laps. The older grades had to run laps in the larger circle than the younger grades. Phillip and Amelia both ran 9 laps. The teachers marked off laps on wrist bands each kid wore. Josie melted into a sad pile of screaming toddler before Amelia's grade ran their laps. I stayed long enough to snap off a couple photos then left with two crying babies. Josie was hysterical because I put her in the stroller baby seat instead of Gabi. By that time I was just happy to be rolling my way out of the school. Everett was happy to collect his donation from our neighbors who pledged him $.50 per lap.

Spenser and Laura came over to fetch the pick up truck. They are in the midst of moving so needed the truck to sherpa stuff back and forth. It was nice to get a hug and chat for a moment. We had to explain that the truck is most certainly a farm truck with all the strange tricks those vehicles come with. To start it the truck needs to be in neutral. Sometimes the gears won't go into park without some coercion. The windows are all scratched up as well. Anna loved riding in the truck. I enjoyed the view without the truck blocking the driveway for a few days.

The mosquitoes are terrible right now. All my kids have swollen bites all over their legs and arms. Poor Josie got attacked by a swarm, she had about 25 bites on her legs. She scratches the bites until they bleed. Looks terrible. Sometimes the mosquitoes are not out and sometimes they are. I hate spraying the kids each and every time we head outside, I forget as well. Seems that straight lavender oil works better than "itch cream."

Thursday night was not so fun for Everett. His cough kept developing until he finally caught croup that night. We spent a good hour running from a hot sink of steaming water to shoving his face into the freezer. I gave him a dose of cough medicine as well to calm down his reflex. He did not really get to sleep until well after 2 am. I tried to let him sleep in but Phillip and Amelia woke him up a couple times. I let him stay home from school. Ended up being a fun day to spend with just him and Josie. We headed to Winco to stock pile some ingredients from the bins (flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds). As we were checking out Everett whispered to me, "Mom! That guy is rich. This IS an employee owned company. Do you think he has a million dollars? How much money does he have?!" I was a bit confused, so was the cashier. Then I noticed the cashier's name was Rich. Yes, he was rich. We all enjoyed quite a laugh!

Saturday morning Justin left the house early to go help move the Call family into their new home. They rented a large truck to ferry over all the big items and make the big move. Justin quite enjoyed helping out because he finally got to meet one of the twin's friend-boy and tease him mercilessly. I stayed home with the kids and cracked the Saturday cleaning whip. All in all the kids cleaned up quickly and were done in less than an hour. Except Phillip. Oh Phillip. His task was to have all his laundry put away before Justin got home. He did not but I forgot to alert Justin of the situation before I had to leave for the rest of the afternoon. I texted Justin about the situation and gave Phillip 1.5 hrs to get his chore completed before I returned home. Nope, not done. Phillip lost all his electronic privileges.  He did earn back a bit of time by cleaning all the toilets in the house for his stinky behavior. I spent a lovely few hours alone in the hamster wagon driving to and from Payson for some mini sessions. I had four families sign up for gorgeous photos up near Horton Creek. The leaves were turning and quite lovely. I raced to catch the last rays of light before we ran out of time.

Sunday night Amelia organized a cute tea party for the other kids and their favorite toys. They had the doll party set up with play dough food for the toys and finger foods, hot chocolate, and lemonade for the real kids. I love when Amelia organizes fun games for the kids. This week she had them all involved in a game about Greek mythology (with Jacob Godard). I thrifted her a cute Greek Goddess costume she wore for the game. I will be sad when she loses interest in organizing these games for her siblings.

22 October 2018











21 October 2018

Utah in Fall




























Friday Oct 5th: left for Utah at 1:25 pm. Josie and I packed up the van that morning. Mia had a Greek Feast at 11 for her history class unit end. I brought a platter of gyro meat and pita triangles. I enjoyed watching the 11-12 year olds picking at their plates of strange foods. Mia brought home a tray of figs, yep, we ate those in a matter of minutes. We drove the Vegas way, mostly because I did not want to be winding through canyon roads in the dark, instead we wound through the huge metropolis. We stayed the night in Hurricane at a hotel, took us from 1:30 until 10 pm to drive that far.

Saturday: Josie stuffed her favorite binky into a drawer so it got left at the hotel. I was so not ready to wean her cold turkey, but did not want to drive back 3 hours for the comfort toy. She was elated over the elephant version we picked up at Target. I also found a cute deer footed PJ in Mia's size while out shopping. Back to the drive. We left Hurricane just in time to catch the morning session of conference. Rain followed us the entire drive to Grandma's house. My knuckles were white and my shoulders frozen in a hunch from driving the slick roads. We all exclaimed over the new changes happening this coming year! Two hour church should be amazing. Most of my thoughts that first session centered on how the Lord is urging us to be accountable for our own gospel learning, personal and family. One talk I know made me think of Justin and his struggles with anxiety. We stopped at Fillmore for lunch at a gas station Costa Vida/Burger King. It was nice to get something the kids would eat and a salad for me. The drive seemed to drag on longer than it should. We arrived around 3:15 pm just in time to finish the last few talks of the afternoon session. My Aunt Jan was also at the house with Joana's little boys Benson and Liam. Benson followed around my boys for hours learning the ropes of being a big boy! The boys roamed the back empty lot behind the house collecting rocks, sticks, and junk. Phillip came in quite excited over a chain saw he found, wondering if could "fire" it up and chop something down. Everett was obsessed about picking vegetables for Grandma. Mostly, it was nice to be free from the confines of the van.

Sunday: Watched conference with Mom and Dad, Jonathon, Jan, Julia, and the boys came over before the first session. Jan offered to fix Amelia's hair, she completed a fun elaborate hairstyle with braids and sectioned hair twists. Amelia was able to attend the last session on Sunday at the Conference Center! Aunt Jan had several extra tickets. They bumped into Aunt Laura at the same session. Amelia said it was amazing to attend the live session. She got to experience the fun temple announcements. I was so excited to hear a temple will be built on Praia, CV. So exciting. After the session Laura and  Scott came over for a sibling's dinner. We provided the entertainment. Ha ha. The kids played a silly game in the garage with Grandpa's car cleaning tools. Amelia was a rabid deer (wearing her new footie pjs) and the kids had to rub her belly with the car brushes. Dad thought the kids sounded like a zoo.

Monday: We spent more time at my parent's house than usual this time. It was nice to switch things up. The kids and I headed to Temple Square for the day. We started at the newly renovated Church History museum. The kids and I really loved all the interactive exhibits, the artwork is breathtaking. The kids got to watch an organ recital, Josie was quite unhappy so I enjoyed the concert from outside. Josie spotted a temple decoration on the steeple that looked like a creepy spider. She talked about creepy temple spiders for quite some time. The kids wanted to check out the hand carved wood doors on the temple. Their poses had me cracking up. The reflection pond was a huge hit for Josie. She spent most of the time strapped to my back. We did not have a great night of sleep. Josie was restless and Amelia was sharing with us so it was cramped. Amelia did not appreciate having toes in her nose that night. We walked over to the food court for some lunch. All the kids had Subway, I went for a bite of Chik-fil-a. Holy smokes the kid's play area was completely amazing. It was a dinosaur lovers dream! One part of the carpet depicted a lava pit. Even Josie went about yelling, "floor is LAVA!" I was ready to head back right after lunch but the kids spotted the church office building and wanted to meet the prophet. We did not meet the prophet but did meet several folks who worked there, one man from the music department gave us a CD of children's music. We had the quick tour, just a peek from the observation decks. From the observation deck Amelia noticed that the Conference Center had a garden on the roof. Of course we had to go check that out as well. Cranky Josie finally fell asleep on my back, her head flopped in time with my gait. Our tour guide let us take the short tour as well. All the kids were quite impressed with the immense size of the auditorium. On our way out Everett waved his hand at the guide and said, "Thanks Paul for the nice tour!" Paul and I exchanged puzzled looks until I realized his name tag had his first and last name! How I laughed over that! "Thanks Paul!" We rushed home since all the cousins were at Grandma's house for dinner and FHE. I did not mean to spend that much time but we sure enjoyed every second. Next time we will need to catch the JS building and Brigham Young's home. Jared played Pied Piper with all the kids. He has a magical gift with kids. It was so nice to see all my siblings, minus Jeremy (he's in Jordan). Jana and Melissa both have really cute bellies. Got to hug Joe and Kat. Jeffrey popped out of his room for a while. Dad showed Courtenay and I his intense, complicated series of back torture/exercises.

Tuesday: All my kids came down with runny noses and coughs from the weather changes. We enjoyed a lazy day not doing much. I took Josie and Evelyn to the International Peace Gardens that morning. It was blustery and cold. I sewed up a version of a Spanish Puffball dress to take photos of Josie wearing. She looked darling. We picked up the other kids and Grandma for a visit to see Great-Grandma Baerwaldt. She was getting her bandages changed when we walked in. The kids were shocked to see her large sores that she constantly picks at. We visited for 20 minutes got lots of hugs and kisses. I showed her my newest dress creation. A few weeks ago I woke up suddenly with the thought that she had passed away, thankfully it was only a dream. I was grateful to get a hug and kiss this time. We treated Grandma to Gryos for lunch. Yum. The rest of our afternoon and evening were pretty tame. After dinner we paid Hannah a visit at her home. She was looking out her window when we drove up. Her reaction was so darling. She loved our visit until we walked in her territory and touched her stuff. It was good therapy for her new baby coming.

Wednesday: packed up and headed down to Miekka's for some cousin time. We played at the Curiosity Museum with Courtenay, Jana, and Lia (with kids). I think the zip line was a huge hit. The boys were excited to band together and explore on their own. Lia, Mia, and Emmie went off on their own to play as well. Lia and Mia made lots and lots of slime. Mia tried her hand making butter slime with model magic. Evelyn was thrilled to make her own batch.

Thursday: The kids played all day. We spent some time and Courtnay's since Miekka had home school obligations most of the day. Jared came over and amused the kids. I hear they got yelled at around 9 pm while outside playing night games, some neighbor got grumpy. The ladies and Josie went thrifting for a few hours while Jared watched the kids. Scored the cutest oval frame and some cute clothes.

Friday: played with cousins at the pumpkin patch. The corn pits were a huge hit. I loved that the entrance fee did not break the bank. We had corn kernels in all our places! Josie loved the ducks so much. We had some tacos for lunch then headed back. After a short break we went to a new park in Eagle Mtn. Poor Charlie got his face smashed by a zip line swing. Poor baby!

Saturday (13th): we were headed back for home by 8 am. It was a LOOOOOOOONG drive in one day. Just barely on I-15 a guy flagged me down. My rooftop carrier had popped open and was spewing stuff from inside. I locked down the hatches and tried not to worry about what we lost and if anyone else damaged their cars from our flying debris. Turns out I lost diapers and the stuff we thrifted from DI. Boo. Hoo. Hoooooo. Once again our drive was white knuckled from Hurricane south. We stopped by the hotel and picked up Fox binky for Jojo. This time we drove through Page and Flagstaff. It rained the entire way home after Hurricane. The large semi trucks and Indians in their pickups screaming by made me near shaking! Scary. We pulled in just before 9 pm! Our drive home was an hour shorter than the drive up, we stopped more times on the way up. Still, it takes a good 13-14 hours to make the drive. My eyes seemed permanently peeled open after being wide-awake for so very long.

After that long drive I was in no shape to perform as music leader for Primary. I let the president know on Thursday that I would not be at church. I attended sacrament meeting then went home to rest. I hear that for some reason no one knew I was not coming. I spoke with the President twice and sent reminder texts three times!

***Grandma Debbie introduced us to Daniel's pulse. A guess at the dish Daniel and his friend's ate instead of the King's meals at court. It is quite delicious: OF oats, flax seeds, milled flax, chia seeds, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut, sesame seeds, raw honey, and milk. I'm changing up my diet after a year of low-carb. Going to try this out for a while! I hear you can also make the pulse with various whole grains, served warm or cold, also as a dinner meal with bone broth.