15 November 2020

Quarantined again, Justin turns 45


Monday Justin was sent home from work at noon because his team was exposed to COVID last Thursday. We are supposed to quarantine for 2 weeks, Justin especially is banned to stay home. It's been a tough, boring week for us all. Justin's COVID test came back negative, but he still wants an anti-body test to make sure. Pretty much we stay home until Thursday when his test came back. We did go swimming since the amount of chlorine killed whatever germs we carried. I made a couple trips out for groceries and such. 

Thursday we went to the library since Justin's test was negative. We wore masks and used lots of hand sanitizer. The trip was quick in and out. The max items on our new cards is 80 books and 15 media! I might need to bring a wagon next time. I was quite bummed that the book I was reading accidently made it into the return pile. The boys are taking more responsibility for their school work. If their work is not done by 2 pm they can't play and risk losing weekend electronic priviledges. Amelia and I were able to work through her 65% math grade. She uses Schoology to correspond with her "teachers" but communication is scarce at best. She uploaded the incorrect screen shot for one of her first assignments. We were able to resolve that snag, she now has a 98% for Algebra I. We were really worried since this grade counts for high school. That was a lesson, Mia was ready to just accept the grade...sometimes a little communication goes a very long way. 

By Thursday we were stir crazy to the max. The little girls got up and started playing princesses going to a ball. Amelia caught up the idea and made the morning extra special! She gave everyone names like: Sir Fancy-Pants of the Fancity-Pancity people and her servant Dave (Phillip), Fedora of the Fedora Folk, Princess Snowie (Evelyn), and Princess Lolly (Josie).  Amelia made a delicious macaroni salad and Phillip made peanut butter sandwiches on a platter. We invited over the Ostlers to our Royal Ball. Phillip used a PVC pipe as a herald trumpet or a digeridoo, take your pick. I gave lessons on waltzing for those interested. So much excitement! We all love when Amelia decides to make something fun into something fantastic! 

Friday morning Josie woke up with a stomach flu. She was not feeling well at all, poor kid could not hold any fluids down at all. By Saturday I was spoon feeding her bits of pedialyte. After 28 hours of continuous throwing up I took her to the insta-clinic. They pretty much just patted my hand and told me she would get better. Here we are Sunday later afternoon and she is still throwing up. She will keep down less than 3 ml, anything more and she throws it up. Justin gave her a blessing last night, we're praying she gets better soon. Evelyn came down with pink eye on Friday. I have a sinus thing going on, popping sudafed to keep my sinuses clear. Justin bought a forehead thermometer that takes temperature with some sort of x-rays. He likes to sneak up and violate my rights as a human to keep my temperature secret.  He even assaulted me in bed...those angry red lights stole my temperature reading. I'm glad he's finding a way for comic relief. LOL. Amelia got her first set of contacts. She had to put the contacts in and remove several times before she could leave with the contacts. Her vision is super amazing now! Taking them out is a bit harder than putting them in. So far she really likes them except for the installation part. 

The TV has been on non-stop for 3 days now. I'm ready for a break. Thank you to Sara for the pot of chicken soup. Yum. Everett brought me plans for a new box fort with a lock earlier in the week. Saturday I spotted a neighbor getting new furniture and the large boxes sitting outside. The boys were thrilled to drag home two boxes larger than a fridge! As of today they made a couple doors and hung Christmas lights inside. I have a lock to fulfill Everett's dream. 

Justin turned 45 today. Unfortunately, it's been quite anti-climatic. I'm making a special dinner and his favorite brownies. He will probably add another jacket to his collection for his present. We ordered pizza on Friday for dinner. This morning we dog-piled him as a morning wake up call. He is so dedicated, taking care of our needs.  

14 November 2020

First Snow

We got a dusting of snow Saturday night! The kids were so excited they ran out in PJs and wet hair from baths to make tracks in the snow. The snow was still on the ground come morning. Justin and I woke up to the happy sounds of kids playing outside. Our kids teamed up with the Ostler's to make a large snowman named Bob. The kids did not account for the heaviness of wet snow, the mid-section and head took a team effort to build up. First snow is always magical! 

Tuesday was Election Day! In my mind the air seemed electrically charged with opinions and votes. Justin voted right around 8 am. I made it to the polling place around 2:30. The line was nearly wrapped around the building! The wait was tense, long, and boring. I voted on an electronic tablet case that printed out a ballot with the votes I cast. I supported Trump because he is Pro-Life, Pro-Religion, and has the best interest of our country at heart. He might act like a nut case, but could be a smoke screen to conceal his true workings.  

I had several morning meetings this week. First Evelyn is no longer eligible for her IEP. Idaho has a much stricter scale of need than Arizona. She no longer qualifies for speech services. Her stuttering has greatly improved over the last few months. So hooray! Way to go Evelyn. Wednesday was the crazy busy day, so crazy that the younger kids did not get much school work done. When I am not around the mice play...it's so frustrating. Lost privileges until the work was done did the job. Dog Vader finally had a grooming appointment, it's been a while. I had to clean off his bum and cut away the fur from his bum since he had several dingle knobs dangling about. Yuck. He came back looking like a different dog, he's got shaggy Jekyll and groomed Hyde as "fur"sonalities. Wednesday afternoon I was busy from noon until 5:30. Mia had an eye appointment for new glasses and possibly contact lenses. In order to get contacts she has to take a $70 class where she learns how to remove and install the contacts then care for the lenses. She loves her frames so will most likely get glasses as well once she takes the class on the 13th. I had another counseling session using EMDR with Garrett. It's crazy how our brains think and retain information. Garrett said I was the most resilient trauma victim he's ever met, not sure exactly what that looks like but I'll take it. I had to trust the kids to clean up the downstairs while I was gone. Moments after I walked in the door we started Activity Day Girls. This week we worked on making some goals, the girls got their cool rings, and a photo of the temple. Thursday I had the most frustrating experience with Valley Sleep Center. I need to order some CPAP supplies but need a prescription in order for insurance to cover it, and most distributors require a prescription. I called the provider in AZ I used to get my supplies. They would not fax me my prescription, said I had to have a follow-up visit. With tele-health in the arena now I couldn't use the excuse of moving to ID to put them off. Stupid. Had to pay $75 just for a 2 minute zoom conversation. A few moments later the nurse called me about my meeting. I repeated my request for a hard copy of my prescription. She related they "don't do that" but rather deal directly with places like Apria. This means they can require yearly visits for $75+ per customer. Asinine. Justin's had his prescription for 10 years with no problems. I felt quite upset most of the day thinking about how to get around their policies. Request of medical records? Done! 

Thursday was girl haircut day! Amelia went drastic with a darling shoulder length cut. We determined half of her hair was cut off! Her new hair is much easier to dry and style. She decorated a couple packets of hair clips with glitter, nail polish, and such for new personal accessories. Her new look is to clip back one side of her hair. So cute. With contacts she will be quite the grown up teenager. Josie requested in a timid voice for only 2 inches left of her hair, I quickly clarified she just wanted two inches cut off the bottom. Evelyn and I also got much needed trims. I've never had my hair dry cut, she also combed my hair out with a small comb, those tangles still hurt. I rarely brush/comb my hair opting for a pic to separate my curls. We felt quite fancy with our trimmed up hair. I pulled out the camera for a couple fun photos of Mia's new hair and a fur bonnet I rediscovered in my photo prop bins. We used the same snowball bush for a backdrop, green with white blooms in the spring and vibrant red in the fall! 

Friday I spent most of the day editing our family photos taken a couple weeks back. It's not an easy thing to hardly recognize oneself in photos. All this recent weight gain is absolutely killing me. I've had a hard time with each pound that won't drop off. Jana says to weight lift as well as cardio. Now to update all the walls with the most recent set of photos. 

Saturday was a fun day off of a sort for me. Jana's friend Sarah asked me to photograph her wedding starting at 3 pm. I took Amelia along to practice her camera skills as part of her photography class. I needed to get some new garment bottoms, it's been quite a few years since the last trip to distribution. We enjoyed browsing the books, nativity sets for sale, and the cute ornaments. It was cold and rainy most of the day. Amelia needed a cute cardigan or jacket so we went to Goodwill next. She found a fun polka dotted sweater to match her polka dotted skirt. We went back across the freeway like 6 times as we went here and there. Lunch at Costa Vida then to the temple. Love can come at any age and station in life. Watching Sarah and Brent was a great reminder of those temple covenants. He was recently divorced with 5 kids nearly grown. Sarah is one of Jana's friends from work and the Single's Ward she attended for years. I was impressed with Sarah's support system of women who attended the temple and reception. Mia did such a good job capturing all the fun details at the reception site. It was snowing when we headed home around 8:30. The kids headed outside with wet hair from the bath to kick the new snow around.  My grandma and grandpa Lance are in the hospital this weekend. Grandma had a very high calcium count which was causing all kinds of symptoms that looked like mini-strokes, really she was very dehydrated. Grandpa was in such a panic that Grandma left he ended up in the ER. Grandma finally consented to the Utah move asap instead of after the new year. We are all praying they will make the move smoothly. I am so glad my Mom is able to stay with them, I really think we could've lost both of them if my mom was not around. Justin's Uncle Cary also passed away. 

The entire voting process is broken. Turns out Biden won. Trump won't hand the baton over because of voter fraud. Brother Godard said one of his clients started getting thank you texts from the Democratic party, after she voted republican. Turns out her spouse voted democratic...he passed away in 2005. So now the dead are voting Democratic. It's all a ploy for Pelosi to take over our country. Ha ha. I want to buy a bunker and live underground. 

06 November 2020

Halloween 2020


I checked off a bucket list photo dream last Sunday. This park close to our house hosted a lovely array of colorful leaves on the ground. I dreamed of two little girls snuggled against the leaves...it was not all idyllic (imagine crying about the pokey leaves) but the photos are pretty. Sunday night we issued a challenge to the Ostlers: who could make the best paper airplanes! 

Monday Mia and I walked outside to find the temperature hovering at 26 degrees. We shuffled ourselves back inside for down coats before heading to the gym. Everett and Phillip have given up the gym at the young ages of 9 and 11. The kids found various tools in the garage to break up the ice on the pool once we got back home. Josie was so cute hunkered over hunks of ice with a hammer and intent look on her face. I finally figured out the winter clothes situation...the little girls are set the rest all need coats, snow pants, snow boots, and gloves. At 10:00 am our paper airplane opponents came over for a contest! My kids were stoked to build all the kids of paper airplanes they could find. I found a fun site called "foldnfly" with tons of fun designs. I worked hard making a bat plane that was supposed to move it's wings! The wings didn't flutter but goodness, that plane had a sweet glide. Our hallway proved to be too narrow and not long enough so we snuck into the church cultural hall for our contest. Phillip won the all around contest! The losers were sore so had their own losers contest. In the end the kids had more fun folding their planes and just playing than the contest. I tried to make the event educational with a 5 min chat about aerodynamics. 

Wednesday morning we headed out to Kidz Resale for boy winter gear. The store had quite a large selection of snow gear and coats. The boys each got more long-sleeved shirts. We met Justin for lunch since we were a mile or so away from his work. The little girls enjoyed making Justin some fan mail before we left! Josie even made Justin a perler bead heart. Rose sent us a fun box of stuff, mostly makeup for Evelyn and fun hair stuff for the girls. Evelyn was in complete heaven! 

Coach Mel, the kid's gymnastics teacher, loves seeing what my girls bring to spectate their lessons. This week Yoda with fancy clips, decorated LOL babies, and elephant watched. Everett had an off-day on Thursday. He slithered on the gym mats moaning for no good reason. I made him apologize to the coach and remove himself from the floor. 

Our quarter-grown trees finally dropped enough leaves for a decent leaf pile. The Catalpa tree finally dropped it's large leaves when the freeze happened on Monday. Justin, Phillip, and Everett gathered a rather large pile for the kids to play in. After a few jumps the leaf pile was greatly reduced! Josie and Evelyn couldn't remember our Sidney leaf piles so they had first dibs on this pile. Josie was not too sure about jumping on leaves. She got over her reticence after the first jump. 

Friday evening Justin and I went out for a date. I had a hankering for pizza. The first place had an hour wait. The second place refused to serve us because the manager was not paying the employees enough, the employees wanted to make a point. I think they got fired for their statement. We settled on second rate chicken wings, where is Bon Chon when you need it? Oh yes, Arizona. I was not in a particularly great mood, too much home time, a headache, and way too tired. Poor Justin! Amelia had the table ready for pumpkin carving once we got home. So much excitement! Josie designed her own pumpkin, she did her best to carve it solo. The older kids required little assistance, their imaginations came out for the carving. Amelia had a cute, complicated carve of a flower. Phillip carved a face then stabbed a pack of tooth picks into the pumpkin. Everett made a fun face with little. I helped Evelyn carve a kitty in honor of the Ostler's new kitten, Astrid. Hooray for tradition. I tried to coax the kids into painting pumpkins, I lost. 

Saturday we worked on cleaning the garage for the Halloween bash. Sara is the Primary President, she organized a block party on our street instead of a trunk or treat. My garage was assigned as the photo booth and face painting station. I finally took down the school photo back drop, course someone messaged me a while later asking for photos. LOL. Always! We took it easy until 3 when it was time to start fixing hair before the party. Justin brought over three hay bales for the photo booth from the Ostlers. Sister Finch and Sister Whiting helped me paint faces. The party started at 6 pm! Our kids enjoyed running up and down the street. Josie tried to trick or treat all by herself down the next street over. Someone brought her back home! Justin managed not to lose her the rest of the evening. Amelia and Cassidie/Jocelyn ran the fishing booth. Phillip and Carson managed the corn hole game. We kept busy until 8:30! I hear we were practically the only homes open for business. I couldn't see any other homes with porch lights on for the kids. Several neighbors came over thanking us for the fun night. The next day a friend from AZ posted a video of a girl stealing the rest of the candy in their bowl, the girl yelled to another girl, "Chloe! This bowl is almost full, should I take the candy?" Yep, it was our Chloe as the invisible girl outside camera range. Josie was up from 3 am with a tummy ache...too much candy for the sugar girl?! I headed downstairs with her after an hour of her thumping about in our bed. We watched TV from 4 am until the kids woke up. At least it was daylight savings, that extra hour was much needed. Poor kid collapsed on me during church for a nap. Phillip made a disgusting mess making hamburger helper. Ah the struggles of kids learning to cook. He cleaned up to the best of his ability. I re-worked his effort after he left the house to play. I am unsure how he managed to get hamburger helper on the microwave, oven, floor, and cabinets. That was impressive. 

25 October 2020

Brrrrrrrrr, the COLD arrived


Getting back into school this week was painful! The mornings are cold and dark now even at 6:45, we engage the bum warmers in the van on our way to the gym. Evelyn was not feeling the need for school on Monday. Took me an hour just to coax her to complete two math problems. The boys were not thrilled I made them do actual math lessons and learn about phonics. Amelia discovered she had to finish a complicated unit on factoring that took three days instead of an hour or so. I was delighted to try my hand at quadratic equations after many, many years. We figured it all out but she still had to slug through all the practices and tests. The little girls and I made an impromptu stop at the library to finally get cards because I heard the lobby was open...the library was open! Only 30 can enter at a time but we were able to go in, browse, and check out 30 new books. Lots of fun reading this week thanks to the library. I felt behind most of the week, behind in laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, writing and blogging the week, etc. 

We had some funny spots this week. Evelyn decided to brush her teeth using a silly apparatus that pulls lips away from the mouth...her goal was to see all her teeth! Goal reached. Evelyn and Ambree decorated our driveway with some gorgeous chalk art. Those two also set up a chair train in the school room. Josie donned Phillip's Halloween costume to our amusement. The suit is huge on Phillip so you can only imagine how swamped Josie was. Josie took Stitch (aka Mia) on a walk around the block with a rope. Everett got his much desired Sloth suit for Halloween. He was a three-toed sloth for half the week. It was super cold this week with highs in the 40s. We are not ready for winter yet in October. Guess I need to hitch up my belt and go get winter gear. 

Justin had a very, very busy work week. He was late getting home on the days he was in the office, Wednesday until after 10:30 pm. He was able to meet the deadlines of the week so had time to spare this weekend. He's working on a project to reset his Ryobi lithium batteries so the batteries will take charge after the factory settings fill up. I love his love of tinkering. He has a locksmith sets he loves to tinker around with as well. He was very nice and cleaned up the dishes twice this week. 

Thursday we decorated sugar cookies with the Palmers in an effort to help them with their Halloween party the next day. We enjoyed using royal frosting as a new medium. Amelia and the girls went early, Josie with a jar of nutella and bag of bread for lunch sandwiches. Everett loves Hyrum, he is everything Everett wants to grow up to be: a soccer star with a homemade ramp for bikes. Friday Everett made plans to make our own ramp. His first draft was 12" long by 8" wide, we had a laugh over those dimensions. After measuring his bike the plans got significantly larger. 

Friday the kids got dressed up in the Halloween costumes for the Palmer's party. Evelyn went as Mulan in her matchmaker outfit. Josie vacillated between Cinderella and Belle, Cinderella won. I had fun fixing their hair up fancy. The girls went from 5-7 for Eli and Fallon's party. The older kids went from 7-10 for Clare and Hyrum's party. Amelia worked hard on her deer costume. She had it planned out for a month at least. She made her own flowered set of antlers! Took us an hour to fix up her hair and face paint...but she loved the finished look. The boys were easy: don their comfy PJ union suits as Cactus Jack and the sloth. Josie cried off and on after we got home because I wouldn't let her go trick or treat. It's hard to understand that the real holiday is still 8 sleeps away. 

23 October 2020

Pumpkin Patch Heaven (again)


We celebrated a second week of Fall break...just because we could. I figured since submissions were pushed into November why not take a longer break. We did light school, no daily electronic usage, and lots of playing with the neighbors. 

We're updating our family photos...it's been a couple years. I have a love/hate relationship with family photos. Seriously, it's stressful for a photographer to have photos done...with me on the other side. I am quite self-conscious about all my current weight gain, don't really want to document that...but it is what it is. Amelia was my sidekick fashion expert. We raided DI on Tuesday for all clothing in Earthy green tones. I found several cute dresses for Mia and quite a few just fun dresses for me that looked extra comfy. Mia also found a set of rollerblades! She got a fun Stitch union suit at our next stop (Fred Meyer) during a stop for a dinner ingredient. We all got a kick out of watching her slide across the floor muttering "Stitch is coming" in a silly Stitch impersonation. Later that evening I stopped at Kidz Resale before Mia's choir practice for boy clothes. They had a good selection of pants in Phillip's size that were comfy and durable. I forgot my wallet so ran into lots of inconveniences being without money. There's not much worse than leaving a cookie at Sodalicious because they didn't have Apple Pay...same story at Hobby Lobby. I am most happy to report the few wardrobe updates I thrifted worked out splendidly. Then is it was making sure the boys had decent hair cuts and I had makeup my eyes would not reject (of the allergic sort). Amelia bruised her tailbone the first time she tried out her rollerblades. She slipped and...smack...right on her cute bum down on the driveway. 

Everett stumbled on a jackpot of free scrap wood from the Ostler's. He made a plan for the wood then executed his plan to make a table and stool out of the wood. Sarah helped him cut the wood into correct lengths. He finished the rest of his plan and assembled a really fun mini table with a seat. He was so happy about his accomplishment! The girls wanted to try out his new creation, he said they could use it for a $1 per use. Next morning he came down to find the girls had put a table cloth on his table and were eating breakfast (for free). He came unglued. Oatmeal scattered across the floor as he ripped off the bowls and cloth. Mia tried to mediate. I was in the shower. Then the fight escalated. Soon Phillip called Everett "a B****," Everett not wanting to be outdone threw the F-bomb back at Phillip. Wow! Just wow. I sequestered Everett in my room until I was decent enough to deal with the fiasco. He told me his version (omitting his bad word but telling me all about Phillip's cuss word). The boys got their first taste of bar soap. There was no electronics for the day and no fun allowed. It was quite the epic day. Evelyn had her own tantrum later. I was an emotional mess inside! Justin lead a family meeting before devotional about cussing, we beat that topic like a dead horse. Sheesh. 

The kids spent several days raking and blowing leaves to make an epic leaf pile. The wind dispersed their pile at every turn. They finally gave up and piled the leaves into the trampoline! I watched Evelyn rub her head across the trampoline catching leaves in her hair. She could've passed for an Army sniper wearing a ghillie suit. Justin had the honor of bathing and brushing out those leaves. The report was "It took forever to get the last remnants of the leaves out of her hair last night. It required a bath, a shower, a lot of conditioner and brushing to get the last little buggers out of her hair." She, of course repeated the hair incident the next day. 

Thursday Everett, Evelyn, and Josie had dental cleanings. Josie sat in the chair like a big girl with her mouth wide open for two minutes before her cleaning started. We enjoyed a long laugh! She looked like a baby bird. Evelyn made it through her cleaning with no fits or crying, YAY! The kids earned a clean bill of dental health, a toy, and of course new tooth brushes/floss/paste. I ruined their newly cleaned teeth by making a double batch of caramel. We invited over friends to help us decorate caramel apples. Used up 22 apples, half the caramel, and my reserve of sprinkles. The delicious treats then sat on the counter rotting until they went into the garbage on Sunday. My Great Depression grandparents turned over in their grave at the same time. 

Linder Farms hosted a homeschool day at their pumpkin patch on Friday! We joined many, many other families including the Ostlers for a lovely day outside. I love how each pumpkin patch is different and the same. I hear Linder Farms is closing after this season, the event was used to fund missions for their family the last kid is leaving this year! Mission accomplished. The kids immediately split up and raced off to enjoy all the fun spots. Mia volunteered to chase after Oliver for a while. The boys were a team, Ambree and Evelyn, and Sarah with her littles, me with Josie. Josie spent lots of time on the swings! She loved that ride best. I got quite a sunburn on my neck from standing in direct sun for so long. We were able to pick a free pumpkin on the hay ride around the patches. Evelyn balanced her pumpkin on her head. Let me tell you picking the perfect pumpkin is serious business! Josie spotted her baby pumpkin right away. The other kids flitted from pumpkin to pumpkin in search of the best and biggest. Amelia and I went back to the patch later to pick some specialty pumpkins like a porcelain doll, speckled hound, turk's turban, and jarrahdale. We ate a picnic lunch together when the crew got hangry. We stayed until our water bottle ran dry around 4 pm. An order of mini doughnuts revived our spirits. Good wholesome family fun for 5.5 hours, we beat our current pumpkin patch time record. A large box waited on our porch when we got home containing 3 cute baby Yoda squishmallows. Aunt Miekka clued me in on the release of Star Wars and Disney character pillows. So many cute things to hug. Yoda belongs to team BYU just like his parents and grandparents. The girls, especially Evelyn and Ambree have decorated our driveway with lots of fun art. Josie and Evelyn get into art contests, trying to beat how many art/love notes each girl can make Justin in a day. He get spoiled with lots of fun art from both girls. Josie favorite theme is Justin (heart) Josie drawings. 

Saturday the men worked on the yard. Justin hardcore edged the lawn a couple weeks ago...it looks amazing. Justin had Mia, Phillip, and Everett help him switch out his bad tire with a new one. They kids got to place and operate the hydraulic lift, the bolts, and such. That was a really good life lesson. The girls took a trip to Target for a couple more just-in-case items for photos. Josie spent her allowance on an "IB" Pet, really it is a VIP Pet, but she will correct you. Three days after getting her new toy the hair is impossibly tangled and most the pieces scattered to unknown places. She carries around the Amazon toy catalog like her personal bible. She circled about half the book. Evelyn helped me make some cute new hair accessories for our photo session. Evelyn was content to use the glue gun to her fancy and make lots of cute clips and bows. Felt nice to whip out creative supplies and make something pretty. Josie even came in a while later and made a few cute clips of her own. 

Justin was called to be the Deacons advisor with our neighbor Dustin. It will be nice to have Justin in the program when Phillip advances in a couple months. After church I had a mass of hair to curl, Amelia's alone took me 40 minutes. We left early so I could do the Ostler's family photos before ours. Parking was scarce. We were a bit late but it all worked out in the end. While waiting for my cousin I took photos of my kids and groupings that I wasn't in. Photos went by way too fast. I'm glad that is over. I quite enjoyed spending a bit of time with Alexia. Our kids are very similar in age so that was fun for all my kiddos. I brought along chocolate bars as bribes. I jokingly asked if Sarah was making dinner for us as well...she invited us over. Dustin made s huge pot Hungarian Borcht. That was delicious. Then we played the Thimble Game, remember the one with a cap of water and everyone guesses? So fun! I forgot about that game.