20 June 2017

Farewell to Arizona...for Justin

Now that I am back home in Nebraska the past week almost seems like a dream. I know it happened but for a moment I can live in ignorance. This is much harder than I expected. Seems my heart got anchored to Sidney whether or not I wanted it to. I endorse small town living, mostly because of the folks you get to know and love.

We started off last week with a trip to Scottsbluff. The girls and I drove up there to get Amelia fit with a new retainer. Once there Mia realized the old retainer got left behind in spite of several reminders. The office almost refused to replace it without seeing the old one. We spent 10 minutes in the new office to get a new mold made, we had to return 3 hours later to try on the new one. The new office is pretty sleek and fun. There is an indoor playground for the kids to burn off energy. We played longer on the playground than Mia spent in the ortho chair. To burn time we had some "girl" bonding at the "mall." I used quotations because the mall is hardly a mall anymore. It only has 10-15 open shops, more than 70% is closed. Still to a 10 year old it was amazing. We went to Bath and Body Works to spray on body cologne, try new lotions, and even lip glosses. Next we skipped over to the rock shop and admired crystals with special powers. Lastly, the department store for makeovers. The ladies at the Lancome table were quite accommodating. As a kid I was always too embarrassed to try out a makeup counter, not so as an adult. All day we heard news about a super cell developing over Wyoming and Nebraska. We missed all the fun weather by a couple miles. A few tornadoes touched down and ripped up a barn over in Bayard. Justin was quite busy while I was away. He combed through the food storage and chucked all the goods more than 2 years expired. Guess that amounted to over 640 pounds in canned goods, condiments, mixes, spices, etc. Made my heart sink down to my toes. I admit to shedding more than a few tears over that loss.

Tuesday we worked on cleaning the house and finishing a couple rooms that needed some magic. Justin spent a good portion of the morning packing and sorting his stuff to take to AZ now and the rest to follow. He had a couple large suitcases because he needed an assortment of casual, business, and church clothes to last several months. I finally got Josie her birth certificate ordered, that means all our vital documents are at last complete. I packed in a rush several moments before bedtime and early the next morning. Phillip adopted a single black weight lifting glove a couple weeks ago. He wears it all the time! Ok, Michael Jackson. All the girls went to the Beauty Salon for much needed hair cuts. Evelyn got her first hair cut in a very long while (it might actually be her first haircut). Sheena organized a lovely farewell BBQ for us that night. Everyone who came brought a picnic item to share. I was delighted my lovely friend Nora was in attendance. I love that woman! She whispered, "Sister Jenni, I fell like a minority, the only brown person in attendance." I felt the same way a day later in Las Vegas, NM where white folks are scarce. Amelia disappeared with Katelyn walking around the pond several times. Phillip got whacked with a stick on the head, he was not happy about it at all. I'm not sure Everett even ate dinner, he was scarce, playing his little heart out. Good folks, good food, good conversation.

Mayflower sent over a surveyor to critically survey and estimate the amount of stuff we had to move. He arrived around 10:30 am. I took him over to my storage unit first. He has a handy program where he enters the amount of items we have by average weight and description. I'm sure this was the first time he entered the number 300+ for number of photo frames up on the walls. Yehhhhh, I might have a photo frame (and photo) addiction. I estimated that our weight would be about 20,000 lbs. Dad Call estimated 14,000. Justin 'fessed up his estimation after the food storage at 22,000. I think that disqualifies him because he did not say his guess before the surveyor arrived. Justin was pretty close. I think the estimation was around 24,000 lbs. The 900 lbs gun safe, a 500 lbs motorcycle, and food storage were the heavy items. Made us sweat a bit as the number kept going higher and higher. Guess more purging is my main task once again. Or figuring out a way to haul some heavy items if the cost is worth the effort. We will hear next week what the monetary cost will be.

We rushed the kids out the door with the swim bag to get some quick lunch at Mcd's before saying our goodbyes. I'm glad it was quick and the kids were excited. I think that made it easier on Justin! Monday Justin's truck decided to break down and ended up back in Rocky's shop instead of headed to AZ. Justin, Josie, and I crammed (literally) into ole Betty Blue for the long, hot trek to Arizona. It was just that: long and hot. Josie entertained herself for a while playing with all the bags of stuff within her reach like baby food, diapers, and baby books. Getting such a late start makes it really hard on those little ones. She was done before the sun even set, we still had 4 hours left to travel. I wedged myself into the backseat with piles of stuff keeping me safe from bodily harm. Josie and I sweated it out together for the last two hours. I let her roam free in the back seat once the sun was completely down. I rather did enjoy the stunning view of the Milky Way as we drove. We stayed the night in Las Vegas...New Mexico. Imagine the opposite of the Nevada version. I was prepared to stay up most of the night with a restless baby. Instead she decided to sleep heavily the entire night. I was most grateful. Justin and I nerded ourselves out listening to audio books most of the journey. We did spend some time talking and sharing emotions. LOL. We bonded. He refused to make up silly songs with me and dance to rap music so that was an epic road trip failure. It was quite stifling in the back of the car with a crabby baby. Maybe that cramped our style.

We made pretty good time driving the remaining 9 hours on Thursday. As we headed down from the Show Low area into northern Mesa Saguaro Cactus suddenly appeared in the landscape. We drove straight to the Auxier's home, Laura's parents, where some friends threw an early birthday party for Laura. Her parents have a pool so that is the place to party. Josie was quite relieved to get out of the hot car and her carseat. It was a classic Arizona evening: hot, dry, and sunny. The three of us did not last very long after dinner. Spenser guided us to their home a few miles away and helped get us settled. Once again Josie slept all night long another much needed respite. Justin also slept all night long. It was a good night.

Early the next morning we met with Jared, the real estate agent Spenser suggested. We checked out 6 homes in the first few hours. Mostly, we left that experience with our hearts pounding and feeling quite nervous. All the homes we starred online were either in terrible neighborhoods, next to busy streets, or much smaller than the photos conveyed. We quickly realized that our budget would pretty much only allow us to afford a small 3 bedroom home with a much smaller footprint than our current home. That means getting rid of quite a bit more stuff, large items like furniture, my photo frames, and photography props. Made me feel quite queasy to be honest. Justin looked up more homes in different parts of the city, even parts of Tempe just to see what that city offered. We met up with Jared again that evening around 5 pm and looked at more homes than I care to admit. We found one or two that seemed to be a better fit with slightly more square footage. By this time both of us were quite challenged to hold it together and not spaz out. Thankfully, Josie stayed with her cousins so we did not need to deal with her whining about all the car time. Jared drove us around in his air conditioned car. The best parts were visiting with Spenser and Laura after the kids went to bed. Those are some good people right there.

Josie did not sleep well Friday night. She was awake from 1:30 until 5 am rolling around and whining. I spent the night on the carpet with her diapered bum on my face, or a finger in my nose, or sloppy kisses on my cheeks. We narrowed down the search a bit more and went to see 6-7 more homes. The first home on the Saturday list was by far the nicest for the listing price. We saw the other homes just to make sure. We liked this particular home because it seems more rural than the other homes, the neighborhood has a good vibe, the home itself has a bit more room, and the schools are rated A+. Perks include a nice pool, landscaping, and a close chapel. Justin started to worry about owning a home with a pool. This home comes with a high pool fence and no other entry points besides the gate. Still felt like a pit in our bellies! We really felt like renting was not an option, complete stupor of thought when we started down that road. By the time we parted ways with Jared we both were hungry and cranky. A meal helped significantly. Across the parking lot from where we ate lunch was a barbershop. Justin got a hot shave with a straight razor for Father's Day. Justin said it was quite relaxing and a bit strange to have some girl holding a straight razor to one's face. While Justin napped the Call kids filled up water balloons for a water fight. Laura wanted a water fight for her birthday! While showing Spenser the home we liked best, his dialogue about the area, the home, and such brought quite a positive light to our number one choice. For us, his input verified what we knew in our hearts but had a hard time seeing. Justin had Jared write up an offer with a deadline for Monday night at 8 pm. Laura chose to eat Mexican food for dinner at a favorite restaurant. Yum.

The Call kids are pretty cool kids. I loved how Renee loves to sing Disney songs, the amount of reading all the girls accomplish, Ellie's connection with Josie, Anna's thoughtfulness, Anson's Lego creations, and how much Gary loved Josie. Josie was quite taken with Gary and their dog Oreck. Early Father's Day morning Josie and I were at the airport headed back to Nebraska. It was hard to leave Justin there in Phoenix on his special day. We can make it day by day with that prayer in our hearts. Getting through the airport with Josie squirming to get out of the front carrier and a heavy backpack was quite fun. We qualified for an extra special backpack check since several food pouches were inside. Josie did quite well her first plane ride. She and I read books most of the time. Once she started to get bored and tired she simply fell asleep in my lap until the plane started to let passengers off after docking. I got my checked bag and car seat from baggage claim. I could not find where my ride home was waiting. Appears I was on the wrong level. Evelyn was so excited that I actually was at the air-board. Jen drove the van to pick me up with Evelyn along for the ride.

After all the stress from driving and house hunting, coming HOME, felt so amazing. The kids were excited to see me. I was excited to see them. The familiar draw of home seeped all that stress right out of my body. I wished the same could happen for Justin staying with Spenser and about to start a new job the next day. Evelyn was alarmed Justin was not coming home. Poor kid. The next 6-8 weeks will be a long time without our favorite Daddy Justin. Everett practiced Away in a Manger to sing for Justin over our video call for scriptures and prayer. All the kids sang the Primary song, "When Daddy Comes Home!" Evelyn wished Justin a Happy Father's Day every other sentence. I hope he felt the love from us that night and every night we talk.

My heart is so grateful for all those who helped watch the kids in my absence. Amy (and Ryley) McManis stayed every night with the kids from 5 pm until 7:30 am. Setti from down the street came to watch the kids until play dates arrived. Mia stayed with Rachel one day and Katelyn for two days. She even got to spend the night and go to a swim meet with Katelyn! The rest of the kids played with the Talbots one day and the Campos family the next. Brother and Sister Cudaback stayed all Saturday with Phillip, Everett, and Evelyn. The Siler family helped get the kids ready for church, stayed with them during and after church. So many moving parts to account for but we all managed it just fine.

11 June 2017

Gold Rush Days

Monday after lunch Nan Mull, the real estate agent we worked with 8 years ago, came back over to help list our home back onto the market. Thank our lucky stars we cleaned up the house over the weekend. The kids and I worked on cleaning up the basement that morning. Justin and I signed the plethora of documents. Nan wanted to snap photos of our home before she left. I was quite embarrassed since the house was still quite cluttered from the mess of organizing and sorting. We worked up a sweat clearing out the minor clutter right before the photos were taken. She left us with a For Sale sign in the yard. So bittersweet. Phillip was 6 weeks old and Amelia 2.5 when we had that same type of sign in our yard. As I recall that morning's work was quite difficult. I ended up sobbing on the couch upstairs because Amelia had such a rotten attitude. She was acting like a royal pain in the bum, every word she said was rude, contrary, and demeaning. Phillip made me a card after he found me crying. His card was a picture of me crying and him giving me a hug. Amelia silently dropped off Josie in my lap then disappeared. She reappeared a while later crying herself. I think all the emotions of moving are starting to catch up. We took the afternoon off and went swimming. On most levels it felt like the wrong move to reward the stinkers, but more than that I needed time off from the house and space from the kids. Josie loved the water. She enjoyed pushing herself around the shallow zero entry area on her belly. After an hour she was clinging so tightly to me there was no way I could remove her! Poor thing was freezing. I cuddled her up in a towel until she slowly relaxed. Evelyn was a true mermaid. That kid was all over the place, jumping, spinning, face under the water! I let Amelia go swim. Her scar looked fully healed, no sense in prolonging the inevitable. My peonies are in full bloom. Mmmmmm, my favorite scent and flower! For FHE this week we pulled out our 72 hour kits and updated them. Last time we did that was when Amelia was 5 and so on. The kids were amazed we had special backpacks squirreled away for emergencies. We chatted about the preparation mission of the church while we pulled out tiny clothes and shoes. Phillip even tried to put on his tiny size 3 undies, ha ha ha, so funny. The kids now have updated clothes and shoes that actually fit them in their packs, Evelyn and Josie now have their own packs. Rest easy the Calls are now prepared. 

Tuesday my main focus was to gut out the kitchen and dining room areas. I pulled everything out, drawer, cabinet, and cupboard at a time. It took me the entire day to collect, 3 large trash bags later, a medium sized donation pile, and a vacuum full of dust. Sister Jones took the older kids swimming from 1-5 pm, Josie napped that entire time as well, so I was alone and focused. We barely had dinner, dinner is reduced to stuff I found frozen in the freezer the hour before. After the kids were in bed I pulled out the washer and dryer to clean that space. We collect treasures under the appliances. I finally found Elsa's hair, half of her body (Lego body), the missing screw to the dryer door, and several dust pans full of odds and ends. You might believe I never clean that space, I almost believe it, except I did the same thing 5-6 months prior. Somehow I dislodged the draining hose from the washer. I started a load of wash as I finished some ironing. Thank the stars I was there when the hose came loose and drenched the area under the appliances. Once again I wedged free the appliances and mopped up the mess. I regretted the day ended, it was one of those days when I was on a roll and full of motivation to get things done. Before Everett went swimming, he asked if Dad would loan him back some dollars he earned from the Lemonade stand, he was not in consensus that the money should go to Justin. He wanted a cash horde for the snack stand at the pool. We also enjoyed having Ella over all day, Alison worked at the rental properties in Sidney. We love our Ella time. 

Wednesday was a dreary day. I took a breather that day. Got a nice long shower, went food shopping, and took a nap on the couch. Finally, I took up the gauntlet to find child care coverage for the kids while Justin, Josie, and I are gone next week. Finding care for 4 kids was quite the challenge. I still need coverage for Saturday. The dreariness built up to a massive storm that ravaged the area, went from a back band on the northern horizon to a nasty hail storm in less than 15 minutes. I really thought the storm would pass us by since it seemed to head north, but no, several minutes after noticing the storm the kids and I were huddled in the basement. Large quarter sized hail pummeled the area, my lovely peonies were shredded. The kids cowered in the basement while I admired the forceful storm. Sheets of rain gushed horizontally off our roof. I heard a loud shattering sound, was convinced a window was damaged. After the storm we headed outside to find our neighbor's tree was split down the middle. Evelyn is still talking about the hail. She ate a couple hail stones after Phillip convinced her it tasted like snow. 

Ella was back for the day on Thursday. Amelia was not in the best mood. She is convinced Ella only like sports and is not her friend. Indeed, Ella played softball with the boys for quite some time, much to Amelia's annoyance. I was glad Ella was willing to entertain the boys. A while later I heard Ella reading a large stack of books to Josie and Evelyn. Soon the boys brought her a stack of books. Made me melt to hear her taking time to read to my kids. I wish Amelia did that more, she and I are way to alike! Once again I sent the kids to the pool for the afternoon. Tessa watched them for 2 hours then brought home Evelyn. The older kids were on their own, with Ella's help, and several other adults who I knew would be there. I spent the afternoon cleaning out the storage room and the basement toys. When I picked up my kids everyone was crying and tired. Everett kicked Amelia in the throat (she was trying to dislodge him from his floatie), Amelia was crying because Ella ignored her and played with her friends, Phillip was fine until Amelia punched him. Gah! The kids went to bed early and got up much happier. 

Justin had his last day of work at Cabela's. He was pretty emotional all day knowing this was the end of a chapter in his work life. He told me later that day, come Monday he will be unemployed for the first time in over 15 years. Amelia had a Dr appointment at the downtown Denver office for her wound check. We stopped to wish Justin luck before leaving for Denver. We all gave him a hug and encouragement. The following 5 hours in the van were boring. I listened to the Griffon Chronicles book II while the kids watched the new Beauty and the Beast. We downed a quick lunch at Del Taco on the way down. Due to traffic and a couple unplanned potty breaks we were a few minutes late. The kids were wound up to the max! I had Everett show Evelyn how to do jumping jacks, that was hilarious. The boys fought over the wheeled stool until I put it under restriction. Amelia's scar looks great...she can now go swimming. Blush. She is walking with just a hint of limping on her left side, no crutches. Yay!!! After the appointment we stopped at Target to get a birthday gift for Katelyn and another party the boys were invited to. We headed home right after that, 5 hours in the van for 15 minutes with the Dr's PA. 

Saturday we tackled the garage and storage shed. That took us almost all day long. Dusty work that is. Amelia kept whining and whining about going to Gold Rush days or that she was booooored. The boys and Evelyn kept themselves completely entertained with treasured finds from the garage. She helped keep Josie happy by playing with her, that was the best move young lady! I appreciate the help. We took a break at 11 am, went to play at the Gold Rush Days. This year our ward had a tent in the textile area working on a quilt and hand spinning thread from wool. In the same area a lady worked on a trundle sewing machine, Sister Hermes had her wool threader and loom ready for those interested in trying out the techniques. The kids got to weave some yarn at the last tent. This year the main attraction was a large pile of real lincoln logs, bark included! We were glad for the gentle breeze that kept the temperature down a bit. After lunch I took several loads to the Salvation Army and worked on the basement linen closet. Justin resumed working on the garage after his nap. Amelia was moping around spraying weeds she was sooooooo bored. I conspired with Justin to start a water fight with the hose, some pitchers and bowls. Amelia finally had the smile on her face she lost a few days ago. Everett was not keen on the idea of getting wet (strange, since I recall him splashing in puddles fully dressed a few days prior). He ran inside, only came out after changing into a swim suit and with the promise that he could throw water on me. The water felt so cool and delightful! My kids are novice water fighters. Justin was a trusty hose handler, no shenanigans there. We enjoyed some laughter and comic relief as a family there on the side of our home. We needed that so much. Dinner was easily made: fresh berry burke. Nothing tastes better than burke for dinner on a hot, hot day. The entire bowl of it was gone before too long. Justin and I got to sneak out and watch Wonder Woman after the kids were asleep. Our neighbor Josh came over and held down the couch while we were away. I feel empowered with girl power now. Go! Women! You are Amazons! Hi-ya! 

The talks in church today came from the new Christiansen family. Seemed tailor made for Justin and I, as they talked about having faith in trials. Sidney needs this new family! It almost seemed as though they are our replacements. Glad we could meet them in passing. It will all be okay in the end. 

**Justin got me a new pair of Birkenstocks (at my request) from the store. I now have two new pairs of Birks to get me through the next few years. We will miss our employee discount. 

07 June 2017

Grandparents Come to Town

Evelyn is terrified of thunder and lightening. All the fireworks last year turned her into one cute scaredy cat. She hates storms but loves, and I mean loves, when a rainbow comes after the rain. Sunday evening after a really nice storm the last rays of the day shone through the watery air and made two amazing rainbows. Evelyn even dared to step out into the misted rain to admire the sight. She jumped for joy and danced to her own rainbow dance. The boys admired the rainbow for a moment, the water in the gutters held greater sway. Justin yelled at Everett to take off his nice Sunday pants before getting wet. So he did just that. Off came the pants, on stayed the undies, and that boy was off making waves. Amelia ventured outside for a bit to enjoy the calm after storm. Phillip carefully carried a brimming bowl of ice cream into the livingroom. He asked if I wanted to hear a joke...sure...yes! What does a boy eat on Sunday? A SUNDAY! Hahahahahahaha. He was quite proud of his own joke. Justin seemed to feel a bit better Sunday evening after a very hard day.

Memorial Day came and went without too much bluster. We rallied the kids to help us clean the house before the Calls arrived from Virginia. It stayed clean for a couple hours. Mostly, Justin and I worked on the garage and little things around the house and yard. I cleaned out the coat closet, keeping only one set of winter gear per child for the odd visits to snow territory during the winter. I started a yard sale (slash) donation pile in the garage. The kids and I went to Walmart for some food and a couple necessities. The grandparents arrived around 3:30. Evelyn was in awe, she was certain Santa came to stay at her house. When she first saw Grandpa from the front window she yelled at me: "Mom! Get the cookies, milk, and carrots for Santa! He's HERE!" She warmed up pretty quick, the beard helped immensely. A while later she called him Santa-pa-pa. Having the Calls here was quite the miracle for us. They wanted to fly but ended up driving, the timing worked out to be the best possible for Justin. No one had any idea that God's hand was present in a simple graduation trip out to Utah. They extended their stay from overnight to 3 nights. What a complete blessing for us to have them during a time of need in Justin's life. Just shows that God is aware and will provide a way, laying down the path months in advance. We enjoyed grilled burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and chips for dinner. The boys got all the luggage from the car down to the basement, happily helped in fact. Phillip was more than happy to show off his huge muscles.

Tuesday we all went to Walmart again then off to Cabela's to shop for stuff. We got a disc-o bed and three air mats for camping. The grandparents were enthralled with ball caps and wrap around sunglasses. While the baby and other adults napped I took the kids swimming for the first time this season. Evelyn insisted on her Mermaid tail suit, I tried to convince her to wear the top over a swimsuit, nope...that was not happening. She went with her mermaid boobies on, I'm glad she kept the boobie covers on. I chucked all my swim tops last week so did not have anything to wear. The kids were just fine swimming while I watched. Evelyn and Everett are quite the little swimmers. Amelia was on the bored side since she could not submerge her left leg at all. She helped me watch Evelyn. Phillip disappeared into the depths of the lazy river. I enjoyed the mild weather and some time in the sun. Evelyn would carefully gather up her tail around her waist when she went down the slide. What a goof ball. I took a couple quick photos of Katelyn's sister (Kiera). She has the most amazing green eyes and blonde hair on a child. I needed a creative outlet, we convinced her to model for me against a lovely snowball bush in full bloom. Sigh! The photos turned out exactly as I imagined. Think garden fairy. Grandpa scared Everett pretty good. Everett tried to sneak up on a napping Grandpa, Grandpa took advantage and made Everett jump 5 feet into the air he was so startled. Phillip and Evelyn tipped the Power Wheels on one side. Phillip wiggled his foot under the body to press the power button. Evelyn filled the empty tire wells with rocks. Phillip pushed the button to make the rocks fly out of the wheel. He said they were playing rock pottery wheels. All fun and games until someone gets beaned in the noggin.

Justin went back to work after 3 days off for Amelia surgery and Memorial Day. The kids were bored. All of a sudden Phillip got a bee in his bonnet to do a Lemonade Stand. He got the table out to the curb, enlisted the kids to help him gather chairs, cups, drinks, and signs. Pretty soon our corner was a busy enterprise. The Grandparents and I watched as the kids collected money after yelling at the tops of their lungs until someone stopped! "Lemonade!!! $0.25 a cup!" The kids offered lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and pink lemonade. Grandpa offered the use of a cooler to keep the drinks cold. After 3-4 hours of work the kids earned $30 after paying me for supplies. Not too bad for a morning's work. When Justin got home from work the kids donated all their money to him. Made Justin cry! They knew Justin was worried about selling our home and buying a new one. Everett made tracks up and down the block as the lemonade runner on his new scooter. At one time the police chief stopped by for a cold cup. He sent the rest of his officers on duty to spend a quarter on some juice. Bless their hearts. Small town living is a very good thing. Evelyn wanted a ballet bun in her hair, so I fixed her up all pretty. Grandpa took the kids to Old McDonald's Farm for lunch. Josie got fast handful of ketchup when I was not looking. She looked like a vampire baby. Josie showed off her crazy couch skills to the Grandparents. She gets a wild look in her eyes to match the smile on her face. She runs up and down the couch, flops down, stands up, and repeats. She made an uneasy truce with Grandpa. He coaxed to sit with him while I took a shower. He read her some books and made animal sounds. She let him hold her for a bit. That is progress. After lunch the kids closed up shop. Katelyn came over to play for a while shortly before lunch. The kids played on the slip and slide while Grandpa watched. I worked on sorting through two hall closets and Josie's bedroom. The kids were quite excited to have Bulgogi (now called Korean Tacos) and introduce it to the grandparents. Such a delicious meal, fast, and healthy! This time around I used a different marinade for chicken. After dinner Grandpa gave Justin a father's blessing. I think we all had teary eyes after the first few words. Justin kept track of the blessing, it was wonderful and gave him many personal reminders. My favorite was when Grandpa reminded him to call on those who passed on when he is unable to cope. Justin often thinks of his cousin who passed away. What a gift! We can ask for Heavenly help from those who passed on before us, I know I often forget this option. We all talked way too late. Evelyn crawled into Grandpa's lap to seek shelter from a lightening storm. She feel asleep as we talked away. I think that little creature asleep in his lap was quite a delight to his heart. Sure made mine feel all cozy.

I was lazy (not) and slept in past 7:50, the grandparents pulled away before Evelyn could say goodbye to Santa. She was all shades of unhappy, luckily they were not too far away so came back for a hug from us all again. We sure enjoyed their visit.

The rest of us quickly got ready for the day so we could head to Scottsbluff for Amelia's ortho appointment. Her retainer needs replacing so we wanted to get that done before we leave town. First off we got the van's oil changed. It was only a couple month's past due, yikes. Normally, Justin changes it but the move has made things a bit crazy. The kids were starving since it was close to lunch. I made the kids pile into one of the "party carts," ya know...the extra long ones that seat 3 kids. Well, I fit 5 kids into the cart and we trekked across the parking lot to get sandwiches. Amelia was soooooooo embarrassed. Score 10 points for mom! I lost the earned points 20 minutes later. I called the clinic to get their new address, during the call we realized the appointment was actually in Sidney. When making the appointment neither the receptionists or I confirmed the location. I headed to SB because they can only make impressions there. She scheduled me for Sidney since they were in town the next week. Doh! I regretted the lost time needed to sort and pack stuff up, regretted it for 3 minutes. Instead the kids and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the zoo (per Evelyn the Zoom). The main attraction was the splash pad. Even Josie got some action in! I caught her several times standing up on her own, ever so pleased with her little self. Our favorite animal was the large Bengal Tiger. He was pacing and growling much to our delight. One little raccoon put his paw on the window where Phillip's hand was resting. He was pretty stoked. The afternoon was warm but not overly hot, the cool water and breeze cooled us down. Phillip and Everett requested summer haircuts after dinner. Everett looks like a bald eagle now with his fuzzy head and brown eyes.

Friday was quite stormy. Amelia invited Lily over to play. I think the girls emerged from her room a couple times to eat food. They had an elaborate imaginative game going on all day. I found the boys outside with the hose trying to wash Justin's truck. Thankfully, the windows were closed. I have many fond memories of playing outside with the hose! It was fascinating. Phillip washed off his bike, the front door, and the picture window for 25 cents. The kids enjoyed another jaunt in the rain when the clouds finally started to let loose. It rained off and on for a good couple of hours. Everett wanted to earn some money as well. He let Phillip make up a card, he signed it and drew a picture on one side. He came up to me with puppy-dog eyes, a hug, and a sloppy kiss. I accepted his gift, after which he asked if I like it. Of course! I love it! Well...then can I have a quarter for all my hard work? Oh gosh. I gave my melty chocolate boy a quarter for his efforts. I had to run a couple afternoon errands. The Salvation Army, my storage unit, and the library. My tire ran over something between the storage unit and the library. My tire went flat in less than 2 minutes. I called Justin from the library (because of course I left my phone at home). We jogged the 7 blocks home. Evelyn cried the entire time because a storm was brewing, lightening and thunder galore. Just as we reached our front stoop the rain thundered down. I arranged to have someone meet me back at the library once the rain stopped. He jacked up the van and took the tire to the shop. I few minutes later he called to tell me the tire was not repairable. Grrrrrr, I had to buy a new (used rear) tire. Turns out a piece of wood cut into a triangle, 1.5 inches wide, 2 inches tall caused all the damage. Dude. That was a gnarley tire accident. After dinner we loaded up the van to get Justin's car. It was KSID Crusin' Night! One of our favorite nights in Sidney. We drove up and down main street with the kids out of seatbelts, on laps, bouncing up and down with the novelty. This year I drove while Justin manned the radio and tackled kids. Josie is a pretty good driver. She liked to stand up, her hair was just spiky enough to get in my way. Still she giggled and laughed. Evelyn is also a good driver. She was content to sit on my lap and help steer. Phillip really wanted to drive, alas, his request sort of scared me. Once the rain stopped the windows came down and kids faces started to appear. The kids got some cotton candy to snack on. Such a lovely night to enjoy out on the town.

Saturday we worked pretty hard. Justin found an app that keeps track of items donated (like to Salvation Army). At first it was overwhelming to enter in the mountainous pile of stuff I collected in the garage. Once I caught up it was pretty easy. I opted to donate instead of hold a garage sale. I love to garage sale shop, but hold one? Eh, not my style. I balk at pricing everything, sorting, and taking the time to have one. With the app to help me I collectively donated $876 dollars (estimated tax deduction), much more than a garage sale would bring in. By Wednesday the next week, I finished sorting the upstairs areas. I am a bit excited to see what I can donate in the basement. Muhahahaha. Justin cleared out the attic, so we could sort that stuff. So much stuff! It is crazy how much stuff accumulates when one is not moving every few years. We went to bed tired, dusty, sweaty, and totally worked through. The best kind of feeling there is. Justin chopped down some bushes on the north side and also mowed the lawn. The boys donned gloves to help drag yard debris over to the truck. Phillip wore one black weight lifting glove for a couple days. He reminded us of a white Michael Jackson. We have a meeting with the Real Estate Agent this coming Monday afternoon. I was motivated to get the house whipped into shape in case she decided to list it right then and take photos.

Josie turned into quite the jabber monkey. We love to hear her sweet words as she explains what is going on around her. She is teething two more top and two bottom teeth! Four at once makes for a cranky baby and mommy. Still, she is happy as long as she is clinging to me somehow. I spotted Evelyn admiring herself in the mirror, posing like a model, flipping up her hair and blowing air kisses. Ha ha ha.

04 June 2017

Everett is Six

This boy. That smile. Those brown eyes. His imagination. Out of all my kids Everett is the best at entertaining himself. He often gets stuck in some otherworldly realm with a blaster or weapon. He is our classic middle child. He seeks attention and craves validation more that the others. He is so awesome playing on teams like soccer. Everett is out entrepreneur child. This week he lovingly made me a nice card, then charged me $0.25 for his effort. Oh gosh! That is the best ever. I realized on our little date that this kid needs more alone time with his parents. Out of all my kids he had the least baby photos taken, probably a result of having Phillip as a toddler at the same time he was born. Still, probably more than most folks ever take.

This is one smart cookie. He is a numbers man. He is a shape connoisseur, his favorite shape is a dodecahedron. Yeah, that's what I thought. This kid loves computer games. I have to constantly remind myself to watch his electronics time because he can spend all day no problems.

At his well-child he weighed 44 lbs, 40.5% and measured 44 inches tall (24.7%). His height felt wrong because he is taller than he is weight wise, more slender. I measured him at home, he measured a full inch taller, 45 inches at 43%. That feels much better. His mouth definitely works, he can talk the legs off a donkey. We love our angry squirrel, man diva, Everada loves Enchiladas. Squeeze that boy tight.