22 August 2017

Days of Packing Paper, Boxes, and Changes































I need to get this entry written down before I forget it all. I will still probably forget a lot since most of the events are over two weeks old. In the world of Mom, that is a long time to remember.

Sunday August 6
We said farewell to many, many loving friends at church. Oh how we will miss our ward family. Sidney ward became our local family in all the ways a normal extended family fills in the gaps. We will carry those memories in our hearts for many years to come. Morley Haley opened his mission call at 6 pm! Quite the exciting event for Morley. He had lots of non-members in attendance from Dalton. He was called to serve in the Argentina Santa Fe mission! The spirit was so strong as he read his letter for us all. I am lucky he was in my Gospel Doctrine class...what a valiant young man.

Monday August 6
A team of 3 packers arrived at our home from Cheyenne, their truck loaded with boxes, tape, and paper. They mostly spent the day in the basement packing boxes and boxes. The day before I separated out what we needed to take with us to survive until items were unpacked (clothes, shoes, bedding, medicines, basic kitchen supplies, towels, backpacks, stuffed animals, kid books, some toys, and my camera). As the packers progressed the more items we found that could not be packed up. They were very stringent, not packing anything liquid, flammable, or gel like (all the kid and craft paints, food, cleaners, etc.). Even with all the food storage items bagged separately they would not pack those up. My huge jar of $100 honey was a sore loss. That night after the packers left Justin and I decided to rent a small trailer to haul the liquids, stuff we needed, AND two twin mattresses for Justin and I to sleep on until our household goods arrived in Gilbert. Talk about luxury. While the packers were ripping tape Justin and I added stuff to the growing pile in the living area. Amelia went to spend the day with Katelyn. Phillip and Everett played with the Talbots since the boys were getting in the packers way. Everything was curious and novel! One lady said that Everett was quite the chatter box! Indeed he is. Evelyn and Josie stayed at home with us.

Tuesday August 7
Justin left early that morning to pick up a trailer in Sterling, CO. He met up with Karissa Markum in Potter so Phillip could have one last play day with his good friend Conner. It's so hard to see the kids leave their friends! Everett spent the day with Zachary. Amelia and Evelyn went to play with Sister McManis for the afternoon. Once again a team of packers arrived at 8:30 am, this time a team of four. One guy packed up the garage while the rest packed up the main floor. Josie's room was packed up last, she got one last good nap in her room before life went totally to heck. Shortly after arriving one lady noticed a pool of water in the basement storage room. I thought maybe the new air conditioning unit was settling in and leaking again. I called the HVAC folks, they came over and found the leak was due to the water softener unit. The unit was no longer working, had to spend more money to bypass the unit. If the new occupants want to fix it that will be up to them. Seems like everything was breaking and falling apart as we moved out! We assuaged our loss with Greek salads from Della's Cafe. That felt like a bright spot. My breath was so garlicky for the next few hours I avoided people until it settled down. We could not believe the weather in Nebraska, highs of 70, rain, and light breezes. We could not ask for better moving weather! I sort of felt like a lost soul wandering through all the boxes, trying to find things to do. Once the kids all got back home, we left to pick up Phillip and meet the Markums in Potter. I started cleaning and we did not have much food left so we have some Mexican food for dinner. The kids were quite excited to sleep on mattresses on the floor! Indoor camping! With not much to do the kids were "bored" within moments of arriving back home after dinner. Luck smiled down on us as rain poured down, since the lightening was minimal I let the kids don swimsuits and enjoy the flooded gutters. Justin was quite the party pooper, thinking that idea was not great since we only had 2 towels. We managed! The kids had a lovely time splashing about in the cool summer rain. Evelyn improvised an umbrella with an empty toy shopping basket. Her impish smile was more than I could take! Something about those refreshing rains that clears the air and makes life clean again.

Wednesday August 8
We were told that the movers and truck would arrive around 8:30 am. The movers did arrive at 8:30 am! They drove a smaller truck filled with packing blankets, more tape, tools, and dollies. Within an hour they had all the furniture wrapped up and taped in preparation to move on the truck. After that the guys sat about twiddling thumbs, napping, and pulling pranks on each other. The moving truck did not arrive until 1:30 pm. All I can say is waiting around for the truck to come was so stressful. Justin was at his wits end waiting for it. Jen rescued the kids for the day. They went to McDonalds for dinner and out to a movie. Some ladies from our ward arrived around 2 pm to help me start cleaning up the house. We started with the bathrooms, moving out the boxes ourselves. Many thanks to Elaine, Trissha, and Teresa Higginson for their help. All day friends stopped by to say goodbye. Jamie Parkin almost made me cry when she started crying. Heaven help us we will miss the folks in Sidney. The moving team made fast work of the garage items. Tait Hrbek drove his forklift down 19th street and loaded the 900 lb safe into the truck! He had quite the gleam in his eye while driving that thing about. He saved us a load of money with his kindness. After the safe was loaded the guys hauled out the rest of our stuff before 7 pm. Elaine stopped by with a rotisserie chicken, veggies, and bread for dinner. The kids got to say goodbye to Elliott and Aria (and Jenny). Elliott had a cute card for Evelyn. She still carries it around and talks about how much she misses Elliott. Jen took the kids to see the new Emoji movie at the theater. We finished cleaning up the house before the movie was completed! Saying goodbye to Jen was quite the tearful affair. Amelia, Everett, Evelyn, and I were all crying before we drove away. It was really strange to see the house we spent 8 years in as an empty slate. Have you ever spent the night in a hotel in your own town? Whenever we stay in a hotel I wonder about the lives the folks live in that particular town, especially the desk managers, the cleaners, and the breakfast bar folks. This was the first time I did not have to wonder because I knew who the folks were and a bit about their lives. Everyone was very tired so settled down to sleep relatively fast. Josie pulled a fast one after 1 am, waking up and joining me in bed for the rest of the night. She was pretty restless and kept me up as well. She noticed Amelia was on the other side of the same bed, that was a happy and exciting discovery.

Thursday August 9
Ate some breakfast, left the hotel in pouring rain. Amelia wanted to stop and give Katelyn and Rachel parting hugs on our way down the hill. Tore my heart to watch tears streaming down her cheeks saying farewell to Katelyn. Katelyn made her laugh which made the next goodbye not so hard. Turns out Rachel is moving as well. Katelyn's parents are making strides to try and sell their home in case of a future job changes as well. Ironically, both Katelyn and Rachel have immediate family in Mesa, just a few miles away! Seems likely we will see them again. Justin went to pick up Dog Vader, who slept in the empty house. We met there and let the kids run around in the now empty house. We packed up the home part (the kids) into the van and drove off...only to stop for gas and bathroom. Yah, know...we can't travel far before a bathroom is needed. Traveling after the physically and emotionally exhausting prior days was not easy for me. Justin seemed to do fine, men seem to be better at shaking off sleeping eyes. The van TV broke right around Colorado Springs. With normal kids this is no big deal, but all our kids get motion sickness, the TV seems to be the only thing that keeps away the barfs. I did turn Josie's carseat around once she started crying uncontrollably around 4 pm. That did the trick until we stopped at Las Vegas, NM. We were treated to some glorious skies and sunset views that evening. Our room was stifling hot that night. The air conditioner was off so it was muggy and swampy inside. The front desk man found me a large fan to spread the air around and cool off the room. It finally cooled off several hours later. Amelia had a great time riding with Justin and Vader in the truck. She made sure he got exercised each time we stopped! Nora and Jimmy Betony cleaned out the fridges and oven soon after we left the house. I hope she kept the good food for her crew!

Friday August 10
Woke up groggy...again. Wished for another 2 hours of hard sleep. No such luck. We pushed onward and forward. Around lunch time we made it to Grants/Milan New Mexico. Justin let me find a place to eat this time. We drove around until I found a place my friend Anna recommended who is from Bluewater. It was a dive with amazing food. Delicious Hatch chile sauces, burritos, and such. I teased my brother John with photos of lunch. He served as a missionary in that area many moons ago.  After lunch the truck refused to start. Doh. Double Doh. Justin was beside himself worrying about how to repair the truck, get it towed, and the cost. I walked down to a tire store with the kids to see if they had any recommendations. I flagged down a crew of men as they were on their way to their own truck. They gave the battery a boost in case it was the battery. No such luck. What was luck is that Evelyn Hornbarger's childhood home was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. No joke. She called up her Dad and he flagged us over so the kids could play while the truck issue was sorted out. Most gratefully, the issue was a bad solenoid. The car repair shop fixed it quickly, we lost 2.5 hours with that episode. It is a bit hard not to feel cursed! Air Conditioner, water softener, truck, and more to come. Driving through the canyon as the sunset over Phoenix was breathtaking. I can still see the vista in my mind...mountains, softly fading into the horizon, black jagged canyons up close, cactus reflected in the distance, all bathed in the colors of sunset. The kids did really well with all the monotonous traveling. At one rest stop we had a dance party in the rain! We pulled into our new driveway around 9 pm. Spenser and Laura met us there a bit afterward with the keys. They helped us carry in the contents of the trailer and van and helped set up beds for the night. They even left us some muffins for breakfast! We are so blessed with family here in Arizona. Evelyn insisted on sleeping in the crack of the twins beds pushed together. It was not comfortable (??) so she slept sideways with her bum wedged in the crack. Another terrible night of sleep with two toddlers monopolizing the beds.

Saturday August 11
The moving crew and truck arrived shortly after 9 am. I barely had time to check out our new space before it was filled with boxes and packaged furniture. The moving crew consisted of two guys who thought our shipment was 7,000 lbs. Yah, no.....try 20,000. Soon another 3 guys showed up to help. Aunt Laura came and picked up the kids to play over at their house. Spenser and Justin worked on setting up beds as pieces and mattresses were off-loaded. It is monsoon season so we were treated to humid and hot weather our first day. The Relief Society President stopped by with a bag of fresh bagels and cream cheese. I sweat off a couple pounds of water that day. Our new fridge finally came around dinner time. The trucker had to wait two hours (evil laugh) this time for the guy to come off-load the gun safe. By evening we were left with a stuffed house of boxes, 600-700 sq ft smaller than our old home. Bishop Price and Brother Ferolino came to welcome us to the ward. Bishop brought two huge boxes of Bosa Doughnuts, supposedly a big deal in these parts. The kids were delighted to find cream filled options for evening treat. Bishop provided Amelia with a temple dedication recommend for the Tuscon Temple dedication happening the next day. The huge plus was to sleep in our own beds that night. We actually got a wink or two of good sleep. Justin still is not sleeping well. He was so restless that night I am not sure he slept much. I was so tired his rustlings barely stirred me. Everett was the only one with no sheets on his bed. He got to sleep on a bare mattress for about 6 days before I finally located the box with his sheets.

Sunday, August 12
We slept in and relaxed. Ahhhhhh. Justin got a much needed nap. We drove over to Spenser's home around 2 pm. They watched the younger kids while we went to the last temple dedication service. Amelia was quite delighted to have us both to herself for a couple hours. What a treat to participate in the dedication as our introduction to Arizona. Phillip and Everett were in cousin heaven playing together. Phillip declared he does not need any other friends because Anson is his best buddy. Spenser and Laura had delicious dinner ready of beef sandwiches, fruit, and veggies. We stayed until after 7 pm. Laura helped me finish filling out all the school paperwork packets for 3 kids. My writing hand was aching! Blasted paperwork. Why won't one packet work for all kids?

Monday, August 13
Justin started the new work week off bright and early. So did the kids. We drove to their new school an hour after school started, I was hoping the morning rush had worn off...and it had. Paperwork in hand, plus documentation and immunizations we took over the school. We got a short tour of the school. The kids loved the rock climbing wall in the gym! The library won Amelia's heart. All the kids loved that art and music are bi-weekly classes instead of once a month. Armed with school supply lists and hungry tummies we found a Super Walmart. Josie got into the melatonin gummies before we left, she ate two. Our timing was terrible. Everyone was raging hungry, so as soon as we walked in I bought a cup of chicken nuggets and a cup of mac n' cheese. We illegally ate our fare in the Burger King cafe, right under the sign that declared "No Outside Food Allowed." I bought a drink to make us more legit. We only made it halfway through the fresh food before Josie erupted with tears and loud wails. The kids decided to leave school shopping for another day. Good plan. Josie fell asleep in my arms just as we reached the check out stand. What a quandary. Wake the baby? Risk Phillip smashing the eggs? A food fight? I woke her up, she loudly protested the rude awakening. Felt like we ran out of the store like retreating soldiers. Hey, I was glad we had enough fresh food to make actual meals. I took a nap right after the kids ate lunch. That was one long morning. After my nap I started slogging through the mountainous boxes. I earned several cuts on my fingers, a ouchie bruise on my foot, and about 25 other bruises as boxes were moved and contents rescued from paper trappings. Bishop Price invited us over for swimming and FHE that evening. Goodness, taking a break felt so amazing. The pool water was about 85 degrees, like bath water. The kids swam for a good two hours! Once you got out of the water the cooling effect took place, the water was just cool enough to lower body temps a degree or two. Evelyn and Everett kept Sister Price busy! She is a swimming instructor. She said the kids are really good swimmers, especially Evelyn. The pool was 4 feet on the sides and 5.5 in the middle so the kids had to sink or swim. Everett had the time of his life throwing diving torpedoes and diving to retrieve them. Josie was in and out of the water, sort of enjoying herself. We were chagrined the public pools are all closed since the kids are back in school. We feel so welcomed by everyone in the ward so far. I will say getting used to the air conditioner set at 80 during the day kills. I feel so hot all-the-time...all-the-time. The ceiling fans only do so much to stave off the heat.

Tuesday August 14
We went back to Sonoma Ranch Elementary to verify our residency, Justin needed the house deed for another errand the day prior. The kids all got their teacher assignments! Everett has Mrs Laske, Phillip has Mrs Epstein, and Amelia will have Mrs Howard. After that errand we went to Target (TARGET) for school shopping. The kids tried to shop for their own lists and did a pretty good job. We had troubles locating the fine black expo markers, in fact we gave up the search. The rest of our day was pretty boring, watching shows while Mom worked on unpacking. The Primary Presidency came over right around dinner time. We enjoyed a short visit with them. Phillip is due to be baptized on September 9th! We got that all on the calendar and verified with the Stake. Phillip is over the moon excited, so excited he makes crazy fart noises all the time. He has this crazy facial expression he makes when he is being silly. I captured the face by accident and am so glad I did!

Wednesday August 15
The kids were up at 6:30, so very excited to start school! I found a cute dress and new shirts for the boys at Walmart for their first day. We left home around 8 am to arrive early at school, get a better tour, meet teachers, and learn play ground routines. The guidance counselor provided the tour, we met Phillip's teacher first, then Everett's, headed out to the playground where the kids ran off to enjoy the outside before school. When the bell rang the kids all knew where to line up and which teacher to follow. I met Amelia's teacher after the bell rang for a brief moment. The teachers took over from there! The littles and I headed over to the post office to get mail box keys then home again. The rest of the week was a blur of unpacking, school, and after dinner routine. The kids leave the house at 8:10 to catch the bus, get home at 3:50, except Wednesday when they get home at 2:50. Justin leaves for work at 7 am and gets home at 6:10 pm. We don't see much of Justin at all! Just two hours in the evening. My neighbor, Sister Godard came over to help me unpack on Wednesday for a bit. She ended up running to Walmart for bucket lids. The movers cracked about 4 bucket lids...at least the ones I could find. We replaced those lids then shoved the rest of the buckets in place. The kids had early release so came home at 2:50. They were immediately bored. To assuage their boredom I let them paint and decorate their own boxes. Evelyn painted a box red earlier in the day, she started out nicely painting a princess theme, the paint pot dropped and splatter paint on her feet. That was the end of nice painting. She rather enjoyed getting clean in our luxurious shower. We can literally all shower at the same time and have plenty of room (shower in swim suits of course).

Thursday-Friday-Saturday
We went to the ward swim party after dinner on Thursday. This was our first big pool in Arizona. The kids were back in there element. Even Josie pulled a trick Evelyn pulled two summers ago: walking in the water deeper and deeper until she started breathing water. Still she had a look of glee and determination. Good girl! Don't be afraid of the water. The kids played with Bishop Price for a lone measure of time. He had a huge ball to swat back and forth. I slogged away at the mountain of boxes. As boxes were unpacked it seems the house became more messy. Stuff everywhere. I just feel like trashing half of it all, which I will most likely end up doing if those items do not find a place. I finally felt moved in Friday when I hung up photos and art in the kitchen! I removed all the boxes and vacuumed the family room. Even though the feeling only lasted until the next morning it was so nice for the time being. Saturday morning Justin took the van out to get an emissions test. On the way home a large bolt somehow flung up from the freeway and smashed the sunroof window to smithereens. Every inch of the glass is pebbled and cracked. Suck a duck. We took a family trip to a 3rd party DMV office open on the weekends. I got my new license and we got plates for the van. I ventured into the garage for more boxes that afternoon. I cannot find the box with Amelia and Everett's clothes...still looking on Monday night (the 21st).

Sunday August 19
Church starts at 8:30, quite the change from 10 am! We made it to church with a few minutes to spare. After sacrament meeting someone ran up to me shaking with disbelief, near tears (of joy?). I recognized her of a sort but could not place her. Turns out we went to seminary together back in Fayetteville, NC some 25 odd years ago. Her name is Laurie (Roberts) Hill. She remembered me as an amazing genius, quite the opposite of what I feel! Hooray for instant friends. The rest of the day we lazed around. I especially avoided any and all boxes until after dinner. Justin helped me dig through boxes to find ones I needed to sort through. He brought in a bookcase to put against the food storage buckets in the closet, I will use the little bit of space for toy storage. Looks like we will get rid of lots more toys, even though I sold most before we left. I made pot roast with veggies for dinner. Amelia loved the mashed potatoes and gravy. Josie would not touch her dinner, a more and more common occurrence. Josie is finally starting to talk. Her new word this week is "Melmo!" Her new diapers have Elmo on the outside, a very exciting character.

07 August 2017

Final Week in Sidney









Whelp, it's finally here. The last days before we make the big move down to Phoenix. Seems like most of this week was pretty normal. I worked on editing the last batches of photos, taking on a couple more sessions and editing those. Lots of ordering, finishing galleries, and getting them delivered. As of today I can say all those sessions are finally done. Glad I could earn a bit of money to help with all our moving expenses.

Saturday our air conditioning unit decided to die a tragic death. Come Monday morning we got the bad news that the unit was kaput and needed complete replacement. That is not news you want to hear a week before you move to a different state, leaving your home vacant and owned. I called our real estate agent for advice the next morning. Within a few hours she had her HVAC guys on the issue and an estimate $1000 less than the first bid. Over the next two days the team removed the old unit and coil one day then installed the new system on Thursday. Luck be on our side, the weather cooled down quite a bit the end of the week. By the end of the evening those first few days of the week the inside temp was hovering near 89 degrees. I am grateful Nebraska enjoys cool nights. I am grateful this home has a whole house fan to draw breezes through the top floor. Now we can advertise a new air conditioning system. I decided that God was just getting me ready for Arizona temps, sort of makes me want to stay here.

Jen took all the kids swimming Tuesday afternoon. I drove to Sterling and back in less than two hours to pick up a Frozen power wheels car. For the past year I've printed and colored various sheets of paper with a printed Frozen power wheels on the paper. Evelyn has been so certain she is getting an Elsa car for her birthday, waiting patiently for a year. I finally explained we did not have the extra money for such a large gift. Next day I found a used car for an affordable price, within her birthday money budget. She will be so excited. I am quite excited to see what she thinks. That is one stubborn child. After dinner Jen took Amelia and Evelyn for pedicures at the salon. The girls were in heaven! I spent a lovely hour with the boys in the yard. I weeded while the boys played with Josie.

Phillip has a girl friend. They whispered to me that (giggle) they are boyfriends. His cute (and annoying) little friend a couple blocks down comes over most mornings between 7 and 8 am to play house with Phillip. We had a chat about not coming over until after 9:30. Lyrah was also in Phillip's class last year. Phillip kindly made Evelyn a healthy snack one evening. A pint of yogurt with a carrot, apple, orange, and bunch of grapes. He also made a plate for himself, Everett, and Josie. The healthy snack went ignored until I threw it all away the next day. Food waste...it kills me.

I moved the rest of my photo props to the garage on Thursday. The kids were gone playing Pokemon at Jakob's house most of the day. Evelyn, Josie, and I moved the items over and cleaned up the garage area. The kids came home raving about Jakob's tacos. Ah-mazing! My tacos are just not up to par after those morsels of delight. Jakob must be a culinary wizard. I also worked on deep cleaning the van. It was at critical level red. Several hours, rags, buckets of cleaning water, vacuuming stints, and carpet cleanings later the van seemed a few shades lighter. The hardest part to clean was Evelyn's cup holder. She used it as a parking space for all her left over gum, ABC candy, and such. I spent a good 20 minutes scraping off layer after layer of gunk.

Friday morning we cleaned up the house before we left to pick up Justin from the airport!! All the kids were very excited. I get behind the van wheel for more than  20 minutes and my need to sleep kicks in hard. I had to pull over 4 times in just an hour to rest my eyes and nap. Honestly, it scares me that I need to sleep that badly! We made it to the airport in time to pick up Justin from the curb. He had to wait a bit because the rerouted non-toll route was pretty clogged at 5 pm. It felt right to finally get Justin home. He was a bit grumpy and not too happy once we finally got home. His nerves are frayed and it shows. After the little kids were mostly asleep Amelia and I escaped to a movie night out at Alison's home. We got there mid-movie just in time to get rained out. A little rain did not stop all the fun conversations we had inside. The little girls all fled downstairs for their own party. We got home shortly before midnight.

Saturday I celebrated my 40th birthday!!! A crew of folks came over to help us disassemble the bunk beds and empty water storage. Within a few hours our friends made quick work with the beds and many other items that needed taking apart. Amelia and Everett spent the day over at the Austad's I got a frantic phone call from Amelia after lunch. She said some guy approached them on a long board asking if they wanted free fidget spinners, if so to follow him to his house. The kids were freaked out as the guy would not leave them alone and followed them for a ways. Last week a silver van was in town following kids around handing out cotton candy and fidget spinners. I hear the police chased them out of town, I think the kid from Saturday was some teenager bored, making fun of a potentially serious situation. Amelia, Kat, and Everett made me cute birthday cards and got some candy with money from Jakob (who got money from me for babysitting). I loved the irony and their thoughtfulness. We had some dinner at Sam and Louie's pizzeria. Amelia got an order of spaghetti instead of an order of mac n'cheese. The world almost stopped at that moment. Justin brought home a bar of white chocolate. Guess he also bought me a house! Pretty momentous.

Sunday Josie turned 18 months old. She hated nursery. By the time I rescued her she was purple and close to passing out. Welcome to nursery! She is such a fun little sprite. Her favorite words are: stop, stop it, jojo, thank you, stinky, meow, and mommy. Josie loves books. She loves when her older siblings play with her, especially Amelia. She is turning into a picky little eater. Hates most fruits and vegetables in any chunky or natural form, loves purees still. Her main diet is yogurt, cheese, fruit packets, and lunch meat. She is nursing 2-4 times each day, napping once from 12:30 til 2 pm.

Phillip is about to drive Justin mad. That boy does not like to work, he will do anything to shirk duty. He peed in a pull up right before bed just because he was lazy. Little stinker got to clean the toilet for that act of laziness. It takes a fair amount of coaxing and procrastinating before he will even try to complete a task. Once he starts and finishes it in minutes he wonders why it took him so long. If any kid of ours needs to work on a farm it would be Phillip. Everett is our go-to guy when it comes to doing chores. Amelia does a good job, after whining and rolling her eyes until my head hurts. Josie just goes around undoing all that we do. The CIRCLE OF LIFE...ha ha ha

30 July 2017

Showing Off Our House












We finally got a couple more house showings this week. Tuesday while driving to the lake for a much needed rest our agent called me to schedule a showing for Wednesday and another on Friday. I was a bit worried about getting the house in order with all my little helpers doing their jobs. The kids helped me pick up the basement clutter than I deep cleaned that after they went to bed. I am so grateful to the Mortensen's for coming over to help and Sister Jones. In just a couple hours we cleaned the upstairs until it could pass inspection. Jeremee helped me weed the rocks and remove some dead plants. I left with the kids soon after everyone left so the house would not get cluttered again. We ate lunch at McD, went to the bank, visited the library, and went swimming for the rest of the day. Keeping the house clean for two more days until Friday turned me into a mean, stressed mess of a mom. We had to stay out of our house from 11 until after 4 pm on Friday. Poor Amelia caught the stomach flu (probably the same ailment Josie had at the fair) and ran a fever all day. I felt so bad carting her around when she was sick. That day we went to Subway for lunch, spent some time at the park, and sorted through my storage unit.

Monday afternoon Amelia had a long playdate with Katelyn. I worked on editing the newborn session from the prior week. Amelia taught our lesson on Pioneer Day. She told the story "Saving the Wheat" an accounting of the grasshoppers eaten by seagulls in answer to the Saint's prayers. Phillip wanted to play "Pirate May I!" Captain, captain may I cross the wide seven seas! I had a good time with the fun pirate versions. Like usual the game soon devolved into tears and frustration as the kids wanted to each win fairly. Fairness seems to be a curse for our young children. Amelia had a full on cry fest because she did not get a turn when she wanted it.

Tuesday we spent a lovely, relaxing afternoon at Lake Bridgeport with lots of friends. Alison and Ella came, the Christiansen's, the Godard's, the Campos', and the Relerford's all came for the afternoon. We got to the lake first so enjoyed some quiet time swimming before the rest came. Justin found a good deal on a fridge so he made arrangements to purchase and make the delivery arrangements. I found a microwave on sale Thursday night. We are slowly gearing up for the next phase of our move. Josie and Aria spent a good amount of time playing near each other. Josie was quite please Aria had eyes, lips, and hands just like she does. Aria endured the poking with her usual serious aplomb. Phillip went off with Lane to catch fish with a bucket and net! Boys and their ideas. As mentioned above we spent the rest of the evening cleaning up the basement.

I had three last photo sessions this week, Thursday I photographed Mrs Cheyenne County and her husband. Ylana is from South Africa! I loved her accent. Her husband works in the big game department at the Cabela's game center. Josie was quite content to sit in her stroller eating snacks and sipping on apple juice. She does very well as long as I am in her sight line. Jenn Relerford came along to shadow me on the session. She is learning to manipulate her camera in manual mode, wanted hands-on during a session. The kids got to go night swimming with Sister Jones while I worked. Friday I photographed the Hrbeks again, this time with Grandma and all her grandkids, minus one. Phillip, Everett, Evelyn, and Josie all came along for the session. The kids love to explore the "deep forest." Evelyn had to poo, and would do so before we left home. As expected she had to go right during the session. I popped a pull up on her and set her loose into the wild. She was quite embarrassed, rightly so! Kathi Charles shadowed me this time. She is another local upcoming photographer with lots of studio experience. She came over Monday night to learn editing in LightRoom and PhotoShop. I love meeting all these talented ladies in our town. Feels like I can hand my reigns over and get all "my" customers taken care of. Saturday afternoon I finally got the Davis twins in front of my camera. Their mom passed away almost 2 years ago, the girls were alone with their deceased mom for about 48 hours. Grandma and Grandpa fought for adoptive custody for over 18 months. The biological dad wanted the girls solely for their social security benefits. I am glad the girls are with their grandparents. Both are thriving and making amazing strides in spite of their health and mental setbacks. Evelyn made two new friends! She loved their Princess Poppy shirts.

Thursday morning we spent the morning at the park. Outside was so balmy and nice. The MOPS ladies were also there so the kids had lots of playmates. Afterward we ate lunch at school for the last time. After naps we went to Dairy Queen. The owners are a new LDS in our ward. They hosted a large party with bounce houses, Princess Poppy, Minions, and Sidney Cheerleaders for the Children's Miracle Network. The kids enjoyed the bounce houses. One Bounce attraction was a bungee cord thing attached to a vest. You run as far as you can and the cord bounces you back. The cheerleaders and Amelia made poor progress. I was confident in my skills to out pace them all. Indeed, I won...until the cord snapped me back. My head cracked into the carabiner clip giving me a mild concussion, a large goose egg, and a bruised ego. At least I beat them all. LOL. We quenched our thirst with sodas and ice cream cones.

Since the weather was so temperate this week I finally went over to my storage unit and sorted props again. I was able to sell the steamer trunk, half my baskets, blankets, and various other props. Once I get the truck back I will move all those items over to our garage in preparation for the movers. Josie was my helper at the unit. The rest of the kids went swimming on Wednesday while I worked. Josie found a forgotten lollipop! She crooned over her treat and made the most adorable sounds as she enjoyed her treat. I even heard her say thank you a few times!

Nan scheduled the same couple to come back and look at our home Friday at 11 am. She sounded upset about it, gosh...I am not upset at all! Thank goodness the house was clean and ready to show. She said both couples seem interested but won't have an answer anytime soon. Guess we are back to finding a renter.

All the kids came down with the runs this week. We had lots of leakage accidents, thus more laundry. Amelia woke up Thursday night to vomit several times. She slept in my bed so Everett would not be disturbed. I caught her bug on Saturday. It was a nasty, powerful 24 hour stomach flu. I hope the rest of the kids just stay with the diarrhea part. At least three of us had the stomach flu part, hoping the rest either get it fast or don't at all. With the move coming this weekend and next week I hope barf is not part of the menu. I felt like train hit me Saturday. Making dinner was a joke. I was so dizzy and close to passing out while I attempted to warm up cold mashed potatoes, open cans of soup/spaghetti O's/oranges, and passing out food. After an hour of extreme dizziness I finally puked my guts out for the 4th time and felt much better. Thankfully, this morning (Sunday) I felt much better, able to drink and eat a bit.

Phillip lost his other side tooth! The tooth fairy came that night, prompt as can be. She seems to be rather flaky most of the time. This tooth came out on it's own while he wiggled it! I am glad the drama was absent this time.