09 January 2020

New Years 2020

Post-Christmas week was sorta, mostly, kinda boring. We did not have much on our radar to amuse us other than keeping our house ready for house buyers. Thankfully, we had a lull until Thursday so I had plenty of time to repack Christmas decor and get that out of the way. I donated both of my Christmas trees since the lights on my NEW tree stopped working. I changed all the fuses, checked the bulbs disconnected the tree sections, tried everything but nothing worked. The kids tree sheds pine leaves worse than a real pine tree past it's prime. Evelyn was quite worried Santa would forget about us if we did not have a tree! I needed to have a part of my living room cleared out as well to set up my newborn studio for the newest Russo baby.

Monday was our 15th wedding anniversary! Since we celebrated a few days beforehand we did not do anything else except chat about the meaningful memories with the kids.

Josie insisted I take her to the ducky-go-back-and-forth park all weekend. I was so confused, had no idea what she was talking about, maybe feeding the ducks. We got into the van and she directed me to the right park! "Mom...turn dis way, turn the Ban that way...you see the ducky now?" So cute! She was delighted to play on the duckie for quite some time. Justin had work Monday and Tuesday at UTI so he was not around much on New Years Eve. I found a Groupon for Uptown Jungle, the kid's favorite activity indoor park. We played there for two hours on Tuesday then got McDonald's for lunch at the request of 4 out of 5 kids. Our New Year's is quite boring, we go to bed at 10 and do a simple countdown is all. The Broughton's set off a few fireworks, my kids went to watch. They were kind enough to let the kids do sparklers. Josie came inside crying huge alligator tears. She came inside to get her new baby kitty, went back out to show Sister Broughton but they already left for their nightly walk. Josie was adamant someone admire her cute baby kitty, so we walked around the block until we came upon some folks chatting in their driveway. Josie went right up and showed off her toy then skipped home happy as a clam! Outside fireworks blasted until well-past midnight. It's hard to believe another decade has passed. Ten years ago we were just starting our crazy family with a two year old Amelia, a 4 mth old Phillip, a new house in Sidney, and lots of fun in the future for us.

While I was busy cleaning the kitchen after dinner Josie managed a spot of mischief. Most of the kids were in the living room playing. Everett was in the family room reading. Josie grabbed one of those thick (the ones that are about 1/2 inch thick) permanent markers for poster board and drew huge circles on 7 areas (kitchen pony wall, closet, bookcase, three walls, bathroom door, and the stair well). Her art work was not small! She went all the way with her expression. I tried magic erasers (2 large boxes), goo gone, windex, hair spray, toothpaste, and lemongrass oil. The kids helped scrub away New Years Eve. The best we achieved was about 2-3 shades lighter. I resigned myself to painting those areas, hoping against all hope to match the 3 different paint colors. Next day Wendy Call-Kechley contacted me saying she had a miracle product that would remove the marker. I was quite dubious knowing we'd done our best. She came over with a product called Mel-a-luca an oil-based natural cleaner. She patiently worked out the stains with a rag and toothbrush, not to mention half a bottle of the product. Heaven above...she did it. The paint was rubbed down to the primer in most spots but the glaring black marks are gone. I thank her and her sore arm muscles for working a miracle. I worked on cleaning up my mess from the newborn session and dismantling the rest of Christmas. Amelia was a good helper scrubbing walls with Wendy! Evelyn and I take the blame for the marker situation. Evelyn wanted the marker for an art project, she used it but did not put away as instructed. I ignored the marker for a day also not putting it away. Josie was also to blame knowing that art work goes on paper and not walls. Josie did her time scrubbing walls, enough for a 3 year old to handle.

I decided our digital grand piano was too rickety for us to move to Idaho. Last time I listed something it went ignored for months. I listed the piano hoping to sell it before we moved. I was surprised and a bit disheartened it sold in just a couple hours. It feels strange to not have a piano in our house! The family who purchased it lives up in Payson. They dumped a pile of snow from the back of their truck to fit the piano in! I ran inside to tell the kids we had snow in Gilbert. They ignored me! Evelyn was curious so followed me out to find said pile of snow! She got the rest of the kids to come out and enjoy the few moments we had to play with snow in the valley! First time in 20 years...he he he.

Justin flew to Boise, ID on New Years day for a retreat with his new company. His new boss wanted Justin in attendance to help make team goals and be part of planning the next few months. They went snowmobiling as a fun activity on Friday. He said it was much more difficult than anticipated. Before his flight back home on Saturday he toured 4 houses we had tagged as potential homes. Justin was quite impressed with a house in Middleton, ID.

Phillip experienced the first bow and arrow wound! His friend Ryan was over playing. Phillip neglected to teach him the rules about holding fire while someone is down range. He shot an arrow hitting Phillip on the lower part of his heel. The arrow glanced off and tore a good sized hole in his heel. He sported quite the bandage for a couple days and limped about when he remembered his heel hurt. Later I found the boys shooting limes off the tree as target practice! Just a week after Christmas and all the arrows are either lost or damaged! Guess who gets to buy more arrows?! Not me that's for sure.

We met up with some families from our ward and our Call cousins at a new park in Gilbert for a couple hours of fresh air. Everett had an espionage mission going to to spy on the older kids without anyone noticing. The boys went back with Aunt Laura to play more with Anson and Gary. The main reason is the boys wanted pizza for lunch and the girls wanted Jimmy Johns. We had more folks looking at our house while we were gone.

Everett accidentally kicked Evelyn in her teeth a few days before causing her wiggly lower tooth to loosen even more. She was beside herself with worry about the tooth coming out. She was worried it would come out in her sleep and choke on it. Not worried enough to let me help her. It took me two days to cajole her mouth open! That tooth came out without any pain or issues. A light pluck with a tissue before she even noticed. She was so happy to stuff the tooth into her tooth fairy pillow! In between her room and the bathroom she lost her newly plucked tooth. She cried and cried frantically searching for her tooth. The tooth fairy left her a dollar and a tiny note in spite of the misplaced incisor. One bright side of Arizona winters are the gorgeous roses! It's the perfect weather for my five rose bushes to put on their show. Flowers bloom year round here, makes my heart so bright and happy.

Josie started Primary on Sunday! She is finally old enough to graduate. She had almost an extra year in nursery with her early February birthday. Switching from Nursery (puzzles, toys, and snacks) to Sunbeams could be quite the challenge for her. She cried all through singing time. Phillip sat beside her as a comfort. Such a good big brother. The younger kids met their new Primary teachers at a Primary breakfast on Saturday. The kids got to eat donuts, drink juice, and play fun board games with their new teachers. Everett and Phillip's favorite game was playing with a set of tiny magnetic balls. I told them Dad had a set, they freaked out wondering why he never played with the magnets. Once at home we could not find the magnet set, looked in all the places with no luck. Justin had no idea where it went either.

05 January 2020

Christmas 2019

I like Christmas on Wednesdays! The kids had a couple days off of school before Christmas to enjoy more Christmas fun. We had Chloe and Ronald over on Monday for the day. I did a bit of grocery shopping and picked up another gingerbread house for Chloe and Ronald. The kids quite enjoyed decorating, frosting, and of course eating candy. Amelia helped Josie assemble a Paw Patrol house. The other three kids had 2 mini house each to decorate. The hardest part was waiting for me to assemble the house with the ONE tube of frosting we had. The kids later had Jacob over for a good chunk of time and played outside for a glorious amount of time. I worked on more wrapping when I could grab a chance.

Christmas Eve we started the day as lazy bums. Our crazy Nelves got Disney+ for the kids, hmmmm, how did that happen? Thus I lost my family for a week until they finished watching the Mandalorian series. Baby Yoda is the cutest ever. Amanda treated our family for lunch at a Vietnamese Pho restaurant. Amelia was not feeling well at all, poor kid did not eat anything. We gave Chloe and Ronald their Christmas gifts: a matching "Chloe" (aka a hoodie) with Amelia and a Beyblade set. It was a rainy day and quite dreary outside. Perfect day for a nap. Apparently, Justin and Evelyn sneaked out to Walmart to update my stocking with kafume and white chocolate. Amelia helped me wrap some last minute items. I whipped up my favorite Santa cookies: white chocolate cherry shortbread and soft gingerbread cookies. The favorite part of the day finally came, the time to make clam chowder. As a family we look forward to magical clam chowder all year. It tastes completely different on Christmas Eve! Justin helped fry bacon, Amelia set the table, and I made the soup. The other kids worked on finding costumes for our Nativity play. We ate our delectable meal by intimate candlelight. Martinelli's paired well with our meal, ha ha. Evelyn decided that clam chowder is much better without the clams. Josie ate her customary two sniffs and wandered away. I had to laugh when I saw what the kids had gathered for props and costumes. The sheep this year was a herd of unicorns. Josie was an angel and a unicorn shepherd. Phillip gagged because of the satin ribbon tied around his neck. He opened the front door to get some fresh air, I locked it so he would not open it. Stinker discovered a little Nelf surprise but he did not say anything just quickly slammed the door with wide eyes. Josie was crying because she wanted to play. The kids wandered away after our nativity to check on Santa's progress on NORAD's Santa Tracker. Phillip was the first to the door once the Nelves announced Santa was coming. He was relieved the bag of surprises was still on the front porch. Soon wrapping paper was flying and kids shouting with glee over their new awesome PJs this year. Santa sent animal onesies instead of Christmas themed ones. Phillip was a dinosaur, Everett a "derpy" shark, Evelyn a unicorn, and Josie was a cheetah. Amelia got a cute comfy set that will fit her for 20 more years. We did discover a large gaping hole in a side seam so had to whip out my sewing machine to fix the hole. Josie was so cute acting like a cheetah, growling with her claws out. The kids were still wired at 9 pm so the Nelves had to ring bells saying it was time to get in bed. Phillip got a dose of Benedryl, he was up every hour last year. Mom and Dad got their stuff set up then went to bed ready for that Christmas magic.

Santa CAME! He came! The kids sprung awake at 7 am, thank you Christmas spirits, and invaded our room to open stockings. Evelyn was tickled pink that Santa put her favorite pickles in the toe of her stocking. Josie's eyes were wide open and soaking in all the chaos. Justin got beef and cheese in his stocking...a reference to the movie Elf, he sits on a throne of lies. Ha hahahahahaha, Santa has a sense of humor. I headed downstairs to get a couple things ready before the crew headed down the stairs. Josie was first, Mia last down the stairs. Josie was delighted that Santa brought her an Elsa treasure chest AND a baby pony. Evelyn got a pink scooter from Santa. Mia got a furry reading pillow. Phillip and Everett got real bows and a set of arrows. All the kids got a box of Einstein bagels! Mia found a letter from Santa next to the cookie plate. She read it while the kids enjoyed their Santa gifts. The next 30 minutes was a perfect storm of paper, boxes, tags, balloons, and toys. The kids loved their new rice hot packs, loved the fabrics I chose for them. The boys immediately engaged Justin to help them with the Bows and Arrows. Phillip was hitting bulls eyes after a few tries. Everett was aiming with his eye closest to the bow closed, after some practice he got the correct eye open and aiming down as well. We only lost a couple arrows that day. Amelia was invited to go with Chole and Ronald to Prescott for the day, she declined wanting to spend the day with us. By 8;30 am she was soooooo bored, regretted her decision to stay home. Justin bought movie tickets for himself and the boys to watch the newest Star Wars movie, Mia stayed home. She bugged me until I finally helped her with a project sewing up scrunchies. We had tamales, beans, and rice for dinner. I made a new sauce this year of a spicy homemade cheese sauce, it was divine over the tamales. Josie and Evelyn were so cute playing with their new toys all day. I found Josie inside her treasure box more than once with her toys stuffed inside as well. Evelyn and I played Barbie cake shop.

Thursday Justin and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary a few days early. I hired the Boyd's to stay with our kids overnight. Justin and I left at 3:30 for Tempe Marketplace Mall. We walked around for an hour or so, tried on Jeans at the Buckle. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Gen Korean BBQ. Each table has an inlaid grill, the server brings out whatever meats you order, you grill them at your table. We also got a large platter of condiments and rice to deck out our meat. The Bulgogi was out of this world, the shrimp was meh, and the steaks quite delicious. We watched Star Wars (again for Justin). Ate really expensive, mediocre ice cream at Cold Stone. We drove in a half circle to stay in a hotel just 4 miles from home! That made me laugh. Our bed this time was not as comfy as the resort, we were up before 9 am. For breakfast we tried the Henhouse, a local favorite. That was a phenomenal breakfast! The Boyd's got off easy, we were back home by 11 am instead of 1 pm. I'm happy we got a night away, wishing it were exotic like a Caribbean cruise, but you get what you get!

Friday we cleaned up our Christmas mess in preparation for an Open House Saturday afternoon. Ronald and Chloe came over to enjoy our boredom. The kids watched way too much TV this break because we could not do much as Justin and I needed to work on house projects. I needed the mess to stay minimal. The kids were anxious to spend their Christmas money from Grandparents, we made several trips to Target and Walmart so the kids could decide. Everett was the only kid to save his money for a rainy day. Josie and Evelyn each got two new toys. Amelia got an instax camera and film. Phillip got a new Lego set. I had a sunset photo session with the Godard family. It was overcast and cruddy weather outside, cold and windy.

I had an early morning photo session with the Price family out at the Superstitions Saturday morning. It was cold and foggy. I was so worried when Bishop Price told me he wanted the mountains to look red, there was no amount of editing that will turn blue foggy mountains read. He about drove me nuts with the amount of family poses trying to get the perfect mountain shot. I ended up with 200+ photos of just the family. Came home to find the house cluttered and everyone watching TV. We had a come to Jesus moment, got our house in shape before the Open House. While our house was off-limits Amelia convinced us to try ice skating. I hurt my lower back so there was no way I was going to get on the ice. Phillip and Everett did pretty good for first timers. Everett hugged the wall until his feet went numb. Evelyn skated back and forth in front of a huddle box as I held her hand and walked her back and forth. Justin and Josie joined us after 40 minutes, Josie refused to take a short nap. Those two went to Walmart for water and a snack. I had another large family session at the Riparian. Justin and the kids drove to the library and sat in the parking lot?! At least go inside and enjoy the books for a while.

Sunday Justin was released at Ward Clerk during church. A new Music Chairman and music director were also called, but I was not yet released.

29 December 2019

The Week Before Christmas!

The kids had a really busy week at school. Lots of parties, celebrations, activities, and such for the 3 younger kids. Amelia had finals all week so was more stressed than usual but made it through without much difference. She had a dress down day and was able to wear a winter-themed hoodie over her uniform the entire week of finals. Amelia and Zoe were quite the team when it came to studying for their tests. I about lost it when Amelia came home with the assignment to translate an entire story from Latin into English. Over 80% of the words were not in her textbook, notes, or slideshows. Turns out the passages were famous excepts from the story of the Fall of Troy. We muddled through the first paragraphs with almost perfect results. Then I found the passages online and cheated, yes, I cheated. It was late at night and Amelia was nearing a breakdown. Handing out vague Latin passages to translate with no real Latin knowledge was about the stupidest teacher move ever. Amelia and Zoe had two half days so that helped with time to study and even play time as well.

Evelyn had some dental work on 5 cavities on the 17th of December. I did not tell about the appointment until we pulled into the office at 7:15 am. She had to arrive fasting for 10 hours due to the sedative for her procedure. She was quite upset at me for concealing the truth of our early morning errand. She got an oral sedative first that made her woozy and sleepy. Once she went back the nurse strapped her to a surfboard apparatus to keep Evelyn from falling out of the chair. I think the actual dental work only took 20 minutes, the other 3 hours were spent waiting for the sedative and silly gas to work. Josie and I were utterly bored. After Evelyn was done she declared the entire situation was no big deal and super easy! Phew. She had to stay home for the rest of that day. We got a treat for her at a gas station for being a brave soul. The little girls went with me to Bath and Body Works for teacher gifts. That was quite fun for us all! After the medication wore off Evelyn had a bit of pain but nothing serious.

I made the mistake of vocally noting how long it had been since the little girls came into sleep with me (on the floor or in our bed). The past 10 days were terrible! Little stinkers went from a month of sleeping in their beds all night to sleeping like newborns. Evelyn is terrified of dying now, every night she wakes up with nightmares about dying or walking off cliffs to die. I don't really have vivid dreams, usually only recall 2-3 per year. To have so many children with vivid dreams is hard for me to understand. Must be terrifying.

The kids can only play in the garage now that the house is on the market. Josie was whining about visiting the park to play. I had stuff to do so let the kids play in the dirt section of our property. I had visions of the kids playing with plastic shovels and pails. Before I knew it the kids acquired all our large shovels to dig deep holes. Then Phillip had the brilliant idea to fill the holes with water. It was a mess! A glorious dirty mess! That game lasted for three more days. The only stipulation given was to not throw dirt about and make a huge disaster. They did have so much fun digging about in the rocks.

Our Nelves are stepping up their game. Scares the dickens out of Evelyn whenever they ring the doorbell, bang on a window, or ring their bells. We heard some stories from Grandma Debbie about her Elves visiting when she was little. One story she told about the Elves banging on the floor from underneath the floorboards! Guess what? Innej and Nitsuj were listening because the next night Phillip said the Nelves banged right under his feet when he was getting dressed for bed! The kids are constantly finding little treats and crafts to keep them motivated for Christmas. We have a new Nelf in training, Neajaim! She almost got caught a couple times, needs to work on her sneaky skills.

We went to the park twice this week. I had a house showing on Thursday at noon so picked up the girls from school and went to the park for a picnic lunch. I forgot Chloe also had a half day, we rushed to pick her up before the agent and clients showed up at our house. Josie was in heaven to have three 12 year olds at her beck and call. We went back to the park the next day. Evelyn was bored out of her mind so we went just to have a break. One little girl showed Evelyn an acorn she found. We went on a mission to find acorns. Everett, Phillip, and Ronald found a trove of acorns around several trees. The kids wanted to collect as many as possible to feed the nut meat to the ducks. I sure hope there aren't several dead ducks due to acorn nut constipation.

Friday morning the little girls and I went to have a nice pedicure thanks to Ronald's dad. He owns a salon with his mother in Gilbert. The little girls got their nails painted while my feet got de-summarized. Josie sat still for over an hour. The girls finally started to squabble over the pedicure chair and the massage remote. I whipped out the snack bag to soothed over the angry words with goldfish and water.

The rest of our weekend was spent wrapping gifts, shopping for the last odds and ends, and keeping our house clean. Justin and I went out on a date Friday night. He took me clothes shopping to Maurices and shoe shopping at DSW. I was pleased to find many shirts that now fit me better and will keep me warm here and in Idaho. Amelia organized our family gift exchange AND who shopped with whom to keep the gifts a surprise. We went to Target with our teams a pocket full of money and a goal to find gifts. I had Evelyn and Josie had Justin. Josie did not grasp the concept of shopping for someone else. That was hard for her to get Evelyn a gift but not herself. We made it through with some loud griping from Josie. I think everyone had a good time shopping for each other. Amelia and Phillip were a team! They did well shopping for their people all by their lonesomes. At home we wrapped up the gifts sneaky style. The excitement was HIGH!

Sunday was our ward Christmas program. I was in charge of the music for the program as ward music chairman. Lots of texts and questions those few days prior to the program. We practiced the program outline before church at the Wolford's home. Sister Larry was our narrator, she introduced each song with a little historical snippet. I invited our neighbor Edgar to church, he CAME! I was so excited. There are quite a few talented folks in our ward who performed during the program. We had piano, voice, violin, saxophone, and bass represented. The only snafu was the first number. A small group of Primary kids practiced a song to perform, but when Sister Larry invited the Primary kids to sing their song the entire lot of Primary kids stormed the stand. Surprise! After the program we had a mix and mingle. Sunday night we drove around to see Christmas lights. So many crazy folks go overboard to decorate! Ha ha ha. 

19 December 2019

An Inch of Hail

Monday it was my turn for carpool pick up. It was a cloudy, oppressive sort of day outside. I got a panicked text and phone call from Mia that it was seriously hailing. I was 4 miles away from home, it was drizzling and dripping a bit of rain, nothing of note. On some level, I was sure Amelia forgot what hail was really like. Once we crossed the border between Mesa and Gilbert the hail started. I kid you not, it hailed non-stop for over 30 minutes. We had a leg-it Nebraska-worthy hail storm, Mia's memory served her right! By the time I pulled into the driveway the kids were ALL outside scooping up bowls of ice pellets, mixing in snow cone syrup for a tasty treat. Phillip brought out our only snow shovel to scoop up huge piles of hail stones. We dumped about 30 pounds of ice off the sail sunscreen! That was quite fun. All the kids were shivering with cold and loving every moment. They all warmed up with hot cocoa and wearing 2-3 layers of their warmest pajamas.

Tuesday evening my piano students performed in our Christmas Piano Recital. It was nice not to scramble to get the house clean because it was still immaculately clean (best feeling ever). Marianne caught a nasty cough so only three families attended! Brigdon's family left right after his songs, so we were down to 3 adults plus our family and Chloe. I was expecting more family members to show up, picked up 3 dozen doughnuts as a special treat. We were left with 2.5 dozen doughnuts to indulge in, good grief that was too much sugar. Phillip and Everett performed so nicely. They practiced and practiced until their songs were perfect. Recital nerves always results in a couple finger flubs, but still they were awesome. Lyndsey told me after they left that Blake said, "You mean that was the last time I'll see my piano teacher? Well, we should have had a moment!" He cracks me up. I saw him the next day, we had a moment! Ha ha ha. Evelyn and I worked hard over the weekend to collect facts about the Bearded Reedling, a tiny marsh bird native to Europe. After the recital we worked on making a diorama with an old box, clay for the bird and sun (plus some pink in the nest for color), torn blue paper for the water, and Popsicle sticks for reeds. I quite enjoyed working with Evelyn on her project. I helped with the hot glue gun, she did the rest herself!

Everett also needed help writing a report on Portugal for a Social Studies project. We researched a bit and he decided to focus on the foods of Portugal. Wednesday we worked on a poster board for his presentation at school. We had a bit of trouble communicating. I think he wanted me to do all the work for him, but I made him come up with the ideas and write everything out. His poster looked pretty good for a 3rd grader.

Evelyn presented her Bearded Reedling project Thursday morning. Josie got to play with Keturah Smith at the Idea Museum all morning! She was a bit reluctant to go but had a super time with Ezra and Julia. It was nice to just focus on Evelyn for a bit. She refused to present until she had to as the last presenter. She was so cute twisting her hair while telling about herself and READING her report. She is turning into a good reader, no surprise there. After reading her report her classmates asked questions about the Bearded Reedling that she tried to answer. That girl is the cutest, she can pull of anything...once her mind is set. I found myself alone with two hours to spare. Soooooo, I went Christmas shopping. I hit Walmart and Target collecting all the things for Christmas this year. It was so nice not to battle the crowds swarming the stores on a Saturday.

Friday we had a quick family clean-up in the house. I vacuumed, swept, and mopped again. Phillip is totally into Fantastic Beasts so he was quite the whiz helping out so he could watch the first movie. We left our house by 9 am on Saturday morning. Edgar hosted an Open House from 9-1:30 pm. Justin left super early to grab tickets for Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro. I still feel like a cheater going to the store but free photos and experience are hard to beat. The rest of us caught up at 9:35 just in time to enjoy the fun activities before getting in line. Tickets went fast but Justin snagged tickets so we did not have to wait long. Josie was so cute, she would not look at Santa, made Mia take her over, she tolerated a short sit on Santa's lap. I could see her whisper "Santa, I want a baby My Little Pony with a crown and bottle." Everett wrapped himself right up, completely at ease! Phillip was unsure if he could sit on Santa's lap, so he did the most hilarious backwards wiggle, easing himself onto one of Santa's legs. I about died laughing! All I saw was "beep, beep, load coming through!" Ha ha ha. Amelia refused to have a turn, but lowered herself to get a group photo. I am totally into child torture and embarrassment. I got my just dues when Josie threw a royal tantrum over a fishing rod and then a camping lantern. Phew, she is one stubborn kid when she wants to be. She does not get things usually when she and I shop, she gets one thing a month as an allowance. Sometimes a small treat if she behaves. Cry away kid! She threw another royal tantrum at Joann Fabric store earlier in the week. Her eyes beheld the most beautiful Frozen treasure chest, she toted it around the store for 30 minutes. She heard me say a few times I was not getting her the chest, stubborn girl insisted. We left with her purple in the face screaming about the Elsa Treasure Chest. Nope, double and triple NOPE. Back to the real narrative. The kids played at the park across from the shopping center for an hour or so. Everett was playing a form of chase, he and this other little boy were "girl slapping" each other if caught by the other. I was afraid that game would turn into real slapping and punching, stepped in as mean mom. That park is really fun to play in, so many fun areas for all different ages. We still had over an hour to burn, went to lunch at Moreno's. Forced absence from our home seemed like a good excuse to eat out. Only two people and a curious neighbor attended the Open House, boo.

Amelia, Chloe, and I went out shopping after we could go back home. Evelyn decided to change her Christmas list, like completely. I returned two items at Walmart, returned an item to Big Lots, and went to Joann's for the treasure chest, then Old Navy and Marshalls. The girls were hilarious! I forgot how silly girls are out shopping. Amelia and Chloe chose gifts for a little gift exchange they are hosting next week. Lastly, we went to Target so the girls could choose matching "Chloes" aka hoodies. I spotted the perfect hoodies on Tuesday, a sherbet tie-dyed hoodie with Star Wars on the front and the Rebel symbol on the back. I was pooped after that long day. Came home only to realize the Christensen's Posada was starting in 20 minutes and I signed up to bring apple cider. I quickly assembled the ingredients and boiled the brew for a bit before putting it in the crock pot...faux crock pot cooking! Over a 100 people showed up for the Posada! Every year the attendance goes up, hooray for lots of friends. Josie did not eat a scrap of food, it was too yucky. Her loss, nothing beats street tacos.

I worked to finalize the music for our Christmas program next Sunday. I hope the songs and performances bring the spirit to those looking for a spot of warmth in their heart this season. We've practiced long and hard to do our best this Sunday. I'm grateful for all the talented folks who volunteer their time and efforts.

**Phillip introduced Josie to the most annoying (and inappropriate) song: "Up Butt Coconut" a crass song about a monkey, butts, and coconuts. He was near tears because Josie played the song about 30 times in a row. He promised to never introduce gross songs to his sister again. That artist and song is blocked. Think Weird Al Yankovich of 2019 level of strange. Poor Ronald was so annoyed with the situation. I was not around for the experience but heard about it later. Thankfully, she forgot about the song and does not recall the words.  Anyone who plays that song will get a stiff consequence.

16 December 2019

Christmas Festivities

I lost a week. This week got lost in time, I had too much on my plate to sit down and write about the goings on. Two weeks later, I'll attempt to write the story. Most of the week was spent cleaning. Monday-Wednesday I spent upstairs cleaning every nook and cranny. I donated a couple trunks full of items to the DI. Wednesday morning Melanie came over to help me start on the downstairs. My mission was to completely declutter the house so we could get it Market worthy by Friday morning. A professional photographer came with a wide angle 10mm lens to capture each room. Lots of sweat went into cleaning and such. We moved a bunch of stuff out to garage, packed up toys and unnecessaries late Thursday night. Melanie and Debbie Godard came to help me work on the kitchen during the day on Thursday. I never had the chance to deep clean before moving in, guess I'm doing it before we move out. So many thanks to the ladies who helped me clean all the places. The kids worked on cleaning the backyard with Brigdon Godard playing the team captain, he kept the boys hopping from chore to chore. The house is clean...the garage is a healthy mess! Just keepin' it real.

Monday and Friday the kids had dental cleanings. Only Everett and Josie came away with no cavities. Mia has one, Phillip has 3, and Evelyn has 5. We don't have crappy diets, our kids brush their teeth, so maybe genetics is the culprit.  Phillip got his taken care of right away. I'm not looking forward to taking Evelyn kicking and screaming for her turn. My plan is to take her right away in the morning, she'll find out in the parking lot.

The older kids spent a couple afternoons making large batches of slime for a service project. Our ward is hosting an entire ward that is quite poor. The kids made slime to go in each stocking along with a new toy gift we donated. The stockings were assembled by the Primary kids during our ward Christmas Breakfast. Amelia and Chloe manned the stocking assembly operation. Amelia was an efficient director, she had the kids hopping along the assembly line. She made any repeaters fall out of line until everyone had a chance. I got several compliments about her ability to direct and lead. All the kids helped make either slime or playdough! Good job young people of Windrift Ward. The adults assembled 10 welcome baskets for the House of Refuge. For a month Debbie Godard collected donations to put in the baskets. Everything had to be new so that was a bit of a challenge. Each basket had a set of pans, dishes, cups, cutlery, knives, towels, sheets, and such put into a laundry basket. Sister Payne outdid herself with the Christmas Breakfast. There was a cute hot cocoa station, lots of crafts, and yummy breakfast foods. We had a fun sing-a-long for an activity. Santa even came at the end of the breakfast!

Right after the party Amelia had a choir performance at GCA for the school's winterfest fundraiser. All the music department (band, strings, and choir) had a required performance. We had Ryan for the day to play with Phillip. The boys had more fun roaming about the "fair" then sitting to watch choir numbers. Josie made a cute friend sitting on our same row. Each choir sang a technical piece and a fun number. Justin stayed with Amelia and Chloe while the rest of us went to visit the Cotton Candy man. Once a year Brother Brinton sets up his cotton candy machine and makes unlimited candy for anyone who wants a towering treat. My kids love this tradition. Josie still would not eat her cotton candy, she finally nibbled a piece I squashed into a tiny hard ball. She quite enjoyed filling cups of water instead. Amelia and Chloe showed up with hennaed hands! The designs were so fun! They bought tickets and paid to have it done at Winterfest. 

Our house went live on the MLS at 4 pm on Saturday. We had two showings on Sunday, one on Monday, and another Tuesday. Otherwise crickets! Boo hoo. It is quite the challenge for me to keep everything shipshape and squared away. The kids are not allowed to play in the house. They can play in the garage.

Sunday we enjoyed dinner with the Calls as it was the first Sunday of the month. We had lots to catch up on.

A side note: choosing the best way to sell our house was quite challenging. I finally settled on Homie to sell our house. Jana used them to sell and highly recommended it. I signed up, paid the deposit and had a photographer scheduled to come Friday morning. I was out spraying weeds when our new neighbor Edgar arrived home. I told him our news and got an instant scolding for not using him as an agent. I really thought he only flipped houses, turns out he is a self-employed broker. After looking at our house he was ready to start listing us at $389,900. I was listing for $340k through Homie. Even with realtor fees we would make more through Edgar than listing on our own. Selling through the holidays is a slow, slow time. I felt good about Homie and felt good about Edgar so it was really a choice of good and good. The less we sell our home for the less Edgar gets paid, if it only sells for $340 he will only get .5% commission. Time will tell. I also paid the deposit for the moving company. We are on a floating reservation so can move the date out starting in January. That looks a very likely scenario since we are now at the 16th of December and no real showings or offers. Could be we won't move until February.