15 November 2018

Queen Bee











Evelyn finally got to be the Queen Bee in her kindergarten beehive class. She's waited each week as patiently as possible, checking the newsletter each Friday hoping to read her name. She finally read her name! She spent the weekend decorating her "All About Me" poster. Monday she got to show off her poster, Wednesday bring her favorite book (Cinderella's Wedding), and Friday stuff the Bee Bag with show and tell items (Francesca, Sunny Days belt, and a Barbie).

I kept Evelyn home on Tuesday with a nasty cough and runny nose. Amelia stayed home for the same reason on Wednesday. We are going through the nasty coughs again. I gave all the kids lots of vitamin C and lots of Sambucol syrup (elderberry). I quite pleased that the syrup seemed to shorten their illnesses by a week or more. I'm adding several gallons of it to my supply.

We are loving all the new photos of baby Sasha, he is well-loved while living at Grandma and Grandpa's house until Jeremy gets back home from Jordan. Can't wait to meet Jana's new arrival this December.

Phillip decided to read his book about the eruption of Mt St Helens while singing the words to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner. I did not catch on for quite some time, finally noticed he was singing the words to his book while blasting the music from the speaker. He gave me quite the impish smile when he noticed that I noticed! Tuesday he enjoyed an evening hike around the Riparian with his Bear Pack. He sure loves scouting. Phillip recently decided he loves Tapatio hot sauce. He puts it on almost everything. He likes the idea of hot sauce in his head. After dotting some sauce on his food he'll take a tiny bite, then swallow half a glass of milk...then throw away the rest of his food because it's spicy. I cringe each time he says, "please pass the tapatio?!" He made a nice Veteran's Day card for Grandpa Lane.

I cleaned out an entire van trunk load of toys and stuff from the family/play room. The kids came home to find some things rearranged. They still have not noticed how much I really got rid of. I also went through our books to pare down the numbers. Josie really had a great time playing with all the stuff I had piled together in the donate pile. She played and played until nap time. At one point she had on several necklaces, a tiara, two mismatched princess shoes, and a bag full of old cheap toys.

Friday evening Amelia and Brooklyn babysat the kids so Justin and I could go on another date! Wahoo! Cheap child labor. We settled on a restaurant downtown called Lo-Lo's chicken and waffles. It was so good. We had to walk around for an hour just to settle our tummies. Downtown Gilbert was alive and hopping! Good times.

Saturday morning Amelia had her first piano recital with Mrs Nurenberg. She's practiced her song about hundred times and had it memorized and perfected! She performed 4th and delivered a flawless performance! So proud of her. I love seeing her grow to love the piano. Justin headed outside with the rest of our crew until the recital was over. We celebrated Justin's birthday a few days early with lunch at Moreno's. I had another 2 mini sessions near late afternoon. We all headed to Riparian for a couple of hours. Justin hiked about and let the kids play at the park area while I worked.

Everett asks me everyday at 4:45 if I will play a board game with him. I have to defer him since that is dinner making time, the clean up time, then PJ time. If we get all the work done then I'll play games with him. We've played lots of Sleeping Queens and Clue the past 10 days. He sets it all up then guards the table so the little girls don't mess it up! 

Halloween Studio Photos









06 November 2018

Halloween 2018


















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 October 2018

Pumpkin Patch and Fun Run





















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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