09 December 2018

Recitals, Ward Christmas Party, Grouchy Neighbor

Tis the season for recitals, concerts, parties, and celebration. We officially entered the party season this week. We started our 25 days of Christ on December 2nd. It's a fun little tradition that includes cute ornaments depicting events in the life of Christ, each night you read a set of scriptures, watch a bible video, and talk about His life as a family. The kids love to string the ornaments on the twine I have nailed to the wall. We got to wish Uncle Jared a Merry Happy Birthday!

Monday was mostly spent shopping for food and forgetting another dental appointment. It was even in my calendar, I should plan to check my calendar more often. I promised Evelyn a Happy Meal if she took more photos on Sunday. So we had an easy dinner at McDonalds much to everyone's enjoyment. Hooray for FHE spent out and about.  Amelia was quite the little stinker on Monday evening as we worked to clean up toy clutter. She refused and was sent to her room in a rage. She lost texting privileges and got to deep clean the bathroom for her poopy behavior.Tuesday I cleaned up the house to level expert clean, it was sparkly and so nice. Once the kids came home I put them (and their friends) to work cleaning the yard and washing windows. Once it was clean we left so the kids would not mess it up. Phillip had scouts so I was busy driving here and there with the kids. Amelia and Chloe took a walk over to the park and back.

Our piano recital went well! The kids practiced so diligently and knew their songs to perfection. We talked extensively about performance behavior, how to act after a misplayed note, etc. I accompanied most of the kids since 5 of the 7 are beginner level. I moved the furniture around to accommodate around 50 people in attendance. The kids all sat on the floor and the adults perched in available spots. It was crowded!! Phillip and Everett are two of my students! They loved practicing with me at their leisure. Phillip played Book of Mormon Stories and Jingle Bells. Everett played Chimes and Away in a Manger. After the recital we enjoyed doughnuts and chocolate milk! I'm sad I did not get a photo of the night.

Wednesday after Amelia's piano lesson we headed to the park for a couple hours to play. The weather is brilliant right now. My new lens is driving me crazy, it is front focusing (meaning focusing 1-2 inches away from where my focus point is). All my photos are not crisp where I WANT them to be crisp. I even spent the hour+ to drive all the way to Tempe Camera, I was ready to drop it off but the tech changed one camera setting and convinced me all my troubles were solved. Made me upset that the problem was not solved and I wasted a precious 90 minutes for nothing. Now I have to go back next week.

Thursday Chloe came over with Mia again after school (third time this week!) since the girls had a strings concert at 6 pm. They were outside walking around our block just acting like 11 year old girls. A younger neighbor was fetching her mail and walked over to the girls accusing them of knocking on her door and running away. She was quite determined to scare both girls. This lady said, "I caught you little witches! I caught you ringing my doorbell. Just so you know I have you on video so don't even try to lie about it." Both girls ran in and told me about the confrontation. They were scared and crying. I ran out and caught up with our neighbor to figure out the situation. She accused the girls of destroying her property on Wednesday around 5 pm and that she had them recorded on video. Funny thing, I was at the park with all my kids until well after 5:30 pm. She refused to believe me and continued to be belligerent. I felt so upset that #1 she accused the girls without basis #2 that she did not talk with me first (she has my phone number and address) and #3 that she was so rude about the entire situation. I'm fine a few days later, it's not a big deal anymore, we can still be friends...BUT seriously?! Let's just be kind. Kind and give folks the benefit of the doubt.

Amelia dolled herself up as a unicorn for the recital. When Justin saw her he immediately thought, "Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn." She is a magical creature. The 5th grade performed first. Amelia announced the second piece, Russian Music Box. The kids sounded quite screechy but not as bad as the first year! Ha ha ha. Josie enjoyed spinning to the strange music. Everett wondered why he was not allowed to spin like Josie. Phillip sat quietly and drew silly pictures of farts and animals farting. We treated the kids to ice cream for all their hard work perfecting their music skills.

I had another series of doctor appointments this week, doctor, sleep center, dentist, then doctor. Getting my fatigue diagnosed is well, fatiguing. Josie and Gabriella were good sports at most of the appointments. After one appointment we went to Target for some Christmas stuff. Josie saw a Skye Paw Patrol hooded blanket. She patted her head and squealed! Skye! On my HEAD! That went into the cart. Then she saw a Shimmer baby doll which also went into the cart as her Christmas gift. During her nap I hid those two items. She spent a good while searching high and low for her baby and Skye head. Guess she is getting too old to take shopping and pull the wool over her eyes.

The girls and I enjoyed a night out at San Tan mall on Friday. Amelia had a burning desire to shop for her Christmas gifts at Claire's. Evelyn wanted some fancy earrings for her new ear piercings. We had quite a lovely time browsing Claire's, The Disney Store, Build a Bear, and Bath and Body Works. The girls even got to play for a bit at the play structures. The boys stayed home and watched Star Wars. Boring!

Saturday morning our ward hosted a Christmas breakfast. We woke up to fog, yes! FOG! Breakfast was biscuits and gravy, pancakes, eggs, fruit, and milk! Every table was filled up with families and friends. It was quite well-attended this year. The kids had a chance to visit with Santa. Amelia skipped out for the first time ever. Evelyn was near terrified to be more than 5 feet away from Santa. Josie skipped up parroting, "I want LOL" over and over. Phillip decided he wanted a bag of bagels (?) from Santa. That kid! Everett asked for a Q-ba marble maze set. Evelyn wrote her request of eye shadow and an LOL. I've had a silly photo in my head for a while of the kids "taped" to the wall with duct tape and the culprit holding the tape. All the kids were game for silly photos! My compositing skills are terrible but the shoddy work turned out alright! Amelia had the idea to be the culprit instead of Evelyn (as I imagined it). The rest of our day was quite boring. Justin and I went to Hobby Lobby and Walmart after dinner and kid baths. He wanted to take me Christmas shopping. Yes, yes Please. I now have to wait for January to redecorate with my new Christmas gifts.

 Amelia, Justin, and I attended a youth meeting during church addressing future activities involving temple work! The Bishop has plans to rent a bus once or twice and take the youth to various temples around the state and maybe to Vegas or California next year. Amelia will get to participate after her birthday in April. Our ward is putting a strong emphasis on family history and temple work this coming year. Blink...we almost have a Beehive. 

03 December 2018

Cotton Candy

Time went by too fast last week and I did not get a chance to write until a week past. Thus, my brain forgot most of what I wanted to write about. So, I'll have to rely on the photos to tell the story.

Josie had her cute little book club from Monday to Thursday. She's quite attached to her baby Aurora, totes her around everywhere in the car seat we found at Goodwill. She calls her Rora-Gabi. The little kiddos learned about brownies and musical instruments. She adores her time with Sister Russo. I am sad the last book club is in January. She has also taken to wearing her pink ballet around over her clothes most of the time. I think it's pretty darn cute. Might be time to find a dance studio again for the little girls.

Evelyn requested a side-curl down her face, hanging over her eye. I complied and gave her a curl. She adores the new hairstyle and calls it her "tiny teenager" look. She is also quite excited to have hair long enough for two ballet buns right by her ears.

Last week I was swamped with numerous doctor/dentist appointments. I am finally taking action to search out options for sleep apnea. It appears I do have a problem and need intervention. I wanted to check out dental appliances first so went to a nearby dentist to price out options. I also had my teeth cleaned at the same time. That flippin' appointment took over two hours. The clinic was very thorough and ritzy. I suspected that my back fillings were failing and causing me grief. Turns out I might need more than one root canal and to have my fillings reworked. I got a fancy folder containing a ridiculous estimate of $5,500 for all the dental work. Guess the paraffin hand treatment and free chapstick cost more than the free they offered. At least my dental cleaning was completely covered. I went to another dentist office this week and for a second opinion and got a new estimate of $1500. Still pricey but more affordable. They were also willing to split up the work between this year and next. Since my mouth needs work dental appliances are not an option right now. If you mention nose pillows to me right now I might just punch your face. Not quite ready to face the fact that I need a sleep machine. How can a body change so much in a year to go from normal sleeping to needing a machine. Getting old stinks, and I'm not even old yet.

Friday morning I had a lady apply some makeup on my face for family photos. I left with quite a natural face, the only unnatural thing was my new eyelashes brushing against my glasses. That felt really strange, to have lashes that long and fake. I got the kids out of school at 2:50 to get them dressed and ready before 4 pm. We were still late arriving for family photos. It is no easy task to get 6 people ready in less than an hour. I had mounds of hair to style, outfits to adjust, and coax a certain 5-year old to participate in family photos. So stressful. I asked Sarah Burton to take our family photos, we traded services! She did a great job in the time we had. The kids behaved thanks to a couple rolls of smarties. In all the chaos Amelia, Phillip, and a photo of just the kids were missed. I had to dress the kids back up in the same outfits, curl hair, etc and try again on Sunday afternoon. The light was completely different so the ones I took have a different feeling. Oh well, getting group photos as a family was my main focus. Score! My new lens is not calibrated correctly, it front focuses terribly, missing focus by a inch or more at 1.5 meters. It's driving me nuts. I even calibrated it with the new Sigma dock but could not solve the issues. Justin and I had Mia babysit right after photos so we could catch some dinner and see the new Fantastic Beasts movie. Brekklyn came over around 8:30 to help Mia with bedtime. Justin and I headed back to downtown Gilbert for dinner at a cute and delicious Pizza place. We had a blast shopping at the candy store which was stocked with candy I've not seen in ages. Fantastic Beasts was amazing. Go watch it.

We had a fun time at Brother Brinton's home for his annual cotton candy event. The kids left sticky with pink cotton candy stuck to hands and faces. Josie would not touch her treat. She gagged when I made her taste a piece! Still she would not relinquish her treat for over an hour afterward. Amelia got to spend the afternoon and evening with her friend Abby making cookies and shopping at the mall. The rest of us enjoyed a boat ride around Windrift lake for the first time. A kind neighbor invited us to come celebrate with them and enjoy a spin about the lake. All the kids were so excited! Halfway through the ride Amelia came home to an empty house. We had her meet us near the entrance where she hopped onto the boat for the rest of the ride. What a fun treat!

02 December 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

I love Thanksgiving. The gathering folks, the good eats, the conversations, the rich colors, pretty much everything. We celebrated the holiday with Laura and Spenser at their new home with some of Laura's siblings and their families. Gary Auxier, Laura's father, was found unresponsive in his vehicle two hours after he was supposed be gone for work. He was hospitalized and thus unable to celebrate with us all. Normally the Auxiers celebrate with a picnic at the park but due to Gary's hospitalization plans changed. I was still impressed that the dinner came together with all the stress hanging over the Auxiers. I brought cups (quite important!), sourdough and sausage stuffing, 3/4 of a gallon of freshly whipped cream, and cranberry salad. The stuffing was heavenly! Half of the kids complained about the terrible smelling stuffing on our drive over. Little stinkers don't know what smells good. The cousins disappeared flitting here and there until dinner was ready. The day was quite overcast so it felt dreary and cold. I ate my fill of rolls and pie. Josie was so tired as she missed her nap the day before, I quite enjoyed when she crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Such nice snuggles. We played Scatterglory and a guessing game. 

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I wanted to grab some photos of Evelyn wearing her darling dress she wore for her pumpkin tasting party at school. As I was changing my lens from my zoom to me sigma prime my hand lost feeling and the expensive lens tumbled to the ground and smashed the filter off, cracking the lens casing. My heart plummeted, that was a very expensive fumble. I had a photo session the next day at 3 and no money making lens to use. Thankfully, the older kids were home from school so I ran to Tempe Camera to buy a new lens. Poor Justin got about 4 frantic phone calls from me, needing reassurance about the new expensive lens. My stomach was in knots for a week. I was saving my money to upgrade my camera body since it is over 9 years old already. Guess I have to wait longer or convince my accountant to let me take a business loan. The new lens cost $1000, booooooo hoooooo. By the time I got to my session I was near tears but managed to get through it.

We quite enjoyed our Friday as a family at home. The kids begged to get our Christmas stuff out and decorate our house. That endeavor took most of the day, by bedtime our house was ready for the season! The kids all wore Christmas shirts and Santa hats! I was impressed the kids mostly decorated the kid tree by themselves with minimal assistance. Granted most of the ornaments are clustered towards the bottom, but it relays the kid's short stature. Justin took the older kids out to see Wreck-It Ralph while Josie took a snooze and I kept decorating. 

Saturday Justin was eager to have fun. Ha ha ha ha. We decided to check out Goldfield Mine town as a family. Amelia, yes Amelia, lent us $81 dollars in cash, dang Miss money bags since we could not use a credit card. She bought us all tickets to the train, mine, and the mystery shack. I reimbursed her a couple days later. Thanks sweetie. The tickets were quite expensive, guess it costs money to keep a tourist trap up to par. We all loved the train ride around the area. The guide was full of quips and funny stories about the area. After the train we toured the mine, basically a faux mine since we were only dropped about a story underground. Evelyn was freaked out by the mine and stayed close to my heels. We got to see part of a reenactment involving a sheriff, some bandits, and gold. Once again Evelyn was spooked by the blanks exploding about during the gun fight. The Mystery Shack was built to mess with depth and size perception. Our entire lot was pretty impaired right away with headaches and nausea! The house is built with the angles all off so your mind is unsure what to think. The kids had so much fun playing in the dirt and climbing on rocks.

I rather enjoyed my first Sunday as ward music director. Partaking of the sacrament by my lonesome was enjoyable. I better not enjoy it too much or else I'll get a new calling. I baked up our pies late Saturday night. We dug into freshly baked pumpkin and a cranberry cheesecake pie for dessert on Sunday.  We are all praying mightily for Grandpa Lynn. He had a grand mal seizure on the way to the hospital after feeling unwell the day after Thanksgiving. I hear he is making his way back to Gilroy at a care rehab center until he can return home.