30 January 2011

Paying Our Dues

Talk about weather extremes! Friday we enjoyed nearly 60 degree weather. Oh boy! We played outside for hours enjoying the sunshine. Today it was only about 30 degrees outside with frosty trees. For some reason (the wind?) we don't get frost very often. This morning we woke up to "princess trees" clothed in a delicate layer of white frost. Tomorrow we are forecasted some snow and temps around -4.

I am continuing my quest to clean closets and hidden places around the house. This week I tackled my craft room (yikes) and went through my fabric. I cleaned out our bedroom and bedroom closet. While decluttering the store room I decided to either throw out or utilize our 10 gallon fish tank. Amelia voted to set up the tank. We now have 4 new platy fish swimming happily in our dining room. Phillip loves to bang the glass and give the poor fish heart failure. I made another couple trips to Salvation Army to donate stuff...and collect some more stuff. I found an entire collection of pristine Bernstein Bears books on Tuesday and a couple fun toys. My prop closet got a little organization as well. Luckily, Family Dollar has their organizing totes on clearance so I picked up quite a few new plastic boxes to organize stuff in.

My dang hand is giving me more and more grief. Crocheting is impossible...I had to make a couple newborn hats this week for an old order. My hand is still numb! I tried embroidery, that was even worse. Cutting, sewing, playing piano, typing on the computer, cooking, driving, anything that I close my fingers around is highly uncomfortable. Needless, to say I am going crazy not being able to do my normal activities. Last night I made some fabric flowers using silk left over from Amelia's princess dresses. I must say the flowers are darling!

Alison watched my kiddos again on Thursday. I really needed a break this week. With Justin gone all day and into the night getting a tag team break is impossible. Phillip is a holy terror lately. Can't take that kid anywhere. So, with the kids gone I took a nice nap. After lunch my new monitor and computer books came in the mail. I organized the computer area while setting up my new monitor. It took me a while to get the new monitor calibrated. I hope to work on a chapter a day in my new books to figure out Lightroom and Photoshop. Then, I went to the chiropractor again for acupuncture, massage, and an adjustment. Ah! Bliss. Alison, you are a life saver.

I tried to forget about Monday night. One of my photographer friends here in Nebraska opened a new photo studio in her backyard. She held an open house Monday night. I really wanted to go and see what she had worked on for so many months. We drove 40 minutes to her new studio. Within three minutes of arriving Phillip discovered the pulley and weighted chains. He tangled all her cords in just seconds. Amelia made about three plates of food for her stuffed animal and spread them all over the floor. Then she started to bite cookies and put them back on the serving dishes. While I wrassled Amelia, Phillip moved on to find the only toilet in the building. He had one foot in the toilet and almost had his hair wet by the time I got to him. During that time Amelia started talking to all the folks in the building, dancing, and pestering the guests. Phillip went on to smash his face into the coffee table. All this in only 4-5 minutes. We left. Grrrrr.

Justin thought it would be fun to have a nice sit down restaurant dinner on Friday. Oh man...not a good idea. Phillip was all over the place. He put the utensils in the lemonade carafe, dipped his crackers in Justin's salad (very messy), and commenced to enjoy his dinner by dipping his chicken into anything near his plate. In between that we somehow managed to keep him inside the booth trapped between Justin and I. He was not happy about that and let everyone know. Little soul is now grounded from excursions until he is about 5. Amelia was never that crazy. Right about now I am really hoping for a girl! Thinking about having a boy is making me tired.

**Stay Tuned!!! Wednesday is our ultrasound!! Will we welcome more pink or more blue??
***I am also uploading more new home movies of the kids this evening. YouTube, my "channel" is jolligirl77 

23 January 2011

Our Silly Geese

Dang! We have some cute kiddos! Got some photos of Mia in her new dress and Phillip toting around his new little buddy, named "ooo, ooo, ahhh, ahhh." The dress is a little big on purpose. She can wear this one for a long while. I even have enough fabric to extend the length a couple inches if needed. Drool...the fabric is so...me! Green, teal, and yellow.

Early yesterday morning the Primary hosted a Pajama breakfast. The teachers were to bring a pillowcase with 10 items representing what he/she is like. We first served pancakes, sausages, and juice. Then we played some games. One teacher is a cowboy so he brought a horse as one of his items. The kids were estatic to pet the horse. Our little activity was short and sweet!

Yesterday Amelia was singing "Angels we Have Heard on High." She only sings the "Gloria" part...instead of in "Excelsis Deo", she sang "In a Selfish Stable." I guess the two phrases sound similar! Funny goose.

In church Phillip walked up to brother Webb, who was studiously trying to sleep, and peered into his face then climbed into his lap. Later he brought Brother Webb his favorite church book for continuing entertainment. Course, his monkey was in one arm and the book in the other. Sister Franken called me early this morning to tell me I was solo for Primary today, no other presidency, no pianist, and a skeleton staff of teachers. It was almost crazy! We survived with volunteers and a church video for Sharing Time. My other counselor showed up sick to help out in spite of feeling poorly. I was so grateful!

21 January 2011

Monkey Boy

Phillip is one funny little character. Last week he insisted on sleeping with a monkey and has nearly every nap/sleep since. He toddles over to the first monkey he sees and clutches it in his chubby paws then waves bye-bye and blows wet kisses. He LOVES wearing a monkey on his back. Every morning he searches for his backpack, finds it, and insists I put it on. Phillip also loves his monkey hat. Yesterday we went to a Pampered Chef party at Alison's home. He found his favorite monkey, ironically the one we got for his birth day, and would not let it go. Melted my heart watching him find a lovey toy to tote around.

The collage of Amelia and Phillip cracks me up! Siblings! They play nicely for a second then tussle for a second...back and forth. Amelia gets pounded by Phillip more often than not. He loves to pound, throw, and pull. Amelia does not like these things.

Pampered Chef. Those two words mean amazing cooking utensils. I had fun with some ladies from Sidney watching Elaine Peters present her little presentation. She told the story of Stone soup and made us an amazing soup while we got to try out the fun knives and gadgets on real vegetables. I took Amelia and Phillip since Justin is working so late these past weeks. Phillip thought all the gadgets were pretty fun too. He climbed and pulled about everything in reach. For a pregnant lady I can move fast when merited.

Wednesday I watched Cydalee and Romain, the twins 10 days younger than Phillip. Ella came over after preschool to help me babysit the twins. She was H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S! Ella carried little Cydah around under her armpits, wiped her nose, changed her diapers, and played quite the little mom. Cyd just adored all the attention. We had a fun, crazy day.

18 January 2011

Happy January...Indeed

I am still, well, floored. First, Alison took both kids again this morning for part of the day. I took a long nap! That alone was needed. I heard the doorbell ring around 11:00 am. Our mail lady was standing outside with a Priority box. Once I saw who the box was from I hurriedly signed the slip and rushed inside. The box was from my brother James, mailed by his truly as well. Inside sat two computer programs, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Lightroom 3! Both programs are considered standard for photographers and graphic designers. For 5 years I've gotten along using Photoshop Elements with excellent results. A whole new world opened up for me this afternoon. I literally was stunned for about an hour, cleaning something and then rushing back to the box to make sure I was not dreaming. The programs were still there an hour later. I called James...he really does have incredible connections! Thank you so much. James is the epitome of few words, powerful message. His little note read "Happy January! I hope you enjoy these. Love, James" I can't wait to learn the in's and out's of real Photoshop. Eeeek! Justin was in on the surprise.

On a much lesser note, one of my winter goals is to declutter the house. After three moves I never got a good chance to pare down our stuff. This week I started with the closets and bedrooms. Ahhhh, amazing how great deep cleaning can cleanse the soul. I took three trips to Salvation Army to donate stuff and several trips to the dumpster. This afternoon I sewed Amelia a new dress that I cut out last night. The dress is so cute! Soon I will get some photos up of her wearing the new little number.

Lastly....Amelia told us today she wants a dog named fish...who has a brother dog named chip. Fish and Chip(s)! Where does that kid come up with stuff like that? Phillip dumped our toothbrushes, bathroom cups, and several decorations into the toilet this afternoon. I really, really try to keep the door closed. Amelia let him in because she said his eyes looked like sad doggy eyes. Indeed?!

14 January 2011

Da Belly at 19 weeks

My belly popped out a week or so ago...a little earlier than with Amelia or Phillip. Goodness that belly is high! Looks like a small volleyball stuffed in my shirt. Had to unpack my pregnancy clothes last week. I got tired of wearing my stretchy pants (sweats etc). The shirts are the ones I made for Phillip. The only new style is the doggy one. Phillip "ruffed" for an entire 20 minutes this morning toting the shirt around.

13 January 2011

Ho Hum

Lazy! We have not done much this week at all. My piano students all cancelled this week, except one. Amelia had preschool Mon & Wed, she learned about the letter O. The kids made an octopus using a balloon and curling ribbon. Amelia carried hers around all week. I appliqued a couple shirts for Phillip now that he is moving up to 18 mth size. Crocheted a couple hats. Reveled in our cluttered basement enjoying the chaos of playing kids and fabric flying every which way. This week I craved a nap every day like no man's business. Napping in the morning is out of the question since Phillip is awake. Today I finally was so out of it that I fell asleep on the floor with Phillip crawling all over me. Tuesday evening Phillip was running a low grade fever. His little cheeks were flushed a perfect apple red. The day before Justin commented on his cute little bum. With his red cheeks and cute bum a fun photo session popped up, throw in a gun and a pair of cowboy boots for some throw-down cuteness. I taped smarties to the wall so he would not show off his important parts. Worked like a charm. Amelia had to squeeze in on the action to. She chose her outfit, the flower, and clip...even the poses. All for a pack of smarties. Man, my kids are trained!!! Gotta say I am loving the process of learning how to use my strobe and huge soft box. I received 4 new photography books in the mail on Tuesday. Can't wait to learn some more.

Sunday we invited two families over for dinner. I had a powerful craving for Cafe Rio Chile Beef enchiladas. I am always a bit disappointed by homemade Cafe Rio attempts. Dinner was delicious but not quite what I remember. I made the shredded beef, lime-cilantro rice, black beans, creamy tomatillo dressing, and pico de gallo. The Gull and Haley families came over. Brother Gull helped roll out homemade tortillas while Sister Gull cooked them. We enjoyed getting to know the Gull family better. Sister Gull actually ran a private school in Draper Utah. She is a very interesting lady! Everyone slurped down fresh crepes for dessert. I am thinking of starting up a dinner club and book club in the very near future.

Phillip is in a funny stage. He loves the dogs next door. He barks all the time. He loves walking around wearing a monkey backpack. He laughs when getting dressed and undressed. That kid thinks just about everything is hilarious. He is trying so hard to talk. If you listen he will carry on a full blown conversation usually about bye-bye, monkeys, dogs, dishwashers, and climbing chairs. The kids are starting to play together more. I love that. We played outside in the melting snow this afternoon. Ahhh, the sun was invigorating. Last week Amelia came down into the basement after Justin put her into bed. She pretty much just wanted me to come snuggle her...first she had to go potty, then her bum itched, then she was hungry. Once I got into her room she asked me giggling the while to snuggle her. Irresistible! I told her she needed to go to sleep otherwise she'd be crabby in the morning. Her face turned thoughtful then she said, "Mom!? I don't have snippers!" Her little fingers were working in perfect snipper action to empathize the point. We both dissolved into mirthful giggles. It took some time to stop giggling. Ah, that was memorable!

I linked my tingly and numb arm to pregnancy induced carpal tunnel. The usually swelling in the extremities most likely exacerbated the main nerve in my hand. I slept with a hand brace on last night, the numbness and tingling did not bother me so much. Between trips to Amelia's room I actually slept last night. Phew. I hope once this baby comes the numbness will go away. If not my crocheting days might be limited.

Last week I invested in a computer video camera. We enjoyed calling Jeff, the James Lances, Grandma & Grandpa Call, and Grandma Debbie and boys on Skype. Let me know if you have Skype!

07 January 2011

Pink Polish

Alison came and picked up both my kiddos for the day this morning. Oh man...I enjoyed just being alone for a little while. I finished editing a newborn session, sewed up the playhouse awning, went to lunch with Justin, shopped alone for a second, read some of my book, and even took a little nap. I need to crochet Alison more hats if she will trade a couple hours with my kids. She even put Phillip down for his nap while I hid in the basement. No kids for 6 whole hours. Makes me appreciate them even more. Phillip patted my cheek when I picked him up from his nap. Amelia snuggled me for 30 minutes. That was heaven.

I found a short tutorial on how to make your own awning written by Dana, on the MADE blog. I bought the wood on Monday. The kids helped me saw the wood down to size and drill holes for the dowel. Wednesday I attached the wood to the house then draped some fabric over the frame. It took me a couple days to get up the courage to actually cut and sew the material without a pattern. After thinking about how to sew it for two days I came up with a plan of attack. The awning looks cute! I hot glued the material to the frame for the time being. Hooray!

Last week a lady called me asking if I could take her newborn son's photos. She found my card at a local consignment store. I was super excited to have an unexpected newborn to practice on using my new strobe lights. You can check out the entire session on my photography blog. Editing time was nearly half what it usually is since the lights automatically corrected my normal white balance issues and made my images super sharp. I am giddy!

Yesterday Ella came over to play with Amelia for the day. The girls spent a good 30 minutes painting their nails with paint brushes and water. That was fine and even cute. About the time Ella left Amelia disappeared into the bathroom for a little while. I started to get worried once the time passed a normal bowel movement span of time. She soon came out clutching a towel and told me that the mess was cleaned up. Stink! Little stinker painted her own fingernails with real polish. We had a serious discussion that she cannot paint her nail by herself until she is a Mommy. It was her idea to wait until motherhood to paint her own nails. Her nails turned out better than mine normally turn out...and I AM a mommy. She may become a professional manicurist.

05 January 2011

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam

As of Sunday we officially have a sunbeam living in our home. Amelia was super excited to finally join the big kids in Primary. We made some big changes on Sunday besides the normal class advancement. We used to hold opening exercises with all the kids then split for classes and sharing time. Now we are more like a normal Primary with opening exercises, sharing time, and singing time completed for Jr and Sr Primary. We made it through all the questions and confusion! Last year the sunbeam teachers taught 13-14 kids, this year their class reduced to 4! Amelia and her buds (Ella, Hannah, and Bryn) are the only 4 year olds this year. That class deserves a break. As a presidency we challenged the kids to read their scriptures and try to memorize as many as possible. Each week the kids can tell us what was read or recite a scripture. The kids can then add a link to our scripture chain. How long can we make our scripture chain this year?

We survived a pretty large snow storm last week. The snow and wind invaded Sidney early on Thursday and lasted until Friday night. We were snowbound for a couple days. Thursday we pretty much hunkered down. Friday I took down all our Christmas decorations a couple days earlier than usual. Amelia had nearly as much fun taking down the tree as she had putting it up. Saturday the wind calmed down and the snow stopped. Justin grabbed his shovel and went to work shoveling a ton or more of snow...literally. Amelia was so excited to get out into the snow. She made about 20 snow angels and ate a gallon of snow. Phillip lasted about 20 minutes. Thursday the temperature got down to a frigid -30 (wind chill). It was barely zero degrees on Saturday. After clearing the driveway, which was a HUGE task, we made a trip to Walmart to escape for a little while. Our New Year activity was a highlight trip to Walmart, LOL. We spent New Year's Eve sawing logs! Pretty boring over here.

I am having a blast playing with my new studio lights. Monday I bought a used light from another photographer here in Sidney to add to my new light. The kids helped me practice. I set up my large black backdrop yesterday in anticipation of a family photoshoot this morning. Amelia and Phillip thought dancing on the new set up was super duper fun. What do you think of my new lights??? Sure cuts my editing time down!

Monday I had a prenatal visit in Scottsbluff. Alison volunteered to watch Amelia after preschool so Phillip and I made the trip. We literally went up and back, stopping only for 10 minutes at JoAnns and 10 minutes at Menards (home improvement store). About two weeks ago my right arm started going numb from the shoulder down at odd times. The numbness and tingly pain is 20 times worse at night. I don't sleep on that side so it was not due to my arm going to sleep. Strange! I went to the chiropractor yesterday in hopes that an adjustment would alleviate the pain and numbness. My arm feels a tiny bit better but is still tingly 80% of the time. Our ultrasound is scheduled for 02 Feb 2011. Can't wait to see if Amelia is right about a baby sister. You are welcome to guess!!!

02 January 2011

Ring out the Old, Ring in the New

2010 was an amazing year filled with many memories for our family. I had the hardest time only picking one photo per month. Enjoy this short recap of the year.

Jenni entered a Biggest Loser weight contest, lost only 5 lbs.
Amelia shows an interest in playing dress-up, painting, playing tea party
Started Phillip on solid foods
The Taylor family came for a visit over Valentine's Day weekend
My computer crashed
Visited Utah to see my Mom and brothers visiting from Amman, Jordan
Organized several Montisorri activities for Amelia
Sarah Johnson came for a short day visit
Phillip sits by himself
Enjoyed a quiet Easter at home
Debbie, Jeremy, and Jared visit
Justin's parents visit for a couple days
Amelia turned 3
Potty training for Amelia begins
Jenni participates in a craft fair
Justin bags two turkeys
First piano recital
Helped the Titus family brand their calves
Family vacation to Mt Rushmore
Endured nasty storms, hail and garden destroyed for the third time
Visited Utah, mostly with the Call family
My new camera (Canon 7d) arrives
Phillip crawls
Weathered a tornado
Charity & Melissa stopped for a visit on their way back to Utah from Virginia
Went horse back riding
Cheyenne Co Fair
Visit the Riverside Zoo
Jenni turns 33
Kid's enjoy the "beach" at the Great Salt Lake
Visit Utah to photograph little Everett and visit with the Lance family
Phillip turns 1
Jenni discovers she is expecting a new baby
Amelia starts Preschool
Phillip cruises around furniture
Phillip's first buzz cut
Justin enjoys some duck hunting
Visit the Denver temple with the kids
Amelia is Strawberry Shortcake and Phillip is a Monkey for Halloween
First snow
Justin shoots his first deer
Phillip walks
Justin turns 35
Thanksgiving at the church
Amelia and Ella see Tangled dressed as Princesses
Second piano recital
Justin and Jenni build a playhouse
Kids are coaxed into giving their binkies to the baby elves on Christmas Eve
Justin and Jenni celebrate 6 years of marriage