29 March 2011

Snow Boots to Rain Boots

I have to laugh. Phillip's feet are so chubby we had to purchase size 7 goulashes to fit his width. The boots fit Amelia perfectly. I stuffed two paper towels into each toe and put two pairs of socks on his feet to get a reasonable fit. The goulashes are so tall he walked around like a penguin wearing a diaper. Every morning since Sunday we woke up to rain and snow all morning. By afternoon the snow is melted and the temperature warm enough to enjoy some outdoor exploration. Yesterday Amelia and I showed Phillip the pleasures of puddle jumping. He was ecstatic to finally play in the gutter without a timeout. Our lovely walk around the block took 45 minutes instead of the usual 10 minutes. The kids were in heaven. My feet were so happy in new colorful goulashes. Too bad I can barely see them with my huge belly in the way. I almost went to Walmart yesterday to buy a pair of old man suspenders to keep my pants up. One of my biggest gripes about pregnancy is that my pants and undies never stay up after about 5 months along. Phillip pants-ed me during our walk showing off my undies to the knees. I hope no one saw....much. LOL. I noticed this truck parked around the block from us. What do you think about his creative bumper? I wonder if insurance covers railroad track bumpers. Amelia insisted on wearing her CD player and listen to her mermaid music while in the puddles. We arrived home thoroughly wet, muddy, and blissfully happy.

This afternoon Justin arrived home at 4 pm! He immediately took to my suggestion to start removing the dirt from my garden box. After last year's pestilence of grubs and disease I decided to remove 1/4 of the dirt, seal off the depth with weed fabric and start over. The idea was much easier in my mind than the heavy wet dirt Justin shoveled into the back of the mini-van. I am so excited to start planting! I plan on covering my garden with heavy plastic over PVC (sort of like a pioneer wagon canopy) to protect against frost, wind, hail, heavy rain, and tornadoes. I will try my hardest to have a better garden this year. We learned a lot from last year.

Justin and I are trying out the Love and Logic system of discipline and love. The kids are responding very well to the choices and consequences. Phillip no longer plays with my plants and knows better than to touch the blinds. He now discovered pens and markers look great on the walls, tools belong in the paint bucket, and that boogers smeared all over his face and hair is pretty handsome. At least we are moving on! He hates time out in his room and immediately changes course. Amelia had to pay me with her pillow pet for whining and throwing a fit over a meal I made for lunch. I toted around her pillow pet for an entire afternoon, much to her chagrin. I love that the whining is cut down to less than 25% now. It takes a lot of patience on our part to remember that shouting and illogical statements are not effective, just easier.

I also finished a series of books written by Ben Behunin. The series is about a young man who is hired to be the town potter for a small town in Pennsylvania. He takes over the trade for an old potter who passed away a few weeks before he was hired on. The series is about this young man's journey of remembrance, discovery, and becoming like the old potter. I hope you get a chance to read the books: Remembering Isaac, Discovering Isaac, and Becoming Isaac. Amazing! Now I really want to visit Niederbipp, PN to drink some peppermint tea and eat marzipan cake. That is the least of the impact these books will have on your life.

25 March 2011

Photography Fun

Here is a sneaky peek at some of the photos taken of baby Kaitlyn Perry and Everett Lance during our Utah trip. You can see more on my photo blog.

I am about to *die*...just FYI. My lower back decided to crap out on the drive home. Yesterday my back completely gave out. Could barely walk. The wandering chiropractor is not in town until next week. I am grateful for hot packs and couches today.


Monday we stayed around cleaning, repacking the van, and spending the last couple hours visiting with the grandparents and cousants. We then went shopping at 5 or 6 stores picking up items hard to find in Sidney. The kids finally got new socks, me some maternity jeans, Justin some work pants, new undies, and a monkey for little Kaitlyn. We drove to Miekka's for a moment before heading down to Provo with Aunt Jana in tow. I REALLY wanted to visit the Carl Bloch exhibit at the BYU MOA. Justin rented two iPads (stinkin' cool by the way) loaded with a tour of the gallery. Phillip was at the end of his little rope so was quite the little stinker. Amelia helped me work my iPad. She loves art so it was not hard to help her find cool little tidbits around the gallery. Carl Bloch is simply amazing. His collection of work always touches my heart. He has a depth of perception and emotion his paintings portray. I had the impression that the show was much larger and grander than it turned out to be. One day maybe I can see the Frederiksborg Castle Chapel in person.

We had a fun Tepanyaki style dinner in Provo with Jana, James, Miekka, and all our kids. Amelia loved the theatrics but the onion fire volcano scared her a bit. Phillip's eyes were huge! Little Lia and Phillip were pretty funny to watch. We ate some good Japanese food. Mmmm, mmm good. James stopped off at Krispy Kreme for a doughnut snack. I've enjoyed many a FHE evening doughnut with the Lances. That is a great tradition. We snuck into John, Courtney and Jana's home for some much needed rest.

Tuesday Justin and I planned to attend the temple. Course, I was the one to damper our plans. First, we rushed to do some laundry for some clean Sunday clothes, then we overslept, then we left the house in a hurry to get the kids over to Miekka's. Once at the Bountiful temple I realized my wallet was in my camera bag back at the Lances. Shoot, dang. So we ran back to get my wallet then drove out to Jordan River temple for a session of washings/anointings. The kids had fun so everything ended up working out fine.

Courtenay came over to James and Miekka's home to visit and play. The kids had a blast playing outside. Miekka kept two bins of hand-me-down clothes for Court and I to go through. While sorting through the bins I lost track of time and Phillip. Seth came in to let us know Phillip was not in the backyard. I checked on him about 15 minutes before hand. We all swarmed the backyard, the front yard, then fanned out to find him. I noticed a lady walking pretty fast down the street, she asked me if we lost a child. Phillip was handing out knuckles to a policeman, several guys, ladies, and kids as folks tried to locate us. Apparently, Phillip walked all the way to 4500 south and tried to cross the street. A cross walk guard was on duty and quickly snatched him before he got hurt. I was not too worried or upset until later when the gravity of the situation became apparent. I am almost expecting a nice little visit from Nebraska child services to assess our parenting skills. Thank goodness angels watch over our little ones.

John and Court made a delicious taco salad for everyone. It was fun to hear snatches of conversations from Joe, Jeff, John, James, and Jana. Everett let me take some cute photos of him outside before the sun set. Before long our van was stuffed to the rafters ready for our trip home. We left again at 4 am and made it home by 3:15 pm. Phillip amused himself with a lollipop for a good hour. He was one sticky mess. Even his eyelashes were stuck to his eyelids. The new DVD system was ah-mazing. Loved how much simpler everything is now. Alison needed some supplies in Cheyenne so we stopped for a while to stretch our legs and do more shopping. It is so great to be home again.

24 March 2011

Kaitlyn's Blessing

Grandpa Call woke everyone up each morning with delicious bacon, sausage, pancakes/french toast, and fresh fruit. He LOVED serving breakfast to all the little ones, savoring each good morning and kiss. I loved his joy received from such a simple service! Sunday morning was no different! We had a delicious breakfast and rushed to get ready for church. We drove up to Ogden where Melissa and Jonathon live. Kaitlyn wore a cute crocheted bunting and a vintage dress, I am guessing she wore Melissa's blessing dress. Jonathon gave little Kaitlyn a wonderful blessing. After church we gathered the family to mark the occasion with a photo. I wanted to kick Charity for hiding on purpose behind Libby! Charity...you are in big doo-doo. Phillip handed out knuckles whenever possible. Don't you just adore his orange tie? Handsome boy! My belly popped out even more the past week. Sleeping is difficult now that the baby is determined to kick my insides black and blue.

Charity arranged to have a luncheon at their community center. Everyone chipped in for a delicious meal. I made a berry salad to die for. Thanks to Madison for the recipe:

1 large container of vanilla yogurt
1 package of dry instant vanilla pudding

mix together until pudding is moist and not lumpy

add 1 container of whipped cream
3 bags of frozen berries (I added three small bags of raspberries and one medium bag of mixed berries)

Let sit until berries are defrosted in the mixture, serve and marvel!

After lunch the siblings, minus Justin who HAD to nap, sat around and told stories. Honestly, I was in sort of a sleep daze myself but enjoyed the stories and banter in my quiet way. The kids snuggled and watched Tangled again down in the basement. Scott and Spenser told stories about when they were in store robberies. Scary! Little Anson wandered off to do what little 18 mth old boys do: make trouble. He opened a child-proof bottle of children's Tylenol and consumed between 18 and 20 tablets. Scared his poor mother to death. Needless to say little Anson was not so happy afterward. My son can open anything labeled child-proof faster than a speeding bullet as well. Those two little boys are peas in a pod. So cute.

Kangaroo Zoo

Grandpa and Grandma Call treated all the kids with a visit to Kangaroo Zoo. Phillip decided to teethe his other three molars during our vacation. He did not sleep well at all. Saturday morning found him and I driving around Bountiful between 5:30 and 7:30 am. I took the back roads and tried to figure out the new DVD system. After another long drive later that morning he finally took a short nap, long enough to enjoy Kangaroo Zoo. The zoo is pretty much a huge space filled with huge bounce house figures. Amelia and Phillip played in one house for most of the time. The other houses were too scary with dinosaurs, teeth, and tigers on top. Phillip loved climbing and sliding around inside the bounce house. Phillip strangely had a fever on the left side of his face. He was not happy until a dose of Ibuprofen kicked in. I still can't get over how long and skinny little Kaitlyn's fingers are. She is so tiny! The girl cousants (how Amelia says cousins) snuggled down to watch Tangled after playing at the zoo. The adults took a nice breather. I got to do a little solo shopping at the grocery store before dinner.

Utah Trip March 2011

Justin and I were SOOOOO grateful that we purchased and drove the new Swagger Wagon out to Utah. Heaven! We left at 4 am on Wednesday. Most of the drive Justin battled a raging wind. We drove directly to Wellsville, UT to visit my Grandparents for a couple hours. Amelia was so happy to learn that I have a grandpa named Everett, just like her baby brother. I am so glad we made the time to stop in. Phillip and Amelia sure brought them a measure of joy for the time we could visit. Between James, Miekka, John, and Courtenay a nice little dinner was ready for the family when we arrived. Amelia and Jakes hit it off right away, playing outside in the rain.

Thursday morning we ran a couple errands and visited with Courtenay. I got to peruse Pictureline Photography Store for a few moments. Scored a sweet external hard drive! Justin enjoyed eating lunch at Pei Wei. Courtenay and I even got to visit a cute fabric store and Down East Outfitters. Amelia had her Disney Princess CD player (toy) hung around her neck. She danced for any person willing to watch her twirl. Little Everett is about the cutest boy ever. He is so easy going and has the cutest little raspy laugh. We drove up to Charity's home for the big family party. After dinner everyone drove to watch Mason's basketball game. Baby Kaitlyn was the little star of the show letting anyone snuggle her. Amelia was in heaven to be with Reagan. The kids played farm on the stadium seats, Reagan the band leader. I love that Amelia wore a Cinderella dress to the game. Phillip quickly learned how to yell Mason's name, trying to cup his hands around his mouth.

Friday we spent a couple hours with Mia's Kate friend. Jeff, her dad, installed the new dash system and pulled wires for the van DVD system. The monitor did not arrive in the mail until later on that day. The guys did as much as possible with the available equipment. Jeff took us across the street for yummy sandwiches at a little cafe for lunch. Catherine had to work so the closest I came to visiting with her was to crochet part of a baby bootie she started. The kids rolled down the hill for a good half hour then played princess. Justin later went back after bedtime and got the rest of the monitor system installed. He made it back to Charity's after midnight. Spenser, Laura, and kids arrived shortly before four on Friday. All those little girls were so cute and fun to watch. Amelia and Anna chummed about whilst the older girls formed a cute trio. Grandpa and Grandma Call got hugs and kisses galore. I almost cried watching all the family chatting, visiting, and having a wonderful crazy time.

13 March 2011

Argh! Snow Again!!

Last night we fell asleep to the pleasant pitter patter of falling rain...only to wake up to snow and slush this morning. It snowed quite a bit but is mostly melted, another sure sign spring is on the way. We took it easy on Thursday after all the craziness preschool at our home brings. We went to story time at the library and delivered a cute owl hat to a lady in town. I ended up making two since my first try ended up fitting Phillip instead of the intended 6 mth old. Oppps! Not sure if that was a Freudian slip of my crochet hook. Alison delivered some shirts ordered from Target so got busy appliqueing summer shirts. Phillip scored a cute hedgehog shirt with coordinating monkey pants and cricket polo; not so sure how I feel about the cricket, it looks a little tacky to me now. Amelia got a super girly cupcake shirt to match her skirt, yes, it IS a little over the top. I enjoyed every moment! She also requested a Cinderella shirt. Amelia chose the design, color, and placement of the applique. She will be quite the creator one day. A lady ordered a monogrammed onesie and clip here in town, got that done too during my creative blitz.

Friday morning the kids and I spent a good two hours at the hospital getting my glucose test done, blood typing, and rhogam shot. Since I am not doctoring in Sidney the hospital was not very helpful letting me know over the phone what I could do at home. We waited a lot. The glucose test takes about an hour so we visited some of the nurses and staff we came to admire over the last couple years. All the ladies love to see my kids dressed up in homemade clothes and cute hats. The attention is like a pat on the back for all my hard sewing and crocheting work. Quite a few of the ladies end up placing orders too! Can't complain about using my kids for advertisement. Justin stayed with the kids during lunch so I could get my rhogam shot alone. The nurse who helped deliver Phillip gave me the shot. We started talking about the three Doctors here in Sidney who still deliver babies. After our conversation I am considering trying one of the Doctors she especially likes. This nurse is amazing. Tomorrow I plan on calling the clinic to see if any of the doctors are taking pregnant patients. Removing the hassle of commuting two hours each way will simplify our whole life at this point. Justin can sleep at home removing the need for outside help staying with us.

Enjoy some Phillip loves through photos! Please take time to admire his fat little dogs (feet) and mitts (hands) and that contagious smile. I feel like squeezin' the charmin boy!

10 March 2011

Letter V is for:

We had an exciting week at preschool! Our letter of the week was the simple, yet amazing letter V. I felt like doing something with art and science with the letter so planned accordingly. One of my favorite Impressionist painters is Van Gogh. I saw a number of his paintings in person and was floored at the amount of paint Van Gogh used to create depth and motion with blobs of paint. Amazing. Monday we learned about Vincent Van Gogh, vases, and the vanilla flavor. The art project was to replicate Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting. I taught some basic paint mixing principles and how to paint with hands and fingers. All the kids followed directions very well. Phillip spent some time in the playpen, Phillip and paint was unthinkable. We had a yummy snack of Nilla wafers dipped in vanilla pudding for snack.

Wednesday I taught a lesson on volcanoes...you know my love for rocks and geology! I read the kiddos a Magic School Bus book about an island suddenly formed by magma and lava. We talked about the Earth's tectonic plates and why volcanoes are so important. Then we all helped build a volcano of play dough around a plastic bottle. Each child put an ingredient into the bottle and watched it explode. The second time we exploded our volcano the foam actually shot out of the volcano 7 inches. Zane's reaction was so memorable. He has quite a sensitive nose and did not like the vinegar smell...at all. Right after the volcano we segued into a lesson about vegetables. I blindfolded the kids and had them taste different vegetables. When they tried to guess it was always carrots or some innocuous vegetable. Some kids learned about potential likes of bell pepper, cauliflower, avacado, and even celery. So funny! We ate veggies and ranch for our snack.

I can hardly believe it snowed a couple inches Monday and Tuesday. The snow is totally melted as of today and temps hoovered in the 60s. At least the snow is not lasting very long. Phillip has a half of one molar on the top right! Now he is back to working on the rest of that molar and the left side. He is not sleeping well again at night then getting up at 5:30 to 6:00 every morning. Poor kid! This evening he pointed to himself and said his name. We've pointed to each other and said names for a couple weeks now. He made the attempt and his version was quite passable. Phillip's speech skills are improving every day. Tuesday I actually won a contest...twice. Alison's friend held a give away for homemade soaps. Drew pulled my name out of the bowl twice in a row! Guess I need some pampering. Now the next trick is finding a time to shower without a monkey trying to shower with me. Phillip shoved the toilet bowl brush into my nice clean shower this morning. Yah, that shower did not last very long.

All week I worried about what to do when the baby comes. Alison is going to be in Utah for her brother's wedding. Thanks to family two sisters-in-law (Courtenay and Charity)! Either could come out and help when the time comes if needed. I feel better knowing someone the kids love will care for my little stinkers/lovelies. We may not need help but we may need help. Preparation relieves some of that stress. Thanks gals!

06 March 2011

The Swagger Wagon

Thursday...we came home driving our new VAN. I feel like we graduated kindergarten or something! The kids are in love with all the space and room. Mia and Phillip both chose their new spots in the van. Phillip tried out each and every button, switch, and lever for us. We purchased the van from a guy in our ward who works at the local car dealership. Between him and Justin they found the perfect set of wheels for us to grow into. The van is a 2008 Toyota Sienna with only 27,500 miles on it. Compared to my Camry at 55,000 and a year older! The heated seats are super fun. Even Justin's cooler taste in air temperature can't touch my warm buns now. Justin programmed our garage remote with a button in the van and even set up our phones to the bluetooth. Friday morning I took the kids over to Alison's home and received a call from Lia Lance through my van. It was really, really strange to talk on the phone, without my phone, driving down the road. Lia did some poops in the potty! Alison watched the kids for 6 hours. I went to Walmart and Safeway for some really good shopping deals. I also helped out Kelly Highby with a 3 mth old baby photoshoot. Check out the cute photo she took of a baby wearing the lion hat and diaper cover I made:

I sewed up some more skirts and pants for the kids this week. I am loving Mia's birthday skirt. I am waiting for some plain shirts to come in the mail so I can finish up the outfits. Amelia and Phillip inadvertently got new Easter outfits with the blue seeksucker fabric once I found a coordinating shirt at Target for Phillip. Yesterday I also made a cute bow tie for Phillip. A little silly but oh, so cute.

Justin had his work cut out for him cleaning out the Camry. Phillip really did a number on the carpet and seats. For fours years of usage and only minor cleaning Mia's side was not too shabby. Justin used the carpet cleaner and about 5 different products to gut out the back seat. It is amazing what carseats can hide!

Phillip loves to give "knuckles" now whenever someone offers. He also LOVES to give Alison kisses bye-bye and frantically wave bye-bye. It cracks me up to see him try to figure out if Alison is taking him or not. Mia also started playing a song on the piano with the same notes and rhythm. She can pick out the keys and such now without experimenting. I am nearly ready to start teaching her!