27 October 2013

Trick or Treat Street




Our weather was amazing this week! Lovely fall weather with just a touch of wind. The leaves are falling all around. I love when our yard is decorated with pretty white Birch tree leaves each fall. The boys and I spent some lovely hours in the side yard. Evelyn loved lying on the ground staring at the pretty patterns made by the leaves and sky through the tree. Nothing makes my mommy heart feel better then watching my kids play outside with each other. Sunday it was cold and windy so I let the kids finger paint on some photo paper. The roll is almost exhausted! No better way then to let little fingers practice art. Everett really, really enjoyed finger painting. He made about 200 circles! I can see improvement in Phillip's control of his finger movements. He can almost write his name now. Amelia made an "abstract heart human." She is drawing all the time so she can be an illustrator/author one day. I love letting my kids make messes and explore. Yes, these activities require some time and patience, the reward is education.

Elder Jeremy Lance just received the best box in the mail. The box was kindly decorated by Amelia, Phillip, and Everett. There is even a dot to dot game for him to connect. We stuffed the box with his favorite candy, family photos, and paper towel ghosts to decorate his room. We talked about missionary work while we put his box together. The Elders came over Tuesday for some dinner. I made them Bulgogi wraps: Korean spiced shaved beef, lettuce, rice, and various spices. It was so simple and delicious.

Justin and I went to Amelia's first parent-teacher conference on Wednesday. She is doing awesome! First Grade so far focuses on introducing math addition and reading. She scored off the charts on reading and writing. Her cold turkey math score was 32%, they test end of grade skills then work the entire year on achieving a 90% by March. That seems backwards to me. Her score was in the top tier for first grade. Mrs Dobry said that Amelia comes to her throughout the day and tells her random things. I can imagine Amelia saying something like, "Mrs Dobry, my sister and I match today." She earned her first Book It! Good job sweet pea. So proud of her and all her hard work.

Wednesday was crazy...with parent-teacher conference, ballet, and Webelos in a row I felt a bit tired. The boys and I spent 20 minutes "hiking" around my favorite photography spot looking for 6 tree types and vegetation that animals eat in the wild. We collected the samples and maybe 20 extra sticks. I was highly amused at how excited the boys were just to walk around picking weeds. The Webelos had to use books to identify the tree samples and they made a collage of the weeds. Their homework is to identify the weeds.

Thursday we went to the park for a hour or so with Dani and Stella while Meagan went to Stella's conference. Darn it, I am going to miss them. Evelyn learned how to lift up her feet into the air on Thursday. She was so proud of her little self! Now she constantly has those toes in the air.

Friday Amelia had the day off. She went to play with Stella for a couple hours. I took Evelyn to the clinic for a weight check. The nurse was put out I was there since Evelyn had her checkup two weeks ago. Oh well, deal with it! She grew by a whole pound and 1/4 inch. The kids were extremely excited for Trick or Treat Street. This year the line was out the door and wound throughout the lobby too. Amelia dressed up as Mulan, complete with a white face and lipstick. She practiced bowing like Mulan. Phillip was Superman Costume. Literally. He was quite disappointed his cape was not working. He thought this costume would really help him fly. Everett made a cute turtle for the second year. He still fit in the costume so, BINGO, he was a turtle. Evelyn made a boo-tiful little princess. Once again the Cabela's departments went all the way decorating rooms for the kids. They must have contests to see who has the best theme. My favorite was the Minion room, complete with foamy flooring, and the best costumes. Second runner up was the Monster's Inc room. Everett is a candy hound. He ate candy throughout the entire time and ate more on the ride home and even more at home. I am surprised he went to sleep. He will do anything for a fruit snack or candy. Amelia said her favorite room was: EVERY ROOM!!

Saturday Justin went duck hunting. He shot a duck but lost it in the water. He spent Friday evening getting packed up for the hunt. I am glad he enjoyed some alone time. I had a photo shoot for a family I photographed for the past two years.  Jeremee watched the kids for an hour. She busted out their bouncy house for the kids. I might need to get one! Since the weather was so awesome I decided to try taking family photos for our Christmas cards. I needed a purple shirt for Phillip. Daisies and Dragons to the rescue, found one there. We met Justin at Subway for lunch because Amelia almost ate her arm off due to hunger.

Yeah, family photos. Disaster. Evelyn was uncharacteristically sad, Everett only wanted candy, Phillip grabbed every stick in reach, Amelia wanted to hike, and then my camera battery died. Yeah. That was stressful and so not worth the effort. Yet...I will do it again today. Justin worked on the yard. We went to bed crabby and tired. Maren and Matt took a couple photos of the kids and I since those were the only photos I did not get yesterday. In turn I took a couple photos of Maren's cute baby belly. The kids were perfect! We went on another hike after as a reward.

20 October 2013

One Less Tooth


Amelia lost her first top tooth yesterday! She has the cutest gap now and a lisp to go along with the gap. After lunch she told me her tooth was hurting. It was barely hanging on by a thread. I convinced her to let me try one yank with a tissue. It did not even take much and out it popped. She was not even aware it came out. She immediately began to plan an art project for the tooth fairy. She decorated a white envelope. I wrote: "Tooth Fairy, there is a tooth inside" using cursive because the tooth fairy reads cursive writing. The tooth fairy left her a dollar and a handful of tic tacs. Amelia came into our room around 4:30 clutching a handful of sticky tic tacs. She wanted to know what the tooth fairy left! Most of the candies were ruined by her sweaty palm.

The kids are suffering from terrible table manners lately. Justin gave a fun FHE lesson on using table manners. Amelia helped make some table rules. Seems like there is a lot of complaining, animal noises, and wandering around during dinner. Amelia is setting a much better example this week for good table manners. We made paint bags for a pre-dinner activity. I put about 3 tablespoons of fingerpaints in a large gallon bag and taped the top shut. The kids then can mix the paints up and draw with their fingers or dull objects. They played with the bags all week long. It is fun and clean!

Phillip used several strange containers to drink from this week. The grossest was a nettie pot, normally used to clean out one's sinuses. He filled it with water, took a swing and spit it out into another cup. Then he took a straw and stuck it through the nettie pot spout and blew water all over the couch, wall, and carpet. It did make a pretty cool sound. He also carried around a watering can as a fun drinking container. My favorite was when he used a medicine dropper to drink his tomato soup.

Our weather was touch and go this week. Fall is definitely here! We need to harvest our carrots this week before a deep freeze sets in. I discovered a spot on our yard with amazing light...thanks to Everett. He loves to stand behind a lilac branch to hide. Course he is in plain sight but when he hides his eyes behind the branch he becomes invisible. I had a fun time playing peek-a-boo with him. He is so silly. He loves to be a superhero to the rescue out in the yard. He pushes Phillip on the swing to the rescue. We love all the yellow leaves our weeping ash drops in the yard. Makes a fun color contrast.

Wednesday I had a photo session with Brenton Christian, a young man in my ward. It was nuts. Evelyn usually naps from 3:00 to 5:00, Murphy's Law dictated that she was awake and fussy the entire time. I ended up nursing her way off schedule to stop her crying. The Jones' family watched her spur of the moment while I took an hour to finish Brenton's photos. The Jones' have three teenage daughters! I think they were in baby heaven! I picked her up at 5, nursed her in the van while Brenton set up the net at the soccer fields. Took a couple soccer photos and corn field photos, nursed her again, then went home. In an effort to earn some Christmas money I offered 6 photo sessions through December. Maybe I am crazy…darn it, one down 5 to go.

Amelia loves school. She is a reading Queen. We started doing the Book-It program through Pizza Hut. Sometimes she reads to the boys, to herself, or out loud while I make dinner. The words that stymie her are the hyphenated ones in the scriptures. She is pretty amazing! This week she loved doing the Music & Glue project. The music teacher has the kids study an artist then draw with music using the same techniques as the artist. Her project this week was awesome!

Thursday the boys and I went to Peetz for Visiting Teaching. My new companion works during the day and opened a quilting shop so she is super busy. We visited with Janet and then the Betony family. I feel for Nora. Her son and daughter left for a prolonged visit to Arizona again. They left all six kids in the care of Jimmy (who has heart problems), Nora who works her bum off, and a 20 year old cousin. The baby is only 3 months old. Baby Jimmy was so content to sit on Grandpa Jimmy’s belly shelf. He is huge compared to Evelyn. I think Jimmy’s cheeks alone weigh a pound. We visited for a while. I love the Betony family. I wish there was more we could do to fellowship them. I finally got a much needed hair trim. Aeric reshaped my curls and got rid of my hair tire. Meagan watched all 4 of my kiddos. As we left she broke the sad news that Shane got a new job in Utah. They are moving sometime between December and May. Meagan is having a baby in January. Shane starts his new job in February, they will either move in December or when school gets out. We will miss Meagan, Stella, and Dani so much. Darn it! Shane is still working for Cabela’s but now as a regional supervisor out of the Alpine store.

Justin, Evelyn and I went on a date Friday evening. Miss Tessa came over to watch the older three. We had dinner at Oya then went to see Gravity. Evelyn decided to be a booger. I held her in the back of the theater for half of the movie. We enjoyed our evening out on the town.

Saturday was Stake Conference weekend. I made an early morning run to Walmart for a much needed food trip. My shopping trips are much changed now with Evelyn around. I only get out every 10-14 days or so for a good through shopping trip, then just short jaunts into Safeway for everything else. It is working! I do have to make a shopping list to remember items I want to buy at Walmart. I took photos of Candice and her daughter, Skylar right after Walmart. She took photos of my delivery in exchange for family photos. We had fun! Justin left around 1:30 to drive to Cheyenne for the Priesthood and Adult sessions of Stake Conference. The kids and I went out to visit Alison for a couple hours. Alison was kind to let us invade and visit in spite of her busy schedule. Ella and Amelia disappeared for most of the time. The boys loved playing outside with the chickens and dog. Justin went to Bath and Body for some cologne. He got “carried away” in the store. I told him to surprise me with something if he wanted. He chose the lotion because of the name. He cracks me up. It even smells awesome! Ella came over while Alison went to the adult session. The girls made expandable trick or treat bags out of paper lunch bags and tape. 

***Evelyn is starting to coo this week. She makes the sweetest little coos and sounds. Whenever Phillip comes near her while she is awake she rapidly blinks her eyes trying to deflect Phillip’s loving attentions. He loves her so much…a little too much sometimes. Evelyn stayed in her bath over 25 minutes last night. She enjoyed swimming and moving her arms and legs around. She also figured out how to lap up the water with her tongue.

14 October 2013

Fanny's Fruit Farm


Monday was a glorious autumn day. The boys and I spent a good two hours at the park exploring the pond and playing with friends. Evelyn was quite content to sit on my lap watching her surroundings. She looked very cute dressed up in a red, white, and bubs configuration! When Amelia was a baby the fun shoe socks were not available. The socks are so cute! I was taking some iPhone photos of Evelyn when Phillip stuck his big nose into the photos, talk about the best photo bomb ever. The boys and I went on a treasure hunt after lunch. I put tape around their wrists (sticky side out) and their waists. Soon Everett was pretending he was Geo from Team UmiZoomi with a shape belt. We had a blast finding strange things and attaching them to our shape belts. Amazing how something so simple can be so enthralling. The leaves on our tree are starting to turn. I love how yellow and pretty the leaves turn.

I made several cute shirts this week: a Bot shirt for Everett, two princess shirts for Mia, and a skirt/shirt combo for Evelyn at Christmas. The skirt matches the set I made Amelia last year. Wednesday I had my 6 week appointment and Evelyn's 2 month check up. We are healthy and doing well! Evelyn weighed in at 10 lbs 7 oz, 22 inches long. Her height and weight were in the 75th percentile. Her head is in the 25th percentile. She is growing so fast! I love all her little chubs, note her two elbow dimples shown in the last collage. Her cheeks are so chubby I can see both cheeks in profile view. Swoon! She is starting to coo and loves to smile when we catch her attention. The best time to chat with her is after her exercise time around 10:30 pm. My appointment was set for 9:20 am, or so I thought. I arrived to find out Wednesday the 8th was actually Tuesday the 8th. Darn it. Justin was able to come home and stay longer for lunch while I went back. I came home to find Phillip's Cookie Monster doll on the floor with a mouth full of cookies. Later he found the doll again and was helping Cookie eat a couple more cookies. I love that kid! I am back to teaching my Webelos this week. We worked on finishing the Outdoorsman badge. The boys packed a camping backpack and brought tents to practice setting up. Justin went to Scottsbluff after work so I had all 4 kids with me as well. It was a little cra-zay! We were short on time between getting Amelia from ballet, feeding Evelyn, and getting dinner. I made dinner thanks to Arby's, we had a picnic at the park right before Scouts. The boys were super excited about setting up tents. The kids loved being part of the excitement. Every night the kids line up to get rolled into a blanket taquito. I snapped a photo for Justin while he was driving home. Love our pack of taquito kids.

Phillip is having potty troubles lately. He had four accidents at preschool over the past four school days. Friday Mrs Cassie said he looked at her and just peed his pants. Not sure if he is seeking attention or hating preschool. He says he loves preschool (once he gets there). At home he is still making poop in his undies. Friday-Sunday we went back to more remedial potty tactics again. He has a chance to earn a fun toy after a week of staying dry at school. My hope is that he will be potty trained before Kindergarten in two years. I feel the best intervention is for me to not overreact and not make a big deal over his actions. That will just make him interested in my silly behavior and start having more accidents just to watch my reactions.

Sidney's newest set of Missionaries came over for dinner Friday evening. Justin requested Thai curry. I made two kinds of curry a red, spicy curry and a yellow curry. Yum! Saturday I photographed Connie Graham's wedding at the church. She has three kids the same ages of Amelia, Phillip, and Everett. I told Amelia she could go with me, she rushed into her room to find a white shirt, tights, and a matching skirt. I guess she had to wear white! At the wedding she snuggled up to me and whispered: "Mom, this is so romantic, when will they kiss?" She swooned when Connie and RC kissed. So silly!

Hazel's pumpkin patch closed down after last year's season. I was very happy when Sidney's newest attraction opened this spring. Fanny's Fruit Farm. Fanny's mostly has fields of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They planted pumpkins and corn as a side thought. So glad they did. You can take a trip to visit and ride a barrel train, take a hay ride, pet goats, chase chickens, pick berries, jump on hay rolls, watch a plane show, run around a  corn maze, and a haunted maze. The best part is the farm is only 15 minutes away! Evelyn wore her cute Halloween onesie, I added ruffles and a bow for the ghost, throw in a matching headband for one cute baby. It was quite cold and windy outside. Honestly, I am surprised she cooperated long enough for me to take pumpkin patch photos. The kids did not quite cooperate, but I LOVE the outtakes. The kids had a great time running around in the cold, fresh air. Justin helped the kids pick out pumpkins. Phillip is very proud that his pumpkin is the largest one. The plane show featured a prop-type plane doing some tricky maneuvers like loop-de-loops, falling upside down, and other fun tricks. Everett was totally captivated! The boys loved sitting on some tractors pretending to drive around. Justin decorated his head with Amelia's tutu for the occasion. He looked very handsome!

I ordered my 5th blog book on Friday. I always feel a great sense of accomplishment once I finish a book since it takes me so long to organize one. Plus figure in the time it takes to blog makes these books quite the investment.