24 February 2014

Fluffy Stuff

Wind. Warmer. No Snow. SUDDENLY...12 inches of snow. Not just your run of the mill Nebraska wind swept snow, but soft, vertically falling snow. It is awesome. Yesterday at noon we had absolutely no snow, by 6 pm 4 inches lay on the ground with thick flakes falling from the sky. About time we had normal snow, only 5 years of strange snow and wind! Wait...maybe that makes this the strange snow storm and all the others normal. Don't get too confused.

Amelia enjoyed a lovely day at home on Monday. We enjoyed having her home. I watched a strapping young man, aged 8 months this past week. His name is Elliott. His mom is a single mother, 19 years old and putting herself through college. I decided the best way to help her was to watch Elliott when she has classes and her mom or grandma cannot watch him. He is a strong little guy. Amelia got to feed him a bottle of milk. That was the highlight of her day. The highlight of my day was getting a new iPhone 5s. A lady in town needed an iPhone 4s and wanted to pay $200. That was the cost of an upgrade on my plan. I love a good trade! New phone, no cost. With iCloud the switch was seamless. Within 5 minutes my new phone looked like my old phone, at least content wise!

Our new Family Home Evening wall plaque finally came in the mail. It was cheaper to buy one than all the raw materials here or to make a trip to Hobby Lobby. Amelia gave herself the goal to assign FHE duties for the next year. She told me the plaque will make it really easy to keep her goal. Justin gave a great lesson on Internet safety. Amelia recently started asking/pestering us to get the game Mine Craft. Essentially, it is like building cities with Lego blocks. We discussed our answer of, not right now, and then talked about what to do when the kids see crappy stuff on YouTube or the Internet on accident.

The kids spent most of the afternoons outside drawing with chalk, riding bikes, and racing each other. It was a heaven sent change of pace. Everett and Phillip discovered their Legos this week. We have some cute books that show how to make simple Lego figures. One afternoon they amused themselves for 2 hours with wood blocks and Legos. Later, the boys went outside in the alley and used the gas meters as rocket ships! Our alley filled with the yells of two little boys counting down and blasting off.

Evelyn started waking up several times at night just starving hungry. She got her first taste of rice cereal on Tuesday. Like most babies she was not a fan of it at all. I tried to use my fancy baby brezza purchased second hand this past summer. The processor attachment broke before I could even use it. Basically, it is a unit that steams, processes, and rices food for babies. I steamed up some apples which she seemed to like more than the rice. Amelia and Phillip took turns trying to force rice into her mouth. Poor kid was just a little bit upset by the treatment.

Scouts this week was a challenge. Justin was gone all day with training and then off to audit financials in Scottsbluff in the evening. That meant I took all the kids with me. We worked on the Engineer badge. The boys made simple electrical circuits out of a battery, foil, tape, clothes pin, and flashlight bulb. Everett and RJ were completely mesmerized with the contraption! They connected and disconnected the circuit about 20 times, each time with ohhs and ahhs. Reminded me a little of cavemen discovering fire. Next we talked about simple levers and made catapults out of rubber bands and Popsicle sticks.

My photography class went well this week. Justin was a trooper and took all the kids. When I left WW3 was going on in the kitchen. I tell you what dinner time is just about the hardest time of day. If I can make it through dinner then anything else is a breeze. A total of 10 ladies attended the first class. Four ladies could not make it so I am doing a make up class on Tuesday at my home. There were all kinds of levels and ages mixed into the class. Some knew a thing or two, others were still clutching camera manuals. It took me a long while to gather and organize my thoughts and create handouts.

Saturday I took some photos of Nora Betony's granddaughter. She just turned one two weeks ago. Her daughter, Jamie seems like a really nice lady. I think we are close to the same age. I offered to take Catalina's photos since I also took her baby ones when she was about 6 weeks old. Since all my studio stuff was out I started taking 6 mth photos of Evelyn. I was in high heaven dreaming up prop combinations. Sunday night I dreamed of a strawberry set up with Evelyn. Can't wait to show you. She has changed so much in the past couple weeks.

With all the snow the Bishop decided to only hold Sacrament meeting. Our numbers were few with most of the outlying families absent because of all the snow. I hear that Kimball got 12-16 inches compared to our 8 inches. As usual I did not get a darn thing out of the talks. It takes more effort to keep the kids quiet and reverent than I can manage. Several times folks laughed at jokes, I missed all the funny stuff and most of the content. I can tell you that Bishop spoke on Marriage. Everett amused himself by sticking his fingers up my nose and in my ears. Evelyn sang beautifully during the songs. She started babbling and singing this week. Her voice is so darn sweet, she coos at you then suddenly turns her cooing into animal screeches. Makes us all laugh.We invited the Hornbarger family over for dinner. They tasted delicious. Just kidding...kinda stringy. I made John and Courtenay's Bird Seed Poop waffles. You are right, the waffles are healthy. We made them unhealthy by adding pie filling cherry or blueberries, butter, and whipped cream. To put the unhealthy factor off the charts Justin cooked up to packages of sausages and a batch of eggs and cheese. It was splendid. The Hornbargers are one of the many new families in our ward. They moved from New Mexico, have 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy), and are super amazing. Ian and Evelyn love to do photography as a hobby together. How can I convince Justin to join my photography obsession? If I have to shoot a deer to turn him to the light side I will. All our kids raised the roof with noise. It was impressive!

Some funnies of our week:
*I caught Phillip drinking Strawberry jam. He said, "Mom, I a vampire...I drink strawberry blood!" Said with a gruff voice.
*Justin and I were discussing a trip to Walmart with all the kids. Justin said well, why not, we like the pain. Phillip said, "I don't like pain! I don't want to go to the pain, I stay here with Daddy and no pain!" Everett was crying like a banshee when we pulled up to Walmart. Yep, Walmart is officially kid and parent torture. The ultimate pain train. 
*While cleaning up the kid's room I told Amelia that sometimes Phillip can act like a turkey. She asked me if he acted like the same turkeys that get shot and caught?!
*Phillip was rolling around on the top of the couch. I commanded him to get down before he shatters the window. Then I muttered, if you do you will NEVER go to college. Justin piped in that maybe Phillip would have to go to Debtor's Prison. Phillip instantly whined that he did not want to go to prison.
*Phillip was pulling Evelyn's arm or leg, I told him to go sit in time out. He grumpily exclaimed: "Dang it!"

16 February 2014

Our Little Valentines

A Week to LOVE

Love. L.O.V.E. Love. We enjoyed a super LOVE-ly week. The Valentine's cards arrived in the mail on Monday along with treats and classroom favors for Amelia and Phillip's classes. Amelia dug right in and finished her cards in record time. Phillip's favorite part was taping lollipops to his cards. I love how their cards turned out this year! We also mailed our family cards Monday morning. The Post Office is in the coolest old building with lots of echoing spaces and a long runway for little boys to play on. I swear the boys sounded like the primate room at the Hogle Zoo. Amelia went to the dentist after school. Her new adult tooth on the right is all the way through but her baby tooth is still hanging on. He said to give it two more months, then worry. Good to know. I attended a preschool meeting for Phillip's next year and paid the dues. Right after that I met with Heather Hausmann, a local photographer, to define the details of my 5 week photography workshop starting next week. Heather is letting me rent a room in her space. So cool! I went to bed after midnight because it took me for-ev-ver to mix up 3 large batches of play dough. The worst part was getting my thumb and pointer finger caught in the kitchen aid. Yeouch!

Play group was at my home this week. I usually don't go in the name of a good Evelyn nap, that does not keep us from hosting! The theme was an ice cream shoppe. The kids had a blast eating and playing with realistic looking and smelling Neapolitan playdough, kept in old ice cream buckets. There was dough all over the east side of the basement. That is a good sign of a successful play date. After school Amelia had Stella and Katelyn over to play ice cream shoppe as well. Yummy smelling play dough is littered around the carpet even now. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the new ladies in our ward. Justin stayed home with the older three while I attended a RS activity at the church. Sis Bowcut spoke on Matters of the Heart. We crafted two Valentine inspired ceramic tiles and ate lots of dessert. Evelyn decided it was a perfect time to shoot poo up her back. Luckily, one of the other mom's was more prepared than I and lent us a clean onesie. Evelyn filled the quiet moments with loud gorilla noises.

Wednesday was Phillip's class Valentine party. He was up and dressed without help. Talk about excited. He came home dragging a backpack full of treats and cards. By 1 pm all the candy was safely tucked into Phillip and Everett's bellies. Phillip graciously shared whatever Everett wanted without any qualms. That kid is a stellar example of how to be a gracious, sharing person. After lunch we went to Daisies and Dragons where Phillip had a poop-cident worthy of an honorable mention. He used two rolls of toilet paper trying to fix the problem. By the time I figured out he needed help it was a stinky, nasty mess. Try giving a hyper kid a bath in the store sink and not make a mess. We grabbed a new pair of "exercise pants" and went home with our tails between our legs. I made a new outfit for Evelyn to soothe my soul and bring some beauty back into life.

Amelia's class party was Thursday. I can only imagine the excitement at her school! Amelia reported that her class was way to chatty! She also came home with candy and Valentines. Her box this year was super cute, a cereal box she decorated in class. The Smuins pulled out of town Friday morning. Meagan came over the day before and brought a bunch of food and took Amelia for a short playdate. I cried once Meagan left. Darn it! I hate to see such good friends leave. We spent a lovely hour at the library before lunch. The boys pick the best books, ones I would never pick. I picked up some needed ingredients to make Indian chicken curry, rice pilaf, red lentils, and raita. Between the flurry of pans and steaming food the meal somehow got made without the house burning down. The boys were outside while I cooked throwing rocks into the melting snow...in the gutter. I was too busy to keep them indoors and they were too sneaky to stay inside. We fed the Elders and Deb, Cydah, Romain, and Gavin the delish Indian fare. There is something exotic about all the spices in Indian cooking. Our house still smells like Bombay House.

For my Valentine's lovies I made pink muffins, fresh berries, and boiled eggs for breakfast. Each person had a fun pile of candy and a card. Justin sent me some lovely yellow roses. Thanks to perfect packaging the flowers survived the mail AND two active boys who threw the box down the stairs. Amelia and Phillip did not have school. We enjoyed a fun day with them at home. We visited Justin at Cabela's for our annual tradition. The kids made so much noise all the folks in his office knew we were coming from a mile away! Evelyn showed off her new screeching noises. Everett showed the ladies how he can "pick it my nose" and his very cute "What Does the Fox Say" moves. Phillip was a little shy (gasp). We enjoyed another tradition of lunch at Pizza Hut. While we were out of the house our carpets got a nice deep shampoo by JNJ carpet cleaners. We planned to leave for Ft Collins shortly after lunch. That plan went south rather quick after I learned that the temple was not 30 minutes away but 1.5 hours. That meant leaving Evelyn for 5-6 hours without ever taking a bottle. We decided to cancel the temple trip and try again in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, that decision also left us with 3 excited kids who could not walk on any of the carpeted areas until they dried. Justin took them to see the new Lego movie. I stayed home with Evelyn and organized the medicine closet. Oh my goodness, the carpets look so amazing. My house actually felt clean for a couple hours.

Saturday we hopped into Justin's truck and checked off one of the locations on our "We Want to Visit" list. Just north of Sidney was the Sioux Army Depot. The depot was created to take care of surplus ammunition, machinery parts, and military supplies. Originally there were 802 storage igloos. One was destroyed while workers tried to move a bomb, it exploded demolishing the igloo and killing one worker. The igloos are large cement and rebar structures camouflaged with dirt and foliage. Now a group of local business owners own the land. The igloos are rented or sold out for storage, farm equipment, and used as animal shelters. Justin took a fun route through several country roads through mud, slush, and snow. He actually used the trucks 4 wheel drive for its intended use! We *almost* got stuck a couple times. The kids were very excited to go exploring. We let the wild turkeys loose to explore and get muddy. We eventually found one unlocked igloo. It was used by cattle so was filled with cow patties. Gross. Justin found a paved road back to Sidney. Fun, fun times. 

09 February 2014


 I wanted to document the snow and cold during this week. Amelia is always game for a photo session. She hip-hip-hurrayed and let me dress her in a vintage dress I found a couple years ago. It was huge so the dress is actually pinned on her. I checked the temperature before we went out, the thermometer said 32. We threw on coats and strapped the boys into the van. By the time we got to "The Place" the van thermometer said 10 degrees. Oh man, it was cold. Amelia still shucked off her coat, posed, and looked cute for 4 minutes. Her coat was so vibrant it made another cute set of photos. What a stellar kid. I even love her squinty left eye.