23 November 2014

Surprise Party

Saturday night as I sang the kids to sleep, I hear a mournful voice crying about not getting daddy a gift. Amelia was in tears. I promised her the next day we would make Daddy something...like pocket warmers. The tears vanished. As soon as Justin went to take a nap Amelia was on my lap asking for help to make pocket warmers. She had no idea what a pocket warmer looked like, but the idea sounded utterly inviting to her. I helped her cut 3 flannel squares, sew the squares together, fill them with rice, and hand sew the open seams closed. She was so excited that pocket warmers also doubled as bean bags. Soon that idea warped into the kids organizing a surprise birthday party. Waiting until after dinner was agony. I heard their excited voices in the basement making a list of games and cards. There were 6 games: Guess who said what nice compliment about Justin, spank the kids, bean toss goal, treasure hunt, card opening, and charades. My favorite was the Darth Vader card Amelia made for Justin. She found it on google and immediately fell in love with the card, cause Justin loves Star Wars. I hope Justin enjoyed all the attention. I sure loved what the kids put together.

Monday for FHE we focused on cleaning and organizing the storage room. I needed to make a list of what items to replenish from our food storage. The kids "helped" count cans. Amelia helped me list on paper what I need to purchase. Since the storage room was finally put to rights I carried on and attacked my photo prop closet the next day. Oh my goodness. I've avoided the closet for years now. Even when I moved the stuff over to the closet I did not sort and prioritize the props. After two days I ended up with a huge pile of stuff to sell/donate. I am sad that crocheted items are not popular anymore. I have 72 crocheted hats on my hands! Add about 30 headbands, 20 diaper covers, and other props I no longer use for a lot of things to get rid of. I am pleased that the big items did sell rather quickly for $150 profit! Yay.

Phillip is doing so well in speech that Mrs Lori will only come once or twice a month! Wednesday she had the boys tell her stories from picture cards to assess how well Phillip talks in sentences. He is saying all his sounds most of the time and is now only making developmental mistakes common in 5 year olds! Yay!

Amelia woke up at midnight on Tuesday covered in barf. I stripped her bed and had Justin wrap her up in a spare quilt with a bowl. Poor kid! She ran a low fever half the next day. No other symptoms popped up and so far noone else has barfed. I covered the kids in OnGuard and Digestzen hoping to stave off the inevitable. Amelia was SOOOOO bored without Phillip around to play with. She helped for a couple seconds prepping carrots from our garden to freeze. I scraped off the dirt and outer skin then rinsed the carrots off in fresh water. It was a dirty and cold task that took me 3 hours. My hands are quite chapped now! Justin processed the carrots and vacuumed sealed portion bags of carrots. Yay! Now we have a year's worth of carrots for soup and meals. Wednesday evening was our YW night of Excellence. The girls each presented something that related their testimony of Christ. The girls presented poems, art work, song, and scriptures. It was very touching. Sister Siler made her famous creme puff cake. I enjoyed dorking out with my beehives afterwards.

Thursday we barely made it in time for Amelia's piano recital at the E-Free church. Kathleen invited us to join her recitals twice a year. Amelia chose to perform "Boat Dock" and "Away in a Manger." She chose the second song just a week ago. I was a little nervous for her! I accompanied her on both songs. I do love that about the Alfred piano systems. We did mess up Away in a Manger so started over after the 6th measure. The second time went splendidly! I love how she just picked up and went on with no nerves showing. That's my girl. Before the recital Amelia spent a good 30 minutes picking her outfit, jewelry, and fixing her hair. I think that was her favorite part!

The weather was quite temperate this week. We went to the park a couple times and I was able to shoo the kids outside to play several times. I love the weather breaks when they come. Friday Everett ran around in a green Power Ranger costume. By the time I picked up Amelia from school he was going commando underneath, lost a sock and shoe, and soon took off the costume. I laughed so hard as he stood in the kitchen with just a shirt and one shoe on. He always seems to be missing integral parts of his clothing.

Friday the girls went to a fun baby shower for Heather in our ward. She had a cute baby boy a couple weeks ago. I took a couple photos of him last week, so presented her with a couple large prints and the disk of digital files. After the shower Justin and I got to go see Mocking Jay. It was pretty good. Can't wait for the final film to come out next year. Saturday Justin worked on cleaning the garage after he got his new tool chest organized and locked. I went to Walmart for some food shopping. Phillip and I finally agreed on a Christmas shirt design. He chose a Rudolph with a huge honking nose. He helped me choose the fabrics and even sewed a couple stitches with my help. I got some new Christmas fabric in the mail to finish off outfits for the kids. He he he, I feel giddy!

Evelyn is growing like a weed. She grew out of some 12 month clothing, the 18 month pants are still long but her little tummy shows in 12 month shirts. I got her a pair of cute squeaky shoes. She was so excited to wear them, squeaking around the kitchen. Her newest skills are naked dancing and saying "shhhhh!"

The kids delivered an amazing Primary Program today. Phillip's line was "I know there is a living prophet on the Earth today because I listen to Dieter F Uchtdorf with my family." Amelia's part is photographed above. She kept adding things to her list! Amelia wanted to look ah-mazing. She chose to wear a photo prop dress I had in my closet. She looked like a little Victorian doll. As we left, she declared that her outfit and hair were totally gorgeous. I agree. Phillip tried hard to contain his excitement up on the stand. I would spot random outbreaks of waving whenever his teacher helped another kid. I am very proud of the great job on their lines. Everett decided he was too sad for Nursery so stayed with us for Gospel Doctrine.

Phillip: I wish I had squirrels in my Sunday pants. Squirrel, squirrel, fart, fart, squirrel.  

16 November 2014

Happy Birthday Justin

What a welcome week of normal life. Outside the house the wind is wailing. Sounds like the wind is upset about all the super cold weather we are having. We had snow, sleet, high velocity wind, rain, and sub freezing temps all week long. Consequently, most of the week we spent inside waiting for the weather to turn bearable again. No such luck yet!

Monday we left our warm house for dentist appointments. Everyone got their teeth cleaned except Evelyn. Justin stayed a little after he was done to hold Evelyn while I got my teeth cleaned. Everyone has a clean bill of health...except me. Darn my soft teeth, I have one tiny cavity in one of my molars. The kids were very excited to visit the dentist! We left with new cool tooth brushes. Afterwards I had three newborn boys to photograph. Since I had my studio out I invited over my neighbor and her 5 day old son and a less active member and her 6 day old son. Right after them I had a paying session. By 3 pm the boys dirtied a large pile of blankets! My afternoon session came back in the morning on Tuesday to finish up with family photos. By Friday all the photo sessions were edited and Christmas cards completed as well. Phew. I am burned out. Between October and November I racked up 31 photo sessions. Time to close until March. Time to clean out all those closets, nooks & crannies, and enjoy a snuggly winter with my kiddos.

Evelyn is walking around like a champ. I would say she walks more than crawls now. My favorite is when she tries to dance! Her legs are too short. Evelyn also loves to throw clothes, blankets, towels, up onto her head then walk around. She looks pretty silly walking around with undies crowning her head. Her feet FINALLY grew! She is now wearing a size 2 shoe. We are still waiting for more teeth to come, she still only has two bottom teeth. That does not stop her from eating table food.

Justin celebrated his 39th birthday on Saturday. He took Friday off to sleep in, work on his truck, and stay home. He put on Star Wars for the boys at naptime. The kids were so cute piled on Justin as they watched. Ironically, I fixed an R2D2 shirt I made for Phillip (he ruined it 10 minutes after wearing it for the first time) by cutting out the applique and fixing it to a new shirt for Everett. The boys were arguing about R2D2's name. My favorite variation was RD22.

Saturday we drove to Sterling in the snow to get a new locking tool chest for his birthday gift. I tried to buy him a new rifle for his birthday but all the red tape was too overwhelming and he acted blase about my idea. A new tool chest will keep curious little boys from spreading his tools everywhere! Maybe. We arrived home in time for the afternoon matinee of "Big Hero 6." I hired Alia Jones to sit with Evelyn while she napped at home. The movie was pretty awesome. Everett lost his monkey binky (terror and delight at the same time) at the theater. Must be a sign to help him get rid of it. After bedtime I actually went back and tried to find it with no luck. We ended the day with brownies and mint ice cream. We sang happy birthday a couple times to our birthday boy and listed reasons why we love our Justin.

Justin spoke in Cheyenne this morning. I went to church solo...actually made it to church in time too. That was a miracle. Next week the kids have their primary program. We are very excited to see it!

Amelia got to present the morning show this week at school. It rotates through grades and schools throughout the district. She was excited to be filmed and broadcast all week. She also read 4 books this week! One was a new Cornelia Funke book about a blue genie.

09 November 2014

First Snow

Snow! Snow fell most of the day on Monday. The boys were over the top excited to watch the snow pile up. I had a newborn baby girl session in the morning and then naptime (preschool for Phillip) in the afternoon. The session went well considering the 3 youngers were playing the entire time. Evelyn enjoyed sitting on my camera or trying to look through the viewfinder at every opportunity. The kids went out for 45 minutes between school and ballet to play. They quickly got drenched with the heavy wet snow. Each kid went through two snow outfits while they played! Amelia helped the boys make snowmen before ballet. The boys finished the snowmen after we got back. I made a delish beef stew for dinner. It was so yummy this time around. Everett gave us a lesson for FHE.

Evelyn is haltingly making her way around the house on two shaky legs. She has a system down. First stand, then weave for a moment, out comes one foot, weave, then then other, weave, another step. The closer she gets to you the faster she walks. I still cannot believe it when I catch glimpses of her standing and walking around. Makes my heart hurt that time is going by so fast. I've worked on the next blog book installment this week, even a year ago the kids were so little. Now they look more and more like kids. My babies are growing up.

Tuesday after school we played at the park until sunset at 4:35. It was cold but not enough to keep us inside. The kids had a can of pringles to eat for snack on the merry-go-round. I still wonder how they did not throw up! After baths I notices Amelia's socks were soaking wet. I asked her about that and she told me about forgetting to take off her socks until the middle of her bath. She giggled hysterically as she told me about the faux pas. Silly girl.

Piano lessons are going well. Evelyn likes to help me teach! She discovered that the little step stool we have puts her at the perfect angle to play the piano. We get a kick out of her attempts to dance while Amelia practices. I finally got all my photo orders delivered and out of the house. This year was cra-zay.

For mutual this week we competed with the Pine Wood Derby. That meant I was in charge of all the girls. We made rice crispy temples and had a lovely judging contest. The girls ate their creations while we played charades, Ha Ha, and Zap! Phillip and Amelia came along to play with their friends at church.

Amelia was very excited that we got to babysit Ella overnight Friday and Saturday. Alison and Matt had other commitments early, early Saturday that were not kid friendly. Amelia was very, very excited to finally have a long playdate with her best friend. The girls fawned over Evelyn most of the time. Ella loves to babysit! I hardly saw the kids all weekend as they played and enjoyed their sleepover. Justin and I wanted to get out of Sidney for a while so we went to try out the Hot Spot in Peetz. I see it each time we go there for Visiting Teaching. It is a bar...non smoking of course since it is Colorado. The bar has a section for family dining as well. The kids enjoyed dancing on the stage area while we ordered and waited for dinner. The Hot Spot is well-known for its scrumptious BBQ. It was amazingly delicious. Since we were in Peetz I stopped by the Betony's, who were not home, and Sister Petry. I finally got to introduce myself to Marcia Petry. That was a miracle. I was able to update her address, phone numbers, and email.

Saturday morning I had 5 more mini-sessions. I am done now. Phew. This week I have one more newborn session this week. Then closed for the season. Time to put busy season down for a long, long nap. My house, husband, kids and I need a break from photos for a while. I mentored a sweet budding photographer in town while I finished the mini-sessions. She has a lot of talent! Just needs to get her camera off auto settings. Yay! The kids were getting bored after lunch so we took them to the nearby school park. The corner of the school has a sheltered area. It created the coolest mini wind cyclones ever. Justin showed the kids how to throw the leaves into the cyclones so the leaves would tumble up into the sky. At home I set to kids to making paper plate turkeys with paint, glue, construction paper, and such. Phillip made a shark-alien-turkey.

02 November 2014

Our Spooky Week

Our Halloween week was so amazing. The kids enjoyed dressing up several times to show off their costumes at the library, church trunk or treat, preschool, and on Halloween. I used to hate Halloween, still don't enjoy parts of it...BUT...having my own kids who get excited over the prospect of the holiday makes it fun. I busted out my jangle-y pumpkin earrings and found a pumpkin shirt as my contribution this year.

Phillip had some adventures this week! Tuesday morning I smelled smoke, following my nose I discovered a plate of pancakes with 23:05 still left on the microwave countdown. Phillip made himself pancakes, plopped syrup on the cakes, and cooked up the plate. The syrup boiled holes in the plate and scorched the pancakes. He was proud of his breakfast. While the pancakes were nuking he juiced several oranges into a cup of milk. The milk curdled while he sliced the strawberries. He drank most of his handmade smoothie. Wednesday while I was making dinner I turned around to find the boys with bananas (and scissors) stuffed in their pants in exactly the wrong places. I died. I died laughing. Turns out the boys were playing "Monkey With a Tool Belt" a fun new book we borrowed from the library. Course a monkey includes a banana in his tool belt. Evelyn ate an entire flat of raspberries, she loved sticking the berries on her little pointer fingers. Tuesday evening we participated in the Booster Club's Jitney supper over at the High School. The school teachers served up dinner of spaghetti or chicken noodle. The kids enjoyed running up and down the ramp instead of eating. Evelyn totally enjoyed her spaghetti and noodles.

I ordered all the prints from the mini sessions late Monday evening. By Friday I had all the CDs burned and the orders ready for pick up. I finally made a fun stamp to use on the CD sleeves. I made it out of foam cut into the shape of my logo. It looks pretty awesome! I have never submitted such a large photo order before. That was a lot of work. Whitney rescheduled her HS senior photo session to Monday because her volleyball team is going to state on the day we originally scheduled. I have yet to even look at the fun images we captured.

I finally took some photos of Phillip and Mrs Lori doing speech. Course, Phillip is dressed up as the Silver Power Ranger! He loves learning with Mrs Lori, she plays the best games with him. Everett, Evelyn and I attended storytime. Evelyn wore a cute Cinderella costume Miekka gave us several years ago. She is improving her balance every day. Evelyn is now taking several shaky steps at a time. The ward trunk or treat was held on Wednesday evening. Each child decorated a mini pumpkin, Ella helped Everett with his...I love her tender heart! She is such a great helper. Evelyn switched her Cinderella outfit for a pumpkin fairy one, she pooped out of the princess one. She spent her time at the party gnawing on a doughnut. Justin handed out candy while I herded the cats around the parking lot.

Thursday Phillip FINALLY had show and tell at Preschool. He asked me each day of October if it was show and tell day yet. I suggested he show off his sister wearing her ORANGE outfit since the theme was orange. Oh boy! He was quite excited to bring Evelyn. We were also in charge of the healthy snack for the Halloween party. Phillip picked peach cups decorated like pumpkin faces as the snack. Everett was in heaven participating in circle time with Phillip's class. When Phillip's turn came for show and tell he picked up Evelyn under her pits and carried her over to Mrs Cassie. He showed off Evelyn. Evelyn blew raspberries much to the classes delight right when Mrs Cassie asked if Evelyn had any tricks. Everett hopped up to join the fun and showed off his shoes.

Amelia and I started up with piano lessons at home this week. We started using the 1B level of Premier lessons by Alfred. She is excited to have me as a teacher. I pray that I will not slack off for her sake. Phillip really wants to start lessons as well. Once he learns to read we can start!

Amelia had no school on Halloween because the football team made state this year again. We enjoyed a lazy morning playing inside with a box and Halloween candy. Around 3:30 the kids dressed up in their costumes to go trick or treat downtown at the local stores. The wind was chilly so I had the kids put on several shirts and pants layers. Justin met us down there for the fun. The best part was the station handing out cups of hot chocolate! Amelia ended up spilling her chocolate on her Elsa hat and costume. We raced home for pizza dinner, I had just enough time to throw her costume in the washer and dryer before we left for trick or treating. Wowsers. It was cold! The kids had more shirts and pants on this time. Phillip was impressed with the monster eyeball house. To get candy the kids had to walk through a spooky garage. That was terrifying for the little guy. He talked about the spooky eyeball house for the rest of the evening. Michelle told me about a house giving away 6 packs of Reese's cups. We visited the house to find it belonged to Mrs Margaret, Amelia's ballet teacher! We also visited Mrs Belieu's house and some of our neighbors. Everett has a nice canker sore to show how much he enjoyed his bucket full of candy.

Saturday we spent the day outside winterizing our yard. I absolutely love days like Saturday, working as a family toward a goal. I ripped out all the garden vegetation and trimmed the perennials.  Justin worked the leaf blower and lawn mower. Everett and Phillip took turns pushing the lawn mower with Justin! I pulled about 20 pounds of sweet juicy carrots from the garden. Everett started a worm collection. That kid loves worms! Amelia and Phillip made a mud pie with flowers, dirt, cast off vegetables, and water in Justin's fertilizer spreader. We worked until dinner time as a family. Swoon!