22 February 2015

We Made it to Combined YM/YW

We had a candle light dinner on Sunday to celebrate Valentine's Day. The kids look forward all year to our Valentine's meal. Amelia made lemonade and helped set the table. I made shrimp scampi, green beans, and cheese biscuits. Yum! We loved our intimate, small family dinner. It was nice to have it at home where our "good" manners can abound.

Monday we enjoyed an entire day with Miss Ella. Her dad dropped her off at 8 and picked her up around 6! That is one fun day for us! The kids played all morning. I started work on a new crocheted green bonnet. Around 11 we drove to Justin's work for our semi-annual work visit. Evelyn toddled in like she owned the place. Everett was immediately drawn to Justin's 10-key machine. Each kid got to take home a calculator ticket. Exciting stuff! Then we had lunch at Subway. The girls and Everett had their own table. I keep forgetting how much our kids are growing. I looked over expecting to see two little 18 month old girls, nope, instead I saw two nearly 8 year olds. After lunch I face painted the girls as Elsa and Rapunzel. The kids played the rest of the afternoon as knights and princesses. Amelia gave a wonderful lesson on the First Vision. Justin was impressed with her ability to plan the lesson and her responses to his questions.

Tuesday I spent the morning with the Watchorn family, who welcomed a new baby girl. Their two year old was a bit of a challenge! They ended up coming back on Thursday for another try at family photos. Evelyn was quite interested in helping me with the "bebe." Her most used trick was sitting on her head.

Wednesday the Beehives were in charge of combined YM/YW. Kaitlyn and I decided to have an indexing activity. It took some coordination to scrounge up enough working laptops for the youth to work on. The biggest challenge was discovering that half the laptops did not have the indexing software downloaded, in spite of us asking the owners install it before the activity. I think each youth indexed one batch, a couple youths indexed over 3 batches. I made three recipes of Chex Mix variations, (2) muddy buddies, and traditional, Trissha brought a batch of caramel Chex. I think Satan wanted to make sure I was befuddled and late for this particular activity. Right when I was stepping into the van, Phillip barfed into the toilet. The moment he flushed it was quite apparent the toilet was backed up. Everett decided he needed to pee so flushed the nearly overflowing potty. It over flowed in a major way. Barf, poo, toilet paper shreds, and pee water flooded the bathroom floor. Justin panicked. So I swiped up most of the mess and left him to sanitize the area. Gross. Then Amelia dumped out the muddy buddies onto the garage floor on accident. Thankfully most of it landed on the saran wrap. I salvaged what I could then left. Talk about stress.

Evelyn is styling herself of late! She loves to wear two different shoes, pull her skirts under her arm pits, adorn her head with headbands, and don necklaces. We love it! Phillip's word of the week was moose. If I asked him what he wanted for lunch his standard reply was moose and pickle sandwiches. If he got upset I hear him utter "Moose!" like an explicative. Everett requested a lettuces, cucumbers, and branches salad for breakfast this week. He ate most of it!

Amelia checked out some young adult books at the library. I found her engrossed in the book, "The Thirteenth Princess" before bed on Friday. She read a 1/4 of the book before bed! I think I read the same book last year. We deep cleaned bathrooms and bedrooms yesterday while the snow came down most of the day. It is hard to believe Justin and I are leaving for 6 days tomorrow morning. I wrote a long essay detailing schedules, routines, maps, and phone numbers for Sister Peters and my Mom. The Primary kids sang "A Child's Prayer" in sacrament meeting today. As soon as Phillip was on the stand he wiggled to the front and started wiggling his expressive eyebrows! Everett rubbed RJs hair, which does feel really cool. Justin delivered a thoughtful talk on missionary work last moment. The visiting High Council cancelled because of snow. Justin was around so he stepped up! Justin finally agreed to start taking high blood pressure and cholesterol medication this week. We gotta keep him alive! Har har.

15 February 2015

Valentine's Week

Happy Valentine's Day. I used to HATE Valentine's Day, mostly because it seemed like a useless holiday. I love it now! With the adventure of our own kids the day is a fun time to exchange little cards and candies. We had a really enjoyable family day at home. Justin sent me a bouquet of yellow roses and a small bouquet of flowers for Amelia. I got each kid a balloon and box with candies and a small toy. The kids were hilarious with their balloons, especially Evelyn. She stared up at the balloons for several minutes before her face broke up with a huge smile. We continued the tradition of Pizza Hut for lunch. Evelyn found a headband to wear all by herself. Everett cracked me up with his mouth licking. Amelia and Phillip delighted in visiting the salad and pizza bars all by themselves. Phillip decided celery dipped in pizza sauce was quite a delicacy.

Sunday afternoon the kids spent time assembling and writing their class Valentines. Everett laid on the floor on his tummy with a pencil writing "E" and "V" on his cards. Phillip got tired of writing his name after the second Valentine. He resorted to making smiley faces, tall lines, and silly drawings using letters in his name. Amelia was quite self-sufficient making her own Valentines.

Evelyn is developing into a toddler. She started throwing some pretty righteous tantrums. Whenever she wants some food she squeals and carries around a fruit packet. I open it for her and she cries, then runs into a corner to sulk. If I place it on the floor and walk away she will sneak back and eat her food crouched over it like Gollum. She absolutely LOVES to escape outside. Another favorite development we love is when she pretends to be a doggy. She will crawl around yapping and panting. I am having deja vu moments from Phillip's toddlerhood with Evelyn. She has quite a talent for climbing. She also loves to hide stuff from me. I found her favorite binky floating in the toilet in the basement along with Everett's candy and a fun full potty of poo. I am still debating over the worth of cleaning her binky or just trashing it. Justin and I witnessed a funny Evelyn and Phillip moment this week. Phillip was trying to push her over with his head. She slapped him on the neck and shook her pointer finger at him. Her expression said it all! "Phillip! Stop pushing me over, No NO!" We laughed so hard.

Tuesday we had 4 Elders over for dinner. I made crepes, eggs, and bacon. Justin slaved over the pans cooking the crepes. I had a distinct impression to invite my colorful friend Jennifer over for dinner. I texted her an invite. Immediately she texted back, delighted to come over! She was late coming over. She chatted with the Elder's asking all about our church. Jennifer has run into the missionaries several times in her life when she lived in Arkansas. Several times she mentioned how impressed she is with our home, kids, and how we live our lives. The next day she sent me the following text: "Last night meant so much to me. Thank you. No one ever invites me over like that. I adore you and your family. The missionaries were fun and very impressive. It's nice to see a group of men that age be so happy and focused on the good in life. You are one special person Jen! I wish I could have made better decisions in life so I could be the woman you are now. Very inspiring." Wow! This coming from a lady who could make a sailor blush with her vocab. Amelia went right over and snuggled on Jennifer's lap while we talked. I think kid's reactions are a very good indicator of a person. We love our Jennifer.

Amelia and Phillip made their own Valentine boxes. I found the boxes then left them to their own devices. Most of the other children at school had elaborate boxes. Mine were completely kid made and imagined. Phillip made a Baymax box from the movie Big Hero 6. I did help him hot glue the figurine on the box. Amelia wanted a leopard box, she ran out of time decorating it, she wanted to add flowers to the bottom of the box so it looked like the leopard was crouching in a flower bed. Everett had to have a box as well. He found a slim box just large enough to hold his Valentines.

Thursday morning Everett had his little party at Max's home. The kids decorated bags to hold their cards in. Michelle made divine cookie bars for everyone. We helped our littles hand out their cards to each other. Before we reached home the candy was devoured! Phillip melted a snickers bar in his hand. He was smearing chocolate goo on the van. I straight marched him into the bathroom with a threat to wash his hands or else get a spanking. He quickly requested a chocolate-covered spanking! After lunch Everett and I went to spend the afternoon at Phillip's school. I painted 22 kid faces in 2 hours. My favorite face was a little girl who requested a fox face! Everett was in heaven playing blocks and participating in all the fun. I am so grateful to Sister Tillotsen who came last minute to sit with Evelyn while she napped. I had a sitter lined up but she cancelled last minute. Mary was a life-saver! She even drove 30 minutes to get here from Lodgepole. I signed up and paid for Everett to attend the Learning Korner next year. It looks like most of the kids from our joy school don't want to sign up for a second year.

I got a call early Friday morning from a sobbing Amelia: "Mooooooooom, you ffffffforgot my Valentines!" Me? I forgot? Noooooo, you forgot. Still, I rushed over and delivered her Valentines so she could hand them out. Her teachers lets the kids pass out their Valentines throughout the day! I think that is brilliant.

Friday afternoon was a stressful mess. Evelyn went down for her nap as usual. I had Theresa from next door come sit with Evelyn while she napped. As I was leaving a Sister from our ward dropped off her 10 month old daughter while she dealt with an emergency. I picked up Mia from school to get her cast removed at the Ortho specialty clinic. Just as I pulled in to park, 5 minutes early, Theresa called frantic because Evelyn woke up howling. I checked us in then rushed home to get Evelyn and rush back to the clinic. I waddled into the clinic with the boys hands shoved in my pockets, Taty's car seat in one arm, and Evelyn on my other hip. Both girls were crying up a storm. We finally get checked in and settled in a room when Amelia starts crying along with the babies. She was scared that the cast saw would cut her skin. Poor kid! The cast saw did not cut but it did burn her skin in several places, which only added to her paranoia. The babies went nuts over the loud, whining saw. Thank heavens a nurse came in and took Taty on a walk to calm her down. After another x-ray the Dr determined her bone is completely healed! Amelia's skin was dry and crusty, gross. We slathered her skin with Nivea cream after a long bath. The cast shavings made her tights and clothes itch horribly, she tore off her tights while we were at the clinic. I had the Ortho check out my knee. He was quite disturbed over my leg length discrepancy. My right knee has bothered me for over a year now. It keeps me from kneeling, walking, and running. He had me go get an x-ray of my pelvis. After 38 years he determined my leg discrepancy is actually due to a small hip joint neck and a long hip neck joint on the other side. I felt special when he said he's never seen hips like mine. He warned me that back pain, hip pain, and knee pain will be a constant from now on. He injected my right knee with cortisone to help alleviate the pain. My knee hurt like heck all night long. Saturday my knee pain was mostly gone. I even knelt to change Evelyn's diaper with no pain. Hallelujah.

Amelia and I had an interesting conversation. We know a lady whose husband was put in prison leaving her all alone. Amelia was quite worried. She told me from the back of the van, that when she gets old enough to date she wants to pray about those she dates. She was pretty worried about not making a good marriage choice. We discussed in length about making wise choices in friends and using prayer to invite HF to help us make choices. I was so impressed with her cognition of the entire situation. She told me later that the choices we make now, especially in a husband, will affect the rest of our lives, so it is important to make the best choice we can. Wisdom from the mouth of babes!

Phillip has very expressive eyebrows. He woos the ladies with his wiggly eyebrows. He told me that girls fall in love with him when he dances his over his eyes hairs. I die. LAUGHING.

Saturday morning Nora's granddaughter finally came over for some birthday photos. She looked adorable in her Apache Camp Dress. The dress actually fit perfectly! I only had to hem up the dress a little. Jamie, Nora's daughter told me she is expecting another baby in September! I cannot wait to hold their newest addition.

08 February 2015

The Odds are Against Us

Reminder: last week we saw Amelia sick, with Strep...we thought. The week before that Phillip had Strep.

This week. Five out of six in our family came down with Influenza A. I am pretty sure Phillip also had Influenza A and Strep at the same time. The medication cleared out the Strep but left him more vulnerable to the flu. Poor Phillip had it the worst and the longest. I called the Dr Friday or last week and had him prescribe Amelia antibiotics for what I thought was strep. The medication did not help in the slightest. She came down with a nasty chest cough and congestion. Soon we were all hacking, barfing, fevering, gagging, stooped over with severe body chills. The poor TV almost burned out from so much action this past week. Everett started to show the same symptoms he had last year with his recurring cough that turned into pneumonia. I called the clinic to get him seen on Monday. We did not get an appointment until Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday morning I came down with the flu as well. All the kids got their flu shots, Justin got his, and I did not this year. Still the kids came down with it as severe or more so than I. Not sure that flu shot helped in the slightest. Amelia went back to school on Tuesday. Wednesday we had a perfect snowstorm that cancelled school, giving her another day to rest. Phillip slept on the couch a couple nights because he would wake up and hack, barf, and then cry louder than a fire engine siren.

The down time was kind of nice. I finally had a chance to sew a couple items, craft new headbands, and make two flower crowns. Amelia and I had time to read and play Monopoly. Everett could be found in his bed napping. Phillip mostly wanted to watch his new Hot Wheels movie. Amelia was pretty bored so I got her a new Lego set to play with. Justin saved the day Thursday afternoon. He came home early so I could sleep after 6 terrible nights. He stepped up and made dinner for all us sickies. Then he stayed home Friday morning so I could rest a bit more. I guess he came home Thursday at lunch to find me crashed out on the couch with Evelyn on my lap and Everett beside me. I had no idea he was home. It still seems like we lost an entire week of our lives! I have an idea what a time warp could feel like.

Saturday dawned. Saturday morning no one had a fever. We rejoiced and went to Sterling to enjoy some time at the park. The kids got to pick out Valentine supplies at Walmart. We were all so delighted to be out of the house and Sidney for a couple hours.

The temperature was extraordinarily warm for February, settling in the lower 70s both Friday and Saturday. Phillip and Evelyn were feeling better by that time so they tromped through the melting snow in PJs. Evelyn discovered the rain gutter full of mud and water. She reminded me of a bird splashing about! We were all shaking our heads wondering if Mother Nature went crazy. Almost 5 inches of snow on Wednesday and 70 degree weather on Friday. There must be a record breaker in there somewhere.

01 February 2015

Missoula Children's Theater

Our week was unexpectedly busy and exciting. Amelia tried out in a group audition Monday right after school. Over 170 kids auditioned for 56 parts in a large group audition. We dropped off Amelia and then came back to watch the audition for a little while. Monday was logistically stressful! I had two photo shoots, the missionaries coming over for dinner, getting the kids from school, a napping baby, and attending the audition. It worked out in the end with some juggling and running here and there. Rose volunteered to bring Amelia home. She came home in a flurry of excitement! She earned a part in the play as a Fierce and Ferocious Flower! During the short time I was at the rehearsal I could hear her singing Row, Row, your Boat from down in the audience. She had practices Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30-6 those evenings. Friday the kids performed twice for the local schools. Saturday was a public performance in the evening. Of course she came down with a nasty cough/cold and fever on Thursday. She really wanted to perform so I started her on antibiotics and sent her dosed up on pain killers and cough syrup. Saturday she was so tired she moped around and napped half the day. Still, she insisted on attending the performance. We loved the play. The boys were enthralled with the new experience. They mostly sat still for the 70 minute performance. I am amazed at what the kids pulled together in 3 days of practice!

I have a funny story about Sunday evening. I finally started work on an Apache Camp Dress my friend Nora asked me to make for her granddaughter. I was busy working in my craft room. Soon Amelia reported that Evelyn was swimming in the basement. Phillip filled a plastic drawer with a  couple inches of water. Evelyn was inside the drawer happy as a lark. Every couple seconds she would flop over and sip up some water. The kids wanted to join in the play so Amelia filled up the tub with water to soak their feet. As most mothers know kids can't just get one body part wet. The kids were all in the tub playing snugly baby bears. I heard strains like, "Everett snuggle Phillip's cold back" or "baby Amelia needs a foot massage." After the kid's skin was old and wrinkly we went upstairs. Everett found his huge calculator and punched in a number telling me he wanted a million fruit snacks. He is already adding numbers in his head...by himself.

We had the Elders and the George family over for dinner on Monday. I made gyros! Yum. The taztziki sauce was really garlicky. I followed the recipe but my garlic crown was super pungent. Darn it. Right after the Elder's left I photographed little Tatyana George. She was all smiles for me! Monday night I also realized that I had prepared my week of joy school for the incorrect letter. I prepared for the letter H but actually had Q. Grrrr. I had enough material prepared to make it work for Tuesday. Thursday's preschool was a little bit of a stretch! Justin nabbed two large appliance boxes for me. My plan was to tape the boxes together and make a "H"ouse, then let the kids decorate the box and play for part of the time. We had time to make the boxes into a two room house. They loved playing in the boxes! We had enjoyed lunch with Justin then time at the park after preschool. Evelyn went on the slides about a million times. She is nuts over slides! After school the temperatures were in the 70s. I sent the kids outside armed with paint and brushes to decorate the boxes. It was a lovely afternoon spent outside. Everett and I went on several more walks this week. Tuesday night the kids used their food to play through dinner. I stuffed raspberries with blueberries. When the raspberries ran out I hollowed out strawberries for their blueberries. Soon the kids were playing pirates using the strawberries and blueberries as cannon and fodder.

Thursday joy school was pretty fun even with the sparse ideas with the letter Q. A quail ended up laying special eggs all over the side yard. We had a fun quail egg hunt with old Easter eggs. The eggs had upper case Q, lower case q, and diamond shapes. Evelyn honed her sliding skills the entire time we were outside. She has the cutest "wheeeeee" sound she makes. Even cuter than that is her scary bear growl.

Most of my evenings and quiet time Tuesday-Thursday were spent editing the mini-session photos. Friday I finished sewing the Apache dress. It is pretty cute considering my lack of pattern and such. Nora is bringing over Catalina on Monday for a couple photos. I am pretty excited!!

Friday evening Justin asked if I wanted to go see "Into the Woods" by myself since Amelia was sick and no sitter available. I must have gotten a gleam in my eye because he laughed and sent me on my way! The movie was like sitting in front of an amazing Broadway play, music and all. I guess most of the other movie goers were not aware the movie was a musical, over half left before the movie was half over. I nearly had the theater to myself. What does a girl do in an empty theater with music? You guessed it! Sing my little heart out along with the actors. Justin reported that bedtime was pretty easy! Amelia went to bed at 8. Justin asked who else wanted to go to bed. Everett volunteered with an enthusiastic "I Do! I want to go to bed!" Phillip watched a short show while Justin put Evelyn down. Then the two boys hung out until Phillip was tired. I came home to a blessedly dark and quiet house. Justin and I enjoyed laughing over the evening.

Friday I finally removed the Christmas lights from the pine trees. Everett really wanted to play with the light timer, so I let him. Soon he was morphing invisible soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, and silly balls out of the timer. He enlisted my help to kick the balls into outer space. I am sure more than a few folks thought we were crazy pantomiming sports feats and victory as they drove by our home. I am proud to report that I am really awesome at winning soccer games. My swimming skills need some work. Everett kept winning, mostly because he changed the finish line to accommodate himself as the winner. Evelyn thought all this running and kicking stuff was great fun. She was a hoot to watch toddling around shrieking and giggling.