25 May 2015

Suminter Vacation

Summer vacation is here. Too bad it feels more like winter. I created a new season just for Western Nebraska: suminter. Basically, it is winter weather in summer. I do not really enjoy the first couple weeks of summer vacation here in Sidney, it is cold, windy, rainy, stormy, with a chance of tornadoes. By the time summer does come our vacation is half way over. The kids go to school this next school year the 13th of August. A couple weeks ago it was the 10th, they must have pushed it back a couple days. Gripe over...maybe

I really enjoyed assisting Amelia's class with Staycation this year. Each teacher had fun games to play for the kids. Mrs Belieu had marshmellow poppers and several games to play. I stayed and helped her assemble 105 poppers (cups with end cut off, hole covered with a balloon). Other favorite stations were: minute-to-win it, playing minecraft (the 5th graders built the second graders houses based on emails the kids sent earlier in the year), card games, second grade trivia, and other fun centers. I stayed until lunch. It was rainy outside and the first graders were in PE so we got to eat lunch in the hallways. I discovered "Go Noodles" from Mrs Belieu. It is a website with fun 10 minute activities for kids, physical exercise and brain exercises. It looks really fun! My favorite station with Mia was the room with minute-to-win it. I walked in to find Amelia trying to get a cookie from her forehead to her mouth. Oh the expressions on her face! Crack me up. The boys and Evelyn enjoyed a fun morning with the Stokes family. Phillip and Everett were quite the mix up from the usual 4 girls in their home. Jessica is Phillip's age, they really enjoyed playing. Amelia had so much fun that when she came out of school to find snow on the ground she was quite sad. I think she also had a little bit too much fun all day and was over-tired. Yes, we had a couple inches of heavy wet snow. I dehydrated an entire box of apricots, I LOVE using the Cabela's flavor guard. It adds some sweet and sour plus preserve the color. Now I have an entire box of apples to deal with! Send me your ideas.

Wednesday was the last full day of school. Mrs Belieu had the kids bring in blankets, pillows, and favorite stuffed animals. The kids built a huge tent fort in their classroom! I am so sad to leave Mrs Belieu in second grade. She is one of those amazing teachers you find once in a lifetime. Evelyn decided she was hungry so climbed up on the table and poured herself a bowl of grape nuts. I found her munching on cereal with a huge grin on her face. I think Vader also enjoyed the cereal. We now have a new rule to put your cereal away after you pour yourself a bowl.

Thursday Amelia and I went to check her out of school. We learned that Amelia had ranked the highest in all of second grade with her reading scores. She can read 240 WPM! The ceiling for 2nd grade is 200 WPM. I am so proud of her and all her hard work this school year. She is amazing! We celebrated with a trip to the doughnut shop. Right when we came home I had a newborn session for a little baby girl with 4 older brothers. We managed to squeeze the entire family onto my backdrop paper. Amelia was enthralled with a few moments she got to snuggle the baby. Last week I purchased a newborn posing course by Rachel Vanoven, a leading photographer in the business. I spent the last week pouring over the videos and learning. I used one of Mia's baby dolls to pose along with Rachel. It was even more fun to try new techniques on the real baby. I sewed up a cute outfit for Gina Hill;s new baby. Megan threw a fun baby shower for her. Gotta love girl time.

Amelia's summer vacation started with rain and more rain. We only saw the sun a handful of times throughout the week. The sun came out today for a couple hours. The kids put on swimsuits expecting to play in the sprinkler...it was 55 degrees outside. I put the kibosh on that idea. Instead we played outside kicking leftover puddles of water. A couple hours later all the puddles were replenished with more rain.

Justin wanted to check out a used motorcycle in Scottsbluff on Saturday. We made the trip as a family. The dang store was closed all weekend for Memorial Day. That was disappointing. Instead we went to Target to look for birthday gifts for Everett and to Payless for shoes. Phillip goes through a pair of shoes in about 4 months, he pulls the velcro tabs so hard that the tabs rip off. Amelia and I found cute sandals in hopes of warmer weather. It was a short trip, worth the time and gas to be out of the house. Justin drove us home through a heavy rain storm. The streets were flooded by the time we pulled into our garage. The kids immediately searched out swimsuits and rain gear. We enjoyed an hour of play in the cold rain puddles.

From 5-10:30 pm I photographed a wedding for a family friend here in Sidney. She looked so gorgeous! Her little son, Elliott is just two months older than Evelyn. The rain stopped long enough to get a couple bridal photos. The rain started to fall just as we started bridal party photos. Darn it all. Justin came in time for the ceremony. We made our way to the reception afterwards. Amelia found a friend from her class to dance with. Goodness sakes, that girl danced the entire time, only resting to eat a bit and drink punch. Phillip and Everett found some Hot Wheels cars they races across the dance floor. Phillip wore holes in his church pants sliding across the floor on his knees, Michael Jackson style. We had a really good time. I had to tear Amelia away from the party at 10:30 pm, she requested the DJ to play "Let It Go." I finally convinced her that they DJ was not going to play it after 10 songs passed by. She has some awesome moves! The girls found a 6th grader boy (gasp) to dance with near the end. The girls dissolved in giggles while they dance with a real, live boy. I almost died laughing over their delight. Congratulations to the newly formed Relerford family.

I was called to serve as the 2nd couselor in the YW on Sunday. More fun times for our family! I now have five YW to serve. We will have a great time. Amelia went home with a sore throat and earache. She wore herself out dancing for 3 hours. This week we have a fun visit from Miekka, Seth, Jacob, and Lia. They are coming to visit and attend Amelia's baptism.

17 May 2015

Last Days of Preschool, Well-Child Visits

Preschool is finished for both boys this week. I rescheduled our Joy School graduation to this Thursday since last week we all had the pukes. All the boys loved the certificates Michelle handed out, each boy got a fun ABC book as well. We played at the park and enjoyed snacks for our last preschool day. Phillip had his last day of preschool the same day. His teachers threw a fantastic party complete with "body bubbles" made with a hula hoop, wading pool, and soapy water. Phillip pulled out a pretty good cart wheel when I picked him up. He was so excited to wear his shirt with no sleeves, he wanted to show off his huge arm muscles. Both boys grew at least 2 inches since they started preschool last year. 

The week started out with an early visit to Dr Shaw for Amelia and Everett's well-child visits. Everett lands right in the 67th Percentile for weight (38 lbs), and 53rd Percentile for height (40.5 in). He showed Dr Shaw his extreme dance moves. She determined from that awesome display that he meets all developmental milestones. Amelia remains in the bottom of the percentiles! At least she is consistent. She is in the 27th Percentile for weight (52 lbs), and 18th Percentile for height (48.5 in). We chatted a bit about her continuing constipation issues. Dr Shaw ordered yet another x-ray, only to confirm that she is full of poo. So she got two days treatment with Milk of Magnesia. She is now on a twice daily dose of Miralax, lots of water, and yogurt. The Milk of Magnesia treatment was not so fun. She ended up with diarrhea down her leg while we played at the park for FHE. The next couple days were also full of lots of potty visits. Poor kid. 

Tuesday morning we met Amelia's class at the park for Field Fun Day. I also had two extra kids, Max and Annabelle. We tagged along with Mia's class and enjoyed a nice morning filled with exercise. Max really loved the obstacle course, he would disappear only to show up running through the course. Amelia's face is really funny when she jumps rope. I caught a couple really silly faces. Everett loves any games involving a ball, he was in heaven. The babies just toddled around in the grass for a couple hours. After all the fun and games the students enjoyed Popsicles! The kids and I headed home for our own Popsicles. 

Everett spent lots of time this week playing with his birthday gifts. He was really excited about the windy days Monday and Tuesday. We ran around the block numerous times flying his kite. Amelia tangled it up in a high tree branch, super mom came to the rescue and untangled the kite. We tried to fly kites for FHE but the wind died down right when we left. Course. Everett's other favorite gift was a can of "ooze." He and Phillip played with ooze most of the week. They caught bad guys, hot wheels, and any toy unfortunate enough to get close to the ooze. Everett made me laugh when he came roaring into the bathroom, he ripped off his cape, and exclaimed, "I don't need a cape to poop!" Well, then! Now I know. 

Thursday I spent a good chunk of time thinking about and prepping to make chore charts and daily schedules. I purchased 4 cookie sheets to spray paint and use as the chore chart base. Since the boys were out playing while I sprayed paint, I immediately pulled Phillip over and threatened him against even looking at the paint. Next thing I know the black paint can is spinning and hurling black paint like a demon on fire. Everett looks at me with terror in his eyes, knowing that this is NOT a good situation. Paint is splattered on the patio, sidewalk, the slide, bottom of the shed, and on the boys shoes/boots and skin. Everett apparently hit a can with a sharp edge of a tension clamp. I was pretty upset and Everett was scared. I turned on the hose, and intensely enjoyed spraying Everett and the patio with the hose.  Soon after that Phillip tripped into Justin's game sled and hit the corner of his eye on a bolt. He now has a nice bruiser of an eye. That was chaos as his cried and cried with the pain. Jen let us borrow a pressure washer, it faded the paint a little bit. His boots are ruined. We left soon after said incident the family drove to Gurley to watch Ella's school play. Her music teacher is quite the phenomenon. I wanted to join in! The kids performed a choir style, fast-paced version of Wizard of Oz. It was super stuffy in the gym. The boys were disrupting so Justin gladly went outside with the youngers. I forgot how terrible middle school bands can sound. Bless their little hearts, they tried really hard! My mom endured enough school band concerts to earn an award. 

Friday evening, Jen helped me cut the boys hair. I wanted something "cool" so she showed me how to do a new cut with the hair cutters and scissors. Phillip and Everett love their new cool dude hair. The style does require style time and hairspray. Phillip was mad at me before his graduation because I did not give him a mohawk. His pouty face is spectacular. Learning Korner hosted a really cute graduation ceremony. The kids told what they wanted to be when they grow up, Phillip still wants to be a Jet Driver. My other favorites were: Doc McStuffins, to be Six, and a Ninja Turtle. The kids sang several songs, Phillip's favorite being "Firetruck hurry, hurry." He later used his diploma to spy the room. He looked so handsome dressed in his fancy church clothes. Earlier in the week I coached Phillip that he needed to wear his church clothes for graduation. He was adamant that he was supposed to wear his class t-shirt. I messaged his teachers explaining the dilemma. Mrs Cassie said Phillip's eyes went huge when she asked him what church clothes he was going to wear. Little stinker! 

Yesterday was an emotional day. We got a sad phone call late Tuesday evening, Justin's coworker's daughter committed suicide. Of course the mother was absolutely devastated. Her 19 year old daughter was severely depressed, that poor mother found her daughter hanging at home when she got home. We attended her funeral at St Patrick's Catholic Church. During the eulogy Justin and I both thought that the daughter sounded a lot like our Amelia. Oh, that we could protect our children. The music and ceremony of the service were very calming and comforting. I pray that Chris and her family will find peace in this terrible tragedy. Just a couple weeks ago our town lost another prominent resident in another unfortunate situation. Makes you heart hurt to see suffering ending lives. Hug those kids, husbands, wives, and family. Express your love more often then not. 

I scored a nice Bountiful Basket this week, ordering extras of blueberries, apricots, and apples. I plan on making jams, apple sauce/dried apples, and of course lots of fresh fruit eats. I rescheduled three mini sessions from last week's sessions to this Saturday. It rained and rained. I was an inch away from cancelling again. The weather cleared out enough to let me get those last few completed. I snuck in Ella and Amelia at the end for their baptism photos. Even Everett got a turn for his birthday photos. Yes! That is DONE. Check.