13 December 2015

Basking in Christmas...Flu

Monday I had the unique opportunity to head to Cheyenne for a morning of shopping. I left at 6:40 am. Justin managed to wrestle the kids into clothes, coats, backpacks, and take care of that aspect of the morning. Michelle did most of the work watching Everett and Evelyn. I hear the kids were pretty good. Evelyn was not happy that Everett got to go with Justin for lunch and then to preschool. I wandered around Target for a couple hours, then to the mall (Bath & Body and JoAnns), quick burrito for lunch, then a quick run through Hobby Lobby. I made it back to Sidney just in time to pick up Phillip and Kaylee from school. I really enjoyed shopping without snacks, whining, and requests. Just me! For FHE we grabbed ice cream shakes and toured the city for pretty Christmas Lights. Our favorite house has singing Christmas Trees to a pre-programmed radio station. The kids loved sticking their heads out of the van sun roof to watch.

Tuesday brought two kids down with the stomach flu. Amelia and Phillip both stayed home with the flu. The next day Everett and Evelyn showed signs of nasty colds (coughing, stuffy nose, sore throat). The school said that over 70 kids were sick that day. Yikes. You can imagine how the week went with 4 sick kids. Lots of whining, couch lounging, mess making, loss of sleep, and laundry. Everett caught the worst part of a cold. He spent the week as a short-tempered squirrel. His lair was his bed hiding under a pile of blankets. Thursday he told me his lungs stopped working, making him cough and his air sacs to not hold so much breaths. Pretty accurate.  He was pretty sad to mail off Yulz hair communicator (aka compact). He made last contact with several Power Rangers before he stuck it in a mailing envelope.

I finally mailed off our Christmas cards. Phew. The most challenging part is wrestling new addresses out of folks who moved. Amelia helped me stuff envelopes. Evelyn and Everett stuffed the envelopes as fast as I could put stamps on the envelopes. We love our local Post Office, so much personality. We started collecting cards on our front door. It brings so much cheer to see the pretty cards and well-loved family and friends on our door.

The kids decided to "clean" their room after Innej left Amelia a note saying she got trapped in dirty laundry left on the floor. I almost freaked out when the room got messier before it slowly got cleaner. I think the kids spent 2 hours "playing" in their room. The threat of me vacuuming the carpet finally got the remnants off the carpet. Just a couple hours later their room was trashed again. The basement showed signs of lots of playing as well. It took us a couple hours on Saturday to get the toys back to their correct locations. Justin and Phillip finally tackled the Imaginex cave (the old play house in the craft room) after it was used for a rousing game of toy store a couple days before Thanksgiving. It is pretty easy to feel overwhelmed with just the regular messes of 6 people, add weekend games and such and I just want to go to bed hoping the cleaning fairy will visit. I did sell the large pile of props I had stacked in a basement corner, unfortunately the lady can't come pick it up until next week.

We enjoyed a couple days with warm weather and sunshine. Evelyn and I went on several walks to find bugs. She loves to find ants and follow the poor insects to their demise. We enjoyed several afternoons in the sunshine after school. Fresh air does marvels for little kids.

Phillip took his Book of Mormon to school for show and tell. He told his class that the book is special and God wants us to read it. He was quite solemn while sharing. His teacher was impressed! He was delighted to get a round of applause from his classmates. Justin, Amelia and Phillip all got dental cleanings this week. Amelia earned an A+ from the orthodontist and dentist! Everett and I get clean teeth next week. Everett is pretty excited to get a new toothbrush and a sticker.

Last night I had a fun little moment with Evelyn. We were upstairs lying on the carpet by the Christmas tree. She brought over her bug pillow and crib quilt. For the next 20 minutes we played go to sleep, snore, and wake up. She would pretend that Vader was a scary monster and throw herself on me for protection. That was the longest time she's played one game with me. Evelyn is also enjoying naps this week. She will bring me her yellow pillow, two blankets, and a book to read. She is also on a nail painting streak. I get to paint her nails 1-3 times per day depending on how much she scratches off, she loves her "Pretties."

Justin surprised me with a date night on Friday. He has NEVER arranged a babysitter before. The door bell rang as I dished up dinner. I was at a loss for words, had no idea why Tessa was at our door. Justin was not even home from work yet. He showed up a bit later. We enjoyed dinner at Oya then a jaunt through Cabela's. The two movies this week were terrible so we went home afterwards. I really appreciated the surprise! Good job Justin!

I stayed home from church with the kids this Sunday. It appears that Amelia and Everett have Strep now. Great.


We are enjoying the Christmas season! I love the feeling in our home when the kids are getting along and enjoying the Christmas tree. This week I often heard, "hey guys, let's just lay by the tree and admire the lights." Evelyn also learned how to turn the lights off and on, which sometimes limits the time we can admire the lights. Sunday evening Amelia melted our hearts. After dinner she asked if I would sit on the couch and read our favorite scriptures and snuggle on the couch together. I've never had such a cute request to study the scriptures like that before. We did indeed sit on the couch, snuggle, and read scriptures. She read me the story of Noah! I read her my favorite part of Alma. All we needed was a container of Tollhouse cookie dough.

The kids then launched into a heady game of unicorn, the horns were net handles secured on their heads. Justin received a mutiny cry when he asked for help with sorting our mound of laundry. I assigned each unicorn a kingdom, white, medium, or dark. The game continued with the unicorns sorting laundry into their kingdoms!

Our reconnaissance elves finally paid us a visit. Innej left the kids a couple treats and finger lights right after FHE. We are also hearing the dulcent strains of Christmas bells as our elves reconnoiter the house. Justin thought the finger lights were a terrible idea after the kids kept flashing the lights into everyone's eyes. Throughout the week the kids started taking the lights outside to make a fun light show after dark. I seriously wonder what all our neighbors think of us and our crazy house.

Monday we started a new Christmas tradition my friend Alison introduced us to. It is called 25 Days of Christ. It is an ornament kit with 25 ornaments and 25 mini devotionals about the life of Christ. We are doing the devotionals as our scripture study this month since we are reading from the New Testament most evenings now. The kids love that a Bible video also accompanies each ornament.

Evelyn goes around pining for "Grandmom" whenever we play in the basement. She really took to Grandma this time! Little stinker also strips out of her PJs moments after she gets them on. She hates the idea of bedtime and so takes of the horrid PJ clothing as soon as possible. I have to safety pin the zipper closed. She cracks us up! Her favorite activity outside is twisting herself in the swing and spinning like a top. She LOVES to be outside, even in the cold. I don't think we've had a child this young who appreciated the outside while the cold wind howls. She sneaks out as often as possible, barefoot.

Everett is going around telling everyone that "I am four today!" Most folks assume it is his birthday so treat him like a king. He gets candy, high fives, and such for being 4 today. Then he tells them he was 4 on his birthday and everyday since, so he is four today. He was the center of attention at the orthodontist office Thursday because he was four. Amelia broke the sad news that he turned four over 6 months ago. Amelia is looking so grown up now with her new connected rubber band on her teeth. Her teeth are now slowly moving closer together! Looks like her braces will come off in May! Her face shape is changing with the braces. Makes me sad to watch her grow up so fast.

Phillip left me with a gross burp kiss before school. That kid is trying our patience with his love of burps, farts, and potty words. He reminds me of my horde of brothers rolled up into one. I have a hard time keeping my face straight when he says or does something funny, but grossly inappropriate. The burp kiss about made me sick. Little stinker. Cuddling Phillip is like trying to snuggle with a tornado. He ends up butting my tummy with his head or kicking my face.

Thursday evening our RS hosted a lovely Christmas dinner. The meat had an inciddent so needed more time to cook. We played games and sang songs first. We played several fun "name the Christmas song" games, some renamed others played the first phrases on the piano, and correctly guessing the day of Christmas gift (from 12 Days of Christmas). I totally forgot to make a dessert so found myself racing to make cherry shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate. Talk about stressed out.

I agreed to do several newborn sessions this week because one lady just had twins. I've wanted to try my hand with twins again for ages. She ended up cancelling, plus the afternoon session cancelled. I was secretly relieved. Since the studio was already set up I agreed to another last minute newborn request. The baby was terribly touchy and hated any pose I put her into. Her older 19 month sister was also quite the challenge to get into a photo. With patience and lots of coaxing I got some really good poses! Evelyn was quite intent on helping me keep the baby covered with a blanket.

Saturday afternoon we indulged in a favorite Christmas tradition of having lunch at the store and waiting for Santa to walk through the store. He rings a long strap of bells as he walks through the store. Evelyn will say "Ho!" when asked what Santa says! She later asked where the Ho was, lots of giggles over that one. A guy sang live Christmas songs during the time Santa was taking visitors. He sounds exactly like Harry Connick Jr! All the kids were super excited to sit on Santa's lap. We got the trophy photo of the baby terrified and crying on Santa's lap. She was crying "No HOOOOOO!" Poor kid. We rushed home after visiting with Santa, cooling down boiling hot cocoa, licking candy canes, and writing letters to Santa. Everett said he makes his mom's heart super happy so needed a Power Ranger toy. He does make me heart happy. I had another 8 mini sessions out in the freezing cold. Thankfully the sun came out and the wind died down. My 3 coats/jackets kept me from shivering. I am DONE! No more regular sessions except for two newborns on my calendar. My camera is going back to Canon in a week for some much needed repairs and cleaning. The shutter needs replacing. We went back to Cabela's after dinner to take advantage of the employee sale. We walked out with a new shirt for Justin and a pig toy Evelyn covered with snot and drool.

Getting ready for church this morning was not cool. Phillip is usually a stinker when it comes down to putting on church clothes. We usually end up with some unacceptable clothing item that he throws a tantrum about. This morning he would not get dressed until he ate breakfast. I made breakfast but he played so long that his oatmeal turned cold. He warmed it up in the microwave and exploded the cereal in the mircowave. Then he wanted a new bowl of oatmeal. Then his socks were to thick, etc and etc. Amelia decided to fast breakfast. I fixed her hair half up but ripped the band out when she complained it hurt her head. Oh! Goodness! She resorted to toddler screaming, yelling, and crying as I did a much simpler hair style. I was already late for church so refused to do her hair over. Phew. I felt like a wreck when we arrived at church.