28 June 2016

Our Happy Place

Jen gave me the brilliant reminder to have the kid's write sentences when they misbehave. By mid-morning each kid was busy writing sentences. Amelia whacked Phillip with a crutch, Phillip screamed in Everett's ear, and Everett kicked Evelyn. The kids had to copy sentences based on age and ability. Everett quite enjoyed his punishment. Now when he earns more sentences he gets excited. Amelia wrote quite a few sentences this week. The whining is at an all terrible high. I have a plan in place to put the kabash on that little trait. Just waiting for FHE on Monday. I had an early morning photo session with a little 12 month old. She was so funny about getting her hands dirty with cake and frosting. Jen watched the kids while I worked on the session. I picked up a couple supplies on my way home to make lollipops. The kids were quite excited to make lollipops at home. The kids each helped measure out an ingredient (sugar, water, corn syrup). We made 4 different flavors and colors after the syrup was at brittle stage. I think we made strawberry, watermelon, pina colada, and raspberry. One flavor tasted really gross, I think it did not get mixed up enough. Phillip enjoyed putting sticks on all the pops. Soon the kids all had a sugar rush in time for the afternoon. We played in the yard to burn off energy. My little batch of seeds are finally coming up! We had a lesson outside on whining for FHE, yep, that was an off-the-cuff lesson. Everett lead the game of mother-may-I followed by a dance party in the yard. Good times right there.

I don't remember much from Tuesday. Probably full of whining, fighting, and crying. Yah know, summer tempers in full swing. I imagine we went swimming, yes, yes we did. Amelia went with Lily and we met up with her after an hour and a half. Amelia's sunburn was rubbed raw by her swimsuit. Poor kid had raw skin on both shoulders. Justin picked up Solarcaine for future use on a whim. Well, we used it on her shoulders. I have never seen a kid howl as loud or long and Amelia did when Justin sprayed her shoulders. I had to hold her still while he sprayed. She yelled about it stinging. After a couple minutes she realized the pain was gone and stopped crying.

Wednesday we wandered up to Subway for lunch just to get out of the house. Amelia can cram down a full sandwich! The kids love playing on the train visitor's center up on the hill. They had a fun game going on playing train conductor. We went to Walmart after to find items for our family photos and a swim shirt for Mia. We went swimming for a couple hours after that. Each kid picked out a bribe toy they could open AFTER family photos. My ploy worked for the older kids. Evelyn and Everett chose cheap gumball machines. Evelyn carried around her bribe package moaning until it was opened. We endured family photo torture, had to document the newest arrival to our family. My friend Michelle Rognon took the photos. They left town a couple days later for their new adventure in Idaho. We managed a few family groupings, not sure what we will end up with. Thank goodness for photoshop! All the kids got mosquito bites from our jaunt to the field for photos. The kids are all allergic to mosquitoes. Phillip woke up with three huge swollen mounds on his head. Everett had four large angry welts on his back. Even Evelyn had a swollen bite on her elbow and leg.

We tried to make bouncy balls with glue, food coloring, glitter, and water mixed together. Those ingredients are put into a solution of corn starch and borax. Pretty much the same directions as slime but different amounts of the ingredients. I would say the experiment flopped. The mixture did congeal but when rolled into a ball it left cracks, folds, and craters that caused the ball to splatter when bounced. Phillip's turned out the best of all. Even with the flop the kids enjoyed being outside and working with measuring cups, spoons, and forbidden items (food coloring). Evelyn especially was excited to measure and stir.

Nebraska is getting some powerful storms due to the heat, humidity, and wind. I saw some colossal cumulonimbus clouds last week. It rained pretty hard Thursday evening. It was my turn to take photos of the Rognon family but the weather forecast postponed it. Good thing too, we had 6 inches of rain pour down in 10 minutes. The sun was shining when the rain started, the rain was quite pretty as it sparkled down from the sky. A double rainbow also graced the sky for 10 minutes or so.

I met the Rognon's at the same field at 6:45 am for their family photos. Their kids were well-behaved after a good night's rest. Maybe early morning photo sessions are the best idea ever! Friday's dinner was a total flop. I pan-cooked up a pork steak with teriyaki sauce and veggies. The veggies tasted like freezer and the pork meat tasted rancid. I about cried! Justin made dinner instead... meaning we went out to eat at Oya Grill. The nurse that helped deliver Phillip, Everett, Evelyn, and Josie was sitting behind us! I enjoyed introducing the kids to the nurse that held them each for the first time. That is a perk I quite enjoy about small town living, meeting folks who mean something to you and share life in a small town. I got to chat with my dad. He told me about a side project he's working on. When I told Justin about the project we both felt the spirit quite strongly that someday we might be involved with the project. I am keeping it vague on purpose. I am grateful to the Lord for those moments when His spirit is felt so clearly, leading us in the direction he would have us go. I have no idea what the future holds but I felt so clearly that whatever comes next the Lord will be involved. It was a much needed reminder.

Saturday morning we spent cleaning up the clutter in our house. I lined up the kids like military recruits and gave them standing orders while at attention. Amelia was assigned to clean the bathroom. Everett and Phillip were assigned to clean the living room. Naked Evelyn was tasked to use her little potty when she had to go bathroom. The troops did well in their tasks. The boys ended up earning a second chore due to excessive whining. After cleaning time the troops stood once again at attention to receive commendations. Everett earned tackle tickles, Phillip earned exploding hugs, and Amelia earned creeping tickles. Good times! We spent the rest of the day down at Bridgeport Lake. Like last year the water is high so the beach is perfect for wading. Justin set up our new Sportbrella to provide shade. Phillip and Amelia collected several handfuls of shells. I caught the kids playing shark and mermaid on occasion. Everett created a sand punch by piling sand on his fists and punching the so fast the sand flew in the air. He has amazing moves. Amelia showed off her mermaid swim moves. Josie even spent a chunk of time floating on the water in her little infant floatie. I totally lost mom points when I let Evelyn take off her floatie after I told her no. I should have stuck to the guns until the next time she asked instead of changing my mind. I was thinking, "well, I'd rather know her floatie is off than her taking it off and drowning when I am not watching." Ah well, I will do better next time. She was sticking her face in the water and swimming underwater for a few seconds at a time by the time we left. The kids were freaked out when a snake glided through the water near them. I totally love the peace and laid-back feeling at the lake. So nice to just let go sometimes. We finished off the evening with twist cones at the ice shack. Yum.

Amelia threw a royal tantrum Sunday evening. I can't remember why she got so upset. I probably asked her to stop playing with her toy and help out. She flew off the handle and turned into a sea witch. To rejoin the family she had to spend time in her room writing 40 sentences (I will not whine). Unfortunately, I had to leave Justin with the sea witch mid-tantrum to go visit a couple ladies. I whisked Josie away with me to visit Jenny Elliott and Judy Vannatter. Justin reported that Amelia went ballistic. She ripped up her sentences notebook, ripped the cover to shreds. She finally returned to humanity and wrote her sentences. She was human again by the time I got back. Little stinker. She will get to use her ripped up notebook until that thing is full.

I am formulating a plan of attack to wipe out the whine-o factor in our house. My new motto is: I will not negotiate with whine-os. Har-har-har. I crack myself up.

20 June 2016

Theme of the Week

This week I restarted the theme of the day for the reminder of our summer. It does help us stay busy and cooperating (insert laughter). We will follow the daily themes of: Make-It Monday, Try-It Tuesday, Wander Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and Fabulous Friday. We did our Monday craft on Sunday because Mia and I went to Denver for her post-op appointment. We spent a happy hour coloring the trendy intricate color pages now available. We went on a nice after-dinner walk on Sunday. I miss doing that every week but it's been so hot we are miserable. Everett almost perished while biking his way home, those little legs get tired so quickly.

Monday I farmed out the middle kids so Amelia, Josie, and I could make a faster trip to Denver. We returned all of the items rented for her recovery period (shower chair, commode, and wheelchair). I drove Evelyn out to spend the day with Allison and Ella. Phillip spent the day with Kaylee. Everett got to spend time with the Rognon family! I hear Everett got to drive to Sterling for a fun hour or so at the park. Amelia and I enjoyed some girl time. We arrived at the hospital 15 minutes early so I would have time to figure out how to cart all the stuff inside in one trip. We managed! Amelia held Josie in the wheelchair while I piled on stuff we would need and the items to return. Once inside we waited over an hour for Dr G to see Amelia. She inspected her incision, moved her leg around a bit, and declared it was healing fine. She is to come back in two weeks for an X-Ray and another inspection. Dr G did clear Amelia for swimming and bathing as long as she continues to not put weight on her left leg. Amelia was delighted we the visit was so long because that meant we got to dine at Noodles and Co for dinner. I cheated and got her dinner there then we walked over to Chipotle where I got my dinner. The drive home was a bit nerve-wracking. The van front tires were on the verge of being bald. It heavily rained the entire drive home. The tire traction lights came on over 25 times on the way home. I can still feel the van water skiing along. Thanks to my Dad's tactical car driving lessons we made it home safely. We stopped in Sterling for yet another nursing break. Amelia and I saw the coolest red-tinted rainbow reflected in the sky.

Tuesday we made homemade slime with glue, water, and borax. The borax causes the molecules of the glue to stretch and adhere to each other. The kids played with the slime for several hours. I am still finding dried spots of glitter slime on the carpet. Everett cut his portion into teeny tiny pieces with school scissors. The kids played intergalactic space travelers with their slime. I tackled the laundry. It multiplies like naughty rabbits. I gave it the beat down.

Wednesday we wandered to Scottsbluff. Amelia's retainer somehow got bent and was choking her at night. We drove up there to have the retainer refit to her teeth. Sounds complicated but it only took like 3 minutes. I'd do it myself but each retainer costs $300 plus, not touching that gadget. After our quick ortho stop we grabbed sandwiches then visited the zoo for 4 hours. Our zoo is small, yet the perfect size. The kids get to see animals, play at the little play areas (dino dig, water/sand park, play equipment, and photo boards), and get wet at the splash pad. Three other families from our ward also visited at the same time! We ate our lunch before the others arrived. I rented a wagon for Amelia. In many ways it was a bit much pulling a wagon and steering a double stroller. We maintained a slow and steady pace. It was HOT outside. Jack Rognon pulled Amelia around to see the animals. By the time we saw the Tiger and new baby Zebra Everett about fainted anticipating the splash pad. He made it over to the water just in time. The kids cooled off in the freezing water. It was so cold Evelyn would not get more than her toes wet. I enjoyed visiting with Michelle. I am going to miss her big time once they move in a month or so. Darn it all! We will still be here when Jesus comes again. We drove home around 4 pm. Poor Josie screamed for 20 minutes before we arrived to Dalton. I found the park where I nursed her and let the kiddos play. I had to use the facilities something fierce so left the older kids at the park and went to hunt down a bathroom. I made it just in time! Thank the stars the Beauty Salon was still open. My kids were still at the park when I got back. They all had to use the bathroom as well...this time we snuck into Allison's home to use her bathrooms (with permission).

Thursday Jen came over to visit in the morning. Everett was busy spelling his name out. He decided his name was too long and hard to spell. We both heard him mutter: "I am going to replace my name with a symbol....an exclamation mark!" Ok Mr (!) aka the artist formerly known and Prince. I am still laughing over his witty comments. we made Father's Day gifts for Justin. We made little figures made out of rocks, painted the rocks, and glued them to a paper that read "My Dad Rocks!" Amelia made a policeman Dad, Mr Awesome. I made a church daddy for Evelyn. Everett's rock dad had one short leg and one tall leg, he is wearing a red, stretchy exercise jumpsuit like the red Power Ranger. Phillip made a hilarious luche libre wrestler dad complete with tattoos, red undies, lightening strikes, and claw marks. Josie started blowing raspberries and foaming at the mouth. It is cute and slobbery. Evelyn ran around with her bare bum hanging out. Hey! At least she is taking herself to the bathroom! She has not had an accident in days. She just refuses to wear pants, shorts, diapers, or undies. She tolerates dresses (because she can't get them off) and swimsuits. I think she tried to draw psychedelic pants on her legs while we crafted. She looked like a homeless child with the markered legs, Popsicle stained legs, wild hair, and dirt caked smile. Amelia threw a 2 hour screaming/crying fit right after lunch. I cannot remember why she started crying...probably because Phillip looked at her, wait maybe I told her no swimming because she started a fight with the boys. That was emotionally draining to listen to her drama. We all hid in the basement while she ranted upstairs to her lonesome self.

Ella spent the entire day with us Friday while Matt worked and Allison attended Youth Conference. The kids were terribly excited to have a Lemonade Stand. The got out the cart, decorated the cart, made 3 pitchers of juice, and parked themselves outside for 4 hours. Amelia named the stand "Vader's-ade". The kids even made the local newspaper! By 1 pm the kids earned $52.50 selling lukewarm kool-aide. After deducting the cost of supplies each kid took home $10, except for Phillip who bailed after 90 minutes. I had Abby take the older kids swimming while Evelyn and Josie napped. The kids spent half or more of the money at the pool snack bar. Everett was delighted to buy one pack of each candy in stock. He ate it all too before I arrived. I showed up later with the girls and stayed until close. Poor Mia got quite the sunburn on her shoulders. Somehow the sunscreen fell out of the swim bag so Abby could not slather up the white kids. Amelia cried and moaned for three days about her sunburn. She finally realized that wearing her same swimsuit was the most comfortable. We cooled off her burning skin with Burn-Free and essential oils. We fed the Sister missionaries homemade enchiladas, Mexican rice, beans, and salad. They are pretty good sports with our crazy kiddos. They seem to go nuts when folks come to visit. I am glad they don't fight and moan as much when company comes over.

Saturday our entire household work up cranky. I wanted to crawl back into a dark hole after waking up to the terrible cries of constant murmuring. The kids made special crafts out at Jen's shop for Father's Day. Amelia was pissed off the entire time because she did not get to make all 4 crafts. The boys were poking around all of Jen's stuff, not all of it entirely safe. Her shop is a goldmine of old stuff ready to be transformed into something new. Amelia made a custom hammer for Justin, the boys hand monsters, and Evelyn a flag with (Amelia's) handprint. Somehow we made it through the day. I was relieved when the kids were bathed and in bed. Phew. I made divine mint brownies for dessert with ice cream. We enjoyed the treat!

Father's Day was pretty fun. The kids all made him something at church. Justin got to watch the kids sing since the Bishopric sat with the congregation during the music. Evelyn tried to sing with the kids but instead was treated with a few stolen moments on Justin's lap. She was not happy when she had to sit with me again. Little stinker sat in time-out for scratching Everett then again for pulling Phillip's hair. She is a wild cat! A persistent wild cat. You tell her no and she redoubles her effort even triples her efforts. It drives the other kids crazy. I am teaching her that hands are for doing nice things like tickles, hand shakes, and petting...she ignores me. We caught glimpses of Justin throughout the meeting. He grilled up T-Bone steaks and veggies for dinner, my gift to him for his special day (the steaks, not the veggies). I read the kid's Father's Day quizzes out loud during dinner. We sure are blessed to have such a great Dad! He is the best.