06 January 2016

Happy New Years

We enjoyed a lovely winter vacation at home this year. Phillip was convinced that school was starting on the 28th. I am glad he wanted to go back, his biggest complaint is getting up early to get ready. He likes to get up around 7:20 and veg in his PJs until noon. Monday I had my last newborn session of the year. I had an afternoon session scheduled as well but the client cancelled 20 minutes after the session was supposed to start. Chapped my hide that she cancelled after all it takes to set up and heat the basement. The kids were good sports and did not complain much. We went sledding once Evelyn woke up from her nap. I finally checked the consignment store for snow boots, the smallest size in stock was a pair of size eights. For the amount of time Evelyn lasts outside in the snow the large boot size worked just fine. The kids spent a good 2 hours sledding. Evelyn and I hung out in the warm van most of the time watching Frozen (me reading a book). Phillip biffed it several times on hunks of ice, he would race back after his face stopped burning.

Tuesday morning I dropped the kids off at Sister McMannis' home for a fun day of playing. I was so grateful for 7 hours of no kids. I went to my 33 week visit alone. Dr Shaw was in shock, me too. Dr Shaw about put me on bed rest because I've had so many contractions and pre-labor signs. She told me to take it easy. I went home and took a long, quiet nap. Justin and I enjoyed a quiet lunch at Della's for our anniversary the next day. I took another nap that afternoon and worked on editing some photos. Amy reported that the kids had pancakes for breakfast, played at the water table, made cookies, watched a TV show, went to McD for lunch, and spent the afternoon sliding down the stairs on cardboard boxes at Callie's home. What a blessing for me. Thank you.

Wednesday Justin and I celebrated 11 year of marriage. The kids made our bed and piled their favorite stuffed animals on it. The highlight was a the card the kids made for us. So cute. We all went to Walmart for food shopping. The party cart lives on. The trip stole all my energy so ended up taking a long nap that afternoon. The kids played Legos and Imaginex Power Rangers. Amelia really wanted a sleep mask, to help her stay asleep. She and I made 3 sleep masks before bedtime. The kids played with those masks incessantly for 3 days. They spent the next morning playing Marco Polo with the masks.

Justin took Thursday and Friday off from work. We took the kids swimming Thursday afternoon in Sterling. Evelyn wore her swimsuits for days wanting to go swimming. I think she likes swimming, just a guess. The kids had a blast swimming until 3 pm when the center closed for the New Year. Amelia can swim across the pool with little to no help. She is becoming more and more confident. It was nice to have Justin swimming with us this time, made it easier to relax. We spent the New Year going to bed early after so much fun swimming.

New Years Day Justin moved his computer desk from his man cave to the main basement area. We are in the middle of switching out computer desks, and upgrading the kid's tower to one I can use with Photoshop. My poor computer is pretty old so is not working very fast. The Sister missionaries came over for dinner. They gave a lovely message about looking forward with faith and positive outlook.

Saturday we all went to the last baptism of the year, Amelia's friends, Avery and Jack were both baptized! Right after Amelia went sledding with Ella. Those girls lasted 3 hours out on the slope riding down the hill. Justin took the boys a little while later for sledding. Amelia came home in tears because she was so hungry!

Amelia bore a sweet testimony on Sunday. She talked about the message the Sister missionaries gave a couple days before. Moments like that are the best ever. She is growing up way too fast. We love to watch her testimony grow as she gets older.

Monday was the last day of school vacation. The kids and I went swimming one more time, this time with the Hill family. Jackson entertained the boys most of the time. He asked me if the boys were always "like that" and if I felt tired after the day was over. Yes! I am tired. Those boys are my gym membership. We tried to set some family goals for FHE but all the kids were so tired all they did was complain and cry. We sent them to bed early.

Merry Christmas to ALL!

Lazy Christmas vacations are the best ever! This Christmas was especially lazy since a blizzard dumped snow then drifted up to 6 feet. We stayed in our warm, Christmas cluttered house in PJs for two days without leaving. That was magical.

Monday the kids were troopers while I went Visiting Teaching to the Betony's and Petry families in Peetz. We left our home at 9:30 am and returned home at dinner. Don't worry, we did not VT the entire time. The kids filled the Betony house with lots of noise and love. I felt discouraged for the family when they told me their neighbors kept their misdelivered package with a tablet for their granddaughter. The neighbor begrudgingly returned it once they realized the tablet was useless without the activation codes emailed to Nora. Steams me when I hear how rude folks are towards this humble family. After visiting we kept driving to Sterling. The kids wanted to spend the money they got from Grandpa and Grandma Call, I wanted to buy clams for Christmas Eve chowder. We scored on both accounts! Amelia and Phillip chose Minecraft Legos, Everett a Rubix cube, and Evelyn chose a monkey. After shopping we spent a good two hours swimming with the pool to ourselves. I love that my kids are so comfortable around water. Evelyn insisted on ditching her floatie and walking around the shallow edge with just her eyes, nose, and mouth out of the water. For FHE we decorated gingerbread houses, pre-fab style. Amelia taught a lesson for us before we started on loving our family. My favorite example she gave is "You can show love for your sister...BOYS...by paying attention to her lesson!" If only, sweet girl.

Tuesday we stayed home most of the day while I finished editing the sessions from the previous week. We made a special trip out to the library to break up the doldrums. Amelia painted Evelyn's toenails and fingernails. It was so sweet. While the girls were sweetly serving each other the boys were chest bumping in the kitchen because they scored a sleeve of crackers per boy. Amelia was able to have Lily over to play all afternoon. The girls stayed in the basement bedroom playing Legos and house. Justin and I enjoyed a date night to have dinner at Mi Ranchito then off to see the new Star Wars movie. The movie was pretty awesome. Wednesday Amelia got to play with Katelyn at our home and Phillip went to play at Remington's home. He was so excited for a playdate! He packed up two backpacks with toys, stuffed animals, and a sippy cup that leaked water on the floor. I cleaned up the bathroom and kitchen with Everett's help. Justin took Phillip and Amelia to see the new Star Wars movie that evening. I stayed up until well after midnight both evenings wrapping gifts. I started bread dough for bread bowls, I let it raise then stuck it in the fridge to chill. I also made sugar cookie dough and let it chill in the fridge. Everett was a big help measuring out flour and other ingredients. He felt left out as the others went to the movie. We had a fun home date working on bread and cookies.

Christmas Eve day was pretty exciting. Justin stayed home, he took the kids out for a couple hours so I could finish wrapping gifts. I slapped tape on the last gift moments before the crowd got back home. Evelyn loves to ride in Justin's truck. In the afternoon the kids shaped and cut cookies for Santa while I shaped bread bowls. The dang dough rounds did not rise into bowls, rather flat disks. I slapped the dough back in the kitchen aid and stirred more flour into the dough. We ended up eating clam chowder well after 6:30 pm, unheard of in these parts. Amelia set the table nicely, made juice, and decorated with candles. We ate delicious clam chowder by candle light as we talked about our favorite memories of the year and the Christmas season. Everett was quite impressed to eat food by candle light, he had a hard time eating because he was so excited. Amelia was in charge of gathering outfits for our nativity play. Right after dinner the kids iced their cookies for Santa. Since Rudolph hates carrots Amelia had the great idea to make carrot shaped cookie for the reindeer. We ended up reading Luke 2 several times so each kid could try out different characters. First scene Amelia was Mary, Justin was Joseph, Vader the donkey, Evelyn an angel, Phillip the shepherd, unicorn was a sheep, and Everett was the star, I was a wiseman. The kids were so cute! Evelyn was quite pleased to wear her Elsa dress for the evening. Innej dropped off a bag of PJs and a treat for the kids around 7 pm. She rang the doorbell then jingled her bells around the house. It was chaos! Soon the kids were all dressed up in warm PJs drooling chocolate down the fronts. Eventually, the kids fell asleep. Phillip was wound up tighter than a spring.

Little feet started pattering around 7:20 am. I am always surprised at how late our kids sleep in. I remember waking up at 3-4 am every Christmas. The kids tore into their stockings. Everett was so excited he could barely speak clearly. He pulled out a bottle of Minion Vampire Body Wash, and asked what it was. We replied Body Wash...he echoed Wody Bash, I love Wody Bash. Throughout the day he would say wody bash much to our amusement. Once Evelyn was awake Justin lined up the kids while I manned the camera. Christmas chaos ensued. Soon the nice clean house was littered with tape, paper, box innards, and shouts. Evelyn's favorite gift was a fuzzy pig she slobbered on in Cabela's...we felt obligated to buy it and keep the slobber to ourselves. She loves that pig. Amelia got her Kindle Fire, Phillip a Bat Bot, Everett a huge Power Ranger mega zword. Justin got me a bosch mixer and a new jacket! Hallelujah. Justin scored a Millennial Falcon hover craft and Star Wars Legos (and a motorcycle). About 5 minutes into the present unwrapping, Evelyn removed her PJs and donned Elsa dress-up shoes. Her diaper was so soggy that her bum crack was hanging out. That girl and her lack of clothes always amuses us. Justin took a short nap under a layer of wrapping paper for a blanket. Justin cooked up some link sausage, eggs, and toasted pastry for breakfast. I was so tired I went to take a 20 minute nap...it turned into a 3 hour nap instead. We all got to FaceTime with Grandpa Lance in Saudi Arabia, Aunt Melissa, and everyone at Mom's home. That is the best part of Christmas. Justin roasted up a lovely prime rib for dinner. I added onion mashed potatoes, peas, and juice to the meal. We enjoyed a lovely day dressed in PJs while 12 inches of snow floated down. Evelyn pulled a Phillip move when she unrolled a roll of wrapping paper and then sprinkled the paper (and carpet) with blue kinetic sand. Took me an age and a half to carefully collect the sand before vacuuming the mess.

Overnight the wind kicked up and drifted all that snow from the previous day. Justin plowed through drifts up to 3 feet high! The kids survived a little while outside but the wind soon drove them back inside. Once again we spent a lovely, lazy day playing with Legos and new toys. I had two photo sessions but both cancelled (thank goodness) per weather. After naps Kelly came over with Zane to hang out for a bit. She helped clean up the living room mess. Bending over to pick up stuff is a real burden now.

Sunday attendance was quite low due to the holiday and weather. The kids and I rushed in a couple minutes late. The kids refused to get out of their PJs and into Sunday clothes. I end up feeling like a Nazi mom, flashing my whip and doling out root knockers. I forgot to change my sunglasses for my normal pair so rushed into the chapel with sunglasses on. Amelia was a dear and braved the cold to get my glasses from the van. One sweet sister pulled me aside, I almost cried because I thought she was going to ask me to do something. I was at my wits end. Instead she asked to take my kids for an entire day the next week so I could rest and have a day to myself. Started crying anyway. Best gift ever. After church I made Lion House orange rolls with the new mixer. Yummy.

**Favorite memories:
*doing the 25 Days of Christmas, we read the last devotional Christmas Day about Christ ascending into heaven.
*watching Alex Boye videos with the kids, esp Royals
*Evelyn insisting on wearing her Elsa dress and shoes for hours on end
*same kid learning how to say "where? no anywhere!" Her speech is taking off.
*Justin crashing the hover ship over and over in complete delight
*the kids playing power ranger dino charge for hours
*assembling MineCraft legos
*watching Amelia excited over the Mormon Channel and Scriptures on her tablet