04 October 2016


Evelyn is producing some nice drawings lately. Sunday she drew a picture of me, complete with a nicely drawn circle head, dotted eyes, slash mouth, eyebrows, hair, ears, and legs. She completed the drawing all by herself! Amelia drew a nice scene of Jesus walking on the water. I loved the stylized sun! My kids are amazing. Everett sat with the iPad lady (aka Sister Franken). He was quite loving with her, patting her cheek and rubbing her arm. That kid is a ladies man. I enjoy teaching Sunday School for the 14-17 year olds. I love feeling the spirit help prepare these lessons, it is a great testimony that God is quite aware of the youth. We wrapped up a month long topic on following the commandments. My favorite reiteration was to follow all the commandments not just the big ones the entire world uses as a moral compass (lying, adultery, stealing, and murder). The other commandments are just as important and following them will help keep us from committing the larger sins.

Sunday night Justin was gone to a meeting in Cheyenne. I made cookies to amuse the kids. The only kid amused was Evelyn. She dug right in and made her own recipe with rainbow goldfish, two containers of sprinkles, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and water. She was so very excited to use a whisk and make something "delicious." She, of course, insisted on baking in the nude, I convinced her to don a dress for 30 seconds so I could snap a photo or two. The kids devoured most of the root beer cookies I made. They are strangely delicious!

This week during our outside time I put out the riding horse for Evelyn to play on. She took to caring for the horse like it was real. She pulled up grass for it to eat, fed it fresh tomatoes, and brought over tiny cups of water. Then she would mount up and ride like a she-devil. I am glad the toy is quite sturdy. The weather was cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoon. I pulled out some long sleeved outfits for Josie. She looked so cute in some of the outfits this week. My heart melted when Evelyn shared her Popsicle with Josie all on her own. I love how both their tongues curled out in anticipation of the lick. Once Josie got a full taste she was in love. Evelyn kindly gave her the treat and went to get herself a new one! Moments like that are like gold to a mother in the trenches!

We spent several mornings and afternoons at the park this week. Thursday the kids all finished homework before 3:45! We packed up the truck with bikes and spent a lovely hour at the flower gardens. The butterflies and bees were quite busy collecting nectar from all the autumn flowers. Evelyn leaked out of her pull up for the second time at the park that week. Gross. She got to ride home naked in a seat belt, not a comfortable situation. Friday she woke up determined to feed the ducks. After donning a dress, long deer socks, shoes, and a jacket that girl was ready to go. We went to the Dr office first because I was not feeling my best. I woke up with a burning cough. We waited for 90 minutes, found out I contracted walking pneumonia. got drugs, then went to McD for a soft drink (and a happy meal). Finally, the moment came to feed the ducks. She ate half her food then fed the ducks her burger and half the stale bread. The white duck was quite friendly. He let Evelyn pet it with the intention of stealing her burger out of her hand. She was just as wily as the duck, he almost succeeded. She tried to put the duck in time out. Her expressions were priceless.

She tried to empty her potty this week. She poured an entire bowl of urine on the floor then tried to clean it up. She stuffed the rug in the toilet and some decorations I had on the toilet back. She flushed the cardboard toilet paper roll as a finale. My favorite touch was the bottle of hand sanitizer she used to freshen up the toilet. I fished out the linens and somehow got them to the washer without too much contamination. I used a pair of tongs to extract the cardboard roll from the bowl. Shades of Phillip right there.

Everett came home from school determined to sign up for a library card. His sole homework assignment was to get a library card. We dropped of Mia to piano then raced to the library. He walked right up the counter and rested his chin on the counter, staring up at the librarians. When it was his turn he turned on the moves, he politely asked for a library card so he could get his homework completed and check out books so he could get smarter. He used his card 3 times over the next 10 minutes! He checked out some cassette tapes with books, two baby books for Evelyn, and 6 dino books for Phillip. Gosh that boy is fun. Mia went to her first ballet lesson of the season. We are thrilled she can participate for as long as she can.

The last few weeks our little Amelia started to blossom...at 9.5 years old. I am freaking out a bit (inside). I was sure we had a couple more years before puberty, as Dr Shaw said, 10 is the new 12. I ordered some camisoles and more playground shorts to cover her new curves. All of a sudden she went from a size 7 to a 10/12. It's been years since I had to upgrade her entire wardrobe. Her feet will catch up next, she is wearing a size 12 toddler shoe. She is wearing 10/12 to cover curves not to compensate for height, still a short tiny thing. I still get a chuckle when I see class photos with her as the shortest kid in the class. To embrace the burgeoning tempers God inspired me to give her the opposite of what her actions seem to ask for. The other day I asked what her plan of attack was to get homework completed before, she snarled at me. I hugged her and tamed the wild beast, inside I felt like snarling back. Whoa Bessie....

I guess a case of the sneezes, wheezes, and hacking coughs went through the family last week. Evelyn took three afternoon naps last week. So did I. By Friday I was feeling so terrible I visited the clinic. Thank goodness for antibiotics to restore a body to balance. Everett also caught a cold. He stayed home Wednesday morning for a couple hours to rest. He started fighting with Evelyn and running around the yard around 10:30, so we walked over to school. I gave the nurse a baggie or cough drops he could take when needed. The nurse sent me home with the baggie since said baggie was not the original packaging. She needed to know dosage...for cough drops? Come on, get real. I checked the original package and it contained no dosage information. Everett felt pretty special to visit the nurse when he coughed for a drop. I had a nice lunch date with my friend Sheena. Justin joined us for lunch as well. She is about to welcome her third baby! Can't wait to meet the sweet new baby.

Friday evening I let Amelia and Evelyn go with me to check out the Oktoberfest Craft Fair. Seems like it is the same every year, yet I still go. Amelia was peeved we came home with only a free sample of goat milk soap. The kids dressed early on Saturday for the parade. I made monkey bread that had a hard time baking through. It ended up well done on the top and raw near the middle. Stink. Evelyn was quite excited to finally see the marching band wearing costumes. She heard the word costume, then insisted on wearing her fleece cupcake costume. Cute...but way too hot for the 80 degree weather. She happily roasted in her costume for most of the parade. I made her strip off the costume towards the end before she passed out.  At first she was not sure what to do as the large, loud parade passed by. She watched the older kids run to pick up candy and stuff it in their sacks. Amelia finally helped her closer to the action. She snatched a lonely piece of candy, her face broke out into a lovely ray of sunshine! After that there was no stopping her candy collection. Well, she did take breaks to visit with her binky and nibble her cheese or lick a new piece of candy. Everett adopted an older lady sitting next to us. He quickly roped her into helping him open wrappers, babysit his stash, and give him sage advice. He patted her arm quite a bit. I think (I hope) she was thrilled with the attention. She gave no outward signs she was uncomfortable. Phillip packed a backpack with a dino book and a recorder. He busted out the recorder mid-parade and tooted it until my brain was about to burst. I really wanted to see him fetch the book and read it. Alas, the allure of candy won. Amelia wandered over to visit with Lily and Grace Bowcutt. Evelyn was thrilled that Clara also insisted on wearing her new Halloween costume. The two girls hugged and talked excitedly about each other's costumes. Those 3 year olds are a strange, strange beast. We were parched by the time the last floats dragged by. We made it home to watch the last 40 minutes of General Conference. Then the race was on to get Amelia dolled up for the Dance Steps recital at the Beer Tent. Evelyn was thrilled to watch Amelia transform into a ballet. We snagged burgers for the kids and ethnic food for the adults. This year the tent really offered ethnic food in the form of Gyros. I was impressed. Pretty darn tasty. Evelyn gushed over each dance with huge eyes. The older kids sat near the stage to watch the kids perform. We left right after she performed to get some cotton candy. Sugar rush in it's purest form. We raced home just in time to catch the afternoon session of conference. I stayed awake by assembling a Lego set Amelia horded for a couple months. I so love how ingenious Legos are. I love all the cute little touches of the girl sets. The Ariel castle was no exception. Justin stayed awake Sunday session by finishing his Christmas gift of a Starwars Lego. Finally, only took 9.5 months. He would not let the boys touch his new toy!

I took a nap that lasted way too long. I guess my body rebelled Sunday morning, I missed most of the session, except the times my brain drifted to the surface to hear some sage words. Instead I had a gnarly dream that I left my kids in the van to shop at the PX. When I was finished the van was gone. I wandered the base for hours searching for the MPs office. I finally found it but they did not impound my car or my children. Turned out a child slavery ring had poisoned me with a drug that made me want to shop and leave my kids. They took the kids. Once I realized what happened I went all Jack Bauer over the Slavery Ring. I earned a commendation from President Bush for my ninja skills. Yep, I'm that awesome.

We are so grateful for conference. It seems like the brethren are preparing us for some really difficult times ahead. We are to be faithful, positive, and hopeful all while our great country fails. After all the turmoil over the coming Presidential election I can see things heading south fast. I feel quite torn since my head is not in the game. Day to day my general mental health is such that I am a barely functioning human being. I hope that the preparations we've made will be enough to support us when the storm finally hits. Until then we will continue to batten the hatches and make our ship Bristol fashion. My heart and mind were jolted during Elder Nattress talk. I guess my current situation as battle commander in the kid trenches jived with his advice. Teach your kids to pray, read scriptures, and serve: as we teach our kids are empowered with the Love of our Savior and His protection. This is what I needed to hear.

**I finally received new booster seats for the van. I invested in the Mifold boosters. The boosters bring the seatbelt down to the child's height instead of the child to the proper height. It is a very low profile and very compact. The boosters can fit 3 in a row. In theory the seats are amazing. Realizing proper seat placement and daily usage is not as amazing. The kids have a hard time seating and belting themselves. Gah, frustrating.