02 November 2016

The Week of Halloween....before Halloween

It feels like Halloween should be over...We have to get through tomorrow's sugar highs and the subsequent 3 days of recovery. I truly feel sorry for the teachers in school! I am glad my kids are all having their "fall party." No costumes, phew. We enjoyed a fun week with a few Halloween traditions spaced out to prolong the agony/fun.

Monday morning I whipped up a large batch of burke for breakfast. My recipe is so yum: greek honey yogurt, fresh blueberries, fresh raspberries, and some brown sugar with enough quick oats to make a stiff mixture. In the blueberry crate I found the largest berry I've ever seen! It was as large as a half-dollar and as tall as a nickel. It tasted delicious! Amelia named the berry blumongous. We learned about the temple for FHE. Evelyn chose our topic which centered on her favorite Primary song, I Love to see the Temple. We read some questions and answers from a Friend article a few years ago. The tradition of "Glory" continues for most of our FHE nights. Phillip chose to play a game of find the squishy emoji ball.

The weather is quite warm still. We wore shorts a couple times this week, especially Thursday when it was in the 80's. I even filled up the water table for Evelyn to play in, of course she ended up in the water instead of just playing with it. The leaves are dumping off the tree this week. By Friday almost the entire yard was covered with a layer of pretty yellow leaves. Each morning I rake up a pile for Evelyn to play in. We are loving our yard time especially this late in the season, feels like borrowed time! Tuesday she found a fun pile of leaves the wind made on the driveway. This pile of leaves was especially crunchy and dry. I laughed as she tried to jump and skip on the leaves. She looked adorable.  For dinner we walked over to the High School for the annual Jitney Supper, a Booster Club fundraiser. I was dismayed that the event was poorly attended this year. We enjoyed sitting next to our mail lady, her granddaughter was born a few hours after Josie! Brilyn is nearly walking, has 4 teeth, and is about 2 inches taller than Josie. I'll take our runt! After eating either spaghetti or chicken noodles over mashed potatoes the kids joined the other mob of kids to rampage the food court. Justin came to help me wrestle and keep track our of motley crew.

The ward Trunk or Treat was Wednesday night. I made a batch of Buffalo Chicken Chili, a delicious white chili seasoned with ranch and spicy buffalo sauce. Wednesday was a crazy, crazy day. First it was an early release day with the kids out of school at 1:30, then parent teacher conferences, and the trunk or treat. I forgot to buy candy so made a quick trip to Walmart after lunch, I was 5 minutes late to get Everett. The school called me after 4 minutes to let me know I was late. I had the kids put on parts of the costumes while we waited until time to start conferences.   We raced home to get the costumes on, soup prepped for travel, and some quick photos of the kids in costume. Evelyn even made her kissy lips for me. The party was so fun. Amelia ran into her nemesis Kylo Ren and soon started a galactic battle. Amelia was Rey from Star Wars, Phillip was the Silver Power Ranger, Everett Trigger Happy, Evelyn was Cinderella, and Josie a cute fox. I nabbed some chili and a biscuit. Yep, my chili was delicious. I got back to the party just in time for the trunk or treating. I missed seeing the kids try out the different activities like fishing, bowling, face painting, bean bag toss, etc. I helped Evelyn make the round. She was hesitant at first but caught on that if she held out her bucket she would get candy. We drove home with the sounds of candy wrappers opening, whistles blowing, yawns, and minor quarreling.

Everett had his conference first. He is doing very well, scored above average on all skills and subjects. He scored in the 94th percentile for math and 93rd for reading! We got a laugh over his counting skills. He counted to 73 in one minute, the expectation is 30 for a beginning kindergartner. Ms Buoy said he needs to improve his paper cutting accuracy as his only progressing skill. I was surprised considering the amount of paper that kid cut when he was 3 and 4 years old. He is cruising with reading and writing. His teacher said he still cries but not as much as the first couple weeks. That is assuring!

We drove to Amelia's school next for her conference. She is also doing very well, earning all A grades. Once again I was surprised with her Language grade of 96 because of all the drama the last month over homework. Silly Goose! She earned a 95 in Math, 95 in Reading, 96 in Science, and 98 in Social Studies. She earned outstandings in computers, music, and PE...a S+ in keyboarding. Her most recent reading test showed her reading at 236 wpm with 100% accuracy! Mrs Roach raved over how friendly Amelia is and how smart and responsible she is. We agree. Mrs Roach even said Amelia can do her math homework Tues/Thurs since our Monday afternoons are packed with dance and piano. We also met briefly with Mrs Janssen, her reading teacher. She said that Amelia is doing fine, just needed to get into her groove with the packets and homework responsibilities. She was the first kid finished with all the packets, just one day later. While Justin and I were chatting with the teachers Phillip and Everett were entertaining the other teachers. Everett had one teacher in a hug while Phillip told jokes. Those two. Evelyn was sliding on the floor in her princess shoes.

I headed out with Josie to attend Phillip's conference during the ward party. I asked for Mrs Watchorn, his reading teacher, to attend as well. He is doing quite well! Mrs Watchorn said soon after the testing was completed things started connecting for Phillip. His scores were quite low to average but his classwork belies much higher scores. He scored in the 52nd percentile in math and 23rd for reading. When read with his Dibels scores his reading percentile makes more sense. He scored 77th percentile for Phoneme Segmentation Fluency but in the 5th percentile for nonsense word fluency. That makes total sense to me! He scores well when he can read/understand real words. I can just see him reading a nonsense word and stopping trying to make sense of it, not caring about time, but making sure he was reading the crazy stuff correctly. Combined he landed in the 24th percentile. That means he will continue to stay in the smaller, scaffolded group with Mrs Watchorn. Mrs Hoekema said Phillip is such an awesome kid. He is always positive and friendly with his classmates. He does get distracted especially, when others finish before him. He watches the kids who finished instead of doing his work. He was hiding his spelling word worksheets from his teacher thinking he would get out of doing them. After a couple tries of that he resigned to just getting the dang worksheets completed. We are so proud of all our kids and their progress. We noticed at home that Phillip really upped his game and started reading books to himself. He was so proud to read "Go, Dogs, Go!" all by himself last week. He even wrote a note to Mrs Watchorn to tell her the news. He got to read the book out loud to his classmates in school! Phillip does not enjoy participating in class discussions, he can be a space case. Good thing his eyebrow waggle gets him off the hook most of the time!

Thursday after early release, Everett had a long play date with his friend Zachary. They pulled out the Power Ranger Imaginext toys, spent the afternoon in an alternate universe. At one point I caught Zachary shooting pretend baby milk from a morpher into Everett the baby's mouth. Phillip stole the show with his farts, burps, and butt jokes. Zachary laughed so hard he fell over. Poor Everett was sad that it seemed Zachary liked Phillip better than Everett. We spent the afternoon doing PT for Mia and gymnastics for the boys.

Friday the kids had no school. We visited a friend of mine, Angela Frerichs for the morning. She has a super awesome park right in their yard! The kids played, got dusty, rode tractors, scooters, battery operated cars, and even got to ride Zip the horse. Evelyn was quite fascinated with the training potty Angela had outside by the play ground. She used the potty several times just because it was super amazing. Some days, now more than ever, I wish we lived in the country. The kids can play, we can collect junk for them to play with, and let them fend for themselves outside in the fresh air. Country living is something my kids need. Animals to care for, great and elaborate games to concoct, and lots of stuff to tinker with. We met Justin for lunch at Subway. The kids played on the stationary train car for sometime before and after lunch. Amelia spent the rest of the afternoon with Katelyn at her home. Phillip had his friend Lyrah over to play at our home. After work Justin whipped out the leaf blower to amass a decent leaf pile for our annual leaf party. I grabbed my camera, Justin manned the rake, and the kids jumped and ran until we were all itchy from leaves in our clothes. I even got to play in the leaves for a bit!

Saturday Justin worked on the side yard mess. I cleaned the main bathroom, the kid's rooms, and the basement bathroom. We cleaned up the mess made over a long summer of playing. Justin cleaned out my garden box, leaving only the chard and carrots. We wasted so many tomatoes this year. I only planted cherry tomatoes and a paste tomato plant. I did not expect the plants to grow so quickly, was not prepared for the outtake. Phillip piled leaves on the saucer swing for him and Evelyn to play on. Evelyn looked amazing in a mermaid costume with purple dress up shoes. Amelia, Josie, and I went to Sierra's baby shower. She is our neighbor and is having a girl in December. I loved the shower activity: we colored ABC pages to make the baby an alphabet book. Amelia colored D is for Dog and I colored F is for Fox. Amelia was ecstatic to attend the shower. She helped Sierra open the gifts and collected all the tissue paper to make a tissue paper dress at home.  We carved pumpkins outside on the patio while Josie napped. Everett gagged several times while gutting his pumpkin. He wore gloves that sort of helped reduce his texture issues. Phillip made a Frankenstein pumpkin of sorts, after carving he shoved a carrot inside and poked several twigs into his creation. Later on he covered his pumpkin with decorative tape. Amelia made a princess pumpkin, complete with a tissue paper tutu. Evelyn insisted on her pumpkin having kissing lips with a crown. Everett made a strange tiny face on his. Justin pumpkin was more of a gourd, he had a difficult time cutting his face out. I really loved holding this year's event outside! Made clean up super easy.

I felt the spirit strongly during church today, not once but several times. I was touched by Bishop's testimony on taking the sacrament, it's been a couple weeks since we partook of the sacrament. Made me realize that yes, I do feel the spirit each week, even with kids climbing over me, and me trying to hold the reigns tight. Second, that Sidney will be alright, all the changes will still leave a strong LDS presence in our town. I just felt peace that all will work out the way it should. Could mean that we stay here until we leave...ha ha ha. Sunday School's lesson was on asking questions like the Savior. I teach a wonderful group of teenagers. They are so amazing. Each week I am so impressed with the depth of their testimonies. This week was no exception. Gah, make me tear up just thinking about these teenagers. We were able to feed the Sister missionaries dinner this evening. I made El Pastor street tacos. I was quite proud of myself over the meat, the recipe directed the meat to be baked on a skewer standing up, sort of like a gyro loaf of meat is roasted on a vertical spit. I crafted a spit with an old knitting needle, skewered the meat on it, and secured the meat stick with bamboo skewers jammed into the meat popsicle and secured to the cast iron pan with tension. Worked like a charm. Tasted like a street taco. Yasss! Amelia ate 4 tacos! Yasssss!