29 March 2017

Power Wheels

Monday for FHE we headed to Phillip's school for Science Night. Soccer practice was moved to another evening so we took Mia to piano then went to the school. I am so grateful the schools host these fun family nights each school year. Justin pulled in right as we were crossing the street! Mia wanted to start with Mrs Belieu's room, her favorite teacher ever! Amelia earned the highest amount of droplets on a coin, 58 droplets! Amelia joined us for three other activities then I walked her over to ballet class. Some of the fun experiments included: making slime, rockets, levers/catapults, gravity experiments, marshmallow shooters, group solving problem, and making carts for peeps. Everett and I made a cart together. I was surprised it actually moved, Everett raced his cart until he earned a high score. The boys loved the marshmallow shooters, especially when their treats accidentally hit someone. We picked up Mia from ballet around 7 pm then nabbed dinner at Sonic. I really need to get on the ball and start making dinner much earlier than 4 or 5 pm. That would require planning, which I fail at quite a bit lately.

Tuesday the kids brought home fundraising packets for the American Heart Association. These fundraisers are really annoying, especially to the parents. The kids are enticed with cheap prizes they never receive and the parents get to do the work. Just ask for money, geeze. The kids were all hyped up on goof balls over the chance to go door to door collecting money. After dinner Justin took Amelia and Vader. I got the rest of the kids. Imagine two salesmen with exuberant amounts of energy and excitement. You hear the commotion before the door is ever opened. A wall of shouting welcomes you then two boys are shoving a paper in your face, asking for money, issuing challenges to drink water/eat veggies/exercise, and asking for a $1,000 so they can earn the robot prize. The entire situation was so hilarious folks ended up donating coins and rogue dollars just to get the boys to leave. One lady near us is named Rebecca, I told Everett her name and that I shared the same middle name. He nodded his understanding and went on to ring her doorbell. She opened the door. He said, "Hi! Rebecca! Will you drink water? Will you eat your fruits? And will you exercise? If you accept give me some money! Hoping for enough to earn a bigger prize!" Poor lady was a bit stunned by the barrage, I caught her up on the situation with a bit of laughter, she donated some dollars to the cause. Amelia's fundraising was not so exciting but she did earn more money than the boys.

Ashley Jarreau donated a well-used power wheels to the cause, the potty-training cause. Evelyn was on cloud nine when we picked up the new toy. Ashley said the battery was not working and that the toy might not work. Once at home I plugged in the battery and let it charge for a couple hours. Wonder of wonders, the battery works and the toy functions. Evelyn was in high heaven as she leisurely rode around the block 6 times before the battery started to run low. You should have seen that girl and her smile. She whooped and hollered as she zoomed around the block...at a walking pace. I let her drive it to pick up Everett from school. The two kids rode it home together. I broke down and purchased the Minnie Mouse quad ride during our afternoon trip to Walmart. Evelyn marched right up the clerk and gave her all the dollars she had clutched in her hand to help pay for the toy. Seemed like the older kids could enjoy the larger Power Wheels and Evelyn could use the smaller Minnie Mouse one. She was once again on cloud nine, her very own motorcycle. A week later, she is ready to return the Minnie Mouse one, I think the power button is poorly placed, she has to stretch her thumb too far to activate and hold the power. The foot pedal on the Power Wheels is much better and easier to manipulate. Plus, now that she has her toys Evelyn is begging to return back to pull ups. She pooped in her undies 9 times yesterday, peed twice. Today no poop but two peed undies. She threw quite the pity party for herself when I told her no more pull ups. Sometimes it stinks to grow up. Justin was caught unawares over my plot to still get the little quad even with the free Power Wheels. Yeah, I pulled a fast one but earned the flack right back at me.

The Laurels came over for their activity this week. They wanted to learn a bit about photography. I set up my new ring light for the girls to play with. We busted out a fan and some black paper. The girls had so much fun posing for each other and using my camera. I did not give much direction, just let them play. Looking back I should have guided them more about how to focus and use a large frame camera. Most of the photos were badly out of focus. Ah well, they had fun. Evelyn and Phillip were our guinea pigs while I calibrated my camera.

Evelyn is pretty excited to watch spring time unfolding. Each morning we check out the grass to see if it looks greener, the trees to find baby leaves, and the plants hoping for flowers. She was not happy about the rain until I told her the rain will help the pretty flowers to bust open. After it rained we went on a walk to find pretty dandelions. One day I had both girls on the saucer swing. At the same moment both girls started giggling at the other and giving kisses. That right there was magic, the magic of love and happiness. Amelia and I can be found singing along to the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. I got to see it again Saturday night with my friend Carly. "Oh! Isn't this amazing.....?" Love that song and all the new ones!

Friday night we spent tidying up the kid's rooms. The YM/YW are hosting a yard sale and asked for donations. As the kids cleaned they searched for items to donate, well at least my group did. I helped Evelyn and Phillip, the more challenging pair. I love, love, love to see an empty floor staring back at me.

Saturday we headed to Sterling for an afternoon at the park. The weather was perfectly mild. Justin dropped me off with the kids, he wanted to check out some stores for cycling stuff. Right off the bat Evelyn pooped in her undies. I had absolutely nothing. Right as I was arming myself with a roll of park bathroom paper towels another family from Sidney pulled in. She gave me a pull up and a handful of wipes. I chucked the dirty items in the garbage dumpster. Justin pulled in soon after that incident. Josie was quite amused with the pretend pig sty. Phillip and Everett found friends to play with for the duration of our stay. Mia declared she was booooooored, so bored. I picked up Easter stuff at Walmart before we headed back home full of sunshine and fresh air. Mia and I attended Women's Conference. I loved President Eyring's talk. He told a story about a son jumping on the bed, he picked said son up ready to give him a piece of his mind when the spirit reminded him that boy was a great man. I often feel this way as I interact with my kids, it is so easy to forget and let mean mom out of the bag. I was grateful for the reminder to control my temper.

During Sacrament meeting Everett whispered (loudly):

Mom?! Since today is fast Sunday can we go home right after the prayer....ya know? Cause it's fast?

Me: No Everett!

Everett: But WHYYYYY? The guy in the suit said fast meeting.

Me: He means fasting which is to not eat or drink for 2-3 meals and no snacking while we pray.

Everett grumbling: well then he should not say it's a fast Sunday. That just sounds even longer. Well then, Mom, can you pass me the vanilla "wipers"? (I packed a little treat of vanilla wafers aka wipers for the younger kids)

21 March 2017

Potty Trained Princess, St Patrick's, and a Day Hike

The huge news of the week is that Evelyn pretty much potty trained herself. As mentioned last week she is intent on getting a Power Wheels of some sort. In her little mind I somehow equated wearing undies and being a big girl with earning such a toy. I told her I might consider one for her birthday in August, now everyday is her birthday. We ran out of pull ups Monday night (I still had a box in the garage for nighttime). She woke up Tuesday to find the pull ups were gone and a nice pair of Cinderella undies to wear. She took the idea in stride and basically spent the rest of the week listening to her body and taking herself to the bathroom. She still does not enjoy bowel movements so had a couple cold baths after pooping her undies. She also had two wet accidents while we were out and about running errands. After the mess of training two boys I was secretly grateful that she transitioned much better and much cleaner. We certainly tried enough times to train her, it came down to her being ready and the chance coming up at an opportune time. We are so proud of her! I did try to find a small used ATV type battery powered ride with a 6v battery, no luck. Today she stuffed dollars found around the house into a purse, dressed herself, then declared herself ready to go her toy from Walmart. I told her mommy did not have enough dollars. Jen happened to come over. She offered to make Jen a turkey sandwich with mayo and mustart and cheese. After Jen took the first bite Evelyn demanded a dollar for her services. Oh this girl!

Our Monday nights are even crazier now with soccer starting. Phillip had his first practice at 5:30 on Monday. He was quite excited to bust through homework so he could get his soccer clothes on and ready for his first day of practice. The new drill is take Mia to piano, wait, drop off Phillip to soccer, drop of Mia to ballet, pick up Phillip, then pick up Mia. Justin helped ferry kids to and fro after dinner. The kids were all pretty tired due to Post-Traumatic-Daylight-Savings-Syndrome. It really should be classified as a syndrome. Josie slept with her little foot poking through the crib rails. No matter how many times that happens, it the the sweetest sight of all. A baby sleeping in a strange position. Amelia softly covered her mouth with her hands to stifle a cute giggle, her first time witnessing her sister sleeping with her foot in a silly place.

For the interim Tuesday will be our FHE night. Monday is simply too crazy. We tried to plan on Sunday night but that also got too crazy with getting kids to bed early for school. Justin taught a lesson on the Articles of Faith. We memorized the 10th and 12th Articles of Faith as a family by singing the Primary music. Amelia only needed to solidify those last two A of F to pass off her goal for Activity Day Girls. We had a dance party, one of our most requested activities for FHE. It is fun to dance silly with the curtains closed with our crazy kids. Even Josie is dancing with her shoulder shrugs and hip waggling moves.

Jen found a perfect hutch for the dining room, that wall needed something big to make a statement. The hutch somehow matches the table to the last stroke, color, accent color, and design. Must be from the same line of furniture at the local store. She helped me load it after the kids went to bed. I enjoyed watching the kids slowly notice the huge new statement item in the room. Phillip did not even notice it until after school. Everett noticed it right away, he tucked his favorite monkey into a drawer, Evelyn soon had the other drawer stuffed full of sparkly shoes. I cleaned up the new piece and decorated it with a plethora of chickens. The hutch provides just enough space to take pressure off the overloaded pantry. Phillip wanted to look his best for class photos at school. His idea of handsome was a Darth Vader shirt, black running pants, white socks, tennies, and a mohawk. He was quite determined about the hairstyle. He came home so proud that he only touched his hair "a little bit all day."

Everett joined 75 other 6 and under kids for their first day of soccer practice. That many small, energized kids made for quite the spectacle. Only 3 parents signed up to be coaches, meaning 25 kids per team. Hoping some other parents volunteer, I tried to convince Justin it would be fun to coach soccer. He said no, hands down NO. Some other coaches from the other age groups showed up to help organize the first day. Soon the kids were busy rotating through 6 practice skill areas with about 10 kids per station. I packed a picnic dinner of tuna sandwiches, oranges, bananas, carrots, and water for the other kids to snack on. Amelia followed Everett around with my old point-and-shoot camera taking photos like a champ. Outside was super-duper windy. The little girls had huge nose slugs before too long with the wind and temperature dropping. We all enjoyed the outside family time. Justin nabbed Evelyn for a Walmart trip for dog food once her nose started running something fierce. She looked amazing wearing a ninja turtle tutu shirt, cape, and pink boots. That girl! I noticed Everett crying a couple times when he missed nabbing the ball or making the right moves. Once he even collapsed on the grass in tears when he did not win a basic scrimmage. Some teamwork might do our Man-Diva some good. That night the Leprechaun paid us a visit even though the kids did not have time to make a trap. Mostly he just made a silly mess and turned the milk green. The best part was the message he left over the couch on the new hanging door thing. Check out the photo above.

I adore St Patrick's Day. I adore green so a holiday centered on wearing green is right up my alley. I've gained weight since Josie came, started on a new anti-depressant and on synthroid. The three combined have not favored a skinner me or helped me even want to get out and do something about it. I was sad my litany of green shirts did not fit me so comfortably. I finally wore a green Sunday shirt normally reserved for the summer. It was a warmish day so totally worked out. The little girls totally rocked their cute green dresses. The girls and I spent a much needed afternoon at the park. We arrived to find 6-7 other family's with the same idea. Evelyn had plenty of playmates this time. First off I pushed the girls for our normal 20-30 minutes on the swings. Evelyn insists I push her with both hands on her back with an occasional underdog. That kid can be a bossy cow...but then I find her giggling with Josie as she helps her down the slide. We took another 20 minutes to feed the geese some bread. One goose had quite the attitude. It hissed at Evelyn as it impatiently waited for a hunk of bread. What did Evelyn do? That girl hissed right back and charged the goose. It quickly retreated to the water and flew away. I got to chat with the homeschool mothers while their kids entertained my toddler.

Amelia and I went on a special date to watch the live action Beauty and the Beast. We first had some dinner at Oya, Amelia's choice. Her teacher, Mrs Roach was having dinner across the restaurant! We enjoyed a short chat with her before she left. Amelia chattered on and on about school, her friends, and design ideas for dresses. She recently busted out the design books I got her a couple years ago. She spent the weekend designing holiday inspired dresses. My favorites were a cute ladybug dress and of course the St Pat's dress. We walked main street to burn some time before the movie started. There is something just magnificent about holding your daughter's hand, walking along, soaking in her grins and chatter. We loaded up on popcorn, drinks, and Reese's cups for the movie. We saw quite a few of her friends also in attendance. Good gracious, the movie was so, so amazing. I loved the songs added to the live-action used from the Broadway version. Disney outperformed once again! Since then Amelia and I break into random snatches of songs from the movie. We got the music so are also hearing the music around the house from time to time.

We needed to get out of dodge for the day. The weather was perfect! Perfect Spring temperatures with just a touch of cooling breeze. We opted to "hike" around Scottsbluff...not sure it qualifies as a hike since the rim is all paved smooth. The hike is a no-brainer for us: stroller friendly and short. Justin treated us to sandwiches at Jimmy Johns. We drove to the bluffs right after. I nabbed two cute pioneer bonnets for Josie and Evelyn. I've tried to make the bonnets 4-5 times but never get them just right. The bonnets were only $8.50 per so had Justin get them. The littles looked so sweet with their shaded faces and happy bonnets. Amelia was quite the mother hen, clucking around the boys shouting at them to get away from the edges and to be careful. She made my job easier. Phillip had to sit in time-out for not listening to Justin and putting himself in danger. The boys found a "work-table" where they immediately started to pound rocks to dust with harder, bigger rocks. Soon billows of rock dust filled the air over their heads. They stayed up at that particular spot for quite some time. The views from the bluffs are so wide and magnificent. We could see clear to the WY mountains and way past Chimney Rock. Hooray for day trips and family time. Justin took off on a late evening motorcycle ride. The kids all got a short ride once he came back. Evelyn enjoyed her first ever motorcycle ride! She is still talking about how awesome her 3 times around the block were. She went sooooooooooooooooo fast. Josie discovered the sidewalk chalk, course she gummed on it a bit, I was surprised to find her actually drawing with the chalk. She focused long enough on her task to completely color over a heart I drew for her.

Sunday's lesson for the YM/YW Sunday School was something special. We watched the special witness testimony of Elder Holland on the Book of Mormon. The challenge was to record your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and somehow share it publicly. Most of the class refused to upfront. So instead we split up into groups of two, the kids were to prepare their testimony on the Book of Mormon with scripture, history, and/or experiences of how they knew the Book was true. I participated in the challenge. video recording my testimony was one of the more "embarrassing" experiences of my life! I even served as a missionary! As the lesson time came to a close the spirit inspired me to related the teens to how the Apostles, missionaries, and prophets must feel as Conference approaches. What would they say and testify about if s/he were asked to testify of Christ. The spirit was so strong, made me feel so humble and ready to try again. Something about the pressure of bearing recorded testimony knowing it could be shared was humbling. Try it!