26 October 2017

Pumpkin Patch and Camping

Monday morning we left to have a fun morning at the Pumpkin Patch. When I think of pumpkin patches I think of chilly mornings, hot cocoa, cute fall outfits, and fall colors. Quite the opposite happened. The kids were stoked to put on Halloween outfits and push up the sleeves. The patch we went to is not very far from our house, I pass it quite often on my trips to consign clothes at Once Upon a Child. We had our water bottles and snacks ready for a fun day. It was 85 when we arrived, by the time we left it was 100. We were all a sweaty mess, trying to enjoy fall fun under summer weather. The kids really loved the zip line and bouncing pillows. Josie loved all the animals and the barrel rides. We did not love the corn maze, it was hot and hard to carry Josie (and Evelyn), plus the one water bottle did not last long enough. In the maze we had to find 6 clue stations and answer a riddle. That was pretty fun. Amelia got lost in the maze and came out bawling once she finally found the exit. She was not so keen on enjoying herself but soon got lost in the fun again. All the kids spent a good deal of time at the water pumps and duck racing station. Ingenious! Celebrating fall in desert heat was a bit hard to overcome for me. We left right around noon. We all got slurpees to quench our powerful thirst.

For FHE activity we made cards for Aunty Jen. She had back surgery last week and was so nervous about it. I am relieved her older son and parents made it out here for the surgery and to help her recuperate for a few days. I finished patching a pair of jeans she ripped almost a year ago. That was hard work, my fingertips were ragged even with the thimble. Everett made her a card with a volcano exploding love, my favorite part was the mysterious dot Jen was supposed to find. Evelyn made her a sweet drawing. Amelia's letter and sugar skull were so creative. Phillip went all out and made a peaceful meadow for Jen to enjoy.

Tuesday was a big, big day for Phillip. He finally reached his goal to stay dry at night for over two weeks in a row. The day before we picked up a cage I thrifted off Facebook. He was in heaven picking out a house, food, snacks, and of course the hamster. He chose the smallest hamster of the lot, a robo dwarf. It is so small and ever so swift. Phillip christened his new pet: Cagey Snuffs Call. We took him home and got the hamster settled in his new habitat. Since Tuesday the kids let the hamster escape 4 times. Thankfully, he always went behind the large library filing cabinet. Took patience and a fly swatter to get the rodent back in the cage. He is one speedy devil, too small to really hold. The kids sort of hold him inside his exercise ball, mostly they spin him around and roll the poor thing across the floor. At pack meeting Phillip earned his first two awards! He earned two belt loops and should have earned his Bobcat, but the patch was not shipped in time. That kid was beaming from ear to ear! This month's pack meeting focused on two boys who moved up to Webelos. We met at the park to play then met to divvy out awards. Evelyn's newest favorite shoes are two sizes too big Anna dress up shoes.

A stretch of cloud cover actually spread through the area Tuesday and Wednesday. I was so excited to see cloud cover because I knew that meant amazing light. For years I've wanted to take photos in cotton fields, two weeks ago I learned that there are several cotton fields not too far away, only 30 minutes or so. Josie was awake (and crabby) the kids were still off school for break, so I coaxed them into the van and we went adventuring for cotton fields. I squealed when some fields came into view! Josie was not happy but warmed up after a bit. Evelyn made some strange faces so most of her photos did not turn out. The kids got to hold some old cotton that fell in the dirt, it is a strange mix of soft fibers and hard seed like spots. I am so glad that vision worked out.

The kids returned to school on Wednesday morning. We really enjoyed our downtime. I worked on cleaning up the evidence of two weeks with kids home. After school Mia had Activity Day Girls, we went at the usual time only to find no one there. I did not realize the time was changed to an hour later. I dropped Mia off then got a phone call 5 minutes later from her asking to be picked up. She was quite upset to find herself almost alone in the church. Thankfully, some guys were playing basketball. She related that she first dropped to her knees asking for help, the spirit directed her to ask one of the guys in the gym to use a cell phone. She did this and was able to get a hold of me. I felt so proud of her for taking the right steps and following the spirit. During her actual meeting time the girls made cute cupcakes and a sign reading, "You've been Boo'ed!" The girls were challenged to deliver the treats to someone who might need them. Mia decided to surprise our neighbors across the road. The kids ran over, delivered the plate and note, then ran back after ringing the door bell. All the kids were lined up just inside the garage door peeking around the wall to watch their reaction. From my perspective I saw four excited kids kneeling on the ground with their heads visible to the family across the street.  The treat was indeed discovered, I could hear our neighbor loudly exclaiming over the plate of cupcakes. This morning our doorbell rang, Mia opened the door to find the same note over a huge platter of treats! So cute!

Josie insisted on wearing a swim diaper over the PJs one morning. She went outside to yell at the kids with the diaper on and the game "Slamwich" clutched in one hand. We were quite startled to find rain sprinkling down. That lasted all of 2 minutes! Josie can now say her own name. Her new favorite words are: ketchup, mine, book, diaper, shine, elmo, treat, shoe, push, and swing.

The girls and I got the van oil changed and the radiator system flushed. The van odometer recently went over 100k. We are in heavy weight oil territory now. LOL. The best part was getting the van cleaned out inside and out. The girls amused themselves with the water guns installed in the waiting area. Kids can shoot water at the vehicles going through the car wash. I also had a Dr appointment to get my medicines refilled. Outside the Dr office a fun covered playground shared the courtyard. The girls had so much fun playing before and after my appointment. Josie got a chicken/pig Moana sticker, she talked about her sticker for over an hour. I was feeling a bit down this week, missing our home and friends in Sidney. From what I hear lots of changes are starting to roll down the pipes at Cabelas. I left so many friends and family there. Quite a novel experience for me.

Friday morning I packed up the truck for the ward campout. I was called to the committee to help out so felt obligated to attend. Justin was unable to come since he is right in the middle of quarter end, by the time he got home after 6 pm he would still have a two hour drive up the canyon. Once again I took the kids camping alone! It was no big deal. The kids were so excited so go camping in a cabin with sleeping bags, flashlights, and the promise of smores. I took them out of school right around 2:45. We stopped back at home for potty then onward to Payson. Everett asked every so often if we were almost there, if we were late, and what we were missing. He was so excited to sleep in a cabin. We decided on some sandwiches for dinner in Payson. We had such a great time up in the fresh canyon air. My job was to organize some skits for the evening entertainment. Most everyone I asked refused! Soooooo....my kids put on two skits and the Christensens agreed to put on a skit. The Bishop spoke a few words about Alma the Elder. Then a brother from the stake gave a history about a Walk for Women he helped install at Camp LoMia (it is a Young Women's Camp). The kids put on a skit about a candy store and another about a broken TV. Next morning the kids grouped together to put on several other skits they made up! We slept pretty well considering! We had the entire cabin to ourselves! I was able to use the sound machine to drown out the major karaoke party happening in the camp just below us. Amelia and I got up shortly after midnight to watch the Orionoid meteor shower. We watched for a good 30-35 minutes, no obvious meteors raced across the sky. Others stayed up until after 2 am, they saw only 3-4 meteors. She was so disappointed we missed it poor girl was crying for sometime before she fell back asleep. Everett woke up complaining his legs were itching. Josie kept cracking her noggin on the wall, never woke up but woke me up. Phillip was jigging up in his bunk, kept my bed moving and grooving. By 6 am all the kids were awake and freezing. I think that's the best part about camping! Getting warm by a fire in the morning with hot chocolate in hand. Josie was wrapped up in her favorite Shimmer and Shine blanket. Evelyn was scared of the fire, her little hands were chapped red from cold. Mostly I only saw glimpses of the older kids as they played here and there. We had a massive breakfast of burritos, fruit, and pancakes. Food was expected for 100 and only 50 showed up, so there was a lot of food! I died laughing as older boys passed with plates piled with only sausages and bacon. After breakfast we caught a ride in the back of Bishop's pickup to the Walk for Women. It was a very sweet place to feel the spirit, along the trail were plaques with quotes about Women. At the trail end was a large statue of a young family. Bishop carried Josie on his shoulders! The boys were more excited about all the sticks (aka guns, bombs, bazookas, etc) than focusing on spiritual matters. I had to leave with them so the others would not be bothered. We found a lovely maple tree, fiery red. Josie would not walk on the decks of our cabin or at the kitchen. She seemed afraid of falling through the floor! Poor kid just stood rooted in one place while flapping her arms. The best part was the car races. Gracious, all the kids flocked to the car ramp and bin of hot wheels. Josie was in heaven! Evelyn was in heaven! Phillip was in heaven! Everett was off in the woods collecting weapons of war. Phillip tried to throw him a small log, the log connected with the side of his face. Everett had a bloody nose, scraped nostril, and a nice bruise on his cheek. On our way down the canyon we stopped in Payson to visit with my cousin Amber for a couple hours. Her youngest is the same age as Amelia. The kids loved their trampoline and swing. Good times! We arrived home around 4 pm. Justin was off on a motorcycle ride so missed the unloading phase as well! Lucky guy. He cleaned up the kitchen, even mopped the floors. Justin attended Anson's baptism that morning to represent our family. Phillip was so upset he missed the baptism. Guess he missed the memo that it was either camping or the baptism. Post camping baths are the best treat! Sluicing off dirt, sweat, and bug spray feels amazing. We all went to bed much earlier than usual.

Josie slept on Justin during Sunday naps. She is once again being a stinker about her naps. Gah, just sleep you cranky kid. Amelia and I went to choir practice for the first time. I think she really enjoyed it, I know I did. Josie had taken to calling me "mommy" this week. It is utterly adorable. She walks around saying, "mommy, mommy, mommy?! Mommy!!" On the opposite Evelyn and I are on first name basis. "Jennifer, get me some chips. Jennifer, wipe my butt! Jennifer, push me on the swing." This is about the second week of first name usage.