21 February 2018

Valentine's Week

Grandpa Lane was treated to an art show courtesy of Amelia and Phillip. Both kids had a microphone and 3 amazing works of art to show off. I spotted Evelyn turning into a bag lady. She had 6 grocery bags stuffed full of play food and dolls. I, too, am a bag lady. Girl! I understand! All the kids showed off their scripture reading skills! Dinner was a little sketchy, my lettuce was frozen solid so the bulgogi was confined to baby lettuce style. Dad even seemed to like my cauliflower rice substitute. We asked him for a lecture but the spotlight was too much. Ha ha. Evelyn started coughing and running a fever Saturday night. She stayed home from church and school (through Tuesday). Toddler coughs are the worst because they don't properly cover their mouths, now a week later all the kids are hacking and coughing. Dad chose to sleep on a mattress in the living room. He reported a nice, full night of sleep! Yay.

Dad finished loading the trailer with his buddy's belongings shortly after 9:30 am. He decided to head home shortly before noon instead of staying another night. We had an hour or so to talk without most of the noise. Evelyn was decidedly quiet as she fell asleep after a gnarley night's "sleep." Dad stopped halfway in St George that evening. We enjoyed a FHE outing at Barnes and Noble. Lisa McMann was at the store a mile or so away signing books. She wrote the "Unwanted" Series, a series I faithfully read. Amelia got to hear her talk about her newest series earlier in the morning. Barnes and Noble has the finances all figured out, first you have to buy a book to have signed, then you have to wait for your turn surrounded by toys/books/activities, your senses are also bombarded by freshly baked cinnamon roll smells in the cafe. Evelyn wore a fancy crown because of course she is a princess. There were several crafts set out for the kids to work on as well. Josie was so cute running from toy to toy with cute "oohs and aahs!" at every shelf. Amelia was quite star struck to be so near a real author! We are quite intent now on reading the entire series.

Seems like most of my week was spent holding sick kids. Evelyn was unwell through Tuesday, Josie was sick from Thursday until current. Evelyn had a Dr appointment Monday afternoon where the Dr determined she does NOT have influenza, rather a viral cough. We saved ourselves $500 cost for family tamiflu, but now everyone is coughing. Josie was well until her well-child were she got two rounds of immunizations. She ran a fever from Thursday night until Sunday evening. Now she is just a whining, clingy mess. I am glad she fits in the baby carriers, I've worn her on my back for hours each day, my back a boogery mess. Wednesday I met with the new clinic I am looking at. After consensus we decided to run a hormone panel as well. My thyroid levels were abysmal as expected (T4 1.34, T3 2.8. and TSH 3.9) showing I am hypothyroid. Seems I am making the chemical but not absorbing it at all as shown by the TSH (normal is 2). Progress is good. I'll meet again next week to make a plan based on my hormone panel and thyroid. I am feeling a smidge more energetic since I stopped taking birth control.

Wednesday was one exciting day. Evelyn was dressed and ready for her party before 8 am. Amelia and Evelyn had cute heart hairstyles. Amelia finished making her emoji box just moments before leaving for the bus. I finished writing Valentine's for Evelyn in the van before dropping her off. Cutting the wire! Josie helped me set out Valentine's for the kids, a stuffed toy and candy. Justin totally spoiled me with flowers and a new iPhone. Why not get a new phone the day before? I was due for a new phone last February, so awesome! We stuck to our Valentine's tradition of dinner at a buffet style restaurant. We had dinner at Souper Salad. Amelia saw the restaurant name and giggled, "Mom! It's like a pun! Soup or Salad...he he get it souper salad!" Justin met us there. Josie shrieked only once, much to the dismay of the gentleman sitting behind us. I think next year we will have to find a new tradition. All the kids were quite sugared up and excited after their fun day at school. Justin got Amelia and Evelyn some roses for Valentines. Spoiled rotten.

Evelyn and Josie got hair trims this past week. Josie wakes up each morning with a nest-worthy head of tangled hair. Grandma Debbie suggested if her hair was trimmed the mess might not be so bad. It is pretty easy to brush out, not much effort with some detangler and a soft brush. Evelyn was so excited to get a trim. Josie was not so excited to get a trim. Evelyn got a cute hairstyle with a bow, glitter, and cupcake smelling spray in her hair. Josie tolerated her haircut fine, sat still while blubbering and giving me puppy dog eyes. Since her trim the hair nests have decreased in size and severity.

The boys worked diligently this week to increase their muscle mass by lifting weights in the garage. Everett was especially diligent to lift weights for 30 minutes (aka 5 minutes). Every few minutes I'd gauge his arm muscle mass with a squeeze test. His goal is to be stronger than Justin in a couple weeks. I think he worked out so much he also popped out a tooth. Kidding, but he did lose his first side incisor. All week he worked pushing that tooth around with his tongue. I finally managed to yank it out much to his relief. The tooth fairy delivered a dollar that very night. She is known to be a bit flaky around these parts, sometimes not showing up for a good 2-5 days later.

Phillip and Evelyn organized a music show for Justin and I. Phillip lined up chairs and labeled each chair with the appropriate occupant. The reason for his show was that I finally got around to making him his own playlist on Amazon Music. We watched a very funky version of "Faster" with Evelyn gracefully bopping around and Phillip bouncing off the furniture and ground. The amount of dabbing was incredible.

Friday night Justin and I got to go out on the town. We had some wings for dinner then watched The Black Panther. Ahhh, so nice to be alone. Amelia had the girls asleep before we got home. She earned just as much as the babysitter.

Saturday our cleaning session was not as painful. Evelyn went to her friend's birthday party, maybe that was part of our success. She can be a pain in the bum sometimes, mostly just a pest undoing what we work hard to accomplish. Evelyn is now excited to turn 5, a huge change over last week when she wanted to stay 4 forever. After naptime we took the kids to hike Mt Silly not too far from our home. Josie was still running a fever that went even higher during our hike. I took the little girls back down the trail halfway through the hike. My back was covered with snot and burning up from poor Josie's fever. Poor kid had red, swollen eyes, nasty running nose, and a cough. Evelyn and I played Shimmer and Shine on our way down, Josie got to be a magic carpet since she was hitching a ride on my back. The way Evelyn says girl makes me smile, sounds like guirrel, a female squirrel.

Josie continued to lag about the rest of the day, I stripped off her clothes and gave her a popsicle in an effort to reduce her fever, a walk around the neighborhood helped as well. Justin stayed home with her from church. He reported she slept most of the time we were gone. She slept the afternoon and evening away as well. Poor little baby. Monday and Tuesday she was overly ornery. I took her to the clinic sure she had an ear infection to boot. She does have a double ear infection.

I included a photo of our walking wardrobe malfunction, the Sunday edition: shirt inside out and buttoned up correctly (how?), shorts on backwards, socks inside out, and two different shoes.

18 February 2018

Josie is Two-Stats

Josie Mae is about the snuggliest little person we've had. She loves to climb in our laps and just sit content as can be. She loves her big sister Amelia so much. Her little face lights up when Amelia comes home. She adores her daddy, same thing, little face lights up when he comes home. She has an impish streak like our older children. There is a brain working and growing in that little head. Josie has about 100 words in her vocabulary right now. My favorite is, milk, because it sounds like Mm-ilch. If I am cleaning she will pick up a rag and spray bottle and wipe off any surface. Her favorite foods are corn dogs, ketchup (more ketchup than corn dogs), ranch, cheese, apple sauce, and cookies. She is proving to be a picky two old eater so far. Josie is learning how to sing which is quite darling.
Course the tendency for two-year olds to control their environment is blossoming right on schedule. She loves to get involved in what the kids are doing then scream her head off. Josie is starting to loosen her attachments to me a bit. She is quite the social butterfly at Walmart, waving and yelling hi! Her favorite things are singing songs (rain is falling all around is a huge hit), reading books, playing with Evelyn's Barbies, toting around her stuffed Shimmer and Shine characters, bathing, and swinging outside. Her newest love is drawing with chalk outside and blowing bubbles.

She got two immunizations this year, even thought I was sure she was current. She got the MMR and Hep-A, Nebraska must have a different schedule. The clinic put the shots in her arms which was different, all the others got shots in their legs. Her arms were so, very sore for many days. Her medical stats reflect her body perfectly: weight 25.6 lbs (33.5%), height 34 inches (62.7%), head circumference 19.5 inches (95%). Big head, skinny and normal height. Her forehead is so tall! I actually went to get her hair cut, maybe some bangs cut but her cowlicks are pretty crazy. So far no interest in toilet training. I will get out the potty chair in a couple months and gauge her interest.

13 February 2018

Josie is TWO!!!

We all have a hard time believing that Josie is now two. She is turning into the funniest little monkey ever. Tonight we took the kids to a store and she went wandering around gasping in delight over each new item. Her new talent is blowing bubbles! Those pursed lips slay me. She is advancing her speech practically each day. Next week is her well-child so I'll include more details at that time. As pictured above we celebrated her birthday on Sunday with our cousins. They came over for dinner and strawberry jello cake. Josie got lots of bubbles, a Nahal plush (Shimmer and Shine character), an ABC toy, a Minnie Mouse phone, and a sit on toy. She was quite excited over the Nahal toy, she showed it to Mia saying, "Ahhhhhhh?!" while showing it to Mia. Course the best way to ride a toy is half-naked. She is entering the stage of hating clothes.

I went to a school supply store to laminate some items for singing time. As soon as we walked in Evelyn exclaimed, "I hate this store, there is too many papers and pencils here!" The cashier was cracking up. Our FHE on Monday was a notable one. Justin gave a lesson on the importance of making a house into a home. He then dedicated our house into a safe haven of a home. Amelia, Phillip, and Everett all had teary eyes and tender hearts. The experience was special for all of us, one I've been waiting for, that night seemed the perfect night. Amelia hosted a dance party and I made smoothies.

The kids are all busy making Valentines for their classmates. Evelyn and Everett are probably the most excited. At school the kids could buy monkeys to give to siblings, parents, or classmates. Amelia bought 5 monkeys! Everett, our money conscious man, spent $2 on a monkey for a classmate who moved back into the school after being gone a couple months. Phillip, not sure how many he purchased, maybe 4? They worked hard to earn the spending money. Evelyn asks each morning if that new day is Valentines. "I so 'cited for Balentines! I love my friends and Mrs Melichard!"

Evelyn had to go back to the dentist for a tooth cleaning and check up. That girl went in kicking and screaming bloody murder. She screamed until we got to the booth. She screamed when the hygienist entered. She stopped screaming when the hygienist offered to just brush her teeth with a princess brush and special pink toothpaste. She did a great job with her x-rays! She started screaming again when the dentist came in to check her teeth. Fortunately she calmed down long enough to let him examine her back molars. I was sweating bullets before the appointment was over. Wrestling a 4 year old is a bit more detailed than wrestling a 2 year old. Josie looked so sweet wearing her "I'm Two" shirt. We celebrated with lunch at a fun new McDonald's a bit further away from our house. The girls were in heaven playing for over an hour. The rest of her birthday was spent napping then homework time and then dinner. Right before I took Phillip to Scouts, Evelyn came running in to tell me Josie was drinking Phillip's medication. I found her with the bottle and the stopper uncorked. It was hard to tell if any was missing. She seemed ok so we went on our merry way. After dinner she became really clingy and agitated. I forgot about the medication until Justin mentioned that she seemed to have strange tics going on. I called poison control who advised me to take her to the ER ASAP since the medication is a controlled substance and the amount she ingested was unknown. I missed our Sidney ER right about the time we walked in to a full ER waiting room. Took 2 hours just to get in a room, another 2 before they let us go. While in the waiting room Josie barfed all over me three times. I scored a couple barf bags to minimize further incidents, which amounted to 7 more episodes. We both smelled terrible and felt terrible waiting with all the other people suffering from flu, valley fever, and other unknown sicknesses. Pretty much treatment included waiting in a room with a barfing baby until she could keep down a couple ounces of juice. I got a lecture about securing medications better and to be mindful of my children. (duh!). Seems that she drank about 15 ml of an Amphetamine, so had all the signs of a druggie on a high. First rubbing alcohol (Phillip) then amphetamines! At least we are moving between drug classes. What a way to end a birthday. The next day Josie was a mess, she cried and whined most of the day. She ended up napping in the front carrier for a good 45 minutes while I made dinner.

I found another clinic that focuses on hormones and such in women. I met with one of the owners just to find out more about the clinic. I felt better about this clinic than the Red River one, plus the price was much lower than the former. A woman medical doctor does all regulation of thyroid and blood work, I'll meet with her next week. They took a new blood sample since I stopped taking synthroid a couple months back. She also requested I stop taking birth control since they cannot test my levels and get an accurate reading of my levels. I am going to try these folks out. Hoping for better answers this time. Mom sent me a thorough family medical history to which I will add my own notes. Dad advised me to be more proactive in getting what I need since most doctors are no longer curious about finding the right answers. I went to the clinic in a complete brain fog since our ER experience got us home after 2 am. Amelia had an orthodontist appointment down in Chandler. The orthodontist said her lower four molars all need to be pulled out since the adult molars are not moving. She was tasked with wiggling and getting her top molars loose. They will also pull her baby incisor, seems her adult incisor was coming in wonky and would never push out that tooth. They are hoping once the tooth is pulled the adult tooth might come down where it should. With our Amelia luck she will need surgery to pull back her gum, attach a wire to that tooth and pull it down to the correct position. Bam, there goes another nest egg of money! Grandpa Lance came down for a quickly planned visit. He came down to talk with a former buddy about a potential job. He drove for 12 hours to get here! We arrived back home from the ortho moments before he arrived. The kids had time to scrawl "Welcome Grampa" on the driveway! Dad arrived before he collapsed with a nasty flu, influenza B to be precise. He was not feeling well at all but was not running a fever. He tried to keep up with the pack of kids! He went to bed shortly after dinner. Next day he check out of Amelia's room and checked into a dumpy Hotel 6 in Mesa. He went to an instacare and got the flu verified and maybe a dose of tamiflu. He holed up in the motel for Thursday-Sunday feeling like death warmed over. That was a strange experience for me as well, knowing your own father is a few miles away convalescing with the flu. He refused any contact and pretty much quarantined himself. The kids were quite disappointed. I was quite upset since this was my first ever visit from my Dad!

Thursday evening the second grade put on a show for all their parents. Earlier in the day Phillip performed for the school. He came home and picked out an outfit to wear for his concert. I asked why he did not wear his suit, he replied, "I'm afraid I'll ruin my suit with my muscles when I flex them during the concert." He selected a stretchy shirt! Ha ha ha ha. We ate a quick dinner of leftovers and rushed to his school. He came out beaming from ear to ear! The concert was based on the months and holidays between January and March. His favorite song was Pizza-Pizza-Daddy-O. He practiced his deep, loud version of his voice so everyone could hear him! We could hear him alright! I am so proud of his speaking part, he had it memorized and delivered perfectly. Do you ever look at your kids and think, "Wow, that is a good kid?" I sure did. He is funny, smart, kind, and caring. After Phillip's concert Everett ran up before the show actually ended and the boys gave each other a huge hug! Josie loved all the music, she entertained us with her cute little dance moves. The music teacher instructed all the parents to take her students out for ice cream after the show because they worked so hard! We obliged and got cones at McDonalds. Yum.

Saturday clean up was miserable. Just miserable. All our tempers were high, especially Justin and Amelia. Those two can clash hard and long. Everett was the star of the show, probably because he could feel the volcano about to erupt. Phillip is so clueless he kept ignoring Justin which makes him madder than a hornet. Amelia just whines: "why? why do I have to clean? I did not make the mess." After the house and backyard were more acceptable I gathered the family into the family room. We cannot continue to have such disastrous family cleaning sessions. It brings a terrible feeling of discord and anger into our house. Amelia spent half the time sobbing in her room or yelling at everyone, that is no way to clean up. We developed a better cleaning strategy together, make a list of duties in a given room and then make assignments. We are going to try out the room-by-room approach instead of assigning a kid a room or task alone. Imagine a cleaning task force ripping through rooms cleaning as a team. Yes! Now I need to make a visual we can follow. During naptime Justin stayed at home to work on his talk and be home with Josie. The older kids and I went to spend some time with Grandpa Lane at his hotel. What better way than to swim in the middle of winter?! The water was frigid! Brrrr! Still the kids jumped right in, never saw Amelia swim so fast in her life. Dad and I talked about working with doctors as I work on solving my energy issues. He suggested a detailed medical notebook I can use to keep myself and the doctors current.

Sunday Dad checked out of his hotel and came back to our home. His fever was gone, but he was left with a tired body. Justin gave an excellent talk on Reverence During Sacrament Meeting. I sent him home afterward with a coughing Evelyn and snotty nosed Josie. I really thought Evelyn caught Dad's flu. Turns out she just had a viral cough and no flu. Dad and I had several nice talks about Heartland theory, President Trump, education, LGBQ and school, and electronic devices. Lots of food for thought. I ran out of lettuce (rather the head I had in the fridge was frozen solid) for our Bulgogi dinner, had to improvise with loose spring mix, made for tiny Korean tacos. The kids rather liked the size.

12 February 2018

Hamster Wagon

Justin finally found a new commuter car! He is quite pleased with his new addition. It sort of looks like a storm trooper to me. He bit the proverbial bullet Wednesday night after work, but could not pick it up until Friday evening. His choice hits my funny bone because the car is a Kia Soul, so has a ridiculous music system. Yah know, just an average white male accountant with no natural rhythm buys a car so he can listen to all his favorite 80s music in style. Love it, so funny. I got to drive it Saturday, the bass is so awesome all the seats vibrate! Course, the kids are quite excited to try out the new car. Phillip christened the car by spilling chips on the back seat while sharing with Everett. I think they enjoyed vacuuming it out for once. Justin cleaned up ole Betty Blue in preparation for her new owner. She is going to a young man preparing for a mission, needs transportation to get to work! We are so happy to donate the car and help this young man along in life. Phillip cried when Justin left the ninja dog (a miniature figure) in the car's dash box. We told him is was a sort of talisman, if the dog figure leaves the car it might stop working. I told Jeffrey not to remove the Jesus fish off the back of my old car Scarlett, did his listen? No......it immediately broke down. Phillip got a new talisman for the Hamster Wagon, a metal figure of the Muppet's Animal. Ha ha ha ha.

This week was spent with the house looking like a cluster bomb went off. Each day I put more stuff away back in it's proper place from the garage. Focused on redecorating the spaces since I had to take it all down. Come Friday I was mighty tired of working so hard only to look around at all the stuff cluttered about. We had a major cleaning throw down, I worked on the kitchen and living room, the kids and Justin worked on the bedrooms and family room. We got the house looking much better in less than 3 hours. I must be a terrible house keeper, at least terribly unmotivated to repetitively pick up the same stuff knowing it will be right back in the same spot 10 minutes later.

The little girls and I bought a new dresser for Amelia on Tuesday. The lady who sold it to us reminded me of our friend Jen. Same style, same energy, and same attitude. Almost made me cry! The new dresser was a beast to get in the house and a monster to get up the stairs. Almost worse than the elliptical machine. Amelia loves the dresser, it is painted white with sky blue accent. The dresser has a special panel with a cupboard area to keep a little girl's treasures. Her room looks much better without all the clothes and special horde on the floor. Thursday I found a cute doll clothes wardrobe, it fits all her American Doll clothes and accessories. I painted her doll bed to match the wardrobe. The girl's room is finally coming along. Getting rid of her large 3-piece set was hard but ultimately makes for so much more room.

Thursday Scottie Karate at Slangin' Audio and Tint helped me choose a new van stereo and monitor. The installation time was quite a bit longer than the hour he quoted me on the phone. Luckily, I had snacks galore, water, and the double stroller. I called Melanie begging for a ride home. While she got ready we walked 3 miles to the freeway. Felt good to stretch my legs. Vita volunteered to help me fetch the van once it was ready. The little girl's faces tell all that needs to be told about the new TV, open-mouthed guppies!

  Friday was "wear you favorite college team's colors" day at Sonoma Ranch. All three kids decided to wear Sidney Red Raiders colors! Amelia said, "I know Sidney is not a college, but it's my favorite school." Everett threw in a BYU visor just to mix it up a bit.   

Jana sent over a lovely fruit bouquet as a thank you for help on her taxes. We loved the deliciously darling fruit. The kids ate all the strawberries, pineapple, grapes, and even some of the kale. They avoided all the melon! What a thoughtful thank you! Amelia wrote a note, "grab & go." Grab a fruit stick and go eat it. Evelyn went to her first birthday party for a friend on Saturday. Justin took Josie and Evelyn to the park for the event. I hear it went well, though Evelyn was a bit shy. She was so excited to choose a gift for him at the store. She did not ask for anything for herself, except to make a list of all the Barbie things Santa needs to bring her next Christmas. The kids are all amped up for Valentine's day in a few days. We got cards and treats this weekend for them to start working on.

The Chandler Calls came over for dinner this Sunday evening. We try to have dinner every 6 weeks or so it seems. We celebrated Josie's birthday with them. I made a Provencal-style chicken stew with tomatoes and capers. Josie jabbered excitedly over her wrapped gifts. She got a cute Minnie Mouse phone, bubble wand, a "nahal" plush tiger, ABC toy, bubbles, Shimmer and Shine Leah, and a ride-on toy. Lucky girl! Cake was a delicious strawberry jello poke cake. Yum. Josie can screech pretty darn loud, pierce your ear drums level if Evelyn sits on her new car.