29 December 2018

Lost Dutchman Hike

Monday evening we went Christmas caroling to our neighbors, handing out some cheer, a song, and a plate of cookies. In my mind the experience would be full of laughter, loving words, camaraderie, and Christmas joy. My mind was wrong. I assembled over 46 plates of goodies to hand out. We met up with some of the Godards this year. Quite a number of folks were either not home, not willing to answer their door (the TV was too exciting), or plain lazy. One lady cracked open her door and slammed it with a polite "Thank you!". Another lady opened the door then complained that folks now days always want something for nothing?! What? We're handing out free treats to YOU, not the other way around. One guy streaked past his door quite indecent. On the other hand a few people were home and enjoyed our treats, some evening treating the kids to candy canes. Seems like neighborly friendships are going out the window, more and more everyone just keeps to themselves. I was quite proud of my pretty treats. The kids enjoyed the first 5 minutes, whined the rest of the time or fought over who would ring the doorbells.

Tuesday morning Josie and I headed to Sonoma Ranch for Evelyn's kindergarten performance. I was thinking the kids would sing 2-3 songs and be done. I was overly impressed the kids sang about 10 songs, all memorized and accompanied with hand movements. The looks Evelyn gave me about melted my heart. She can be so shy sometimes, I forget how sweet she is in public. Her sass came out when the kids sang "I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas." Her expressions spoke volumes! "Mom! You better not believe this song!" I recorded all the songs on my phone, since then I catch her watching and singing along to all those cute songs. Josie rushed up to give Evelyn a quick hug and then snatch her tinsel props to have a go at waving them about. I did not watch Gabi this week. I was not feeling well on Monday and Tuesday. I was trying to catch a sinus infection so had a miserable stuffed nose and headache. At pack meeting the leaders threw a large bonfire party at the Knight's home. We made delicious woofums for a treat. The treat is made by baking dough on an oiled wood round, removing the dough cup and filling it with pie filling and whipped cream! All the kids left with about 1/2 cup sand in their shoes from the large sand mountain surrounding the fire pit. Phillip earned another badge.

Wednesday Josie and I headed to the park for a diversion. It was chilly out so we enjoyed wearing coats for a while. The amusement park was open, Josie was chattering on and on about riding the boats. I grabbed a handful of change for her to choose two carnival rides to enjoy. Oh her sweet happy face just made my day. We chased ducks and wandered about the park for a good 3 hours. We enjoyed lunch with Justin on Thursday up in Scottsdale. I went to the Target there for a couple last moment items since Reagan and Mason would be visiting over Christmas. Justin had another job interview for a local company. He is getting quite fed up with all the drama at his current employment. I am fed up with the long commute and lack of a companion at home. After school on Thursday we had an extra 6 kids come after school for a Christmas play date. Amelia organized a gift exchange with her group of friends (Zoey, Chloe, Brooklyn, Abby). She spent a chunk of time making slime kits complete with charms, glitter, and various types of slime (clear, butter, fluffy), and cute colors. I loved her thoughtful gifts. Phillip and Everett invited over Ryan and Owen as well. Evelyn went over to Isla's home for a long play date! I made tacos for dinner. Mostly the kids all stayed outside to play.

The kids got out of school early on Friday. They came home to a warm lunch waiting on the table, sometimes I can be a good mom. We spent the afternoon making 7 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange the next morning. This time I made my favorite cherry shortbread (again) and soft gingerbread with white chocolate. We watched White Christmas while the cookie production was in full force.

I got up at 6 am for a sunrise bridal session at Lost Dutchman. The bride and groom met me at my place then we drove out the state park. It is so expensive to use these places, $50 per hour! We had a marvelous time in the lovely pre-dawn light. The plateau blocked the strong morning light and created a gorgeous open shade light effect. Course a lovely bride and handsome groom helps! I was back home by 8:45 am. The girls and I went to the cookie exchange, we came home with a variety of 7 dozen cookies. My favorite were the pretty pizzelle cookies. I might "need" a pizzelle press. Since I had a day pass for the state park we rounded up the whining kids and made them hike up the trail. Josie made the trek on our shoulders. Evelyn insisted on taking her doll Shaylee. I warned her before we left the van that I would NOT hold her doll. Towards the end of the hike she wanted me to carry her, but since she was holding her doll I could not carry her doll she was carrying. Ha ha. We made it up and down the trail in fine form. The boys were racing up and down the trail intent on beating the other brother. I slipped with Josie on my shoulders, earned a nice rash on my palm and nearly ripped a nail off. Amelia was grouchy until I let her carry and use my camera. She took a slew of pretty amazing photos. Half the photos above are the ones she took! Evelyn barely made it down the hike, her doll was too heavy, I stuck her doll down her shirt which she thought was pretty silly. It was a nice day to hike. We enjoyed some Greek gyros for lunch since it was well after 2 pm by the time we finished hiking. After hiking the kids willingly helped clean the house. Amelia is terrible when it comes time to clean. Amelia and Justin butt heads to the point of shouting matches and slammed doors. My new approach is to give her an assignment then a time limit, if the job is not done she earns a consequence. She is left alone to do her chore(s). The boys need and want more supervision so we have them working separately for our cranky pre-teen. We pulled names for a family gift exchange. (Dad:Everett, Mom:Phillip, Mia:Josie, Phillip:Amelia, Everett:Evelyn, Evelyn:Mom, Josie:Dad). We headed to Walmart so we could choose gifts for one another. The kids love this little tradition.

Sunday we had a lovely meeting with several musical numbers by the choir, men's chorus, women's chorus, piano performance, and violin performance. Amelia and I sang with the choir. This year we sang a new song, One More Voice. It is a very pretty song. Justin barely had a chance to focus and enjoy the meeting with both Amelia and I sitting in the stands. Ha ha ha. We had a lovely family dinner at the Chandler Call's new home. Kenny, Charity, Mason, and Reagan made the LONG trek from Bountiful to Chandler. So much noise! Such a lovely chaos of family and friends. Mason is now in his senior year of HS, Reagan is in 8th grade. Both cousins are now big, serious teenagers. Evelyn is quite taken with Reagan, she decided Reagan is her newest best friend. Aunt Chi-Chi is always the favorite.

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