07 May 2018

Phoenix Zoo, Skateland, Pudding Fight, New Pool


The teacher's strike was a good chance for us to try out summer vacation. It was a wake up call for me that summer is coming and I need a game plan or else all the kids will do is play on devices. Brrrrrring! Wake up! Ok, I'm getting my game face ready. Summer will be here in 13 school days. Monday we stayed home so I could work most of the day on the senior session for Savannah. As I worked I watched some more Meg Bitton editing videos. I am switching from using actions to really hand-working all my images. It makes the process more interesting and involved. I monitored the draining pool all day, moving the hose so one particular are would not flood. The kids were soooooo bored after lunch I let them swim in the remaining water (which was still above knee height). The water was just under Evelyn's chin! Those kids had the best time playing shark and minnow. Most of the day we relaxed, worked on laundry, cleaned a bit, and participated in ballet/diving lessons. Our FHE lesson focused on water safety. Amelia wrote down all our POOL RULES as acting secretary.

The forecast predicted temperatures in the low 70's for Tuesday. I was sure we missed our chance to visit the zoo until after Thanksgiving. We used our POGO passes for the first time to tour the zoo. The Chandler Calls met up with us at the Bobcat enclosure. While we were at the vulture enclosure the keepers threw out two dead rabbits for the birds to feast on. The kids were morbidly fascinated, Josie started crying about the poor bunnies! When the birds started to wing fight over the remains Josie was so startled her eyes got huge and she yelled, "STOP IT!" then cried again. Amelia was quite excited the wolves and Cheetah's were visible this time. Laura is totally brilliant, to keep the younger kids engaged and moving she held quarter challenges every so often. Each kid had a chance to earn at least one quarter doing things like spotting certain animals, hopping, freezing still, etc. Genius. Phillip and Anson were joined at the hip having such a splendid time. Those two boys are peas in a pod. Evelyn's favorite part was finding a Bustard bird, she laughed that the bird had the same name as the bustard she uses on her mayonnaise and turkey sandwiches. We ate a picnic lunch near a bird lagoon and lake. The kids cooled off in a really cute splash pad area afterward. Josie is so silly when she gets near a splash pad, she totally digs the spraying water. Josie was quite upset a bird stole her chocolate sandwich from her lap! We did not last too much longer after lunch. Laura showed us a treehouse play area we enjoyed for the last moments of our visit. Anna and Amelia were so funny to watch, wanting to be kids but trying to be grown up at the same time. Josie had to blow poo out of her diaper as well. Thank goodness for towels and her swimsuit to change into. I am still so happy we could go and spend time there on a gorgeous day. Each day we got an email from the district suspending school for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Wednesday I was so tired there was no way we were going to play outside of our home. Come afternoon the kids started fighting and getting restless. I whipped up 8 boxes of pudding so the kids could have a food fight outside. Everett helped me spread out a plastic tarp to minimize the damage. The chocolate pudding looked disgusting. Soon the kids were covered with pudding and throwing it at each other. Amelia drew pictures on Phillip's back. Josie thought the activity was not a good idea, getting smeared with cold pudding was not her thing. Amelia, Phillip, and Evelyn had the most fun. I really enjoyed spraying off the kids with the hose! Yeah! Amelia started crying before we got to diving lessons. She finally told me the last time she got a really bad water burn and scared from learning to dive backwards. I can totally relate to feeling scared about entering the water in a back dive. I walked her in and she agreed to try front dives until her confidence was boosted again. Later that night Everett walked up to me complaining of a belly ache. He lifted up his shirt to show me a bright red belly earned from not one, two, or even three belly flops but FOUR!

The kids finished their morning chores quick as a flash Thursday morning. We headed out for a morning of fun at Skateland. Amelia and Phillip brought their roller blades to use. Even Josie got a pair of adjustable skates to try out. She did pretty good on the carpet. I rented two "skate mates" for Everett and Evelyn. The mates seemed to hinder the kids more than help them learn. Next time I will not rent any. I've not skated in many, many years so it was quite nostalgic to get on the rink floor. There's nothing quite like the stale breeze kicked up from skating fast trying to avoid collisions. Amelia and Phillip loved the entire experience. We even earned some tickets from the arcade to buy cheap toys and treats. Amelia looked so cute in her unicorn helmet as she zoomed around and around. All the kids thought the dark out and black light time was pretty cool. Phillip commented that he got distracted because of the flashing lights, it was hard for him to skate. Justin stocked up on 2x6 lengths of wood to prop up the pool under the areas that needed it.

The kids went back to school on Friday. Maybe you can imagine what our home looked like, maybe not. The clean/friend matrix reveals the status of our house: only the best of friends could come over because it was a right awful mess. Just a few hours alone sorted out the biggest messes. Felt good to get things dusted and the kitchen set to rights.  After work Justin finished leveling off the pool and he started to fill it again. Yay! Josie donned a pair of pink goggles that made her eyes look so funny. She made pig noises and told us she was a special pig, goggles. Justin started watching the most horrid cartoon series from the 80s, it seriously makes me want to gag. Now he probably watches it just to annoy me. The animation is so glitchy and bare, the screen plays are even worse, sort of like the Power Ranger show from when it first started and Pokemon. Just terrible. Phillip was delighted Friday was "MAY the 4th be with you!" He insisted on watching an episode of Star Wars. Amelia painted light sabers on the older kid's cheeks and a rainbow for Josie. Phillip watched the movie wearing a Darth Vader shirt and a helmet.

Saturday dawned hot, the three cool days we enjoyed evaporated quickly. Justin installed the pool filter and had it going before 10:30. He added some chlorine and the pool chlorine floater. Just had to wait for the pool to filter through a cycle before we could try it out. Amelia painted BYU themed art on the kid's cheeks with our face painting set. She is getting really good! Josie smeared her rainbow several times, until I drew a heart on her forehead...which she immediately smeared. We headed to Mesa for BYUfest Arizona. It was scheduled for the worst time of day, at o'hot hundred. We got to meet the head BYU football coach, throw some footballs at targets, run through a football obstacle course, and wait in lines. We barely made it halfway around the park before giving up. The lure of splashing water was too great, the cool water felt amazing! Josie ripped off her shirt and tried to take the rest off but finally gave up when I repeatedly pulled her diaper and shorts back up. Her blue heart face paint smeared making her look like a happy Celtic baby dancing in the water. We went to a nearby authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch, gotta celebrate Cinco de Mayo properly! Best Mexican food I've had in a long while! Justin tried the Sonoran hotdog, a nod to a spicy topped hot dog. Yum. The boys cleaned off their entire plates of enchiladas, beans, and rice. Josie used all my rice, half went on the floor, half in her belly, and half on the table. We headed to Home Depot with all the kids. One guy casually stated, "You've got your hands full." Nah, just wait until we get to 10 kids then our hands will be full. Snarky! After dinner we christened the new pool. Justin had all the kids jumping and hooting to his demands. Justin insisted on being the first in the pool. He made a huge back splash that spilled onto the sidewalk outside the fence! Phillip's face was priceless. Even more priceless were the expressions on Josie's face when I popped into the water. Pure terror and fear graced that child's face. She started shaking uncontrollably soon after, from cold or fright or both. Amelia later saw the photos and almost wet her pants from laughing...me too! Mia squeezed into her mermaid tail ensemble for the first time. She used the monofin last year but not the mermaid skin since her scar was newly opened from surgery. We played until well-past nightfall.

Amelia wore her rainbow beanie boo slippers to church on accident. She did not notice the faux pas until we exited the van. She was soooooooo embarrassed. That girl slunk into church trying to make her maxi dress cover her slippers. After the sacrament we hurried home for her to change. The Chandler Calls came over for dinner to celebrate Amelia, Everett, and Gary's birthdays! We ate tacos, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, and a bit of shrimp. Yum. Laura made delicious cheesecake bites for the birthday kids. We neglected to clean up the clutter before they arrived. Yikes, looked like normal everyday mess. Guess our secret is out, we are sort of cluttered. Time for me to sort through stuff and make a Goodwill donation.

Evelyn stuck her 28th sticker onto her "Sleep in your own bed" chart Monday morning. It was a day for celebration. She waited all weekend to finish her chart and earn the Barbie makeup set she chose. Every now and again I'll find her parked in front of the mirror making her face look "spooky" as she calls it! The amount of pink and purple on her eyes and cheeks is a touch spooky. She is continuing the trend and doing well sleeping in her bed and staying there until Amelia wakes up.