29 May 2019

Everett is 8

Everett! Oh how many words can I say about this beautiful soul? He came into this world a fighter. He had to fight for his space as middle child. He had to fight for his life from day one, Phillip was a lover of Everett too. Everett has grown so much this year. His soul burns bright, he is so ready to be baptized. He knows right from wrong and gives his all to help the underdog and ensure justice is served and mercy given. He is the best helper in our family. He'll drop it all at a beck to help carry, clean, or listen. This year I quite enjoyed watching his love of piano grow. He really loves to practice the songs until each one becomes his new favorite. Like all kids he has his moments, but often all he needs is a hug and some time alone.

Everett loves, loves, loves to read books. He's even read the first two books in the Book of Mormon! This kid has a talent, he can make sound effects and live in his own secret world protecting the universe from evil. Anything can become a portal, weapon, or warp into something else. Earlier this year I caught him writhing between two hoses. I asked what was going on, "Oh nothing mom, I'm just escaping from a black hole, the hoses are time portals." Well, that's exactly what I was thinking. He is my fair guy, things need to be fair in his world. He could be a justice keeper. We love those sparking brown eyes and polished smile. What a kid. Can't wait for June 8th!

**Well-child stats (taken in August) 59 lbs (57%) and 50.25 inches (42.5%)

28 May 2019

Schools OUT! Everett turns 8

The last week of school is always ever so exciting! The kids get to do fun activities, have parties, and clean up their classrooms. We started out the week with the van in the shop to get fixed. The wheel bearing was clearly bad, made so much noise I could not think while driving. Also took it in for the doors to get fixed. We were without the van until Friday. For once I was grateful for the truck. It was enough to get us from here to there for the week. I do hate parking that beast, it's turn radius is terrible.

Amelia's ALP teacher let the kids organize a reader's theater for the first time in over 4 years! The kids finished all their work a full week early. The kids in Amelia's group organized a group text to coordinate costumes and props. Oh my gracious, my phone was blowing up with texts at all the odd hours of the evening, night, and morning before school. The main texted items were strange memes and animated stickers. Justin and I went on a date and in less than 10 minutes I had 96 unread texts. After the theater I asked to be removed from the group chat. Ha ha. Josie, Gabi, and I went to see the kids perform on Tuesday. Their group had a really funny variation of Sleeping Beauty...who could only be woken with a handshake. It was quite clever. That afternoon was crazy busy. I had to pick up some old barnwood at 5 pm from a guy 20 minutes north of us. The kids helped me tote wood over to the truck.

Wednesday morning Josie and I brought over 2 dozen doughnuts for morning snack to celebrate Everett's birthday! He was thrilled to see us in his classroom. Josie was over the moon to play at the playground after her doughnut. She had quite a crowd of kids following her about, much to her delight. Everett passed out treats to his classmates after a rousing birthday song. After school I caught Evelyn recreating the ladybug life cycle with the props she made in class. She even had her wings on! After dinner we headed to her school. Mrs Norton organized her own graduation ceremony for the kids in her class! So sweet! The kids picked up beehives they crafted, a jar of real honey, and were awarded a certificate. Mrs Norton dished out lots of hugs and poses for photos. We even got a bit of graduation cake and ice cream. She is the best! The boys quite enjoyed pizza parties for lunch that same day. Amelia's class celebrated with a potluck party. Amelia helped me make macaroni salad.

Thursday we were at the school by 8 am to take last day of school photos. The kids wandered to the playground next door until the school gates opened. I had a Dr appointment with the cardiologist at 8:35 am, so had to rush around in order to be there on time. Seems like my thyroid is causing my heart palpitations. The Dr I saw last week called to say I need to stop my thyroid meds, my levels were sky high! It felt silly to continue with the cardiologist but it's best to get a baseline and reading of my heart now. I've always had low blood pressure and excellent heart rate so that's not an issue. Next month I get to wear a heart monitor for 4 weeks, blech and get a long EEG. I laughed when the Dr told me to eat a pickle everyday to help with water retention. Josie and Gabi spent a lovely hour at the park. Josie toted her baby doll along to play with, she sent the doll down the slide 40 times in a row. Those quad muscles got quite the workout! We headed to the school at noon. Amelia was walking the halls with all the other 6th graders, their "graduation" walk out of elementary school. So many tears! Poor Everett was bawling, he loves his teachers and friends. Amelia took the little phone with her to take photos of all her friends. So many selfies! We brought home Chloe and Ronald with us, stuffed everyone into the truck, quite illegally. A little while after lunch Brooklyn and Isla both came over to play for the afternoon as well. Gabi stayed until 3 while she napped. Our house was very full! During family devotional Everett was asked to read Matthew 22:34. He read, "But when the parasites (Pharisees) had heard..." We corrected the pronunciation and he reflected, Pharasites. Close enough little guy! From what we read the Pharisees were Parasites. We quite enjoyed the comic relief. Everett inherited my talent for mis-pronouncing words. I used to say Mormon Table Knacker choir. The other day he asked me to get his medicine in the "ya-know hinge" (syringe). Amelia and I got to shop for swimwear! Wahoo girls outing. I needed new swim bottoms before our beach trip, don't want to lost me drawers again in the ocean. That was traumatic. Amelia needed a full suit for girl's camp.

The girls had dental appointments the first day of summer break! Way to celebrate right? Evelyn has a cavity, she is terrified. I about dropped my teeth when I saw the bill for sealants and the cavity work. I decided against the sealants for now, only $35 per tooth but the added office bills per tooth brought the total up to $100 per tooth per sealant. Yikes. I'm getting a second opinion. I toured a charter school close to our home, trying to find another option for Evelyn this coming school year. The boys got to play with Ryan for the day. They enjoyed some Roblox time, lots of outside time, swimming, and ended with an hour of Lego play. Brother Broughton helped schlep me over to the car shop to retrieve the van. It cost $800 just for parts to fix the van doors, the cable system was failing, a known defect in the van. I was not happy to pay the large bill, but what do you do? The door were rubbing holes in the side panels. The wheel sounds so much better. We all spent several moments of silence enjoying the quiet. I was quite happy to food shop in the afternoon with Evelyn, Amelia held down the fort while Josie napped. We watched How to Train Your Dragon 3 as a family that night. I made stovetop popcorn with coconut oil, only way to eat popcorn if you ask me.

Saturday dawned bright and early. Evelyn poked her head into my room at 6 am to tell me she was all ready for the pool party. Phillip bopped in soon afterward to tell me his bed smelled funny. Evelyn came back in frustrated because eeny meenie miney mo was not delivering the correctly desired swimsuit to her satisfaction. Everett freaked me out a while later, I rolled over to find him staring at me, waiting for me to feel his intense gaze. He wanted to know how long he had to wait until 7:30. Never a dull moment, especially on the only morning I can sleep in. We cleaned like champs! Amelia isolated herself in the kid bathroom and worked some magic. I helped clean the upstairs, my bathroom included. Phillip and I cleaned out crunchwrap's smelly cage. Justin took the bull by the proverbial horns and tackled the kitchen! Yass, Boss! I'll take that. Everett was highly motivated to clean since we were headed out to celebrate his birthday with a much requested lunch at Morenos. We love to celebrate Everett. That kid is such a great helper. Josie bounced awake from her nap, exclaiming, "It's Pool Party Time, NOW?" Yes, it's time. Spenser and Laura hosted a pool party at their home! Raquel, Scot, Emma, and Elijah made the trek down from Logan, UT for the weekend. We were so happy to see them all. Evelyn worked on her swimming skills with help from Aunt Laura. Everett brought along three new water guns he got early for his birthday. The boys watered every inch of the patio. I laughed as the boys stood around an air mattress and filled the spaces with water from the guns. Phillip went swimming with a bucket, he was trying to capture air inside so he could survive on the pool bottom. No one would push him down that far to test his hypothesis. After dinner we headed to the American Ninja parkour park. Josie amazed us with her climbing skills. She really is half monkey. Amelia, Phillip, Everett, and Evelyn all impressed Laura with the length of time they spent in the water, apparently her kids last between 20-30 minutes. My kids can last a couple hours, it's quite amazing. I've given birth to mer-monkies.

Sunday! Best day of the week for Everett. He finally turned the significant age of EIGHT. He finally got to wear his entire spiffy suit to church with his new set of scriptures. He quite enjoyed the spotlight. He got to sit with me up in the stand while I conducted music. During the sacrament break he wanted to know the exact time he was born. I relayed the information, 4:20 pm. He quite adamantly requested to open his gifts right at 4:20 pm, the moment of his birth. We missed the moment by a few minutes but he did indeed get his gifts around 4:30 pm. I hid his gifts around the house and made him hunt for them. He got 400 water balloons, a Lego Movie Maker set, the water guns, the suit, and scriptures. Quite the haul. For his birthday dinner Everett chose fish tacos with lime coleslaw. I made a chocolate bundt cake and a lemon bundt cake. We expected to have Spenser's family and Raquel's family over for dinner and cake. They both cancelled since Raquel and family headed home around 3 pm. We loved seeing them at our home shortly before they headed back. Thankfully, Everett's best friend Owen Russo (and family) were able to come over for cake and ice cream.

19 May 2019

End of School Looms Large

I left a Utah spring for Arizona summer! Actually, in all honesty it was quite balmy in Arizona when I arrived home. The next day however...those mild temps blasted up to 100. The kids are swimming most days after school since there is no more homework. 

Monday I spent the entire day cleaning my little heart out. Well, with the exception for the trip to Walmart for ice cream and toppings. Justin and the kids tried to clean but mostly managed damage control. I busted out the dusters, broom, mop, vacuum, and cleaning sprays. Bam! I accomplished lots before the kids came home. They arrived home to threats on their lives if they so much as breathed in the clean house. The reason? It was piano recital day! Hooray! We had lots of folks over to watch their cute little ones perform memorized piano masterpieces. Amelia typed out a handout for me. This time each child played 2 songs each. Amelia and I kicked it off with a rendition of Music Box from Rigoletto. Everett smashed his performance of Lemonade Stand and Supercalifragili-sticexpialidocious. Phillip played wonderfully Donkeys Love Carrots and Star Wars Main Theme. I love how their personalities shine through the music chosen. After the recital the kids pounded ice cream topped with loads of sugar. One parent gave me the stink eye for serving sugar after 6 pm. I wonder if she knows about the candy her daughter earns each week? I'm happy that's over until Christmas time. 

Tuesday the house was back to it's cluttered glory. I'd be an angry mom all the time if I wanted to keep the house perfectly clean. I'd probably get rid of the kids and Justin to do it....good thing my standards are relaxed. I got to photograph a sweet little baby girl, born after three big brothers the youngest of whom is now in 9th grade. I bet she is spoiled with lots of love. After the session I finally cleaned the garage mess by putting away my studio stuff to make room for the van. It's too hot for parking outside in the sun all day. Josie played with dress ups while I worked. I loved the warrior pig with a sword ensemble she put together. 

Everett is one step closer to getting baptized! He had his Bishop's interview with Justin and I in attendance Tuesday evening. He tried so hard to look dapper, that rumpled collar just added to his charm. I quite enjoyed witnessing his interview as Bishop ascertained Everett's worthiness and intent. Everett is the best, such a sweet kid, wanting to try his hardest. We are so proud of Everett's progress the past few months as he's prepared himself. He's nearly halfway through the Book of Mormon. 

After his interview I picked up Isla and Brooklyn so we could support a school fundraiser at 212 Ice Cream studio. Somehow I managed to drop my phone between the ordering counter and the ice cream freezer. Josie was small enough to crawl behind and retrieve it once the freezer was pulled out a bit. Ordering for 8 people is stressful. I managed to make only 2 mistakes, ate one of them. Ha ha. I was not impressed with the ice cream, regular stuff you can get at Walmart. The kids loved using plastic shovels to eat their treat with. 

Wednesday morning Josie had her final ballet/tap class then a short recital. She was NOT happy I made her stay, cried for quite a bit. She managed to pull out her smile for the recital bit. Ballet recitals at that age are like herding cats. Hilarious and darling. She earned her sticker chart and a chocolate cookie for her efforts. Mia competed in a district math competition! Seemed like she enjoyed herself. 

Everett is selling oil pastel art drawings for $3 per sheet. He worked hard one afternoon and whipped out 4 drawings to sell for profit. He has a bright future as an artist. Let me know if you are interested.

Amelia and Chloe plus friends performed in the last strings recital in elementary school on Thursday. We had quite the fun time before the recital choosing outfits and fixing hair. I really need to brush up on my dutch braid skills. Sounds idyllic, in reality we were rushed since I had piano students coming and going. Everett came down with strep so he was down for the count with a high fever and aches. We made it to the recital with time to spare, only for me to realize I forgot a memory card...back home in a rush to get one. Everett was still on the couch with pink cheeks. Back to the recital. Listened to screeching instruments warbling their way through sheets of music. The looks on the kid's faces was priceless! So proud of my girl(s). Justin made it a few minutes before the music started. Ronald and Phillip made green finger spikes using recital program papers. I made them sit near the doors so their paper rustling would not disturb the performers. After the recital I rushed off to take Everett to the pediatrician, confirmed strep, got antibiotics.

Got my food shopping done with Everett's help this week. He navigated the list for me, actually cutting the time in half. Good job buddy! Justin and I enjoyed a much needed date. We dined on Sushi for dinner. I'm in love with sushi with thin slices of lemon on top. Swoon. We finally got to watch Avengers End Game. I wished it inspired me more, mostly it felt slow. BUT...I did feel quite relieved to have the story tied up with a bow in the end.

Saturday we worked for a bit to clean up clutter. Amelia was extra cranky after babysitting until 11 pm. She moaned and was sassy to her siblings. I picked up that great big girl and rocked her like a baby for 5 minutes. She somehow turned into a normal kid after a big hug. All it takes is LOVE. Justin worked whack-a-mole with the sprinkler system. The girls went out to enjoy pedicures at the salon Chloe's dad works at. Josie smeared my polish not 5 minutes after leaving the salon, she stepped on my toes. Boo hoo. I went back later to get the polish fixed. It smeared again even when I was super careful, must've chosen an old bottle of polish. Justin took the boys to Walmart so Everett could look around for birthday present wishes. Our fun Roman Catholic neighbors are moving. They gave us their garage fridge! YAYAYAYAYAY. We are loving the bits of extra room, our fridge is always jammed packed with milk and eggs taking up lots of space. Free-o-hundred baby.

I'm falling apart. Literally. My heart is giving my grief. It skips a beat at least once every 5 minutes. Regular beats...then giant thud to catch up the missed beat. I've had an arrhythmia for many, many years. It's getting worse and more noticeable. I had a 30 second scan, my heart skipped twice. Could be nothing, just making sure. My forearm is killing me. I have absolutely no strength in my right arm now. That same arm was acting up when Amelia was born (it seized up terribly), when I was pregnant with Everett (lost use of that arm for months and months), and recently. The doctor administered a steroid shot to that tendon, hoping it will calm down. It is feeling much less irritated after 3 days. Just as a parting thought I asked the Dr if she could take over the medications I get from Envoque. She said absolutely! I asked about switching me to armor thyroid, she perked up and wrote out a request. Hot dang! I've tried to get armor thyroid for years now! Probably I just need to lose weight and all my health problems will go away. On to adventures wearing a heart monitor. Let's see what this week brings. I hate to complain, I don't want to end up a sour old hag complaining about bad health. Let's get this fixed stat.

We had a nice Come Follow Me lesson this evening on Zaccheaus in the Sycamore tree and learned about the hypocrisy parables. We've renamed our kitchen table to the "Temple Table" when we are doing our lessons.

**Everett can even turn his pants pockets into weapons. He's fancy.