29 August 2019

Phillip's Birthday

We are now proud owners of two sexy air conditioners. The pair of them just make me want to tear up and cry with joy. Now....to get the upstairs restored. The company we are using is pushing us back and making it hard to get this sewed up. The loan people are breathing down our necks wanting to close the loan but can't until the new work and units are inspected. You can only imagine my dismay when on Saturday I noticed the ceiling leaking, rapidly leaking. I called AirFit over to come take a look. They had rigged up the units to code but apparently the extra PVC vent (not to code) was there for a reason, the correct set up leaked. He sucked out 6 gallons of water from the ceiling unit before rerouting the water vent. It seems to be jolly good now. Andrew said he'll come back in the winter and figure out why the proper vent is not working.

I went to Big Lots this week to find a gift for Evelyn. She wanted a very specific gift and the last time I saw the item was at Big Lots. No luck, but I did score some summer clearance items! The kids went crazy over "The Blob." We made one several years ago, this one cost less ($5) and was much more durable. I was surprised it lasted one session, even more surprised it survived 10 active boys during a birthday party. Josie was keen on using some cute sprinklers she spotted also in the clearance aisle. We quite enjoyed several water parties the latter portion of our week. The lawn is finally perking up after a good soaking! I enjoyed the kids enjoying "The Blob." Amelia finished her homework in time to play for an hour, she was grateful for the diversion. I love that she can still play like a kid.

Josie decided using the potty for number two was overrated. After her bout of constipation she refuses to poop in the toilet. I started sneaking Miralax and Fiber into her beloved pink milk. I have to be careful when I give her the doctored milk. She's now regular but regular in her undies. I rejoiced prematurely! Guess potty training is not as easy this time. We're just rolling with the punches. The first day I got to use my gym pass she pooped in her undies while in the kid's corner, after just 20 minutes. I've done more laundry this past week than I care to admit. Josie REALLY wants an Elsa baby doll. Mmmmm, bribery? Yes! Let's see if she takes the bait and earns a thrifted baby doll.

Friday Josie and I enjoyed birthday treats with Phillip at school! We joined his class for morning recess. Boy, it was stifling hot outside, over 105 at 10 am. Phillip was so pleased to show Josie around the play area and spend time with her. That kid can really smile, he just beams when he's happy. After school the boys came home bringing Conner, Ronald, Jacob, and Ryan over to play until Phillip's party. I spent the morning cleaning as swiftly as possible. Phillip wanted a late-over with his best friends over. He let Everett invite three friends so that Everett would not feel left out! His generosity always touches my heart. By 5 pm we had lots of rowdy boys over to play on the Blob and in the pool. Phillip invited: Ryan, Ronald, Anson, Jacob, Owen, Conner, Xavier, and AJ! The boys were having a great time playing for several hours. We had some pizza for dinner. One of the boys came up with the brilliant idea to smash sealed soda cans on the rocks making a fun explosion. They got away with smashing 5 cans before I noticed what was going on. Phillip wanted a Costco cheesecake for his cake, yum. Phillip could not just blow out his candles, he did this weird "Mummy" breath action with his mouth wide open. Josie wanted a birthday too so the little girls took turns shoving candles into their ice cream. After gifts the boys settled down to watch Detective Pikachu. The party ended around 9:45 as friends trickled home. Anson got to stay the night, so FUN. Phillip got two Pikachu lego sets, so he gave a set to Anson! What kid shares birthday gifts? What a kid.

Justin dug more trenches to replace 50 ft of sprinkler line on Saturday. That is brutal hot work during the summer. Justin spent a lovely afternoon with the girls at a church sponsored Daddy-Daughter date. I helped set up a photo booth so got to see some of the fun action. The kids got to paint nails (yes, Justin came home with pink nails), shave Dad's face, play games, and other fun activities. The boys and I enjoyed a lunch at Cafe Rio then some birthday shopping for Phillip. Towards evening Phillip, Evelyn, and I braved Nichols park in the humid heat and infestation of mosquitoes for birthday photos. We only lasted 20 minutes or so, the bug spray was not effective. I went to a gardening class taught by a master gardener. Mostly, I learned that gardening here is tough, mostly a September-April affair. The citrus trees sold around here are not proper for the area, the bog box stores use the wrong root (sweet citrus) instead of the hardier sour citrus root. That means most trees die after about 10 years. The soil is also very alkaline so composting is crucial. Most trees need iron to release the fertilizer. How fun would it be to plant a Pecan tree?!  Amelia shaved her logs for the first time. I hate shaving, but the torture of woman kind continues. The peer pressure! She did a good job. I shaved most of one leg so she could watch how to hold the razor and how much pressure to apply. She got one small knick, not bad for her first shaving experience. I laughed over her reaction, those smooth legs are quite lovely!

Phillip finally turned 10 on Sunday! He was so excited. Amelia made chocolate chip pancakes as her gift to him. He got to sit by me up on the stand while I lead music. He got to open one present to tide him over until the evening. Phillip requested tacos for dinner. He was delighted with his gifts: a Lego Avengers set, Optimus Prime 44-step transformer, BeyBlade Stadium, and a Dino Smashers Egg. I about died laughing when he literally smashed the dino egg with his fists. His response was, "Mom! Aren't you glad I can actually smash this toy and not break it?! This is the best gift for me because I love to smash." We sure love our Phillip boy.

20 August 2019

Regular Week

We are sleeping in our own beds! Finally! Took 4 weeks almost to the day for the upstairs air conditioning issue to resolve. Our neighbor and his team did an excellent, professional job installing the unit. It was a beast to install, took the guys about 10 hours of labor to shove that condenser into the right place up the attic. They were grateful for the hole in the ceiling, if the hole was not there they would've made one! Our thermostat is upgraded to a fancy Nest system. It is sleek and we can adjust it with our phones remotely. I felt so bad for those guys sweating their bums off in that furnace of an attic. Josie and I spent half the morning at Walmart shopping just to be out of the way. Josie slept through quite a bit of noise during her nap, she sure loves her afternoon naps. Blessed cool air poured out of the vents around 4 pm. Justin nearly chewed me out for leaving on the air during high electricity bill hours, but I really wanted to sleep in my own bed so just left the air running in spite of the cost, we had to save money for the 4 weeks it was off right? I laughed when I saw the new unit compared to the old one. We went big and awesome! Not really, the rebates from the electric company more than made up for the Seer rating we got. While the guys slaved away, I slaved away on the weekly mountain of laundry and typical household chores I love so much. Ironically, we did not sleep well that first night in our real beds! Guess we got used to the inconvenience of floor sleeping!

Everett finally cooked a hot dog in his third solar oven, in fact his new favorite snack is hot dogs if he remembers to cook it an hour before he's actually hungry. The boys are totally into Beyblades now, Anson and Gary introduced them to the rules and game play. Phillip and Everett spent their allowance money this month on several new Beyblades. We hear the words of "Let it RIP!" echoing off our walls now when the boys are home. Everett was obsessed with getting a Genesis Voltryek because it has the highest ratings in all battle attributes (endurance, battle, performance, energy, etc). Everett found the cheapest one (with my help) on Walmart.com, we ordered it and he payed me. Waiting the 5 days til delivery was torture. Simply put, the game is played with two gyros bouncing off each other in a battle.

Josie regressed with her potty training. She's constipated something fierce, her poops hurt too much because she holds them in. It feels better to her when she poops standing up?? In a corner?! She is doing fine with pee so that's good. I backed off of the potty treats this past week and did not remind her as often. She does the potty dance and often recognizes when she needs to pee. A couple of times she half peed her pants but made the rest in the potty. After Phillip pooping in the heat registers and all over the house, a couple accidents here and there seem like no problem at all. She was thrilled to pick out some undies I found in clearance (yes! Those panties are so expensive).

One day we went to Target for the kids to spend some allowance money on toys. Josie had her heart set on a Minnie Mouse purse. I told her she just got a new baby doll so no purse set. Ooooo The tantrum. It was epic. Folks were staring, I waved and said, "she's three, pay no mind." At home Josie took her new Cry Baby and threw it down the stairs. She yelled, "I hate you Cry Baby, stupid toy, I don't want you anymore, I love Minnie now." Oh fickle toddlers. The new baby did leak something fierce so Josie and I took the doll back to Walmart as a return. She slammed the doll on the counter, "I hate this baby." Whelp, we all tried hard not to laugh over her little feelings. A few minutes later she was skipping down to the check out kissing the package of the Minnie Purse set. All is right in her little world.

Amelia surprised me with a cute little fox she made with GCA's 3-D printer! She tied a green string about it's neck and made a cute little card as a late birthday gift! That was so thoughtful of her to think of me and worry about a gift. So sweet. Thursday we had some issues with Chloe distracting Mia and Zoe with her phone while the girls were studying. Amelia had to stay up past 10 doing homework because Chloe just didn't care about getting anything done while at our house. This coming week her phone is going into lock down until all homework is completed. I found a cute desk set for sale on Wednesday. We picked it up that night and set it up while Mia was at mutual. Now she has a quieter corner to study with her door closed in her room.

Friday we used our Pogo passes for an evening of play at KTR, an indoor skate and parkour park. Evelyn's school friend invited her to his birthday party so we all went along just for the heck of it. Everett was tearing up the cement this time on his scooter! He had several falls, one where he banged his knee quite hard. Neither of the boys would attempt the shallow "pool" getting over that lip is the hardest! The girls spent their time on the trampolines and playing tag on the large bouncy floor area. I wished for my younger self back, the one that could do front flips and ariels without peeing my pants or falling on my face. Justin went along for longer than I predicted! Usually, he wants to go at the first opportunity.

Saturday torture this week was cleaning the yards. Justin worked whack-a-mole on the sprinkler system for the umpteenth time this summer. The rest of us (minus Amelia, who was suffering from major muscle cramps after a hard PE lesson) cleaned up all the stuff littered about, picked up dog treats, mowed the grass, washed the play house out, and spiffed up the garden. Amelia made up for her reticence by cleaning with me in the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. Evelyn had her friend Taylor over for the afternoon. The girls spent most of the afternoon playing on the slip n'slide and watering the lawn with the hose. They had a great time with the hose and the slide.

14 August 2019

Potty Training and a Tween with a Phone

The potty training saga is going so well, I can hardly believe my luck this round. She did have one poopcident yesterday but mostly because she was so constipated she wouldn't sit down because it hurt too badly. I keep telling her to eat those fruits and veggies, they will help out so much sweet girl. After just a week I can say this little girl is trained! She even naps without a pull up and is dry most mornings. She's even acquiesced and wears undies now. Yay! She totally punked me during our Walmart trip this week. The kids ruined her potty prize by opening it as soon as I got it. At Walmart she found a cry baby doll, huge head, cries when binky is not in mouth sort of toy. She pointed doe eyes at me and said, "I'm a big girl now?!" She tries to punk me every week so this was nothing new, I caved this time.

Monday Evelyn started at the MEC (Montessori Education Center). She was a bit nervous but went right in a started playing. I don't much enjoy dropping her off and picking up all the time. I joined a carpool with two other mother's to cut down on all the driving. By mid week Evelyn was telling me she hated school, it was boring, and refused to attend school. After a short email to her teacher she had to sit out of an activity for chatting. One teacher told me Evelyn is quite the smarty pants, she scored higher than the older kids in many areas. Whelp, there went my worries. She has to take a home lunch and snacks, no sugar or nuts allowed. I'm grateful Evelyn really loves her fruits and veggies. Evelyn gets a good 30 minutes with me before we have to leave. Mornings are much more relaxed with the kids leaving at staggered times now.

I celebrated my 42nd birthday at home waiting for a tow truck to take the van to Tony's shop. Justin was sure the started was shot. The tow truck took 3 hours to arrive instead of the predicted 30 minutes, that was annoying. Course it finally came when I left to retrieve kids from school. We also got a second opinion on a new air conditioning system. The first quote we got totaled $10k per unit! Yikes. Our neighbor owns a small company so I had him give us a quote as well. His quote was $12k for BOTH units. Justin worked getting all the money in the right places. We received quite the wonderful miracle. The timing of this all lined up with our 2 year anniversary in this house, which means our house has appreciated enough where we can pull out enough equity without raising our monthly mortgage! Then the mortgage rates dropped so our payment went down $20 per month. The excess after taking out a loan is only an extra $5 per month. Talk about a large amount of money for suddenly assumed back into our house loan for only $5 more. Had we accepted the other offer I'm sure we'd pay so much more. Glad we were not in a hurry to get the unit replaced, now we're used to sleeping on the floor. Sonoma Ranch hosted a pool party that evening. The kids and I quite enjoyed a couple hours of evening swimming. Justin came for a bit then left early to take Mia home to finish her homework. She was still up past 10 working on math by the dim light of her chromebook.

Phillip finished reading 12 chapters of Harry Potter in one sitting! He spent the entire summer reading the first 12 chapters. He discovered audio books and had the great idea to reading the book words along to the audio version. He was so proud to finally read quicker than Everett. Everett is totally consumed with solar cookers. We made 4 versions of solar cookers this week trying to find the best version. We tried shoe boxes, pringles can, and pizza box styles none are actually fast cookers but take forever. The last version was the best, a variation of the shoe box with modifications. He made a can version as a school project. Now he really wants me to invest in a parabolic solar oven. Friday his class took their cookers outside to cook hot dogs in their ovens. Luck would have it that Friday was completely overcast! Some kids had condensation in their ovens but most did not. The parents ended up microwaving the food instead. Josie had a little home lunch she ate with Everett's class. Everett was so cute when we arrived. He gave Josie the sweetest hug through the fencing.

Tuesday evening I attended a very short version of Amelia's new school. I used Amelia's schedule and map to find my way around for a 10 minute visit to each class period. Amelia was worried I would not be able to find my way about! This mom is pretty good at finding my way around school campuses. It was nice to meet all of Mia's teachers and get an idea of what GCA is all about. Monday and Tuesday after school got me pretty worried about her survival, it seems extreme for a 12 year old to work like a college student. I spoke with my mom and realized I was in community college at age 14 taking general arts classes with 20-50 year olds...and getting perfect grades. I think Amelia just needs to do her math homework faster, the homework grades don't count (getting it done does), it's the tests that are graded and weighed against her grades. It's hard to believe a few months ago she was in elementary school, now she's jumped from this to THAT, a big that. I gleaned that her homework should take: 90 minutes for math, 15 for English, 20 for History, 30 for Science, 15 for Viola, and 15 for Latin each day (when they have homework), and grand total of 3 hours per day. Add in piano, YW, and just being a kid leaves not much wiggle room.

The kids got to use their library summer reading program reward on Thursday! All the kids earned a free book, state park passes, Peter Piper pizza reward, and a free basketball game. Evelyn was all over me begging to use their pizza coupon. Done! It was a good reward for all that reading. Josie used her tokens the fastest, she was done after 15 minutes. Earned herself a lollipop with her tickets. Amelia almost had to stay home but managed to finish her homework. Chloe was quite the distraction, the girls annoyed Zoe so much I had to take her home early. Amelia and Chloe were FaceTiming another friend while sitting next to each other, the feedback loop was terrible(ly) funny.

Friday night Justin took me out for a date! Wahoo! He is so thoughtful, he brings home flowers every other week! I love all the pretty colors decorating the sink bar area. We arrived just in time for our favorite sushi place, got there before the doors opened and before the rush started. Dinner was nice and quiet. We went to Verizon right after and purchased a new phone for Amelia. I had my heart set on a flip phone but those were terribly expensive. It was practically free to add a smart phone to our plan. We had quite the discussion about rules Amelia will have to follow. I had a birthday baby party to photograph so Justin tagged along! We had to wait a while, worked out well especially since I forgot the memory card. To end our date we watched Lion King, it was sort of boring, I've seen it so many times there were no surprises.

Saturday Justin got up early to get the truck and van inspected for emissions.  I started to rearrange the junk cluttering the garage. The HVAC guys needed access to the unit in the garage, so cleaning in the summer heat was unfortunately necessary. I'm not sure how the garage gets so cluttered so quickly, feels like the rest of my life. If I don't give something my utmost attention, BOOM, turn around and there's a mess. My cupboards are already cluttered again after my spring cleaning. When Justin got home we sat Amelia down. Quite sternly, Justin said: "Amelia, Mom and I talked about some serious things concerning you last night." Amelia was smiling out of nerves, so we stressed how serious the situation was. She stopped smiling until we told her about the phone, busting out our own smiles. She had to take notes on all the rules. Justin and I have an app that can remotely control her phone, turn it off, lock her out, track her phone usage, text messages, control downloads, and restrict usage of data. Pretty much turned her phone into a basic piece of nothing. She was thrilled! I'm happy to finally have a way to contact her about school pick up, ability to reach her at home when she's baby sitting, etc. Evelyn had her bestie Isla over. The girls played makeover...pretty much threw everything out of the closet! I deserved that after my years playing House and McDonalds. Evelyn is making sure her friends Taylor and Isla are still her friends. Isla's dad ordered us a pizza snack as a thank you. The kids swam most of the afternoon so the treat was much appreciated.

09 August 2019

Back to School 2019

Can I just write how grateful I am for the Come, Follow Me program? It is challenging to round up our 5 kids and study the New Testament. Half the time we're yelling, crying, complaining, etc about our time at the temple table. BUT then, you look back and see how much we've changed. I feel like I'm climbing out of an abyss. I love listening to certain podcasts, related conference talks, and simply reading the scriptures. We are learning to have discussions as a family. It is amazing.

Monday for FHE Justin gave us all Father's blessings before the first day of school. There is great comfort in watching Justin's voice and words change as he gives each blessing, those words are directed to each one of us personally. I even got a blessing! Heavenly Father loves us all so individually and deeply.

My nerves were frayed to the max after school supply shopping. Amelia and Chloe took Evelyn's list and got her stuff. I helped the boys with theirs, it was constant bombardment of "Can I get this? or That?" Evelyn was bawling because she did not want to start school, it's booooooring. Everett was mad I would loan him $40 to get a science kit (we already have one at home). The older girls were goofing off being 12 year olds with a little freedom and a phone in the shoe aisle. I drowned my nerves in plain tap water at home, wishing it was an ice cold Diet Coke. I photographed a lovely family sending off two girls for missions in Canada and NC. The kids all squabbled and teased just like a normal family.

Amanda, Chloe and Ronald's mother, invited us out to breakfast as a thank you for watching her kids quite a bit this summer. I hope we did not overwhelm her! Josie totally ignored her pancake, said it looked yucky. Mia and I ordered lemon pancakes, which were sorta good. Chloe and Ronald's dad showed up towards the end of breakfast. That was quite awkward since he recently divorced Amanda and remarried another gal in Vietnam. We are practicing getting up earlier each morning until we are getting up at 6:15-6:30 am. That's early after my summer of sleeping in until 8 am. All things come to an end. Ryan and Addison came over afterward until 1 pm while Stephanie went to college orientation. Evelyn decided she does not like Addison at all. Little stinker was screaming and yelling at poor Addison, Addison dished it right back which made Evelyn steaming mad. I found her a play date with Alta just to get her away from Addison. Amelia had taken to designing Gotcha Life outfits in her design notebooks. She's created some pretty cool outfits. I took the boys and Josie to get hair cuts before the first day. I struggle at hair cutting! Once in a while the boys need a professional cut that I try to maintain until I can't anymore. I had the stylist cut 4 inches off on Josie's head. The lady cutting her hair said Josie was the first 3 year old to actually sit and listen quietly to instructions. So proud of our big little girl. After a quick dinner we headed to Meet the Teacher night. Phillip has Mrs Nguyen for 4th grade, Everett has Mrs Sanders for 3rd, and Evelyn has Mrs Lasky for 1st grade. Seems like the kids are just following in their older siblings paths! Phillip had Mrs Sanders and Everett had Mrs Lasky! We dropped off supplies, met the teachers, I signed a bunch of papers, and got new school t-shirts for the year. I'm still considering a Montessori school for Evelyn, she was still #2 on the waiting list. As I spoke with Isla's mom about Evelyn, I got a jolt of "Yes" this is a good choice for Evelyn to stay at Sonoma Ranch.

The last day before school we spent running errands. It was raining when we got up, a nice cool monsoon rain. The kids busted out bikes, umbrellas, boxes, to play in the welcome rain. I hated that they had to cut their time short due to errands we had to get finished that morning. Everett slipped in the rain on his bike. A kind neighbor helped him back up, he was injured (sort of) when he remembered he was injured. We stopped first at a new orthodontist to check out Amelia and Everett's mouths. Everett has a narrow palate, needs braces to stretch out his bridge. Amelia, the expensive child, needs $6k worth of braces and stretchers to get her mouth fixed up. She has one tooth growing behind her front teeth! The kids were thrilled to get free slushies. Next we went to outfit the kids with new PE shoes for the year. I called the front office at GCA a couple times to figure out what shoes Amelia could wear that were in uniform code. I stepped into Bath and Body Works to treat myself to some birthday lotions, my supply of Rose scented lotion was critically low. We drove out to a uniform supply store for an order I placed, turns out it was not ready yet, so that was a wasted errand. It was lunch time and we were a good 30 minutes away from home by this time, so we took advantage of Sweet Tomatoes cheap "feed your kid" lunch. The kids were thrilled with eating at a buffet, getting seconds, thirds, and fourths. I cannot go into a buffet restaurant without remembering my brother John's famous buffet gorge session. It's famous. Right after I got Josie down for a nap, then raced off to get another mammogram. That ordeal took 3 hours of my life, two mammograms and an ultrasound just to determine my right breast has dense tissue. Welp, guess I'm still healthy and cancer free. The kids all dressed up for Harry Potter's birthday. Brooke LaBarr invited anyone over to celebrate with chocolate frogs and butter beer! So we went to celebrate in style.

Thursday morning was a race of nerves, excitement, and GAH! School! I took the kids to school that first day. We were racing out of the house by 7 am to get Mia to school. We were almost at the school when Mia went white in the face, she forgot her school map and schedule, both critical on her first day. Getting back home was a slow process with ramped up traffic around all schools. We made it home and got her back to school just moments before the first bell rang. Talk about a nerve wracking way to start Jr High. The other kids were right on time for their new 8:10 bell ring. We parked and got 1st day of school photos at the mascot and by their teacher signs on the play yard. Josie was begging for a nap already!

I made a snap decision to potty train Josie right after the kids were dropped off. We came home and the diaper came off. I've never had an easier potty trained kid. I was expecting weeks of crying, wet and dirty accidents all over my floors, etc. She did cry most of the day wanting her diapers back. I dressed her in a play dress with nothing underneath just so she could quickly sit on the potty. She mostly cried but would sit. She peed in her diaper at nap time. That girl can hold it! I offered her lots of water, milk, and yogurt drinks she loves. She finally could not hold it and peed on the garage floor after dinner. Later that evening she made a poop in the the potty!!!! Josie was quite in love with potty treats, that made it worth her while. Since then she's only had one accident. Yay!!! She hates undies so we'll see if that changes.

I had to make an after dinner run to Target to buy all of Amelia's school supplies listed on her fancy syllabus for each class. She worked on all her homework from the first day. Figuring out the new schedules is quite challenging. Amelia will catch the bus from here on out at the high school. Justin drops her off and I pick her (and Zoe, sometimes Chloe) up. Zoe and Amelia both went to see Mary Poppins for YW this week, to watch Siona and Hannah perform. The girls came home quite late but thrilled with the performance.

Friday Josie did much better with the potty. She actually used it when I told her to go sit down. I got a call from the Montessori school that Evelyn made it in on Thursday. I was all ready to send her last week but after that spiritual zing on Tuesday night that Sonoma would work I was all sorts of confused. The worst choices seem to be the ones of good vs good. Spent a chunk of time praying and sorting out the pros and cons. In the end I chose to send Evelyn to the Montessori school. It's something I think she will excel at and enjoy the atmosphere there better than a traditional classroom. After school we headed to a Meet the Teacher at MEC (Montessori Education Center) to meet Ms Nikki, Ms Lindzie, and Ms Bri her three teachers in the 4B classroom. The classroom was pretty fun with lots of colors, corners dedicated to different themes. As I was considering which direction to go Stephanie Tobler told me the best indication of success at school is a parent who cares and loves the child. Really, it does not matter where she goes in the end because she has support and love.

Saturday the boys spent a few hours outside mowing the lawns and getting the yard work in order. Amelia and I worked to get the house cleaned up inside. Evelyn got to play with her friend Taylor. I got some time alone at Goodwill "dropping off donations" wink. We celebrated my 42nd birthday with family dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Everett could not remember the name, so called OSF as the Old Noodle Factory. The kids were talking about how gross old noodles would taste, Phillip was actually a bit queasy. Amelia was convinced we were about to see pasta in the making. Josie went potty in a public toilet! Best news of the day! Dinner was quite disappointing, I think my memories of OSF were better than the reality. At least the Italian soda and spumoni were hard to mess up. Outside the restaurant we played with some large games like Chess, corn hole, Jenga, and a small splash pad. That was fun to get our wiggles out. While getting ready for bed, Justin spotted a blur of white in our bedroom. Crunchwrap was still alive! He was a hard booger to catch, he was living under our bed eating the food storage. Justin laid on the bed, I coaxed him out with a trail of food and his food bowl filled up. Justin caught him with the exercise ball. Phillip was thrilled to have his pet alive and thriving. Such a silly story. 

Sunday church and potty training went extremely well! Evelyn was so deathly afraid of public toilets I was unsure how Josie would take to using a large toilet. No problems! Now she has a pass to get out of sacrament meeting. We had Chloe with us at church. Yay. Sunday Call dinner was at the Chandler Calls. I made TWO birthday cakes for myself, it's hard to choose so make two favorites. I made lethal peppermint cake and a raspberry j-ello cake. While at the Calls I told everyone Josie had an announcement to make, I pulled up her dress to show off her new undies....except the undies were gone. Little stinker took of the undies before we left home because the wrong princess was decorating her undies. I blushed over that blunder. Good thing we all had little girls. We quite enjoy having Wendy and Tyler (plus two girls) as new family in our Sunday celebrations.

02 August 2019

End of Summer Saga

It seems like coming home from a long trip takes about the same length of the trip to recuperate. Thus, last week's post is pancaked into this week's. I've had on my mind for quite some time that I need to quit drinking diet coke (for the upteeth time, this time for good). I know it is bad for me and I can can't seem to just drink one can, I guzzle the stuff down. I'm unhappy to say that a couple weeks ago my normal daily intake was about 88 oz per day. I drank the equal amount of water but somehow that did not seem right either. I am tired, like bone tired each and every day. My body is fat, my energy hovering around the zero mark. To accomplish all that I need to each day diet coke was my energy crutch. I loved it and hated it at the same time. Come Monday, the day after we got home from Utah, I quit cold turkey. Last week was absolute misery. I could not keep my eyeballs open for 4 days, add in a raging migraine and phew, not a happy camper. Tuesday I came home from running the girls to a playdate, laid on the couch to close my eyes and slept for 3 hours solid. Now almost two weeks later I feel the same tired as before Diet Coke, but better than last week. I went in for some lab work and appears I should be a chipper normal, healthy person. My TSH levels are (.01) back in May they were .113; T3 is 28; T4 is 1.22. Sounds like gobbledygook. I was supposed to get another mammogram but drove around for an hour trying to find the place. Each time I put the address in google maps a different location showed up. Half my problem was I just wrote down the address and not the company name, so I could not call for directions. By the time I figured it all out my appointment time was over. I felt quite frustrated over that ordeal.

Highlights of last week: the kids carved Ivory soap for our Make-It Monday. Evelyn figured out water colors work quite well to stain the soap! Amelia carved the cutest little fox. Everett was the catalyst for the carving project. He gave up after realizing it is not easy to carve, not easy to whip out a perfect creation without practice.

Tuesday the younger 4 kids enjoyed a lovely evening at Pack Meeting. The Payne's hosted a water slide event in their back yard. The boys had a rip roaring time! Josie was not keen on the water for some reason, instead content to play with the other toys outside. Evelyn was making dare devil moves down the smaller slide. We ended the evening with yummy ice cream treats.

Thursday Amelia and Everett finally had their well-child visits, I missed the last one. Amelia weighed in at 110 lbs (76.7%) and 58.5 in (28.4%). Everett weighed 59 lbs (57%) and 50.25 in (42.5%). Growing like weeds! Phillip kept us entertained with a medical glove. He somehow shoved a mini can of soda in his pocket, that made us all laugh. That same day we went to BounceU for a couple hours of fun. Right away Josie crashed into a bench and earned a nasty bruise on her cheek. That put a damper on her experience. The kids had a fun game going where one of the bounce houses was a jail.

We went to a fancy pool on Friday. I called ahead and checked the website since the closing time was different. The lady said the pool closes at 8, after making the 30 minute drive down we paid entrance only to learn the pool was closing in an hour. Well, I'm glad we got an hour to swim. Everett was quite upset with me that I did not search him out, he couldn't find me to show off a new diving board trick. Josie can swim with her head fully submerged, she's quite the little fish. We have to be careful to keep the ladder out of the pool, she came close to getting in by herself this week. We got some delicious snow cones from Bahama Bucks. Phillip and Justin worked in the hot evening and morning on the sprinkler system. The game of whack-a-mole lives on.

Everett continues to dress himself, amazing us all with how he can get his clothes on so oddly. Josie looked adorable with a ballet bun and dangle earrings. We finally had a regular Temple Table lesson after several weeks off. Amelia had a tantrum (yes, Amelia), when I asked her to get actual scriptures. We were looking at the Bible Maps for our lesson. She about lost it, the parents almost lost it too. Sunday night the same spot of carpet was wet again. We dried out that spot for days. I noticed a damp spot on the carpet last week near the boy's room. It was always wet right where the boys hung their wet towels after bathing (they tend to hang towels on the ground). Sunday it became quite apparent that no amount of wet towels could provide the amount of water on the carpet. The next day the walls connecting the boy's and Amelia's rooms was showing signs of water seepage from the ceiling. We made a plumbing call on Sunday night since the leak was not apparent.

Tuesday the plumber confirmed that the leak was from the air conditioning condenser in the attic. The space is so limited that the installers had cut the pan to 3/4's of what the depth is supposed to be. The issue could be junk in the pea trap pipe, the pipes clogged, or a much worse issue like the coil. The house insurance folks sent over a restoration company (ATI) to assess and take care of the house damage. We had two guys tearing out drywall, carpet, etc until after 11 pm that night. They left with plastic securing the damaged area, a HEPA filer running, and three large fans drying out the walls. The kids did not have access to their rooms for a couple of days. That same night CrunchWrap escaped from his cage. I hired a babysitter to watch the kids while I took Amelia to new student orientation. I was told my presence was required for 3 hours, which was not the case. There was no information on the website. Instead I took myself to Goodwill for a kid-free shopping trip. Stella and the kids untaped Crunch's habitat area to put him in his ball. Later that day he popped off the lid and escaped into the mouth of Hades (aka the damaged area). I'm sure the poor guy is mummified somewhere in the upstairs. The temperatures were well over 105 up there, especially with the attic heat coming in. Phillip was quite distraught to find his pet missing. Now he is convinced I'm getting him a Chinchilla. Phillip has such a tender heart, he cried for quite some time. I hope we don't find Crunchy in his room.

We toted all our bedding downstairs for a long term stay on the floor until the air conditioning is resolved. We learned last year that process takes a long, long time. I was stressing big time because I planned on setting up the living room that evening for two newborns sessions I had scheduled for Wednesday. The first session coming at 10 am, but I had the little girls for ballet from 9-9:50 so that hour of prep was not available. Somehow I got all the stuff set up before 10, the living room was a mess of bedding and newborn stuff. Both babies were very sleepy so that helped so much. Right after the first session I ran to the Dr office for an appointment. Just checking the most recent blood work I had, showed TSH is 3.61, T4 1 and T3 2.7, more normal for a normal person. I think this time I showed quite anemic and testosterone levels quite high. I raced home to set up for the next newborn, a girl this time. She was quite tiny and very flexible, so much fun to squish her into cute poses. Papa John's made us some dinner that night. We ate our dinner at the church. The YW asked me to take glamour shots of the Beehives and Laurels! That was quite fun. I was worn out at the end of that long day. In the middle of all those sessions I had house insurance adjusters and HVAC guys working on the upstairs. The HVAC guy said the main coil is shot, the unit was improperly installed due to the limited space, and the drip pans were a 1/4 of the required size. Stupid.

Thursday ATI came and removed the plastic barriers and tape around the damaged area, the walls and floor were finally dry. It was nice to have access to the kid rooms again. We met Chloe at GCA around 9 am for Spartan Day, we picked up Mia's schedule, bought more uniforms, and paid lots of fees. The rest of our day was quite boring. I had to stay at home for numerous house visits by adjusters, workers, and such.

Saturday we went to Sunsplash for the afternoon. Ronald and Chloe came along for the day. The park does not open until 11, we were on schedule to get there around that time. We stopped at Walmart for water shoes so the kids could ride the water slides. Course they were out. We parked at then realized that Josie had no shoes either. Grrrr. So we had some lunch while I got her some shoes, found the boys water shoes as well so that was a win. The rest of our day was a fun blur of lots of water. Josie loved the wave pool, mostly because the water was quite shallow for her mermaid moves. Amelia and Chloe mostly stayed away from us only coming around for more sunscreen, food, and water. Justin and the boys loved riding all the fun slides. I finally got a turn to ride some slides while Justin stayed with Josie. Evelyn and I rode the slides 8-10 times then went around the lazy river. Once again the water was lukewarm except for one water feature that showered you with nice cool water. Josie and Evelyn loved the slides in the toddler area. Josie was done around 4:30 pm. She revived after a snuggle and food. We made it until after 8 pm! Right around 6 the park was flooded with tons of people. We had to wait in line for the wave pool due to the number of people. Lots of strange folks showed us as well, tickets went half price so the attraction was strong. I am proud nobody got a sunburn, I was especially glad since Evelyn applied sun lotion to my back. Phillip was a great big brother to Evelyn, he jumped into the pool and helped her cross the lily pad feature. Melted my heart. We were tuckered out!