27 December 2020
Posted by Jenni Call at 7:49 PM
20 December 2020
Posted by Jenni Call at 5:19 PM
16 December 2020
We tried very hard this week to get schoolwork done so the next week the kids could start Christmas Break early. The boys really strapped down and got their workbooks done, their math, and finished their research papers! Whoop, whoop! Evelyn is improving with her reading skills everyday. It's a relief to make some progress.
My main goal was to get all my Christmas cards mailed out last week. I was joined by Josie, Everett, and Amelia. We put on a Christmas Pandora station while we stuffed, licked, closed, and stickered through a pile of 165 cards. We need to stop moving, my list gets longer with each move. All the letters made it to the post office by Wednesday afternoon! Amelia wrote Santa a letter because I told her Santa won't bring ornery 13 year olds gifts without a written letter. Santa wrote her back! LOL! I'm still laughing. The kids all got a fun letter from Santa's workshop. Josie stuffed random stapled pieces of paper with scribbles outlining her Christmas list in the mailbox for a week straight. The Nelves finally got the hint and put a treat in the box for her. She was thrilled.
Friday we had PE at the church gym for a couple hours. Sara set up stations the kids rotated through like soccer, jump rope, yoga, jumping jacks, etc. We did that long enough to satisfy the requirements for homeschool submissions (aka take photos as proof). The next hour we played basketball and pacman chase. Josie opted out of chase to channel her inner yogi. That was a really fun morning. We cleaned up the house before the PE activity so it would be ready for our painting class. To keep the inside tidy I treated the kids to McDonald's for lunch. The boys were absolutely giddy to try the McRib, they voted a unanimous yes. Mia texted Justin so he also had a McRib for lunch out in Eagle, ID. Blech. Aunt Fawn taught us how to paint the cutest snowman. She was so efficient! Got here early, set everything up in a jiffy and had the kids painting like little angels. Phillip's inner Van Gogh emerged once he started painting the carrot nose. He went for a split nose effect with half the face going south and the other half north. We all agreed his snowman would not be the one we wanted to meet late at night. He got quite a laugh over how creepy his creation turned out. Josie loved using the hair dryer more than painting. Everett and Evelyn were so careful to follow all the directions and each painted cute versions. Amelia had Clare and Fallon over to join in the fun.
Justin and I took the evening off for Christmas shopping. I had a hankering for Indian food, I found a place in Boise to try out. Good Indian food is the best comfort food! Yum. We literally ran to the mall in order to shop at Maurices in the 30 minutes we had before closing. I ripped through the store and found a couple cute shirts! I like this clothes shopping tradition, second year in the making. We wandered around Macys then Kohls since those stores had longer hours. Justin found some comfy work-at-home apparel. I found a couple more shirts. We had a good talk about a book Garrett wanted us to read called Attached. Basically, the book takes child attachment theory and links it to adults. Pretty much we all have attachments that are stable...and plastic. I am not feeling very confident in the book's premise. Doesn't leave much room for change, basically we have to fight against our natural attachments or end our current relationships (if a couple is having troubles). Still, it does explain quite plainly how the attachment styles Justin and I have (anxious, avoidant) are difficult in relationships.
Everett experimented with making the strongest bridge he could using popsicle sticks. His final version could hold about 30 pounds! He was thrilled about that. The boys are also learning to knit on a circular loom. Phillip got to use the loom first but was kind enough to let Everett try. I got another loom. I am working on crocheting winter hats. I can't get the dang pattern sizing correct, had to rework the same hat like 5 times. The boys wanted to make their own hats, thus the loom.
Our Nelves keep surprising the kids with knocks, jingle bells, door rings, little gifts, and even candy on occasion. The Nelves left the kids cute baby Yoda figures to decorate their computers this week. Over the weekend the Nelves left a shrinky dink kit and nail art kit!
Sunday afternoon it started to snow. The kids were outside before the snow even piled up .25th of an inch! Josie made her own snow angel version on her belly! Before long, piles of wet snow clothes haunted the doorways in and out of the house. Enough snow collected by 4:30 the kids could sled a little bit down the culvert and steep street near our home. So much fun. I had a nasty migraine and felt out of sorts. I finally found a spot of time to make our (my) favorite holiday cookies. It's taken years to find a gingerbread cookie recipe that was not overly spiced and fluffy soft. These are to die for with a smatter of white chocolate and crunchy sprinkles on top. The white chocolate cherry cookies went fast, I'm training my kids to have a developed palate. Josie is excluded, give her everything plain with sugar on top. Our family and the Ostlers are singing "The Nativity Song" in church next week. We sounded amazing packed into our front room! We're not trying to repeat the experience we had 4 years ago singing that song again...
Christmas 2016 "Our family was asked to sing "The Nativity" from pg. 52 of children's song book for Sacrament Meeting today. We nailed the first verse. During the second verse we put our stamp on it. Evelyn was finally able to reach the microphone and growl into it. While pulling her away and prying her hand off the mic, Jenni inadvertently induced some feedback into mic setting off that horrible squeal. During the third verse, Everett seeing the smiles from the congregation and small giggles decided it was his turn. He randomly leaned over into the microphone and blurted "blaaah" into the mic. He looked like he was going to back for a second round so I grabbed him by the neck and straightened him up until he started to whine. Here are some wardrobe notes. We didn't notice Everett's pants were too small until we were already at church. So he went up to sing with his pants unbuttoned and unzipped. Evelyn got play makeup for Christmas (not my idea). She painted her face before church with green and blue eye shadow so she looked a lady of the night who had possibly been punched in the eye."
Posted by Jenni Call at 9:02 PM
06 December 2020
Back to the grind after a week off, back to fractions and research papers. It was a little tough! Phillip spent 2 hours writing 3 sentences. Seriously?! Everett went the extra mile and busted out half his paper without help. Evelyn worked hard on her writing this week composing several letters to Santa and our Nelf Nitsuj. I finally heard that our application for Idaho Strong Families was finished processing. I am hoping we are awarded enough money to replace our iPad. One of the kids stepped on it or dropped it last week. It is completely busted and so out of date it won't work with most apps. I'm praying we will get at least enough to cover the end of the year school expenses. It's been quite frosty in the mornings! The van windshield was covered in pretty ice. The boys moved away the large boxes and stacked the kayaks on Tuesday so I could park in the garage. Brrrrrr.
The Nelves knocked on the door Sunday night and left 3 Santa squishmallows! Somehow they knew that Amelia and Evelyn got squishmallows already, all the kids were quite content with their fun new toys. We even got a fun treat of Rolo's to go with our Temple Table discussion. The Nelves made several appearances this week with bell rings, knocks on windows/doors, and several crafts to work on. Josie even found three little Princess dolls tucked in the tree, one was a new Ariel doll replacing the doll we had whose tail broke two weeks ago at the swimming pool! Those Nelves know everything. Tuesday the little girls and I took our Santa letters to the Post Office for delivery. The clerk was a real stinker, couldn't even play along for the kid's sake. She threw them away under the desk...perked up when I purchased several books of stamps.
Wednesday I hosted activity day girls at my home. I wanted to do a fun activity on Friday but the other ladies were quite adverse to that idea. In the end the other ladies did not come to help out, Sarah had to come over as the second adult. We watched the #lighttheworld initiative and the new Nativity video then had a nice discussion. The girls ate cookies while decorating cute puppy ornaments. Directly after the activity we scarfed down some sandwiches for dinner before heading to Caldwell. There is a fun outdoor ice skating ribbon in the downtown area. We parked a bit away just to enjoy the walk through a fun light show, including a water dragon that breathed fire every 5 minutes. Justin picked up Clare and Fallon Palmer along the way in his car to enjoy the evening with Mia. The kids took about 5 minutes to get the basics of ice skating down. Everett, Mia, and Evelyn all skated around the ribbon area. In the middle of the ribbon was a decent sized circle for those learning to skate. There was a collection of skating "walkers" and stacks of buckets. The buckets turned out to be quite the fun tool. Josie was zooming around the circle gliding along on the top of her bucket stack. The ice skates really pinched Phillip's feet even after sizing up. I tried on Mia's skates for a few turns around the rink. Yep! Those skates really hurt, my feet were painfully numb after 5 minutes. At one point I noticed Phillip sitting on a bucket holding onto a walker thing with Everett pushing him about the rink! Those two are so funny. The ambiance was so perfect with thousands of pretty lights and Christmas music. Justin got us all some hot chocolate to warm up our bones. We walked around the lights when the rink closed at 9. Mia can't wait to go again, she's already planning on purchasing her own skates. The kids all earned some magnificent bruises on knees and shins. Everett counted 11 large, deep bruises on his knees alone.
I did some major shopping this week! I finished Christmas shopping already! Hooray! Christmas cards are due for delivery tomorrow. Christmas candles burning pine scents into the air. Lots of fun Christmas music filling the air this year.
Saturday we worked hard in the morning to clean up the garage. The boys broke down their box fort that they were done playing with. They also carried the new kayaks out to the side of the house for storage. Amelia cleaned out and vacuumed the van for me. I worked on organizing the rest while Justin and the boys cleaned up the last of the fall leaves. Amelia spent a fun afternoon with Jocelyn Finch. I hear they made some figurines and are planning on making a house this week. Good friends make life so much better! I dropped off quite a few library books and videos after getting an email saying I owed $90 dollars. All the items are in quarantine so the fines won't be waved for 5-7 more days. I really hope I found all the missing items. I am searching for a thrifted baby doll for my manger...no luck. Instead I found an Olaf tsum-tsum bag Josie is now obsessed over. Saturday night I made reservations to see Santa at Cabela's for the 11th year in a row. Last year we waited in long lines for our reservation, this year no one was in line. We walked up and had quite a few minutes with Santa to ourselves. The little girls were especially happy for some "one-on-one" time. We picked up a couple new sleds and gloves for the littles, can't forget my cute Gnome named Jeremy. That experience only took 15 minutes, we had to do more since the drive was 30 minutes. So we grabbed a sweet treat at DQ then went to find Christmas lights. The Expo center was fun, just drove by the area instead of paying $30 per vehicle. On the drive home I noticed a festive neighborhood called Bayhill Springs. Talk about a massive effort for 150+ homes. Josie sat on my lap, the boys and Evelyn took turns hanging their heads out the sunroof! That was really fun and quite impressive. Hooray for free fun.
We got dressed up to attend church today! Justin had a talk to give and Mia and I performed "Come Unto Christ" by Shawna Edwards. It was so nice to be in the chapel instead of watching via zoom. Mia sang beautifully! Justin talked about the topic of the song, coming unto Christ though the Book of Mormon. Masks required of course.
Posted by Jenni Call at 6:57 PM
29 November 2020
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:57 PM
22 November 2020
Josie is finally on the mend. She had it pretty rough until Monday. Toward Monday afternoon Phillip got a couple smiles out of her and she ventured into the new box fort to play. The only thing she wanted to eat was refried beans! My gut instinct was "No WAY!" but she was quite adamant. She kept it down and wanted like 5 more servings over the next few days. All her clothes hang loosely on her frame now...even leggings are saggy baggy. We knew she was feeling much better because she had the best dream ever on Tuesday. She woke up excited about having a PAW Patrol dream with "so many" control towers, under the water with lots of pups, she had a squirter Marshall pup, and played with Skye as a merpup. Evelyn had a nightmare the same night that we lost all the water in the world. That sounds terrifying. Josie was quite whiney until Thursday...no one else got a tummy bug (yet) so I hope that experience is behind us. Amelia caught a nasty head cold from the girl next to her during choir practice. With Everett's cough all of us have sniffles, headaches, and such on some level or another. I repent! I will never jinx us again.
Amelia roped the kids into participating in her volcano experiment for Earth Science. They exploded baking soda and vinegar but built the volcano layers around the flow pattern, making a spread volcano of sorts. The kids had fun with her homework. I wanted to bang my head against a wall after working on fractions with Phillip for school this week. He is so smart, just lacks focus and the attitude to want to learn about math. Everett was also quite frustrated with factions so we sat together and figured it out. The boys are starting a non-fiction research paper to check off several PLGs at once (non-fiction reading, writing, revise and share knowledge, learn and present knowledge, English usage, etc). I am excited to knock out a few requirements with one assignment. Evelyn is working with a fun new place value set I got last week.
We did not get any school done on Wednesday due to preparations I needed to prep for Activity Day Girls. This week we worked on embroidery. Amelia helped me trace cute patterns on fabric then prep the hoops. About an hour before the activity the other leader wanted to cancel since Josie was sick. I felt so mad. Instead we moved the activity to the church and had those exposed to sick (my family) wear masks. The other leader stayed in the gym with her daughter or sat in the corner with her phone. I was not happy...yikes. Still the girls were quite excited to learn how to embroider animals of their choice. Several girls haunted my house the rest of the week working on their projects to get occasional help from Amelia or I. Right before we were to leave for the activity Phillip accidently hit Logan with the prong of our rake. Logan's eyelid split from corner to corner! Phillip was not watching his boundaries and Logan was not watching his. Phillip felt so bad. He got Logan a nice Lego set as a way to say sorry. Our Nelves made a short pre-Thanksgiving visit Wednesday night. Evelyn managed to keep her temper in check until we started to clean the school room. She went into ballistic mode. We heard Nelf bells as a warning that we are under watch. Evelyn was quite freaked out, she went around yelling, "I love you Santa...Nelves!" I was grateful she stopped her ranting, raging tantrum. We usually don't hear from our Nelves until after Thanksgiving. Josie on the other hand went to bed with a smile humming Jingle Bells. The next day she made a long Christmas list for me to somehow interpret her squiggles. She did tell me squiggle line one was a real unicorn and the second line was $100 dollars for her wallet. This morning the first squiggle morphed into a new "adoorable" set or the golden unicorn prize. She found a Santa hat and is exclusively sporting Christmas clothes.
Thursday I got my schedule double booked, tried to undo my mistake but still managed to miss my appointment with Garrett. I have a new piano student and a dr appointment at a strange time today. That was frustrating for me. Right after piano we left for Amelia's Young Ladies Vocal Recital. Justin took her beforehand so she could warm up with her group. I picked up Clair on our way. We had time to grab some dinner at Chik-Fil-A! Yum. The recital location was packed and small for the amount of people in attendance. We were lucky a recital was even performed. It was so cold outside and like usual I was not prepared for the cold. We huddled together for warmth until I spotted a place inside for Jo and I to squeeze. A little more room opened up soon after. Amelia's group performed 6 songs, 3 at the end of the first group and 3 at the beginning of the next. She had a small solo during the 4th song. She was not feeling well at all but did her very best.
Josie started crying this morning when she woke up because her wish did not come true. Her wish? That today was Christmas. I didn't notice she left out a stale cookie for Santa last night. Bless her sweet little heart. She is on full Christmas mode. Seems like it should come early this year. I found her twice plunking her own version of Jingle Bells on the piano. I love the imagination of kids at Christmas. I found a cute used tree for $40 on FB Marketplace. The boys and I drove out to Middleton to pick up the tree, we loved a chance to listen to Fablehaven book 6.
Friday we took a break from school to watch President Nelson's 15 minute global address. His address was on the healing power of Gratitude. He challenged us all to fill social media with gratitude using the hashtag #givethanks. It's a powerful thing to go from political/negative Facebook to a flood of 1.8 million updates about gratitude. I am thankful for a chance to relay my thanks for all that is good and lovely.
The boys decided to test me this week. They spent all week dorking around and piddling about with their assignment lists. By Thursday morning they each had 9+ pages of English, half a unit on fractions to finish, and research books to read all by noon. Everett buckled down and got his work done by 11:45 on Friday. His fractions unit test was giving him troubles so he had to wait for me to help him. Phillip rolled around on the floor for two hours whining about the work. The consequence is absolutely no TV or devices on the weekend if their schoolwork is not finished by noon. He scraped by with seconds to spare. I took the afternoon off to thrift shop after dealing with the chaos of Phillip.
Saturday we went to Lowes to get a new Christmas tree for me. I almost purchased one online but there is something about actually seeing the product before buying. I did not actually love the tree I loved online, found a different one. The kids enjoyed getting out of the house. We finally celebrated Justin's birthday with a dinner out at Wingers. All the kids were impressed with the wings. My spicy wings were so salty I couldn't eat them, I love salt but that was blech. My quest for wings in Idaho is failing miserably. The boys are still raving about how good the wings are. They even ate half of Mia's leftover "on accident." She declared mortal combat.
Justin and I enjoyed a night out with his accounting team at Jennifer's home. She provided a catered meal for us all that was quite amazing with a salad course, main course of prime rib, mashed potatoes, and vegetables, and dessert of mint cake or baked pear. I enjoyed getting to know his team better outside of the zoom meeting cameos (accidently walking in during a meeting) and the phone calls. Their pitbull dog was quite the star of the show. He liked to trip people in the food line hoping for a bite. Then he took a snooze, complete with snores, on his favorite arm chair. I left the kids with a pot of broccoli soup, which Josie actually ate, and free reign with devices. They were quite happy with their lot.
Posted by Jenni Call at 12:35 PM