04 June 2020

Nine looks good!

Everett is a really, really good kid. He is kind, caring, imaginative, helpful, hard working, smart, proficient reader, budding pianist, and has a strong moral compass. He is highly attuned to balance and right and wrong. His pet peeve is when things are not fair or when he is wronged. I love to find this sweet boy curled around a book in odd corners of our home. His new reply is "dot, dot, dot" or "Question Mark?" Everett has a thirst for learning that inspires me to learn. We sure love his bright smile and laughter. Everett may have a future as a sound effect producer. He spent a couple days playing some high adventure game up in Alaska all in his head. I have video to prove it! He was especially noisy when he ran into another hunter and fought over a bear.

This boy has a very tender heart for the gospel. He tries so hard to pay attention and learn during our temple table and nightly devotionals. I love watching him feel the spirit as he learns and grows. I am so grateful to be this guy's mother.

Well child update: weighed 68.8 lbs (68.9%) and measured 52.5 inches (48.4%)

Everett is NINE!

Everett is NINE?! Can you even believe that? Me either. He's been on the count down for his special day for quite some time. I remember how special birthdays were growing up in a large family.

Monday we celebrated Memorial Day with a family activity. Justin planned a hike around the MOrley Nelson Birds of Prey preserve. I had a nasty migraine so was not feeling very chipper. The preserve covers about 81 miles along the snake river where the birds nest. We made it only 10 miles or so! The kids were stoked to get their water backpacks filled, hiking shoes on, and snacks packed for the occasion. We first drove by an extensive prairie dog stretch, so many dogs. Justin tried to drive the swagger wagon up the butte (there was a "path"), the large rocks and pits scared me so I made him stop. So...We hiked up Initial Point to see the survey marker used to measure all of Idaho for the first governmental survey of the state! Josie loved seeing and hearing the cows mooing down in the basin. The kids were tired out after one measly 1/2 mile hike, granted it was uphill half way. The view was quite vast from the viewing platform. The butte is a volcanic remnant rising 350 feet high over the plain. I just adored Evelyn's outfit, she loves to accessorize. Justin drove a few more miles further into the preserve to the next stop Dedication Point, a 1 mile loop overlooking the snake river from the canyon's rim. It was a little hot by this time and past noon...so you can only imagine the whining. Josie insisted on wearing Phillip's Pikachu hat, so cute! The kids barely made it, once again. A turn with Justin's binoculars helped prod the kids along. Evelyn found a tumbleweed spawning nursery. Everett and Phillip spotted several hawks or eagles riding the upper air streams over the canyon. We enjoyed the view from the observation deck. I quite wished we could take a dip in the water, it was quite warm. We found a mediocre Mexican restaurant, Everett needed his birthday enchiladas! Everada who loves enchiladas!

Everett got to open an early birthday gift on Monday since Justin was home for the day. Justin chose a fun Estes Rocket set for Everett. The boys had a really fun time assembling the rockets before taking them out for the fun part. Justin took the boys and the little girls out to the middle school fields to shoot the rockets. They shot off all the A engines, and tried one C engine (a more powerful engine). I called Justin to see if I could join the party, he reported that the rocket with the C engine was lost. The rocket shot up to the max height, caught a wind stream and drifted until they lost sight of it. I also got "lost" winding my way through the neighborhood trying to find the northern exit. I passed a colorful red and white object as I searched for the right street. Took me a moment to recognize that the object was Everett's rocket parachute! The rocket drifted over 1/4 mile into our subdivision! Everyone was excited I found it and amazed at how far the rocket traveled. Justin pulled up a distance measuring website to calculate the exact distance from point A to B. Quite impressive.

Tuesday Everett woke up as a new nine year old boy. I heard him admiring the 9 hearts hung on his door once he woke up. Justin was working from home so got to participate when Everett opened his second gift: a set of 3 walkie talkies! Justin busted his radio out for kicks and giggles. All day the kids played with the walkie talkies. Everett tested the distance the radio waves traveled, found out he could bike all the way to the elementary school and still contact me at home! The kids chose some epic call sign handles: Big Daddy, Big Bertha, uniFrog, Stinky, Tzatiki, Honkey Donkey, and Yo-yo. I took Everett for a birthday gift extravaganza at Walmart since his two big gifts were really more family gifts. He was so considerate choosing gifts under the budget. He came home with Googly Eyes Game, Chikapig Game, a bag of 100 balls, 2 tennis rackets/balls, and wrist warmers. He took his walkie talkie along for the ride, we lost radio contact at the gas station! At Walmart we used the devices to communicate while he browsed the toys and I got ice cream sundae supplies. He was delighted he could spy on the Walmart radio channel! Everett chose gyros for dinner, his favorite for this year. We invited over the Ostlers (our next door neighbors) for ice cream at 8 pm. Quite a fun day for the birthday boy.

Wednesday we returned Amelia's laptop back to the middle school. She earned a certificate for placing the highest level out of the entire 7th grade for the last quarter! When we checked in the lady there asked if she needed to get anything out of her locker...I said several times that Mia never actually attended the school. I'm still not sure the lady comprehended that Mia never set foot in the school past the foyer. Thursday we repeated the process with the 3 kids at Ronald Reagan to return their iPads and accouterments. We biked over mid-morning for a spot of exercise...with walkie talkies in hand. All the kids got fun little gift bags from their teachers. Evelyn got to make a special stop at the Kindergarten graduation spot for a photo op. I saw a fun little intex pool with a small filter for $60 advertised on FB at Walmart. I searched our area for the item in stock, one local walmart had one left in stock. The same pool on amazon was $200, yikes. I drove to that particular Walmart but could not find it on the aisle listed. I bugged a store worker to check the back, no luck. As I was about to walk out I had the thought to check Customer Service, someone had returned one unopened because it was too small. Sweet! So now we have a kid-waist high pool about 10 feet in circumference. The kids were soooooooo excited.

I got quite a bit of work out of the kids next morning before they could swim! I think the big kids swam in the pool for over 4 hours that first day. Evelyn and Mia caused mini floods by leaning on the sides of the pool. Unfortunately, the water flooded all the new wood mulch right into the grass. It was quite a mess. We just have to be careful and not overfill the pool and keep top inflated. After dinner the 4 neighbor kids came over to enjoy the pool for a bit...it was quite a party with 9 kids inside. I heard at one point the kids playing Purple Soup using the pool. I often see the kids making a whirlpool by walking in the same direction. Evelyn and Josie made gorgeous mermaids one warm evening. The singing and hair slinging was ever so amazing.

I found a fun children's consignment store on Friday. Most shirts at Goodwill or DI are over $3-6 per item, at this consignment store shirts in excellent condition were priced between $1.50 and $3! I was able to refresh all the kids summer wear for under $250 including shoes, swimwear, etc! Revise that, Mia is out of kid's sizing but her wardrobe is sufficient. That was a pretty good feeling! Justin and the boys worked on the yard that evening. Justin turned his leaf blower into a leaf sucker...he vacuumed up most of the wood chips scattered by the pool overflows.

Saturday turned out to be the warmest day of the year so far at 100 degrees. We lazed about enjoying a day at home with nothing to do. Towards the evening another load of wood mulch chips was delivered. We rallied the troops to shovel and move the chips to the back section of the fencing and cover up the ugly back there. A thunderstorm moved in to relieve the heat with some rain and cool breezes. That night a rather obnoxious thunderstorm woke up me out of a deep sleep. Justin and I took some time away from the kids to discuss homeschooling for next school year. I've not really received any confirmations so decided maybe sharing my thoughts with Justin would help. Seems like we're always tired when we have free time! I've found that the Lord does not answer me until after I start down a path, if it seems good than I pursue it until that option/decision changes. I went ahead and applied for Trep Tech Idaho. It is considered public school with teachers, funding ($1700 per student) and resources available for parents. I like the idea of help and still affiliating with some aspects of public school but doing it at home. Next school year could be a strange one so why not try it out? I've wanted to try for ages, this seems like the best time and situation. Here are some of my thoughts in regard to why I want to homeschool:

*give the kids a firm foundation of the gospel, continue Come Follow Me in a broader way, get the gospel deep in their hearts
*We've grown much closer as a family during the Covid crisis, I want to continue that
*I want to develop a life long love of learning, it seems my kids are missing that aspect in school
*I have support from Miekka, Ruth Hansen (member in my ward), several neighbors, Courtenay, and a large online FB presence for help
*Discover how Phillip especially and my other kids learn best
*Give kids a chance to learn more efficiently and spend more time discovering and developing talents. 
*More time to work on the new youth initiative

I am most worried about my mental health and frustration next school year. Distance learning with Phillip was quite challenging. I worry it will be too much for me and the rate of failure seems high.

My roses are looking so pretty! I love the varied colors of the roses, even from one bush. One double rose looked like Wall-E from a Disney movie. I wish roses would last a bit longer, their scent takes me back to Grandma Jean's lovely garden roses. Church was short and sweet on Sunday. We walked to the local park with our walkie talkies in hand. I ordered 3 more so now everyone has their own radio. I love this time of year when everything is green and fresh. Phillip accidentally fell from the monkey bars and hyper-extended his wrist. His wrist felt much better after a couple days wearing a brace.