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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Family Visits

Dear Family and Friends,

We were really lucky to have family visit us this week. On Thursday Grieselda and Kaelan and baby J were able to come for the day. We were able to watch J for a few hours while Kaelan went skiing with his mom. Robyn was in heaven to have a baby of her own. When Kaelan came back the two of them butted heads a little bit as Kaelan was very protective of "his baby JJ" and Robyn was very anxious to keep him to herself. It was great to be able to see all of them and catch up. None of us had met baby J before.

On Friday Daniel came to visit and spend the night. We were all really sad that Mimi and Claire couldn't be with us but we understand and sympathize on how sick kids can throw a wrench into the best laid plans. We had Meredith stay with Robyn and Taylor and we all went out to dinner at Tapanyaki - one of those Japanese steak houses where they cook in front of you. It is our kids' favorite place to eat and we all had a good time. Then we all stayed up watching Game Plan and laughing at little kid humor.

On Saturday Jeremy went to a photo class on photographing people done by a famous photographer for the day. With him gone we just hung out and had Garion, Kayla, and Brynn over for part of the day while Kelly had her hair done. Kids had a great time playing with cousins and later friends. I enjoyed not having any obligations and just puttering around.

All our family visits were truly the highlight of the week. Monday there was no school as well as a huge snowstorm. We inched the van down the street for Robyn's two year old check-up. She is healthy as a horse (I should say was as she seems to be coming down with a cold today). She is 26% weight and 80% height. She really talks now and often hands me the phone saying "call angie, hello, Mia play with me". So her friend Mia comes over quite often to play - not that they play together, I think Robyn just likes having her around.

We took Lauri shopping for cat supplies. Her new cat "macho man" has become an escape artist. So she bought a leash and collar to hopefully help restrain him as he tries to get outside.

Allison is doing really good on her swimming lessons. At the end of class this week she jumped into the water only to have her swimsuit rip from throat to navel. She was pretty embarrassed. So Friday we went swimsuit shopping. She has a hard time learning to turn her head to the side to breath while doing freestyle, she just lifts it up. But there are no longer worries that she will be unable to swim across the pool to safety.

There is a new Dick Francis book out that I have been enjoying reading. It is written in collaboration with his son but unlike other collaborations I have read there seems to be no difference between previous books.

Jeremy has been offered to go on tour this summer for a week and a half as the Osmond family goes on tour through the UK and possibly Asia. He would only do the UK part but he is pretty confident he will do it now. Because he is taking time off for that and a family vacation he is no longer planning to go along with the YM for their kayak trip but rather rely on everyone's video and photos that they take during the trip. He will go along for all the prepatory activities.

Allison and Robyn had their hair cut this week. It is Robyn's first professional cut. I found a nearby beauty college that does hair for $5 a kid. They wash it and cut it and style it all up. Allison loved having all her hair curled and fancied up - it made her look quite old. I felt bad for the girl cutting Robyn's as she kept having difficulty with such a small head and neck. Robyn sat there for 30 min and let her work on her hair, even blow-drying it with a round brush. The rest of the day though she talked about owies, brush, pull, hot while yanking on her hair. Guess she didn't like that part too much.

We had a small hiccup in our plans to go to CA in April. Meredith, our usual babysitter got accepted to present her thesis in Washington DC that same weekend. As we were planning to leave our kids, we are looking around for a suitable replacement. I don't think that it is a hard job, but it does take the right personality.

Spencer lost a tooth 2 weeks ago. He has a very cute gap in his grin. He continues to be fairly stable although now and then he'll have a bad day. He got a new shirt this week and couldn't have us look at him the first morning he wore it. So he was back to hiding under things. There was some doubt on whether he actually took his pills the night before though.

I seem to stay busy without any big news - the life of a full time mom I guess. Love to you all, Heather








Sunday, January 20, 2008

Robyn is now 2!

Dear Family,

Hard to believe that Robyn is 2! Yesterday for her birthday after cleaning the office we went to place called Kangaroo Zoo that is full of inflatable toys. She had a great time bouncing around as did everyone else. Afterwards we came home for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. She liked the singing and blowing out the candles so much she kept sticking the candles back in and asking us to sing happy birthday again. She got a baby that drinks a bottle and makes sounds from Grandma Lynda and Grandpa and a stroller (and some outfits that she said cute and quickly threw to the side) from us. She loves her doll and is constantly changing its diaper, feeding it or taking it for walks. Last night she put it in bed with her which lasted for 60 min till Allison was tired of asking her to stop playing and took the doll away from her. We went for for a walk around the block with her pushing the stroller and after 2 long circuits I called it a day and brought her protesting inside. To finish off the day we went to an Elder's Quorum movie night at the church with our family. So Robyn had a great day and we all had fun being with her.

This week the plumber and his crew came and did the rough plumbing in our basement. Wow, jackhammers are loud as they jacked up the floor to connect to the sewer system. It made for a noisy breakfast! We had our first pleasant surprise as the bids coming in this week for sheetrock were much lower that we had anticipated. Jeremy spent the afternoon yesterday working on the can lights till all the insulation got to him. Once we get the cans and wiring in then we can do the vaperlock and insulation and we'll be set for sheetrock. We have debated putting in another fireplace downstairs as it is going to be cooler but I am not sure if it would be worth it.

I finished painting the bathroom this week. I really like it although I am critical of my paint job on the beadboard and molding - its hard to get a real uniform smoothness to it. Next paint job is our bedroom although I keep putting it off as I look at the vaulted ceilings.

The girls spent a lot of time this week in the hallways at Lincoln as I filmed teachers for the video we are making. I need to do shorter visits more often as Robyn does not think staying in the hallway with Allison is a good thing yet I can't have her with me as she tugs on my arms and makes the video turn out all shakey.

Allison is really doing good at her swimming lessons. They started working on side breathing this week and a whip kick. She works really hard for those 30 minutes. It is a big difference compared to how much she learned at the community pool classes in the summer. Sarah was gone this week so it was just a one on one lesson.

I had the rest of my root canal done this week. I had to go back on penicillin last week because it started to hurt. By this week it hurt all the time and I was up a lot at night. But I knew I had this appointment and babysitting all lined up so I didn't want to go on emergency stand-by. The antibiotics didn't work this week so when they opened it back up it was oozing pus and blood. Very gross and very painful 2 1/2 hours but its over and is gradually getting better. I am on a z-pack now which seems to be helping and as long as I don't forget to regularly take my tylenol I am pretty good. So I spent a lot of time laying on the couch holding a hot pad to my jaw this week as I waited for it to feel better. Its all those old big fillings that are having problems - most of them have been replaced now.

I went with Spencer's den to take a tour of the fire station this week. It amazes me that it is all run by volunteers who do this in addition to their regular jobs for zero pay. Spencer had a small incident at school this week when he told a kid who had asked to play with him no. The kid thew a big ball at his face, knocking one of his baby teeth loose and called him names. So Spencer went up and punched him in the chest. So the two boys spent the rest of lunch talking over their behavior with the principal. Overall Spencer has been doing good as long as you give him some space instead of demanding instant obedience and as long as he isn't getting hurt or frustrated. He is still really twitchy about playing with other kids and doesn't want to have friends over for his birthday party this year but would rather do something fun with the family. He is trying hard to not make mistakes which gets a bit annoying at times - like when he has to eat exactly what Jeremy will eat and serve his food in the same order. He is trying though.

Robyn has discovered all my stashed of food and has learned new words - cinnamon bear and chocolate and gum are are favorites! Guess I need to set a better example. She is very excited whenever any little girls are over and knows all the names of Allison's friends.

For pizza and movie night we watched Remember the Titans with our kids, since they have school off Monday for civil rights day. They were just astonished that people would ever feel or act that way. It has made for some interesting discussions.

We are all excited to see Griselda and kids and Daniel's family this week! Love to you all, Heather







Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heather's Fantabulous Paint Job

Heather worked very hard this last week, with numerous interruptions, to get our main floor bathroom painted. tend to sit back and watch her wonderful efforts with admiration, like the good lazy husband that I must be. Actually I hate to get in the way of what she is doing when she has a vision in mind. One of these days I'll just stick on the ball and chain and get my lazy rear down in the basement to do the tasks on my list.

By request, here are some photos of the bathroom with its nice new colors and bead board.


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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Small Scare

Dear Friends and Family,

Yesterday we had a small scare. We were taking apart our toilet in preparation for me to paint the bathroom wall before I grabbed a quick shower and changed to go on our date. A photo customer of Jeremy's had given him a gift certificate to a restaurant we were excited to use. I had set up the kids dinner on the counter for Meredith to reheat and next to that I had put out the boys pills for that night. Well you might have guessed, we left the room to take out the bolt in the toilet and Robyn ran past our kids to push a chair over, climb up on the counter and shove most of Taylor's pills down her throat. We could actually feel them in her throat as we tried to make her gag it out but to no avail. So we spent the evening hanging out at the emergency room. Each pill on its own she could sleep off with no lasting effects but they were worried about the combination of them. Besides throwing up once and not being happy about being stuck in this small room for 4 hours, Robyn was fine. We probably could have just stayed home but poison control wanted her blood pressure etc monitored. After getting home we stayed up for our date eating chinese take-out and watching a movie - have painfully learned to make our dates happen no matter what for our own sanity.

I don't think I handled this week as well as I usually do - maybe its that time of the month. Saturday morning I told all our kids I couldn't handle the teasing and that although I knew they weren't being really bad they all needed to go to their rooms immediately and stay there. I must have looked scary enough as they all left without protest and stayed in their rooms till I calmed down.

Monday we had a carpenter come over and put up beadboard in the downstairs bathroom. It looks really nice. I finished painting the top half a moss green and will start painting the bottom half white tomorrow.
We had a humongous snow storm on Wednesday. It left 10 inches of snow on the driveway which means you don't scrape the driveway, you shovel and heave the snow to the side. Saw lots of accidents and people in the ditch that day. After spending 2 hours getting the driveway and sidewalks cleared while kids played in the snow I had a revelation that I need to get more shovels - so we can ALL shovel together. We got a few more inches today so it is definitely winter here.

I got hit by a stomach bug for a day this week that left me lying on the couch for a day. Kids thought having cartoons and sandwiches for dinner was great and were very sympathetic. I think they enjoy having me sick now and then while they run rampant.

Spencer saw the psychiatrist again this week. He really enjoys going there now. He is doing really good lately. He looses it over having to take pills morning and night because he doesn't think he has to take them anymore. Monday he had s small breakthrough of paranoia where he hid under the table to eat breakfast. He was embarassed about it later and just said that the lights were all too bright and people were too loud. But besides that he has had almost 2 full weeks of being just a regular kids with regular kid attitudes at time but able to be dealt with. He will cuddle with me again and talk politely (most of the time) and have normal conversations. We might wish he let us help him do his homework better but he is making sure it gets done before it is due. Jason left a wii game with us last week that has been a great motivator for Spencer to do his homework and jobs as soon as he gets home from school.

Allison started swimming lessons this week. It is just her and her friend in the class. This lady built an indoor pool attached to her house so she could teach lessons at home. She works them hard! But Allison enjoys the challenge and I think will learn a lot with her. We are making a video of her school's teachers so the girls have been and will be going over in the morning to film classes. We had to register Spencer and Allison this week to attend Lincoln next year. Allison is going there for sure and Spencer is 99% sure. Allison had a friend come for a mock sleepover Friday night and had a great time.

Taylor had his VNS appointment this week. They upped his stimulator strength to see if it helps reduce his seizures. So far his seizures have increased but it takes a few days for things to settle down. Right now he only has to go up to Primary's every 3 months and soon only every 6 months. His stimulator should be good for another 3-4 years. Taylor also is officially qualified again for the next 3 years as disabled by the school district. The formality of testing, paperwork and a meeting seems a bit ridiculous to everyone involved but its what you have to do.

Jeremy is gone right now to a young men's meeting. They are going kayaking this year for their high adventure so Jeremy is helping plan that. Yesterday Jeremy was able to go with his photography group to work on portrait taking. He had a great time. Came back with a new toy in mind for his camera of course, but learned how to take portraits better.

Seems like the daily trivia of our lives has kept me busy. Wanted to recommend the movie stardust - we previewed it last night for our kids deciding it would be perfect for 10 and over as a remaking of an older kids fairy tale. Also Christina I read a retelling of rumplestiltskin that is a young adult book but that I thought would would enjoy, she has written other too - Golden by Cameron Dokey.

Love, Heather

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Death of the Snowman

Spencer was the creative genius behind the title of this post. They had fun today with the fresh snow making a snowman, and of course the destruction of the snowman as well! We received a cool gift this Christmas with all the fixings for a perfect snowman, so Spencer put it to the first use. Enjoy.



Before


After


Dad: "Can you throw that snowball over my shoulder without hitting me or the camera?"
Allison: "Yes!"



Note the spray headed towards the lens...time to clean the camera.

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy New Year to everyone! Spencer and Allison really wanted to stay up to watch the ball fall in Times Square - not sure why that is a big deal. So we stayed up watching movies (with sick kids this week, it seems like we have watched a LOT of movies). Spencer had the right idea and crashed on the couch at 10 and we woke him up to see the ball drop and then he was back out. Allison on the other hand was just jumping around and pumped up the whole time. Several neighbors had some illegal fireworks we were able to watch out the windows at midnight.

Jeremy generously gave up his football time New Year's Day to hang 2 cabinets up in our laundry room. We need to get a single door cabinet and molding still but it looks great and its nice to have the counter back to fold laundry on. That afternoon we went to an indoor trampoline place and Spencer and Allison each brought a friend. They had fun but we were pushing our luck a little as they both were in the whiny post cold stage. Good excuse to send them to bed early!

Spencer and Allison were over their colds by Wednesday but Taylor came down with it and sounded horrible till Saturday. Since he can't cough very well it just sounded like he was on his deathbed. He has a ricebag that Meredith made him that we heat up and tuck by his feet at night. While he was sick I would tuck him up with a hot rice bag and a fuzzy blanket and he would just curl up for a couple of hours. So Taylor stayed home all week.

Spencer and Allison went back to school on Thursday. It was really a wake up call from vacation as Spencer had piano at 7:30 a.m. He was doing great, swallowing his pills prior to leaving for school when his retainer broke leaving the broken ends sticking out into his mouth. He didn't want to go to school like that and I didn't blame him. The dentist wasn't answering their phone. So we ran to DI to empty out the trunk, loaded up the wheelchair and just drove down to the office. I knew it would take them a minute to pop off the bands. They weren't at their office as it was surgery day but the receptionist reached one of the nurses who said she could run out of surgery to pop them off for Spencer. So we went to the same day surgery at Utah Valley - turned out to be the wrong hospital - so we loaded back up and went to the other hospital. Eventually everyone was at school and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

Been getting the house back in order after vacation and packing up Christmas stuff. Taught today so worked on my lesson. Jeremy has been busy getting our old family letters on to disks. They go back 10 years now online. Its fun to look back at the old pictures and read the entries. There was one letter that showed Peter and Katherine coming out so happy from the temple and the next frame showed Daniel holding a 1 year old Robyn in one hand and a throw up bucket in the other. Good times!

Spencer is starting to have little rage outbursts again but the paranoia is still doing better. Trying to decide if we want to keep changing meds if the rages start to come back or not. We went Monday out to lunch with Jeremy at Carls Jr and afterwards popped in to Lauri's place to see if we could find her dead cat. No sign of the cat anywhere (she got a replacement yesterday) but Spencer did find an old chess set. So we have been playing chess a lot and learning all the rules.

Robyn has a new addiction - peeling the wrapper off of crayons. We keep finding her hiding away with a big pile of shredded crayons next to her. Don't know why she find this so fascinating. She is working on a tooth and goes through VERY clingy times. I am hoping it will break through the gum soon. Right now she thinks she doesn't need a nap so she cries a lot when we put her down - thank goodness she is still in a crib so she is trapped! After a while she realizes how tired she is. Just last week though she would happily lay down and be tucked in with a kiss - it was so nice.

Allison is starting swimming lessons this week with a friend. A lady teaches them in her indoor pool up by the temple. She campaigned for and got us to go see the Bee movie at the dollar theater yesterday. That is the way to see movies with kids! Robyn got her own soda and was in heaven while Spencer and Allison ate a huge tub of popcorn for lunch.

Big snowstorm today but looks like its calming down. Must be time to shovel!

Love to all,

Heather


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Bill

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Happy Birthday Bill!