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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Still alive

Dear Family and Friends,

I missed posting last week but yes we are all still alive and doing good. We have been hit with a bunch of storms the last 2 weeks. Last Sunday we got 12 inches in one day. So we shoveled so we could get the van out to go to Stake Conference and then shoveled to get the van in afterwards. And then we shoveled so Jason's car could get in our driveway and then shoveled so they could walk to the car that night. We were very grateful for those neighbors who came over periodically with a snowplow or snow blower these past few weeks. It is so nice when they do what would take us an hour or two in. Between church, shoveling (and of course playing in the snow) and then having Jeremy's family come over to watch the super bowl - my day was gone before I ever got on line.

Today for the first time in a while the sun came out and temperatures rose to almost 50 degree, melting the worst of the snow and ice on the roads. I am planning to go for a walk later. When we did Jeremy's work shopping spree I ordered some Bear Paw boots (like uggs but cheaper) and am enjoying walking in the slush while my feet stay cozy. I don't know why I didn't get boots earlier - all I ever had were dress boots that got pulled out for dates and church. I have a friend who wears dress boots and platforms and heels all the time - I am too much into comfort I guess. Allison and Spencer are busy right now working on their valentines. Spencer got small game cards for everyone in his class while Allison found princess conversation hearts so they are both fairly happy - especially since they are finding out they will have one or two extra treats for themselves! On Friday the girls helped me make valentine colored M&M cookies on a stick for Taylor's class. Robyn has learned that cookie dough tastes good so its either put her down for a nap while cooking them or be prepared for her to chow down.

It seems like there's been a lot of church meeting these last two weeks. We had the adult session for stake conference, regular conference, Pres.Hinckley's funeral, the world wide broadcast and a ward valentine's dinner and tonight Jeremy has a scout meeting - not to mention pack meeting and cub scouts! We're going on a totally frivolous date this weekend to make-up for all our 'righteousness'.

I had a great birthday. Thank you to everyone who called. Jeremy stayed home to shovel all our walkways and driveway and to drive Spencer to school. Then I had 2 friends who had me come to their house for lunch. The made the best spinach salad - I will post the recipe at the end. I had friends popping in all day to say hi, which was wonderful and I ended up having 3 friends bring me cheesecake - so I have been eating a LOT of cheesecake. Jeremy went and got me a new sewing machine (my old one died a year ago and every repair shop has told me that since the company was bought out they no longer made the springs necessary to fix it). He also go a small heater for me to blast right on the shower month during these cold months when our open bathroom won't hold in any steam or heat - so nice.

I went into the dentist for my permanent crown and for a check-up. Found out I needed 7 fillings - always so depressing. Its mainly the old fillings needing to be replaced as the break down and cavities form. I would rather have them fixed now though than to have to have more root canals. So I have started swishing with flouride in the hopes that it would help.

Jeremy went and got one of the kayaks yesterday to use with the young men. Good guy that he was he took on full parenting responsibilities for the morning while I went out with my friends to breakfast and to get pedicures. I have never been to Kneaders for breakfast but it is so good and I will definitely be back lots! Jeremy had something neat happen for superbowl Sunday. One of his pictures from Spencer's football games was picked to be up on Times Square for the day for kodak picture of the day. He was quite stoked about it. One of their business associates gave Jeremy's work a playstation and the game rockband for Christmas. So when we cleaned the office yesterday Spencer was super polite in the hopes that we could bring it home. So its laying in our family room as Spencer counts down to Monday afternoon when he can play it.

Last Friday the kids were out of school for an inservice day. So we went up to the Salt Lake Aquarium. Its still in the small stage but it is really neat and our kids had a great time. Robyn loved to watch the jellyfish and Spencer was really good to take care of her while Allison had a friend with her. None of Spencer's friends wanted to go -they said an aquarium was boring. But I told Spencer he had a mean Mom who made him do family outings, boring or not. He had a great time. Although I have learned I need to have firm gift shop rules in place as our kids spent any money they had on junk.

It seems with the bad weather I have turned into a slug - preferring to read and stay inside. We started reading Fablehaven as a family at night. Our kids love it. We have a few Cleaver family moments in front of the fireplace - but mostly kids are jumping around as I wonder if they are even listening. But they always beg to read just one more chapter.

Spencer needs to burn some energy. He keeps practicing his street ninja moves or football tackles with his friend onto our poor sofas. At night he hurries to get his stuff done so he our neighbor can go outside in the dark to practice sneaking around our backyards working on their spy moves. He is doing pretty good. We have adjusted his medication again in an effort to get rid of the paranoias that crop up sometime. For example he got a new shirt and I couldn't see him wear it the first day. He usually asks me nicely, and he knows its wrong but he just can't do it sometimes. At pack meeting he received a bunch of beads and asked I could please not look at him while getting the award (which is progress as he didn't want me even in the room before). He knows its wrong and even that was hard for him, but next month he said he thinks he will be ready for me to look at him too. He had to do a biography book report at school and stand up to make a presentation, memorized for 3 min. That is a huge deal for him and he was a bit freaked out. But we found an old recorder of Jeremy's that he recorded his report on and made his poster on Steve Young to go with it. He thought the recorder was so cool that he showed everyone and played with it lots. So 2 hours before his presentation at school the batteries died. So I came over and we ran to walgreens to get new batteries. The recorder was old to begin with and was getting more fragile in Spencer's hands by the minute. So I told him to put it on his desk until it was time for his presentation and to stop playing with it. So right before his presentation a girl leaned back and accidentally knocked his recorder to the floor breaking it into pieces. I came over and tried to put it together but no luck and I left Spencer halfway between crying and anger as he refused to get up in front of the class. It was a mini-tape recorder so none of the normal tape players would work. So at home I prayed and found another recorder that took regular tapes packed up in our old stuff. So I pulled Spencer out and he recorded his presentation in the hallway. His teacher said it was pretty muffled as Spencer played it for the class and kept shaking the recorder saying it wasn't sounding very good. But his teacher is so good she didn't allow anyone to comment on the sound quality and he did it. His life just seems to be made up of painful experiences that I don't think a 3rd grader should go through. But despite that most days at least he will talk to me and be pleasant to be around. I even get thank yous and hugs again. His teacher has been very accommodating as we try to find the best amounts of meds. Unless things get really bad, to the point that we're willing to risk the side effects there aren't any more medication choices till he is older. We had parent/teacher conferences this week. Spencer is at grade reading level now - reading and sitting still has been hard for him this year - so everyone has caught up. At math he is way above and is working on the 7 times tables right now. We found out he is missing a bunch of homework - so we cleaned out his backpack and found all the missing stuff. We are now going to do that on a regular basis. he does all the work, just needs to remember to turn it in. With our personalities Jeremy and I just cringe as we see him hand in wrinkled, stained sheets of homework - but they're done and he is doing it on his own. As Jeremy says no one will ever wonder how much we helped Spencer with school assignments.

Allison is running around in her 'valentine outfit' - hot pink capris, bright red shirt and neon pink and green knee length socks. We finally figured out that putting some gel in her hair calms the frizz so her hair stops standing straight up around her head with all the static. She is loving swimming and dance still. There are tears if a day goes by that she is not playing with a friend. Since we don't allow TV on school nights it seems like on weekdays the group of girls often disappears to a more accommodating house. I often wonder if the no TV is a lost cause as they will watch it somewhere else instead. She has to tell a fairy tale to her class next week without help so she is pretty nervous about that. She alternates between being this huge help of getting Robyn dressed, reading her books, even making her breakfast and crying and whining over some slight. Must be a girl thing. She is excited to be playing real notes on piano now.

Taylor has his yearly IEP meeting tomorrow. So there have been lots of pre-meeting meetings. Next year he will be going to the local junior high. Which I just found out starts at 8am. So he will be leaving at 7 a.m.!!! Since Allison and hopefully Spencer will be leaving at 7:30 I hope I become more of a morning bird before then. He somehow broke the feet of his new wheelchair. So we have been trying to figure out how to fix them. I hate driving up to Salt Lake for a 5 min fix-it job. He has been home with a cold the last few days but is doing pretty good now.

Robyn is a little hurricane on two legs. As she gets tired she literally goes nuts as she grabs anything she can find to rip it, dump it out, eat it etc. She discovered hair spray and I will often find her 'doing' her hair with it shelacked with gel and hairspray as she sings "I'm so pretty". The snow drifts are taller than her head now which she thinks is fun to try to climb over.

If I can stop wanting to curl up with a book I am hoping to work on painting our bedroom this week. We'll see if it happens. Regular life seems to take up most of my time. Love to you all, Heather

Spinach Salad
Spinach (with some red leaf if you want), chopped red onion, sliced red onion, grated mozerella or swiss, cooked bacon pieces, dried cranberries, sliced hard boiled egg
Dressing: 3/4 Tbsp poppy seed, 1/3 c white vinegar, 2/3 c oil, 1/3 c sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/3 tsp mustard


The Skeehan Family said...

So glad to read your post! I was starting to get worried :) I am glad to hear things are going so well. And please tell Jeremy congratulations about the picture! Didn't one he took of Allison get the same honor a few years back? He is so talented.

You sound so busy, even with all the snow. I am amazed at everything you do. The aquarium sounds fun, I wish we had one of those here. I am starting to look around for fun things to do with Claire. I know many things wouldn't really make sense to her, but she really is getting so aware of her surroundings and loving looking at things, I just think we need to get out more. I'm a recluse and I don't even have the snow as an excuse!

I'm glad to hear Spencer is doing better, even with the hard moments it seems he is still having. You are a wonderful mom Heather, I'm sure you know that. And tell Allison her Valentine's outfit sounds FABULOUS! She'll have to send us a picture :)

Have a great week!