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Monday, March 30, 2009

Photos of Allison in Wizard of Oz

As Heather mentioned, I ended up taking photos at a couple of Allison's concerts (big surprise). I hadn't planned to do anything official, but after shooting the first half of the Friday show, I found the person in charge of the school photos and offered up what I was taking. They were more than happy to take them, so I ended up shooting again on Saturday from the front row to get better shots. It works well for me as I enjoy the performance better anyway while trying to get good photos.

Here are a few select I'll include a few select photos of Allison below, and for the really brave you can check out the entire collection here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A very pleasant surprise

Dear Friends and Family,

We had a wonderful surprise this week which caused me to reflect on my often muddled mind. Peter and Katherine had called a few weeks ago to ask if they could come visit during their spring break. I wrote down that they were coming in April but they meant March. So Monday we get a call confirming we were still OK for them to come on Tuesday. So we were all thrilled as I banged my forehead for my absent minded thinking. Robyn and I quickly swished out the toilets and everyone was excited to see them. This week was a busy one for our family so I feel a bit badly that we weren't able to do more things with them but just hanging out and being in the same house was so nice. Nothing like family to put a smile on your face. Robyn especially wants her uncle and aunt back as they play princess with her and give her love. When they left Saturday Robyn was very sad.

Thank you to all who encouraged Allison's self esteem this week. Mom, she read your email right before putting her shoes on to go to school. Don't know what you said but it stopped the tears. She went to school hiding her face but her teacher and friends made a big deal about how cute she looked and she came home happy. Periodically it pops up again with tears and crying about how she looks so weird with glasses and how no one else has to wear them. Since it will be a life long thing I hope she gets used to it soon! My sympathy is starting to dry up! Allison had her dress rehearsals this week on Monday and Tuesday and then performances for an assembly at school Wednesday and then Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night. So she has been working extremely hard and has been high on excitement all week. Tuesday she had play practice and then Jeremy took her to her class party at the roller skating rink. Jeremy with infinite patience walked laps around the rink holding her hand surrounded by disco balls and little girls screeching.

The play was awesome. They really did a good job. I was able to go Wednesday night with Robyn and Taylor. They really did a professional job and the acting considering the oldest was 14 was really good. Allison asked Jeremy (without us ever prompting her or mentioning it) to give her a father's blessing Wednesday morning so she wouldn't be so nervous. She did a great job. She wanted to do her stage make-up by herself so she had VERY bright cheeks but had a smile on her face. Thursday I was the munchkin sitter with the 20 little kids in the green room waiting their turn before their part and then waiting for the curtain call. Loud, chaotic and fun and made me glad to go home at the end of the night. Friday Jason's family came over along with Lauri, Jeremy and Spencer and Peter and Katherine and they all went to the play. We met for pizza before the play. I had another not so nice surprise when in my hurry to go get flowers for Jeremy to give to Allison after the play while everyone was eating I backed into Jason and Kelly's SUV. I just kept banging my head as I saw my broken tail light and the dent in their fender. I swear I don't think my mind is what it used to be! Bryn, Robyn, Taylor and I comforted my bruised ego with running around, splashing in baths and eating brownies at home. For the last play on Saturday Jeremy went and took lots of pictures.

It feels lately that there is more going on than my brain is handling well. I am sure the play has just been the kicker lately but it makes me really contemplate what can be cut out of our lives. I do believe in having active, involved kids but it makes for some busy times. And then there are all the things that seem to pop up - this week Spencer breaking his retainer (AGAIN!) and having to go into the dentist, Allison's class play, a funeral in our ward needing a jello salad and a piano player. Makes me appreciate the down times more I guess.

This week the weather cannot make up its mind. One day its t-shirts and pulling weeds and the next its coats with snow on the ground. Robyn cannot understand why one day she can wear shorts and the next she isn't allowed. Robyn remains a cute whirling dirvish. On Monday for FHE we set up her big girl bed. She and I had spent the day getting sheets (I decided I am a little too anal when it took me 3 trips to Target to find the color sheets I liked), and a mattress. She loves her big girl bed and is doing good about staying in it. She is in underwear full time now and between her and Taylor having digestive issues today I feel like my grossness limits have been vastly surpassed. Glad for the sanitary cycle on our washing machine.

Spencer has had a calm week. He had karate and scouts - tested for a new belt about which he was excited. He has his explosions which we are working on. But he has had most afternoons free to do his homework and jobs and then just play.

Taylor had a busy week. On Tuesday I met with his new school and then met with his old school as we got all the paperwork, talking with new and old therapists etc done. I didn't realize how much busy work would be necessary to switch schools. He started at his new school Dan Peterson on Wednesday. I had to drive the first two days but now he is on the bus. He now starts school later at 9:15 instead of 8 and then gets out at 3:30 instead of 2:30. So mornings are a little different now that he isn't being picked up by 7:20. Need to figure out a new schedule as right now I am enjoying way too much lazying around getting one kid ready at a time and then the morning is mostly gone with me still in sweats. Meredith took Taylor to see Allison's play Saturday and we learned that she is coming 3 more times before she is gone. Panic started to set in! Guess I have to face the fact that I need to find someone new instead of burying my face in the sand.

Jeremy had his first EQ meeting this week and is getting everything squared away. This week for both of us can be summed up in kid activities, Allison's play and trying to spend any free time with Peter and Katherine. We were able to go out to lunch on Thursday with them at Tucanos and reminince about past meat gorging episodes. Life is good.

love, Heather

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Drama Queen

Dear Family and Friends,

Allison has rushed up to her room screaming and is lying on her bed crying (saying "its as bad as when I had ringworm") because I am planning to tell everyone the big news. She has glasses! And all the tears, crying, and low self-esteem that came with them. I wonder if I am cut out to be the mother to a girl sometimes. I think I must be doing a bad job when I can listen to her cry on and on about her glasses and just send her to bed or church or whatever anyway. She hasn't worn them to school yet so tomorrow morning should be interesting. I'll have to break out another box of tissues. I think they look really cute on her and she can see so much better. Jeremy picked the glasses up Friday night and she just walked around with a look of amazement on her face. Then today it hit her that she needs to wear her glasses in public and for the rest of her life pretty much. She walked to church bawling with a notebook in front of her face. Got almost taken out as she crossed the street. Jeremy, man that he is, took on sacrament meeting by himself while I went to a ward conference. Spencer had a major case of wiggles, Robyn was in full on look at me princess mode and Allison was crying and hiding behind her hands, under the pew etc. I am hoping that she will realize she is still beautiful and that seeing is worth the inconvenience of glasses and that she is still the same person.

Allison has been having play practice every day after school for up to 3 hours and even more. And an all day practice Saturday. She came home Thursday with her hair style for the play and informed me that I was responsible to get her hair to do this weird Dr. Suess look for every performance and dress rehearsal. Still working on getting it to look just right.

This week she has 2 dress rehearsals, 2 assemblies and 4 performances. Think she will be one tired little girl Saturday night and I am so ready for this to be over. She has had a great time but I had no idea it would be such an intense experience. I will post lots of pictures and video of her next week.

Last week I told Robyn that only babies wore pull-ups. So now she only wears underwear except for at night. I think I have used the phrase "its OK" too often in her life as every time she has an accident she just shrugs it off by saying in her sing-song voice "its OK". ITS NOT OK!! I hate cleaning up. But its for a short while and she will get it eventually. And she is pretty good when we go places now to not have any accidents. Its mostly when she is caught up in playing and running around. Happy nappy time has turned into happy, climb out of my bed quietly and fill my crib full of toys without making any noise time. She has a great time at nap time although no sleep is involved. But I sometimes get to grab a 20 minute power nap so I am fine with it. As a result she crashes at night and will sleep in till we wake her up (10 am on Saturday!). Funniest sight this week was when she was playing at the neighbors in their backyard and peed in her clothes. So she shucked everything and ran down the street buck naked to get some new clothes. Yesterday Jeremy took the kids while I was gone and picked up Kayla's old day bed for Robyn to use. Robyn is very excited to go get a mattress tomorrow and move to a big girl's bed. Since she climbs in and out of her crib at will right now I don't think it will be a hard transition.

Spencer has had an easy week of little homework or activities. He did get to go on a field trip to the dinosaur museum and a gem show this week which he thought was cool. Jason and Kelly gave him a wallet for his birthday which he has carried everywhere this week. He has shown it to everyone he meets. My parents gave him a skateboard ramp kit that he has been busy trying out. Sunday night he set it up, Jeremy over rode him saying that he had to have a helmet and 2 attempts later, a loud crash and screaming like the mortally wounded came from our backyard. Once we realized nothing was broken we didn't give him enough sympathy as he tried to convince us he had broken his muscle in his buttock. He has been showing us the purple and then green bruise all week to prove it. He has since improved and has been having fun with it. He has been pounding away at his boxing bag and it has been a good thing. When he has been sent up to his room for time out he hits it for a while and comes out all panting, flushed and happy. He has been struggling a bit this week to control his temper and his random body movements, noises, spazzing out. Don't know how much is bi-polar or meds and how much is a 10 year old boy. But if he runs around a bit usually things are much better. He started Webelos in scouts and was very impressed that now he has "homework" every week to work on. This week he had to keep track of his budget which fits right in with his wallet/money obsession right now.

We have been having a warm spell and everyone has been outside as much as possible. Robyn has been "helping" me get weeds and dead plants picked up. Her job is to give the plants a drink. This involves much spillage and clothing changes but she has a great time. We planted our front pots with pansies and primroses so it feels like spring. Taylor has been chipper with the sunny weather. I have been laying him out on the grass in the afternoon and he just lies there tanning and smiling. This Tuesday I meet for his transition meeting for his new school. Someday all the paperwork/meetings will be over and he will switch schools.

Today Jeremy was set apart as Elder's Quorum President. He will be awesome and I think will have a great experience with it. I think we are both a little apprehensive about what his schedule will be like but we will just have to wait and see. We know he will be gone Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Don't know much beyond that though. He has 2 really good counselors though which should help a lot. Today he and Spencer went to the Draper temple dedication broadcast. Spencer thought it was cool. Jeremy said later that Spencer was in his own world the whole time which often intruded on Jeremy's. I think that kid is literally unable to sit without moving or making some type of noise. Between meetings all morning, church, home teaching and then the dedication Jeremy is DONE. I think he will be glad to go back to work tomorrow. On a lighter note, on Thursday he was able to go shoot an LDS concert for a newspaper. I don't know if they ended up using his pictures but he had fun and the winner was Brandon Osmond who he knew so that was neat.

Friday night we had cousin night with kids running around and having a great time. We found Storm's cage stashed away in Robyn's room at the end of the evening with a traumatized hamster squished into a collapsible house. But all survived and want to know when its happening again. Saturday Jeremy and I met Jason and Kelly at Lauri's and spent the day cleaning. 2 truck loads of garbage and 1 load to the DI later we had made a big dent in the project. We're planning to meet up again in 2 weeks to tackle it some more. We did most of the kitchen and bathroom so the worst parts are out of the way.

I seem to be busy with plain everyday often dramatic life. Thursday I was pressing snooze when Jeremy muttered that he had a reminder on his calendar about Spencer's dentist appointment. I jumped out of bed realizing that we were supposed to have left 5 minutes earlier to get to his 7 am appointment in Provo. So Spencer and I made a dash for it looking oh so lovely and made it there 5 minutes late to get his retainer in. Jeremy held down the fort getting Taylor and Allison off to school. Life seems to have it moments. Like this morning when with an hour to go before we needed to leave starting the pancakes when Allison decides she want to do something different for her church talk and Spencer shouts out in a panic that Robyn had dumped a whole container of fish food in his tank and that his fish were dying unless I cleaned it right now! Somehow though everything gets done, kids feel neglected at times but it all works out. And we have our moments of sitting out on the grass together or me having my moment of kid free quiet with my slice of left over cheesecake and a new book. So life is good.

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Normal everyday life

Dear Friends and Family,

No huge news on my front this week. Just the normal ups and downs, tears and giggles that seem to fill our family life. Jeremy spent the week working hard and stressed with his big photo camp happening yesterday. Was a huge success and they embarassed him at the end by pulling him up, presenting him with a cheesecake and cheescake factory gift certificate (for his "patient wife") and gave him a huge ovation. They had capped out at selling 275 spots but more got in as friends of the organizers. It was a humongous event to pull all together. To cap it off Jeremy popped his back out again Friday so he is currently laying down on Tylenol with ice packs lining his spine.

Robyn and I went to tour Taylor's new school. I was very impressed at the changes they have made. When Taylor went there in Kindergarten and 1st grade they had quiet time every day for 2 hours after lunch - watching Sesame Street while everyone got cleaned up and diapers changed. Now there are no videos allowed period unless its for a special occasion and even then it can't be longer than 20 minutes. I think they will take really good care of him there. Hopefully his mobility will improve too as it has really gone downhill this last year. At the moment he is zoned out in a patch of sunshine. Hasn't been too chiper this weekend.

Spencer had his non-birthday party year this year. So he and his friend Conner went to Nickelcade (an arcade), climbed trees at a park, went to pizza factory for dinner and came home to try out his science experiment kit gift from Conner. At dinner I ordered a large pizza thinking that this was Spencer who when motivated can eat an adult under the table. But I forgot the power of their strawberry lemonade. 3 huge cups later and a giant breadstick he nibbled on one piece of pizza and was stuffed! Made a great Sunday lunch. Spencer seems to be doing better with his new med dosages (if you don't count this morning). He is on a doughnut kick lately. We bribed our kids to get up early Monday morning to clean the office with the promise of doughnuts. They had their alarms set and were in the car by 7 while we were groaning and rolling out of bed. The power of sugar!

Allison is practicing for her play every day till 5:30. It makes for very long days and high emotions when she is tired and realizes she doesn't have any play time. It seems like a bit much for me but the play starts next week and runs for 4 days. Should be awesome. Monday we had her old friend Maryn over (along with her little sister Marissa for Robyn) for the day as there was no school. They were so happy to just play. And then yesterday she had another friend over from school to play for a few hours. So she still squeezes in some play time, although she doesn't think its enough. Jeremy and her had their eye appointments this week. Allison really needs glasses and he says they will only get worse. I know its a small thing compared to Taylor and Spencer but still it made me quite sad as I remember how much I hated wearing glasses as a kid. And Allison is so cute without them! But she really can't see very much thats far away right now - definitely not the black board. The doctor said for now she shouldn't wear them for reading and close-up work which made Allison feel better. We went and found some purple sparkly metal frames that are almost an octagon in shape. They come in, in 2 weeks. Allison has had many tears on the subject because she will be the only 1st grader with glasses (combined with the fact that she is the only 1st grader who hasn't lost a tooth and you get hysterics). The glasses are really cute though and I hope in 2 weeks she will be used to the idea.

Thanks to my parents' birthday check I got our painting that has been waiting 3 years for a frame - a frame. Looks so nice! Thanks, Mom and Dad. Note to self: Robyn and a frame/art supply store DOES NOT MIX. But when you are motivated you can do crazy things like holding a little 3 year old who wants to play - dressed in a princess dress, boots, hair undone and a wild child look on her face.

Last Sunday afternoon playing playdough. Allison likes to duck out of pictures now, not sure when she got so self-conscious. Any guilt I feel during the week when I get a day with lots of down time evaporates Sundays! Fun but busy.

Today we did "princess" hair for church. Robyn was very upset she couldn't be a Cinderella princess like Robyn but calmed down when I explained that she got to look like Snow White. She ran to do her princess make-up while I did mine and a wet washcloth did not quite get it all. But despite the purple eyebrows that lingered she arrived at church looking extremely cute. I am sure the stake presidency appreciated all the entertainment she provided since we sit in the front row and she decided that she was so pretty she needed to dance throughout sacrament meeting. Came out of nursery sans hair bow and shoes (still can't find those) and was back to her normal cute, messy self.

Robyn helped me Thursday working at Lauri's. We took a bunch of still usable food down to the Food Bank which Robyn thought was very cool. Rest of days were full with house, kids and everything that goes with that. I was a little pumped this week when the Ensign bought a story I had written about Taylor (a sappy one). See if they publish it now. Tonight Jason's family and Lauri are coming over for dinner. Spencer makes it easy - hotdogs, chips and a ginormous chocolate cake with peanut butter/chocolate frosting. A man after my own heart.

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Some Beach, Somewhere...

Dear Friends and Family,

Coming back from a vacation without kids is always a bit of an adjustment. You are happy to see your kids but the noise and chaos of your life sort of slaps you in the face. There is a country song that talks about this guy facing life's everyday irritations with the daydream of some beach, somewhere. I have been having flashbacks all week long to the beaches of Hawaii!

The red-eye plus the three hour time difference sent me for a loop so last Sunday I came home and crawled right into bed for a nap while Jeremy pulled on his superhuman strengths to shower and go to church to meet up with kids. Meredith and the kids had cleaned the house and the kids had such a great time with her. They went to the cub scout blue and gold dinner and to her friend's wedding reception and 2 dance concerts (she is a brave woman, tackling those by herself!!). They had a chocolate fondue party at the end to celebrate saying please and thank you all week long. One downside was that Spencer on the way to timeout managed to kick a small hole in the wall by our front door. So hoping to tackle that repair project this week!

Allison's tooth did not fall out while we were gone. She realized it hurt to wiggle it so she isn't working so hard on it anymore. She seems to be having play practice almost every day for 2 hours so she is staying busy. She loves being a part of the play but the jobs, piano and homework seems to send her over the edge. Good thing the play is in three more weeks! She brought home a notice that she failed the school eye exam and we realized she was unable to see very far away. So this next Tuesday she and Jeremy are going in to get fitted for glasses. Allison is not very excited about having to wear glasses. We keep finding her up reading by the light of her night light - sure that doesn't help the eyes.

Spencer's retainer broke this week so had to make an emergency trip to the dentist to get it pulled out and sent in for repairs. They recognize Spencer now, which is sad. On the plus side this last retainer lasted 4 months! He likes to wiggle it with his tongue in his sleep or something. We spent Friday morning meeting with Spencer's psychiatrist. He saw Spencer at the hospital when he was 8. Helps me keep some perspective when I realize how bad things once were. Adding an afternoon dose has helped keep Spencer from having the afternoon be the worst time of the day but he is still having a lot of high highs and low lows. So they increased one of his meds by quite a lot and we're seeing this weekend if he can handle it without it making him sleepy and if it works to stabilize his moods more. Spencer was excited that he grew 3/4 an inch in the last 3 months and is now into triple digits at 100 pounds. He has been deep into books this week, finishing up a Levin Thumpe book, and the Black Cauldron series and is now into the High King series.

I have been talking with Taylor's teacher, therapists and the district this week to work out Taylor's transfer to the new school. Tuesday I go to take a tour of the school and discuss the options. Its a slow process but am hoping he will move over soon. Although we get snow at night sometimes the afternoons have been sunny and semi-warm which has Taylor chirping and looking around.

Tuesday was my day of dental torture. 5 fillings (no root canal - my prayers must have paid off) and some gum work (pulling back the gums and scraping the roots clean and then injecting antibiotics) - ouch!! My mouth has been very painful since. You think that would be a great diet aide but all the healthy stuff like fruit and salads are hard to eat - junk food just slides right down. The dentist comented that my teeth were like swiss cheese and asked if people in my family had to have dentures early on. You do not bring up dentures to a 35 year old! Its been keeping me flossing and brushing and swishing despite the pain.

Thursday was my big late Christmas present. I almost hated to write about it because of our trip to Hawaii this just seems like superflous blessings right now. Trust me I really do appreciate all we have. But for Christmas Jeremy gave me money to go buy a bedroom set. So I have been shopping ever since and bought a set on President's day sale. Wednesday we cleaned out the piles of office stuff that has yet to be sorted that has been filling up our bedroom. Thursday the furniture was delivered and now I just love to walk in our bedroom. Its all clean and looks beautiful! We shifted the bed to the other side of our room which is taking me a little bit to get used to when I fall asleep for some reason. Robyn is now asking when her big bed comes.

Saturday was a big family day. It was Garion's baptism. So we brought over our old kiddie quad for his birthday present and Lauri and spent the day celebrating at Jason and Kelly's. Kelly arranged for Lauri to have her hair done Saturday and every 2 weeks from now on so Lauri looked quite nice. It seemed like we barely got home when Meredith came over and we headed up to the temple and to later meet Jason and Kelly and her mom for dinner at Olive Garden. A very full, fun family sort of day.

Today Jeremy and I met with the Stake President. Always fills you with trepidation! So Jeremy got a new calling, sort of out of left field. Its one of THOSE callings that has thoughts of all your free time disappearing. He is feeling a little over whelmed because he knows what he needs to do but he will be great. Dan, you know what he is thinking about - hint, hint. Won't be called officially for a week or two.

Jeremy has been working hard to get everything ready for the photo camp this Saturday. It is turning into a huge event. He takes Rocky for a walk most days often with Allison skipping next to him happy to have some daddy alone time. He has been working hard on Rocky walking well off leash and it really shows. I have been trying to fit all the shopping, laundry and errands that seem to pile up when you're gone. Still need to tackle taxes. I brought back a little too much Hawaii spirit with me and have been feeling happy to just let things slide, and move in slow motion. Love to you all and pictures are coming as soon as Jeremy finishes processing them. Here are 2 video - one cheesy one we did for my parents and one of me snorkling.

Love, Heather

PS. Peter - I have a new author you would like. Robert Crais had 8 books - LA Requim is my favorite so far. Sort of like the Spencer for hire books we read but with a more modern twist.

Our clean and beautiful new bedroom!