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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goody-bye Mickey

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a bit of a roller coaster week around here.  Sad news first.  Our cat of 16 years, Mikey died Saturday morning.  He has been getting quite frail and this week decided it was time.  He stopped eating and drinking, by Friday his kidneys has shut down and he was unable to walk.  It hit everyone hard but especially Allison.  Mickey has been sleeping with her every night on her pillow for the last couple of years and she has come to consider him 'her' cat.  Lots of tears and sobbing over the last few days.  Even Spencer has had a lot of manly sniffles.  Allison spent Saturday afternoon digging a hole in the frozen ground outside to bury Mickey so she could visit his grave.  When the weather warms up a bit I think we will have to re-dig the hole or help the body disappear.  But it was very touching.  She had everyone throw in a handful of dirt and say good-bye.  Spencer has gone out just to pat the ground and tell him what a good cat he was.  Lots of interesting conversations as our kids ask if Mickey is sealed to us since he was 'born in the covenant'.  As parents we have had to control the inappropriate smiles as our children have mourned.  Its the first time they have actually watched the process of something they have loved die and I think it was harder for them because of that.

The girls had their dance recital yesterday, thirty minutes after having Mickey die, so they were smiling with red-rimmed eyes as they danced.  They were both very excited about their performance though and the flowers afterwards.  Allison can really shake her hips and perform now with a big smile towards the audience.  Robyn spends her dance alternating between smiling at us and looking at her teacher off-stage to make sure she is getting the steps right.

We had two big parties this week which took up most of our time.  On Thursday we had a surprise wake for Jeremy to celebrate his last night of youth.  He had a lot of friends come by to give him a hug and eat some cake.  I think he had a great time and it was fun to see so many of our friends.  My favorite card of the night: Birthdays always remind me of the giant redwoods on the West Coast.  They way they stand tall and proud, year after year, century after century.  Their majestic beauty never fails to take my breath away.  (inside the card)  Thank you for planting them.  I know he appreciated all their little notes, cards and gifts that were sent his way.  Robyn could not understand why he was getting metamucil and adult diapers but she thought it was pretty funny.

Then on Friday we had our ward party that I had the pleasure of heading up this year.  I was amazed at how much everyone in the ward did to make it a success.  We ended up with 420 people coming, tons of good food and then had an amazing choir program.  It was a long day of setting up, getting food etc but it all came together.

Jeremy had a smug-mug event this week where he taught about lighting.  Spencer was quite proud that he got to go too.  I am not sure how much he actually learned from the night but he was quite thrilled with the opportunity.  Jeremy had one family photo shoot this week out on the frozen lake.  He has been lucky enough this year to be involved in a lot of the behind the scenes Christmas help in the ward and has enjoyed figuring out how to help people.

Spencer has been struggling with math a lot this week as he tries to catch up on home-work.  Which means I have been struggling with math this week as I try to explain how to do all the problems he has missed.  It is difficult sometimes to separate what is normal 12 year old behavior and what is bi-polarness kicking in.  We talked about the Millennium today at church and it made me think about how amazing it will be when we get to meet Spencer without any mental illness or meds clouding his personality.  We meet with his new psychiatrist this week, see how it goes.  I don't think he needs any changes it was just time to find a local doctor.

Allison had her class ski trip this week.  I was glad she actually got to have someone who knew what they were doing teach her how to ski.  She has no fear and just takes on the toughest runs the instructor will let her do.  She was excited to see that her picture was being used by the church on one of their links for  I posted a copy of the screen above.

Robyn has been enjoying all the Christmas festivities at school.  All but Taylor have school Monday and then a half day of class parties on Tuesday.  She told me this week that she is never getting married in the temple because who would want to be married to a boy forever.  That would stink.  She also told me that she is not having kids but is going to work in an office instead because she doesn't ever want to change a diaper.  All I could think of was where did I go wrong?  I tried to convince I really liked being married and having kids, but she wasn't buying it.  Maybe I wasn't cheerful enough this week?

We had one more Christmas party that we went to Saturday night.  Kids were happy to sit and watch a movie.  And I after spending a frustrating hour with Spencer's math was very happy to sit surrounded by adults, with good food and a few games.  I think we all appreciated the break from each other.  This time of year I am always appreciative and amazed at the people we are surrounded by and their thoughtfulness.

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A week of tiny auditorium seats

Dear Friends and Family,

This was the week of Christmas concerts and now we are done.  Loved them but am done heading out every night to some event.  Monday, Allison's choir performed a the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake.  Spencer stayed home with Taylor so it was just me and the girls.  It felt so laid back and easy and just thoroughly enjoyable.  Afterwards we walked for a few minutes through one of the visitor centers.  They had some new displays we hadn't seen before.
Then on Wednesday Allison had her choir concert at the school.  So we all headed over for that hence why she wasn't upset the boys weren't there on Monday.  She was one of their narrators for their mini-play they did and she rocked it.  Microphone squealing and going out on her didn't even phase her.  Neither did Robyn wearing some humongous sunglasses and making faces at her.

Then on Thursday Robyn had her kindergarten concert.  They have been working for months on their Christmas songs and I have heard many of them at top volume as I drive car pool.  I was just grinning for that whole concert at their energy and enthusiasm as they sang and did the actions for each song.  It was one of my favorite moments of the year.
Have I mentioned that Robyn is on the tall side?
Robyn and her carpool friends - Myra, Libby and of course Luke - they wore noses when they sang the snowman song

Today we had our last concert with Spencer playing the guitar at a local care center.  I can actually recognize and sing-along with him now which is nice.
And then to round out the week we had new nights of adult only events back to back.  Friday was Jeremy's work party.  Spencer was our babysitter as we went on our annual shopping spree followed by dinner and visiting.  Jeremy got a new camera toy he is having fun with and I got some much needed shoes (after 19 years of living in Utah I finally bought some snow boots.  I have been using my Grandma's which didn't fit very well.  But then again I think shuffling while shoveling snow might have saved me numerous falls).

Saturday night Jason, Kelly and cousins did family photos with Jeremy and then graciously stayed with our kids while we went out.  For Jeremy's birthday I had bought tickets for us to go see Blue Man Group - something he has wanted to do for several years.  They were weird, interesting and highly entertaining.

So it was truly a party week.  Plus to keep me smiling all week long it was a week of numerous loving gestures.  A friend brought our family dinner, just because.  Little treats and kind notes were dropped off.  Favors done.  Just one of those weeks where you count your blessings and are glad to have your family and friends.

Other odds and ends.  This week was bitterly cold.  I would drive the kids to school and it would be 15 degrees outside.  The warmth and smog has returned now though so we are getting up to 30 and 40 degrees during the day which feels much better.

Robyn came home from kindergarten telling me about the awesome game they play at recess.  It is called Girls and Boys and they take turns chasing each other.  If they get caught they loose a life.  I asked how many lives they have and she said, "oh, around 14.  No one ever runs out".  When I told her that game was around when I was a kid too, she was flabbergasted.  They thought they had just invented it!

Allison was telling me about her night at the mall with her two friends.  How they were given the big brother's cell phone so they could go shop on their own.  How Forever 21 is such an awesome store.  How they got diner together at Arby's.  All I could do was look at her and think, "where did my little girl go?!". 

Spencer came home from Young Men's with a distended belly and a big smile.  When I asked what they did, he replied "we deep fat fried stuff".  Yep, they made corn dogs, onion rings, french fries, stuffed jalapeno's.  Talk about an activity right up Spencer's alley.  He thought he was so cool.  The next day, he skipped breakfast and ate only a pear for lunch.

Love to you all and hope you are enjoying this holiday season, Heather

Sunday, December 4, 2011


OK, how could I forget all the little details in my post that have made me smile this week.
1. Santa is still alive and thriving in our house.  I finally sat Spencer down this week and revealed the magic behind Santa.  Something I swore I would never do, but I don't think he would have gotten it otherwise.  I felt like I was stripping him of his dreams as he just stared at me with these big sad eyes.  But he started getting into the spirit of things and figured out how he could help.  He volunteered to take care of Santa's nachos and leave lots of crumbs and a note.  Glad he can be so thoughtful :)  You would have thought the nachos left on Christmas Eve would have been a dead give - away but to Spencer that made total sense.  Allison on the other hand asked me slyly that it seemed very suspicious that Dad thought Santa would prefer nachos to cookies.

2. Allison had a lengthy dentist appointment this week.  She was ready to pay $20 out of her own money so she could have the option of nitrous.  She is the one kid in our family who can handle nitrous.  I wondered how much of a guilt trip we put on our kids for their cavities and how much we spend at the dentist.  But she spent two hours quite high and tired out while they worked on her teeth.  She was either half-asleep or was keeping up a running dialogue "Mom, what's for dinner?  we need to buy some raspberry juice, I like raspberry juice, it feels good when you squeeze my leg when they are doing the shots, I like having you here, I want yogurt, my cheek hurts..." all said without breath, in a teeny-tiny voice.

3. Last Sunday Spencer gave his talk.  Did pretty well.  Hardest part for him was the sitting still on the stand afterwards - one of his big obstacles in life.  The talk after him asked if we could picture anyone who was ungrateful, how they would be unhappy and grumpy most of the time.  Robyn turned to me and said in a LOUD voice, "that's easy.  That's Spencer."  Sadly true a lot of the time lately.  Maybe when he isn't spending every day making up math work after school, life will improve.

4. Yesterday I ran an errand while Jeremy was home supervising kids.  He yelled up to Robyn and friends, "what are you doing?"
Robyn: "playing"
"what are you playing"
"wait, what? does everyone have their clothes on this time"
"yes dad.  you can count on me"
(we have had to explain a couple of times that we do not actually reenact doctor visits - just pretend)

once again, love, Heather

Dear Family and Friends,

My girls got haircuts this week and were quite thrilled with their new look, especially Robyn.  A lot of hair flipping has been going on around here.  It is snowing outside right now and sticking which always makes it feel like the holidays are really here.  Decorations are up, kids have made various projects, and Christmas activities have started.

This week we started off the season with our annual block light parade.  We walk up and down the street turning on our Christmas lights and meeting at the end for hot chocolate and treats.  The weather was relatively warm so kids were running wild with glee and abandon at being out at night and the anticipation of sneaking a bunch of cookies at the end.  We got to clean the church right before the parade and it was nice to have the motivation to hold over our kids' heads.

On Tuesday I taught a mini-class about keeping Christ in Christmas for Relief Society.  Thank you to all my friends and family for their ideas.  For his activity Spencer went up to SLC with the deacons to see the lights and watch the Joseph Smith movie.  With Robyn and Allison each practicing extra for their upcoming Christmas concert and breaking out constantly into impromptu concerts our house has been full of the Christmas spirit.

On Friday the kids and I went up to the Festival of Trees.  Lots of crowds plus kids does not equal Christmas joy in Jeremy's mind so he got a pass.  I am not sure what our kids enjoy more, scones and honey butter, the amazing Gingerbread houses or the Christmas trees and performers.  We always have a great time and each year gets a little easier.  It used to feel like a marathon event to go, now its more a fun event that I just have to psyche myself up for a little bit.

I have spent the week working on Christmas presents and the odds and ends that fill up our lives so quickly.  Macho is back to thinking he rules the neighborhood but scurries quickly to get by Jeremy.  Spencer is currently barking like a seal and is home for the day.  Allison pointed out that someone has had to stay home from church for the last three weeks now.  Guess it is germ season around here.

On Saturday night Jeremy and I went to a play called 'A Joyful Noise' about the writing of The Messiah.  It was really interesting and quite entertaining.  The Messiah was definitely meant to be experienced, not just listened to on a CD.

Had our Relief Society Presidency meeting this week and Karen, our President shared some training from Sister Beck.  My favorite part was when she talked about young mothers floundering in the church and what they need to know.  They only need to do four things each day: 1. Roll out of bed and say a prayer.  2. Read some scriptures, keep in the bathroom if necessary to find the time and privacy.  3. Make your bed so you are not tempted to crawl back in and to signal God that you are ready for the day.  3. Get dressed for your family, don't stay in your PJs till noon.  I thought this advice was great, even though I don't fall into the young category so much anymore.  But its a good reminder of what is important.

Hope each of you is enjoying this wonderful season, Heather