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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mental Health Weekend

This weekend we took off.  Jeremy spent Friday from before the sun rose to dinner time roaming the canyons and Salt Lake with a group of photographers brushing up on his skills.  Then we sent Spencer off on a scout camping trip to the sand dunes, drove the girls and Taylor out to Jason and Kelly's and headed up to Midway for the weekend.  We stayed at the Zermatt, a hotel that looks like it belongs in Switzerland.  Jeremy loved the steam rooms and I just loved doing nothing at all.

Saturday afternoon we picked up Spencer to surprise him and to go see Hunger Games.  We all loved it and later went to lunner to discuss how the book and movie were different and what we liked while devouring cheese-steak sandwiches.  After picking up the rest of the kids we left them home with Melissa for the evening.  Jeremy had some work to catch up on and a beehive/deacon lesson to prepare while I spent the evening running errands.  I know that does not sound super fun but trust me looking for new church shoes without a kid helping was wonderful!  And as a side note I want to meet those women out there who can walk in the 6 inch high wedges that are out there.  They have my sincere admiration as I very painfully was unable to walk in any of them.  Then I picked up some coldstone ice cream to share with Jeremy to finish the evening off.  So it was a great mental health weekend where I realized later the only work I did was to start the dishwasher when I got home.  Everything else had to wait until Monday.

Other news this week is that my sister left after a way too short visit.  Of course she had to show off her mad hair skills with my girls first.

I plugged away at painting the living room.  I am loving how it looks although my gray is more blue than I thought.  I thought I was done after two coats but after looking at it for awhile decided I needed to do one more coat, so tomorrow I will be done.  And I can start looking at weeds and laundry once again.
Spencer and Allison had their piano recitals this week.  Due to major road construction our 20 minute drive took us 45 minutes so they arrived late.  Allison was quite flustered and stressed out about the fact but she was a trooper despite her not being her usual calm self.  We had to leave right afterwards to get her to an activity days where they were watching a school play.

Spencer did not have his original song memorized for the recital so was told that he could not play in the recital.  He thought that was a great thing.  So after some thought I told him the consequence was that he owed me 10 extra minutes of practice after dinner every night till he could play it for me.  He thought that was fair and no big deal until I added the kicker that there would also be no electronics until he could do so.  Then began the ranting and raving.  My favorite line, "Just because you had a boring childhood with no electronics doesn't mean you need to ruin mine!".  Or "you're like an executioner cutting off my head"  Needless to say he spent the evening practicing non-stop and the next afternoon so he could play in the recital.

And then not to be left out, Robyn has been practicing hard as well. If you can call 5 minutes a day really practicing. But considering the effort that 5 minutes takes, I do. 
After a bad week we decided to switch Taylor's medicine back to its original dosages.  It helped but he still had a few bad days.  But he is eating and drinking again and not having as many seizures so I think life is getting back to normal for him.

Spring came this week with a bang.  We got up to 70 degrees and opened all the windows airing out the winter funk.  Kids were riding roller blades up and down our street all afternoon.  Girls have pink noses and cheeks now.  It still would get a bit nippy at times in which case Robyn would set herself up by the fire with hot chocolate and a blanket.

 My favorite mom moment of the week is stopping at the top of the hill by the temple on the way home from school and discharging all the carpool to run pell-mell laughing down the hill and have me pick them up at the bottom.  Sheer happiness and a sign that spring fever is here.
love, Heather

notice Robyn racing around behind us

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lucky 13

Biggest news of the week is that Spencer is now officially a teenager.  We snuck into school and decorated his locker.  Doing so made me remember my mom and sister doing the same thing for me when I was in high school.  He is quite thrilled about having 122 pieces of gum and has planned out how to make them last for the rest of the school year.  Which means he is quite scrooge like about sharing.  For his birthday dinner he picked out a menu of ribs, tator tots and cut up strawberries and bananas.  Robyn made a special trip to the store for him to get this spinning M+M dispenser that she knew he would love.  He couldn't believe she would spend a month of her money on him.  Allison gave him coupons for breakfast in bed and a packed lunch, both of which he appreciated.  We gave him some roller blades which he has been trying out.  I was grumbling a little bit that finding size 12 roller blades was quite a process.

Since he picked going to Tucanos for his birthday lunch with dad, he couldn't go on a school day.  So Saturday night he and Jeremy went out to dinner instead.  That has to be Spencer's favorite restaurant.

This was one of those weeks where the end of the week Spencer decided to prove that he really was a teenager.  Holy attitude!  But then he snaps back to normal and its like you get whiplash.  Enough to make you fall to your knees and wonder where you messed up as a parent.  The possibilities are so endless!  Saturday morning Spencer spent at BYU at the pow-wow getting two more merit badges required for his Eagle.  I really understand why they have the parents come get recognized with their kids at scouts.  In our family at least it truly is a combined effort.

My sister Christina flew in Friday afternoon.  Her painting was being shown as a finalist for the LDS art contest up in SLC and the award ceremony and reception was Friday night.  It was amazing to see how talented she is and to see all the other art that was created for this event.  Some of those who won you causes you to wonder why but then abastract, conceptual modern art is not my thing usually.  The reception was extremely crowded and un-wheelchair friendly which caused some gritting of the teeth but it was wonderful to be there.

On Saturday Christina, Allison and I enjoyed a girls night out.  We went to my new favorite Mexican restaurant, Malagros and then went to see the play 'Anne of Green Gables'.  Allison has never read the books or seen the old PBS movies.  Something we are going to rectify this week.  It was a wonderful girls night out.

Saturday everyone ditched Taylor with Melissa, our new respite worker.  Meredith, our old respite worker called to invite Robyn out to dinner and to see a ballet.  Robyn was in little girl heaven and spent two days talking about her "date" and came home floating on a cloud of happiness.  I so appreciate those people who show such love for my kids.

With yesterday being St. Patrick's day we painted out nails green and kids found a leprechaun had left them a box of Lucky Charms and some green milk.  Spencer was quite concerned that the milk had gone bad in our fridge.  We are going to wait until Monday for our corned beef and cabbage dinner as my sister is a vegetarian and we didn't think she would like eating just a dinner of boiled cabbage very much.

Taylor had a tough week.  We have been trying to change his meds around to help his seizures but it seems to be making things worse instead.  I keep debating between seeing if things stabilize or just giving up.

My week has been filled with painting.  Everything else in life had to wait.  But our dining room minus a few touch ups is now done.  This week, the living room.

I am loving it.  It just makes me happy every time I look into that room.

Jeremy is still plugging through being sick and all the meds and cough making him unable to sleep.  I really hope things improve soon, it stinks.  This week was our caucus meetings.  We went Thursday night.  I went late after kids were settled and left at 10:30 when my eyes refused to function any more.  But Jeremy stayed for the whole thing, 6:15 to 12.  Our neighborhood was quite vocal with everyone wanting to say their piece but it was neat to be a part of how the whole system worked and see a whole new side of your neighbors.

Allison's new frames came in on Wednesday so she no longer has glasses held together with super glue and tape.  Jeremy took her out to get them and then for ice cream to celebrate.  Allison sure loves her dad.   She went with him to set up things at the studio for a class one night and thought she was in heaven.  Allison had a field trip Friday to a rock show an has a big bag of rocks that she bought to add to her collection.

So life has been good and the sun has been shining all week.  Spring is definitely in the air.  Last night we had a big rain storm to clean the air and green everything up.  Kids have been breaking out their shorts and going to parks.  My favorite part is opening up windows and airing out the house and the winter time funk.

Love to all, Heather

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Least Favorite Holiday

Nature must know that springing forward and loosing an hour is my least favorite holiday of the year.  So to make up for it, we had spring make an appearnace this week.  Robyn and friends were busy setting up lemonade stands (it started off as one lemonade stand but due to management issues became three) and asking for popsicles.  It really isn't that warm but being able to open windows and go sit outside and feel sunshine has felt wonderful.

Robyn had a fun week.  They have been working all year to earn their 50 book club t-shirt as a kindergarten class.  If they read 50 take home readers, they get a shirt.  The idea was that by this week everyone would have gotten their shirt so they could all wear them to go see a play.  Robyn was so excited.  She had to sleep in curlers all night to make sure she looked perfect.
Last week she attended a birthday party.  Due to my lack of being able to go to a store before the party we became a little creative.  We gave a coupon to go out to the movies.  So Saturday morning, Robyn was up bright and early to get her jobs done so she and her friend Anika could go see Arriety.  Then they spent the day playing in their own little world in our backyard.  Robyn was pooped and dirty by dinner time, always a sign of a successful day.

On Friday Jeremy was busy shooting a wedding reception and we had Melissa come watch Taylor.  So the other three kids and I along with my friend Brenda and her kids headed up to U of U to watch a gymnastics meet.  It was very impressive.  Each kid had a friend to shake to the music with, or at least the girls did while the boys tried not to look too impressed with all the flips and acrobatics.

Allison did great all week and then she hit Friday.  She had gotten up early, did all her jobs, was all dressed and hair brushed and then went to clean her glasses.  They snapped in half.  So her glasses are now superglued and taped into place until Tuesday when her replacement frames gets shipped in from CA.  I think this might have helped with her blues on Saturday.  I think her eyes were perpetually red and she just could not find her happy place.  She was calling every friend she knew to play and finally was able to get a friend to come over for an hour which helped a lot.  She is usually such a flexible, happy soul that the Allison blues really take us by surprise.

Spencer had a full week.  On Thursday for young men's they had a combined dance night with another ward.  Spencer asked me quite seriously if he didn't get his jobs done, did that mean he didn't have to go?  But he and Jeremy dressed up and went and he had a great time.  He really did not want these pictures getting out but what good is it being a parent if you don't share?

Then on Saturday night he had his birthday party. As many of you know, Spencer really struggles to make friends so we sort of told him what he had to do.  He really wanted to do rock climbing so his cousin Garion joined him and Jeremy Saturday afternoon to go to the rock climbing gym.  Jeremy's new requirement is that Spencer be able to do some pull-ups on the pull-up bar before he takes him again.  Jeremy deliberately didn't lift weights that morning but it was still a lot.  (Throw in taking pictures of a wedding that morning and he is a bit sore).

Then Spencer had earlier that week made up a flyer and delivered it around to all the deacons in our ward and a few friends.  His idea of a great party: polish dogs, cake and Lord of the Rings.  So that is what he did along with 19 boys and they had a great time.

It was a little bit out of Spencer's comfort zone but he had a good time. He is planning to repeat the night two more times for the rest of the trilogy now. Our girls were not super excited to spend the evening sleeping in the basement and hiding out as they couldn't watch the movie but they were good sports about it.

Jeremy is still sick with allergies but I think he sounds better.  Either I sleep through him now or he is coughing much less at night.  He is just sick of being sick, but what can you do.  He is doing his best at trying to keep healthy habits, take all his meds and wait it out.

I picked out my paint this week and got started.  So far all I have is the white paint done on the bottom half of the dining room but I think its looking good so far.  Hopefully this week I will finish up the living room.

It always seems like there is so much I want to do mixed in with the times where I stare blankly at the wall thinking I should be doing something right now, but I really don't want to do anything.    Throw in the regular tantrums, kids saying "I'm bored" or "there's nothing edible in this house" or "you never play with me" and then the occasional "thanks mom" or "this was a great night" makes for a roller coaster of regular emotional life around here but definitely keeps us on our toes.  This morning I made peanut butter, banana, chocolate chip stuffed french toast.  Highly recommend it.  Taylor had to be cut off before his stomach exploded.  Almost made up for the grumpy faces looking at me wanting to know why they had to get up at 9 am and who decided they had to loose an hour of sleep.  Hoping a regular bed time tonight and we will be back to our happy mornings once again.  We will see...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Snow, Paint and Doctors

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Friday morning I woke up to winter.  It finally arrived in full force.  Icy roads, biting wind the whole 9 yards.  So since my friend Brenda and I are not insane we drove to the rec center to run.  I came home to see little Allison outside all bundled up and shoveling our driveway.  She reassured me she got up early, did all her jobs, practiced the piano, packed her lunch, made her breakfast and just wanted to help out with the driveway.  I swear that little girl is pushing for saint hood some days.  Good thing she has a little sister to keep her humble and a little sassy.  (This is the same day she came home from school to say she wanted to do indexing for a little while, just because - it was a really good day)  Jeremy dragged his still horribly sick with allergy body out to give the girls a little help with their shoveling project.  Its the first time all year that he has been able to use his snow plow.  Driving to school cars were sliding everywhere.  And then because of our weird weather by today most of the snow has melted and the sun is out!  But our kids were outfitted in snow gear, sleds and were ready to tackle making a snowman Friday.

Robyn and Luke were a bit inseparable this week.  They had a ball on Monday in our backyard with a tea party to follow.  Luke's little brother Jake was busy tossing rose petals on them while they danced.  Originally Luke was wearing a zorro costume to be a prince but it was getting in the way when he tried to dip Robyn.  So when I came out with the camera after spying on them and laughing through the window, they ditched the cape and had the giggles.  It still just makes me smile.  I hope they stay friends when the whole boys are yucky stage kicks in.  I finished Robyn's skirt this week which she wanted to show off:

Robyn and her friends all had their kindergarten classes invaded by a leprechaun this week who did naughty things while they were at recess.  So they were busy making leprechaun traps for our backyard that were quite involved. They were convinced Macho's paw prints through the yard were really made by a leprechaun and they were super excited about the prospect of getting their own pot of gold.  Robyn has had a busy week of friends and parties.  I don't think she realizes that it is not necessary to play with a friend every day.

Allison had a class presentation this week on the history of fortune cookies.  So of course being Allison she made fortune cookies for the whole class.  It still seems strange to me to have her be so independent all of a sudden.  She had a light-bulb moment lately that if she gets up at 6:30 she can have all her jobs done before school starts.  Which means she has been either going to a friends house after school or having a friend come home with her.  On Friday she and her friend Andra went on a date with Jeremy to go out to dinner.  Allison had won a gift card for a Mexican restaurant up in Sandy through a drawing at school.   Jeremy said they just had a giddy time with non-stop laughing and loving their night out.

Jeremy is still sick with allergies although now he can hear.  He got a neti pot this week to throw in along with all of his drugs.  I think the snow storm helped a little bit but he is still fairly miserable and just sticking it out.  He was doing the final clean up of the studio this week with all the new construction being done and had a photo shoot there Friday.  He arranged to take pictures for this dance wear manufacturer who is also our neighbor in return for dance outfits for our girls.  On Saturday we walked over to her house for our girls to "shop".  They were in heaven.  Robyn returned home to try out her splits and leaps convinced that she can dance so much better in her new outfit.  On Saturday night we got to go out with two of our neighbors for dinner.  Its so nice just to talk adult sometimes!

Taylor had a week of doctors.  On Monday we spent the morning up at Primary's changing up his seizure meds and adjusting his VNS.  There is a new drug out that we are looking at but first we are going to try modifying what he already has.  Right now he has a couple of good days and then he will have a day or two that are bad.  I would like to get him having more good days.  Then on Thursday we spent the morning at the wheelchair shop.  He has outgrown his current wheelchair so it isn't very comfortable but he has to wait until December for insurance to cover a new chair.  So they made as many adjustments as they could to lengthen things out and not have parts rub him the wrong way.  They also ordered him a vest for the car to help him sit upright on his seat and not be able to slouch over so much.  I am sure he won't like it but it will be a lot safer and more comfortable for him.  Right now as we lift him up he gives a big gasp as all the air re-enters his lungs.

This week I finally painted out hallways.  Just the same beige color but it makes our house look so much cleaner.  The amount of holes I filled and boogers and dirt I washed off were just disgusting.  I want to do the trim now as it looks pretty sad but I plan to wait a few days for that.  And then its off to do our living room and dining room.  So right now this is how I have narrowed down my choices on color there:

I am having a hard time making up my mind.  Any suggestions?  Seriously, suggest away.  I didn't think picking a color would be so hard but for some reason it is.  My goal is to have it done before yard work starts as then all house projects come to screeching halt.

Love, Heather