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Sunday, August 26, 2012

School, glorious school...

This week marked the end of summer vacation.  On Sunday evening we had several neighbors over to eat cake and to hear about our neighbor's mission.  The Calls returned from Brazil a few weeks ago.  Kids thought it was great to have cake, friends and a late night on a Sunday evening.  Usually on Sunday evening I am saying all the kids are going to bed early as Mom is officially done being a mom.

Monday morning to get us used to early mornings we had a bunch of kids over for a pancake breakfast.  One kid was amazed that I put chocolate chips in my pancakes, he couldn't fathom such a wonderful idea.  Then the afternoon was spent in endless assessments at school as kids tried to remember what they had learned last year.  There is something about sitting it little chairs in school hallways waiting on each other to finish up math tests etc that makes you want to run out screaming from the building and do one last hurrah.  Instead we postponed our last day of freedom to Tuesday and spent the afternoon labeling endless school supplies and packing back-packs.  Then Spencer for FHE took us to the park to show off his tennis skills.  Watching Robyn chase after the ball using her racquet like a rocket launcher was just the laugh I needed for the day.

I know you wouldn't think a bag of chips would be included in school supplies but Allison brought a big pan of 7 layer dip to school on Tuesday for lunch and to share with all of her friends.

On Tuesday, Taylor had his first day of school.  Monday he had started to perk up and drink again, his fever was gone and I thought it would do him good to get up and going again.

Guess that wasn't a good idea as he only made it one full day of school this week and has been home since.  He stopped eating and drinking and was just miserable.  Seizures were constant in all variations.  Wednesday night we went to the doctor as we were worried it was time for an IV.  Turns out he had a really bad viral sore throat.  They gave us some magic milk to shoot with a little syringe all over his throat.  It is a mixture of lidocaine, benodryl and mallox.  Made it so Taylor would start sipping periodically and kept him out of the hospital.  He is still not really eating but sometimes he will let us put one spoonful of applesauce in his mouth and swallow.  He must have heard me complain about his growth lately as he has gotten quite thin again.  Thank goodness for whole milk and chocolate nesquick.

While Taylor was at his first day of school the kids and I set off to hike to the G by us.  Took us and hour and 15 minutes to get up there and it took Spencer 15 minutes to get down.  He does not hike uphill very well.  It was fun, hot and sweaty and a gorgeous view.  We had the trail all to ourselves.
Because Spencer does not believe in doing a regular smile.
And then the deal was that when we hiked the G we would go out for milk shakes afterwards.  We have finally found the best milk shakes around at a place called Sammy's.  They mix in a whole cupcake or a piece of pie into every milk shake.  Kids thought it was a tie with JCW's but that is because JCW's do twice the size.

And then Wednesday I woke up with a big smile on my face even though getting back to an alarm waking me up in the dark stank.  I refuse to run with a head lamp yet but it is pretty dark at 6 am right now.  Robyn's emotions were a little all over the place as she was very excited to be in school full time and quite nervous at how hard it would be.

It was quite strange to have the house to myself all day.  It was extremely quiet, even with Taylor around.  I am not used to doing a job and finishing it all without talking to someone or being interrupted.  It feels very surreal.  And then I pick up kids and its an emotional whiplash as kids all want to talk to me and have things they need me to do.  It is just a new phase of life.  I am teaching art in the girls classes this year and helping in Taylor's class with lunch time but all that starts next week.  So this week I made salsa and tackled cleaning and yardwork.  I keep looking at our yard and bathrooms and am a little surprised at how much can happen over the summer.  And Jeremy and I had our first lunch date!  A new weekly tradition I am excited to start.

Robyn started her gymnastics class this week.  She was quite emotional about going and not knowing anyone in the class etc.  It really has been an emotional roller-coaster of a week for her.  The whine factor has intensified.  We seriously need to get the whine under control.  Any ideas?  She finished her class with a big smile and a bright red face and came home to show everyone her cartwheel.

This Friday the girls and Jeremy packed up a tent and took off for the father/daughter camp-out.  The girls had never camped in a tent before and wanted to try it out.  As Robyn said they ate and played and ate and played and ate some more.  They had a great time with their dad.  Jeremy comes home and girls skip in with their pillows covered in dirt to tell me about the weekend while Jeremy carries in 3 sleeping bags, tarp, cooler, tent and bags.  He said that epitomized a daddy-daughter date.
Notice Robyn's face.  They are battling the whine of "our tent is too small.  I'll be squished!".  Did I mention whining is a real issue lately?

Friday night Spencer was my date while Melissa came to cuddle with Taylor.  We went to do baptisms for the dead, out to a pizza buffet he has been wanting to go to and then to see Men In Black 3.  Definitely a 13 year old boy date and we both loved it.

And a video of Taylor packing up for the beach and the girls getting ready for school:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vacation vs Reality

Last Saturday night we came home from a week with family at Sunset Beach, California.  We arrived home missing family and tired out.  While helping unpack everything I literally felt a muscle start to twitch by my eye that I could not stop.  Something about little kids' whiny tired voices after a long day helped set it off.

It was an awesome vacation.  Photos to come when Jeremy has time.  We drove down to Las Vegas on a Friday afternoon/evening and then drove the rest of the way Saturday.  It made for a much easier, happy trip there.  The best part was from when we packed up to when we started driving home.  Taylor was happy.  I mean constantly giggling, laughing and smiling - the most we have seen from him in years.  It just made me truly heart deep happy to see him enjoying life so much.  We pushed heavy calories and fluids on him all week, walked him to and from the ocean every day and set up a tent on the sand for him to roll around in without getting a face full of sand.  He just had a great week and I was thrilled that my family got to interact with a happy Taylor, which often doesn't happen.

We stayed in a beach house that opened up right onto the beach which meant that kids could run to and from the house on little "errands" all day long.  Allison reunited with her cousin Lathan and I don't think they ever left each others' side the entire week.  It was awesome to see what good friends they have become.  They were just in their own little world.  Robyn decided after getting rolled in the surf her second day that she was more of a sand/shell girl and spent her days digging in the sand and eating nachos for lunch.  Spencer would ride his boogie board till his stomach was covered in scrapes and then read his new books.  It was just a relaxing week of hanging out, talking and being a family all together.  The only sad part is that due to work and illness my brother Peter's family couldn't be there.  The only sad note of the whole week.  Some of my favorite moments were watching the kids run around the beach in the dark with their glow in the dark bracelets on, howling like banshees and loving staying up late.  Running along the beach on the trail that runs down through Huntington.  Having a girls day exploring Santeen Alley and being taken to back rooms to look at off the back of the truck designer purses.  Watching the boys go out for a movie night.  Hitting up Trader Joe's for some goodies.  Collecting shells, shells and more shells (our deck is currently covered) and watching my kids become friends with their extended family.

But all good things have to come to an end so we left at 5 am Saturday to drive back.  Jeremy showed kids his favorite rest stop at Scipio that has a petting zoo.  A genius idea.  To celebrate coming back to reality on Monday we all hit the dentist except for Jeremy and Robyn.  Taylor had his teeth cleaned.  Spencer had his last baby tooth pulled (I cannot believe how many teeth he has had to have pulled) and Allison got her retainer fixed.  I got my two permanent crowns and kids just laughed at how I was going to have dentures soon at this rate.  Throw in loads of laundry and getting back to real life and Monday was a doozy of a day.  But it ended well as we went to see Fiddler on the Roof at the outdoor SCERA theater.  Kids liked it but at intermission it hit them that this was a looong play and that there wasn't really any happy or funny parts to it!  I could tell they were having a hard time paying attention for the last hour as dancing around the light pole or doing somersaults on the grass increased exponentially.

Tuesday we had cousins come spend the day and ended up doing a sleepover while Kelly went to Education Week.  And then Wednesday I packed everyone in the car at 7 and drove them to Kelly's house while I went to Education week.  A fabulous experience where you learn more than you can possibly ever remember.  Kids had really pleaded to have a sleep-over with cousins and the deal was that if they did they needed to get up in the morning cheerfully.  So at 6:55 they were all sitting in the van with their clothes packed up without me ever saying a word.  It was great.

To make-up for such a great vacation week Taylor had a really bad week.  He hasn't eaten voluntarily since Saturday night and only a few bites when we force it.  Tuesday I took everyone to the pool and he and I sat on a towel while I syringed fluids in his mouth trying to get him to swallow.  He goes down so fast and so quickly.  He had a fever of 103 Saturday but with lots of tylenol and motrin its staying down and he has drunk a few cup of milk on his own.  A week is a long time not to eat and to only drink sporadically.  Feel bad for him when he feels so badly.

Saturday night Taylor was supposed to go to our Stake Activity where they put on a special needs olympics for a special needs mutual.  That didn't happen.  But Spencer was there with Jeremy along to play photographer.  He said the activity was really well done and Spencer raved about it.  Maybe next year Taylor will be able to go.

And then Saturday morning was my big day:
I had a rocky start to the morning.  I was supposed to pick everyone up at 5:30 am to drive up.  We had a power outage and then had mistakenly set the back-up alarm for 5:59 instead of 5:00.  So I was woken up to my friends outside our house at 5:45 trying to wake me up.  Made for a panic dash as I grabbed everything!  You have to park 3 1/2 miles away and then bike and carry all your gear into the race.  It was a little inimidating there as it was a place of serious athletes.  Most of the time I can look around at race events and say, well she is doing it so I will be OK.  This time I was worried that I would be the last person to finish.  Thankfully I passed up a 62 year old man a few 20 somethings who looked like they were in pain.  So I wasn't dead last but I was definitely at the very end.  The swim felt great, I hung back at the start for 30 seconds so I was by myself and not in the pack.   1 mile open swim that involved wading through knee high mud to get to the starting point, 25 mile bike with only 1 really steep hill and then 6 mile run that involved several small steep hills and then 1 1/2 mile of straight climb that you had to do TWICE.  The running was hot, no shade, dusty, cement, gravel or loose dirt.  I was able to run the first loop but the second loop I had to walk a bunch or keel over.  More from the heat than anything else I think.  But I finished with 3:31 which I felt good about.  And most importantly I finished!

Another sad note as we left I run over a pipe in the dirt field that was in the parking lot.  Scraped up and dented the side of the truck.  Glad I have a husband who just shakes his head and says that stinks.  Nothing hurts today but everything just feels tired out.  I don't know if I would do it again but I really did enjoy the training part.

Thursday night was our back to school night.  Kids found out their teachers, schedules etc.  Allison was sad not to be in the class with her friend Andra and the teacher that she really liked.  But I think her teacher will challenge her which will be good.  Robyn is a little freaked out about 1st grade as it is "real school".  Spencer is taking Astronomy and German this semester which he is excited about.  On Thursday and Friday we did back to school shopping.  2 1/2 hours at walmart as everyone tried to pick out their perfect binders, pencils, note pads etc.  Each kids' teacher gives them a list of supplies they need to bring the first day.  Its quite lengthy.  I was good for the first hour but after that I really don't know or care much which binder is cuter or which high lighter will last longer.  But to my kids these are very important questions.  Throw in getting new shoes for everyone and trying to find pants for Spencer and everyone was shopped out.  I keep telling them that if they would stop growing my life would be so much easier.  Spencer was thrilled that he wearing regular pants this year.  No more huskies for him.  He has been going down every day to the work out room to do sit-ups and bench press etc.  We noticed how at back to school night he still can't participate in games or talk in conversations to his peers so we are working on that this year.  Any ideas?  Halving his meds seems to have woken him up quite a bit which I have mixed feelings about at times.  Having a kids be tired and feel sedated sometimes is a nice thing!  But he is in a happier place now.

This week is assessments and school starts.  Yipee!  I really wasn't ready for summer to be over and have loved having kids home.  But this week helped me get over that.  Now I am ready to ship them off!  And I think they are ready for me to do so.

love Heather