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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Monday morning we sent Spencer off with his cousin Garion for a week of Timberline scout camp.  It was 100 miles away in the middle of the mountains where they worked on leadership skills, learned some obnoxious scout songs and skits and had fun.  Despite a shower Spencer is still picking away at dirt in his cuticles.  I think I need to take him swimming to soak some of the dirt out of his pores.
I realized that I haven't been including some of the nitty gritty in my blogs and decided to repent this week.  Spencer said he did great all week and remembered his pills.  We were praying hard for him as last week we had our first time we really saw Spencer on a "high" from bi-polar.  Usually he just has little ups and downs all day that are just more than an average person and a little higher and lower than normal.  But then we had three days of a constant high.  We tried to laugh instead of grit our teeth but wow it was very obvious.  He would forget to eat meals!  I mean that never happens.  Or want to stay up super late, talking a mile a minute etc.  But he seems to be back in a more stable position now and hopefully he will stay that way without us having to change his medications.

While Spencer was off scouting, we got to play with cousins.  We went to our community pool, our neighbor's pool, the days of 47 rodeo up in SLC, this is the place park, a city street fair and a neighbors for a bunch of fireworks.  We had a great time playing together and getting to know each other better.  Lathan and Allison even got to go to a writing class where they learned from a children's book author how to write.
They were all troopers about This is the Place park because although it was really neat to visit it was extremely hot!  The watermelon eating contest with ice cold watermelon was one of the highlights of my day.

While they were here they were unfortunately introduced to Taylor's digestive problems.  We have been struggling with Taylor since we got back from Montana to get things flowing again.  While this week they started.  All over his leg and making a pool across the kitchen floor - TWICE.  Not to mention, in the shower, in his room etc.  So Taylor is happier, our house is bleached everywhere and cousins didn't run away screaming in disgust.  Gotta love family.

And to add to the general grossness, we came home Thursday night to find that Rockey had gotten hurt on his side.  So he chewed it up pretty badly in an effort to make it better.  Enter vet Jeremy with his neosporin and bandages.  He seems to be doing better now.

Midnight, Allison's guinea pig is doing better.  She was starting to eat and drink on her own this week but then her growth on her rear started leaking.  So Friday night vet Jeremy again to the rescue operated.  An exacto knife and some steady hands squeezed out a golf ball size of toothpaste consistency pus.  Midnight is much happier.  I am grossed out.

Saturday while Jeremy was picking up boys from scout camp, the girls, Taylor and I headed off the girls' last swim meet for county.  I was timing the meet, so the girls had to get to their events by themselves and take care of Taylor.  They were awesome as I watched Allison meeting Robyn after every race with her towel and a hug.  They did great.  Allison got 11th on freestyle and 7th on backstroke (she PR'd on backstroke).  Robyn got 3rd on butterfly (out of 3, but she didn't disqualify, her biggest concern.  She kept her legs at the ankles crossed the whole time she was doing dolphin so they wouldn't come apart which I think slowed her down), 11th on freestyle and her freestyle relay came in 1st.  Her relay was awesome to watch.  Robyn was the second swimmer.  The first swimmer just lost it.  She got lapped by all of the 2nd swimmers.  Robyn dove in and passed all the second swimmers and then her team stayed in front.  It was awesome to watch those little arms move so fast.

Today Robyn is down sick with something.  I thought it was just exhaustion but her fever is now 102 and she had sores in her throat, so tomorrow its strep test time.  Motrin and Chloreseptic are kicking in as she was willing to eat a piece of chocolate zucchini bread and crawl out of bed to play on an ipad.  You know she is sick when she naps all day long.

This week Spencer is off again for a few days with our stake Pioneer Trek.  At scout camp he managed to rip both of his scout pants at the crotch.  For trek he needs to wear docker's pants.  I am a little nervous about unexpected rips!  So this week should be quiet I think and hopefully involve less animal and human grossness!  And the contacts continue to be a learning experience:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Changes, summer and contacts

Monday night despite the rain clouds we went to one of our favorite summer traditions, an outdoor musical at SCERA shell.  This year it was The Sound of Music and it was awesome.  I realized my kids have never seen this musical before and they were entranced.  To the point that at the end we are constantly reminding Robyn that only the actors are allowed to sing and dance during the performance.

It was good to sit and relax with kids and enjoy the evening as Monday was also the day we went to the dentist.  My kids consider the dental office a fun outing and look forward to it for days.  No cavities needing to be filled this time just a bunch of little stuff.  Is it bad when the dental workers all call you by name?  It can't be a good sign.
Tuesday while Jeremy hosted a party for all the photography studio members and their family I got to cheer on Spencer getting a bunch of merit badges.  He leaves tomorrow for a week long scout camp at Timberline where he is in scout uniform all week.  So he was excited to be fully dressed in scout pants that we had gotten earlier that day.  After seeing the receipt at the scout office he cheerfully worked with me on getting the yard all done for Jeremy's party.  Of course it ended up raining hard all evening but it looked good from a window.  Spencer has gone fishing a couple of times this week. He even took Allison and her friend on evening.  Allison was a bit smug that they caught four little fish and Spencer caught one.  Jeremy made Spencer put the fish back as it was teeny so he is still hoping to catch a fish that he can eat!  Thursday Spencer got to go with a friend to do a space mission at a space education center.  He thought it was so cool to 'pretend' everything was real and got into the spirit of things.
On Wednesday I took kids and a few friends up to tour the Sweet candy factory in SLC.  No cameras, watches, jewelery (not even a wedding ring) - it felt like we were entering a Willy Wonka establishment.  Kids inhaled sugar for an hour and found their candy store at the end to be an amazing place where huge bags of candy could be bought for a dollar.  Then we came back and Robyn made lunch for her and her friend.  She had a vision and besides not having the right toothpicks for her, she was quite proud of her ability.
On Friday Spencer and Allison got their eyes checked.  Their eyes changed till they are practically the same -5.  And they got contacts.  I couldn't help smiling as they tried to figure out how to make contacts work.
And we learned a valuable lesson - kids should not have contacts in the same bathroom, in the same color cases.  After an hour of recriminations and trying to figure out whose contacts were whose we ended up with a ripped contact - Spencer's.  So since he was so sad to not be wearing contacts to church, Allison wore her glasses too just to show him solidarity.  Allison once she gets her contacts in does fine.  Spencer's eyes are really giving him trouble but he is determined to make this work.  When he gets back home he is going to go meet with the doctor as contacts are not agreeing with his eyes.

Allison started viola lessons this week and was so excited to start learning how to play.  We had the wrong size viola so we have to go trade it in for a smaller one this week.  She had a tough day Saturday.  When we came home she found her guinea pig, not moving, squeaking, eating, or drinking and having discharge from her eyes.  She spent the entire afternoon and evening holding Midnight and feeding her with a syringe.  Today Midnight looks a little better and she is praying hard that she will get better.  Spencer and Robyn did her jobs for her and felt bad that she ended up missing Spencer's cross fit pool party.  It was at the coolest backyard pool I have even seen.  Throw in a bunch of Luau food and Spencer and Robyn never wanted to leave.

Robyn is the girl in the red suit jumping

Friday night we got to go up in the canyon with several friends to eat a picnic and do a four wheeler ride.  We ended up staying out till midnight just visiting and enjoying adult time.  And I realized how much of a Cinderella I have turned into.  My brain just shuts down at 10 p.m.  Somehow though I managed to get up at 6 and take our girls to their last swim meet before county.  It was brought home to me at this meet that my girls are not very fast (they are my daughters after all!) but they have improved so much and enjoy being in the pool on these 100 degree days.   And I loved watching them cheer for each other.

And then late Saturday night, cousins and Aunt Griselda arrived.  My kids think this is the best Sunday ever.

This week has made me think of the amazing people that interact with our kids, encouraging them every day and making up for parental short-comings.  Friday night Spencer was very excited to go to a multi-stake dance.  His first one.  But Jeremy and I couldn't drive him there and none of the 10 boys he called would go to a dance.  So our amazing high councilman and his wife came and picked up Spencer and took him to the dance.  And then the dance had been cancelled without our stake being notified.  They drove Spencer around for half an hour checking all the other church's to make sure it hadn't been moved.  Spencer loved spending time with them and I was floored by their kindness.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Time for a deep breath

First, the GOOD pictures are coming.  Today you just get my few tiny camera ones until Jeremy can catch a breath.

Last two weeks have been a lot of fun and now I am ready to nap a bit.  For the fourth of July the kids and I went to Colonial Days on the 3rd to walk through the different booths.  Spencer and Allison both tried to pretend they were too old for such things but ended up having a good time in spite of themselves.  And then our neighbors had a enormous night of fireworks in their front yard that we all watched.

 Jeremy had several photo shoots that week so we left Taylor and Jeremy enjoying a well deserved sleep in.  The three kids and I left at 5:45 am to drive down to Provo for the Freedom Run.  They each ran a mile (couldn't convince them to do a 5k).  Robyn who was full of tired tears and whine beforehand took off like a shot as soon as the race started and I didn't see her again until the finish line.  They all thought getting a medal, shirt and treats was pretty awesome.  Their first race, I was proud.  It seemed way too short but then I never thought a year ago I could convince Spencer to actually run a mile so baby steps.

Then we walked down to the parade to sit with some friends who graciously saved room for us.  I get a text from Jeremy saying that Taylor had a blow-out everywhere and that he hoped we were having a better time than he was!

I had planned for the 4th to be a relaxing day for Jeremy so after coming home and resting a bit we went to the movies giving Jeremy some time to work on photos and Taylor a nap.  Taylor must know when I leave as again, blow-out everywhere.  Then just to make sure I didn't feel left out he included me in his day of fun when I got home too.  It is a good thing really but it sure made for a smelly house right before...

Our neighborhood of fire.  Water balloons, lots of parachute fireworks, kids running everywhere and just visiting.  We are never sure exactly who will be able to come but it always turns out to be a fun event.
The next day:
was spent recovering and packing for a week long trip to Montana.  It takes a lot of work to go somewhere for a week without stores or much running water.  Jeremy great man that he is took Spencer on a photo shoot that night with him and returned with cheesecake.  One for the night before we left and one for the night we got back.  Pure husbandly wisdom.

Then it was off for a week of Hall family vacation.  Jonna's family was unable to join us but Jason's family came.  We left at 4 am (no that unfortunately is NOT a typo) and drove to Helena.  On the way we stopped in Idaho Falls to visit with Jeremy's uncle, aunt and cousin and have breakfast at Smitty's a local tradition.  Helena we parked in the hotel parking lot with our RV and used Jason and Kelly's access to the pool and their shower to clean up and relax.

Sunday we attended a really small ward and enjoyed their testimony meeting.  They have 3 Aaronic priesthood holders in their ward, made me realize how blessed we are with where we live.  Then it was another drive up to Augusta and then out to Gibson Dam.  We ate lunch there and played in the water.  Kids learned how to dunk themselves in snow melt and how to stick their hand or head in the water rushing out from the dam.  Jeremy and Jason shared stories the whole trip about things they did in these different places growing up.  And we got acquainted with the first billion or so flies of this trip and learned what a deer fly was.  I am going to try to forget that part of our trip, flies never, ever went away although lots of insect repellent and smoker sticks helped a lot.

Then we went up many miles of washboard roads to Jeremy's grand-pa's cabin.

We had to park the RV a 1/4 mile down the road and then walk up to join Jason and Kelly every day.  Rocky came with us this trip and was in heaven running up and down the trails and swimming in the lakes and rivers.  Then he would painfully walk over to a nearby dirt pile and collapse in exhaustion to sleep.

We went to rivers and waterfalls to play and swim.  Jeremy introduced Spencer to Double Falls (and no to my brother's question Spencer did keep a pair of shorts on).  One day Jeremy stayed with little girls and Taylor while we hiked Crown Mountain. His dad's and his grandpa and grandma's ashes are scattered there.

On that hike at the top we went up a mountain side of avalanche rocks and shale where you had to be pretty careful.  Spencer and Garion were full of self-confidence about their ability to handle this.  Spencer:"We aren't professionals yet, but we are pretty dang good" Garion:"yep".
On the way down Spencer, Garion and Allison slid down some snow.  Spencer, sliding down full speed right into some rocks while we yelled for him to slow down.  He stands up going woohoo!  that was awesome.  Allison slid down carefully and then started going really fast.  She ends up doing a bear crawl position backwards all the way down.  The most graceful slide I have ever seen.  She has the snow burn road rash on her legs to prove it.

Click on the photo of Spencer playing the guitar to get a sample of his playing.  He has been practicing all summer to get ready to play the guitar in the evenings at the cabin.

On Thursday we drove to visit with Jeremy's step-grandma Deanie in Helena and then off to Yellowstone.  On the way we stopped to tour the Lewis and Clarke caverns.  It is a two hour tour of these immense caves.  You have to slide on your bum to get through caverns, bear crawl a lot and maneuver a bunch of close corridors.  It was pretty amazing.  And Jeremy spent that time with Taylor and the dogs taking one for the team yet again.

Thursday night we arrived really late but roused the kids up Friday to take a shower and get rid of a week's grime then it was off to see Yellowstone.  We hit all the tourist sites of Old Faithful, paint pots, geysers etc.  It was beautiful and very crowded.  We had to show the kids these things once but if we go again I would focus more on the hikes and playing in the lakes etc.  And our big hiccup of the day is when someone tried to squeeze past the trailer.  His doors did not survive the experience which led to insurance reports, meeting with the police etc.  Jeremy stayed calm through the whole experience but it was definitely a rocky end to the trip.

We all had to run to make it that evening to see 7 Brides for 7 Brothers at Playmill theater.  They were super accomadating because half of us arrived late (Jeremy in a police car) and us running over literally.  I had to carry Taylor in as his stroller couldn't fit but he enjoyed the show enough to sit without help for most of the show.  They did an awesome job.  Then we headed off to shop for a few souvenirs and get some pizza.  Saturday it was up before the sun to head back and clean everything out, hit the grocery store, clean the office and collapse in our beds.  Great vacation all around and now we are all ready for some down time.

A big reason that the trip went so well was Jeremy working on his super dad status.  I refuse to drive the RV so Jeremy drove a lot.  He carried Taylor in his arms or in his stroller up, down and over trails that were not accessible at all.  And if Taylor couldn't come he stayed with him.  He dealt with RV problems and fixing them, deer flies deciding they really liked him and all the other things that come up in a trip.  Traveling with a RV was fun and easier than camping in a tent but it is still a lot of work and he took on the brunt of it.  I doubt our kids even realize the strength it takes to be a dad sometimes but someday it will hit them - probably when they are 40ish with kids of their own.