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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Back to School Happy Dance

Monday was full of school open houses and assesments.  Last minute school errands and a trip to the doctor to make sure Allison didn't have strep.  She doesn't, just blisters all over her throat from allergies and a cough that still won't stop.  And then Tuesday morning came:

After a suitably manly first day of school breakfast for the boys of corned beef hash and eggs Spencer was off to his first day of junior high.  He seems so grown up sometimes.  I am standing on stairs.
Spencer is excited about all his classes and teachers.  He has been sharing with us all week the things he has been learning in seminary.  We had to go out Wednesday night to get all his school supplies and learned that you have to buy before the teachers give you their supply lists as the shelves are stripped bare.  He has recognized a lot of kids in his classes from Lincoln or from church which has been nice.  Its hard for me to tell if his new ADHD medicine we added is helping but it seems to be.  He is still loving cross fit and enjoys showing off how he can flex his arms now.  He is doing PE every other day as well so he gets nice and tired every night - just the way I like him.

An hour later, Taylor was off to school.  He wasn't so happy:
He would not lift up his head or smile for me once I put his daffos back on and put him in his chair.  He has a new teacher this year and is in a new classroom that is huge and will allow him to walk around more.  He has been happy and chirpy and laughing often at home for us despite the fact that he really isn't eating anymore.  Tomorrow we see the poop doctor and we will see what we can do to improve things.  Monday I actually drove up to Riverton Primary's as I had written the appointment down for a week later.  So we got to enjoy some nice quality car time.  Despite things not doing great digestively, Taylor hasn't been this happy on a continuous basis for a long time.  Except for the early school mornings.  He still seems in shock when I get him up.

While boys were off to school the girls and I got to attend a swim party with their Lincoln friends.  Such a tough life.  That evening Robyn had her first dance class for the year.  She was in heaven.  She has her favorite teacher again and they taught all these little girls a 'sassy' dance.  Robyn was grinning ear to ear.  Tuesday night was also the girls' swim team awards.  Spencer had scouts and Jeremy had a photo event he was committed to.  So our brave girls did the awards by themselves with neighbors to look out for them.  They each got their ribbons, had ice cream and got to swim some more.  I had to drop off Robyn late to the awards.  They were doing the awards on the track next to the pool and Robyn couldn't understand why I didn't pull into the pool parking lot.  So with two towels in hand she set off or so I thought to go across the track to Allison.  No wheelchair access for Taylor so I stayed on the side to watch her.  She went past the bleachers, to the pool, hucked the towels over the fence and started climbing.  I raced around in the car to find her just sobbing.  So I am grateful for friends who waved her over and looked out for Allison and Robyn the rest of the night.  While they were doing the awards I got the opportunity to teach the Mia Maids.  I had a great time.  Taylor got to come too and I am sure loved being surrounded by all these gorgeous 14 and 15 year olds.  That was my first time ever teaching the young women.  I am amazed at their ability to know what it truly important already in this life.

Wednesday morning with a girly first day of school breakfast of pancakes, the girls were off.
Allison had a pocketful of cough drops and Robyn was loving her new boots.  This year Robyn and Luke are not in the same class, they are a little sad about it.
But both girls are loving their teachers and their classes.  Notice Robyn's nanny mcphee smile.  Jeremy on Thursday night convinced her to let her finally yank her baby tooth out with some needle nose pliers with promises of ice cream cones and using gum numbing medicine.   It didn't have any root left on it at all and her adult tooth was already in.  I had to leave the room, I am too much of a chicken when it comes to stuff like that.  Give me regular blood and guts.  Robyn came down Friday yelling that the tooth fairy hadn't come.  Luckily our kids have lots of experience with a late tooth fairy and excuses notes so she pointed out the lightening storm all night must have kept her away.

Friday night our ward's father/daughter camp out was cancelled due to rain.  So Jeremy took the girls out for ice cream, took Allison to a birthday party and Robyn invited friends over for a late night movie/popcorn event.  After a week of school activities this weekend everyone was happy to spend this weekend being slugs.

I did do a happy dance with kids going back to school and have been slowly putting the house back in order and enjoying some bike rides up in the canyon.  The early morning alarm clock and running once again in the dark seems like a bad dream still.  But we are getting back into the school schedule and realizing that we have to go to bed earlier and can't fall asleep on the floor after family prayer.  Our garden is resembling a forest:
Every year I think I haven't planted enough and then I always end up trying to keep up with all the produce.  I couldn't believe our kids actually said, "BLT's again?!" this week.  We all agreed beet cake was pretty good but only I was willing to drink beet smoothies.

Jeremy has had some photo events this week and continues looking for opportunities to do his calling.  This week he did a missionary opening his mission call, people posing in what not to wear and what to wear to job interviews, and a BYU football fan event.  Throw in a photo class he hosts at the studio once a month and he is kept hopping.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How could I forget?

I realized I didn't write about our anniversary evening and I wanted to make sure that I don't forget it. Especially when all three kids are grumbling at the same time I need these moments to hold onto.


Our kids spent our anniversary looking through scrapbooks of our wedding.  Allison made us a dessert that she knew Jeremy would love.  Then for TWO HOURS Spencer and Allison worked together to set up our dining room for a romantic evening.  We are talking about three forks for dinner each, fancy folded napkins, Spence pulling out a chair for us.  (We did have to interfer right at the end to say they needed to stop as tempers rose over how the candles should be lit - they aren't perfect).  Then they sent us out to eat by candlelight while the kids served dinner.  Little pieces of cheese and ham stuck onto corn on the cob skewers.  Applesauce to cleanse our pallet.  Navajo taco arranged like little pieces of art.

My favorite comments of the night are what we heard in their very loud whispers in the next room.  Spencer: "Remember you taste first with your eyes!  Its all about how it looks".  Spencer and Allison to a disappointed Robyn who hadn't been able to help much yet, "You DO get to help.  You get to do all the dishes and clean up".  This didn't go over so well.

An hour of love and hilarity I need to remember.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shopping and more shopping

This week has been full of school preparations.  It seems like we have been living in the van or at the store doing last minute school preparations.  But the week is now over and kids all have hair cuts, new shoes, backpacks with their needed school supplies in them and clothes to wear that actually fit.  The process of getting there involved me sneaking bites of chocolate periodically from my stash but overall we had fun and I didn't yell at anyone - I count that as a major victory.

Allison had a hard time at the beginning of the week as she did something very kind.  She cut off all her hair to donate to locks of love.  She has been wanting to do this for some time and finally did it.  Unfortunately she wasn't prepared for how short it would be and had some tears and regrets after.  But she has come back into the light and looks super cute and way too old with her short hair.


Spencer and I went this week to tour the junior high.  He had a cute 9th grade girl show him around to all his classes and help find his locker.  He starts Tuesday morning bright and early and is excited for this new adventure.  He seems to be responding well to the ADHD medication but is only on a half dosage so far.  We have been doing a few things this week on our summer bucket list.  We went to the temple so Spencer could finish up some baptism names.  He was very excited to check out the cafeteria and then found that is wasn't quite what he expected.  So it was of to Costco and a giant polish dog instead.  He came up to Jeremy one night to ask him to teach him how to drive the quad.  Spencer could have gone all night on that thing. 
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 On Friday we had the cousins come over for a day and Spencer and his cousin Garion got to go on a space adventure.  There is a place by us that does space mission simulations.  They had a great time and thought they were so cool.  And then to complete his manly wish list, Saturday night Jeremy and he went out for hamburgers and to the demolition derby.  Noise and destruction, they were thrilled.  He even was able to handle his contact tearing Saturday night and knowing that since his contacts haven't arrived yet he might be wearing glasses for the first day of school.

On Friday night, Allison had plans with friends for an American Girl doll party.  But the rest of us with grumpy and whiny in tow left to listen to a concert.  Everyone happied up, bribes of frozen yogurt helped and we discovered a new artist we really enjoyed.
Robyn and Allison had their back to school night this week.  Robyn has an awesome teacher for this year and we are reserving judgement on Allison's although she assures me that Mrs Johnson is the best choice of the three.  They start back to school Wednesday.  They were very excited to see all their school friends.  We cleaned out desks this week and threw away old candy wrappers, scraps of paper and stuff that I don't really want to recall so they are set to go to work.

Our plum tree did extremely well this year.  We picked plums all week, froze some and gave a ton away.  Yesterday we stripped our garden so we are experimenting with chocolate beet cake (delicious!), beet smoothies (I liked them), plum crisp and pico.

Allison is home sick today with blisters all over her throat.  I am hoping she gets better quick.  Right now she is in the miserable moping state.   She has been enjoying her few weeks of viola lessons so far and the squeakiness doesn't bother me as I thought it would.
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 This week I got to do two long bike rides up in the canyons.  After a few hours of shoe shopping with kids I decided that those bike rides were absolutely essential for my being able to keep a smile on my face!  Exercise, some chocolate and a date with Jeremy is all I need to stay in a good place most days (and prayer and scriptures).  Jeremy and I got to sneak out for a mid-week date to see a play, 'The curious savage'.  It was really good and one I had never heard of before.

Taylor has been in a happy place for a few weeks now.  We see the gastro doctors tomorrow but we seem to be getting closer to a happy medium.  We went to the pool this week and he was quite happy:



Thanks to a very patient and generous brother and sister-in-law Jeremy and I got to go away this weekend to celebrate our 19th anniversary.  We went to one my favorite resturants Milagros, got to see Red 2, go out for ice cream, I got my first pedicure of the year, we went and had massages together, checked into the Grand American hotel in Salt Lake and lazed by their pool, tried out two really cool restaurants,  the Copper Onion and Gourmandize (this has become my new favorite place for dessert - I will not tell you how many I ordered as I blush to think about it),

 we got to hike up to Ensign Peak,


raided Trader Joe's for goodies to eat all Sunday, went to Music and the Spoken Word, toured the Church History museum,

hiked up Memorial Park, discovered Gilgal gardens (A ridiculous sculpture garden of LDS modern art) and napped and picnicked in Liberty Park.  A full, relaxing, wonderful weekend.  We enjoyed every minute of it.  Favorite humorous moment was watching the make-up lady powder the heads of all the bald guys in the tabernacle choir.  Scariest moment was when Jeremy lost his camera bag but thankfully we found it.

So now we are back to the regular routine of getting ready for school to start next week.  I have a one pound Trader Joe's chocolate bar in my nightstand thanks to a thoughtful Jeremy so now I am set.  I think I can keep my patience through one more week of school lists and jean shopping.  Jeremy got his new work computer this weekend so he is busy in tech heaven setting things up.

Last week we packed in a few last minute summer bucket list events.  Monday we spent the day at 7 peaks and at our house with cousins.  Taylor loved hanging out in the wave pool.  I didn't realize how much he loved it till at dinner we talked about how happy he was in the pool.  Taylor got the giggles.  I don't mean a little chirping sound.  I mean full on laughing, face turning red, gasping for air.  We were afraid to run for the camera because we didn't want to miss a moment of it.  It was awesome.

Tuesday Spencer went in to see the psychiatrist and was diagnosed with ADHD.  Doesn't really change who he is and we pretty much knew he had it anyway but it did give us pause a bit.  We decided to start him on some ADHD medication and see no so much if it helps with school but if it helps him be able to follow and have a conversation with people.  Something he really struggles with.  His mind moves so fast, his mouth is just constantly going without processing too much.  So we will see how it goes.  The biggest side effect in kids is weight loss and lack of growth.  Since his other pills have the exact opposite side effect, we aren't too worried.

Tuesday night Jeremy was set apart as a missionary.  So now he can say stop, I need to do my calling as he whips out his camera.  Tuesday night was also our ward pool party where kids were nuts and swam in the cold pool while sane adult ate brownies and cheered them on.

Wednesday we tackled a nearby hike up to a rock slide by our house.  My friend Brooke and her kids came and we pushed Taylor's stroller up the mile hike there and then carried him to the waterfall.  It was definitely a huge workout.  But the rock slide was very cool and worth the difficult, hot hike to get there.  I was feeling a little sad for myself until I saw Brooke with a backpack of life jackets and water and a three year old on her shoulders hiking up next to me.  Moms do their weight lifting in different ways.
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Thursday we worked on rooms.  The girls have been sharing a room all summer.  Allison told me the experiment failed as Robyn still doesn't know how to share.  But they had fun.  Moving furniture and taking apart and putting back together beds is a major work out.  We sold Spencer's bunkbed Wednesday night and put in a twin XL bed for him instead.  He says it feels so good to be able to lay straight in his bed.  With all the room arranging, I have two big bags of stuff for DI in our van and our trash can has a bunch of hidden treasures from kids rooms.  I don't mind beaten up old toys but all the crumpled up paper, half mashed candies or snotsicles just makes me cringe.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I hope they call me...


First I promise no gross photos in this post!  Spencer went on Trek with our stake this week.  He left early Wednesday morning with his sleeping bag in a trash bag and all his belongings in a 5 gallon bucket and returned home Saturday evening.  He pulled a handcart around 21 miles, had a dance, activities, pioneer stories and games, a testimony meeting and had a great time.  I was praying so hard that everything would go well for him on this trip and I count it as an answer to my prayer that he was assigned to the family of my visiting teacher and her husband the YM president of our ward.  Both of who know Spencer well and are amazing, loving people.  The amount of work that went into this activity was awe inspiring and I was so glad he got to do this.


And speaking of church...this week Jeremy got to do a photo walk for the church at the Bishop's storehouse and was there presented along with 4 others their missionary tags.  They are the first photographer missionaries the church has called.  He was asked to submit a missionary application a month or so ago and has been going through the process.  He is asked to commit to 8 hours a week working on photos for the church to use.  He is very excited about this opportunity.

This week Jeremy set up our new mattress in our bedroom to see if it helps out with his back.  I think it is starting to make a difference.  Jeremy had some Herculean evening of super dad effort this week, which brings us around to Midnight.

Midnight is still alive and kicking.  Monday she wasn't doing well so we went to talk to the guys at IFA who suggested we use a syringe and inject an iodine solution into the cyst and really flush it out like they do with cows.  So we tried that.  And when I saw we, I mean the royal we, meaning Jeremy.  And then Tuesday, Midnight was having a hard time breathing and was really laboring.  So back to IFA and their animal expert who supplied us with swine/cow tetracycline.  So we would wrap Midnight up and force down a mixture of antibiotics twice a day.  Allison pulled out her math skills to figure out the dosage as it was meant for much larger animals.  I feel like we are experimenting on animals in our house lately!  But the whole combination seems to have helped and Midnight now runs away and really struggles if we try to pick her up, all a good sign in my book.  So we might have Midnight for awhile longer.  On Tuesday, Allison spent the day reading The Rainbow Bridge and sympathy cards from past pet tragedies and praying really hard.


So Tuesday was also National Cheesecake day.  So Jeremy with Allison and Spencer drove up to cheesecake factory so we could celebrate properly.  Luckily he didn't show me this picture of my double chin till after I had eaten my share!  Good husbands don't mention the extra chin, great husbands not only keep their mouth shut they hand you their leftover cheesecake to polish off.

Monday Robyn still had a high fever and was starting to cry non-stop about her ears.  She finally stopped crying and was trying to eat something when I asked her if she was feeling better.  She replied, "no, I am holding all my screams inside because you said you would lock me in my room if I didn't stop because you didn't want to listen to me".  And I realized yep that is exactly what I said.  I can only listen to crying/screaming for so long.  Took her in and she had a double ear infection that was quite bad.  Took awhile for things to start getting better on antibiotics but she is back to her usual sunshine self now.

Not thinking this through I took the girls and Taylor to 7 peaks water park on Wednesday with some friends.  I thought Robyn would be just fine by then.  An hour of whining later I realized that wasn't the case.  But Allison graciously took her on a waterslide and she was able to tough it out with a smile from then on.  Taylor loved the wave pool.  I think he thought he was on a beach somewhere.  We did a couple of girly things with Spencer gone.  We went to the pool one afternoon and a farmer's market another day.  The girls have become farmer's market experts poking around in the jewlery bargin baskets and asking the food vendors how much they could get with their two dollars.

Our plum tree is loaded and we are trying to stay ahead of the birds by picking them before they are fully ripe.  I made spiced plum jam this week so our house smelled like Christmas to me.  Tonight Spencer made plum crisp for dessert.  Throw in some zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini cake and really awesome BLTS this week summer eating is definitely here.  Thanks to my wonderful visiting teacher Lana, we have orange wellington tomatoes this year.  Jeremy said he felt like was eating really snooty BLTS but they were awesome.  And thanks to my mom's idea we planted basil which really tastes great on them.

Friday night Jeremy and I got to go on a double date with some friends to eat dinner and attend a Provo rooftop concert.  It was Mindy Gledhill who is one of our favorite performers and incidentally is one of Taylor's favorites to listen to.  It was an awesome evening although I felt extremely old next to all the twenty somethings we were surrounded by.