Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 3
Sunday, September 29, 2013

A 12 year old

Hard to believe that the little girl I prayed to join our family for so long has been with us for 12 whole years!  Allison had a grin all weekend long and enjoyed every moment of her celebration.  Friday she got to bring brownies to school and be spotlighted.  Then she voted to spend the evening with her dad for her annual trip to Chinese Gourmet for their all you can eat shrimp and to go see a play - just her and Jeremy.  I offered to go with them leaving Spencer in charge at home.  Allison pointed out that Spencer putting Robyn to bed is asking for disaster, Jeremy likened it to throwing a cat and dog into the same room and locking the door.  So Allison had her dream come true of spending a whole evening as daddy's girl.
Saturday Robyn got up early to have me run her to Kneaders so she could get French toast and bring Allison breakfast in bed.  Then the morning was spent doing a ward day of service with Spencer yielding a chainsaw and shovel and Allison helping Jeremy collect green waste and take loads to the dump. 

Then it was home to clean up and Allison to change into her new church outfit and then we were off to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  You know those moments where you just have to cross your arms to try to hole in all your emotions of love and pride and know that you are beaming like an idiot.  Yep that was me as I watched Jeremy baptize Allison and Spencer.  (Minus the point where I had to hold back the laughter as Spencer enthusiastically helped Jeremy dunk himself and created a literal tidal wave of water.)  Jason and Garion were able to enjoy us and Kelly graciously brought up Robyn and her girls to meet us when we came out.
Then home for cake and presents.  Allison picked out vanilla cake with peanut butter frosting, heath bar and caramel pecan ice cream.  And all the beehives and their leader stopped by to wish her a happy birthday and welcome her to young women's.
That night she had three friends come over to share her favorite dinner of stuffed shells, garlic bread and spinach salad and to watch a movie and take over the basement with silliness.  Not sure what they were doing but judging by the shrieks and giggles I assume they had a great time.  Spencer for his present went with me after the Relief Society broadcast to clean the office for Allison so she could have a day off.  It was truly a wonderful day for Allison start to finish and she was just glowing with all the love being shown her.

This morning she got to meet with her young women leaders to learn about personal progress and has been busy planning out her goals ever since.  I love seeing her so excited about this new episode of her life and am just bursting with pride about the young woman she has become.  Good thing she becomes a stinker sometimes so I don't get too carried away.  But seriously we are truly blessed to have her as part of our family.

With having snow hit our mountains and the furnace coming on with 30 degree mornings I decided we better hurry up with any yard projects.  So this week we planed a pacific sunset maple outside our family room windows.  Every summer I crave more shade in our yard so I am crossing my finger that it will live and thrive.

I was able to teach art to Robyn's class this week and decided that teach is the wrong verb to use.  I think manage the chaos is a much better description.  She is loving her teacher this year and cruising right along with her math and reading.  I think her writing is prettier than mine already as she is very meticulous in all she does.

This week I had parent/teacher conferences for Spencer.  I learned that he has been playing the piano for seminary and also coming in early from lunch sometimes to have a few moments of quiet with his book.  But he also said some neighborhood boys have been coming over to sit with him and visit at lunch lately.  Such a small thing but seriously almost brought me to tears.  I have wondered if his adhd meds have helped him but for the first time ever I didn't have teachers telling me about Spencer constantly talking and bringing up things out of left field.  Instead I listened to teachers say Spencer participates but never interrupts, is timely in his comments and is always on task.  On the downside a few teachers who have taken a special interest in him pointed out that he needs to loosen up and relax a little bit.  The world won't end if everything isn't done just right.  (Jeremy assured me that trait comes all from him - guess you can't pick your parents and he might just be stuck with some of my faults).

Taylor has started eating again slowly this week.  That means we have been seeing a few seizures again as his body comes out of ketosis.  He lately thinks Allison's cough is hilarious.  So if you see all the kids gathered around Taylor hacking in his face while he giggles, you will know why.

On Sunday to celebrate the first day of fall we had a few friends over for dessert.  It didn't last long but the kids were thrilled to be able to play on a Sunday.  There is something about Sunday that makes anything out of the ordinary feel like a special gift to my kids.  Today I introduced them to The Pirates of Pensanse.  Now and then I realize how much I am warping their childhood - how many 14 years olds go around singing "I am the very model of a modern major general".  I am sure I will provide lots of fodder for a psychologist some day. 

This week we got to see my brother Daniel for a few minutes as he was visiting Utah for work.  All of my family lives out of state and yet I never feel that isolated because of their efforts to stay in touch. 

The cold weather and the dark nights and late mornings have made our kids think that they should go to bed earlier and earlier.  I am happy to oblige them.  It has made for some peaceful early evenings around here.  Kids are happier and overjoyed just to hang out.  Hibernation mode is kicking in.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mexican Street Corn

Jeremy and I went out to dinner at a restaurant in Salt Lake called the Copper Onion.  They had a corn dish there that literally had us licking the plate after.  This recipe is as close as I could get at home and we love it.  I got it from a web site Closet Cooking and I changed it only slightly as to how I cook it.

Mexican Corn Salad

2 Tbsp Butter
3 cups corn, cut from the cob or frozen
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 green onions, slices
1 Tbsp cilantro chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp cotija cheese crumbled
1 tsp chili powder

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the corn and stir it around well and then let it sit without stirring until the corn is slightly charred.  Mix it up, and let it sit to char again.  It takes 6-10 minutes each time.
Add the jalapeno and saute over high heat, then remove from heat.
Add all the other ingredients and stir together.

I love this salad and most adults I have served it too enjoy it. However my kids eat it only with some grumbling going on, but they do eat it.  You really can only make it in the summer as you need fresh produce.  I can't drain my orzo pasta which is like a larger rice kernel in my colander as it falls through the holes.  So I simply crack the pot's lid a tiny bit and slowly pour the cooking water out.  This is a recipe I got from Sunset Magazine several years ago.  It seems like a lot of preparation but it goes pretty fast if you do it all at the same time.

Summer Orzo Pasta Salad - makes 8 servings

  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dried orzo pasta (8 oz.)
  • 3 ears fresh corn 
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots or green onions
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (12 oz.), rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half


In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse green beans, trim off ends, and pull off any strings. Cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths. Add beans to boiling water and cook until barely tender to bite, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and immerse in ice water until cold; drain well.
 Fill same pan with 2 1/2 to 3 quarts water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and cook until barely tender to bite, 8 to 11 minutes. Drain.  Cool.
Cook corn with husks on and everything in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let it cool and husk corn.  Take a sharp knife and cut off corn kernels.
To make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, shallots, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside one cup.
Add orzo pasta to dressing in large bowl.  Stir together.  Add lots of salt and pepper.  Smooth pasta level out.
Layer corn kernels, green beans and tomatoes over pasta.  Pour remaining 1 cup dressing over the top.
Chill in fridge till ready to serve and then toss it all together.

Taylor enjoyed going to the park last Sunday evening.  We found a park that overlooks the whole valley up on the hillside and is the perfect spot to watch a sunset.  Taylor is doing better this weekend as the aroma of our house testifies - all his laxatives seem to be finally doing their job.  Good thing all weather has hit and we can live with our windows open!  He has started eating off and on again too which considering how thin he has become is a very good thing.  He got approved this week to add twice weekly massage appointments to his services.  I am sure he will love every minute of it.

This week I had a meeting about transitioning for Taylor at Primary's.  It didn't really occur to me that with Taylor turning 18 next year he "graduates" from Primary's and a pediatrician and switches over to regular hospitals and an adult doctor.  Lots of things to think about there.  I have felt so comfortable at Primary's when we have had to take him in, that I am quite hesitant about going anywhere else.

Today was our Primary sacrament program and Allison's last day in Primary.  This week she had her final interview with our Primary president and today went in for her temple recommend interview.  She wanted to go do baptisms for the dead on her birthday for years now.  It is hard to believe she is so old.  She has has her birthday planned out - brownies to share with her classmates, dinner with unlimited shrimp with her dad, baptisms for the dead with her family, vanilla cake with peanut butter/heath bar frosting, friends over for a movie and to eat stuffed shells and garlic bread - a lot of food involved there for such a tiny girl!  Last week she played the piano in sacrament meeting for the first time and I realized I really need to start thinking of her as a young woman.

Today pigs must have flown.  Allison has assured me for months that although she complains at almost every vegetable I cook that she would love brussel sprouts if I would only make them.  So I naively picked up a big bag of brussel sprouts at Costco this week.  I swore I would never make them after disliking them so intensely as a child but I made the sacrifice.  Allison decided they didn't taste as good as she thought they would.  Spencer ate his share with copious amounts of salad dressing and gagging retching sounds coming loudly from his corner.  So now we have a big tupperware of cooked sprouts in our fridge.  I don't think we will be repeating that experiment.

Had parent/teacher conferences this week for our girls.  I like their teachers a lot this year, especially Robyn's.  And so far they are both doing great at school.  Robyn likes to pull out the drama this year.  For example: "Why do you make us do chores.  You take away all my play time and I only got to play for 1 hour today!  You are ruining all my fun!  You are the meanest mom ever!"  Yada yada.  Then an hour later she gives me a hug and says how much she loves me.  Good thing I have chocolate and don't take things personally!

Spencer is home teaching with Jeremy right now.  He is so excited for this new calling and was right on top of calling people for appointments and setting reminders on his touch.  Jeremy has the patience of Job - that is all I will say.  Spencer made the comment that he had been so worried about the homework that would happen in high school but that since he has been doing the homework the days its assigned it hasn't been so bad.  Jeremy and I just hit our heads as we have been saying this for years!  Hopefully the lesson will stick.

Jeremy had a model photo shoot and a event shoot this week to add into his busy life.  He had a rather sad week though as one of his friends died in a motorcycle crash.  He has been telling me all the things he has been learning about his friend and the remarkable life he led but didn't brag about.

I had a head cold this weekend but it is amazing what nyquil and 15 hours of sleep can do.  So now its back into the fray of things.  Thankfully I had a friend loan me the book Blackmoore that made my weekend because obviously watching the BYU/Utah game did not.  Luckily we also got to watch it with friends which made us have a great time despite the scoreboard.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

No joy

For some reason this scripture has been on my mind all week and making me laugh every single time:
2 Nephi 2:23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery.

 That just sums up having children for me for with the joy comes the misery and you can't have one without the other.  Don't worry, this week nothing big happened and no true misery occurred, other than the reminder that we all sleep better when we are not in the same room. 

On Friday we picked up kids early from school and headed to St. George for a quick get away.  We went to Tuachan to see Mary Poppins.  Amazingly good.  Even the rain during the performance (its an outdoor theater) couldn't deter us, although Taylor didn't appreciate the rain too much but they let him go under some covering at the back.  We had a great time and managed to convince Robyn that Taylor and her and Allison could all fit onto a queen bed.  Robyn's little body was just trembling with emotion as she vehemently insisted that she was being mistreated.  No bed should ever hold three people!  The next day kids had their share of carb loading at breakfast - don't ask me about Spencer's plates think 1 or 2 of everything offered - and played in the pool.  We added a new rest stop to our trip back.  The Red Barn at Santaquin that has fabulous ice cream cones and fruit.  The kids thought ice cream for a late lunch was an ok trade.

Robyn was convinced that she would be unable to see over people's heads hence the pouty face.  She has perfected talking in a whiny voice that can carry over great distances and bore holes into your ear drums.  We are working on that.

Taylor had a good time in the pool and hot tub.  He just laid back with a big smile.  And he loved kicking Robyn and Allison off of the top of the bed where all the pillows where.  He just stretched out there smiling all night long.  He still isn't eating great but he will drink a ton of whole milk and instant breakfasts.  So he has gotten really thin.  You can see every bone.  Every time I think its time to take him in for an NG tube feeding, he will perk up and eat a little.  We are still playing with the new meds so I am hoping digestion settles down and he starts to like food again.

This week Allison and Jeremy went to a daddy/daughter activity that was dinner and a dance.  Allison came home to teach Robyn the cha-cha in the front yard.  Robyn got into the spirit of it by doing it all with a rose between her teeth.

Jeremy had a few photo events this week and got a new small camera to add to his arsenal.  Hence all the nice photos this week.  Friday morning he had the opportunity to take photos up in SLC of the family history library.  It makes it a bit hard on him that so many church events and buildings are only open during work day hours.

I finished apples this week.  I have never been so excited to clean out my sink!  And to celebrate I have been eating apple crisp for breakfast all week.  I throw in some cottage cheese and pretend its healthy.  We are experiencing true Utah fall weather.  Where one hour its hot and sunny and the next hour its cold with a huge thunderstorm.  Rocky has lived beneath our feet all week scared a new storm is coming.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Backyard or what was I thinking?

On Monday we harvested our garden of apples, grapes and picked up a box of peaches.  So this week we canned peaches, made raisins (our kids don't like to eat our grapes!  And they didn't like last year's attempt at grape juice.  So this year we tried raisins and gave away a ton of grapes.  Only problem is the seeds inside the raisins.  I think they taste good though), and did applesauce, dried apples and froze apple crisp and apple bread.  I am getting a little sick of peeling apples as their odd shape really requires hand peeling.  But we are down to only one sink of apples left to go through.  Maybe a good movie tomorrow while I peel some more...

And really that almost sums up my week right there.  Our house has a sticky film everywhere I look it seems so maybe this week we can start tackling cleaning again.  Friday night we had another addition to our garden when we found our first egg and again found one this morning.  Kids' are convinced its Penny's as she is the fattest chicken.

Kids did a taste test of store bought versus a home egg and our chickens won by a landslide.

Kids activities all started back up - piano, viola, theater, guitar and dance.  So they are all happy and busy with their different activities.  Robyn had a melt down one afternoon when she realized that since she couldn't play at a friend's house she had to ride in the car with us to take Spencer somewhere.  "I only get to play for one hour today!  That is not fair!  You are ruining my life!".  It is tough when you can't be left home alone by yourself.

Gradually I am getting caught up on some things I let slide over the summer as we get back into the school routine.  Its not so hard getting up or going to bed early and kids are realizing they need to do homework and jobs before free time. 

Jeremy got to do a photo shoot this week for his mission of a family making cookies and then got to shoot a concert Friday night.  He is trying to involve more people in his shoots because seriously how many pictures of our family can the church possibly want.

Taylor is doing OK.  Still figuring out his new meds and he doesn't think he needs to eat anymore.  But he is happy and smiling for us so life can't be too bad.

I got to start teaching art on Friday for the girls' classes.  I forgot how much I enjoy learning about the different artists and coming up with art projects.  It is just fun and it helps that kids are eager to ditch school work and mess around with an art project.  This is my last year doing it for Allison as next year she is in junior high.

Spencer is making salsa this afternoon for his young men's salsa party.  He has a colander full of jalapenos ready to go so I am sure we will have a pungent house this afternoon.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


This weekend is one of my favorite events of the year to do with my kids - the Timpanogous Storytelling Festival.  It is two days of great storytellers, being up in the canyon, eating picnics, late cool nights, watching people do pottery, juggling and musicians playing.  Mostly though it is just a quiet weekend of me and my kids hanging out and enjoying being together.  And for the first time ever I made it through this weekend event without yelling or taking tylenol.  I chalk it up to older kids and buying ice cream Saturday afternoon.
This year I got to go up with Allison's school class on a fieldtrip for a storytelling "teaser" on Thursday.  (And as a side note I was proud of Allison.  Her "buddy" for the day decided to dessert her for a different friend at the beginning of the trip.  Allison just shrugged and said I would be her buddy for the morning and she played with other friends instead.  6th grade girl friendships require some thick skin.)  And then on Friday I checked out the girls from school after math to come spend the day at the Festival with me.  Spencer sadly can't miss school anymore but he and Jeremy brought us dinner that evening and then Spencer stayed with us for the evening show.  Jeremy enjoys the festival in small amounts so he spends the weekend doing his own projects and running us supplies.

Saturday we spent all day from early morning to late at night soaking up the festival and having a great time.  Taylor even really enjoys it.  Luckily Saturday was a little cooler only maybe 90 degrees so it was easier for everyone to stay happy.  And as a side note the wheelchair accessible porta potties are NOT really wheelchair accessible and are at least 100 degrees inside.  But we made it work and then that night Taylor waited till the last big performance where they sat us at the front of the pavilion to have a blow-out.  I couldn't leave so I just mentally apologized to all sitting with smelling distance and stuck it out till I could change him in the car.  There is nothing like disassembling a wheelchair in the dark parking lot with random bits of poop stuck here and there to make you question whether laxatives really need to be part of Taylor's regime.

Saturday I gave each kid $10 and said that is for lunch and any treats.  Robyn had ice cream, a cinnamon roll and a bowl of watermelon for lunch and thought life was great. 

Thursday Spencer had back to school night and showed Jeremy around his school and introduced him to his teachers.  Of course a camera came along:

Spencer is still enjoying junior high and seminary.  He comes home with new scriptures or ideas he has learned and has been excited to dive into homework.  We have been finally getting around to putting together a rocket he got for Christmas.

Jeremy was released today as ward missionary leader and has been busy with his new calling.  This week he got to go do photos off the church office building.

On Monday I met with the gastroentologist for Taylor.  He gave us a new regime to try.  He also brought up the suggestion of doing a surgery where they put a permanent tube like a g-tube that comes out on the side under the ribs and connects to the top of the intestines.  Then we can do an enema from the top down through the tube every week.  I am not such a fan of this but its nice to know its an option.  So we are going to try some of the new things he suggests and see how he does.  He has been really happy still and is laughing a lot more.

On Wednesday I went for a beautiful bike ride with my friend Christie and for part of the time Brooke.  It was gorgeous up Provo canyon.  I couldn't figure out why I had such a hard time keeping up and then I realized my back tire kept going flat.  It was a slow flat so Christie kept pumping it up for me every 20 minutes and then it totally went flat.  So I changed it.  Always a pain.  And then my tire blew.  So Jeremy nicely came to pick my hot, tired, exasperated self up in his truck.  I was laughing at myself because I was praying for God's help to change my back tire.  Instead of making it easy, he sent probably 10 people to stop and ask if they could help.  And of course I just kept saying, "no I am fine but thanks".  I am sure he was shaking his head at my stubbornness.

I made salsa this week from our garden.  Our house reeked of peppers.  Every year we try a different recipe as we have yet to make one that causes Jeremy to rave yes this is the one.  Throw in a little babysitting and it seemed like a full week.  So I am glad to have a normal week coming up (knock on wood) to do things like clean bathrooms and start on the back log of cleaning from the summer.