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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween is coming

Halloween came upon us quickly this year.  So we have been packing in our fall activities.  Sunday we made our annual pumpkin face cookies and kids delivered some to teachers and home teaching families.

Monday night Jeremy met us at our local nursery as we picked out pumpkins.

And today we carved them.  With numerous "rest stops" by Spencer and Robyn to relearn the adage if you can't say something nice then at least be QUIET.

To help calm their troubled artistic souls I took everyone for a walk up on the canal trail before dinner.  We walked a half mile total and I wondered if anyone else's nice family strolls look like ours.  Rocky pooped 4 times and peed 10 times.  Allison flipped off of her skateboard.  Robyn whined the entire time, loudly and constantly about how this was not a fun walk, there wasn't anything pretty about it, she thought I was going to take her to a place with a park yada yada.  Good thing the view was beautiful and Spencer and Allison kept good attitudes...and Robyn went to bed as quickly as I could get her after dinner.

I think she was a bit tired because yesterday she played hard.  We met up with Kelly and cousins to play at Cornbelly's a local corn maze, fall playground type of place.  Best part was that it was only the three little girls so we did all the little kid stuff for as long as they wanted.  The house full of corn kernels, like a huge indoor sandbox, they played in for 45 minutes straight while Kelly and I just got to sit and visit.  It was very fun and nice to just have some Robyn time.  She got to go on giant slides, race go carts, go through some really creepy haunted houses, climb all over playgrounds, watch the piggies race and go on a hay ride.

At night Jeremy and the three big kids along with Jason and Garion met us for dinner and to play a little.  Then Taylor, Robyn and I headed home to clean the office and go to bed while the big kids enjoyed all the haunted attractions.  I had a major case of repentance again.  I had left a cooler on the counter with tickets and the counsel to pack a dinner and meet us at 5:30.  When Jeremy stopped working at 5 and came up kids were ready to go.  Then they looked in the cooler and said, "where's the food?!"  They had just assumed I would have something planned and made ahead for them.  Luckily Robyn and I had packed our own dinner but I was just shaking my head.  Then when I got home I learned that Jeremy had stopped on the way home from working since 5:30 that morning on a photo shoot to get me cheesecake and then had helped Melissa clean up a blow-out of Taylor's that had clogged up a bathroom sink due to clean-up efforts.  It involved taking the sink apart through nauseating conditions.  Allison had helped.  Spencer is still on my head shaking list but the others were more than redeemed.  Serves me right for ever getting upset at family.  You think by now I would have learned.

I spent most of the time this week trying to get our yard ready for winter.  There is a chance of snow this week so I am feeling the pressure.  I took a huge truckload to the dump yesterday.  But besides that the rest of the week was pretty normal.

I got to go with Taylor's class on a field trip to see a play.  Going somewhere with 7 wheelchairs and an autistic child is a totally different experience.  I get to go in every Monday

Taylor is doing much better this week so our prayers were a really disgusting, lots of laundry and cleaning kind of way.  But he is happy and chipper.  And our house smells like Lysol and air freshner.

We have made a list of songs about sunshine to play in the morning.  Our little sunshine has been needing the boost lately to get over the morning grumps.  It cracks me up to hear her the rest of the day singing "sunshine, rainbows and lollipops".  She definitely keeps life interesting.  Robyn got to go with me to pack meeting and kept herself entertained with my phone.  She seems to young to have discovered selfies.

After school kids have their different activities and routines down:
Robyn finds the nearest comic book:

Spencer makes an enormous smoothie:

And Allison jumps straight into practicing in the often vain hope that a friend will be able to play:

Jeremy has had a couple of photo shoots this week and then a huge backlog of photo work to accomplish.  So he has been burning the candle at both ends.  I am not used to having him get up with me at 5:30 but he has been doing it.  And not to steal Mimi's thunder but here are two of my favorites from visiting them:

I realized that there were two memories from fall break I forgot to share.  One is on the way home when they were watching a movie and Robyn yelled to Spencer, "Head, move" in her best So I married an ax murderer voice.  Cracks me up everytime.  The other was during our last night there.  Allison woke up with a sick stomach and after throwing everything up and cleaning up, she laid down in the hallway by our bedroom as it was next the bathroom to try to sleep a little.  I was laying in bed for awhile trying to get back to sleep and then I heard her little voice praying softly that she would feel better and could get to sleep.  Jeremy asked me the next day if I had heard Allison praying and when I told him I had, he said "I knew it!  I could just feel the gooiness emanating from your side of the bed".  Its one of those moments where you are grateful that your child knows how to pray because if they know that they can learn everything else they need to know.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall, family and repentance

Fall is here with Halloween around the corner.  That means time to make pumpkin face cookies and to travel out to Denver to visit my brother Daniel's family!

We have been counting down the days to go do Denver this year to see Daniel and Mimi and their kids Claire, Samantha and Matthew.  I think we would have all agreed to cheerfully kidnap their kids and bring them home to live with us, if we thought we could get away with it.  We love being with them.

I drove up with the kids as soon as they got home from school.  We left here at 3:15 and got there at 11:30.  I was a very mean mom but kids were anxious to help out by agreeing to only one 10 minute stop in Grand Junction where I quickly gave Taylor a drink and filled up with gas.  I was a little nervous about getting tired on those twisty canyon roads at the end.  Robyn did have one melt down at the 6th hour about how she needed her bed and couldn't stretch her legs out but Allison and Spencer talked her off the ledge...after 30 minutes of very loud crying and complaining.  I just ate my cinnamon bears and stared at the road.

We spent a day at the Science Museum and another day at a pumpkin festival.  Kids were in heaven playing together and my favorite part was just hanging out and visiting.  Phone calls are great but you don't really get to feel caught up until you can sit around talking about inconsequential things that end up feeling very important.

I even got to go running at the state park right next to their house.  One of my favorite places to run/walk.  Although running right next to deer that don't move but just stand and stare at you is a combination of very cool and unnerving.

Friday night Jeremy flew in to join us for a few days before we drove back Monday.  So the good pictures are coming.  We spent Saturday at Elitch Gardens for Claire and Samantha's birthday party - its a big amusement park.  One of my favorite parts was going on the most extreme roller coaster with Spencer that I have even been on, called the Mind Eraser.  It was the first ride of the day.  During one of the corkscrews, my shoe fell off and was gone.  I thought great, I am going to be walking around all day with one shoe on and one shoe off.  But as we were leaving the ride we walked down a sidewalk some distance from the rollercoaster and there was my shoe sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.  Prayers are answered.  We all took turns going on roller coasters and rides with kids - Daniel's face of mute resignation on the tea cups kept me laughing all night long - the things we do out of love for our kids.

Sunday we got to go to church and spend time taking family photos.  Everyone sucked up as much play time and visiting as possible.  Then Monday morning we packed up and I was very grateful Jeremy was there to drive us back home.

Kids and I were not very excited to come back to school and reality but we did it.  Spencer had a teen week at the library where he did different activities and wounded up winning a $50 gift card to the mall about which he is quite stoked.  And he had a pow-wow this Saturday where he learned about astronomy and chemistry and then went out for the obligatory fast food stop.

Spencer did something to one of his stomach muscles which has led to a few days of groaning and moaning every time he bends or picks something up.  I am not the most sympathetic mother.  I have been thinking I need to do better about that.  Allison stayed home with an upset stomach today and came to me this afternoon crying that she wasn't tough enough to go to church.  Robyn asked me this morning why I was so calm, usually she says I am busy telling everyone constantly what they should be doing to get ready for church.  I think I need to make some changes in my up-tightness ratio!

Jeremy was gone this weekend to a photography seminar up in Idaho.  He said he didn't have any big revelations but saw some new approaches and learned things.  Before he left we were able to have a great Friday night.  We went to the temple to do sealings and then came home to watch a movie with Spencer.  Jeremy pointed out that with kid interruptions we had watched 3 minutes of actual movie in 15 minutes of time.  But I couldn't help thinking how lucky we are that our kids want to share everything with us - especially when bed time is looming.

This week I have been working my way through the yard.  I think I am almost half way in the clean-up process.  But I discovered our chicken's hidden stash where they have been trying to hatch their eggs.  We had a big omelet Thursday morning!  The chickens were very vocal in how they were not happy with me.

Robyn did a dance clinic this week with a friend and then got to perform at the high school football game's half time.  She has been busy practicing how to say "I ain't afraid of no ghost" - with attitude.  She can really, really pull off attitude if she wants to.  But she kept saying mythbuster instead of ghostbuster - tickled our nerdy funny bone.

I gave Taylor the deadline of tomorrow to have a bowel movement or he was back in the hospital again.  After some serious increases in laxatives and softeners I think he will manage to stay home.  He is happy but is really thin right now.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Conference Weekend

Conference weekend was wonderful and went by way too fast.  Robyn came down early Saturday morning and knew the drill as she quickly assembled her nest on the floor and settled in for the long haul.  And its always helpful if an older sister decided to try to push your buttons - really brings in the spirit.
Saturday morning some amazing neighbors of ours put on a breakfast for anyone who could come and asked people to donate for a friend's medical costs who just finished chemo for breast cancer.  It was a great way to get everyone up and going in the chilly morning.
And then kids settled in to listen to some great talks.  Allison's YW leaders gave her some nail polish to paint her nails while she listened to conference and took notes and thought about standing in holy places.  Seminary assigned Spencer to do a paper on a talk so he was paying better attention as well.  Jeremy and Spencer tried a new tradition this year for priesthood.  It involved lots of nachos, horchata for Taylor and kicking the girls out of the house for the broadcast.

Saturday night Allison had a birthday party to go to so Robyn with her friend Kelly and I did our own girls' night out.  We went to a craft store for me and then ice skating.  This week it has hit me how much my kids are starting to live in their own world.  They want me there but I am no longer the center of their life so much.  Mixed feelings about it.  They want to do things and have conversations without me knowing about them.  Ice skating with Robyn and Kelly involved me doing slow circles and them wanting to check in with me every 10 minutes or so.  Otherwise they wanted me quiet and out of their hair.  Allison has had the same thing this week.  Don't suggest I wear something or do something mom, I will figure it out on my own!

For Sunday, Jason and Kelly's family came over for waffles and to spend the day.  In between session we ran up to the canyon to hike for a bit.  It was beautiful, muddy and snowballs were involved.  And no one fell asleep for the second session so the plan worked.

It has been a little bit of a canyon week as Tuesday thanks to some kids being willing to shoulder the extra work involved, we drove the canyon in the convertible with some friends who also just got a convertible.  I never tire of looking at the changing leaves and feeling the crisp air.  I am hoping to get in one more bike ride up there before the snow really settles in.

It was a lot of family time this weekend as Friday night we went to see one of my favorite groups, The Lower Lights perform.  Allison brought her friend Alena and they told me they didn't like the concert set up of having to arrive before the doors open to get a seat, listening to two warm up bands before the main act starts etc.  So we did end up leaving before full whine set in and before the end but I got to hear several of my favorite songs and some I had never heard before.  Taylor was really tired by the end but when he liked the song he sure perked up and started clapping.  Cousins joined us so kids were thrilled as were we.  I tried to convince them we could talk while waiting the hour and a half for the concert to start but electronics won out.

This week Allison had her 12 year old check-up.  That means shots.  She had been dreading it all week and cringed every time the door opened with her hands hugging her upper arms.  So they did the shots first so she could get the hard part over with.  She was a trooper as Robyn was a pill, chanting about how she didn't have to get shots and she wouldn't cry etc.  But Allison was thrilled when the doctor predicted she would keep growing awhile longer and hit 5'3". 

It has gotten dark here in the morning and really cold.  That means hot chocolate and kids becoming book worms at night and in the morning.  Robyn discovered Boxcar Children and Fairy Realm and has been lost in those books lately.

This week I registered in the lottery for the Ogden Marathon.  Inspired by my sister-in-law Griselda and the fact that I turn 40 in a few months, I figure if I ever want to do one I better do it now.  See if I get in.  Then I might start really worrying about it.  For now I figure I can just plan on walking a lot!  This week I had an old lady moment.  I woke up unable to turn my head.  Not sure what I did to my neck but it wouldn't go away for a few days.  I felt like I was moving like a robot.  But not to worry I had a chocolate stash for emergencies to call upon.  I can now almost turn my head so the chocolate must be working. 

I love these few weeks after conference when I get to re-listen and try to figure out how to apply the conference talks to our family.  My hardest part is I tend to make a list of everything I want to work on and try to do it all at once.  Good thing I have Jeremy to reel me in a bit.