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One week of Christmas break is already over!  Wow time sure flies fast when you are on vacation.  But first a few photos from the previous week:

Robyn and Allison sick in bed.  Allison did not want any photos of her taken in sick mode.

Allison and Robyn's theater December showcase.

Sunday we had our neighbor over to decorate cookies.  Allison and Robyn wanted to make gingerbread houses so I had the genius idea to make gingerbread cookies shaped like houses instead of sugar cookies.  Allyce doesn't like gingerbread and Allison didn't like the small assortment of candy or that the houses wouldn't stand up very well.  Luckily Robyn was in heaven and Spencer only cared how many M&Ms could fit on a piece to shove in his mouth.  Most of my mom moments seem to go that way - 50% happiness with the situation is a good day.

Monday Robyn still had school. So the rest of us celebrated by cleaning, laundry and checking Robyn out early so she and Spencer could get their warts treated.  But that night we had a special FHE for Christmas, everyone wrote their presents for Christ for the coming year into a little treasure box, ate treats and Robyn had a pajama party to make up for the non-holiday style day.  Tuesday while Robyn went to school for half the day, I tried to take Spencer and Allison to the temple and out to breakfast.  I say that I tried as it was a 2 1/2 hour wait for baptisms at 9 am and a 2 hour wait later at 11.  My rule is that if the wait is longer than an hour and a half I will take them back home.  If I try to push it more than that, I get some miserable kids.  We did do breakfast although Spencer was barely awake until we stopped for doughnuts after.

And when I picked up Robyn, she and I braved the crowds to go to lunch at Kneaders.  Its a tough job being a mom some days!

This is before she spilled her soup all over her pants and tried to shuffle out to the car with napkins covering her lap.

We have been fitting in some fun things this break, like going minature golfing at Trafalga (where there was no heat!), and taking kids and friends to the indoor pool.  A lot of time has been spent staying up watching movies and playing with Christmas toys.  Tuesday we learned that our niece Brynn just tested positive for Influenza A.  So that changed our family plans a little bit.  Instead of getting together for our annual Christmas Eve of ice skating, nachos, truffles and elf and spending Christmas day and dinner together we just got together for dinner Christmas day while Brynn slept in the other room.  Since their other kids and their mom Kelly are now all sick we are all crossing our fingers that we dodged those germs!  Our kids have been so sad to not be spending the break playing with cousins as they planned and are praying hard.

Tuesday I had some friends over for dinner.  This year I decided that instead of giving out gifts I would just ask some friends over to visit instead.  It was fun to take a break and just sit and talk.

Since we weren't doing ice skating with cousins Christmas Eve, we decided to spend the afternoon sledding up in American Fork canyon at Tibble Fork.  It is my kids new favorite sledding spot.  Moments that stood out were Allison and Robyn going down with Robyn in the front crouched down with her goggles and yelling, "not in the lake, not in the lake", Spencer deciding to go threw a bush and some trees and showing us his scars after, Allison trying to walk on ice and Jeremy helping a kid rescue his sled from the lake.

For dinner we were able to host the missionaries with our nacho and truffle night.  It was really a cool experience to have the missionaries in our home and share a message.  Then when they were gone we broke out Elf for our yearly movie laugh fest.

Christmas morning our kids have learned to not wake us up till 7:30 and then they have to wait till I get Taylor showered and dressed before they can come downstairs.  After stockings they have to wait again until we do breakfast as Taylor doesn't understand waiting for food.  They are all good sports about it after all these years but they make sure Taylor get his food first so he can finish quickly!

This is Robyn's doll's first Christmas so Robyn made sure she had presents too.

One of my favorite moments is when Spencer came down with a blanket of presents over his shoulder.  He gave Robyn his old legos and she was in heaven.

My sister Christina made us all these super cool hats.

It was a Lego Christmas for Robyn.  That is all she wanted.

Allison gave Robyn some coupons including Lego playing time (unless she is slammed with homework).  So this is what our Christmas day looked like, and pretty much every day since:

Robyn laughed at how big some of Spencer's new clothes were:

But Spencer's favorite present has been a little table top ping pong set that he has loved playing.

Although I think his lizard appreciated the new heat lamp the most.

Taylor has a love/hate relationship with Christmas.  He loves all the food, music and cuddly warm clothes and toys.  But the noise gets to him sometimes:

Allison only asked for clothes so she got a bunch and has been busy trying out new outfits.  Macho our cat has been having peeing problems again, going everywhere.  Going on Allison's touch on the couch though was the final straw so he is living outside and in the garage for awhile.  He is not happy with the situation.

We had snow at Christmas this year.  When Robyn went to school Monday it snowed and everyone on our block including Spencer and Allison ran outside to make a snowman.  Let me re-phrase everyone on the block ran out at 8 am to make snowmen - our kids ran out at 10 am.  But by the afternoon all the snow had melted leaving only snow men in their place.  Robyn shed some tears.  So this weekend Robyn finally got to make her snowman.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Last days of School & Sickness

The normal ups, downs and Christmas events have filled our house these last two weeks.

Robyn went in last Monday to get a tooth pulled and to have a frenectomy, where they cut the muscle the grew down between her teeth, pushed it up into her gums and stitched it into place.  Frozen yogurt and ibuprofen were the rest of that day's agenda.  She has little stitches dangling from her mouth now that she is quite proud of and everything has healed up well.  Someone asked me why our kids get so many teeth pulled.  Their adult teeth grow in behind their baby teeth so they never eat away the root of their baby teeth.  Not for all of them, but for a good majority.  It is a little ridiculous.  In two months she goes back to get some more teeth pulled and a retainer glued in to keep her teeth all spaced apart so her adult teeth can move forward into the gaps.

Robyn and Allison had their winter showcase performance for their theater group.  It was really fun to watch.  I am glad we are past the painful performance stage where you have to choose to laugh at the mistakes or prop your eyes open.  Allison especially has really improved a lot this past year.  I love watching her dance and all her expressions.  She had several people come up to her afterwards who didn't know her to tell her what a great job she did as she really stood out.  I was proud of her.

We have been busy making fudge and cookies and pumpkin bread, running around presents to teachers and going to a cookie exchange.  I am sure the sugar high will catch up with us at some point but right now we are enjoying it.  Spencer spaces out pieces of fudge through his nightly homework.  Math done, a piece of fudge, history done, another piece of fudge.  Allison spent several nights making suckers that she and her friend were selling to raise money for an animal shelter.  I spent awhile scraping solidified corn syrup off of our stove.  We have also been breaking out the Christmas stories and videos.  Muppet Christmas Carol and the Grinch were our weekend entertainment.  I don't know if singing Frosty the Snowman and watching the Grinch with hot chocolate is a very spiritual FHE but our kids sure thought it was great.  Jeremy had his company party so we got to enjoy dinner with his co-workers and a fun night out.  And we had half the young women over for a progressive dinner which was a really cool, spiritual night.

Jeremy turned 43 this last week.  He has been busy doing a lot of creative and family shoots these last two weeks.  He has really been experimenting more and trying to take his skills up another notch.  He has been trying to get shoots in during lunch or after kids get to bed and has come up with some great work.  He has been doing a lot of side projects lately which plus the Christmas photo rush has upped his work load considerably.  Great guy that he is though he turned down photographing the Piano Guys so he can take me to dinner Saturday night.

This last week the plague hit our two girls.  A horrible cold, fever, sore throat PLUS throwing up.  They were miserable for a few days there and I got to stay home with them and do soda runs.  I had to go back to work Thursday so Robyn stayed at Jeremy's office with some movies and cough drops and thought it was great.  Allison managed to not throw up her breakfast and her fever was gone so she went back to school full of determination to not miss any more.

Working at the school has been fun with all the Christmas activities and I have been so touched and impressed with how people in the community volunteer their time with kids who are not the easiest.  Choirs came, Santa visited and a dance was held.  Starting in January I am going to have Thursday off which I think will make things much easier.  I have debated whether to stay or quit but I am learning a lot and enjoying it.  So at least through this school year I plan to stay.

Robyn had a few friends over Saturday morning for waffles, Christmas cartoons and some play time.  Forts were made, crafts were created and puppets and dress-ups were strewn over the house.  They had a great time.  On a side note, while playing they let out Robyn's bird.  When we came home from cleaning the office that evening, Robyn walked upstairs to find her bird's remains left in the hall courtesy of Macho, our cat.  Many, many tears.  I was impressed at how she isn't mad at Macho though as she said that is just what a cat will do when a bird is placed in front of it.  Still it was quite a horrific way to have your pet die.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas festivities

This was a week of Christmas activities and I feel like we are in the thick of it now.  Our house seems quiet and a little lonely without Daniel's family as we dived back into a week of school, work, cleaning up and reality.  Luckily our nights were full to keep us full of the holiday spirit and make us grateful for those nights when we got to stay home!

Monday night was our annual neighborhood lighting parade.  We meet up at the top of the cauldesac with some of our neighbors and walk up and down the street turning on our holiday lights and then we hang out with some cookies and hot chocolate.  We have a prayer and our elderly neighbor says a few words.  Its just a fun excuse to visit and kick-off the season.

Tuesday night we worked on mundane things like groceries and laundry and paperwork and homework.  I love nights like those, especially when I happen to buy some caramels from Costco and all the kids happily decide they really need to go to bed early to fight off some colds.

Wednesday, Allison had to miss her field trip to Festival of Trees so that she could come home and crawl into bed for the day.  She discovered Dayquil and Nyquil and felt better after a bunch of sleep.  It actually worked out OK logistics wise as I had been going into work late that morning as I had to meet with Spencer and his counselor so I was able to get her home and settled before going into work that day.  Allison popped a bunch of cough drops that night though and soldiered through a mandatory theater rehearsal and her choir concert.  The concert was super fun and brought back a lot of memories of choir concerts over the years.  My favorite part is that it was short, fun songs and the kids were having a great time on stage.

Thursday night was our ward party.  Jeremy was the photographer for Santa at the end when kids lined up for visits and adults cleaned up the gym.  Spencer had headed home to catch up on homework so no pictures of him and Santa this year.

Friday night while Jeremy volunteered to stay home with Taylor, the pizza and a remote the rest of us headed up to the Alpine live Nativity.  A huge group of people put this event on every year to raise money in memory of a woman/friend who died.  They take us up into the mountains in horse trailers and we walk through a walk to Bethlehem, petting camels and donkeys, visiting with shepherds, wise men and soldiers and seeing baby Jesus in the barn and then walking back with some hot chocolate.  Always cold, packed and amazing.

Saturday, Spencer and I both got to have our hair done - it was way past time for both of us.  I still do a double take when I see Spencer with a short crew cut, all spiked up.  We have had such warm afternoons I even got to spend a few hours mowing the lawn to get up all the leaves - so much easier than raking.  We didn't even wear coats today to go to church.  Its hard to believe it is December but I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Saturday night while Jeremy graciously took on solo parenting, I went for my annual girl's shopping day.  No shopping was done but we did spend 5 hours at dinner in Olive Garden.  I am sure our waitress was thrilled with us.  We had a great time catching up and as always I am amazed at the strength of the women I know.  What they graciously deal with in their lives and face with humor and persistence is amazing.  I had a great time.

Robyn spent her Sunday morning productively as she didn't stay up late watching movies with everyone else.  She has been busy trying to re-create scenes for her dolls.  You can have a lot of fun with cardboard and tape.

Monday, December 1, 2014

More Thanksgiving Week Photos

While I didn't take too many photos over this week with all the activities, there were a few I had that were not uploaded at the time of Heather's weekly post. Thought I'd add a new post sharing these photos of the festivities.