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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pioneer Day

A great way to start Sunday.  Today the kids and I were able to drive up to SLC to listen to Music and the Spoken Word.  Kids didn't complain about getting up early although halfway through the rehearsal I started to hear some really deep breathing from Spencer:

Taylor loved it.  I couldn't get any good photos of him because he kept moving his head and clapping.  Thankfully he didn't start chirping as I am sure that wouldn't sound so good in the live broadcast.  And doughnuts in the parking lot were a big hit.  Taylor and Spencer ate two apiece and couldn't understand why that was enough.  Our church time switches to 9 am in the fall so this was on my summer bucket list to go to while we could.

We got the outside of our new doors all painted and done.  We tried it out this week with pushing Taylor outside and it was super easy to eat dinner on our deck.  I think that will become a habit.  Best part is clean up just involves Jasper and a hose.

Spencer has asked for more hours at work so he is gone most nights now leaving at 3:30 and getting back at 10.  It makes for very quiet evenings around here.  We try to get some fun family activities in while he is home.  I got to take him to see Avengers one afternoon at our dollar theater.  And to celebrate Pioneer Day we went to the pool before he had to go to work.  At night while Jeremy and Spencer were slaving away at jobs the girls, a friend and Taylor got to go with me to a baseball game.  Hot dogs, card games, fireworks and watching Allison do a game on the field were a perfect way to celebrate.  Taylor wolfed his hot dog now and then hung out in the grass thinking life was pretty good.  Except for the sunburn on his face where he had wiped away his sun block.

This was the last week of school for Taylor and me and now we get a break for three weeks until we start up again.  I found a set of annotated notes for the Praxis test I have to take so I have been studying that.  I feel brain dead after an hour or two of trying to remember things I really should know like what each amendment is etc.  I registered for next semester for my classes.  So far it looks like 9 credits so I hope I can handle it.  I also got my job assignment for next year.  I will be in the same class but only three days a week.  The tough part is that on those three days three of our kids will get out an hour before me.  But they said they will make it work and help each other out.

Rest of the week has just been full of summer stuff.  Girls picked and sold bags of plums off of our tree.  Allison is limiting herself to eating three a day.  Spencer and Allison surprised me by going to the temple while I was at school one day.  I am trying to do better about not nagging them to do things so this just really touched me as they did it all by themselves.  I don't want to know what sibling prodding went on to make that happen and just enjoy that they did it.  One night this week a friend had a pool party to celebrate her daughter being able to swim again after a year and a half culminating in a kidney transplant.  It was an awesome evening to be a part of.

Jeremy got to go do a photo shoot for a vocal camp at BYU Friday afternoon and evening and will be down there again next week.  He said it was pretty amazing to see what these kids could accomplish.  He had a bad back week so he has been pushing through the days with ice packs.  Wish he didn't have that cross to bear or at least had some warning of when it would hit.  He still shows up a my knight in his white truck to rescue me when I blew a tire on a bike ride.

Robyn has been helping us remember to be more polite.  We have had LOTS of family time lately, which is great and also full of teaching moments.  We are either going to have very polite kids or very in shape kids.  Since my biggest problem is interrupting people I asked for that consequence to be sit-ups.  I could use them. 

This week Jeremy seemed to spend the week trying to fix things as quickly as they broke.  Which means our toilets are working, our van has new brakes, our car lost a huge stain, our couch cushions no longer smell like urine, our waterfall is unplugged (a horrible, gross job by itself), hooks are up in Robyn's room, a kitchen cupboard is glued back together and re-installed, a kitchen chair is put back together after breaking apart and the laptop Spencer uses for coding club is sort of working again.  He has been busy this week trying to stay ahead of the breakage around here.  What a guy.  It seriously seemed like he would fix something as a kid would walk in the room to break something else.

Allison picked our activity this week for Monday and decided to go fishing.  Spencer set up Allison and Robyn with rods and instruction.  Allison was a little outraged that her instruction was "Allison, watch me now do it like that".  And then she watched Spencer spend five minutes showing Robyn step by step how to fish, "put this finger here, and this hand here" etc. 

Friday Spencer and Allison packed a cooler of food and fishing gear and went back to the fishing pond for four hours.  Allison said it was fun but that it was an act of love on her part.  When Spencer's fishing rod broke he had Allison wade in to pick up the piece.  Allison was happy though that her arms were too short to reach the piece so Spencer had to wade in as well.  Its nice and a little weird to watch the two of them drive off together on an adventure.

Robyn got to use her coupon for a free kids' meal from her library reading program this week with Jeremy.

She is still buried into the Harry Potter series and talks of wizards and Azkaban to everyone.  This week she had another swim meet.  I wish that there was a way to do swim meets that didn't involve sitting around in the sun for four hours!  She was disappointed that she was a second slower on her free style but she beat her PR on breast and fly by 8 seconds each which she was quite stoked about.  It was funny to watch her do fly because there was a girl who was really fast next to her and you could see Robyn's head keep swiveling to see her competition.  She was determined that she would not be beat and it was nose to nose almost the whole way.

 Robyn had an evening where she didn't quite know what to do with herself.  She kept trying friends till she could find someone who could play.  Then they stared at each other saying now what?  So Allison showed them her list of summertime activities so they decided to make a fairy house.  The chandelier and shag rug is my favorite part.

Allison and Robyn went back pack shopping this week.  I didn't know what a hard decision that would be - multiple stores, discussing possibilities and their potential.  Somehow they have become shoppers.  Allison spent awhile picking out a planner and trying to figure out which would work best.  She is really excited for school to start again.

Spencer asked for more hours at work so now he is up to working four shifts a week.  He was gone all day Saturday and then three afternoon/evenings this week.  Makes our house feel quite different.  He went and met with the wisdom tooth doctor this week so that is all set up for December now.  And he and Allison got their eyes checked and new contacts ordered.  Spencer is now officially at my prescription level before surgery.  Genetics, what can you do about it.  Last year Spencer and I read an article about an arcade in SLC.  Saturday night with Taylor staying in respite we went up to check it out.  It was literally a hole in the wall, dive type place but I thought it was really fun.  Allison said it was a do it once type of activity.

Spencer kicked everyone's butt in Dance Dance Revolution and kids all loved California Speed, especially driving through a mall and hitting people, lamp posts and cars.  

It seems like summer goes by fast as we try to enjoy the days as a family and fit in work stuff.  This is the last week of school and work for Taylor and me and then we are off till August 17.  Taylor is doing better digestive system wise I think.  He seems to be happier.  He doesn't want to walk very much right now so we are having to push that more.

Sunday Robyn packed a picnic for us and we drove up the canyon to find a deserted spot by the river.  Jasper acted like a cat not wanting any part of his body to get wet.  The kids made it a goal to get him in the water.  He does get abused by all the loving sometimes.  Taylor was happy to be outside where it was cool and you could hear the river.  Ours kids love going up the trails in the truck and all the bumps and ditches. 

This week we got the shed finished and started the french doors.  Its hard to paint outside right now because it either has to be in the early morning or in the evening as its too hot the rest of the time.  Allison has been taking care of a friend's pets and has been biking to and from her house every morning and evening.  Often Robyn goes with her although Robyn has a hard time keeping up.  Allison pimped out her bike this week getting a little basket and a drink holder.  She feels quite cool cruising around especially when she realized her friend is only a mile and a half away so she can bike over any time.  This friend Kaori and her have been busy working off a summer bucket list.  This week they got marbles and cracked them in the oven to make them look cool.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

In the good old summertime

This week Spencer had his high adventure with the Priests.  They went to Flaming Gorge to river raft, go boating, fishing, hiking and tour the dam.  He had a great time and came home happy and tired and cranky.  So we decided it was a great day to celebrate 7-11 with slurpees and a trip to the pool.  Somehow splashing around in cold water for awhile always cheers everyone up.  And I learned a secret.  If I take Taylor out to the deep end and hang out with the kids they actually play together pretty nicely in sort of a loose circle around me.  It was fun watching Robyn like a limpet on Spencer's back as he tried to throw her off or Allison and Robyn having water fights with noodles.  Taylor thought it was great.  And where was Jeremy?  Slaving away at home to fix a toilet.  What a great guy.

Taylor is having a busy summer.  He started back at school three days a week for three hours each day (I go there to work too but only two days a week). When he doesn't have school he has been going to a camp from 9-3 where they do activities and field trips.  He seems to be enjoying it.  And his masseuse still comes to our house twice a week which he loves.   Jasper is always very concerned when Taylor is getting a massage.  He jumps on the bean bag to watch everything carefully and is usually licking Taylor hand while she rubs his feet or visa versa.  Guess he wants to participate.

Robyn and Allison spent one day deep cleaning their closets and dressers.  It was a really big undertaking.  Getting rid of clothes that were too small, passing clothes down, finding hidden treasures that needed to be tossed.  Making a list of what they would need for school.  This has required re-outfitting Allison with pants which has meant a couple of trips to stores.  To celebrate their clean rooms we went out on a girls night Tuesday night.  Our babysitter cancelled so Taylor joined us.  Jeremy was able to meet us for taco Tuesday and then we went to see Tomorrowland.  Girls thought the night was worth the work to get there.

Robyn still has swim team every day which she loves.  And a day where Allison will help her do all her dolls hair for a tea party is heaven.  This week she got her bottom retainer glued in so she has been learning how to talk and eat with that in place.

Allison has been doing tennis twice a week this summer and two dance classes back to back once a week.  She fills her days figuring out new crafts or activities to do by herself or with friends.  We ran to Hobby Lobby this week to figure out a type of bracelet she wanted to make.  She is extremely inventive.  She has been learning thanks to a mean mom how to bike to friends houses to play.  On Monday she taught a lesson about service with a really cool object lesson with milk and food dye to show how a small action can make a big impact and then took us to weed a neighbor's house.  Spencer thought it was great digging up big clumps of weeds with a shovel and talking a mile a minute.  Thursday night for Beehives we got to go shelf at the Bishops Storehouse.  Its been neat this week to see who Allison is turning into (interspersed with mood swings that still take me aback!)

Saturday night Jeremy and I drove up Emigration Canyon in SLC to a place I wanted to try called Ruth's Diner.  Its this really old dinner next to a creek where its shady, lights in the tree, a little band playing and was just an awesome relaxing place to be for awhile.  Jeremy has been busy taking on side projects for different companies to build up his network of contacts.  Its been good but challenging and busy for him as he has to learn new things and try to fit everything in.

This week I have been working on painting the shed.  I have the main coat finished and now I need to do all the trim.  Eventually it will get done!  I also started studying for my teaching test.  There are five tests I have to do in five different areas.  I was feeling pretty good about it after two tests thinking I need to study but this is totally doable.  And then I hit the reading test.  Its about the science of literacy and teaching reading, something I have never studied.  I didn't even recognize a bunch of the words used.  So I will have my work cut out for me there.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cousins and More Cousins

Last week Allison, Robyn and I got to drive to Colorado to meet our new niece, Madelyn.  Spencer and Jeremy stayed home so they could work and Taylor went into the respite place.  We left Thursday right after work and came back the following Tuesday.  It is so easy traveling with just me and the girls!  And we had a great time visiting, playing and hanging out.

We were able to go a water park, to a drive in, a candy factory, a swim meet, roast hot dogs and take the girls to the pool.  But most of all we got to just play and visit.  Allison is the super babysitter and is so good at being patient and taking care of all the little kids.  I think if she could have she would have brought Daniel and Mimi's baby home with us!  There have been visits where Robyn and Claire haven't been quite in synch as they have grown up and times where they are super good friends and have a great time together.  This time they were in the later stage and it was fun to see them walking around together and playing. 

Robyn has been saving all her money for 11 months and has been waiting to make her one big purchase at the American Girl Doll store in Denver and buy a spa chair.  I know, I know, we have tried to talk her out of it but that was her dream.  So we went while in Denver and they were out of the chair she wanted.  The lady was impressed with Robyn so they came out and made a big deal out of her giving her some freebies and puppets to play with while she waited for her chair to be shipped to her house.  It arrived yesterday and she has been playing with it since.

It was so sad to leave and come home.  I always learn from and admire Daniel and Mimi and the way they parent and have fun with their family.  I always leave inspired to have more fun and more patience with my kids.
Tuesday night we arrived safely back in Utah ( I learned over a scary two hours in Avon pass that we need to replace our brakes - nothing life threatening but it was enough to keep me praying hard for awhile).  Our Hall cousins arrived at our house that night to spend a few days. 

We got to go to seven peaks, Robyn's swim meet and BBQ, and colonial days.  We even got to go to the dentist together which is always a huge undertaking.  Taylor goes in at the end of the month now to be sedated and have some teeth work done.  They are worried he needs a root canal on one of his front teeth that he chipped badly during a seizure.  Robyn gets her retainer glued in this week.  Allison gets some work done at the end of the month and Spencer meets with the wisdom tooth guy this week.  This was a rather painful dentist visit at least to our wallet.

For beehives this week I got to hike with this crazy group of girls

Friday night we did our annual BBQ.  Not as many people were able to come this year but we had fun.  Spencer was working that night so he missed it.  Water balloons, hot dogs, parachutes and sparklers and then watching everyone's fireworks go off around us.  There are some serious pyromaniacs in our neighborhood.

All the cousins and Spencer and Robyn went back to Jason and Kelly's house Friday night to spend the fourth with them for their neighborhood breakfast and bike parade.  Allison went off to a friends house to watch a movie in their backyard till super late.  But she was determined that we were going to the Provo Parade Saturday.  So she and I got up early and went down and had an awesome time cheering away.  And then Allison came home and slept all afternoon.

Jeremy decided to stay home with Taylor and catch up with some work.  Taylor was grateful.

Saturday night we met up with Jason's family and his friends at Thanksgiving Point for a picnic and to hang out for a few hours before the fireworks started.  Allison made her special fourth of July drinks and we had fun just playing games.  Spencer really enjoys bocee ball now.  We will have to do that again.  It was a huge park full of families playing and at night running around with glow sticks.  And then 40 minutes of awesome fireworks with music playing.  The hour long wait in traffic to get out of there we will just forget about.

With so much going on we told kids to sleep in as much as possible today.  Everyone slept the morning away and I think everyone will go to bed again early tonight.  I am done with school now till mid-August.  I went to my last two classes and took a final and turned in my project that Wednesday before I left for Denver.  A friend caught me studying a the library while Robyn was in her library class.  I came home late that night from school and found she had left me a cupcake and an encouraging note.  What a blessing family and friends are in my life!  Happy fourth everyone!