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Sunday, August 30, 2015

School days

We are back in school and in the routine of school life.  We have been working into doing everything a little slow this year.  My school job started but my school academic starts this week.  Girls start their theater class this week along with Allison's dance and Robyn's choir.  I appreciated not having everything start at the same time.  Its enough of an adjustment just getting everyone up, dressed and out the door early in the morning!

We have had back to school nights, Allison has been helping 7th graders tour the junior high, Spencer started an ACT class after school for two weeks and all the trips to the stores to buy school supplies.  I wish teachers in the upper grades could give you a supply list before schools start.  Spencer was still working a few nights a week as he had to wait for them to hire another person before he could go down to working one night a week.  It has made for some really busy, tiring days for him.  School, ACT prep, work, homework and fitting in some YM activities and a dance have kept him busy and out of trouble.  If he isn't busy he is sleeping!  He is still taking the bus to and from school as the parking lot at the high school is a bit scary for me. 

Allison is enjoying all her classes and being part of PALS - a group that helps out new students.  She was very disappointed when she realized that she could not do her school play and her center stage play as they are scheduled for the same time this year.  Allison is either doing our home as a personal progress project or is just working on brownie points.  One day she and her friend decided to organize and inventory all our food storage room.  One day another friend and her decided to clean out our sand box and pick all our tomatoes and peppers for salsa.  Last night I came home and she had deep cleaned out piano with q-tips.  All those things I met to get to and haven't for a long time.  So Jeremy and I restocked our food storage yesterday and I made salsa this week.  We figured out a carpool with her friends this year so I only drive to the junior high one day a week.

Robyn had a rocky first day of school.  She is in a split 3/4 grade class with two part time teachers.  One of her teachers had to quit the week before school started.  She has been replaced with a really good teacher but it made the beginning of school not quite as organized as it would have been.  She came home trying to smile the first day but then burst into tears.  She had gone to lunch with her class who splits the 3rd and 4th grade times.  But they kicked all the 4th graders out just as she sat down so she went and left without eating her lunch.  And her lunch was put with the 4th graders so she lost her new lunch bag.  And recess aides didn't understand that their class gets to do the 3rd and 4th grade recess.  So just lots of confusion and tears and emotion.  But she has really nice teachers who have straightened everything out and now she is in the swing of it.  She just had to realize that her class will do the best of both grades which means it won't be quite like the other 4th grade classes and thats OK.  For example she was upset that they had to make bridges out of legos which is a 3rd grade project.  But then she realized she really likes legos and its a lot of fun so its OK to be different.  I still get to walk with her and a friend to school every day but Wednesday.  Its a great way to spend some time with her in the morning.  She has been putting up motivational thoughts:

Taylor is getting used to getting up and going to school again.  He has been laughing these last few weeks at random times.  It has been a long time since he has been smiling and laughing so we are soaking it in.  Yesterday Spencer was getting his food handlers permit online which met we were all listening to a loud presentation for an hour on how to handle food.  Robyn pointed out that I was failing at everything they were saying and Taylor just burst into loud laughter.  Wish we had caught more of it on film.  It was awesome.  We have managed to go to the pool a few more times.  We even had a ward pool party one night after it closed.  I always feel like such a party pooper when I make kids leave activities at 9:30 on a school but they are so used to it by now that when I give them the choice they all choose to go home and go to bed so the morning would be easier.

We have had some fun things these last two weeks.  We were able to go up to Meredith's wedding reception.  She was our respite worker for years and was and is such a big part of our kids life.  It was awesome to see her getting married and to a great guy.  Jeremy even did some crazy driving so that we could hit Trader Joes on the way home and stock up on some study snacks ie chocolate for me.  Jeremy and I were able to go up Provo Canyon one evening for an acoustic guitar concert.  It was awesome to lay around with a picnic and enjoy having to snuggle in sweat shirts after Jeremy spent the day from 6 am to 4 pm working on photo shoots.  We were both ready to just hang out in the cool canyon breezes and visit.  It was so nice that this last Friday we took all the kids and went up the canyon to camp.  Having me work Friday meant that we all got to enjoy practicing loading up the trailer and thinking of what we needed to bring.  Its been a while.  Camping with girls is a little different.  Robyn had a backpack for her stuff and then another backpack for her doll's stuff.

We had a great time roasting hot dogs and marshmallows (busy mom meant no s'mores stuff but luckily kids just rolled with it).  And it was super cold that night which felt wonderful.  Although Taylor kicked off all his blankets and froze so we need to figure that out better before next time.  Jasper was in dog heaven especially when we explored a trail the next day.  One of my favorite parts was watching Robyn try to wrap roll dough around her hot dog and getting frustrated because she didn't think it was perfect.  Allison made a minor adjustment and Robyn just beamed that now it was perfect.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Family and our last hurrah

For our last weeks of summer vacation we squeezed in as much family time as we could.  We had cousins over for a few days while Kelly was out of town.  They were able to join us for our annual outdoor play at the SCERA shell where we all enjoyed snuggling in blankets and eating snow cones.  Allison and her friend Hadley posed for a photo and then realized their teeth had turned green from their snow cones.

 Kids played as much as possible, going to the movies and the pool and just having a fun time together.  They left Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at 4 am!!! we left for sunny California to visit my family.

The first day there our family decided they wanted to just hang out.  We went to a local park that Peter and Kathryn told us about that was designed for kids with disabilities.  It was one of the coolest parks that I have ever seen and super popular with little kids.

Taylor liked the swing but wasn't sure about everything else. 

And we got to play with these cuties:

We went to a used bookstore and all the kids picked out a new book to read.  Spencer wanted to check out their library and each kid picked a movie to watch while there.  And of course we had to get some sour dough bread at La Boulangerie.

That night I was able to go out with my sister Christina, catch up and see how much down town Mountain View has changed over the years as they did their weekly festival.

And one night we were able to go cheer on Christina at her roller derby bout.  We thought it was awesome to see her play.

We got to visit the beach twice as we could not get enough.  One time we went to Sea Brighton with my parents, Peter and his two kids and Griselda and her boys.  Except for a strong wind that started to pick up in the afternoon, we would have stayed there forever.  I was grateful Griselda was willing to drive 4 hours each way just to spend a day with us.

Lydia had a pattern.  Play in the ocean and then run back to Grandma for warming up in a towel.

Robyn would have stayed in the water forever but periodically had to get out to regain feeling.  I think maybe we should invest in wet suits.  When we saw this picture Allison started singing, "No body likes me, everybody hates me, I think that I'll go eat worms..."

Robyn loved having a little girl to play with:

On our way home we stopped for ice cream at Marianne's my new favorite place.  I discovered a new flavor - Heaven (its actual name) made up of vanilla ice cream swirled with brownie, peanut butter and hot fudge.  Peter pointed out that my sweet tooth is a little over the top!

Our other beach day was just our family where we went to Half Moon Bay and froze and loved it.  Some were brave enough to go boogie boarding and we went to visit the tide pools.  To get to these beaches I should mention how we got Taylor around.  I wished we had a photo.  Spencer just carried Taylor down to the ocean in a fireman's carry every time.  It was awesome.  I could have taken walks on the beach with my girls forever.  But teeth started chattering and the fog was pretty dense so we had to leave.

One day we went to the San Jose Tech Museum.  One of Christina's old friends that we used to babysit now works there and got us in.  Kids loved hanging out together and trying out all the tech gadgets.

Allison loved the jelly fish DNA manipulation lab as she still wants to be a biochemical engineer and she was saying this is exactly what she wants to do with her life.

Jeremy proved that he can beat Spencer in a wheelchair race.  Its good to keep Spencer humble.

Afterwards we stopped at Shoreline where we had our wedding reception 21 years ago that week for lunch.  Jeremy taught the kids how to kiss a goose.

And on Sunday we got to enjoy visiting with family, church and hanging out.  Jeremy spent an hour doing a photo shoot with Peter's kids.  It was awesome to just talk and visit.

Tuesday we got up early and made the long drive home.  Kids slept, ate and read the whole way back.  Its always sad to leave.  On the way home we learned that my little finch had died during the week.  So our house is currently squeakerless.  Taylor threw up on the way home and after getting home, showered and changed we put him in his eating chair.  For the first time in a long time he got the giggles.  I think he was happy to be back to his routine.

Wednesday was our 21st anniversary.  We decided we get a do-over.  The day was spent catching up on laundry, groceries, mowing the lawn, work etc.

We got to cheer Allison on at her dance performance where she did an awesome job and take Robyn to buy her list of supplies for school.  Robyn inspired by my sister found a roller skating outfit at Target for her doll.

We had to pack it in because Thursday while Taylor went into respite and Robyn went to cousins, Spencer, Allison and I were off for youth conference.  We had a great time up in the mountain playing hard and sleeping little can came back Saturday morning.  Spencer pointed out that when he showered the water was black.  I can believe it!

Thursday morning we had a bit of a rough start to the day.  We were up early as Allison had a peer helper thing at the junior high to be at for the morning.  We let Jasper outside not knowing Jeremy had let the chickens out.  A few minutes later we found Jasper chewing off the back side of one of our chickens.  He was covered in blood, Allison is holding the chicken who is bleeding all over and it was not a pretty picture.  While we were gone Jeremy has been treating the chicken and it is still going strong (albeit looking very gross and we are learning that maggots do have a useful and disgusting purpose in life).  Jasper spent a day in solitude and is no longer allowed outside without a leash if chickens are around.

For a year now Jeremy has been searching for a used camping trailer to buy and this week he found one so he took the kids to pick it up Saturday afternoon. Its a pop up trailer so its much lighter than our old trailer but it was bigger beds so our kids can actually all sleep in it. While Jeremy was gone Saturday night shooting the Demolition Derby, the kids all assured me that he was planning to sleep it in with him.  So good guy that he is, he grabbed his blanket and pillow when he got home for a sleep over with the kids and Jasper in the trailer.

Today was Stake Conference and everyone is enjoying a day of relaxation after all the activities of the last two weeks.  A day spent reading and laying around sounds awesome to everyone.  I haven't heard anyone say they are bored or don't know what to do today.

For my family the rest of the pictures from our vacation are here.