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Sunday, December 11, 2016

November & part of December

I think it is a sad commentary that my usually weekly post has turned into a month then 5 weeks!  I am glad life is slowing down a bit for a few weeks here.  I have two finals left and one class presentation on student teaching and then I am done until January 9th.  I learned I will be teaching at Skyridge High School and go up in a few weeks to meet the teacher and see what the classroom is like.  I have dreams about the first day of school, just like a little kid right now.

In November I was able to take Allison and her friend Kaori up to U of U for a high school science day where they spend the day taking classes.  They are working on a school project together for English about how forensics were used to catch serial killers (I know, I know - it was not my first pick) and were excited that one of the classes was on forensics.  Then they were thrilled that they figured out how to take public transportation home from SLC by themselves afterwards.  I was just praying hard that they were safe for that hour getting home.

She has been busy with school and projects.  Her choir has gone to a BYU basketball game to sing, had a couple of concerts and then has gone up to sing at Primary's and the capital and walk around temple square.

Robyn has been practicing after school and during PE to try out for the archery team.  Unfortunately once try outs came she turned into a crying, jittery hot mess which was not good for aiming.  So she didn't make the team and was very bummed about it.  I was impressed at the try outs that she had a girl stop what she was doing and come over to give Robyn a hug and calm her down a bit.  She has had some friend difficulties which just makes me shake my head and mutter unpleasant things about girls.  But she has two friends that she has arranged some fun play dates with.  One day I took them all sledding till it was too dark.  Another night they came over and made sugar cookies and watched Christmas movies.

Biggest news of the month is that we got to go spend a week at Thanksgiving with my brother Daniel and his family in Denver.  We left right after school Tuesday and came back Sunday.  It was so fun to just hang out and visit and it felt way too short.  I think my kids would love it if we just moved into their house.  Big kids and adults went to the movies to see Fantastic Beasts.  We went to some parks to enjoy sunshine and warmth.  Allison spent a night and most of a day black Friday shopping with Mimi and was in girly heaven.  Spencer shot BB's in their backyard.  Girls built gingerbread turkeys. Jeremy walked in the nearby preserve almost every day.  We went swimming.  We went to an outdoor skating rink.  Ate too much food, and talked as much as we could.  We just love them.

We came back through snow and came back to reality with school, work and snow.  Robyn had one glorious snow day where she and all the kids from the street played outside and went from house to house for hot chocolate.  We had our lighting parade (a day late because of bad weather so I was in class) where all the lights on the street came on.  And we dove into Christmas.  We have a new Christmas tree this year that is not held together with fishing line.  A big improvement.

Robyn and Taylor joined Kelly and cousins to go up to Festival of Trees.  Allison had gone two days previously as a field trip so she stayed home in bed.

It was a tear jerker of a day because I read a bunch of the stories about why people donated the trees with Robyn.  And then that night we went to a Night at Bethlehem.  A live nativity activity where you walk from scene to scene.  This time of year I can get pretty sappy as I am just so grateful for a Savior who made it so that the blind can see and the lame can walk.

And where was Jeremy while all this was going on?  He was off in Mexico for a long weekend to take selfies with people, share his weight loss story and strutt his stuff on stage.  He loved it.

Spencer officially accepted Utah State so he is all set for next year.  Volleyball season finished up.  I always like seeing him play.  Their team lost I think every game but he had fun and loved his coach who despite being very competitive is the best person I have seen at building up his players.  Spencer is taking mill work and has made us a napkin holder and now a foot stool.  He has enjoyed learning some new skills.

No new pictures of Taylor but he is doing well.  We had his transition meeting and then this week we have his IEP meeting.  He loved Thanksgiving and ate a ton of stuffing and mashed potatoes.  I finished getting his wheelchair all fixed so his brakes work now. 

Not a lot of big news but just all the little stuff that we enjoy and takes up most of our days.  Glad we can usually greet each day with a smile and am always grateful that each day I get to start over again!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween Week

For Halloween Taylor was Waldo.  He was not happy about the glasses, I think he wondered why he had to wear glasses again as he used to hate having them on.  So the glasses lasted for maybe 5 minutes.

Spencer carved his pumpkin in sculpture class but the girls and I did ours at home.  Allison and Robyn tried giving their pumpkins a crayon hair do.  Which later involved scraping much crayon wax off of our floor and counter but they looked very cool.

I got to go to Robyn's halloween parade.  Story of a mom's life, wait and watch a bunch of little kids go by so you can have your five seconds of you kid smiling at you that you made it!  So worth it!  It was fun to see how imaginative some people are.  I got to spend the afternoon going to Halloween class parties for my practicum.  We cooked up bones, brains and blood for dinner.  Jeremy set up an outdoor screen and showed short Halloween movies to kids.  Spencer went to do CrossFit in a Ranger's Apprentice costume - wish I had a picture of that.  Allison went with friends to "help" a friend's little sister go trick or treating and ended up at our house with their pity candy, eating popcorn and watching movies.  Robyn for the first time went with a group of kids trick or treating by herself (although Luke's 15 year old sister ran point which made me feel much better).  So Jeremy and I got to hang out, pass out toys and visit.  It was awesome.

This week got just a little bit busier than usual.  Robyn went to a leadership conference with student council at BYU for a day.  She loved it and has a big book of quotes from taking notes all day.  Robyn also had a school musical program Friday night that was super cheesy but she was beaming and laughing away sitting with her class.  (To get to said program, involved Jeremy taking her over early.  Me driving Allison and 6 friends plus Taylor down to BYU to attend a BYU men's choir concert then rushing back, parking 2 blocks away and running in to stand in the back with Taylor the whole time.  That is how it has gone this week.  To attend one of Allison's choir performances Jeremy was there filming and I ran in just in time to watch her sing and then literally ran to my car to get to class.)

Allison had 3 choir concerts plus some friend stuff.  She really has a great group of friends.

Spencer had a Utah State open house down in Provo on Tuesday.  He is all registered for school now, got his scholarship, dorm room reserved and just has to sign and send in his acceptance letter.  He is fasting about it today to make sure that is really what he wants to do.  What will I do without my movie buddy around?  Saturday morning we went to see Dr. Strange which Spencer has been looking forward to for awhile.

Saturday afternoon I got to take Taylor, Robyn and her two friend Nylie and Luke to a pumpkin patch style farm.  It was a great afternoon to hang out.  (Robyn has spent the morning at a school educational program called Bright Ideas.  She did not think school on a Saturday was a good idea but Hee Haws plus a lunch at Wendy's with Jeremy seemed to make everything better.)

There was a kitten who adopted Taylor for the afternoon.

So trying to fit in time with each kid plus activities and school just keeps us busy and out of trouble.  It also makes me really look forward to 6 weeks from now when classes are over and I student teach!  Jeremy made arrangements with the company of his shake to work on muscle building and weight maintenance and write blog entries for them.  So gives him increased motivation to keep up the good work.

We have been taking advantage of this fall to get out into the beautiful canyons around us.  Which means that Jeremy has had several family shoots lately.  On one outing he took a couple candids of our kids and their cousins which I loved.

I told Jeremy we need to figure out to get a good picture of Taylor!  Here is his last couple of weeks:

Going to his school Halloween carnival:

 Going to his sisters' piano recital.  He looked up when they played their songs (plus for a few others that he liked)

And going to Gardner Village for witch fest with Allison, her friend Kaori and me:

 He never looks exactly thrilled to be there!  But he sure smiles when he gets tucked into his beanbag or bed after going out somewhere.  I am not sure if he enjoys the outings or is just relieved to be back home snuggling.  On the other hand Allison and her friend seemed to enjoy all the witches:

Robyn has been enjoying being on student council and doing the announcements at school and helping deliver birthday treats.  She has been busy learning all the states and their capitols.  She has been practicing to try out for the archery team again.  Spencer has been busy getting college applications ready, homework plus doing rec volleyball.

Jeremy has still be rocking the exercising, eating little, spin classes and even went to Hot Yoga with Kelly Hall and me at 5:30 one Friday morning.  He liked it so much he went back one more time when I couldn't!  I do like the class even if you are surrounded by a lot of super, sweaty people.

For Fall Break we put Taylor into respite and went to Bryce Canyon along with Jason and his family.  They recently bought a new trailer and this was their inaugural family trip.  Bryce Canyon was beautiful!  It was 25 degrees in the morning and 68 in the afternoon!  Our battery had some problems right after we got there which since Jeremy just got the heater repaired caused some teeth gnashing.  But our friend's parents who live down there and run the inn, found out and brought us over a space heater to plug in.  Because it was super cold at night!  We hiked a bunch including this long slot canyon called Wall Street, and explored the whole park.  We took bikes up to the top of the bike trail in the park and coasted down which was awesome.  Robyn and Kayla bit it as they learned not to slam their brakes on during a turn and Robyn's road rash was quite painful looking but she hopped back on afterwards and was grateful she had pants on.  Jeremy, Spencer and Garion did it again a second time without girls making them go slow which was a testosterone highlight for Spencer.  We went out for pie one night which was delicious and one night we stayed up late talking and roasting marshmallows.  Sunday we checked out Tropic's sacrament meeting and then explored Kodachrome Basin before heading back.  Bryce is now on the top of my list of places to visit again.  We all had just a great time.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Slow down a little bit...

Kids just seem a little too old these past few weeks.  Allison, Robyn, Taylor and I did Robyn's elementary school fun run.  I was proud of Robyn as she ran the whole way and ended up with her picture in the newsletter which she loved.  Allison walked with Taylor and me.  She couldn't understand why I had changed to workout clothes but by the end she understood as I and Robyn have mega sweat genes.  Robyn said at school when they run the mile everyone is concerned that she has gotten sunburned.  But I told her that is just what we look like when we exercise - a heart attack waiting to happen.

Food trucks at school for dinner and then we met Jeremy at home to move furniture and tear out our carpet in the family room and living room.  Allison told me it was almost as good a FHE as when we killed squash bugs together!  So the next day we had a day of carpet and cleaning and now we have super soft carpet on our main floor.  Robyn told it doesn't have crunchy spots on it at all!  So we have all been luxuriating in laying around on our floor and plotting when we can save up in a few years to do the rest of the house.

For the women's broadcast this year we were able to have Kelly and the girls over for dinner and then we all went out for dessert after.  We are so lucky that we get to be together for these kind of things.  The next Sunday we were able to get together for the last session of conference and go enjoy some time in the canyon.  Jeremy had a family photo shoot so Allison was his assistance, Taylor stayed in the van and the rest of us went hiking along a beautiful trail.

Allison turned 15!  Hard to believe.  She and her friend Madelyn went to get their learner's permits.  Jeremy took Allison to the church parking lot that night.

Allison enjoyed being surprised by Jeremy picking her up from tap for her birthday dinner out with dad.

Then she had several friends over for a birthday party of pizza, games and painting pottery.  She really does have some of the nicest friends.  They kindly ignored me sitting in the corner of the store practicing my ASL tonight.  (ASL has to be one of the hardest classes I have taken!)

Allison had a scholars thing one night where we went to the high school to learn about scholarships.  Spencer had a college day where I got to go with him to listen to college presentations.  Housing opened up for Utah State so we spent an evening researching dorms and registering for the one he wanted.  And he applied to Utah State.  Time needs to slow down just a little bit!

In an effort to slow things down a bit for our family this last weekend we put Taylor into respite for 24 hours.  Jeremy and I had a date Friday night.  Saturday we woke up early to do the ward day of service and then to do a family hike to the Spanish Fork hot pots.  It was beautiful and is one of my favorite things to do in the fall.

Jeremy has been busy with fall family shoots and still trying to bike as much as possible.  Mornings are getting really cold and dark which has made that tough.  Taylor is doing well and looking good.  We have had a few doctor things these past few weeks with Taylor getting a physical, all the kids getting flu shots and Taylor getting his dafos adjusted because he developed a pressure sore on one of the bones on his foot.  School keeps me pretty busy.  The internship is just pure fun but the classes add up to a lot of homework.  It has gotten better since I decided I just won't do anything else during the week but school!