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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fall


Fall has been full of family, changes and some trips.  Jeremy has been to South Dakota, San Francisco, and Arizona for some different work opportunities during the last two months.  He has enjoyed the challenges and handled the pressure and stress well, including the change to a new job at SQRD.  Lots of changes going on around here.

The kids and I enjoyed our annual trip to the Timpanogous Storytelling Festival.  As kids get older and schedules changing I am trying to embrace the idea that our whole family being together for events does not always occur and that I need to enjoy who is able to come and not stress about everyone not being able to be there.


Allison turned 16 and decided to spread the joy out over a week.  She had her friend Kaori who moved a half hour away come join us for a weekend.  It happened to be the same weekend Spencer came home to go to a friend's farewell.  So Jeremy drove Spencer to and from Logan that weekend plus took Allison and Kaori out for an all day photo shoot of Vocal Point at the Salt Flats.  Allison got her drivers license on her birthday.

Then Jeremy took her out for her first date of going to a shooting range then a fancy dinner at Sundance. Think your first date should always be your dad - show you the way it is to be done.  They had a great time.  (And she has gone on dates since with guys hopefully almost as amazing as her dad)



For General Conference weekend we had the Hall family join us for brunch and conference which was a wonderful way to spend the weekend.  Then we took a grumpy Robyn and the rest of us up to the canyon for some fall color therapy.  Amazing views soon chippered everyone up.  We have just decided that when the grump puberty genes start talking in our family we are just going to go ahead and do activities regardless of the fact that they don't want to.  It usually works out just great.




One weekend we checked in Taylor to respite and went up to USU for the day.  It was awesome to have our family mostly together again for some catching up time.  I am proud of how Spencer is doing as he does adulting full time right now.  We went to the agricultural BBQ fundraiser where we ate waaaaay to much, a USU football game and then up in the canyon for some fall color.  The day flew by and we just talked non-stop catching up on life.



Regular life of Jeremy doing fall portraits, choir concerts, school and homework, dance classes, piano, church stuff and date nights all fill our days.  I got to have a girls night of dinner, pursuing Bath & Body for new lotions and seeing Thriller, a very cool and eclectic dance performance.  It was a great night.  Two of my favorite parts was first when Robyn didn't know high school dance students dressed up as zombies roamed the theater until she ran ahead of us and we saw this little figure in the distance start screaming and running back through the parking lot with a "zombie" chasing her.  Second, when Allison turned to me after the performance and commented that is was a very cool night.  We are enjoying the late Sunday starts with Sunday breakfasts and Sunday night craft times:


Taylor's last school Halloween party as he graduates in May:


Over Fall Break, Allison 3 year dream of going to New York with her theater group came true.


They left Wednesday night at 11 on the red-eye and played super hard till they came home at 1 a.m. on Monday.  She saw 5 Broadway Plays: Wicked, Lion King, Anastasia (her new favorite), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and School of Rock.  They had dance, singing, and acting workshops.  She walked 10 miles a day (no joke) to see every tourist spot in New York, going to the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Twin Towers, Churches, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Amsterdam Theater, went to the backstage doors to get autographs each night, ate at amazing places and wore herself out having a great time with some amazing people.


While Allison was off in New York, I took Taylor to respite and Robyn and I flew to Denver to spend the weekend with the Denver Skeehan's.  Robyn was so excited she was up since 1 a.m. that day!  We did have to leave by 4:30 and she was worried she would sleep through her alarm.  So later that day she crashed for a 4 hour nap!


We got to watch Matthew's preschool fall performance, surprise Claire and Samantha at school for lunch, go to an amazing farm for a perfect fall day, go to a ward trunk or treat, attend Matthew's soccer game, breakfast at Kneaders, crafts and treats. runs in the preserve, picnic at a park and a night at the Cheyenne Zoo.  Robyn has been dreaming of feeding a giraffe and was giddy to be able to do so.  And we got to be there for Sammy's birthday.  It was an amazing retreat from everyday life where we packed in family and fun and loved every minute of it.


Then it was back home to life and school and the everyday happiness and crazy.  Where shopping for costume pieces at Target requires brownies and bubble bath recovery time, where we have ward Halloween parties and Allison wakes me up to tell me she made curfew and that she made it safely home.  Grateful for this life we lead.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

School Starts


After a week of full time meetings and working on school paperwork for me, we moved Spencer up to Utah State.  Drove up, helped him unpack and gave him a hug good-bye.  It was a little anti-climatic and felt more like we were just dropping him off at camp.  He texted us half an hour later showing a bowl with a few noodle at the bottom saying "this used to be full of potstickers".  So we knew he figured out the cafeteria.  He had a week to get to know the campus and do a freshman seminar thing before school started.  His roommate ended up dropping out before school started along with 2 other room mates who all happened to be on his side of the apartment.  So currently he has a bathroom and a room to himself.  I am sure that will change at the semester.  We try to touch base weekly and he came home this weekend for a missionary farewell.  Seems like he is working hard, making good choices and figuring out his way in life - never an easy task.  It is just now starting to feel real to us that he is moving on with his life.  Such a strange transition period, where he is still your child but independent in so many ways.



When Spencer came home this weekend we hadn't seen him for a month.  Jeremy thought that deserved a Lucky 13 hamburger on the way home:


That Monday was my first day of school because of 7th grade day.  My first week was little rocky as I had yet to hire 2 aides and none of my peer tutors knew what they were doing along with all my students.  It has just gotten better and better since but it was a bit extreme for awhile I thought.  Now I have 3 amazing aides plus some peer tutors who really know what they are doing (plus some who don't but it is junior high).  I do love the teaching and being with students.  Its just me figuring everything out as a new teacher as well and balancing everyone's needs.  For the first time this week I have been able to walk away from school at a reasonable time and not feel like there were any emergencies I needed to stay up figuring out.

Tuesday, I set up mom lunches and cookies for after school.  But I missed all the big hoop-la of setting off.  Jeremy skipped yoga so he could take pictures of all the kids on their first day.


Allison has a pretty challenging load this year but is embracing it.  She has joined some clubs and is enjoying all the extra activities and opportunities.  She and Robyn are both doing their theater group again and are doing tap lessons once a week plus their regular piano.  It does make for a busy schedule for them.

With all the crazy of school starting I decided why not run a race and loose a toe-nail.  Always a good stress relief!  And a reminder that I need to exercise more and eat less desserts!  I was grateful for a super speedy friend Julie who would wait for me to finish.  With school I haven't been able to run like I used to but I try to fit it in when I can and am grateful for some friend exercise therapy whenever our schedules align.


Jeremy has had a couple of trips come up.  He went to Las Vegas for Labor Day weekend to show off his weight loss results.


He has been doing some longer bike rides when he can.  The cold weather and darkness in the morning has started driving him into spin classes again.


He also got to do a trip to South Dakota for a job and took some time to drive by Mount Rushmore and Sturgis.  He has been super busy trying out all these new opportunities and to figure out which ones to pursue.


Cancer treatment going well still.  Bloodwork is still a bit nuts and he is trying what he can to address the problems with sleep and his gut.  He ran into our amazing neighbor Peggy who just finished her chemo at the same doctor he goes to.


For Allison's birthday "party" this year she invited her friend Kaori to spend the weekend.  This involved lots of visiting and laughing and helping Jeremy do a photo shoot out on the Salt Flats of BYU's Vocal Point.  Plus some birthday cheesecake after which is always a hit.


One project that has been hanging over our head for the past few years is getting our solar panels up and out of our garage.  It finally happened! Thanks to Jeremy and a group he found.  We are up and running and I can reach the work bench again.


We planned a camping trip over Labor Day weekend before Jeremy knew he would be gone.  So I wasn't brave enough to pull the trailer but we borrowed a tent and the girls and I spent a weekend at Mirror Lake.  Coming home and then packing, taking Taylor to respite and being able to go meant we pulled in long after the sun set.  I felt so brave driving these winding roads in the dark and setting up our tent by flashlight with Allison telling us what to do.


It was a beautiful place and I want to go back with Jeremy and paddle boards another time.  Jasper did not sleep the first night and since the zipper was broken on the tent that meant I had to hold him all night long.  It was really, really cold at night.  I was not super happy with him. But thankfully this was a girls weekend which meant a lot of laying around and napping and reading books.  And a few very small hikes.  Next time I am going to be more insistent that we do some more challenging hikes.  But it was fun, relaxing and a good time to just hang out and learn to be a little more self-dependent.  Allison was doing a project for her ASL class where she couldn't hear or speak for 24 hours.  Just when I started getting into my mom inquisitor mode she chose to start her project.  It made for an interesting 24 hours!  We learned that I don't need a swimsuit to swim.  Jasper can swim but doesn't like to.  That even if we forget a pan to cook with we can figure something out.  That little miracles like finding out turn-off in the dark without any cell phone reception or walking into the library and finding 2 new releases from my favorite authors are wonderful.



We were just a little wimpy as we came home Sunday night instead of Monday morning so we could spend a day with Jeremy, having brunch at Kneaders, doing laundry and I could spend an afternoon working at school.  We celebrated the end of summer with visiting our favorite snow cone shack that night with Allison driving us all over to find one that hadn't closed yet...along with A LOT of other people.


The following weekend the kids and I got to go to the Timpanogous Storytelling Festival.  This year they moved it to Thanksgiving Point Gardens which was a beautiful place to explore and a good work out for me pushing Taylor.  Allison chose a football game with friends for Friday night but she joined us Saturday for the whole day.  Of course she had to bring a butt load of homework along with her to make that possible!


This last week was our last elementary school fun run with Robyn being in 6th grade.  So they did it with flair this year.  Taylor and I skipped the colored chalk gauntlet but the girls embraced it, along with Jasper.  I was proud of them as they ran the whole way with some cute friends.


So this meant Jasper got a bath - he is not a fan.


We are thankful for slow nights and enjoying the crazy ones.  I am glad life for all of us is becoming more routine as we each adjust to the new normal.