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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another addition

Dear Friends and Family,

Kids are pacing at the bit waiting for cousins to arrive for dinner tonight. Jeremy is laid out upstairs with a bad cold. And I am writing my blog because I made the mistake of making Kathryn's salsa on our Fast Sunday and am trying to resist till dinner time! You could tell it was labor day weekend today. Not only did I get to play the organ for sacrament meeting (first time ever) but I also subsituted Taylor's primary class.

Biggest news of the week is that Jeremy found and bought a motorcycle. He has been looking for awhile for a used bike to commute to and from work on and to just enjoy since he sold the convertible. I will let him blog the details about it. Only scary moment I had was that after Spencer and Allison (with helmets) took a slow ride around the block the day he got it, Robyn thought it was her turn. Jeremy went super slow holding her with his legs as they did a circle in the street. As soon as they stopped she turned to say "do more!". Needless to say that didn't happen and my heart could go back to beating.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take Spencer and Allison to the Timpangous Storytelling Festival up in Provo Canyon for the day. Like most activities with kids - it was a lot of fun and a lot of work to keep everyone happy. The storytellers were amazing and the kids can still repeat many of the stories they heard. There was one guy who does a lot of PBS shows, school assemblies etc that they loved called Bill Harley. He was hilarious. We bought one of his CDs and have been enjoying his stories some more. He had one poem he wrote about Dirty Joe Pirate who stole sailor's dirty socks. He turned it into a child's picture book we will have to look for. Allison really liked a woman who did fractured fairy tales. The best part for them though (besides the ice cream) was they had a bunch of potters there helping kids make things. Spencer made a pitcher and Allison made a wedding vase.

Jeremy has been sucking it up all week with a really hurt knee and a bad cold. (The kids seem to have caught the runny nose part of it but seem to be missing the down and out sick part). Jeremy was feeling older than his years. So the motorcyle was good timing. He has been enjoying riding it around and relearning how to drive it, getting insurance and registration all taken care of.

Tuesday I helped put on a brunch for the Stake enrichment board. Robyn thought it was great to run around causing havoc and eating food. It was a lot of fun. Still feels a little strange to be the youngest of this group of women I work with now by at least 20+ years. Robyn spent the afternoon with me taking Lauri to the doctor to have her big toe nail cut off. She had stubbed it quite badly in Idaho on our trip and it was pretty nasty. Lauri was able to come home with us for a while to recoup. Robyn grabbing her bloody toe and waving it to ask if it hurt probably didn't help in that process! Robyn was so upset that she had done something wrong - I think she cried more than anyone else. Lauri has agreed to start looking at assisted living homes for which we are all grateful. So this Thursday we are going to take some tours. The financial part of it is pretty scary as she knows she could only pay to live there for so long and then you have to wonder what to do after that. The process of giving up most of her things and moving away from independance is really tough for her.

Allison started her new gymnastics class and just loves it. Her first class the gym was literally a madhouse with way too many teams practicing at once but they were all staying in their spot to work out. I heard that they are going to work on smoothing out the schedule. This week Allison starts piano lessons. She has to get out of school 5 minutes early for them - I am not sure which part has her more excited. She has had more problems sleeping this week than usual. We have had to take away comic books and reading time at night as she will just hide out in there reading till all hours. Lights just seem to pop back on through out the night with her. Or she has a tickle in her throat that won't let her sleep. At 10 pm I am not a very sympathetic mom as I just tell her to go suffer in silence as there is nothing I can do. So she goes and closes the bathroom door so she can cry without waking everyone up. I obviously can't fall asleep to that so after 30 min patient Jeremy talks to her and she moves down to the couch to cry/cough in isolation from us. Next morning she is just fine!

Taylor had an appointment to program his VNS this week. I am hoping that the seizures decrease or at leat he stops having grand mals during the night. Friday I stepped on something sharp in his room and looked down to find one of his baby molars there. Glad he didn't swallow it this time.

Spencer started martial arts this week. He loves it and comes home very sweaty and pumped up. A kid at school convinced a few others to "jump" on top of Spencer after class one day. Spencer said he just gave a little kick to push them off. He said what he wanted to do all these different kicks that would just flatten them. We laughed later as his wants are high but his skills are low when it comes to martial arts. He thought my idea of saying "that's not cool, I don't want to fight" sounded very babyish. The idea that the cool kids are too cool to get involved in fighting does not fit his current perception of the world - will have to work on it. Spencer told me that he was going to bear his testimony today and he just went up and did it. Did a great job. Said he was trying to say everything they say in the faith of god book. The commando stealthy walk up to wait in a chair for his turn was probably not the most appropriate. But the idea that he could stand up and speak in front of everyone off of the cuff and do well was impressive to me. Right now he is reading Spy High. They let him check it out of the young adult section - he thought he was so cool.

Robyn also had her first gymnastics class this week. Its a parent tot class but Robyn did not want me anywhere near her. She wanted to follow the teacher and be just like Robyn. She had her leotard on and ready hours before it was time to go. She wore Allison's old leotard and had Allison's old teacher so it was a little trip down memory lane. Robyn has become a big Dora Explorer, Bear in the big blue house and elmo fan. Not that she gets that much TV but every day while I run she watches cartoons. She is very excited every day for her time. With kids getting out of school at 2:30, he naptime is getting a little shakey. So sometimes for nap time she is just stuck in her crib singing ring around the rosie to herself for 2 hours. Just glad she is willing to stay in her crib.

I got one coat of paint done in the downstairs bathroom this week and got the light fixtures in. So slowly we are making progress. Our sprinklers are having problems so we are shopping around for repair work. I spent one afternoon this week at the kid's school figuring out the art program there. My job is mostly to organize all the paperwork but I have let it slide so far. It seems like the days pass really fast before most of the stuff I want to get done gets done. The kids love being home for the afternoon. They are home before 3 and after jobs and homework they usually have 2-3 hours of playtime. So I am getting used to doing things at 8 and 9 am. On the plus sides grocery stores are really empty by then. This weekend when I could sleep till 7 felt like I was relaxing. So maybe someday I will get used to the early schedule. Love to everyone and an especial Happy Birthday to Kathryn (your salsa was wonderful, we ate a humongous bowl of it). Love, Heather

First day of school

On Wednesday night cousins Kayla and Bryn came over for the night. Our girls had a great time. Jeremy pointed out that there were entirely too many naked girl bodies running about our house at bath time.

Robyn's first (and only) time getting into my make-up. I was impressed the mascara made it on her eyes. She thought she was very pretty. She raids Allison's make-up all the time now. I think she decided raiding mine was not worth the penalty.

Allison with the potters at the festival

Allison next to her finished wedding vase

Spencer excited to make something

Spencer making his pitcher

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back again

Dear Family and Friends,

We just got back from a weekend at Idaho Falls. Lauri came with us and Jason and his family as well as Jonna and her son and boyfriend all met up with us for a Williams family get together. We wore everyone out but had a lot of fun. Spencer was so tried we had to wake him for breakfast, he snored through sacrament meeting, and then was out again most of the way home, walked inside and fell back asleep on the couch. Lauri went into her house, and just decided to lay down on the kitchen floor and sleep as the couch was too far (gave her neighbor a good scare). A sign of a good time I guess. Friday we drove up through some bad traffic after Jeremy got home from work. They were out of cribs so Robyn spent the night being held by me crying every time she realized she wasn't in a crib. Allison kept screaming that Spencer was touching her while Spencer blissfully slept on trying to cuddle with Allison in their bed (a leg lock around her neck, spooning etc). So Saturday we were a little groggy but kids were up early grabbing their swim suits ready to go. (As an aside Robyn was really happy to get in the car Friday and was very concerned that her swimsuit was packed. Halfway there we realized she was talking about going to the beach and she screamed! for a long time when we told her that we weren't going to the beach).

Hotel had a great breakfast and despite several hot chocolate fiascos, kids were fed and in the pool in record time. Then we spent the day with Lauri's brothers, touring cemetaries of her family, visiting and eating a ton at a park all afternoon, visiting some old friends of Lauri and Jim's (Jeremy's dad), seeing the falls and the temple, seeing Ron's restored cars and welding shop and then back to tire kids out with another swim at 10 at night. Kids were out that night without any problems. Jeremy spent the night in the bathroom coughing and sneezing with allergies, being miserable and trying not to keep everyone up.

So a typical family get away. Lots of unplanned stops and delays, more bodily fluids than we wanted, lots of memories, whining, laughing, eating, and having a great time. This morning we went to Lauri's brother's ward for church with everyone excited that we might be a new family - we would double their Primary. Then drove back home just in time for my Relief Society meeting. Funny moment at church. Robyn had to go out to cry for a while (Spencer was snoring, Allison looked catatonic staring blankly ahead) and a ladybug landed in her hand. She thought it was so cute until it left some yellow stuff on her hand upon which she promptly threw it down and stomped on it saying "ladybug pooped" very outraged at the thought.

Jeremy has spent the week being the super husband. It worked out that I had some church thing every day this week which required Jeremy taking on meal time or bed time on his own. He even once gave up his lunch to work from home while Robyn slept and I did our cannery assignment. He even did carpool. He also had a neighbor help him get a treadmill down to the basement and set up (all my excuses are gone now for my extra rolls!). What a man! I am hoping that things calm down with my calling and I am sure they will. I didn't think it would be so much time at first.

Spencer and Allison started school on Monday, Taylor on Tuesday. Spencer and Allison both seem to be loving it although there was some shock at school rules (what do you mean no tv! I shouldn't have to practice the piano, I had school today). Spencer is trying so hard it is almost a little painful to watch but he seems to really like it. He was commenting that math seemed a lot harder at this school and then I found out they bumped him up to the 5th grade class for math. It makes us a little nervous that it will be too hard, but that was one of the big reasons we wanted him at this school. I really like the uniforms, they look so cute and put together when they go to school.

Spencer and Allison both had their gym "recitals" this week at night that Jeremy was able to attend as well. It was really just a class that parents got to watch but they got a medal and were happy to show off. Allison starts her new class tomorrow and is very excited about it. Robyn starts a mom and tot class Wednesday and can't wait. All week she has been asking when Robyn gets to go to school. When I explained about her gymnastics class she ran to get her swimsuit (her leotard she calls it) and put it on and was ready to go right then. She has put the swimsuit on many times since, hopefully she can wait a few more days. Spencer starts martial arts class Tuesday night. I am hoping that it is a good thing and not a bad thing - I can see it going either way.

Robyn got to attend her first birthday party on Tuesday for her cousin Kayla. It was at build a bear and Robyn made a puppy dressed up as a ballerina. She loves it and has been carrying it around, buckling it into a carseat when we go places. We tried to get her to name it but she just thinks it should be called Allison. Robyn helped me take Rocky to the vet Thursday. Rocky was over excited and made me realize how little training I do with him. Robyn thought it was great, all these animals! Robyn has a new routine. We take kids to school and then she grabs a remote and asks for a cartoon, Dora or Bear in the big blue house and tells me to go get sweaty. Its working out for both of us.

Allison has discovered reading. If you can't find her she is hiding somewhere with a Calvin and Hobbes comic book or a Baby blues. At night we'll catch her with her light on surrounded by books. I found out Friday that her reading group is just her and this wiz kid Charles. She has just taken off.

Despite being a bit on edge this weekend Spencer's switch in meds seems to be helping. This weekend reminded us the importance for him of regular sleep house, diet and exercise. It affects all kids but wow does it affect him! But he is handling all the new school stuff really well and that is a lot of stress I think. He had to do a presentation in class and he came up with (practiced in painfully slow repetitions in front of Jeremy and me) and did a presentation on how to make a paper flick gun. Kids thought it was cool and he thought he did a great job. Last year he was unable to have his teacher highlight him at school without a major breakdown.

Taylor's teachers are having a bit of a rough time figuring out how to get Taylor to walk, eat etc. They are trying though and Taylor comes home happy and sleeps all night so something is going right. I want to give them a week or two before I visit to let them get comfortable first.

Well its been a full week again. No work on the basement. I conquered the weeds in the front yard and that was about it. Took Lauri on some errands once. Did my first shift at the wet pack cannery (I am so glad that is not my regular job!) Highlight of my week was reading and finishing the new vampire book. Am going back and reading through the whole series now that I can take my time. First time you read it you just have to know what is going on and miss a lot of details.

Does anyone have a good salsa recipe? Made some this week and Jeremy said it tastes like stewed tomatoes. We have a lot of tomatoes and I can't eat them fast enough! Love to you all and Mom I hope your eyes are doing better. The pain is worst on the 2nd or 3rd day and then a little bit when the contacts come off but then it goes away. Hope you have lots of books on tape!

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, August 17, 2008

14 years and still going

Dear Friends and Family,

Biggest news of the week is that as of Tuesday Jeremy and I have been married for 14 years. Its hard to believe its that long until I start looking back at our history together. Seems a lot has happened during that time and we've truly grown up together until now I consider ourselves inseparable, more of a team than as two individuals. Jeremy brought me a huge bouquet of stargazer lilies (my favorite flower) and roses to celebrate. They have been making our kitchen smell great every since and been reminding me of how lucky I am. We didn't really get to do anything special Tuesday but thanks to our sister-in-law Kelly who came over to babysit we got to go out Friday night for dinner and to see Brian Regan perform at Thanksgiving Point. It was a great night and we both laughed a ton. He is one of my favorite comics mostly because his humor comes from real life situations and is clean.

On the Friday we drove back from Pismo Beach we got the call that Spencer had gotten into Lincoln. I am excited that he will be there as I think the environment and learning styles will suit him better but am also excited that I will have 2 kids in one school. Much easier on me! This week was sort of a school week. The kids had back to school night where they found out who their teachers were, got to play some games with them while parents met to hear the principle and board speak. Spencer has a Miss Kelly who is a teacher who grew up in Jamaica which he thought was cool. Allison burst into tears when she saw the class lists as her 2 friends and neighbors as well as a few of her friends from last year are all in the other 1st grade class. I actually went and met with the principle to see if she could switch but she couldn't so she sucked it up and has a better attitude now about it. We signed up for assesments for each of them where they went back in for an hour or so to be tested for reading and math. So when they start school they will be assigned to reading and math groups based on their level. The groups are fluid, even between grades so you learn at whatever level you are at, regardless if that is low or high.

We were also given a long list of supplies each kid needed for school so they had fun picking out their ruler, compass, binder, markers etc. They spent one afternoon writing their name on all their stuff and packing their backpacks. Got them very excited about going back to school. Our public schools ask that you don't buy any supplies for the students anymore but although its a pain on the mom side of it, it sure boosts moral for the kids. We also had to get Spencer a bunch of uniforms. Everywhere was pretty picked over so it took a bit of doing. He is a 10 husky right now which makes it tougher. He has to cinch the waist in on them but needs the size for his rear and thighs (wonder where he gets that from?). He was trying to convince me he could wear a regular size 10 but when he couldn't even bend over or take a full step he say the wisdom in continuing the search.

*Momentary break in writing. Just got a call from a member of our ward that they had Rocky. Guess he ran out and was barking and licking all the kids as they left church. As he is rather big, most didn't like this and were crying. I think he must be due for a walk, he didn't get one yesterday.*

This week our stake hosted a multi-stake daytime luncheon/enrichment for the older ladies. So Monday we shopped and set up and then Tuesday was the cooking, setting the tables and the actual event. I felt like I missed a bunch as Monday Taylor started throwing up so I was able to go help for little bit when Jeremy came home. But then on Tuesday Spencer stayed home with Taylor for an hour and I took the girls with me. But after an hour and a half Robyn was getting VERY helpful and I was getting nervous about the boys so I went home. But did what I could - usually the story of any calling.

Monday night Jeremy's 2 cousins and their families came down to visit so we had Jason and his family over and Lauri and had a big BBQ here. It was a lot of fun to visit and my kids loved these new relatives they didn't know - especially Kynne's 2 teenage daughters.

Like I said Taylor became sick Monday but by Tuesday night was feeling much better. I feel bad when he throws up because he will just lie there and choke and he looks so miserable and pale. Friday morning at 7:30 (note the VERY early time) I took Taylor to meet his teacher for his first day of school at the junior high. Spencer went with me while the girls had a babysitter and stayed in a corner watching Jeremy's ipod movies for an hour and a half. They have hired an aid who will be there 4 1/2 hours a day and will almost exclusively work with Taylor. His old teacher came over before her job started to go over how they moved Taylor's in and out of his chair, walking etc at school last year. I feel much more confident about how his school year will go now. The part I am not looking forward to is that his bus will pick him up at 7:20 in the morning each day. He is wide awake at that time but it require an hour to get him ready and I am not the best at getting up at 6:20. But since Allison and Spencer have to leave at 7:40 I better learn to put my lazy days behind me.

After Taylor's school meetings we drove up to Salt Lake to meet Spencer's new psychiatrist fellow. He had worked with Spencer last year while he was at UNI so he has seen Spencer at his worst. He had Spencer draw a picture of his family just as he had him draw one last year. Last year's picture had each of us on seperate papers so none of us touched. I was drawn with huge evil eyes, fangs, daggers and knives everywhere and a big frown. Allison and Robyn had fangs, smaller evil eyes and knives. Taylor was a blob and Jeremy was this big muscle guy with guns everywhere. Even I who has no training could tell how out of wack his perception of reality was from those pictures. The one he drew on Friday had us all on one piece of paper, close together, drawn like normal people with smiles on our faces. What a difference. Since Spencer has been having moments of struggle lately we decided to increase the one med that seemed to help more and decrease the other. Am wondering today with school starting Monday if that was the right decision but we will give it a chance firs.

Jeremy has been getting stuff done in the basement. Finishing installing door knobs, putting up heater vents, arranging for an electrician to get the first half of lighting done etc. Its nice to be able to walk downstairs and see! He got the cover made this week for his Osmond book so he is busy getting the inside done now.

Spencer decided to stop tumbling so this week's exhibition class is his last and take up marital arts. So next week he will start twice a week at a martial arts program. I am curious to see how he does.

Am very excited for school to start tomorrow and Robyn keeps getting upset that she doesn't get to have a backpack or be tested etc. We had to measure her for uniform pants just to get her to calm down in the store. This week will be a rude shock to her when she is by herself during the day. We have been working on getting kids up earlier in the morning. Spencer has been doing fine but all of us girls have been having a tough time not pressing snooze. Robyn just covers her head with a pillow and says "go away, turn off the light". Sure we will all eventually get used to the earlier hours again.

Love to you all, Heather
Saturday morning I had breakfast with my group of old friends. One of my friends is having her baby next week so we wanted a chance to visit before she was out of the loop for a while. Some really good french toast at Kneaders and good friends made a few hours fly by before I realized it.

Spencer's sunflowers have grown enormous. Our vegetable garden is looking very jungle like. Our pumpkin plants are running rampant everywhere - we definitely won't be buying any pumpkins this year.

Memories of Pismo Beach

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We're back

Dear Friends and Family,

We arrived home from a week in Pismo Beach at 7 Friday night - 15 hours after leaving. Dad, I don't know if the other way home was faster but it was sure less aggravating. Kids did awesome on the way home. They were so tired they stayed asleep the first 4 hours and all caught naps later in the day. When we got out at the first rest stop Robyn was all set to get her swim suit on thinking we had arrived at the beach. When we pulled into our neighborhood Robyn just started bawling that she wanted grandpa, the beach, her sand etc. We all felt the same way. It was a great week away.

We spent most of the time at the beach just hanging out by the ocean. There was a very long staircase to climb down to the beach by our house which kept our muscles strong carrying Taylor. Lots of good times - catching fish off the pier, kayaking next to some seals, Spencer learning how to boogie board and skim board, Allison and Lathan off in their own world of make believe on the beach all day long, Robyn constantly wanting to get sandy or wet, eating lots of good food, surviving the cold and fog on the beach in the morning, me trying to get into Griselda's wet suit - lots of good times and memories.

Our kids continue on with the idea of vacation and wanting to be together. Spencer and Allison chose to go to the grocery store with me on Saturday and were pumped up at our outing. Saturday was a day of make-up gymnastics class, Jeremy trying to tame the jungle of a lawn or revive the dead spots where sprinklers had jammed up, and lots of laundry.

Saturday night Jeremy took the girls to a wedding reception of the Osmond sons and I took the boys up to Forrests reception. It was in Morgan Utah - the middle of nowhere east of Ogden on the way to Wyoming. Grandma was there, Adam's kids Susan and AJ, Bonnie and Claude and their daughter and son-in law (Debbie and Dave? I think). Gary and his family came up as well. I would not recognize Logan at all and Whitney will be a junior at Utah State this year and brought her boy friend. It was fun to see everyone. I never knew that Forrest was really into martial arts - Spencer thought it was very cool.

Ended up staying up late Saturday night to get my lesson for Sunday School together so I am dragging today. It was my last lesson. I will miss it but I have a long list of meetings and stuff to do for the stake relief society so I am glad to have it off of my plate.

Came home to tons of vegetables. Made salsa today for dinner to try to use some up. I need to figure out a way to spice up our salsa. Its good but there is no kick. I don't think my jalapenos are spicy enough.

Love to all and especially to my family for the great time we had together. Heather

Spencer had been complaining about Taylor wanting to cuddle while he slept so we took a picture to prove he did the same thing. Brought memories back of how they used to cuddle to sleep together when they shared a room as Taylor would always bounce over to lay next to Spencer. *I am really enjoying having Taylor back in his own room. He is happy to chirp down there at the crack of dawn without waking everyone else up.