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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Easiest fast Sunday ever!

Dear Family and Friends,

Woke up last night with a stomach bug. This has been the easiest fast Sunday ever because the thought of eating just made me gag. I wonder if Heavenly Father still counts it as fasting if you have no choice in the matter. Made it through subbing in Primary so it all will be better from now on I am sure.

This week was much better. Lauri came home from the hospital on Thursday and returned to the assisted living place. So on Thursday and Friday with Robyn helping we helped settle Lauri, get her a few things and hopefully help her adjust to her new home. Kelly took on the huge task of moving her cat over who seems quite content there. I spent an afternoon talking to their manager about getting VA benefits for Lauri. I am hoping that will come together for her.

Our carpet came Friday and it is so nice now to walk around downstairs. We got this black and brown speckled berber. Thursday was spent doing all the cleaning up and final painting. Most of the stuff left downstairs is in the van's parking space in the garage. Hopefully that will be a good incentive to decide what to do with it. Daniel gave us a wonderful surprise in the middle of our mayhem showing up with a bag of cheesecakes. It was wonderful to give him a hug and after finishing up the last of the paint that night I took a big bubble bath to wash the paint splatter off with a plate of cheesecake in my hand. THANK YOU DANIEL!

With the carpet done Jeremy has been busy setting up his desk and a TV in the exercise room. He tried it out last night and realized he get much better reception down there for all the football games. His plan is to bike through all the big games he wants to see.

Friday night Lincoln school had their big carnival/fundraiser. Spencer spent most of the night in his classroom helping to tie balloon animals for their booth. Kids all ate a ton of junk and had a great time running around and doing all the games. It is a huge carnival and really put together well.

Saturday was a really tiring but really good day. Meredith came to take Taylor swimming (he loves his new floatie Mom and Dad) so he could escape the mayhem of Allison's birthday party. Jeremy kept Spencer with him to make a pizza run and help set up the pinata. We ended up with 16 girls including ours as a few cancelled for the party. Robyn was thrilled because her friends from next door who moved came. They ate pizza, cake, did presents, played games, made lip gloss, did a pinata and watched Hannah Montana TV episodes. They had a great time and Allison has been busy ever since with all the art project things she got (inbetween decorating her face or Robyn's with her new make-up).

Saturday night was the Relief Society Broadcast and the stake presidency put on a munch and mingle afterwards. We WAY overestimated how many people would come and how much they would eat. It was sort of nice today to just tell kids to find the leftover cheese cubes and sweet bread slices in the fridge and help themselves and not to mention food to me.

Kids are all doing good. Robyn has figured out how to get dressed and undressed resulting in many different original outfits each day. Often without a diaper. She doesn't want to wear a diaper but she has no concept of how to use a toilet. Despite always wanting to try, she has never been able to produce anything sitting on a toilet. Figure she'll get it when shes 3 and ready. When Daniel came over she was enjoying the freedom of running rampant, and was wearing Allison's swimsuit sans diaper so a nice crack was showing as she ran around with the swimsuit reaching her knees. She got a haircut this week so its a bob as she keeps taking her hair clips out all the time. So this week it looks good no matter what she does to it. She walks around flipping her hair singing "I'm so pretty". As Robyn keeps finding Allison's stash of new make-up, Allison is looking forward to Robyn moving into the office.

Allison helped pick most of her pumpkins and to decorate the porch this week. Despite chilly morning its still in the high 80s most afternoons so kids are running around with popsicles in shorts. It seems strange to set out witches and goblins. Robyn helped me go get her a bike this week. Tonight we are taking Lauri a piece of birthday cake and saying hi and then going to Jeremy's work to get Allison's bike out of hiding and ride in the parking lot there. I have gotten a lot of comments from teachers at Allison's school about her as I have been interacting with them for the art program. Just compliments on her ability to help others and being able to grasp concepts - always nice to hear.

Spencer found a new book that he loved - the diary of a wimpy kid. He came home from school and read the book start to finish for 2 1/2 hours without moving from the couch. That doesn't happen very often. Of course it helped that he knew he had lost friends that day as he had played the previous day without getting his jobs done. Realized that I don't have a single picture of him for this post - it has been a girl oriented week. We had pack meeting this week with a new cubmaster who is amazing. Some kids got their arrow of lights so they set up a t-pee, had a guy dressed up as an indian come speak to them, complete with ghostly indian music, handing them their own arrow and quiver. It was very cool. It was take your buddy pack meeting so Spencer got 2 friends on our street to go with him, one is inactive and one is only 6. Spencer got his religious knot which he was excited about.

Taylor is back to eating and being happy. He has a tan line right now from school, from the top of his daffos mid calf to mid thigh where his shorts meet.

I have been rediscovering science fiction. Realied it has been a long time before I looked in the genre. Been really enjoying The Ender's Game series and Terry Brooks books.

Love to you all, Heather

Robyn smiling right after her haircut.

Allison won a goldfish at the carnival. Girls were hopped up on sugar and face paint.

Robyn was so excited to see her old friend from next door.

A long time ago we had a birthday party for Taylor with a teddy bear pinata. All the candy was in the body. None of the kids could break it. So Jeremy gave a big swing and decapitated the bear with the body just falling straight to the ground. The kids just stood there staring at the body full of candy and the head swinging in the air, not sure if they should cry or not. Same thing happened this time but I learned and put the candy in the head so kids didn't care about the decapitation, they just wanted Jeremy to break open the head for them.

Playing simon says

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chocolate and Tums

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a tougher one than usual. As the title suggests I have severely depleted my chocolate supply, even relied on the ultimate comfort food, cheesecake thanks to Jeremy, and had to break out the tums on occasion. I have had hard weeks before so I am not sure why this one hit me harder. I am feeling less pressure since the carpet people called to say they couldn't come tomorrow but needed to postpone till Friday - gives me a few extra days to finish up all the painting.

Monday, Lauri didn't call me. So Robyn in tow we went to find her not doing very well. Took her to the ER where she was DKA with a glucose level over 600 and in acute renal failure. Was a tense hour or two while they asked about all DNR orders and who had power of attorney to make all these decisions etc. Lauri was throwing up blood (she waited till we got to the ER parking lot so only a little bit got in our car, have to look at the positive spin of things). Found out that 2 year olds and ERs really, really don't mix well. But they got her stabilized. Jeremy picked kids up for me after school, they did their homework in their car and Jeremy stayed for a few hours at night to get her settled into the ICU (no kids allowed through those doors). So a bit of a stressful day.

Tuesday was back to a normal day but with lots of phone calls to and from the hospital. Had stake meetings all morning and school meetings in the afternoon. My neighbor invited us to come use her pool that afternoon before it got too cold, in honor of her birthday. So the kids and I hurried to do homework and spent the afternoon floating around. The evening was spent figuring out assisted living options inbetween painting.

Wednesday was spent getting Lauri into an assisted living place. There were a few mistakes along the way. Had an apartment lined up which turns out was leased to someone else after we agreed to take it. So had to go chew them out a bit, see their alternative (a temporary room in the alzheimer's lock down unit), sign all the paperwork and then work with Lauri in the hospital to sign all the paperwork and the doctor to agree to everything. Figured we had a day or two to wash some clothes for her (everything from her place needed fumigation and laundry before moving over due to a bug infestation). Long, late day but figured things were getting better under control.

Thursday I got a call that she needed to be discharged that day. So Jeremy took the afternoon off to do kid duty while I hurried to get the necessities together and Robyn and I helped discharge her etc. Jeremy took kids to help move her bed and jazzy over. Another long night with kids eating happy meals.

Friday I took off to try to catch up on home - mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, painting etc. Huge relief to hear that my desperate attempts to finish the painting of the basement could slow down as carpet was delayed. So was able to relax that evening with the family at an elder's quorum BBQ. Kids had a great time racing around the stake center parking lot on their bikes, dirty, sticky, full of junk food and having a wild and great time.

Saturday the girls and I moved a bunch of stuff over for Lauri and went shopping for things like new towels, pillows, shower curtain etc. As a reward late that afternoon I took the kids to the pet store and Allison finally got her new hamster, Storm (called that because he is black like thunder except for a strip of white like lighting). Jeremy was gone for the afternoon and evening for a series of photo classes and a shoot. Meredith was coming for our date night so I had planned a night at the temple and a wholesale decorator place. Got a call as she pulled up that Lauri wasn't doing well by the home health nurse and that she refused to go to the ER. So I went down and took her to the ER. She had a temperature of 104 and a glucose of 360 by the time we got there - turns out she had pneumonia. So another night in the ER and she is admitted back into the hospital. Brought home some Bajio salads for Jeremy and I to eat dinner together at 10pm.

As I read this it sounds a little like a pity party on my part. I was just having a hard time figuring out how to get everything done. But she is moved over and services are all ready to start when she return to Jamestown. So I think things will only get easier from here on out. I am trying to have a better attitude about everything that has to be done to clean out her place, move over her mail, utilities, sell her place and furniture etc. As for the rest of the family:

Jeremy has been taking portraits of kids this week for his photo challenge and having a great time with it. He did a shoot with his friend's daughter who has down syndrome that turned out really neat. His cough is still hanging in there but I think he felt afraid to complain about it this week with so much going on. He has been sucking it up to take on as much kids and housework that he can this week. I know it stresses him out with his mom and he has tried hard to keep a good attitude about all the chaos this week brought. His work had a challenge this week to go meatless for a week - this was decided after I had planned the menu out for the week - so it was a bit of a challenge. His big news of the week is that he went to a golf tournament this week with his work. He never wins anything at those things. This time he won a putter from some pro. Then he won the grand prize of a golf weekend away in Las Vegas. Trying to convince him to take 3 friends and have a guy weekend away.

Spencer had to make a diarama this week showing the water cycle (of course it would be this week!). Jeremy helped him come up with a concept and Spencer was really good at working on it late at night to get it done in time as we were often gone in the evenings. He has been busy this week making rifles etc out of paper and tape that shoot paper bullets. They are quite a production to make.

Allison is thrilled about her new hamster. We got a boy this time and he seems much tamer and happy to play with her. She made out all her birthday party invitations this week and handed them out. So ready of not next Saturday 16 little friends will be here. I found a recipe for making lip gloss - vaseline and kool-aid mix. Hope it works. She is very excited about it.

Robyn has been really good at being 2 this week. She has done really good with everything that has thrown her schedule off wack but then she will do something like dumping a cup of water all over the hospital room floor - just because. Or deciding during the relief society movie that she needs to start 6 different movies because she doens't like the one she is watching. Or pulling all her hair elastics out on the way somewhere right after you fixed it all pretty. But she does it all with a big grin and lots of hugs and giggles!

Taylor seemed like he felt better this week but then during sacrament meeting he threw up. Jeremy took him home to clean him up and he threw up again. He has kept down some milk and toast this evening so hopefully he is on the mend.

Tonight we had some friends the Jorgensens and their kids over for dinner. We have been friends since Kate was my visiting teacher before I was pregnant with Spencer! It was a lot of fun to just hang out and talk. We all enjoyed making s'mores outside and now smell like smoke. It was a nice break.

Jeremy has been taking kids portraits and thought I would share some of my favorites below. Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sleeping in

Dear Family and Friends,

Our church time has moved to 11. So Jeremy doesn't have to leave till 8 and I get to enjoy lying in my bed knowing that despite Spencer's "subtle" attempts to get me up I don't have to. Yesterday morning was the same way. Staying in bed past when the sun comes up feels so self-indulgent now. Our girls have perfected the art of weekend snoozing and Jeremy can often head Spencer off at the pass as he bounces awake, ready to go at 7.

We had a great day yesterday. After a slow start to the morning on my part I took Rocky running up around the temple and besides having to stop and poop 4 times he was able to keep up. Either I am getting slower or he is getting in better shape. I have been running most days on the treadmill and the programs all do an incline so running outside on flat surfaces feels surprisingly easy to keep going. I have really been enjoying working out in the mornings and it means I can stay in bed till 6:15 as I don't need to shower and get ready before doing kids, just throw on some work-out clothes. You would think by now I would be really getting buff but the more I exercise the more I think I can eat - strange how that works.

Back to yesterday, after cleaning the office we went to our city's heritage festival. Its a small home town style festival in the city park. They had a bunch of little games for kids to do. Robyn loved the story time the library was doing. Spencer and Allison's favorite part was where they did a 2 man saw with Dad and then guys branded their circle of wood for them. It was very cool. Spent the afternoon painting and then Jeremy and I had a date that night. After 2 weeks in a row of religious plus errand type dates we decided not to do one practical thing. We went to an Indian restaurant in Provo - neither of us has ever been to on before - it was quite good. The restaurant had moved locations though since we last saw it. I had suggested parking 1/2 mile away to enjoy the walk through downtown. As Jeremy turns the corner and decides to look up the address and realizes its an additional 1/2 mile more, he just shakes his head and talks about Heather navigation. Then we headed up to BYU and got huge ice cream cones and wondered around the campus amazed at how plush it is now and realizing our kids will probably never get in now! Then we went to Jeremy's office and set ourselves up in the conference room and watched What happens in Vegas - very funny. We have all these movies at home but seldom watch them as by the time kids are asleep we don't want to stay up late enough to finish a movie. So it was a great relaxing day.

Jeremy still has the cough that never stops. At least he has stopped hacking stuff up! I just hope it ends soon and no one else will get it. He burned CDs this week of all the Pismo pictures so I mailed copies off to everyone and pictures from Idaho. He has been working on his photo challenge this week of taking couple pictures. One result of which is that we got back Monday from martial arts and gymnastics to find Jason's family here. So the agreed to stay for dinner - all our kids were ecstatic - and we enjoyed a family family night.

I have been trying to paint the basement whenever I can fit it in. The main part of the desk is almost done, just finishing up the varnish. Same with the stairs. There are just little pieces of trim everywhere and the desk doors to finish up. This week we finally found a sprinkler repair guy whose prices we could handle, and who could actually come (a harder combination to find than I would have thought) fix our sprinklers. So we have some muddy pits everywhere - it was raining the whole day they were here fixing - but the dead spots everywhere should start growing again. I have also been organizing binders for the art program at Lincoln school. I have found that I can only do mindless tasks from 3 pm on - my mind stops functioning when kids are contantly asking questions, requests for help etc. I am trying to teach Robyn a soft voice as Spencer and Allison will try to out shout her - leads to a very chaotic household.

Taylor has had a tough week. Last night I noticed he is getting an adult tooth - the blood smearing all over his bed and face was the clue. So I am hoping that was what was wrong. He hasn't wanted to eat or drink much so we have him back on whole milk to up his calories. He just wants to cuddle someplace warm.

Spencer is really liking his martial arts classes. An hour three times a week where he gets all sweaty and has fun. He has figured out if he works hard in math class he has less math homework. So the time spent on homework has gone down which we all appreciate. He plays most days outside on his wave with Conner. It has been in the 80s most days so it just feels good to be outside.

Allison continues to devour all the comic books. I have wondered if I should worry she doesn't read any normal books! She is liking her piano lessons and I am enjoying her having a list of stuff to work on instead of me trying to come up with a list for her each day.

Robyn LOVES her gymnastics class. Each morning she grabs her leotard and asks if its her day for class. She is missing having her brother and sister around. We got to babysit her friend one morning this week and she was in heaven.

I am off to get ready for church but I will post some pictures later.

Love, Heather

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just for Mimi


This has to be the 3rd or 4th time we watched your video. Robyn kept coming up asking us for "more Mimi pleeaaseee" Thought we share!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The cold that never dies

Dear Friends and Family,

Jeremy is still hacking away with his cold. To add insult injury it has caused cankersores to form all over his tongue. Not the best time for him. We are all hoping he is back to his cough free, able to sleep through the night self soon. The worst part was a problem he struggled with for most of the week. Griselda and Mimi don't panic till you read the whole story. Jeremy was loading up this drive with all the stuff he has been working on to back everything up including all of our Pismo pictures. The drive became corrupted and all the work was gone. He worked numerous recovery programs to get the work back and nothing worked (all the programs seemed to take hours to do). After a couple of days he managed to get the pictures back but not much else. So not the best week for him although he still manages to smile.

So Monday I spent the morning painting the basement and then the kids with friends in tow and I headed to an indoor pool for the afternoon. Kids had a great time spashing around and since they had friends (Taylor stayed home sleeping with Jeremy) I just had Robyn to float around. Was almost relaxing. It seems lately that my list of things I should do is much longer than the time I have to do them. And my chunks of relaxation or alone time come in small chunks so I am trying to do better at enjoying the peaceful times.

Biggest news for me this week is that I got the carpet for the basement picked out and ordered. It gets installed in 2 weeks. So I am working on finishing up all the paint work. The electrician came and finished up most of the lighting this week as well. Its getting close! I chose a berber carpet with black and brown flecks over a beige background - think it will look good. Robyn thought it was great to jump on all the carpet samples to pick a pad and carpet. Thursday Robyn and I toured assisted living homes with Lauri. Very emotional for her but I think we found a really nice place in Provo called Jamestown. So everyone is going to check it out and hopefully start the process of moving her over. Robyn's favorite part of Jamestown is they had a duck pond where she fed the ducks and then they let us eat lunch there and gave her rootbeer, a toasted cheese sandwich and ice cream. What more could she ask for.

Robyn really likes her gymnastics class and asks every day if its time for her to go. I doubt she learns much there but she likes her time to jump around on all the equipment and have her own teacher. At home she still dances a lot and follows me around trying to "help" do everything. She loves when its Allison's time to come home from school.

Allison started her piano lessons this week. She is enjoying having a list of everything she should work on. Seems like once kids get home at 2:30 I am pretty occupied doing kids. Plus which my mind seems to shut down with kids all asking questions, wanting help with things. I can't think of anything beyond the basics of how to do pre algebra and what to make for dinner. Allison and Spencer had an open gym class at Allison's gym yesterday that they each got to take a friend to. Allison learned how to do a flip on a tramp which she was very excited about. Allison has had nightmares almost every night this week. We're getting quite heartless of telling her to go cry in the bathroom as we don't have to be woken up too - there is no sympathy at midnight - and she is now banned from our room where she likes to whimper in our chair. Her nightmares all revolve around hearing bees or a type of bug in her room. Mom she still breaks out her knitting and looks like an old soul sitting there knitting away.

Spencer continues with his martial arts three times a week and comes home sweaty and happy. He has made friends with the boy Conner next door. Conner is a definite follower so they get along great with Spencer deciding everything they do! Perhaps not the best way to establish a friendship but they are both happy to hang out together most days. Spencer won two free ice cream cones at Sonic because he got 100% two week in a row on spelling. So Friday night Jeremy drove him and Conner over for their treat (Allison tagged along with her own wallet as soon as she heard the word ice cream).

Taylor's seizures seem slightly better and he is getting used to being up at 6:30. Now when I get him most mornings his eyes are already open and he is chirping. Meredith was here last night while we went to stake conference and we were talking about how our kids don't really interact with Taylor. They are great at watching out for him ie Taylor's in the hallway, having a seizure - they push him in his chair etc. But it made me think about how I need to encourage them to talk to him more, hold his hand etc. I know its harder for them because Taylor's positive responses are not always easily seen.

It seems like my days are chock full. Allison wanted to know why they had to have lights out at 8:30 (they go to bed at 8 and then read for 30 min). I pointed out that only gave me 1 hour of kid free time before I went to bed. She couldn't understand why I would want that! I have been enjoying running on the treadmill most mornings and felt pretty good Saturday when I met Kelly and her friend for a small 5k run up at Thanksgiving Point. It was just fun and relaxing and then the end came so soon. Our sprinklers remain broken and yard is slowly dying so I need to put down my paint brush for awhile and make sure to get those fixed. Hopefully tomorrow.

Love to all of you and hope all is well with your families. Love Heather

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Motorcycles & Photos

Hey there again, time for a periodic update from Jeremy; which of course basically means a few thoughts and some photos. This month I am participating in an online "photo challenge" which is basically a themed daily shoot to try and get you out taking more photos and working on your craft. This month is "portraits" with a different style each week. Of course this means I will be taking lots of shots of family members when I can't or haven't drummed up someone else to be my model. Robyn was all to happy to roll around in the grass for me on the first day. Keep an eye on my flickr photo stream if for updates. You can seem thumbnails of my latest submissions on the side of this blog. Mimi, are you going to participate? It's ok if you miss some days, just jump in!

Heather already mentioned I picked up a motorcycle. Yes, it gets better gas mileage, but I won't begin to say that was the real reason to get one. I enjoy riding them and have been looking around for a few months for a good deal on the kind and size of bike I wanted.

It is a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 in great shape with quite a few customizations by a previous owner. I had been shopping for some time through online classifieds, but most bikes have been very overpriced due to summer and gas price inflated demand. Prices are starting to drop some with the end of season coming up, and this was a good deal and what I wanted. I have been driving around and practicing a bit with slow, tight turns in the parking lot to shake off the rust on my driving skills. Yes, I wear my helmet always and drive expecting that no one on the road sees me. I'll try hard to stay out of a wreck!

I have all the photos assembled and ready to burn and mail to everyone. I ended up not making a full composite family photo as there were so many different favorites for each family. We all favor the ones that we look better in of course :) What I am going to do is send out the discs with *all* the photos and let everyone send me the photos file names they would like combined with instructions, i.e. use my face from this file and put it on the group photo from this file. I can then email a custom group shot(s) to each family as needed. Sound good? Discs should be in the mail this week.

That's all from me for now. Love you all.

Edit: Peter asked for more motorcycle pics showing the bike from the side, so here are some extras. Click 'em for a big view.