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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lots of sniffles!

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been the week of sniffles around here. Allison came home early from gymnastics Tuesday with a bad cough and stayed home Wednesday under duress (please, can't I go to school, hack, hack, blow her nose). Spencer came home early Wednesday from school under the weather. Taylor also came home Wednesday sick and was home Thursday. Kids thought it was great hanging out on the couch watching cartoons until they realized they had to take naps, do their make-up homework, not play with friends - they all got better VERY quickly. Everyone seems to be back to normal though except for me! Yesterday I thought allergies had really hit. Later that night as I felt worse despite Clariton and got a fever I realized it was just a regular cold. So I have slept a lot today. Kids all let me sleep till almost 9 and then I skipped out after sacrament and went right back to sleep for 2 hours. I think I must have looked a little miserable this morning as Allison came back and asked me what she could do to help as we walked to church and pushed Taylor for me the whole way. But I am hoping it will pass soon, as Moms are not allowed to get sick!

Monday there no school for fall break so we spent the day up at the zoo. First though we made a stop at the dollar cuts place for haircuts. Spencer decided to switch to a short spiky hair cut and Allison had her hair bobbed to her shoulders. Both look very cute. At the zoo, we mostly followed Robyn around as she ran from cage to cage making all the animal sounds. Spencer and Allison took her on the train, which she was thrilled about. The kids loved to watch a monkey family wrestle with their little one. Allison had a friend invite her to see a movie that night so she had a full day.

Jeremy's back kept getting worse so he finally went into a chiropractor and has been in twice now. The first time the pain went way down and stayed down for a day and a half. The second time really didn't help too much. He had a vertebrae and a rib out of place so its mostly just popping those back into place so they stop pinching his nerves until they stay in their right position.

Spencer was very excited Thursday to go to the dentist and get his new retainer and his old on both put back in. He was literally jumping up and down on the chair as we waited. Then they put the retainer in and he realized how hard it was to talk and how it felt very uncomfortable. There were lots of tears as he tried to talk without a lisp. He has gotten much better since then. He also had two gigantic canines pulled. The dentist told him that with roots like that the tooth fairy pays extra. But the tooth fairy has yet to come, showing what a slacker she is - we keep telling him she is on vacation! A big milk shake afterward helped him forget all the blood and pain. Spencer keeps working hard to bring his math grade up. He if finally caught up on homework and we made him some flashcards to work on his multiplication. He knows his times tables just not quickly without thinking about it.

Friday we had cousin night here. Our kids were so excited for their cousins to come over, they were just pacing the front yard waiting. Pizza, brownies, running around outside, Rocky helping to eat said pizza and brownies, watching Disney Halloween movies curled up on the couch, it was a great time. Jeremy with my intermittent help set up the bookshelves in the basement. We just need to anchor them to the walls and I can move the stacks of books out of room - yeah.

Speaking of our basement, we are almost done. Yeah, I think I have said that before. We had the counter top and sink, toilet etc put in the bathroom and a door for the shower. Tomorrow they come to put in the doors on Jeremy's desk and then its just little touch ups everywhere. And our basement has been officially broken in as Jeremy went downstairs last night to find that while we were gone Rocky had pooped and peed in our basement. Not happy!

Saturday Jeremy had a photo group meeting up at Liberty Park to take portraits. So the kids and I met my parents at the park and had a great day playing on the playground and eating lunch. Jeremy has some great pictures from it I am sure he will post later. Robyn now recognizes my parents which is neat. It was just a beautiful day and kids had a great time and tired themselves out. Allison and Robyn fell asleep on the way home so Spencer, Jeremy and I left them in the car to quickly clean the office while they slept.

Saturday night was Allison and my girl's night out. We went to Cafe Rio, one of Allison's favorites. She always goes the zero nutrition route and goes for nachos, or chips and dip! Then we went to see High School Musical 3 together. As we were waiting in line Allison told me how nice it was to have some quiet time together without the fussy one around. I asked her who the fussy one was and she just got this exasperated look - "you know, the pill, the pain, they pushy one - Robyn!". Allison also has a new habit of just stopping to look at me periodically, hold my hand and say, "mom, you're a really good mom. You do a great job". Not sure where she got it from, but I sure love it.

This week I had 3 Relief Society meetings, two of them at night so Jeremy got stuck with kid detail a lot. We had auxiliary training for all the wards one night and a stake fireside on pornography the other (very scary but informative fireside). I felt badly at auxiliary training because I used the training materials from the previous secretary only to find out that some parts were wrong so I had to contact them all after to recant. I have decided stake callings can be summed up in one word - meetings!

On Thursday I went grocery shopping towing Taylor's wheelchair with Robyn lending a hand. Five minutes into it Robyn decided she was done and it was nonstop tantrums after that. I should have been wiser and just left but I had this do or die attitude. I have never had so many people stop and offer to help me! Robyn fell asleep on the way home, worn out. Reminded me that kids can have dinner without milk periodically and that next time I should just leave when it gets that bad. Jeremy pointed out that Robyn coming up and singing "I'm so pretty" is now a scary experience. Its like what did you do - ruin Allison's play make-up, put on all of Allison's clothes, dump gel all over your head - you just never know!

Allison learned how to do a back walk over this week and was quite proud of herself.

Spencer trying to show off his new top retainer. The inside part is blue with BYU written on it but the part over his teeth is mostly clear plastic around a wire. Its a much bigger appliance than I had though but they are stretching and pushing his teeth out at the same time.

Girls having fun at the park with Grandpa

Taylor was still not feeling great on Saturday but seemed to enjoy the sunshine.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A matter of perspective

Dear Family,

Happy Birthday David! We'll try to catch you later this day on the phone.

This week has reminded me of having the right perspective. Monday was a little rocky. Jeremy was up during the night hacking away with his cold. Rocky woke us up very upset and then preceded to throw up everywhere. So at 2 in the morning we were cleaning up throw up. Allison had bad dreams and then left the bathroom door open Storm doing a marathon run on his squeaky running wheel woke us up a little bit later. Got up to find Rocky had thrown up all over his crate and that Robyn had diarrhea all over her crib. Then Robyn preceded to have a very 2 year old day -need I say more? With Rocky continuing to throw up all day long without warning and being very miserable.

Tuesday Rocky switched from throwing up to pooping everywhere. Got to clean his crate out for the third time. Robyn decided to cut her hair and found her with chunks of hair everywhere. She now has lots and lots of layers! Dumping cat food all over our bed in an effort to feed the cat. Drawing all over the tub with pencils and then filling her bathwater with pieces of paper to color with. Tantrums about everything. Spencer throwing fits at the amount of make-up homework he needed to do. Allison realized that not only did she have a make-up piano lesson but also her master piano class (I thought it was going to be Wed) and her new gymnastics class! Lots of time in the car with Spencer having karate that night. Allison is loving her new gymnastics class. She is learning how to do somersaults and cartwheels off of the tramp into the marshmallow pit, her favorite part of gymnastics.

By this point I wasn't wearing my customary smile! Went to bed Tuesday night just having to laugh at how bad things had been. Found a note from Allison for me on my pillow and a similar one on Jeremy's pillow - "Dear Mom, you are the best in the whole world. I love you, Allison". Talk about a reminder of the right perspective.

Next morning Rocky was back to normal and Robyn could talk without yelling or screaming. Went to gymnastics to find her friend Tally who had gorgeous but length, thick curly blond hair had her friends cut it off to the scalp! I almost cried when I saw here. Talk about another reminder about perspective. Makes Robyn's layers not look so bad!

Jeremy's cold is doing better but he has not lucked out health wise this fall as he threw his back out Wedneday with a pinched nerve. So he is cracking his back a lot and realizing its time to see a chiropractor again. He has been putting in long hours to finish up the Osmond book and is hopefully almost done now. He stayed home Friday to stay on pain pills and work on it. He has been feeling very old lately with all his health problems. Never rains but it pours. Last night he had a photowalk event up at Gardner Village. So I got to go along for our date. I dropped him off and then spent 3 hours checking out all the cool shops and eating fudge. Then we went to IKEA to get bookcases for our basement. I am excited to get our books out of boxes and off our bedroom floor. We also found Allison's Christmas present - a desk for her room. Once Robyn is out she'll have room and the price was right for furniture that will be trashed with crafts I am sure.

Spencer has been really struggling with math trying to understand long division. He is on the verge of getting it and can do it with an adult looking over his shoulder. His teacher has been working with him in class on it which means he has extra homework at night to make up for what he didn't do in school. Makes for many tears but this fall break he has finally all caught up.
Kids were out of school Thursday and Friday and then tomorrow as well. So we have been enjoying our lazy time together. Thursday Meredith came over and we all went to the indoor swimming pool. It is like a sauna and feels so nice. Allison had a late play date/dinner with a friend to round off the day.

Friday we took Spencer's friend and went to the Provo Canyon for a scooter/walk/wave ride. It was gorgeous and reminded me again of the whole perspective thing. I could focus on the girls crashing often and having to scream to make up for the lack of any blood to show me. Spencer throwing a brief fit over a squeaky wheel that the lubricant we had brought didn't fix. Spencer learning that going to the bathroom in a bush doesn't work so well when its number 2. Or I could focus on sitting on a bridge eating snacks with the kids all giggling or the fall leaves and the warm sun. And Allison coming up to tell me that she loved walking with me here and when could we come back. Did I mention how often Allison makes me glad she is my daughter! Friday was supposed to be cousin night but Garion ended up sick at the last moment. So the kids and I decorated Halloween cookies and watched a disney halloween movie together. (Jeremy was still holed up with his book).

Mom and Dad just arrived so I will post pictures later.

Later - Kids are lying on the couches, stomachs distended after eating a gigantic chocolate cake my parents brought down. My parents are currently serving a family history mission in SLC for the next 3 months until they leave in January for their mission in Sydney Australia. I am excited for them and plan to take advantage of having them so close. Yesterday our kids cleaned their rooms without complaint because they were so excited about the reason they needed to clean their rooms!

Love Heather

Making cookies.

Robyn would spread frosting, lick the knife and spread some more. Needless to say she didn't have to share her cookies with anyone.

These are the 2 quilts I am thinking about for Robyn's room. Which do you think is cuter? I had planned to make it in purple and green but I am really liking the pink.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Let it snow!

Dear Friends and Family,

Hard to believe but a storm moved in yesterday bringing rain and wind and today it is snowing. Kids were excited to see a world of white and its not even Halloween yet! Our kids are liking the cold, turning on the fire last night and requesting their hot chocolate and pumpkin bread. I heard the weather report early this week and decided I needed to take advantage of the last week of sunshine and spend it outside. So I spent a good portion of this week outside working on the yard. Took a truck load of sunflowers (I had to use a saw to cut them down!) and pumpkin vines to the dump on Friday.

Got some stuff done with the basement this week. Fielded a bunch of bids and had our window sills installed and ordered our counter top for the bathroom. Its nice to get closer to being done! Jeremy is enjoying his "dungeon" downstairs. If he closes the door it stays warm and cozy and VERY quiet. He has been putting in a lot of late nights and weekends working on the Osmond book that is hanging over his head. He is back down with a cold and is constantly hacking, blowing his nose and feeling miserable. Seems like he hasn't been sick free very much this fall. Luckily everyone else seems to be immune to his germs so far.

Jeremy sucked it up and took Spencer, Jason and Garion to a Real soccer game up in SLC. He was given tickets and a photo pass for some work he did plus a jersey for Spencer to wear. Spencer was so proud of his jersey that he wouldn't wear his sweatshirt he brought because he didn't want to cover it up. By the end of the game he was numb. Jason kindly herded boys up in the stands while Jeremy got to roam the side lines with his camera. It was a really late night for a school night but they all had fun and Spencer quoting Grandpa Jim, "if you're going to hoot with the owls you better be ready to screech with the eagles" was up at 7 the next morning with bags under his eyes and a smile on his face.

Meredith was out of town this weekend so we had her come Tuesday and we attended ward temple night. We haven't gone on a mid-week date or to our ward temple night for a long time. It was quite nice. Our kids thought it was great because we were able to just hang out this weekend. Our kids and Jeremy seem to always work hard to let me sleep till I wake up on Saturday and I happily oblige. I think my body plays catch up every weekend for missed sleep. Saturday I started working on mounting some art prints for the kids' school. It turned into a bigger project than I thought so our dining room is still covered. I keep having visions of Robyn with a Sharpie out there. Each print was $50 and there are 50+ prints out there. Scary prospect!

Thursday morning Robyn helped me find things for Lauri at her house and clean for a while. I am trying to pace myself better and just set aside a morning a week. I figure it will slowly get done - just like eating an elephant! We took Lauri to meet with a senior financial advisor about getting VA benefits only to have the nice surprise that Lauri has many more assets than she thought. She isn't ready to splurge but we no longer have to worry about how she will pay for assisted living. So she obviously isn't qualified for any assistance at this point.

Robyn continues to be my constant shadow and is usually amazingly good for a 2 year old. She wants to "help" at all times which is hard at times but very cute as well. She has discovered princesses now and is always wanting to watch Cinderella (her favorite) or any movie with a princess and a prince. She has the gender roles down as the princes are always the daddies and when the princess finds her prince she starts yelling "she found her daddy, now she can be a mommy". Robyn enunciates very carefully now and its funny to hear this little voice coming out "yes, please". She continues to ask every day if she can go to school and will load up a backpack, ready to leave. I am planning to paint her room purple and Jeremy was a bit taken aback when he saw the paint samples. Perhaps I need to tone it down a bit.

Allison moved up a level in gymnastics which she was excited about. So she will be in a new class starting this week. She was assigned a new song in piano that plays both hands at the same time which was a big mile stone for her. She took her hamster to school this week for show and tell. He thought it was great and was running around playing the whole time. No one else has brought in animals except for her, although her friend did bring in her baby brother for show and tell. Allison has entered this drama stage. "What we're having zucchini casserole for dinner?! Wahhh! The world is ending!" Face burried in the couch, screaming out loud. 10 minutes later, "let's go play" and off she goes back to normal. I hope the dramatics die down soon, before Robyn starts copying her.

Spencer has ben busy this week making up missed homework in math and bringing his grade back up. He has 2 new books he really likes and has been busy reading in his spare time. We watched Holes for our movie night on Friday which he read last year. He had stopped reading for a while so its good to see him back to it.

Taylor laughed this week at pack meeting. It has been a few months since he last giggled so we were all smiling at him. I cut his hair this week so he doesn't look all shaggy anymore. You don't realize how long his hair is until you start cutting.

Our home teacher introduced me to a new series of science fiction books so I got one this week and ended up staying up late too many nights in a row reading. Every morning as I get up in the dark I just chide myself asking why but its like eating chocolate, doesn't keep me from doing it again!

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A homebody week

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I have felt very home-maker like. We bought a box of peaches and two boxes of apples and have been busy making peach jam, and canning peaches and applesauce. I have decided it really isn't cost effective versus buying cans at the store but they sure taste better. To top it off after reading an article about the silliness of Mormon wives thinking they need to make home made bread, making bread started sounding really good to me. So after attending an enrichment meeting a few weeks ago on how to make bread I broke out their recipes and have made bread twice this week. The recipe only makes 2 loaves of 1/2 wheat 1/2 white bread and they disappear in a day or two. We had bread and jam for breakfast this morning and it tasted great.

To really bring on the homemaker feel this week I have been tackling Lauri's laundry. Robyn and I went over and loaded the truck full of all her clothes, emptying out her closet, trunks etc. Robyn was "helping me" by either sweeping up the fine covering of dead bugs all over the floor (thanks to Jason's foggers last week) or screaming that she found a survivor and beating it with a broom yelling "smash the buggy". I need to make a clean space for her to play over there while we work! So our garage was full of clothes for the week as I sorted, DI'd and ran loads of laundry and ironing. It turned into a bigger task than I had anticipated but I am pretty much done now. Tonight Jason's family and Lauri are coming over for dinner and then when we drive Lauri home we can move all her clothes over.

We took Lauri to a doctor's appointment this week and were able to visit. All of our kids tagged along which made for a longer afternoon. Lauri's leg decided halfway through to no longer work and came to the sad realization that for going places she needs a wheelchair now. I know how hard a transition that is for her. But she seems much stronger and healthier and has positive things to say about her new home.

Robyn has become enchanted with Allison’s clothes. She came down last night wearing 7 pairs of Allison’s underwear over her diaper and pajama bottoms. I was laughing hard and sent her to Jeremy who learned over to see how many she was wearing and by so doing stuck his hand in a big poopy diaper that she had smeared over each pair of underwear in her efforts to clean herself up and hide the dirty underwear! This is on the same day where she cut her hair (she has “layers” now), decided to clean up Rocky with a bunch of hand soap and Taylor’s toothbrush, threw up on the freshly washed towels and the day after she decided to decorate all of the play kitchen and play dishwear with a sharpie. Did I mention that she is 2?

This week I attended parent teacher conferences for the three older kids. Taylor they are starting to get a better handle on. They are working on facilitating him being able to make choices and understand that he can express himself more. They have been working with chocolate milk versus water. No matter if they put the chocolate milk in his favorite cup or in his non-favorite cup, if they put it on the right or left, he will always choose the chocolate milk. Sometimes he takes a sip of the water but as soon as he realizes what it is, he will put it down and pick up the other cup. I thought it was very cool. Taylor had his VNS adjusted on Friday. His seizures have gone down to 2 a day but they are more severe, often grand mals. So hopefully this will help.

Allison's teacher kept me waiting for 30 min because of some long winded parents in front of me. As I came in she apologized profusely and said she felt embarassed because all she could say was that Allison was wonderful, aces everything and does great. She said Allison started off as very shy and quiet but now tells her jokes and kids around with her and just makes her laugh. She had Allison give herself a report card and Allison thought she was doing great at everything, which she is. Under what her favorite part of school Allison wrote that it was making new friends. Her teacher recommended the American girl books for her so we thought we would try those for a christmas present.

Spencer's teacher said Spencer is definitely not one of her trouble kids (BIG improvement over last year). Said that he will get upset periodically but if he just steps outside for a minute he calms himself down and comes back and is fine. She said that she doesn't need to lecture him or talk to him, he knows what he is doing wrong and just needs a moment to get a handle on it. Academically he was having problems with some homework, not knowing to turn some things in and in math just forgetting to turn in math homework the next day that he finished in class the day before. So...he is making up a lot of homework right now to bring his grades up. And we know now to stay on top of things more. It was a combination of teacher not telling, us not knowing and Spencer not following through. Spencer's big fieldtrip this week was to tour the water plant (sewer) and the weather station.

Spencer learns quite a bit at school these days though. I was telling Jeremy while we were all in the car about a new piano song Spencer is working on saying it sounds like the snake charmer song. I hummed it to him and Jeremy goes oh I always called that one the strip tease song. Spencer pipes up in the back seat that he knew the words to that song and started singing, “There’s a place in France, where the naked ladies dance. There’s a hole in the wall where you can see it all”. We busted up laughing as we’re trying to tell him what a terrible song that is. He says he learned it from the 5th graders – always an easy target to blame.

Kids all went to the dentist on Monday. (On Friday Spencer informed me after business hours that his retainer had broken so we will be going back again this Monday). No one had cavities - a first in a long time. Everyone had spots without enamel so everyone is now on medicated toothpaste to help. Robyn acted like such a big girl hoping up on the chair for her x-rays, (when they said she needed to put on a princess cape, she corrected them that it was a cinderella cape) opening her mouth to get cleaned and examined. She was very proud of herself. Spencer had a mold taken for his upper retainer and goes back in a few weeks to have two teeth pulled and to get his upper retainer to wear. He chose a BYU design like Taylor. Taylor is going to go back in 6 months or so and be sedated to have his teeth cleaned and a new retainer put in. Taylor is loosing and getting teeth constantly right now. All those baby teeth are finally falling out. (He is looking very grown up lately. He is developing acne so I need to start getting him clearsil)

Friday Jeremy and I had a date. There was a new bakery/cafe that I thought had just opened by us. We showed up to see signs that they were opening on Monday but it looked like they were open. So we walked up to find out that they were having a mock opening for one hour and we could order whatever we liked and it was free. So we tried everything that looked good and had a great time! Then we went to see the play Aida at a community theater. I had never seen it or heard the music and was quite impressed with it. It was a theater in the round and we were on the front row. We were really in the play as if you crossed your legs you could hit one of the actors. They had a bunch of humor added to the play - the guards were dressed and posed like matrix actors, a hairdresser was a very effeminate male - made us laugh.

There is something about conference that makes kids push buttons on us easily. I don't know if it was the rain outside for 2 days forcing everyone in close proximity or trying to hear conference over kids but we were grateful for the diversions yesterday of friends and family. Kayla and Bryn came over during the break during Garion's football game to play. And then during priesthood my friend Allison came over with her kids to eat dinner and visit. Made it a great day.

Love to you all and hope you are enjoying conference weekend.