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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Terrible 2s are gone

Dear Family and Friends,

I can't decide whether to be happy or sad that we will no longer have the terrible 2s in our family. Of course whether we are facing the terrific 3s or the terrible 3s is yet to be seen. Last Monday everyone was out of school and we had an awesome birthday party for Robyn. Luke's dad put his foot down and said his son couldn't attend a princess party but Robyn was so entranced by everything else she didn't have a chance to miss him. Allison and her friends Alena came early to set up and decorate for the party - acting very self-important about their tasks and having a ball. Then two more big girl friends ended up showing up so every little girl had a big person to take care of them and all were happy. They made fruit loop necklaces, played with playdough, played duck, duck, goose and ring around the rosey, ate pizza and red velvet cake, oohed and awed at presents and danced around with their wands. Tons of pictures to follow.

I who have sometimes feel family deprived had a fantastic family filled week. I fill like the squirrel storing away family time for the famine that is coming up! Daniel, Mimi and Claire were here for the whole week with Nicole, Mimi's sister staying periodically. Mimi just makes me feel like I am queen of the world, uber talented and supplies delicious treats and ideas for activities and meals out. Most of all though I loved just hanging out and visiting with Daniel and Mimi. Daniel ended up working more than he wanted to but still managed to fall asleep with a book in front of our fireplace a few times. Claire was just a kissable chubby cheek bundle of fun who Robyn loved to mother.

Monday with Robyn crashed from the party and Spencer and Allison at friends for the afternoon Mimi, Nicole and I (thanks to Daniel's gracious babysitting offer) went out to a movie. I literally could not remember seeing a movie with friends in the afternoon since college at least! We watched Bride Wars and laughed a bunch.

Tuesday we all went up to tour the Logan temple and then went out to dinner at the Pizza Factory. They made Robyn a pizza in the shape of a 3 and the kids all loved their tall breadsticks cooked on these long dowels. So glad Spencer refrained from sword fighting with them. The temple was beautiful and had colors everywhere reminiscent of a woodland meadow. The kids thought it was so cool to see the inside of a temple and see where we go all the time.

Thursday Mimi and I and the two little girls had a girls day out that I was so sad to cut short for carpool. We went up to SLC to the Children's museum and then out to this hamburger place called the Counter. It had incredible hamburgers and sweet potato fries. I ate a ton and rolled my way to the car.

Friday my parents came down to stay till they check into the MTC tomorrow. They leave for Australia next Monday. We all had pizza and movie night together and enjoyed hanging out. Mimi picked up a cheesecake from Kneaders and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. Robyn was excited that she knew exactly what to do and leaned over to blow my candle out.

Saturday we hung out and were sad knowing that Daniel's family was leaving! The girls went to get pedicures so now I have Hawaiin pink toes ( I am counting down the days!). Daniel and Mimi and Claire left that afternoon and I sat around feeling sad for myself for a little bit. Then we all went to clean the office and my parents and Jeremy and I went out to Market Street Grill for an excellent dinner and came home to left over cheesecake. Its a good thing we are having Fast Sunday today, I need to get my stomach back into shape!

Kids lives went on and around all the family activities. Spencer decided to cut his hair short so he could spike it. It looks really cute and much more clean cut. Friday he had his big snowshoeing day up at Midway. They went to an underground crater with a hot spring in it, went to an Indian museum and then learned how to snow shoe and made their way to an Indian yurt to talk about Native American traditions. It was a packed day for him and he came home flying high, bouncing off the walls with happiness and excitement.

Allison has been staying up late and getting up early to read a new series of American Girl books I found at the library. She liked having Claire around but she LOVED having Mimi and Nicole around to be girly with. Her social calendar seems like it gets packed between friends, piano, gymnastics and right now swimming. At the moment she is busy making doll clothes as my mom showed her how to make patterns for little coats and shirts. She is very proud to be sewing with a grown-up needle.

Robyn has just been in princess heaven all week when she isn't trying out her pouting princess tantrums. She got a bunch of new dress-ups for her birthday including a suitcase from my parents to put it all in and an antique hat of my grandma's. Every day she starts out cute for 30 minutes or so and then she goes through different outfits and accessories depending on the moment. I really don't know if she is ready for underwear but she sure thinks she is. So she tries and I mutter under my breath as I put the washing machine on the sanitary cycle for the numerous "oops" moments.

Jeremy had a couple of photography events this week. He did 2 photo shoots - one is of a little girl in the snow and looks amazing, check out his flicker site. And he went to 2 photo meetings. He is really trying to step it up a notch on his photographic abilities and is producing some amazing photos and enjoying the process. He is busy setting up a photo camp in March. I forgot to mention that last week he sold his quad to one friend and bought a used trail quad from another. Thing he is most excited about is that it has a snow plow so right now he is out being a good neighbor and scraping all the sidewalks (and having a ball).

I have just been in heaven all week, loving having Daniel's family here. We had warm weather this week with highs in the 40s so most of our snow melted and you can drive to our house without biting your tongue off with all the four wheeling. Only bad part is that it caused an inversion so the sky was really yucky. Today we got a bunch of wet slushy snow. So Claire missed out on building a snow man. So they will just have to come again next year! I am counting down to Hawaii and bought our luau tickets this week. Almost have finished lining up babysitters for the daytime.

Love to you all and my apologies for the long list of photos! Heather

This little girls had a great time playing ring around the rosey.

All the girls were awed that Mimi knew the words.

Robyn loved to dress up Claire. I don't know if Claire like the dress but she really like Robyn's purse.

It started out as a large circle and then with every present, it got closer and closer till we were all on top of each other as all the girls wanted to see the presents.

Spencer ended up having 2 friends over during the party. They all headed to the kitchen at food time. Mimi told them that they got cake last unless they were wearing a dress. So Matthew ran to get a dress on so he could have cake first. We all busted up.

Robyn's cinderella cake. She had definite ideas of what a cinderella cake meant. I must have figured it out because she loved her cake.

Jeremy came home for a long lunch, providing pizzas and picture taking.

Playdough mania

Claire loved being surrounded by all these little girls.

Pictures from sledding last Saturday.

Spencer dared Daniel to go over the jump and Daniel hammed it up.

Jeremy's new toy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A messy, smelly wonderful moment

Dear Family and Friends,

Robyn decided this week to give me an early birthday present and switch to wearing underwear. I just thought she was holding it as she never produced anything when I would take her to the bathroom but then I caught her sneaking in to just take care of business herself. I was overjoyed at the idea of being down to only one kid in diapers PERMANENTLY! But although Robyn is doing great she has yet to figure out how to poop in the toilet. Since she refuses to wear a diaper most of the time now that leads to some smelly situations. Usually she tries to hold it till night time and then let loose but she can't always make it. I keep reminding myself that this is the last time I will go through this phase of life so I might as well laugh about scrubbing down a shrieking child in the shower.

Tuesday was a treat/endurance test for me. I got to drive and chaperon for Allison's field trip to the planetarium up in SLC. Robyn was thrilled to spend the day with a friend and I enjoyed seeing what Allison was like surrounded by her friends. I dosed off during the show which probably wasn't very chaperon like but I had fun following the kids around and listening to their stories. Between both kids having piano then the field trip, gymnastics class and then karate class I hit my bed very early with a big piece of chocolate in hand.

Spencer discovered the world of blogging this week. He made himself his own blog and was hard at work coming up with a look and what to say on it. He anxiously told everyone he knew about it. Had a bad hour or two when he realized Jeremy was going to make it a private blog. Shouted out to Jeremy that a real dad would never do that. Jeremy, manfully sucked it up and hopefully knew that that is exactly what a real dad would and should do. Moment like that gives me glimpses of the teenage years and the sight isn't pretty! On the plus side kids got report cards this week and Spencer was thrilled that he got a B in math (he got a C last term). He was at an A until the last test when they began working on decimal numbers - still a hard concept for him.

Allison was invited to do swim lessons with her friend again for the next 6 weeks and started Wednesday. She had a great time swimming and was very excited to try her new swimsuit out as it doesn't have a saggy bum like her others (glad Speedo swimsuits are but tight!). Her favorite part is that her teacher lets them play in the pool after lessons for 15 mintues as long as a mom will watch them. Allison of course had straight As and was excited because she got moved up to the second grade class for math. I was a little worried but she just keeps telling me how easy it is and does her homework quite flamoyantly effortlessly to rub in the point.

I have decided I can blame more than my rolls around my middle on chocolate as I went to the dentist on Friday. No root canals - yeah! But a couple of cavities which with my swiss cheese like teeth can't just be "watched" and then drumroll...gum disease in 3 spots. So I get to go back as they numb me up and scrape off all the diseased parts and pack the spots with anitbiotics. So I am swishing with gaggingly bad mouthwash and bought an electric toothbrush. Hopefully my gums will heal - think I should look into overdosing on vitamin C for a while.

Friday night was a family night. Jason's family was over for cousin night where the spirits (and noise) were very loud. I tried out a calzone recipe that we all decided was a definite keeper. And kids learned that mom and dad can yell in unison as we tried to coral the random loud noises, shouting conversations and giggling. Kids had a great time. Then at the end of the evening my brother Daniel and his wife Mimi and daughter Claire showed up for a much anticipated week long stay.

Saturday Mimi and Jeremy spent the morning learning about Light Room, at a photographic class. Daniel, Claire and I and kids got to hang out, do jobs and enjoy being together on a Saturday. Then in the afternoon Nicole, Mimi's sister came over and we tried out the nearby hill with our sleds and then leaving Taylor with Meredith went out to dinner at the Mayan. We had a ridiculously long wait in the lobby for an hour and a half but then had an amazing meal and watched kids be enthralled by the show of cliff divers and the lights. Then we came back home where Mimi had stocked us up with these huge rice crispie treats from BYU that were as big as our kids' heads. Kids got ready for bed VERY fast so they could dive in. Don't know where they put it all.

Today my parents came to spend the day and with Daniel's family and Nicole here we had a fun time hanging out. Jeremy had to duck out for some morning meetings and I had to duck out for some afternoon meetings but it still felt like a fun filled family type of day. We ate a ton and enjoyed being together.

Robyn is very excited for her birthday tomorrow. Her cake just came out of the oven. I am hoping a red velvet cake with pink and blue frosting will look cinderella enough for her. I got a little prince and cinderella figurine to put on top. Robyn's new word this week is humongous. As in "Mom, your pants are humongous!" or "I want the humongous glass" (instead of the little sippy).

I finished Brisinger, the third and supposedly final book in the Eragon series this week. Only to find out at the end that he couldn't wrap it up so I now need to wait a year for the fourth book! Very frustrating but another book to look forward to I guess.

This week Jeremy and I did some major food storage shopping. Jeremy met me at Macey's for their sale during his lunch break and we loaded up on wheat, oats, milk, sugar etc. Our stake and us personally are really pushing to get our year's food supply. I would so like to be able to tick that commandment off in my head! And now that goal is in sight, its pretty exciting.

Love to you all, Heather

The hungry and happy crew at the Mayan.

Robyn trying to eat her humongous rice crispie treat.

Allison and her friend walking on the moon at the Clark Planetarium.

Jeremy and Robyn after a happy nappy.

Allison took this picture because she thinks its so cute how Robyn sleeps with all the blankets piled on her head. Robyn must be growing because we are always having to wake her up from naps or in the morning. She is just out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ring around the worm!

Dear Friends and Family,

Mom's happy dance was cut short this week. Sunday I noticed that Allison had a rash on her forehead which was pretty round and not looking like eczema or a scratch. It didn't look so bad so I sent her off with Jeremy to her Great to be 8 Fireside. She giggled with her friends, ate a bunch of cookies and was suitably impressed with the responsibility of turning 8 and what it means. Despite a late night she and Spencer were up bright and early Monday morning ready to go back to school. Robyn had to be dragged kicking and screaming from her crib - those sleeping in days from Christmas can be quite addictive. I did a little jig in the parking lot and Robyn and I made a mammoth shopping run to Costco before the snow storm broke. Then we started getting calls from the school. I had told Allison I wondered if her rash was ring worm. The school was very concerned and separated Allison (without letting her know) from the other kids and asked her to stay at home till the rash was gone. So we went into her pediatrician who said it was ringworm and gave us a stronger anti-fungal cream for it. School policy was that Allison had to stay home for 2 days.

So we spent some quality female bonding time at our house for a few days. Allison and Robyn butted heads as Robyn thought Dora was the only show to watch while I ran while Allison vehemently disagreed. During my Relief Society meeting at our house it was a little screaming match before they realized there were 2 T.V.s in our house and then peace prevailed. Allison kept asking why I was cleaning so much and was surprised to hear that that's what I always did - guess she just thought it magically happened! She was a little disgruntled with the unexciting aspects of helping me at home and was very happy to go back to school on Thursday with a bandage on her forehead so no one would come into contact with her rash. Its looking a lot better and hasn't spread anywhere else so I am hoping one more week and it will be over. Allison was feeling like a leper and very picked upon. But now she has a pretty good attitude about it. And the school has been careful not to talk to the other kids about it although Allison cheerfully tells all the other kids and they just think its cool or gross depending on the gender.

This week our kids realized that they hadn't gotten paid for a while. And they had the brainstorm that they could use their money to do things. So they made arrangements to go to the movies with friends, asked me to be their driver and started seriously bugging Jeremy about payday. So he stayed up late one night working on accounting and got checks into their outstretched hands. Robyn got 2 quarters because she demanded HER money - which was promptly spent at the bank's candy machines. Spencer and his friend originally wanted to go to the movies by themselves and have me just drop them off. Said that was a no go until he was 12 but I did agree to sit in the lobby with a book while they watched. But then Allison thought it was such a good idea, she and her friend wanted to go. So I went with the girls and we pretended that we did not know who the boys sitting on the other side of the theater were. So all were happy even Robyn who enjoyed having her dad all to herself.

Saturday the kids invited their friends who used to live next door over for the afternoon. They had a messy, loud ball of a time. Jeremy left the chaos for a photo meeting with a smile on his face and missed most of the fun! Then Jeremy and I that night go to go to the temple and out to dinner.

OK I wrote a bunch more after this but blogger just deleted it all!!! Very frustrating. Jeremy's family is coming over for dinner so I need to get cooking on Mrs Reese's noodles. So to sum up: Robyn is very excited about her birthday party and we did invitations this week. I finished Robyn's curtains although they don't look quite right yet. I need to get the pleats in. We had a huge snowstorm of over a foot in 24 hours. Lots of shoveling! And for the new year we are reading the Book of Mormon as a family to meet our stake's goals. Its going well so far although Robyn REALLY struggles with not acting up during our reading time. Pictures to follow and love you all, Heather

Allison has some creative pronunciations at time but I am surprised at how well she can read.

This is how Robyn usually looks during our scripture time. Can't you just see her mind deciding what trouble to cause next?

A rare moment of Robyn looking interested.

I tried cutting Robyn's hair to hid the worst of the damage. A short very layered bob with periodic bald spots was the result.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mom is doing a happy dance

Dear Friends and Family,

Tomorrow kids are back in school! Should I be so excited about this? It seems like playing with kids and doing "nothing" really tires me out. New Years Resolutions don't start until Monday as right now chocolate is a necessity (thank you Christina for leaving the fudge!). Jeremy summed up my sentiments after church today. As we unload everyone from the van along with the church paraphernalia and winter gear all the kids want to talk about their new classes. Rocky in a frenzy to get to the backyard stopped and peed all over the hallway. Jeremy grabbing a drink with this energy crystal light packet inside is beset by kids all wanting a similar drink. Who of course all grab water bottles that manage to be broken somehow so they drip all over kids, Jeremy and the floor. And kids are all trying to make themselves snacks. Jeremy just told Spencer and Allison to find a quiet place, get a book and go there now!

On Monday I took Spencer up snowboarding at Sundance. Jeremy and Meredith covered the other kids as Spencer and I left at 7:30 (a little ridiculous when you consider the class started at 10). It took an hour standing in line to rent his snowboarding equipment and made me really consider buying him snowboarding stuff for his birthday. Then when we got to Sundance they directed us to park halfway up the mountain on an ice sheet and shuttle down. We got to the lesson desk 5 minutes before lessons start. As it is walk ins only and you can't call to reserve a spot I think my nerves were running as high as Spencer. After all that effort to get there, Spencer had to snowboard! But it was him and another kid with some college freshman guy learning how to snowboard. I watched as much as I could from the lodge but they went up on the lift and were gone. 2 1/2 hours later I meet up at the lesson shack to see Spencer with a big grin and sweat dripping off his head. The instructor greeted me with "well, let me you tell you what happened". Worst case scenarios drifted through my head. But I guess Spencer didn't know how to lace the snowboard boots tight - I certainly didn't. So he kept complaining how much his foot hurt and they would have to rest. I think it was mostly nerves with everything being new and feeling different. So they sent the head of the school up to help get Spencer down. They tied Spencer's boot as tight as possible and then Spencer got it. He made it all the way down without falling and really liked it. After downing a bunch of water and granola bars I talked him into trying the beginner hill by himself so he could solidify the feeling of what snowboarding feels like while he could remember how to do it. As I watched him go off in the lift I started to wonder what I was thinking - he was all by himself! Not a wise mom move on my part. I reasoned that I would see him in 20 minutes. An HOUR later he comes down. Said that the lift goes a lot farther than he had the first time. Guess he went to the TOP of the mountain. But he made it down and felt good about it especially that he didn't fall or wipe out. I watched him stop and its more of a controlled turn/sit thing but he made it. Said he would just rest on the side periodically to catch his breath. Next time I am going with him, that was more than my nerves could handle. So he thought after Monday that he would never need lessons again but could just go all the time! He is starting to get the idea that there is much more to learn besides just practicing a bunch.

I decided Heavenly Father was watching out for us as we left for home though. Our car literally slide on ice backing out away from the cars packed in all around us. Then when we couldn't make the drive up the parking lot to turn - our van slid backwards (I pretended that I was meaning to go in reverse) the entire parking lot without hitting the cars on either side. I think the parking/driving scared me almost as much as my fears over Spencer. He is already asking when we will go again! Got home at 3 and I was ready for bed. As I went grocery shopping that night with Allison I kept telling myself one more hour and that cup of hot chocolate and that warm bed are all mine! So I went to sleep that night tired, happy and glad for my blessings.

Tuesday night we had our friend post-Christmas party. It was a smaller turn out this year but we had fun just hanging out and eating this enormous chocolate cake I had made and everyone else's goodies. Our old neighbors from across the street came and it was fun to hear how the neighborhood has changed. They still do the cul-de-sac of fire and says it has grown to include a lot more people and has become their kids' traditions. That was neat to hear. Spencer's old friend came from when he was 5 and surprisingly they still remembered each other and played together all night. The screaming chicken made several appearance being launched across the party.

Wednesday I took the kids to see Desperaux. We got the book from the library and plan to read it now. I was very impressed with the story. Kids were mostly impressed with all the candy we brought along (thank you Peter and Katherine). I forgot how much Taylor like sour patch kids. His mouth was open, as he made his seal like noises asking for more. Had our few moments - Allison getting lost when she went to the water fountain, Robyn loosing it when she saw me going to get Allison from the water fountain. But it was a fun outing.

Wednesday night I made fondue and learned a small amount of fondue goes a long way. Since I didn't know that we had a lot of fondue and ate it the next night as well! Kids thought it was great and even Taylor was doing his happy dance - sourdough bread and cheese, what's not to like. I did learn that Jeremy does not like swiss cheese - almost 15 years now, you think I would know that! We pretended we were all going to bed and put Robyn and Taylor down. Then broke out the leftover chocolate cake and started movie night. Since we saw a movie that day I couldn't believe how psyched up our kids were for more movies. Spencer made it till 8:30 and then he was snoring away in front of the fire. At 11 I told Allison I was a mean mom and I was going to bed - she could continue the countdown in her room. So she did and had the bags under the eyes in the morning to prove it.

Thursday Allison went to a friends and I sewed curtains and caught up on the house. Robyn now has her sheer curtains up and one top curtain. It is taking me longer than I thought it would. Jeremy organized a group of friends to go up to SLC to take pictures of the lights. He took several friends who had never done a photo walk before and they all had a good time. Allison worked on her science presentation for Monday with the late night catching up with her - tears dripping down her face as she tried to get the poster just right. She went to bed very early!

Friday we picked up Allison's friend and went to help Lauri clean up her Christmas decorations and get some library books. We stopped and got pizza on the way home and kids thought it was great. Since you can never have too much pizza I tried out my new cook book that night and made breakfast pizza - ricotta cheese, mozerella, green onions and sunnyside up eggs. It was really good! Allison our pickiest even said it was a keeper. Of course it probably wasn't that healthy which is why Allison voted to keep it. Jeremy cheered on Utah and was amazed by their performance. Perhaps Elder Wirthlin was giving them some inspiration/help? Spencer, Allison and I headed out in the rain to get a birthday present for Spencer's friend and new shoes for Spencer. Picking a birthday present is just an agonizing experience. But we've done it enough now that I just bite my tongue and try to wait the hour necessary to scan every toy and find every possible option in order to get the perfect present.

Saturday we packed up in the truck and headed off to the point of the mountain for a friends birthday party. Those roads up there are just treacherous! They are steep and covered with ice/snow. Kids all went sledding in the bitter cold for 2 hours and then we headed to their house for pizza and ice cream. These are our old neighbors so our girls were ecstatic to be reunited with their old friends. Allison ended up spending the rest of the day up there. Spencer, not so cheerfully but he did it, cleaned the office with us. We all decided Allison had to set the table by herself for 2 days to make up for our extra work. She thought it was worth it.

Saturday Robyn helped me pack up the Christmas decorations. Its almost all packed up. I blared Christmas music and felt quite sad doing it. Robyn's "packing" off ornaments was a little scary to watch but she didn't break anything and was very proud of herself.

Tons of pictures follow. Happy New Year to You all, Heather

Allison's new desk with artwork by Christina

Christina making her magic gravy - don't want to know the fat count!

Spencer snowboarding

Mom's vegetable dip is magic. While I made the fondue kids ate an entire bag of carrots and 2 peppers with Robyn leading the way.

True love is your husband being aware enough to say "honey suck it in" before he takes a picture so the pooch doesn't stick out too badly!

Taylor happy

I gave Taylor a book of Calvin and Hobbes saying that he would share it with anyone who cuddled with him. Spencer and Allison take that seriously and lay next to Taylor every time they read it. Wish I had thought of that before.

Robyn before church - dancing to princess music and showing off her bald like head. She decided this week that she didn't like her pullback so she literally ripped it off. One side of her head is all 1/2 - 3 inches long with bald spots periodically. Can't decide what to do. I would just cut it all short but with her thin, fine, wispy hair I think she would look very chemo like.