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Sunday, May 31, 2009

A week of mixed emotion

Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you already know, Lauri, Jeremy's mom died Monday. That afternoon we were all at the pool along with 2 of the kids' friends when Jeremy go the call. Lauri died sometime late that morning probably from a heart attack. Although it wasn't completely unexpected, we thought we still had several years with her. So the week was full of talking about Lauri, what she would like us to do, meeting with the mortuary, calling friends and family etc. What was finally decided was for Lauri to be cremated and then we are going up on June 20th to Idaho Falls (Ammon) to bury her ashes with her parents. Several family members and friends are going to be able to join us there.

Wednesday a friend took our kids and I along with Kelly spent the day clearing out Lauri's apartment at Jamestown. That night Jeremy and Jason went to move out all the furniture and paintings. It was a strange feeling to go through all her belongings and paperwork, return a huge stack of library books many of them half read etc. Right now our garage is full of furniture and our dining room table is covered with paperwork and family history as we figure out what to do with everything. I only really knew Lauri the last stage of her life. I was glad that I was able to know her long enough to truly appreciate bring a part of her life and the opportunity to give her the help that she often needed. As you can imagine Jeremy has struggled in many ways with emotions this week. With both parents now gone, its an end of an era. Lauri's health and happiness had really struggled these last few years so in many ways we are glad for her to be free of the pain and disabilities she faced here. She really did not enjoy how helpless she had become. It doesn't seem real in many ways to me yet, or to our kids I think because we are still doing so much for Lauri. I think eventually when everything is all settled that is when it will hit.

With Lauri gone, Jeremy came home Monday night from her place with Macho Man (her siamese cat) in tow. A LONG night ensued of cat emotion as Macho tried to make his place with our own cat and dog. Things have reached an uneasy truce. I am not sure if the cat lady we called who originally gave him to Lauri will be able to find him a new home. If not, I figure its one last thing we can do for Lauri. Macho is very affectionate but has claws which we are not used to.

Of course life continues even while dealing with Lauri's death. Monday morning we attended a ward patriotic service and kids politely listened to a National Guard pilot speak so they could get the doughnuts at the end. Then while on a sugar high we cleaned the office with very happy and jumpy kids (Allison and Spencer were all over the "come back for seconds when everyone is done" promise). We sold our old van which was sad in a way - lots of memories in that van. Then we headed off to another day at the pool. Jeremy brought his camera so lots of pictures to follow. After 2 hours at the pool is when we got the call about Lauri

Taylor still had school this week but the other kids didn't. So they played with friends a lot, ran a few errands, and mostly enjoyed being slugs with their books. Spencer is hooked onto Harry Potter book 5 and is trying to finish book 6 before the movie comes out in July. Allison is devouring comic books and Little House in the Big Woods. We had pack meeting this week and Spencer got his citizenship pin and led the flag ceremony. Spencer loves scouts and my girls love pack meeting with the excuse to run around with their friends and get treats at the end.

Tuesday night Jeremy and I had a temple cleaning assignment. Never done that before. We polished the crystals on the chandelier in the celestial room. Every 6 months they take it down, take it apart. Polish EVERY piece for a minute or two and remember some of those little crystals are very tiny and then put it back together. Its a 3 day process. 4 hours of extremely mind numbing work, but it was neat to do.

Friday Spencer had a psychiatrist appointment. He wants Spencer to start a mood journal, see a psychologist to work on his anger management skills and recommended a drug trial of Lamictal for him. I am thinking we will do the drug trial. It is one that has been mentioned before. Spencer is doing OK but I wouldn't say he is doing great. So we will see if it helps. The time involvement was my biggest hang-up but if it makes Spencer's and in the process our lives easier it would be worth it.

Then Spencer and Jeremy hitched up the trailer and took off for the father/son campout. They went right after lunch to reserve the space as it was first come first serve. Jeremy said Spencer had an amazing time and that Jeremy worked really hard to make sure he did! They rode the quad around a bunch with Spencer doing it by himself sometimes, they shot guns, ate junk food and in general were in boy heaven. Came home tired and very dirty. The girls, Taylor, Meredith and I spent the afternoon at the pool playing around and then returned home to continue playing with friends until bed time.

Still running but had a problem with my heel this week. By Thursday I couldn't put any weight on it. So I got heel inserts for my shoes and boringly rode our stationary bike waiting for it to heal up. My friend let me borrow her "Transfirmer" steps awhile ago and I really felt like it worked my muscles in new ways so I got one this week to try it out. With all these pool trips (and photo appearances in a swimsuit courtesy of Jeremy) I have been getting more motivated.

Last night Jeremy and I went on a completely frivolous date, something which hasn't happened lately as Meredith went to Spain for a month. We ate Cafe Rio Salad and watched Star Trek. Dad that needs to be on your list to see when you get off your mission. Half the reason we liked it so much was the nostalgia factor. But it was so nice to just relax and not think about anything serious beyond whether we should get vanilla or chocolate ice cream afterward.

Love to you all and thanks to all who have called/written this week.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

A lazy Sunday afternoon

Dear Family and Friends,

What our Sunday afternoon looks like, after church: comics and toast

I have decided that comic books are an investment in family peace and solidarity in our family. Kids are always sprawled around reading them, especially when their stash from the library is gone. Don't know where they could have picked up the reading bug from (haha) but even Robyn likes to "pretend". Allison's teacher sent home her reading report card this week showing her jumping from level E at the beginning of the year (she was level B at the start of kindergarten) to a level T at the end of the year. Since I enjoy reading so much I am glad that our kids have picked up on it.

Allison lost another tooth this week. There is no way that an adult tooth can fit into that little hole. Even she is realizing some teeth pulling is in her near future. This week was the last week of school for Spencer and Allison. So lots of year end parties, field days etc. Kids did not want to stop playing or go to bed at night and were ready for school to be over. Friday the kids were only in school for 3 hours. They took their bike and wave with them in the morning and Robyn and I met them with the stroller (after pushing up that huge hill by the temple!). They were too fast for us but luckily our carpool partner/friend Monica and her two kids were all on bikes as well. So Robyn and I brought up the rear! Allison spent the afternoon at a friends pool/pizza party to celebrate the end of the school year. Then she came home and invited a friend over for pizza and movie night while Spencer invited 2 friends over for a sleepover. They all watched Twilight, ate brownies and popcorn and had a great time. I threatened Spencer and his friends about this trial sleepover since last time didn't go so well. So everyone was out by 9:30 and they did great. They woke up the next morning ate a bunch of french toast and played twister and k'nex till they were all kicked home.

To continue the end of school festivities we quickly did our jobs and headed over to the American Fork Pool. We won a 3 month family pass at the kids' school's 5k. This was our first time going and we had a great time. It was really overcast so there was hardly anyone there. With the clouds I didn't bother with sunblock much so we are all a little toasty today.

After all the celebration our kids and us were tuckered out. Allison fell asleep on the swing this afternoon and looked so peaceful.

Until Spencer pushed the swing and Robyn jumped on her. So nice to have sibilings!

On Monday Spencer had his cast taken off.

He seemed disappointed that there wasn't any gross skin underneath! His ulna is all healed up but his radius still needs to fill in some more. He thought he was all done but handled the news with a shrug. He is in a brace for 2 weeks full time and then in a brace for 2 weeks whenever he is active. This week we have really been noticing his obsessive tendencies. Doubt there is any medicinally we can do about it but man is it a pain. Whatever he wants, he needs to have it right now and is just heartbroken and sobbing or mad and yelling if he can't. Reminds me of a 3 year old! I keep trying to explain to him that his feelings don't match up with reality but its a hard concept for him to get. Hoping we can work through this stage to a manageable level soon. Not sure if it is all the changes with school, cast, friends etc but there has been a general crankiness lately. Last night Jeremy bravely bit the bullet and took Spencer shopping. Size 8 mens shoes are just painful to buy for a kid you know will trash them within months. But now he has PJs that won't split down the rear when he tries to bed over. (For his sleepover he stayed in his clothes because he had no other options). He definitely has a little flubber to loose but he is a big kid now.

Robyn has given up naps completely now. I wonder if quiet time is really worth the hassle but I figure its better than nothing. She is great 3/4 of the time and the other 1/4 is a little terror, running around, refusing to cooperate and throwing tantrums. Just like any other 3 year old. My friend Brenda and her neighbor do a play group once a week while they take turns going to the temple. They asked me to do it with them for next year and invited me to bring Robyn over Thursday morning for their last playdate of the school year. Robyn had a great time and I felt wonderful going to the temple during the day. Can't remember the last time I did that. What a great start to the morning. It makes me really excited for next year and Robyn didn't want to stop playing with her two friends.

Had another friend join the running group in the morning. It sure helps me get out of bed. Although not everyone is there each morning, there is always someone watching my door to see if I show up. I am falling asleep at night without any problems now! I run better too because I feel like I can't stop or slow down when someone is running next to me. Worked in the garden again whenever I could. Spread that truckload of mulch and remembered how sore my back got when we put our yard in. Planted a new tree to replace our dead one - a santa rosa plum. Planted potatoes for the first time. See how they do. Read two new Robert Palmer books (the Spencer for hire series). They kept a smile on my face most of the week - I really enjoy his books.

Jeremy has been working, getting the new grill hooked up and doing church stuff. I was reading through old posts the other day. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads what I write. But it sure brought back memories of past events and made me grateful for how relatively smooth our life has been going the past while. Guess I shouldn't say that too loud! Friday morning we had a bathroom incident involving an embarassed Spencer taking a shower, lots of bleach and disinfectant, a load of laundry and me needing a shower afterwards and a bite of chocolate. Thought to myself that I can handle mornings like that if thats as bad as it gets because we have had things so much worse.

Love to you all, Heather

PS - Read Spencer's blog if you have a chance. He has been anxious for comments.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Taylor's swing has become the family swing. Currently Spencer and Allison are out there lounging with their books. (Taylor is napping with the air conditioning otherwise I am sure he would join them). Every day after school the kids run out there to sit and eat their snacks and all reading is done while swinging away. Who knew it would be such a hit?!

I spent any free time I had this week out in the yard so it is all starting to come together. For FHE we planted one of our boxes. Not quite an ideal family togetherness moment but each kid planted a plant and was quite proud of the fact. We have in this year: tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, zucchini, peppers, beans, watermelon, pumpkins and beets. See how they all do. Allison is very excited that our raspberries have started to grow. Amazing what happens when you start to actually water them! We planted our flower pots and added 2 hanging baskets to our porch this year. I was most excited about those. Robyn has been enjoying the whole process or running rampant at the nursery, stuffing her pockets from their free bucket of unshelled peanuts and smelling EVERY flower she finds. I am so excited to be planting and a little horrified at the nursery bills that her antics haven't even bothered me. They are probably a good thing as they prevent me from staying there too long. The yard isn't all the way done. I have our weed corner to tackle, a few plants left to put into the ground and a truckload of mulch waiting to be unloaded. The kids have 4 1/2 days left of school so I should make it!

This week Robyn and I discovered Utah's version of Trader Joe's. We were very excited! Its called Sunflower Market and its just a healthfood type store with tons of good deals on produce and then all those yummy not so good for you things - different flavored hummus, a whole rack of brands of tofu, aisles of bulk dried fruits, nuts and then all of the above dipped in different types of chocolate and sugar. You get the idea. So we have gorged on fruit this week and I have discovered I really like frozen cherries. I am trying to make up for the fact that between Taylor's party and Mother's Day I made 4 9x13 pans of really good cakes and we ate up all the leftovers!

This week was made up of just lots of odds and ends. Got the racks put on the van, took dinner into a neighbor who is dying, had the cousins over for a day, had a couple of play dates etc. Normal everyday, sometimes busy, sometimes boring, often funny, occasionally irritating life.

I decided last week that I should stop feeling annoyed that I am looking scroungy till noon as I try to fit in my exercise time so I made the goal to get up early. I know exercising at 6 am is not early to most but to me it is! It didn't use to be a possibility as Taylor had to be gotten up at 6:30 but now I don't have to start kids till 7. I figure if I can keep it up through the summer it will be easier to get my running in too. The first few days killed me and I crashed every night but my body seems to have adjusted to the new schedule. I mentioned it to a friend so I ended up having 3 neighbors join me to run outside M, T, Th. That was fun although they expect me to talk and all I can do most of the time is pant. One of my friends went to Florida for a week and she loaned me her 'transfirmer' videos so I have been trying those out a little bit. Didn't think they were doing much till the day after when I noticed all the muscles I had obviously not been using previously.

Quick run down on everyone: Jeremy has had couple of EQ meetings this week including hauling mulch in a wheelbarrow for an hour or two. He also has been working on a video for the kids' school that they are using at the end of the year assembly tomorrow. Luckily he was able to take a mental health morning Friday and go hike Timp Caves with his photo friends to unwind and enjoy his hobby time. Between the mulch for the ward member and the hike his knees are a little stiff but he is doing OK. He gets the missing hook up for his new BBQ this week and excited to try it out.

Taylor went fishing this week with his school and came home wiped out and smiling of sunblock. He is noticably more cheerful with the sunny weather.

Spencer gets his cast off tomorrow. He decided to do football this summer/fall which I think will be a good thing. It was a LONG debate. He is working on playing Axel F for his piano lessons. We recorded part of it for him to take in for his class talent show. It only took us 20!!! minutes to get the 15 second recording necessary for him to take in. His teacher asked me to practice with Spencer every day. Easier said than done. If I sit there correcting him for every wrong not it turns into an exercise of anger management. He really just doesn't understand the concept of practicing. Hopefully it will click soon.

Allison is convinced that a time without a friend is wasted time. She stayed home sick Friday with a fever she developed Thursday. She was fine except for a fever and not wanting to eat or sleep much. Just puny. But with cousins over she was happy to put on a swimsuit and run around the sprinklers with them.

Robyn is loving the warm weather. She runs around in different outfits or swimsuits alternating covered in sand or water but having a great time. She is doing better on the potty training and only had one accident last week and that was because she couldn't make it to the toilet fast enough. So I am hoping we are getting close to an end of spraying lysol everywhere. Haven't tried to tackle nights yet. I am waiting till days are perfect first.

Love to you all. Lots of pictures to follow. I am sure you can guess which ones are by the professional:) Love Heather

Allison had her friend Kambry over Saturday and they made crafts to sell at their stand in the front yard.

Robyn is LOVING the tiny sprinkler set up.

Friday night pizza and movie night. Everyone had to eat their pizza outside. The good weather feels too good to miss.

Our vegetable garden weed free. I should have taken a before picture for you to really appreciate this.

Cousins all getting wet together

My beautiful baskets. I learned that it takes a month or two for the sides to fill in to get that big lush look. Next year I need to start earlier and use tinier seedling plants along the side. Putting big fat bedding plants through holes in the side was hard and pretty traumatic to the plants I think. I have been wanting to put these up for a few years now so I am quite excited. Now if I can just keep them alive!

Robyn and Luke helping me with our "weed garden". Luke is still Robyn's dress up friend and yes his parents know all about this.

Spencer's video

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

Let the teenage years begin! We FINALLY got Taylor's swing yesterday. We have been planning to get it for the past couple of years but couldn't find one that we all liked. But we found one that had enough cushions for Taylor and he loves it. It seems like all the kids really like it and have been spending all their free moments out there.

Yesterday evening we had Taylor's annual BBQ. I always mean to take pictures but then get sucked into talking to everyone instead. Jason's family and Lauri were able to come as well as 10 families. So we had a big crowd of kids running around, food everywhere and lots of catching up. Warm weather all day and then chilly breezes as soon as the party started. But everyone toughed it out. Taylor swung, ate a bunch of better than cake and was very happy to have everyone giving him hugs.

Special note to my mom - Happy Mother's Day! I read a quote once that a dad said he wished that he could be the type of dad that when his son grew up he would want to be the kind of dad he was. I am still trying to be like my mom and often failing miserably. But the attempt always makes me a better person. I find myself saying or doing things I remember my mom doing and Jeremy will laugh and point out my "lyndaisms". Lucky for me I think its a great compliment to think I am becoming my mother!

Spencer and Allison set their alarm clocks early this morning to make me breakfast and Jeremy valiantly staved them off till 7:30. All the kids piled into the bed for a half hour of snuggling with Mom and giving me handmade cards and bracelets. Jeremy filled our kitchen with flowers, gave me a year supply (well knowing me, a month) of chocolate and fed all the kids. So life is pretty dang wonderful this morning. Jeremy brought Lauri back to our house this morning and pinned her corsage on. She is going to church with us and spending the day and then tonight Jason's family is joining us for dinner.

Family summary: Spencer had his arm x-rayed Monday. Everything is healing up and he was given the OK to start riding his wave, doing karate and sports again. Its a good thing as that extra energy needs to go somewhere! Does it count as self medicating if you do it with exercise? So life has been much better this week. One more week and the cast comes off! He really doesn't complain abut it but the awkwardness is a little tough to live with.

Allison has spent the week crying or hugging me. Jeremy pointed out that if we ever wanted to know what wailing and gnashing of teeth sounded like - now we know! I really don't think I am being that mean but you sure would think it to hear the sound effects when I say to make a bed or pick up toys. It seems like lately our kids are wearing ear plugs and don't hear us till voices are raised! I guess I need to start whispering more as I am sure our neighbors are starting to wonder what is going on in our house! Friday afternoon she went to a build a bear birthday party and returned with her new friend "spot" a stuffed puppy that is going with her everywhere. Friday evening was an elder's quorum movie night at the church. Spencer brought a friend to sit with him and Allison has Spot all set up next to her on a blanket, popcorn and all. I brought home a bunch of new american girl and the little series of books for her from the library. So her nose has been in a book whenever she isn't playing.

We were able to babysit friends for Robyn twice this week, a friend Raquel on Tuesday and her cousins Kayla and Brynn on Friday. So Robyn was in heaven and wondered why every day couldn't be a friend day. She is still going through multiple outfits and dress ups every day, sometimes crashing for a nap but usually just sleeping in till we wake her up and then having quiet time for 30 minutes (does jumping up and down on your bed, barbies in hand count as quiet time?).

Jeremy has been cleaning the mud off the quad and trailer - massive amounts were deposited over our yard and street. He was excited yesterday that Father's Day came a little earlier than we had anticipated. Someone was returning a natural gas BBQ to Home depot while we were picking up Taylor's swing. They offered it to Jeremy at a good deal so he snatched it up. We still have to get the hook up for it but it will be nice to have a BBQ that actually works. Our old one was thrown around by windstorms so much at our old house that it can barely burn a hot dog now.

Tuesday this week we had our stake auxiliary training for relief society. We toured the bishop's storehouse and did a service project there and had some welfare training. It was really neat and I learned a lot. Rest of the week I seemed to spend just working on projects. Don't know why I was trying so hard to play catch up on yard and house work. Its not like anyone cared that our vegetable beds were still full of weeds last night. I shouldn't get so caught up on my to do list! Robyn and I did go get a truckful of sand Friday and spent the afternoon shoveling. So kids were happy to discover the overflowing sandbox on Saturday and I am sure a bunch is now in our yard. I think I am out of shape with yard work and most days this week I fell into bed so happy to see my pillow! Had some problems with our bank this week and a mistake that was made. Had to spend a long time on hold with different people and it just set my teeth on edge a little bit. Signed up for a half marathon in August so am trying to run outside more now. It always feels so much better than a treadmill. You forget you are pushing it till the next day when your legs are tight. It feels so good though to be outside again with spring finally here and staying here.

Life is good and I am enjoying our family today. happy Mother's Day to you all! Heather

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wet Camping Weekend

Dear Friends and Family,

Got back this morning from our annual camping trip to Palisades. The little figure above in the pink sweatshirt is Allison off to catch minnows and tadpoles. We came back early to make church. Kids snored all the way home, girls curled up with their dad to snooze some more this afternoon and are off to bed early tonight. A sign of a good camping trip is how tired you are when you get home!

This is the earliest in the year we have ever gone. No one wanted to try swimming and we had a few hours and most of the nights filled with rain. Kids determinedly went down to catch minnows the first morning there, rain or no rain. But after getting drenched they decided they would rather trailer hop and wait out the storm. We had 5 other families go all of us with kids. So we all had a great time, eating, hiking, riding quads in the nearby canyon, catching lots of tadpoles and minnows and making up all sorts of crazy games by the kids that involved lots of running and yelling. It was a lot of fun. Jeremy got to have some male bonding playing golf. He commented how fun it is when everyone is equally bad!

Jeremy borrowed kids' helmets so all the kids took turns riding around with Jeremy. Robyn did one loop around the campsite and was thrilled.

Spencer went in for the hardcore quad riding with Jeremy. Friday night they went up to the overlook and then Saturday after the rain stopped they went out in the mud. Spencer came back covered in mud but with a big grin an hour later.

All the kids did much better sleeping this year. They have the routine down now and are set up in their sleeping bags asking for their hot chocolate and cookies and wanting to know what movie is showing that night. I think I am mostly tired because of Taylor's inevitable 3 am chirping that doesn't let up or Rocky's neurotic whining/crying because of the storms. Glad to be home and close the doors and ignore all the kid sounds unless screaming is involved.

Spent a lot of time this week pulling weeds and cleaning out the trailer. You can now see clearly in our yard what are plants and what are weeds so I am making progress! The trailer I am not sure why I bothered as this was a very muddy trip. I couldn't figure out why the trailer was smelling still after I had scrubbed everything out. Then I found the piece of deli meat left in its package stuck under the vegetable bin in the fridge. Ewwww!

Spencer was going a little stir crazy this week with not being able to do much physical activity. Tomorrow he gets his arm re-x-rayed and we are hoping he is able to start doing PE and karate again. He really, really, really needs it! Had pack meeting this week and he was thrilled to run around digging up fake dinosaurs, eating all the treats and laughing at the not so funny skits and jokes.

Allison has been on a no glasses kick this week. Then when I finally realized she had been going without I found them with the lens popped out thanks to Robyn. So we are making a trip to Costco tomorrow.

Thursday morning Taylor went in for dental 'surgery'. I had to get up at 5 am and felt like I had been hit by a truck the rest of the day. They had Taylor go first just in case there were complications. He did great. He had 5 baby teeth pulled and they cleaned up all of his teeth and put sealants and stuff on. His mouth was pretty raw the rest of the day and he kept getting bloody noses from the tube being put down. But it went really well. I had high hopes that like his VNS surgery this might knock out his seizures for a while but no such luck. Oh well, he has shiny teeth now! Found out that one of his adult teeth, his incisor is just missing. So they are going to leave the baby tooth in as long as possible as when it falls out he will just have a big gap. Jeremy spent the morning riding herd on the kids and hooking up the trailer. Robyn was extremely helpful with that!

We have made up this week for a bunch of the babysitting favors we have called on. Robyn has loved having friends over most days this week.

Been spending my nights making Relief Society handouts, invites etc. Jeremy pointed out how much time I would save if I would just type out the information, print it out and be done. But how cute would that be?

Seems like my to do list lately is longer than my time to do it list. Try to remind myself that that is a good thing and if kids have to fend for themselves a bit more it builds character! Love to you all. I am going to go crash in bed for some make up snoozing and ignore the piles of muddy clothes until tomorrow!

Love you all and very, very Happy Birthday Mom!