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Sunday, July 26, 2009

It came!

Dear Family and Friends,

Friday night the hot tub finally arrived. Jeremy and these guys strong armed it up and spent the evening getting it all set up. Saturday morning kids were quick to get their jobs done so they could try it out. Since we made them shower every time they took a dip, they were very clean by the end of the day! Watching Allison and her friend Andra "swimming" in the afternoon when the temperature was hitting 100 degrees didn't look too enticing to me but they were in heaven. Meredith took Taylor in Saturday evening and he approved by going into his limp noodle happy place.

This week was a lot of odds and ends. Tuesday I took Spencer and Allison to 7 Peaks a local waterslide park for the day. I promised myself that next year I would take Robyn but this year I sure enjoyed the luxury of just doing stuff with the big kids. As we waited in line my friend and running partner Brenda pulled up with all of her kids. What are the odds? I only go once a year with the kid's free reader coupons they get at school. So with friends to play with my job became more supervising and following them around. Spencer got the courage to try the vortex with me (more commonly known as the toilet). He is finding all the scary rides turn out to be the best. Then Brenda's little boy Gabe wanted to do the Free fall ride with me. So I along with all the scared to death but not wanting to show it boys tried it out. You literally fall straight down this open slide and for a while loose any contact with the slide and then you level out at the bottom. Very freaky. I did it once to keep my cool mom status and then just watched as the boys all decided it was the best ride there and needed to be done multiple times. Allison and her friend Andra were happy to have me float them around the wave pool and the tiny tube slides. We all had a great time and it took some doing to get the kids to leave at dinner time.

Friday afternoon we spent the day at the pool with friends in tow. Ran into our neighbor there so lots of friends around to occupy kids. Spencer and his friends spent the whole time trying to do this underwater skateboard floaty thing. I just watched Robyn do the baby slide over and over and followed her around. Allison has her routine down pat - float, do underwater gymnastics/ballet, eat and then repeat. Came home all tired out. We had planned to go to an owlz baseball game to celebrate pioneer day but that was nixed at the last moment with the hot tub's arrival. Turned out to be a good thing as I was so tired I fell asleep watching Robyn take her bath! And then our neighbor across the street invited us over for fireworks. They had made a trip to Wyoming and were loaded down. Lane (the dad) let Spencer shoot off Roman candles with Lane helping. When shooting them off for a second time after all the illegal major fireworks were done a city police car drove up. So Spencer got a little lecture with Lane but they were let go with a warning. One of the fireworks went off sideways causing us all to leap to our feet to avoid the pieces. Allison and all the girls decided to watch the rest of the fireworks from across the street after that. They were holding their own little rave over there dancing and watching the strobe effects of the fireworks on their shadows on the fence.

I was so tried Friday night because I finally made it to 10 miles. Felt fine legs and lung wise but I tried taking this liquid nutrition stuff halfway through called goop and man it did a number on my stomach. Good thing it wasn't race day! Don't think I will try it again. There are a couple other brands out there I might look at but perhaps I am just meant to not try to eat anything while running.

Robyn is always looking for a friend to play and had Raquel over this week to play and have a picnic in the backyard.

Kids and Jeremy go their hair cut this week. We went to the local beauty college where the students doll them up and they just eat it up. Allison went a lot shorter and I really like it. Spencer went almost to a buzz. Robyn got bangs to hopefully prevent her hacking any more off. When Allison saw Spencer she told him "wow, your hair looks cool". When she asked him for his opinion on hers he told her that it looked "hideous". We had a little talk about biting our tongues! He just said he was expressing his opinion because he thought all girls' hair should at least be below their shoulders. Nevertheless Allison remains confident in her cuteness.

My 2 day project of finishing a book case/night stand for Robyn's room turned into 2 weeks but I finished it yesterday. She is busy filling it up with anything she can find.

Spencer got his retainer this week and is back to wearing it all the time until his teeth straighten back out. In 6 weeks or so he should be back to just wearing it at night again. Met with the drug study doctor again. I really am getting tired of the process especially since I don't think it really makes a difference. They did wonder if Spencer's inability to sit still without periodically moving is caused by the drug. Spencer is excited because this week he will have earned enough from the study to buy his Nintendo DS.

Jeremy was able to do a photo shoot this week. You can see some of his pictures in the thumbnails on the side. Besides the hot tub he also got a drummel tool this week to fix our bedroom door. For the first time in 2 years we can now lock it. The luxury of being able to take a shower without company (kids and kids friends) joining me. Robyn and her friends think nothing of having a conversation with a buck naked mom. Not to mention that its much nicer to cuddle with your hubby without a little voice asking "what ya doing?".

Haven't been doing much in the yard lately besides mowing and keeping the front fairly presentable. Did notice that my squash and pumpkin plants were dying. Couldn't believe you could overwater squash but thats what it looked like. Yesterday though I finally got around to weeding and noticed that they are literally covered with squash bugs and eggs. They look pretty cool but they are everywhere sucking the life out of my plants. Tomorrow we are having a bug killing party. Spencer and Robyn are quite excited. Allison volunteered to watch!

Last night Jeremy I had a chick night of eating at a very girly restaurant I wanted to try (Jeremy was astonished that their idea of a portebello burger did not involve any meat!). And then went to the temple. It was a live endowment session and it was neat to watch all the new people going through for the first time. Next week I get to fly out and go through with my sister Christina which I am very excited about.

Summer days seem busy and go by fast but we are all good. We had our last story time this week at the library and have our end of the summer party next week. The school supply lists just got posted. It seems like summer just started! I can't really get into the mind set of thinking about school when its a 100 degrees outside. Nice part about school is that our hour of quiet time on Sunday afternoon does come with any protests. I think the kids are all happy to lay by a fan and veg for awhile.

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Days

Dear Friends and Family,

This has been a week of summer and kids. Temperatures kept climbing all week. Kelly had PRK surgery Monday and we got to have the cousins over for the day Mon, Wed and Thurs. We all had a great time but I was glad I don't have 7 kids all the time. By the end of the week I was in sort of a grumbly mood where thoughts of "I do everything around here" start to float through my head. But mowing the lawn in 100 degree temperature allowed me to mutter to myself for a while till the heat and sweat got all the mean-ness out and I was able to snap back into the reality of how much luxury and ease my life has in it! I started listing all the wonderful often chaotic things that went on this week. Like saying that I got to take a 20 minute nap today instead of saying Robyn woke me up just when it was getting good by jumping on my stomach!

But seriously it was a good week. Kids were ecstatic to have cousins over to play so much. Spencer was waking up early to do his jobs and sharing with us his fast and loud rendition of supercalifragilistic... at 7 am to get us all up. Everyone got along really well. Wednesday was a little funny in a non-funny way as Kayla threw up all over Jason's new truck as they turned into our neighborhood. So Jason was out there scrubbing and muttering away in our driveway while Allison helped give Kayla a bath and tucked her into the couch with a throw up bucket. But a two hour nap and Kayla was as good as new.

We learned that we can fit 7 kids into our car with everyone in seat belts as we drove Allison to gymnastics, Spencer to karate and took Spencer's retainer mold in to get a new retainer made. ($100!! I told Spencer that he better guard this next one with his life!) We even tackled storytime. Each kid took a younger cousin with them to their story group and they all were great.

Tuesday was our big annual trip to Lagoon with Jeremy's work. I have so many vivid almost snapshot memories of being there as a teenager. I could almost see Grandma sitting on the bench by the merry go round. Meredith took Taylor to the zoo for the day where he had a great time. I snapped tons of pictures so this will be a mommy style blog of kids having a great time getting wet, and riding rides. I sort of consider myself a wimp at amusement parks because I don't like the rides that make you sick. But it is amazing what you will do for your kids. Go down river rides that get you soaked (twice! so each big kid could have a turn with me), riding in circles in little helicopters with my lips clamped tight so I wouldn't hurl. But Spencer rode with me on wicked despite him being very scared and said as soon as he finished that it was the most awesome ride ever! Even Allison stepped up and went on the water slides for the first time by herself and tried out the old roller coaster. Jeremy went with her on the coaster and said he has never seen such a look of pure terror! We met up with Jeremy's work for a BBQ and everyone got a company shirt that Jeremy had designed. They say Echo, Foxtrot, Niner on them standing for EFN. Our kids thought they were very cool.

Friday I spent the morning getting a physical at the doctors while Meredith was here with kids. Wanted to make sure I wasn't over doing it with the iron supplements and since I was there... So I got poked to get my immunizations up to date. My arm is still sore! And they did a bunch of blood work. Turns out I am barely not anemic now so the iron must be working. But my cholesterol is way too high. How does that work?! Seriously felt betrayed by my body on that one. And since my blood pressure was way too low (70/40) he said to start eating lots of salt and drinking water to see if I can bring it up without meds. To make up for the shots I stopped for my birthday pedicure that Jeremy gave me. I couldn't quite figure out the design the lady did till Jeremy pointed out that it was a flower with a caterpillar next to it. (He actually said slug but I think caterpillar sounds cuter). And I went grocery shopping without kids - spent so much less and was out of there in half the time. So a great morning off for me.

Friday afternoon Meredith took Taylor to the pool where he floated and chirped away in the cool water. She said as soon as they got in he just perked right up! He doesn't like it when it gets super hot. He had summer school a few afternoons this week and the last day the bus didn't show up. After 30 minutes of waiting in his chair outside Taylor looked just wilted so we called it a day. (30 minutes after that the bus calls to say they broke down and were still on their way - but we were done trying for school that day). Spencer had a birthday water party to attend. So the girls and I went in for Allison's eye check-up. She hasn't been able to see the clock lately. Found out in 6 months her eyes jumped from -1.2 to -2.5. The doctor said she must take after me! I feel extremely guilty for my faulty genes. So we went to Costco and she picked out some turquoise sparkle frames for her new lenses. They have to sent your frames in to get the new lenses installed. So rather than going without for 2 weeks she is going to have a back up pair.

Friday night Jeremy had a girl's pizza and movie night here with Taylor along for the ride. He went to buy a manly style pizza with them to make up for all the estrogen. Spencer and I had our date night. We went out to dinner and to see Harry Potter 6. That movie is good but it is long! I knew it was really long when Spencer started doing yoga (literally!) in his seat. Good thing we had some tolerant people around us.

Saturday morning Jeremy had a photo thing going on. And I had a very important appointment I couldn't miss. So the kids and I prayed together, I put the phone with my number on it in their hands, turned on the TV and they promised to watch Robyn like a hawk. Spencer was quite proud to babysit and I was a nervous wreck. What was my so important appointment? Getting my hair done - I felt very selfish about it. Called home and they were fine, watching TV together, not breaking out the knives. My neighbor was on alert to come help out if they needed it. Don't know if I will do that again as I worried too much. Told the lady I wanted a chin length bob. Think she hear ear length bob as that is what I got. But I am blond again and my hair will be perfect in a month or two! Saturday night we left Robyn and Taylor to party with Meredith and the rest of us went to see West side story at an outdoor theater. Spencer and Allison loved it. We ate a picnic there, played on the playground and then watched a really well done play. The temperatures came down to 85 so it just felt nice to be outside.

Following is a ton of pictures as I brought my camera to Lagoon. Love to you all and best summer wishes, Heather

As we walked out of the park, Spencer decided to get soaked. So he drove home, wet, happy and wrapped in a towel.

Last ride of the day was the tea cups. The kids loved it and were raising their hands the whole time laughing. Made me sick just to watch!



This is one of those make you sick rides but Allison was scared to go on it by herself


Allison couldn't carry her tube. She was such a light weight she kept getting stuck at the top of the slides and the life guard would have to give her a push

Robyn as always - eating away

Us at Scera Park. We have learned through experience that kids get separated by adults int he seating arrangements.

My self portrait after my hair cut. What a schnoze! Spencer told me that he liked it better long and that I needed to put a bright red stripe in my hair next time. Said it would really look good on my face since it wasn't very thin. So nice!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A NORMAL week - thank goodness!

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has helped me appreciate the art of doing nothing. It was a week of just normal everyday chaos and errands with nothing big going on. Caught up on laundry, repented and went visiting teaching, mowed the lawn and started painting Robyn's nightstand. Nothing major. Kids played a lot with friends. They were thrilled to go play night games one night this week (hide and seek in the cauldesac). Spencer was convinced night games meant playing in the pitch black and didn't understand why he had to come home at 9:30. The fact that it was dark and everyone else had gone home didn't seem to phase him!

Jeremy had a bunch of church stuff this week helping with the youth's pioneer trek for our stake. He spent one night loading up gear. Took off most of one day of work to haul gear up and then spent Saturday hauling gear back. Long days for him. He is thrilled though that he found a spa store owner who wanted to trade for a web site. So Jeremy's hot tub is on its way! Should be here by next week. For FHE Jeremy talked about water safety as kids think nightly swimming sessions should definitely be on the agenda.

Thursday night Jason and Kelly graciously stayed with our kids while Jeremy and I went to the Stake Relief Society yearly social. Our Stake President is director of events at the conference center/assembly hall etc. So he gave us the tour of all the buildings. One of the neatest parts for me was walking through all the underground tunnels that go all over temple square area. We saw the first presidency room in the tabernacle where there is a chair from the temple that had been used by every prophet since Brigham Young. I sat in it for one second but thought I might be tempting lighting bolts to go longer. Then we all had dinner at the garden restaurant up at the top of the Joseph Smith Building. It was really a neat evening.

Friday we all went up to Spencer's doctor's appointment together. Luckily his psychiatrist hadn't been able to keep the appointment so instead we did a call in the previous night (me whispering while tip toeing around the assembly hall). So it was a short 30 minute visit. During which Allison had a major nose bleed, Robyn decided those chairs were made for jumping off and Spencer was accepting with ill grace that this wasn't his and Mom's time this week. But we all recovered and went home by way of our favorite candy store and shady park. It is amazing how much happiness one dollar can buy for our kids. They had sticky hands wrapped around their bags of gummy goodies (can I have 5 cents worth of that candy and now 5 cents worth of that one - a VERY patient candy counter lady!). I had my stash of chocolate to hide and protect and peace and good will returned to the land.

Friday night we drove down to BYU to visit their planetarium. Spencer went with the scouts several months ago and has been asking us to go as a family. It ended up being more educational than entertaining but I learned a lot. And kids liked it a lot more in retrospective than in actual fact. But they all thought it was cool to be at BYU - brainwashing them early!

Last night we celebrated 7-11 day and went (along with Allison's friend Alena) to clean the office, pick up slushies and Little Casears pizza. A little bit of melt down when eating on the lawn and sprinkers came on drenching the girls. But it was hot and am sure it felt good. Once they realized there was more pizza to replace the ones they had lost, everyone was happy. Seems like we have tears a lot lately. Robyn: "Allison keeps touching me. Wahh!" or "Allison's won't let me play. Wahh!" Allison: "Robyn licked my popsicle, no one ever is nice to me Wahh!" Spencer: " Why can't girls just stop crying! stomp off". It never lasts long, is almost comical at times but man does it get annoying!

Allison has been busy learning how to roller skate this week. One of her friends has a pair of roller blades and a pair of roller skates so they have been going out together. I realized why she likes the roller skates better lately when I watched her yesterday - I can predict stitches in her immediate future if I don't find her some pads. Mom you legacy lives on as Allison has been knitting away and teaching her friend how to knit. Her eyes have gotten worse again as she can no longer read the clock so we are going back in for another eye exam.

Our garden has just been going to town. Kids are asking when the chocolate zucchini bread is going to appear. They weren't as excited about the squash enchiladas I made earlier this week. Allison took almost an hour to eat her small one scoop. I swear she thinks she is allergic to vegetables. She straightened out her attitude and has been eating her other dinners though. Perhaps its sinking in that she is the shortest girl her age and vegetables are a good thing!

Been running three times a week and am up to 8 miles. I look like an old lady when I get up but once I stretch out my foot I barely limp anymore. I am hoping my foot finishes healing up soon! We had health assesments at Jeremy's office this week and their trainer said I should run hard AND lift weights on the same day instead of alternating. I groaned and had a very painful day Friday trying to follow through. See if I see better results exercising that way. Glad I have a friend that is slow like me and helps me roll out of bed in the morning.

Normal week besides that. Story time at the library which kids love, checking out a bunch of new books and going out for the free treats afterwards. We all have warm fuzzy feelings toward our library. Small world - the head librarian is the sister of Taylor's PT from when he was 1-3 years old. Taylor was sick with a cold Thursday and Friday but is better now. Stayed up watching a new Closer episode. Made cherry-rhubarb jam. Just normal, catching up on the house life.

Love to you all, Heather

Robyn with her big sucker.

Allison and I posing for my phone. Am getting my hair done next week - can no longer call myself a blond, time for some help!

Allison knitting and painting away.

Robyn is still Robyn!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Neighborhood of Fire

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was a week of catching up on life and jobs and then some celebrating at the end. Monday was a day of cleaning. We went early to clean Jeremy's office with kids cheering for their free doughnut (courtesy of storytime's coupons) at the end. Then Meredith came over for the day which our kids loved while I met Kelly to work on cleaning Lauri's place. We were thinking we were maybe a quarter of the way through. Rather depressing to look at what still needs to be done so I am trying to focus on what has been accomplished.

Tuesday I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Not sure why perhaps it was the little girls who kept waking me up convinced someone was breaking into our house. At 3 am all sympathy and motherly feelings are gone. I tell them to lay in their beds and stare at the ceiling and just stop bugging me! In the morning I always feel remorse but I am usually too grumpy/sleep deprived to do much about it. Allison is doing this a lot lately. Keep trying to convince her that Rocky and Jeremy will protect her - she doesn't seem convinced yet. So it was one of those days where kids knew not to do anything wrong or the wrath of mom would descend upon them. We babysat our old neighbor Angie Jolley's 4 kids for the day as they were packing up to move. Spencer was busy playing the Bill Cosby's video of "Dad is great, he gives us the chocolate cake". Last Sunday we had chocolate cake for dessert with Jeremy serving it and singing that phrase. So of course our kids had to see the original video and then Spencer being Spencer - if its funny once its even more funny after you show if multiple times to everyone you know! I went to bed early and no one woke me up and happiness returned once again to our kingdom. Jeremy had a photo group that night which was good timing as I was not good company to be around. Kids were happy and tired after playing with their old friends.

At gymnastics Wednesday Allison had a momentary scare after being stung twice by bees that had flown in an open door - her first time. Once she realized she wasn't allergic and that it wasn't too bad she calmed down, sucked it up and had a great time working on her flips. I just enjoyed once again having a handle on life with laundry done, lawn mowed and all the misc household things that make me happy. Allison once again got ringworm, this time on her shoulder. It makes me look with suspicion at every kid with a band-aid to figure out who she is catching it from! Allison and Robyn had two friends, Sarah and Tally Shippen over for the afternoon and enjoyed playing together. Spencer ran around with scouts checking off pin requirements - he is socking up the pass-offs for the upcoming pack meeting.

Thursday we babysat 4 kids for another friend, Brenda Hancock who was at Girls' Camp. It has been a friend week and our kids are just eating it up. Spencer used to really but heads with their boy Grant but now they get along most of the time. Went to storytime at the library. Kids love it. Every week they get a coupon for some free treat if they turn in their reading log. Then they do crafts, read books, sing songs etc. We made a big dinner to share with our neighbor whose wife is dying of cancer so our house smelled like pot roast all day making everyone eager for dinner. We have been having a lot of unusual rain storms lately but kids don't seem to care and spent the afternoon biking around in the drizzle. Robyn inherited Allison's old bike and outfits herself in knee pads and helmet and the walks the bike around. Doesn't really every try to ride it but maybe someday. It might help if it didn't have two flat tires!

Friday Jeremy ended up having the day off. Spencer and I headed up to SLC for his drug study apmt. He is now 106 pound and 5 feet 3/4 inches. We came back and picked up Meredith and rest of the family and went to Del Taco for lunch. Kids all had free lunch coupons courtesy of story time - not sure how healthy fries, soda and a deep fried taco is but they were all happy. Then we picked up a friend and all headed to the pool for the afternoon. A few months ago Jermey picked up a water case for my camera and was busy trying it out with kids happy to perform. Saw a kid being fished out who was a floater. Scary part was that it was a complete stranger who fished her out - life guards didn't notice her. Once she was able to breath and stop screaming she seemed fine. Made me a little more diligent in keeping an eye on Robyn. Spencer was busy swimming laps to pass of his scout requirements. Meredith took Taylor into the hot tub where he became this limp noodle of a kid and very happy and relaxed.

Came home with kids happy, cool and clean for pizza and movie night. I ran to the grocery store (by myself - always a luxury) and we all sat around and watched Music Man. Jeremy tried to run down for a photo op at a concert in Provo but his motorcycle battery died. A sweaty and very frustrated Jeremy called to have me come start him. So we stayed in the air conditioning and watched a late movie together.

Saturday was our big Neighborhood of Fire. We spent the day catching up on all the yardwork. Jeremy rid our yard of wasps and nests. Then we tied 400 waterballoons - a wet process especially with kids helping but when its so hot it all feels good. Robyn and Allison had matching 4th of July outfits. Don't have any pictures of them together as Allison spent most of the day in her swimsuit ready for the water fight to start. She was so excited she got up at 7 am to get her jobs all done. I tried to remember to be thankful when he piano practicing woke me up at 7:30! We had 4 families come stay for the whole thing with a few others coming just for parts. I tried making homemade dry ice root beer - tasted good but not very cabonated. Kids didn't seem to care as they guzzled it down. We ate a lot, made s'mores, tried the mentos/diet coke experiment, had a water balloon fight and ran around with sparklers and fireworks. It was a great, relaxing, catching up with kids time. Lots of pictures to follow.

Love to you all! Heather

Robyn wasn't too sure about the sparklers!

Jeremy has this down to a science now. He explains the rules, has a teen watching the bucket full of water for used sprinklers and says over and over "hold it a the bottom and walk far away".

Dads and some of the older teen boys always hop in to help out the girls.

The girls lining up.

After the coke experiment. All the kids laid down to taste the spilled soda with parents yelling for them to stop!

Robyn loved being able to spash her dad's camera without him yelling for her to stop.

Even Taylor got into the action.