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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Biking along

Dear Family and Friends,

As you can see from above, Monday, Spencer went bike shopping with Jeremy. After deciding that walmart bikes in the small adult sizes were a joke they bought a nicer bike. Spencer was a little unsteady after not riding a bike for a few years and crashed in the store while trying it out. His bike is a bit big for him but just fits at the lowest setting. Figure he will grow into it. The blood on his leg from the crash and the rain did nothing to dampen his spirits. He got up early at 6 so he could be all ready for school and spend the time before school riding laps around the block. Jeremy was super dad as he also fixed Allison's tires, so we now have two bikers in the family. After school every day this week, Spencer and Allison have set off for a mile long "big kids only" bike ride. Robyn has had tears but the big kids have been grinning ear to ear. Spencer has crashed a few times so he has been diligent in wearing his helmet. He has gotten some grief about wearing a helmet from some kids down the block but so far he has resisted caving into the insults.

This week spring arrived. It has been either cool and sunny or super windy. Kids have been breaking out shorts and running around outside whenever the wind dies down. Robyn and I planted pansies and "Alice in wonderland flowers" and pulling up buckets of weeds. We now have patches of our yard that look good. In the spring I always have high hopes for our yard. We planted a bunch of seeds inside and are waiting to see if they will grow. I am trying to grow tomatoes and peppers from seed this year, which I have never done.

This was a week of performances. Spencer's class put on their 5th grade opera Friday night. I was able to go for the two dress rehearsals and see the behind the scenes work. There were two 5th grade classes who performed. Spencer's class was all student directed. They wrote it, choreographed it, picked the songs etc with a little teacher guidance. They had a great time doing it. The other class was teacher written and directed and was a very formal affair. Two totally different approaches and each class thought they were the best. Friday night was a bit packed as before the opera, Allison had her piano recital. My "magic box" (a tin full of that weeks small candies) was called into service by Robyn but she stuck it out. Allison did awesome and had no worries or stage fright at all. She felt a little bad that 3/4 of the students were playing harder songs but for where she is at, she did really good.

Tuesday night Jeremy spent it at our neighborhood caucus. It was packed and turned into a very long event. But he stuck it out and voted for our neighbor to represent us. He also got to go to an informal photo shoot one night and do baby portraits one night at our house. He is trying to get back into taking pictures again now that organizing Photocamp is over.

Robyn's cough from a week ago has been incubating and finally caught up with me. So I have been hacking away and unable to talk or function too much at times. Friday we had a combined stake auxiliaries luncheon. There was a freak snowstorm for the few hours we had it while we ate salads and lemonade inside. I think the ladies were eyeballing my food as I sucked on my cough drop with trepidation. Saturday night Jeremy and I did initiatory at the temple instead of an endowment in case I started coughing. And of course I did. There is something about knowing you can't cough which just makes me loose it. Little ladies were bringing me cups of water, tissues, cough drops etc. I am sure they used plenty of hand sanitizer as I left. But I don't feel sick anymore, I just have that annoying can't stop it cough.

One of my week's highlights though was that I got to go get my hair done. There is something about sitting in a salon being taken care of that just makes me feel good. So now I am a true blond again. I tell my girls that I pay every couple of months just so my hair can look like theirs. I was also able to go with Nicole, Mimi's sister while she met with the seamstress to have her wedding dress altered. Robyn loved to see her looking like a princess.

Next week at this time I will be wearing shorts in Arizona. Can't wait. Jeremy is going to drive down with the kids and me, fly back and then fly down again to drive back with us. I was a little nervous at the idea of driving by myself with kids so I greatly appreciate his efforts.

Spencer went to his first scout meeting this week. They talked about their upcoming camp out next month which has him very stoked. Had two sweet moments this week. I really wasn't sounding too good Thursday and Friday as I hadn't discovered overdosing with Chloreseptic yet. Spencer and Allison got up early Friday by themselves and were all ready for school by the time I came to get them out of bed. And then Saturday they set their alarm so they could wake up while I was running and I returned to find they had made me an omelet for breakfast. They took Jeremy breakfast in bed and made omlets for themselves and Robyn as well. Spencer was chef and Allison was general dogsbody. Trying to remember things like that when we have hissy fits over objects being lost, the right shirt not being washed etc.

Love to you all and hope you have a wonderful Easter. Kaelan, Happy Birthday!

Allison took the picture of me below and then ungracefully consented to a picture of her and Robyn. She always puts on a pose of not liking her picture being taken when she really does like the attention. Hence lots of smirking pictures lately.

A couple of late additions. This first one is Allison's recent piano recital.

And a short highlight reel of the 18 minute "5th grade opera" he participated in.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The first weekend of spring

Dear Friends and Family,

My hair reeks of smoke from our first weekend of spring celebrations. Girls broke out their summer clothes and the fire circle was resurrected. The first s'mores of the season tasted so good especially since we used Symphony bars with toffee pieces in them! Jeremy gave Spencer an entertaining lesson on how to use an ax. Robyn told Spencer when he hit accidentally hit a bush that "You're not listening to Jesus" which made us all crack up. She has a really good Sunbeams teacher this year and the lessons are sinking in. We have our idealistic family moments such as when Allison washes the dinner dishes and Spencer runs to get a football so he and Allison can play catch. And then reality catches up as Spencer tries to "instruct" Allison no the correct playing of volleyball. But it was a great family night together as we play catch up from this week.

This was the week of Jeremy's photo camp. So he spent time in pre-meetings, getting supplies. I spent time getting supplies for him. And then he had meetings late Wednesday night. He had a mixer Thursday night. Then he had a photo class to attend all day and evening Friday. And then photo camp was all day Saturday. I would wake up at midnight and say hi and then say good-bye again before the sun was up. So he is happy but fried right now. He is busy reading all the follow-up comments and pictures of the event, enjoying the good ones and worrying a bit about the few bad ones out there. He had 330 people attending Saturday with hundreds watching online so it was a bit of pressure.
Robyn went with me to get gift cards for the volunteers from Coldstone. She thought all the errand running was great!

Spencer had a great birthday. I was feeling really on top of his birthday for once. Made him breakfast, got doughnuts for his class, balloons for his chair at home. Jeremy took him out per tradition for his lunch with Dad at Chinese Gourmet. I made his favorite dinner - brats, tater tots and fruit salad. His new boyscout uniform fit. He was all excited about his new wii game and books from my parents. Then we packed everyone up to head to Costco to buy his bike that I had pre-shopped for. Evidently I am not the person to do bike shopping with! So...few tears at the lack of instant gratification. Solved by ice cream for everyone at home and looking online to find the right bike. So he is stoked to try out Walmart tomorrow with the correct person to go bike shopping with...his dad.

Spencer had his maturation night this week. Jeremy had his photo stuff so Meredith came over to hold the fort and Spencer and I went to listen. Actually was not bad at all and am glad we went. The health teacher who talked to just the boy group did a great job of not really focusing on the birds and bees portion but more on the physical changes that goes along with puberty. He shared a bunch of really funny stories that kept the boys interested and from getting embarrassed.

Allison continues to love her guinea pig. Notice in the picture how she helps her finish her lunch:

She was able to go to a cooking class at the rec center this week with a friend. They made banana split cupcakes and mashed potato stuffed hot dogs. She thought it was wonderful - I wasn't tempted to even taste them! St. Patrick's day Allison and her friend Andra spent the afternoon making leprechaun traps. Friday morning (her leprechaun was running a bit late) she found a bouquet of flower suckers inside her trap. Although Spencer scoffed that I lied about not putting them there - she has the heart of a true believer.

Robyn was so beat by Spencer's birthday festivities that she just decided to lay down and fall asleep one afternoon. I was busy devouring 'The Help' a book I highly recommend, that I didn't notice till she was out. She was battling her cough till halfway through this week which tired her out too.

I had a neat experience this week. On Tuesday the Stake Relief Society got to feed the Provo missionaries for a zone conference at our stake center. So I got to make a bunch of brownies and serve up pulled pork sandwiches. Afterward they had us come out, stood around us and sang "Called to Serve" and then each one shook our hands and said thank-you. It was pretty inspiring. They seemed so young and came from all over the world. They were pretty pumped though to be all together and seemed to be having a great time.

Lastly my big news for the week is that a short story I wrote about Taylor last year was published in April's Ensign. It was truly a little thing that I feel ridiculously happy about. But it makes me happy that hopefully my small experience could be of some benefit to someone else.

love to you all and happy spring, Heather

p.s. just a side note that all the good pictures are from Jeremy and were taken with his PHONE - I think my snap and shoot camera should at least be able to beat a phone, don't you?

Monday, March 15, 2010

And now for some recent photos

Some recent family photos to go along with Heather's posts. Hope you enjoy :)

The girls enjoying their pizza...on the floor

Midnight's new leash, which she is not fond of

How Spencer enjoy's his pizza :)

A must have accessory for his DS

Little girl arti direction in process

The 3 rock climbing experts about to embark on another conquest

Enjoying some family bonding at the Mayan, which has surprising good food now

A little impromptu floor portrait session with little Sam. Unfortunately it didn't last long and we never found time to do more shots another day. Perhaps over spring break!

And finally, a short video of the traditional "Happy Birthday" & candles for Spencer. Hope I don't get nailed for copyright infringement for putting a video of this online to share with distant family!

I have been putting these misc family photos just in one gallery on my photos site where you can grab the full resolution version of any photos. Videos are going here in this gallery. If it is a specific event, I may make a gallery to group up those photos, but otherwise they are all being put into that gallery.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A week of celebrations

Dear Family and Friends,

After sadly saying good-bye to my brother Daniel last Sunday, we got to enjoy Mimi, Claire and Sam two more days. Monday the weather pretended spring had arrived and we headed out to Taipan Trading (this huge decorating store) and Gardner Village. The girls got to eat more than their fair share of treat, feed some very fat ducks and see baby chicks. The day flew by way too quick. I did find a cool knitting yarn store that I only got to peek into at Gardner Village so I will have to return sometime to check it out with my mom or sister. Then Mimi and her sister Nicole went off for the evening to find a gorgeous wedding gown and a temple dress. The rest of us got to entertain Sam and Claire and had a great time. Tuesday was a bit sad as our guests left but we are going to chase the warmth and sun down to Arizona in a few weeks for our spring break so we will all see each other again soon.

I went shoe shopping this week to find Taylor some new shoes for his daffos. He is starting to accept that he will have to walk in them now. He absolutely refuses to walk for one of the aides - teenage rebellion they are calling it. I was able to go to an open house at his school and see how they walk with Taylor on the treadmill so we are going to start adding that in at home.

I sort of took the week off of normal chores last week. So my week was mostly errands, laundry, paying bills, sorting out art supplies at the school and all that other necessary stuff. Robyn was a trooper for most of it although after passing by racks of sandals at one store she insisted it was time to unpack Allison's closet. Every few months we got out a new box of hand me downs from Allison's closet. Robyn thinks it is Christmas. She has been sporting Allison's favorite pink rhinestone sandals all week long - rain or shine. The other kids and I did an inventory of their closets. I am actually anal enough that they have a little survey to fill out about what clothes they have and what they should have, what they need, size, style etc. They actually thought it was fun especially when Allison had a light bulb go off in her head that if she didn't have all the clothes she needed for summer that she could get new ones. She literally ran to her room to start counting her underwear out.

Jeremy's big photo camp is next week. So he has been busy with meetings and a trial run this week, getting everything into place. The keynote speaker is having a workshop Friday and a mixer Thursday night. So Jeremy has been busy setting that up as well and is excited to attend Friday to learn. Our garage is currently full of sodas and snacks for the event. Of of my errands this week was thanks to Jeremy doing photography for the "pearl lady". I was able to go over with Robyn to pick out some new earrings. I no longer have little babies yanking my ear lobes so it widens my choices quite a bit. I love when Jeremy does trade work.

Friday Allison took her guinea pig, Midnight, in for show and tell. She sure loves that thing. We put a little dish into its cage to catch the drips from its water bottle which keeps soaking up all its bedding. She thought it made the perfect toilet. I didn't realize that you can toilet train a guinea pig. On Saturday, Jeremy ran over with Allison so she could buy a guinea pig leash. Midnight hasn't let her put it on all the way yet but I am sure by summer she will be taking Midnight for walks. On Friday was Spencer's math pie day to celebrate March 14th or 3-14. I was informed Thursday that he needed a pie Friday morning - nothing like a lot of notice! Made me glad we bottled some apple pie filling last summer.

Friday we had another spring like day where I weeded and fertilized. Then we had snow and rain all day Friday so it definitely motivates you to seize the day whenever sunshine is present. That afternoon Jason and Kelly brought their kids over to stay the weekend while they went to Colorado to visit her brother. So we have had a cousin party weekend. Friday night all the girls, Taylor and Meredith and I went up to the U of U to watch a gymnastics meet. I am not sure how much the girls enjoyed it besides their enormous rice crispie treats but it really was an awesome spectacle. They had 4 colleges making the circuit around the floor with 11 thousand fans in attendance. The feats they can do blows the mind. Robyn started off the evening with a cough and by the end was really hacking away with a fever. So she has been homebound since. There is something about cousins being over that brings out the germs in our house. By Saturday Brynn was coughing too. I am really chugging my vitamins and washing my hands right now!

Saturday I took Kayla and Allison and we went to Nicole, Mimi's sister's wedding shower. I am out of practice on wedding showers as all I go to now are baby showers it seems like. So I forgot what the presents are like. But the college kids in attendance curbed their comments and I covered the girls' eyes if necessary. Allison chugged away monkey bread refreshments and it was a lot of fun. Saturday afternoon was Spencer's birthday party. Mom and Dad, your present arrived and is wrapped on our table. Jeremy took Spencer, Garion and our neighbor Connor up to a rock climbing gym for the afternoon. Boys got over their anxiety after a few climbs and had a great time. Jeremy came back with sore arms from being the sole person to belay them for a few hours. Had pizza, cake and ice cream and then watched a movie. It was a good night.

This weekend has made me feel that Jeremy and I are not the most fun aunt and uncle out there. I feel a bit badly at times about that. But then someone does something they shouldn't and I am the spoil sport all over again. At least they like their cousins and hopefully someday Brynn will forgive us. It has been a fun weekend though and our kids and us will be sad to see it end.

We all forgot daylight savings time this morning. Thought I got up early with Brynn but I guess I didn't! I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning and getting up in the dark again. It has been fun running outside without a flashlight! Spencer very reluctantly showed us his 5th grade maturation program flyer. Its held Thursday night and since Jeremy will be at a photo camp thing I get to go be with all the dads and sons to hear the sex talk. Spencer really, really does not want to go. His response, "You already told me everything and I hope I never have to hear about that stuff again!" A promise of ice cream afterward seems to be warming him up to the idea.

love to you all, Heather

Our Saturday afternoon. A tea party, a beauty salon with Allison being the hair stylist and then an art studio.

This week I opened a can of nutella. Our kids, thought chocolate on toast for breakfast was wonderful. They ate it up quickly with a look of "I better eat this before Mom comes to her senses".

Since Jeremy was the only adult there he took this picture with his phone while holding all the ropes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A week of family

Dear Friends and Family,

This has been a week of family as my brother Daniel, his wife Mimi and his two little girls Claire and Sam arrived Tuesday to spend the week. So Monday and Tuesday was full of laundry and cleaning house and then we have been playing the rest of the week.

So this week's blog is mostly lots of pictures. All the good pictures are on Jeremy and Mimi's cameras but I figure mine will do until theirs are available. We have consumed tons of junk food and treats. Gone to try out Five Guys - highly recommend them. We went to Cabella's and walked around the animal exhibits and had a girls only lunch out. We went to the Mayan to cheer on the divers and visit. The girls were in heaven watching the show there. Kids were out of school Friday so we were able to go up to the Children's Museum in SLC. And thanks to a generous storm we were even able to fit in some sledding and snowman time. So it has been a great, fun filled week. Spencer missed part of it but he didn't mind in the slightest as he went to his cousin Garion's birthday and sleepover.

Allison has been trying to be Sam's second Mom and is almost hurt to the quick if you don't let her play or hold Sam. Robyn is loving the built in playmate with Claire. Mimi and Daniel have been staying up late catching up on episodes of Glee. Mimi's sister Nicole and her fiance Brody have been able to hang out periodically too. On Wednesday night Jeremy did a photo shoot with Nicole and Brody, having Mimi run around as his assistant for an engagement picture.

Despite it being such a fun, busy week I don't have much to say other than that I love having family in town.

Love to you all, Heather

Allison's snowman

Robyn's snowman. (Spencer had one but due to a distinctly grumpy, tired mood he knocked it over because he couldn't get it to look right. A spell of reading in his room and sitting in the hot tub put him all back to rights again.)

Robyn was in heaven at the Children's museum. She could care less if we were with her or watching her. When it was time to leave, it was a good thing we had candy waiting in the car as motivation otherwise it would have gotten ugly.

Taylor got new daffos this week. He does NOT like them yet. He was wearing them unhappily at the museum. But I put Sam on his lap and he just lifted his head up with a big grin on his face. Couldn't catch the grin but he sure enjoyed his cousin's noises.

The museum is really under Spencer's level of interest. But he was really good to be Robyn's "buddy" and play with her and show her around. But first things come first - have to eat lunch before you play.

Daniel spent Wednesday afternoon at home with me while Mimi was doing photos with Jeremy. He was like the pied piper as kids followed him everywhere. He played Mousetrap with Spencer. The first time that game has been officially played since we got it at Christmas. All the other times the kids just want to set up the trap for the mouse.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Meet Midnight

I was telling Heather yesterday that I am always impressed with Allison's creativity with pet names. Of course, she is unfortunately getting a lot of practice at coming up with new names!

I have high hopes that this one will have some longevity. I was told the pet store attendant said a guinea pig can hold their own in a fight with a cat. Let's hope it doesn't come with that.

As you can see below, we have a proud, happy little girl. First order of business after having been away from the home for any length of time is to give Midnight some attention. Midnight chirps away her approval.