Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 3
Sunday, July 31, 2011

Look ma, no crutches!

Dear Friends and Family,

Why can a routine week of no big events still feel full?  Best news is that I got rid of the crutches and now am just doing my best impression of Lurch, with one leg being two inches higher than the other and being unable to bend at the ankle.  Wasn't hurting at all till last night, I think I might have overdone my walking a bit on Saturday.  So hopefully all the bones are healing and my kids are just relieved to no longer be at my beck and call constantly.

We had friends over twice this week to visit and eat together and both times were hung with rain showers.  We have had the worst luck this year with rain storms.  So we postponed our pioneer day fireworks till Tuesday night.  Kids did their kids gone wild impressions with friends dancing wildly around the fireworks and enjoying the strobe light effects.  They were almost giddy with the fact that they were up and it was dark outside.  School starts in 23 days so there is a feeling of get the most fun out of summer in the air.

Backpacks arrived in the mail this week and I braved Old Navy with kids in tow to get uniforms.  Robyn doesn't need anything but shoes thanks to her sister but Spencer and Allison needed quite a few things.  Robyn asks every day if school has started. 

We had a ward day of service yesterday.  Allison got up early in the spirit of the day to make every egg sandwiches for breakfast for everyone.  Then we had our thought and prayer (with Spencer not yet in the spirit groaning) and did our family service of cleaning out our shed.  Got rid of a bunch of toddler bikes and toys which really needed to be done.  Then we went to do our ward project which for us was cleaning all the nursery toys and weeding a family's yard.  Followed by ice cream sandwiches.  Our kids really enjoyed it and the ice cream didn't hurt at all.

Rest of the week was working in the yard, pool time and friends, late nights etc.  Still trying to encourage Spencer to go out to hang out with the kids his age.  He still likes to stick with the 10 year olds rather than the 12 year olds.  I am amazed at how hard he finds it just to interact and goof around with other kids.  Nothing I can really do about it but keep encouraging him and trying to have kids over.  You wouldn't think going to go play tag with a bunch of boys would cause him so much grief but it does.  Hopefully he will figure it out.

Jeremy taught the 5th Sunday lesson today about priorities.  So he has been staying up late trying to pull his thoughts together this week.  He did a good job, I always enjoy listening to him teach.

Taylor had his last few days of school this week.  One day he walked 84 feet!  He doesn't walk voluntarily and it is really more of a controlled fall.  If he thinks you will help him at all he leans his whole weight on you.  He still goes to physical therapy once a week but we took the gait trainer back this week.  Right now its just practice and getting his muscle strength back up.

Love to you all, Heather

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scout camp - take 2

Dear Friends and Family,

This week saw Spencer going to his second scout camp for the summer with our current ward this time.  Jeremy went up with him on Monday and then came home late Tuesday night while Spencer stayed until Friday.  It was a primitive campsite meaning no running water, toilets, showers etc but they all had a good time.  Monday they persevered despite a huge thunderstorm with mud and water everywhere and lightening striking all around them.  Spencer fished a bunch and caught 4 fish, 2 completely on his own which is his first ever.  He hiked, slept out by himself, rode a horse, orienteering, worked on auto maintenance etc and came home grinning, sunburned, tired and extremely dirty.  He loved the geo-caching merit badge and has been taking anyone willing to find nearby caches.  I have been surprised at how many there are near by.

The girls enjoyed a girls only week at home as Taylor was in school four days this week.  We went to the pool, to a movie, out to lunch plus all their little classes.  Our neighbor's kids were visiting so they invited our girls over to use their pool which they loved.  Monday night they were channeling Jeremy as all they wanted to do was watch a movie, eat nachos and cuddle - an easily filled request.  We went through closets trying on uniforms to see what was needed.  Robyn cannot wait now for kindergarten to start and asks every day if its time yet.

Stopped taking ibuprofen this week so my foot must be healing.  Crutches are a real pain and I am grateful for a neighbor who ran over to get Taylor off the bus for me.  I will admit there have been a few pity party moments until that little cynical voice in my head points out how ridiculous it is to be upset that I need to sit around and do nothing more.  Saturday with some help I worked in the yard and was amazed at what can happen in two weeks.  Hello weeds!  Kids have been shelling peas all afternoon from what they were able to pick.

This week Jeremy took his picture of the temple for me. He has been trying for a LONG time to get the exact shot he wanted for me to hang on our wall.  So this week, on the way home from Scout Camp he saw conditions looked good and put off dinner and shower and green goo for his bright red sunburn and stopped at the temple and got the shot he wanted.  So this week we hung up our pictures:
Taylor has been enjoying school and going to physical therapy.  He walked 84 feet this week at school so he is doing much better.  Although walking is still not done voluntarily or without a lot of prodding.  But he is happy and chirping away most days now.  And eating a ton which is always a good sign.

Macho, the cat we inherited from Laurie, got the boot his week.  He is now officially an outside cat.  And despite the amount of mice and snakes we catch him eating he still thinks he should live inside.  But Monday Allison came down to ask me who spilled yellow juice all over her journal, her bed, her floor etc.  Macho just decided to mark everything.  He did it once before when we first got him to Spencer's room and because we didn't catch it right away, the smell lingered.  Spencer's room still doesn't smell the most pleasant despite all our best efforts.  So out the door he went and we broke out the green machine.
Jeremy had a full week of scout camp, bishopric visits one night, emergency preparedness visits one night, a photography event and then a date with me.  On a sad note our respite worker decided her life was getting too busy to continue working for us so she quit.  So our kids babysat themselves while we went to the movies.  Its probably best that I don't know exactly what happens while we are gone although we get periodic texts that make us wonder, "Robyn didn't want to go to bed, so I had to carry her and make her"(spencer)

We had a cousin night Friday which our kids loved.  Spencer, Garion and I played Risk for 2 hours and still didn't finish the game.  Now that we know what we are doing, the game is a lot more fun and moves faster.  The first time we played it was painfully slow.

This week on Wednesday I get to start walking without crutches as long as it doesn't hurt.  I am very excited to get rid of the things.  I have easily gotten into the habit of sleeping in now that I can't get up and go run.  Lazy feels so good in the summer!  Love to you all, Heather

Pictures from our mock camp-out a week ago
Girls at our neighborhood of fire

 Since having these hamburgers at his brother's house, Jeremy has fallen in love with them.  And since even Allison has given them a thumbs up they are quickly becoming a staple in our house.

Jeremy's Chipotle Hamburgers

for 6 hamburgers

1 c. chopped sweet onion
1/2 c. crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)
1 egg
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. pepper
2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
6 hamburger buns

In large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients.  Mix it together with your hands till it is well combined. Shape into 12 thin patties.
Combine cheddar and cream cheese.  Spoon onto the center
of 6 patties.  Top with the remaining patties.
Press edges firmly to seal.
Grill burgers, covered, around 10 minutes on a side.
Serve on rolls.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Take it easy

Dear Friends and Family,

Yep the above picture is my foot.  Since it was still hurting and swollen a bit this week plus I couldn't even wiggle my toes I realized I probably broke something.  So I finally went in and yep the 3rd metatarsal is broken and they thought perhaps the 2nd and 4th too but they were still waiting for the radiologist report.  How?  Good question.  Wouldn't be caused by me rolling my feet so somehow I had stressed the ball of my foot and then just took that magic step where it broke straight across.  When I go back in a month for x-rays and hopefully a smaller boot they are talking about doing a bone density test to see if I have brittle bones.  But since there is no history of it my best guess is that its from me trying to run on the balls of my foot more.  So I had to laugh when they said crutches for two weeks would be best with no weight bearing.  But with kids being my legs for me, Taylor in school and Jeremy playing the role of super dad its working so far.  In two weeks if it has stopped hurting I can start walking on my boot which will be wonderful.  Guess I wasn't listening to that voice inside my head telling me to lighten up so God stepped in to make sure.  Really has shown me how my kids aren't used to picking things up as they go and how anal a person I am about doing things.  Does having a sock sit in the middle of the floor for days on end, really a big deal?

The kids are being good sports about it.  Spencer "walked" Taylor from the car to his room for me today.  They loved going to Costco and hopping rides on their little motorized cart.  It has been a good awakening that mom the good fairy can't go around closing doors and picking things up right now.  I just feel very clumsy and slow most of the time and am trying to remember that patience and not chocolate is the answer.  And am surprised at how easily I have fallen into the sleeping in mode.  I swear my body isn't able to function without an extra hour or two of sleep right now.

This week everything seems to have taken much longer than usual.  But we did have a fun day at the Dinosaur Museum.  It turned out to be pirate day so the girls enjoyed looking for the treasure chest and getting their faces painted while we checked out all the exhibits.  We were supposed to go camping this weekend but we didn't think that with Taylor and I being very mobile that that was a good idea.  So we did a stay camp.  We packed up our hot dogs and s'mores and went up the canyon to eat dinner and play games.  Then we came home and Jeremy took the bullet and stayed out in the trailer with the girls. Since Spencer is going to scout camp again this week he stayed in with Taylor and me and air conditioning.

Jeremy had a couple of photography meet ups this week which he enjoyed.  Amazing guy needs it after picking up my slack this week.  We printed out some of our family pictures and are trying to figure out how to hang them up on our wall.  Photos next week.  Had a relief society dinner at our house one night that was really fun.  It was just for the presidents in the stake and it was neat to hear all the things they are doing in their wards.  Even better to do so while eating yummy food and watching Jeremy put a cranky Robyn to bed.

5 days down and 9 more to go on crutches!  love, Heather

I put the cool whip on too early so it kept falling off.  So I will have to make it again for a better picture!
This cake is also known as better than sex cake but since we have a G rated household we stick with Heath cake or better known as Taylor's birthday cake since that is what we make for him every year.  Easy to make, and Taylor loves it, as do the rest of of us.

Taylor's Birthday Cake/Heath Cake

1 box of your favorite chocolate cake mix
1 can condensed milk
1 container carmel ice cream topping
1 12 oz container cool whip
1 package Heath Bits or 4 Heath bars crushed into pieces

1. Make the chocolate cake as directed for a 9x13 pan.  Bake it.
2. Pull the cake out and immediately with a table knife or chopstick stab the cake as many times as you can all over till it is full of holes.
3. Pour the condensed milk and caramel all over the cake.
4. Cool completely!  At least 4 hours.
5. Frost the cake with cool whip.  Sprinkle Heath bits on top.

This recipe is from Taylor's first Primary teacher Heidi Iordachescu and is easy and addictive to make.  The fruit tricks you into thinking its a healthy dessert but it is perfect for a hot summer day.

Fruit Pizza

1/2 c butter
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/4 c flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, peanut butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Beat in the rest of the ingredients.  Spread dough out by hand onto a greased pizza sheet till it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Crimp the edges with your fingers.  Cook at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

1 8oz package cream cheese

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 c cool whip

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together till smooth and creamy.  Stir in the cool whip.  Spread over the top of the pizza.

Top with your favorite sliced fruit in whatever pattern you think looks good.  Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes, peaches, kiwi etc.  If you like melt a cup of milk chocolate chips, stir in a spoonful of nutella if you want and drizzle it over the top of the pizza.

Chill and serve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Neighborhood of fire

Dear Family and Friends,

We had that moment of realization this week there there are now only 6 weeks left till school starts.  And there are still so many summery things we want to do!  Plus which we are getting into the family being together all the time groove again instead of the pull my hair out and lock myself in the bathroom with a cookie so I can have a moment of quiet groove.  We are having a mini-monsoon season this week so we have actual humidity and sudden violent downpours and lightening.  Between the fireworks and thunder our dog Rocky is living either at our feet or locking himself into the kids' bathroom.

Monday the kids were inspired to finish up jobs as fast as they could so they could prepare for the neighborhood of fire.  We always have a moment of panic and think that no one will show up but people always do.  Lots of yummy food, watermelon seed spitting contests, fireworks and little boy pyromaniacs and sparklers kept everyone happy to hang out and just relax despite the occasional rain drops.

Taylor continues to improve a little bit each day.  We tried out a walker for a little bit but he seems to do better without it.  He is starting to get his balance and reflexes back a little bit but can't move his feet very quickly to catch himself.  We are taking him into physical therapy every week for an hour and then working at home and at school.  He really doesn't walk yet but he is standing pretty well.

Last Sunday I was walking Taylor in my heels to his wheelchair and roller my foot when he gave a sudden lurch.  Really hurt at the time but it was fine thirty minutes later so I didn't think anymore of it.  Then on Monday morning I ran a nearby hill with my friend Jenn.  Felt great till a quarter mile from the end when the top of my foot started to really hurt.  By the end of the day I was limping pretty good and it was swollen and hurt.  It is still a little swollen and still hurts a lot if I try to walk on it.  So no running this last week and probably not this week as I limp along everywhere.  It made me realize how much of the day I spend on my feet and moving around.  I can wiggle my toes now though so there is improvement.

Wednesday we picked up Allison's friend Andra and went ice skating.  The coldness of the rink felt so good after high 90s outside.  Robyn got a little walker and just did non-stop laps, it was great.

Friday we grabbed some other friends and headed off for our BYU day.  We went to the Bean animal museum, had a picnic, toured the art museum, had ice cream at the creamery and stocked up on ranch dressing, played at a park and then kids cooled off for an hour at our neighbor's pool.  What a tough life our kids have sometimes!

Friday night for our date Jeremy and I went suit shopping.  His 1997 double suited heavy suit is not enough when he has to wear it every day.  So shopping and dinner for our date night.  Saturday night was our annual outdoor musical with kids at SCERA.  This time we brought Taylor with us and laid him on a blanket in front of us.  You could tell what songs he liked as he would lift his head up and applaud.  He did get a little bug eyed when we had to sit through some hard rain for 10 minutes before it cleared up for the evening.  It was Camp Rock and had lots of kid actors in it.  My four favorite moments from the evening: Spencer pointing out that the bad camp director had "bejewled buttocks".  Robyn watching most of the play with a barbie veil over her face because she was inspired by her Fancy Nancy books.  Jeremy pointing out the older good camp director's dancing.  He was the only older actor - in his late 50s I would guess - and his dance moves were just hilarious.  And then stopping on the way home to watch the American Fork fireworks from the perfect vantage point.  So it was a good night.

Allison got new glasses this week and is quite proud of her new look.  Jeremy pulled up a younger picture of his mom to point out how retro that style of glasses truly is:

Rest of the week was full of our normal jobs, kid classes, church meetings etc.  Taylor goes back to school for 4 days this week which he will enjoy.  He gets quite bored just being home all day despite our best efforts.  With all the rain and hot weather our tomatoes have turned into a jungle and raspberries have started appearing.  Girls chins are looking suspiciously purple when they come inside.

Love to you all, Heather
watching the stadium of fire fireworks at BYU from squaw peak
Tried to start reading Anne of Green Gables with our girls.  Not a hit yet.
Robyn still sleeps with her mask on every night to keep the monsters away.

Dear Family and Friends,

What is the purpose of playing sports if you can't do it with your friends?  Allison had her last softball game a week ago and Robyn's last game is this coming Tuesday.  Although I am looking forward to having our Tuesdays and Thursdays free once again they have loved running around with friends and I have loved spending our summer evenings cheering them on and chatting with friends.

My Dad flew home Monday with all of us sad to see him go.  We ate as much red meat as we could while he was here and enjoyed every moment.  Summer hit full force this week with temperatures in the high 90s almost every day.  We had one morning of a heavy  summer rain and I quickly opened up all our windows to get a little fresh air blowing through.  Between little kid sweaty funk and a dog who likes to clear a room, it was a very good thing.

I realized that we did all these fun activities this week and I was so busy having fun that I didn't take one picture.  Spencer did take one for us of Macho enjoying his latest kill under the deck.  He can't take care of the mouse in our pantry but the garter snakes in our garden better look out:

The three minions and I headed off for 7 peaks Tuesday to use up their free reader passes.  It was hot and crowded and the water felt great.  Once a year is just perfect for me but we loved every minute of it and had to drag Robyn away kicking and screaming from the water slides.  Saturday we had a pool day with Jeremy too so we had our share of sun and water this week.  Robyn's hair is almost white from all the chlorine.  Robyn is like a fish.  I don't worry about her getting dehydrated because she spends more time under the water than above and is just fine with all the water she must swallow.

Taylor had his first physical therapy appointment this week.  His therapist had a resident with him to do all the work.  At the end of the hour the resident was dripping sweat, Taylor had a big grin from all his passive resistance (I swear he takes a sick pleasure out of it!) and the therapist had a list of homework for us to do and a walker to bring home.  Taylor had three days of school this week and they put him on a treadmill with a harness to try to get his feet moving again.  He will stand for us now - for short periods of time, and very unwillingly and unstable - but he does not want to move his feet at all.  He won't take a step voluntarily or even move to catch himself if he falls.  Allison and Robyn were fasting today that his legs will start working again.  I walked him into the shower this week and looking in the mirror at him realized he is just bones and skin right now with very little muscle.  But we are working on it and he is gulping as much whole milk as we can give him.

Kids had their eyes all checked this week and have new eye glasses ordered as their eyesight had another big jump.  Spencer was convinced he didn't need new glasses until the doctor showed him what his prescription should be and he just was like oh, that looks a lot better.  Robyn continues to have Jeremy's eyesight and we will keep our fingers crossed for her.  We already know she has my teeth, hopefully she won't get all my defective genes.

Spencer had a big adjustment this week after scout camp of having to do jobs and live with a family again.  But sleep and attitudes are coming back around thankfully.  Yesterday I found him walking the lawn mower down the street to do neighbor's lawn that Jeremy had suggested needed to be done and he wanted to do it and surprise us.  Of course he got there to find their family had come over to do it already that morning so he got the feel good feelings without the sweat involved.

Friday night we went to a baseball game and then enjoyed the fireworks afterwards with cracker jack in hand.  I won't say we watched the game as our kids have somehow lost the skill to quietly sit and hang out and visit.  We need to get that back as I really miss just sitting and visiting.  Saturday night we went up to squaw peak to overlook the BYU stadium of fire and watch the fireworks from up there.  It was a beautiful view of the whole valley and the sunset.  Kids were much better at just sitting and getting along for two hours before it got dark.  Except for Robyn.  She just has a twitchy bug in her lately that likes to excite the twitchy bug in Spencer and then they just go berserk.  Definitely lots of room to improve there.

Jeremy conducted for his first time today and has a suit weighed down with tithing envelopes.  I think we need to reinforce his pockets.  Robyn came over to ask me when dad would come sit with her again and had that moment of realization that this was not a one time thing.  He is over deacons so gets to go to activities with Spencer which will be a good thing.

This week felt much more laid back and enjoyable.  Perhaps its because I found a good book at the library that kept me enthralled while kids ran circles around me.  Or perhaps its the strawberry milk shakes we had.  But it felt nice to just relax and hang out with family and catch up on some of our to do list.  Tomorrow we have our neighborhood of fire and kids are planning out their water balloon strategy.  Should be a fun 4th.

Love to you all, Heather