Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 3
Sunday, April 29, 2012

You know its been good when...

Spencer went on a camping trip with the deacons Friday night.  You know its been a good trip when he came home Saturday and took a 5 1/2 hour nap on the couch, without being asked.  He came home dirt and pancake batter encrusted but with a big smile on his face.

We had another week of family.  My dad, mom, sister and sister-in-law Griselda drove out Wednesday.  All the women went to BYU to live at the dorms for a few days and attend Women's Conference together.  My dad came and stayed at our house to spend some quality grandpa time with my kids and to work at the Family History Library.  You know its been a good few days when it seemed way too short and no one is ready to be done.  BYU brownies, girl family bonding time and inspirational speakers.  I came home and just didn't know where to start at trying to explain all the thoughts and experiences I had.  It was awesome.
To top it off my friend Brenda was able to join us for most of the days.  I returned home to happy kids, house intact and a wheelbarrow of weeds that my dad had worked on.  Now if it could just have lasted a little bit longer.  But we are going to my parents in a month and will see everyone again.  They all left in the early morning hours Saturday for the long trek home.

Earlier in the week had just been spent mostly with me preparing to be gone.  I always feel like I am preparing for a huge excursion when I go away.  My kids don't care if the laundry is finished, or bathrooms cleaned etc but it makes a difference to me.

Saturday the girls and I got to attend Allison's friend's dance competition and cheer her on.  It was fun to just snuggle my girls in an auditorium and enjoy the afternoon.  Jeremy had a photo walk at the tulip festival and then raced home to take me to a play, 'Crossing Delancey'.  One of those old fashioned plays were the earnest, sincere boy wins out and the humor is based on the human condition and every day life.

You know its been a good week when really that is all I can say.  It was good and everyone has smiles on their faces...and I wish my family lived closer.

love, Heather
Allison's 4th grade program

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Family - its all relative

This week was one of regrouping after spring break.  I loved having my kids home for a week and loved sending them back to tackle the household jobs that built up and to rethink summer days a little bit.  This month is one of family as this weekend we crashed my sister-in-law Mimi's sister's graduation.  Is that convoluted enough of a relationship.  They are so warm and welcoming to our family that we just feel like we must be family.  So Friday night we got to go to graduation at BYU and indoctrinate our kiddos a little more and then off for BYU ice cream and swimming at their hotel pool for the kids.  Mimi then came home with us and some very tired out kids to spend the night before catching a plane home then next day.  Much too short of a visit but we are greedy and appreciative for all the family we can get.  Robyn lost it a little Friday night when she realized Mimi was only staying one night, quite heartbreaking to watch. You can see the rest of the photos from this night over in this gallery.
Spencer may love Mimi but with my girls its absolute adoration
On Saturday, while I was driving Mimi to the airport and to visit a friend along the way who had just lost their 4 month old son, Jeremy was holding down the home front.  Which in this case meant soccer games.  He entitled this: "bring it on"
And the 3 amigos:
See more of the soccer photos here.

It was a sport morning as Allison spent the morning at a softball clinic.  Then that afternoon she had a reunion with our old neighbor friend Maryn.  Running in the sprinklers and hanging out in the hot tub.  Such a rough life for a little girl.  Lately Allison has been pulling this grumpy silent treatment out whenever something isn't exactly what she wants.  Not sure if its better to ignore it and hope she snaps out of it or give her the attention she wants which I worry will just feed the habit.  A frown seems so out of place on her face.

Taylor had a tough week.  He stayed home from school two days and Jeremy had to make an emergency run over once with meds.  I don't think he was sick but he could not stop seizing.  By the end of the second day his eye looked like this from constantly straining:
But he seems to be coming back around.  He always has seizures but the non-stop ones seem to come in waves.  We can give him Diastat to knock him out of it but then once we give it we can't repeat it when he sinks back into seizure mode a few hours later.  Sort of stinks.  So with visits to ERs in my head kids and I ran errands late Wednesday night while Jeremy comforted Taylor.  Then of course because we were prepared Thursday he started to come around.  That is always the way it goes.  Every time we have an emergency it is when there are no back up meals in the freezer.

Our week of rain and storms turned into warmth and sunshine.  I have a bike short tan line from Saturday and girls have pink tinged noses.  The yard is greening up and flowers are starting to bloom.  It just makes you want to stay outside.  Saturday night Jeremy and I had a double date with our friends the Hancocks and we explored the new outdoor mall across from Temple Square.  It is a very beautiful place with city creek running through out it, lots of garden spaces and fountains.  I think a few thousand other people decided it was a beautiful night to check it out as well as we were literally cheek to cheek at times.

But I intend to enjoy this warmth while it lasts.  Windows are open airing out the house.  Went on a family bike ride to the park tonight.  Everyone is just eager to hang out outside and get rid of some cabin fever.

love, Heather

This recipe is from  I have tried several of her recipes and have loved them all - with my kids having mixed reviews.  But this recipe we all agreed on.   I have written it the way we cook it.  A few months ago we went out for Thai food and had pumpkin curry for the first time.  I loved it and have been playing with recipes since.  This keeps great for a day or two in the fridge.

Pumpkin Curry - Serves 8 generously

1 onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
3 tsp chicken or vegetable boullion

Mix together in a small bowl:
2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Take the small bowl of spices and divide it in half.  Put 1/2 the spices into a medium sized bowl along with the ground turkey.  Mix together by hand and form into small 1" meatballs.
2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.   Put the meatballs onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
3. In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil.  Add onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add carrots and rest of the spices.  Cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the pumpkin, boullion, cinnamon and cocount milk to the pan.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and gently add meatballs.  Heat thoroughly.
4. Serve over rice and topped with chopped green onion, or shredded coconut or cilantro.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hall's take over the tullip festival

Jeremy stayed up last night processing some photos from the weekend....

You can view the rest of the collection of photos over on his photo site.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trial Run

This week was spring break, otherwise known as a trial run for summer.  It makes me re-evaluate things a little bit and make a few more plans before kids are out for the summer in 6 weeks.  For example after a full day of a doctor's appointment with Taylor and going to the zoo, we pull in the drive-way to have kids seriously ask me, "so what did you make for dinner, we're hungry".  So good practice at pacing myself, letting the days be spent enjoying kids and keeping a little time and chocolate in reserve for mom's sanity.

Half this week was sunshine and half was rain - a typical spring.  Monday the kids enjoyed spending the day outside with a water party next door and working in the yard.  Last fall I decided to just stop working in the yard when it got cold thinking everything could wait until spring.  I think I may have made a mistake with that decision.  But weeds are gradually getting under control as I fill up garbage cans every week.  (FYI - while kids were gone I quietly disposed of our cat who was gradually rising out of his grave - disgusting, gross and unmentionable - the things a mom does)

Tuesday Taylor had his appointment with the ortho surgeon.  I love Primary hospital as they take my kids playing catch in the hallways all in stride.  It has to be one of my kids' favorite places to go as long as the appointment isn't for them.  Taylor's left hip which wasn't healing very well before is now almost completely healed while his right hip which was making great progress before has now slowed way down.  The doctor has no idea why his hips are healing so slowly even for a disabled child but its still getting better so we just keep pumping in the multivitamins and milk and practicing his walking.  Then with the temperatures getting up to almost 80 degrees we hit the zoo.  It was packed with us having to go clear up the canyon to park but we had a great day.  Outings are getting easier although the gloomy gus's and negative speech keep popping up.  Definitely room for improvement there.  Best part of this week was that Taylor genuinely enjoyed all the outings and was happy, chirping and interested.
Allison brought a friend to the zoo with us

We put together a book list after much discussion to read together this summer.  We got a jump start this week with Spud Murphy.  It always surprises me how much we all enjoy reading together despite everyone's different ages.  We finished our first book (very short one) this week with kids begging to start another one right away.
Wednesday we went to a park to play and roller blade and then off to see a matinee.

The good weather disappeared that afternoon but kids were persistent that until they had actual frostbite that it was still a great day to play outside.  Spencer filmed Taylor enjoying the grass.

Wednesday we also had an appointment with Spencer's psychiatrist.  Nothing new just a routine check-up.  Most of Spencer's issues now are behavior based that he just needs to learn to deal with - or should I saw we.  But he did bring up an interesting point that kids who get bi-polar before puberty will also get some form of ADHD 80-90% of the time.  He said that usually it doesn't become a real issue until they are 15-18 years old.  Does make me stop and think.  Spencer is just stoked this week that he grew another inch and is now 5'7" and can look Jeremy in the eyes.

Thursday with another friend of Allison's in tow we met up with cousins and Kelly at in-n-out for lunch and then hit the indoor pool.  Everyone else must have thought a rainy day was a good day for the pool as well but Taylor and I just hung out by the hot tub and enjoyed the chaos from a distance.  Garion came home with us to play for awhile and they played Risk for a few hours until we cut them up at 9.  I never thought our kids could happily play a board game for a few hours.  Really, never, ever thought it was possible without bloodshed.

Friday we met up with some friends for ice skating.  Robyn now has it down and just does laps around us.  If you have ever seen Spencer have issues with shoes you can imagine the issues he faces every time we go ice skating but he pulled it together and had a great time.  Taylor loves to get pushed around the ice and I love holding onto his wheelchair for balance.

Friday night we had a two-fer date.  We took Spencer to do baptisms for the dead and then dropped him off so we could go out to the movies.  Date night is wonderful.  Just being somewhere without kid voices is wonderful, I really don't care what we do together.

Saturday we spent the day with Jeremy's family.  His sister Jonnalynn came into town with her husband Erik and their baby.  We ate brunch, walked around in rain and freezing conditions through Thanksgiving Point and the tulip festival and then came back home for pizza and to visit some more.  The highlight for our kids was riding around on Erik's golf cart that he procured when the rain got a little miserable.  It was good to spend it as a family just hanging out and getting to know Jonnalynn's family better.

Jeremy is still fitting in photography where he can.  He had a smug meet up this week where he learned about lighting and then he had a studio night taking pictures of a fire eater.  He invested in a fog machine for that event so Halloween should be cool around our house this year.

So tomorrow I am going to clean and re-group after this last week and send the kids back to school a little sad and a little bit happy that I have 6 more weeks before school is out.

love, Heather

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter minus one egg

This is one of the many reasons I married Jeremy.  I had a small inkling of what kind of dad he could be.  I messaged him Wednesday that Allison was having a tough day after a row of tough days.  She has been getting up early to get her jobs done so she could play with friends but then keeps finding her friends couldn't play.  She knew it wasn't really true but she was feeling a little left out in the cold.  So Jeremy shows up an hour later with baseball game tickets in hand to take Allison out for the night.  Allison hurried to "dress up" and was off with the biggest smile in her face.  She couldn't believe that her dad wanted to just take her and no one else.  Add onto that the fact that she got a game ball and she was floating on cloud 9.
Monday night for family night we went to the petstore.  Jeremy has shared the news about Chaz joining our family already.  It was a little comical how excited our kids were - think Christmas morning only with animals involved.  Spencer literally screamed, (in a very girlish voice that cracked us up) when we pulled up to the parking lot.  So this week Spencer has been learning and at times loosing (don't get me started on that) and inadvertently killing crickets as he learns how to feed and care for Chaz.  Throw in the learning curve and nerves as he learns how to hold him, how to take off the screen without punching a hole in it (did that once already so lesson is now learned and tears have been shed) and there has been a lot of excitement and emotion in our life.  For spring break we are bird sitting 2 parakeets plus a dog next door.  Throw in the fact that with the spring weather our dead cat's tail is now poking up out of his grave and we are feeling a little zoo like.  Thank goodness for open windows and febreeze.
Jeremy has been trying to plan time for his photography more and have a purpose behind his photo sessions.  So this week he had a photo shoot to work on some skills and then do some product shots for work as well.   Friday night Jeremy and I went to the mall and out to see the play Xanadu.  First we learned yet once again why we should never split up at stores, I never hear my phone.  The play was as corny and as sarcastically funny about the 80s as you can get.  We laughed a ton.  Saturday night Jeremy was off to take engagement pictures of my cousin Whitney so we enjoyed a kid and movie evening here.  Did I mention that this means Jeremy was not home for one evening this week where he could just sit and relax?  Having a bunny roll and watching a TV show late at night with me, doesn't really count.
I had a Relief Society luncheon this week.  When I told Robyn what we were going to, this is how she appeared a few minutes later:
She loves Relief Society and has grown up with these ladies and our events.  She used her best manners to eat lunch next to me and then to pass around the favors afterwards.  And then she got her hair cut into a cute little bob.  Her hair is so fine and delicate it just breaks constantly if we try to keep it longer.  She alternates between thinking she is so cute and looks like the American Girl Doll Kit or thinking she has a boy's haircut.  Typical Robyn - storm and sunshine.  After her soccer game this Saturday she and Allison reminded me of how lucky I am with my girls:
Friday we had a day of snow and wind and rain and coldness.  But it has magically gone with the Easter weekend and I have been spending as much time as possible outside weeding and hanging out.  Taylor has been on a blanket next to me chirping away and loving a sunshine filled life once again.  Saturday morning I went over to a nearby trail by the Jordan River to run with a group of friends.  It was fun to go someplace different and push myself to go longer than usual.
For Easter we dyed Easter eggs and hunted for them this morning after kids checked out their baskets.  We are still missing one egg.  Since I hid the eggs just 30 minutes before they came downstairs you would think that couldn't happen but it did.  I am sure we will find it sooner of later.  This year we tried dying our eggs with oil in the mixture to give them a marbleized look.  They turned out very cool.  Egg salad sandwiches for breakfast.  Taylor ate two whole ones - that is 4 pieces of heavy wheat bread, 4 eggs plus a couple glasses of juice.  He really likes Easter.  Ham is cooking in the oven and candy filled eggs are waiting downstairs to be hidden outside. 
I have always appreciated Easter and what it celebrates but it has hit me more in the past couple of years.  It is one thing to be grateful that I personally can live again and be forgiven of my sins thanks to our Savior.  But then you are married and have kids and realize you will never be parted and it means a little bit more.  And now I just think that someday I get to know and be with a perfect Taylor and Spencer.  No disabilities or bi-polarisms in the way.  Can't really even imagine it although I try but it makes me tear up every time.  Sometimes I wonder how different we will all be without our limitations in the way, whether they be self-imposed or not.  So Happy Easter everyone, I am off to score some cadbury eggs.

I got this recipe off of  It is Taylor's new favorite breakfast.  He will eat them until his stomach literally pops.  I admit it is one of my new top favorites as well.  The recipe is for one serving and then you just times it for how many servings you are making.  If I make 6 servings worth, I find that I end up with enough to really do 7 sandwiches.  I will warn you that these are not only scrumptius but very filling and fast to do - what's not to love?

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

2 slices bread
1/3 - 1/2 banana
peanut butter
mini chocolate chips or cinnamon chips optional

Make your peanut butter, banana sandwich.  Sprinkle on a few chips if you so desire.

Mix together in a pie plate:

1 egg
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
dash or cayenne pepper

Heat a skillet to medium high heat.  Brush with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Dip your sandwich in the mixture so both sides are covered.  Cook in skillet till golden brown.  Top with syrup or powdered sugar.

This recipe is from my neighbor Elaine who is a champion gardener.  I swear she eats only from her garden all summer long and then walks up and down the street sharing her bounty.  I will be honest and admit that my kids do not care for this dish.  But the adults love it, so I have told them that its a learned taste and we will just have to keep learning!  Its great for a summer meal.  I will make this the night before or early in the morning and then let it sit in my fridge all day.  Then that night I will serve it with some barbequed fish or chicken.

Cucumber Pasta Salad

1 -1 lb. bag of rigatoni pasta or whatever small dense pasta you have in hand, I like bow-tie
2 to 3 large cucumbers - peeled and chopped
1 onion - chopped - about 1 cup
1 red pepper - chopped
3/4 cup celery - chopped
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. Accent or Mrs Dash
1 tsp. mustard
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and cool. Add pasta to large bowl along with vegetables.  Mix the seasonings together and pour over pasta and vegetables.  Chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.  Makes 10 servings.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chaz Joins the Family

Yesterday we welcomed a new member of the pet side of the family to our home. Spencer has been saving his earnings from our family job toward getting his own reptilian friend. We've known for some time this was a goal of his, and for Christmas he received the cage and many of the trimmings he needed to house a pet, but it was his responsibility to earn and pay for a pet and the necessary food.

After confirming the pet store had a juvenile in the species and price range he was hoping for, our Family Home Evening activity became a trip to the pet store. Everyone was excited for Spencer, especially Spencer!

After much deliberation and an eventual "car vote" the final name for him was dubbed Chaz. Ringo was a close second. Of course Dad had to break out his camera and get several portraits of our new friend.

Mom is not all that excited about the tiny crickets this guy eats, but hopefully with some careful practice we can avoid letting them loose in the house. Kids thought it was especially cool to see him eat his breakfast for the first time. Hopefully Chaz settles in and we avoid any mishaps so he can stay with us for years to come.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

I have been trying to figure out hos to eat kale in our family.  So far this is the only recipe that has been successful!
Zuppa Toscana

  • 7 C Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 small onion, diced, sauteed
  • 1/2 pkg. bacon cut into small pieces
  • 4-5 cups chopped kale
  • 1 lb  mild Italian ground sausage cut into pieces
  • 3 to 4 potatoes scrubbed and cut into small chunks (skins left on)
  • Heat a fry pan to about medium heat. Cook the sausages, bacon and onion till browned. Then remove to a plate lined with paper towels to de-grease.  If you skip this step you will have a small layer of grease on top of your soup like in my picture.  Tastes great, but doesn't look so nice.
  • Put everything in a large pot and bring to a boil and then simmer till potatoes are tender, around 1 hour.

I love this picture of Allison!
 Yesterday was my sick day.  Wind storm outside, general conference, family, naps and 8 pm bedtime inside.  Perfect timing.  After 11 hours of sleep I feel tons better, although I am still feeling pretty lazy today.  I keep saying "I'll get to that tomorrow".
Spencer & Garion, electronics in hand, between sessions
The lovely Kelly and the smoked meat bearing Jason
 Last week I felt like I lived at the school a little bit.  Tuesday I check Robyn out a littler early from kindergarten and we were able to chaperone the 7th grade field trip to the dinosaur museum.  Robyn loved all the attention and I learned that there is a big difference with a junior high field trip versus a kindergarten field trip - night and day difference. 
Then Spencer got to be honored in the school assembly for being on the honor roll so with kindergarten carpool in tow we went to cheer him on.  He is starting to connect the idea of good grades and fun awards together in his mind.  Its been a good thing to see him start to get his act together.  On Friday he got to go play laser tag all afternoon as a school award for good grades.  Such a tough life.
Allison had her end of the year choir concert this week.  So an extra practice, an ice cream party, a school assembly and a concert.  I went to the assembly and then Jeremy went to the concert.

She was quite nervous about her solo but rocked it like she does most things. I swear that sometimes that girl is just a little too good to true but then that little mischievous side comes out and I am reassured. Sunday she got up early and made everyone pancakes, eggs and bacon - by HERSELF. Saturday I came home from an early bike ride to find her doing Robyn's hair after getting Robyn all ready for her soccer game.  With her choir concert she had a birthday party right before and had to make the tough choice with her friend to leave the party before they went ice skating so she wouldn't miss her concert.  She is on a roll.  But since her room is currently full of stashed trash and half eaten treats I am reassured that she won't be translated anytime soon.
Jeremy had two fun photo shoot events this week.  One night was a food lighting night.  Then he went on a 24 hour cleanse after selling his old camera without any photo devices.  Then his new camera arrived - hence lots of pictures this week.  And he had a before opening hours photo shoot at the aquarium.  Because he was one of the four lucky ticket holders he got to go into the tanks and exhibits and just had a great time doing it.
I finished up painting the living room and putting furniture back.  I am still working on touch ups but am getting to the point that I just need to walk away and say it is good enough.
We had a week of summer temperatures, getting up into the 70s as the warm air got pushed ahead of a cold front.  This means kids running, around outside, me pulling weeds and that soccer started once again.
Taylor has had a good week of chirping and being back to normal.  Seizures have normalized.  I went to a training night at his school and learned about guardianship for when he turns 18 and everything that is involved.  Made me feel a lot better now that I know what needs to be done and when.  I had one of those whoa moments when I realized that in two years:
1. I will turn 40
2. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary
3. Taylor will turn 18 and officially have to be declared our ward
4. Spencer will get a drivers permit
5. Allison will start junior high and young women's and go to girl's camp
6. Robyn will be baptized
We are definitely going on a trip that year.  I am brainstorming already...tropical or someplace just very cool to visit.
At that training night I also went to a class on social skills for children with autism/aspberger's.  There are a LOT of similarities with Spencer and his bi-polar.  I am almost beyond the point of worrying about there being anything else going on with him and just glad for ideas on how to teach him to learn and function better.  He is doing good but there is so much to work on that sometimes it just makes your pull your hair out.
Saturday night Spencer and Jeremy went off for priesthood and a night of grease and meat at a local hamburger join.  The girls, with a reluctant Taylor in tow went shopping and then out for frozen yogurt.  Every six months I make a list of what clothes our kids need, we go through closets and sort, pass down, D.I. and then go shopping.  I sometimes think I am too militaristic with my kids but when we head out with their list in hand, it makes shopping much easier.

We also found a new addition to our garden.  Since we finished up the first Anne of Green Gables PBS movie last week, he was formally named "Gilbert", although Robyn was pulling for Gnomeo for awhile.
Now I need to gear up for back to reality.  love, Heather