Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 3
Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry Days

Summer officially started this week with temperatures hitting 100, the west side of the lake on fire all week, swimming lessons starting and PG Strawberry Days.  I love Strawberry Days, our city's summer festival.  We went to a concert in the park and ate strawberries and cream and hung out with neighbors.  Robyn didn't enjoy the mosh pit of kids in front of the goldie oldie band after getting trampled several times as kids dived for the candy being thrown out into the audience.  Taylor got the giggles when it was time to come home and Robyn was yelling at Spencer to get off the fence.  That little screech voice just tickled his funny bone.
Girls had a cooking class where they made strawberry floats, strawberry play dough and strawberry cookies.  Good thing we all like strawberries around here.

Then we had our night at the rodeo while Taylor hung out at home with Melissa.  Wild cow milking is always my favorite sport to watch.  Robyn danced the night away under the bleachers with her little friends.  Allison cheered on the horses and Spencer was in awe of the dirtbike jumpers for the intermission.
We had Huck Finn Days where they flood a local park and fill it with fish for the kids.  There are little free kid events everywhere - face painting, doughnut walks and a pet show.  Spencer inspired by my mom's suggestion to pursue the pet care merit badge brought Chaz his bearded dragon for the pet show while Allison brought along her guinea pig Midnight.  Lately if you want Spencer to talk for a few hours straight, just ask him about Chaz.  There is no limit to his conversation then and he is in pet heaven.  Robyn stuck with the doughnuts and face painting.
And then to round out our Strawberry Days Taylor and the girls with a cousin and friend in tow went to our city parade.  I love cheering on all the cheezy floats and high school bands.  Kids go wild diving for all the candy and other treats being thrown out.  And did I mention doughnuts? 
And to complete our summer days we spent a day at 7 peaks, our local water park with Kelly and cousins.  Jeremy met us with pizza and we closed the park down.  Robyn begged Kayla to come home for a cousin sleep-over.  When I took Kayla home a day later you would have thought she had lost her first born.  They love their cousins.

Taking Taylor to 7 peaks and carrying him/walking him around to the different pools etc is a serious work out.  Someone said to me how sad that you can't go on the slides with your kids but have to sit with Taylor.  And its true its sad.  But here is the flip side, I get to sit on the side of the pool, cuddling with Taylor and dangling my feet in the water and just have to sit and relax.  With Jeremy being willing to snooze with Taylor on a towel for a little bit Friday evening, I got the best of both worlds.

We have been going to swimming lessons this week and staying when we can to swim for a little bit.  Taylor loves to float around or work on his tan in the shallow part.
Taylor started summer school this week.  He goes for a few days in June and July.  So he has been coming nicely tired out each day.  Throw in all the walking I am making him do at the pool and he is getting his exercise for sure.

Girls started up their library classes this week and have been busy scratching away at their reading records as they read.  We did two non-technology days this summer each week so the books have been coming out every Tuesday and Thursday.

Spencer went in to get his warts worked on this week.  A few shots and a surgical soldering iron later and those warts are history.  It looks like we attacked him with a lit cigarette and I am worried about child services being called but hopefully they will stay gone this time.  His hypochondria came out full force but he was a pretty good sport about it.

Jeremy had a few photo shoots this week and then had an amazing day Saturday with Spencer, his brother Jason and his nephew Garion.  They went out to a truck rally to cheer on their old friend and enjoyed the fast trucks, buckets of gatorade and a stadium full of pumped up testosterone. Jeremy shared a blog post with some photos of the event.
Hanging out in the crew/team section enjoy a free lunch. Kids thought this was the coolest getting VIP treatment
Last big news of the week is that I got a new calling as 1st counselor in the Primary.  It will be fun to be back in the ward again.  We had our last stake event this week, a luncheon for all the Presidents.  It amazes me how much I have learned from these amazing ladies.  Mostly I have learned to speak less and listen more and have more love and patience.  I have a long ways to go.  Jeremy also received a new call as ward mission leader.

By Saturday night, we had such a good week that for our "date" I was out solo running errands...and I LIKED it.  I love my kids and spending all this time with them.  But at the end of these fun days I feel like I should return home to clean kids on bended knee offering me boxes of chocolate out of gratitude.  Instead I make some emergency chocolate cake and say good night, all other jobs can wait until the morning - my secret to staying sane.  And I learned a life skill this week thanks to some great neighbors.  How to change a tire on my bike.  I got my first flat ever Friday morning.  One of those skills I kept putting off learning, hoping I never would have to.  But I signed up to do a century in September so its one of those things I really needed to learn.

And a photo of my beautiful cousin Whitney's ring ceremony last week:

love, Heather

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I was lucky enough this week to not only be married to an amazing dad but to have my own mom and dad come visit for a few days.  We spent the first few days this week getting our life back in order after our vacation.  Its always a relief to be done with a mountain of laundry and to have the daily routine back under control.  And then we spent the last few days playing!

My cousin Whitney was married on Thursday and we got to spend the evening at her ring ceremony and reception along with Robyn and Spencer at the beautiful Red Butte Gardens.  It was a gorgeous evening and we got to see family that we only really see every few years.  Friday my parents, kids and I spent the day walking around the zoo, seeing a very cool Chalk Art Festival and then out to dinner and ice cream followed by a movie.  It was a good day punctuated by the sound of whining and sibling thumping that always seems to accompany family days.

Robyn had soccer camp this week with which she has a love/hate relationship.  She inherited from me a sweaty red face that looks like a ripe tomato whenever she runs in the heat.  Speaking of running.  Coming back from a two week vacation at low altitude really, really made exercise hard this week.  I sounded like a fish gasping for air.  Allison had her last softball games this week.  I am not sure how much exercise she actually gets doing softball but she enjoys playing with her friends.  We started a $50 reward for running 50 miles this summer so Allison has been running around the neighborhood every morning.  We said it could be 150 miles biking so Spencer has been going that route.  He doesn't believe in running - hoping to change that.  He grew another inch so now he is 5'8 1/2".  He has to try to jump to touch everything now to see how much he has grown.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the pool.  Jeremy brought his go-pro camera and was busy making mini-films with the kids.  Taylor just laid back and floated, chirping away.  The girls start swim lessons this week so we will be at the pool a lot this next month.  A good place to be in the summer time.

Today we made Jeremy omelets in bed and I am full of gratitude for all the dads I have had in my life.  Yesterday my kids kept arguing that it was now their time for "dad time" at the pool.  They sure love their dad.  And I have been blessed to have a dad who taught me what it means to be a great father.

P.S.  How could I forget one of the highlights of the week.  We got to go to the dentist not once, not twice but THREE times this week.  I had to get a crown/filling replaced after breaking one in California - dang cinnamon bears.  And our kids all got to have their appointments.  The dentist is not my favorite place to be but it sure is one of my kids' favorites.  Spencer is all excited to get a new retainer and Allison is thrilled to get her first.  Picking out the color and design took some serious thought on their part.  I am not sure if Allison is excited to wear a retainer or happy that her wonky teeth are going to get fixed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just photos

And because Jeremy was along for part of the trip...

Peter & Kathryn's dog Porkchop - best free entertainment around
Robyn and Kaelen were buddies for every excursion
Jeremy took this picture twice so he could remind me to "suck it in" - sign of a thoughtful husband.  Taylor loved the CA weather

Strawberries are on sale and that means jam time.  This has become my family's favorite jam.  It is from the Ball canning site and tastes like strawberry lemonade - summertime in a jar.

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

1/4 cup thinly sliced lemon peel (about 2 large)
4 cups crushed strawberries (about 4 1-lb containers)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Classic Pectin - I have also used any box of pectin I have handy
6 cups sugar
7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE lemon peel and water to cover in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes, until peel is softened. Drain and discard liquid. Return peel to pan. I usually just finely dice my lemon peel in a food processor and then add strawberries.  I chop the strawberries really finely to almost mush in my processor along with the already chopped lemon peel.  You cannot do the lemon at the same time as the strawberries as you will end up with pureed strawberries and chunks of lemon peel.  With it being chopped so fine the lemon peel cooks and softens just in the jam process.
3.) ADD strawberries and lemon juice to peel and mix well. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
4.) ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary.
5.) LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

This is what Jeremy and I woke up to this morning thanks to Allison:
All made from scratch, without help.  And here is the impressive part.  When I came downstairs, everything was cleaned up and PUT AWAY.  Gold star I tell you.

Saturday was a day of trying to get our life put back in some sort of order.  And my girls had their dance recital.  I realized that I was not very fair to them.  I made them miss the last two classes plus their dress rehearsal so we could play in California and then I drove them to their recital and expected them to do great.  Which they did.  Although they each had a few moments of having to try to remember what they were supposed to do.  Since both girls loved dance but want to try something different next year, this might be my last dance recital.  It was a good one.  And they had their friends come to cheer them on which I thought was extremely thoughtful.  Allison is the one in curls on the right and Robyn is in the middle section.

And of course we had an on call photographer with us:
Robyn was not happy to wait her turn

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Last week of school was a blur of parties, school activities, hyped up kids and kindergarten graduation.  Robyn only had 2 days of school that week so she was more than thrilled to help with the big kid parties.  Robyn class of 2024 (that sort of blew my mind a bit) had her little kindergarten graduation with her friends.
These are her carpool buddies.  Amazing that this many kindergartners are all on the same block.
Taylor had his end of the year dance festival.  He is in a class of all females this year so they did the song "Money, Money" from Mama Mia and he was the rich man, throwing out gold coins during the song.
 I just started bawling for no reason during the dance festival.  It amazes me at the love and dedication of so many adults working with these kids.  It is one thing to be bubbly and happy and enthusiastic with kids who show that they are enjoying the event.  It is another to be like that when the kids you are working with are showing such small motions to indicate their pleasure.  It was worse than a Hallmark commercial on my eye ducts.

Then it was off to California through rain, hail and snow to visit family for a long and long over due visit.  We stayed with my brother David in Auborn and got to see their beautiful home (its like a permanent vacation spot there) for one night.  And then on to my parents house.  My brother Peter and his wife Kathryn and son Tommy came by many times.  David's boys hung out for a few days while their parents were off for a trip and then stayed a few more days to play.  And my sister lives there.  So it was a mini-family reunion.  And it was WONDERFUL.  I sucked up as much family time as possible.  Jeremy good guy that he is went home after a few days to work and then returned at the end to drive back with us.

We went to Seacliff Beach (where every Memorial Day should be spent), Capitola Beach, Big Basin Redwoods, Happy Hollow, Exploritorium, China Town, rode the Cable Cars, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Francisco Zoo, the Tide Pools at Happy Hollow, Deer Hollow Farm, Shoreline to see the bay, and of course a visit to Trader Joe's at the end.  We played with Porkchop, my brother's dog till kids and dog were tired out, we cheered on my sisters' roller derby scrimmage.  We ate and ate and ate.  We visited my brother Peter's house for pie day.  We stayed up watching Slipper and the Rose and eating ice cream and It's-It's.  My mom read stories to the kids every night.  Cousins became friends.  It was just a wonderful time for all.  Allison and Lathen discovered that they were still really good friends and were inseparable for a week.  The time just flew by.  And yes there are a ridiculous amount of pictures. You can see Jeremy's photos from the few days he was there over on his photo site.

When we went places, Spencer and JJ were buddies.  They were a perfect match.  Both shrugged off the others' quirks and were willing to chase after each other.  Often...loudly...happily...with physical contact.
At the zoo there were some kamikaze sea gulls.  They would literally swoop down on the table trying to take the kids' food.  My mom had sack lunches down to a science in the morning.  Until a week later Robyn stamped her foot one morning and said, "I am not eating one more sandwich" and then she discovered granola bars and boiled eggs instead.
Taylor traveled well out to California.  Then at the tide pools he started going down hill.  Plus he managed to get random patches of sun burn where he rubbed off the sun block.  Made for a few unhappy days.  Then he rallied back and enjoyed life again.  But he crashed again coming home until tonight when he started drinking again and chirped back up.  His health and happiness often resemble a roller coaster.  But he loves napping on the beach.
waiting for the roller derby scrimmage to start
And then we had to come home...