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With the holiday weekend we thought it a great opportunity to go explore a new National Park.  You can't call it camping because we stayed in a hotel and ate sandwiches all weekend.  Our kids are currently sick of picnic food.  But we hiked and explored all day long.  Kids climbed every rock, crawled into every hole and hiked many miles.  By the last hike Allison was "holed" out.  Robyn would gasp in disbelief, "Allison, its a hole - how can you resist!"  Spencer tried to prove he was an expert rock climber at every opportunity.  It was a beautiful place to explore.  We ate mini-fruit pies at the old Mormon house inside the part, saw petroglyphs, and visited an old friend of Jeremy who farms nearby while kids played with their animals.

Yes Taylor was with us.  He was usually sitting at the trail head with Jeremy in the shade, happy to hang out while Jeremy photographed.  On the panoramic overlooks I stayed with Taylor.  You would think that was a bad thing but there is something about sitting quietly with a box of wheat thins, a good book and only Taylor to keep you company.  Because hiking with kids is not quiet or relaxing as much as I love it.

I don't know if you can make it out but even Spencer is singing. This is what happens when they discover an echo.

Taylor did really well on this trip.  The only hiccup was learning that Expedia hadn't passed on our requests for a wheelchair accessible room and the hotel was fully booked.  So Jeremy and Spencer carried Taylor and his stroller up and down the stairs a couple of times a day.  Not so fun.

Saturday night our kids literally collapsed into bed.  Its good to know that I can still hike their energy out instead of the other way around.  Sunday we took it a little easier.  We went and explored Fish Lake which was cold and windy and reminded us all of Lake Tahoe.  Then we drove an hour back to our hotel because Robyn had forgotten her pillow pet.  Spencer and Allison had prepared little devotionals for us and that and a church CD was church for us.  I was impressed that kids were actually prepared with thoughts and stories for us.  Then we stopped at Payson temple where Jeremy flew his helicopter around to get photos from the perimeter.  Unfortunately his helicopter got lost somewhere during the process.  We think it crashed.  We searched for hours.  Jeremy went back with a friend and his copter to search.  He called everyone he could think of.  And he is very sick at the thought of loosing that thing.  Not the best end to a vacation get away.  But it is a thing - a fun tool that he uses for work and church and really likes and he had to save up to get but still a thing.  We will see what happens Tuesday when all the workers return to the site.

One small town had this car sitting right after the speed limit changed.  We thought it was ingenius.

Other news of the week:

First, my hair is currently orange.  My new hair cut and highlights did not go as planned.  I now have bangs and orange streaks.  I am hoping to at least get the orange part fixed this week.  Spencer and Robyn kept asking me, 'seriously - why did you do that?!'.

Second, Robyn got some nasty warts burned off her hands.  Not a happy experience.

Third I got to go have lunch with Allison.  She heartily approves of my new favorite resturant when she realized she could say she wanted pasta, Alfredo, extra Parmesan and pepperoni and nothing else!  Her kind of meal.

Girls got to have a week of parties.  Spencer had a week of finishing up assignments and studying for finals.  Taylor got to meet with his lawyer, the thought still makes me laugh, as we get all ready for the court hearing in two weeks.  Jeremy had some photo shoots at the temple in West Jordan, both at sunrise and sun set.  Robyn and I got to go to an Activity day's mother/daughter luau which was very fun.  Allison even volunteered to come work in the kitchen for it.  So it has been a great week full of family time.  To help make sure we had lots of family time I kept all devices at home this weekend.  A few whines and moans while we were packing up but I don't think they missed a thing.  Of course this made them watch a stupid reality show on the National Geographic channel every night before bed as that was their only option.

I forgot to post a few weeks ago right before Spencer's last volleyball practice (hence the clothes) he had a guitar recital.  He was really frustrated that he lost it at the bridge but I thought he did pretty well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Race Day

The day finally came after 4 1/2 months of training and Saturday I ran and finished the Ogden Marathon.  I was so grateful for friends who brought me little treats and signs to wish me luck and calm my nerves.  I am grateful for my friend who decorated my door for when I came home.  I am grateful for my friend Carol who stayed by my side the whole time and for Kelly who showed me what an amazing marathon runner looks like.  And I am most grateful for not pooping my pants - a real possibility when I got sick at mile 16 and ended up visiting every porta potty from that point on till nothing was left in my digestive system!  It was a tough, hilly marathon and I ended up finishing at 5 hours on the dot.  I had hoped for 4 1/2 hours but I just couldn't push it harder.  So I have mixed feelings.  Glad I was able to meet this goal and finish with a smile.  But can't help wonder if I could do better.

The race course: We went to those mountains and then through the canyon.  I ran past the reservoir where I went canoeing with my grandpa, the water pipe we would hike too and many other memories.

Before the race started, shivering together up in the mountains:

We drove up Friday to pick up our packets and get dinner

We all shared a hotel room which was fun as we all tried to get to sleep early.  We didn't count on the TWO fire alarms during the night.  I still am laughing about that.  Luckily I had spent the week trying to get to bed early to get lots of sleep.  The only problem was I have two kids who stay up a little later, and one who isn't supposed to.  The night after every kid woke me up after I had gone to bed, Allison made a sign for my door.  I don't think I am very pleasant when I get woken up:

This week I spent in our garden.  I have been planting flower pots and vegetable gardens.  Yelling at chickens when they got out and dug up all our seeds.  And basically living outside.  One of my favorite weeks of the year.

Spencer got his hair cut this week in between trying to finish up his end of year assignments:

This weekend Spencer  and Jeremy went to the ward's father son campout down in Spanish Fork.  Spencer had to cook them dinner for his cooking merit badge and was eager to pull out his backpacking stove.

 They had a great time playing around. 

With both parents gone our new respite worker stayed with the girls and Taylor.  The girls considered it a friend and fun weekend and spent the two days flitting from one friends house to another.

These rolls are thanks to my neighbor Melissa.  My kids call them the good rolls.  If I make it with part whole wheat flour, then they are almost perfect according to my kids.  If I make them with all white flour then they think they have died and gone to heaven.

The Good Rolls

2 Tbsp dry yeast
2 c warm water, divided
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1 c powdered milk
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 Tbsp dough enhancer
6 c flour (You can swap in 2 c wheat flour.  If you do add an extra 1/2 Tbsp dough enhancer and 1 Tbsp gluten)

Combine 1 c of the warm water with the yeast, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the other cup of water with the powdered milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and butter.  Stir fill combined.  Add in the proofed yeast. Stir.
Knead in the flour slowly.  Knead for 10-15 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double in size, about an hour.
Punch down dough and divide in half.
Roll out each half into a large circle on a greased surface and cut with a pizza cutter into 12 segments.  Roll up "croissant-style" and place on greased cookie sheets.  Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden.  Do not over cook!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

18 years

This week our oldest son turned 18!  Hard to believe that it has been that long.  I was thinking about how if he was a normal kid we would be doing mission calls, college acceptances and prom right now.  Instead we are getting notices of our court date to get guardianship.  Since I do not feel ready to send a child off and enter that stage of life I am grateful that right now I don't have to.  I just get to keep enjoying Taylor here at home.

With Taylor's birthday we had our annual birthday BBQ here.  So I spent the week pulling weeds and working on the yard.  I even had a wonderful friend show up with wheelbarrow and working gloves ready to go and spent the morning spreading mulch for me.  True friendship right there.  And then Utah spring weather struck and we had a cold windy evening and everyone ended up huddling inside and enjoying being smooshed together.  Maybe next year we will wait an extra week or two for hi party.  It was wonderful to visit with friends, eat a cupcake and just enjoy being together.  And of course I forgot to take a single picture.

Spencer had a mock wedding at school this week and he was the wedding cake person.  So he spent an evening making an ice cream chocolate cake.  There were no leftovers.

This week Spencer had his last volleyball games in the tournament play-offs.  He was convinced taco Tuesday the week before was the secret ingredient to their win so we had tacos for dinner.  Unfortunately he lost his first game (Jeremy was biting his tongue to keep from talking to the ref) but they came back to win the second game which put them in third place.  He has come a long way...and has a long way to go in his ability to play.  But it was a great experience for him and one he wants to do again next year.

On Saturday morning Allison had a stake YW walk.  They went on an 8 mile walk to the temple over the course of the morning with stations along the way.  Jeremy was there snapping photos for the Stake and doing some aerial photos to make it fun.  It was a great event.

So far today it seems like our streak of bad Mother's Days might be broken.  My girls got up early to bring me a delicious breakfast in bed with flowers and little presents.  No one is sick or hurt and everyone is reasonably happy.  I am grateful for the privilege of being a mom and even more grateful for a mom who showed me how to be a mom and taught me to treasure the opportunity.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

20 Years

20 Years ago these five wonderful women and I went our separate ways.  This week at woman's conference we had a reunion at Brick Oven the place where we would go to splurge when we were room mates.  We have seen each other periodically over the years but have lost contact in many ways.  It was so fun to see each other and catch-up on what everyone has been doing and re-connect.  You know its a true friendship when 20 years later, it feels like we just pick up where we left off.  Most of my best memories of BYU stem from these wonderful people I was blessed to live with and play with.

So this week was BYU woman's conference which mean my family had to fend for themselves for two days.  That meant Jeremy dealt with trying to work and have a photo shoot plus having a sick Robyn, Spencer setting off for a back-packing trip, Allison going to a birthday party, Robyn missing her car pool and all the other joys of kid life around here.  Everyone survived with smiles and I got to spend a few days filling my bucket.  I hung out with my friends Brenda (and her family), Shinobu and my old room-mate Emily.  I even had the surprise of seeing some of Jeremy's work:

It was a great time that left my mind feeling like I had a thousand new good ideas but needed some quiet time to just decide what I truly needed to focus on right now.

Speaking of Jeremy's work, Allison had the surprise this week of seeing her picture in the Ensign.  She thought it was very cool.

Saturday was a day of work as warm weather hit and we need to get our yard in shape.  Jeremy got rid of the starlings nest in our dryer vents by somehow managing to install a guard over the vent.  They are persistent little buggers who will not give up trying to make our vent into a home, especially early, early in the morning.

Kids found a garter snake while working on cleaning up the yard.  Girls alternated by being scared, disgusted and intrigued.

I now have a farmers tan, Jeremy has our waterfall working and trees staked and this week the work continues.  I love this time of year as we get our yard up and going again.  Girls were even willing to pitch in and help as ice cream and Granite Flats was promised as the evening's entertainment for all hard workers.

Spencer went backpacking Friday night about which he alternated between being very excited and being anxious about.  He had a great time tromping all over the mountains, getting lost with a group, saying a prayer and finding the group again and enjoying being with his teachers quorum.  Only bad part is that he was having such a good time, he didn't take his meds.  Which meant that Saturday morning he had to take them and then had to take a 6 hour nap to recover followed by a grumpy evening till he could go back to bed again.  Next time he is going to put notes and alarms all over his back-pack equipment as loosing a Saturday to being drugged up is miserable for everyone involved.

Taylor is a bit off right now, not sure why.  We got his court date this week for his guardianship hearing.  May 23rd at 2 p.m.  So knock on wood he stays healthy between the 9th and the 23rd as we won't have any legal authority to make medical decisions for him.  I am sure hospitals and insurance would figure some way to work things out if needed but it would still be a pain.

This week Jeremy had three photo shoots, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  This gave me the opportunity to go watch Spencer's volleyball game, calling in some favors to take care of the girls activities.  For the first time they won both matches which means they move on to the tournament this week.  Their team versus the A team is a night and day difference.  But when you see how far Spencer's team has come it is truly impressive.  They are actually playing the game now.  He credits their double win to the fact that a super nice mom bought all the team tacos to eat during the break. 

Today has been a day to relax and bake a chocolate cake.  Allison has been experimenting on how to paint designs on nails and Robyn is her drafted volunteer

I really enjoy Sunday afternoons when we all get to just hang out.  Jeremy gets drafted into playing go fish:

This week I am hoping to get rid of weeds and chicken poop crusted side-walks in our back yard.  Saturday we are doing our annual birthday party for Taylor and that always gives me great motivation to get everything cleaned up.