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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cousins & EFY

Taylor had a tougher than usual week.  He had three days of three hour school days this week.  He has had a few school days like this scattered through the summer, I think 9 in total.  It has been good to get him up and moving.  He has had a bump on his neck for awhile that this week decided to get nasty.  It got big, red and made his whole neck and shoulder sore.  We assumed it was a boil so I took him in to the doctor to get it taken care of.  The general surgeon had just left for the holiday (24th of July) and since it wasn't an emergency that couldn't wait until Friday the doctor decided to culture it and put Taylor on some super strong antibiotics.  Robyn and Brynn volunteered to hold Taylor's hands while the rest, thinking of Allison's guinea pig's boil/abscess fled the scene.  But although it looked like a huge boil it didn't act like one as we couldn't get anything but blood out.  So now we are thinking it might have been an infected lymph node.  Whatever it was we didn't go into surgery Friday as planned as it has gone way down on the antibiotics, fever is gone and Taylor is once again a very happy camper.

Monday morning we dropped Spencer off at EFY.  He wasn't super excited about going especially when he learned that he would be in classes  and have to wear church clothes one day.  He was a little peeved when he saw everyone had a phone but him as he had followed the packing list's advice to leave electronics at home.  Cousins and Robyn had fun checking out his dorm room.  Jeremy picked Spencer up Saturday morning at 7 am!  After eating some french toast at Kneaders and having a three hour nap he was ready to tell us all his stories.  Classes were not his favorite although I hope some lessons snuck their way in there.  But he really liked his counselor, his group and all the activities they did.  He has a stockpile now of lame Mormon pick up lines, that I am sure will come in useful some day.  It was amazing how much calmer I felt this week, I forget how much emotional space he takes up in my mind sometime.  Love it, but also enjoy the break!

Cousins were with us until Thursday morning.  We had to get back to reality a little bit and do errands and jobs around the house.  But we were able to go to Library classes:

the pool, watch movies and make bubbles and visit a nearby lake.

The two girls off in the water were Brynn and Robyn.  Allison didn't think she needed a swimsuit and then deeply regretted it.

Wednesday night Kayla and Robyn went to Activity Days and learned how to fish.  They came home 2 1/2 hours later, wet, dirty, cleaned trout in one hand, swedish fish and goldfish in the other and with the biggest smiles on their faces.  They had the best time! (notice how their leader even gave them plastic gloves for the fish gutting)

Thursday morning after seeing the cousins off, with Allison's friend Kayla we went down to try to get into a Studio C dress rehearsal...along with a few hundred other people.  After they handed out the wristbands to the first two hundred people, of which we were not part of, and dealing with tears we brainstormed what else we could do.  So we went to the Provo pioneer festival, in 104 degree weather to mine for gold:

ride a pony:

get our faces painted:

and eat gigantic snow cones:

We kept pouring water bottles over Taylor's head to cool him off but he wasn't happy till he was home with air conditioning blowing on him.

That night we celebrated Pioneer Day by grabbing some Costa Vida and going to West Jordan's pioneer days for their pioneer musical.  Singing, sky divers, lots of fireworks and a musical.  Very cheesy but on holidays I love cheesiness.

Robyn is done with swim team now.  On Saturday she had her last meet that involved us leaving at 6:30 in the morning.

She was a little apprehensive - goggles didn't feel right, cap was too tight, her stomach hurt.  But I went off to time and then she turned into this little rock star.  She got first place for freestyle, beating her PR by 2 seconds, first place for butterfly beating her PR by 7!! seconds and fourth place for backstroke beating her PR by 1 second.  She was in a relay too and we think she got second but we don't know yet till they post all the times.  She was on cloud nine and was quite proud of her ribbons.  One of the things I was most proud of is that she has to get herself to all her events by herself while I worked as a timer.  She has loved swimming this year and is also happy to switch to just playing in the pool for the rest of the summer.

Jeremy has been busy doing photo shoot lately with several friends' missionaries heading out.  He has been enjoying the work.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friends and Cousins

Our much beloved old respite worker Meredith has moved back to Pleasant Grove and Sunday came over for dinner and to visit.  Our kids thought it was Christmas!  It was wonderful to hear about what she has been doing and the person she is becoming.  She has been a part of our lives now for 10 years and we just love her.

This week we had some fun at the pool as Robyn tries to spend as much time as possible with her friend Kelly before she moves.  Robyn would live at the pool if we let her.

One night Allison and her friend wanted to go to the mall - don't get me started on that subject, I cannot believe that is her choice of entertainment sometimes as she seems way too young!  I didn't want to drag all the kids to and from the mall to drive them.  So Allison suggested I take the other three kids to Trafalga to play while she windowshopped.  We had a great time and Spencer learned that he was tall enough to do the go-carts.

Robyn learned that she was not...

But everyone can miniature golf and Taylor thinks its fun 4-wheeling over the course.

Allison had her date night this week with me.  She chose to go see Million Dollar Arm (really liked it), shop for a purse and get a cupcake.  Is she a girl or what?!  But we had fun hanging out together for a little bit without any side kicks.

Friday morning cousins Garion, Kayla and Brynn came to spend cousin week with us.  With Allison's friend Kyla along to help shepherd little girls we went off to spend the day at seven peaks.  We were there the whole day with everyone staying happy and cheerful.  Taylor loves lying in the shallow end of the wave pool and hanging out with me.

Allison and Kyla laid down the law to the little girls about how they had to stay with them at all times and follow their directions.  The little girls were so happy to be going down all the slides they cheerfully complied.  Periodically Allison and Kyla would bring me the little girls and go take a break on a slide by themselves.  And I was so thankful for the nice lady who when all the girls raced down a slide together and Brynn ended up staying up on top freaking out, took Brynn on her lap and brought her down the slide back to us.  Follow a long day of in the sun with BYU ice cream, making pizza and cleaning the office and kids were ready to crash without a word of complaint.

Saturday some slightly sunburned kids got up early and we packed off to a new adventure.  Jeremy spent the day working and getting some home repairs done and Taylor had a babysitter for most of the day, so it was just the 6 kids and me.  We went up to the Golden Spike Monument in Promentory.  It is truly in the middle of nowhere.  Robyn and Allison had studied about the western expansion and the railroads at school and going there has been on my bucket list for a while.  Not sure if we will ever go back but had to do it once.  And we timed it so we arrived just as dressed up rangers re-enacted the whole event.  And if you are wondering where Spencer is, he is back in the shade because his sunburn hurt too bad to go stand in the sun - he was having his teenage moment.

Then we drove to Antelope Island for the day to swim in the Salt Lake.

If you look closely you can see little dots down by the water.  Those are people!  The water was so low it was a big hike through sand and walks to get to the water.  At the waters edge the water was hot and swarming with bugs.  But as we walked out the water stayed shallow, got cooler and we had a great time swimming around.

Some of my favorite moments.  Spencer in the throes of his teenage moment that was lasting way too long and reminded us that he should never have his meals late was being a negative pill.  Garion informed us that negativity was contagious but we all agreed we could withstand it and Spencer decided to run the grumps off and ran to the lake.  Then we were all in our happy place again.  Brynn did not like going out so far from the shore and when her sister wouldn't come back with her shouted, "Fine, then.  Have fun drowning!".  If you look in the picture you can see an island far off in the distance.  Spencer and Garion decided to swim to it.  It doesn't look to far.  After an hour though I couldn't even see their heads as dots on the horizon anymore and started getting a little anxious and praying.  At an hour and 45 minutes, I could see their heads again and girls swam out to them.  They said they never reached the island but started feeling like they should turn back.  I told them that was the Holy Ghost telling them that I was freaking out.  Allison was off showering Brynn who was really sensitive to the salt or I would have taken off after them.  Boys and their adventures.  We had a great time though floating around for a few hours.  You can practically sit in the water.

It has been a great summer week.  Allison has been doing tennis lessons and working on her pajama pants that she is making.  We got rid of the rats she was pet-sitting and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Jeremy and I got to do a long bike ride and dinner with some friends.  He borrowed a road bike and all my advantages in bike riding disappeared as he can just cruise on by me.  Spencer has been busy packing for EFY which he leaves for tomorrow.  He is a bit apprehensive about how much he will like it especially when he learned that he has to wear church clothes one day but we are all very excited for him.  We spent one night watching weird Al Yankovitch's new videos.  Allison got to do baptisms for the dead with the young women.  Spencer and Jeremy went to his end of the season volleyball party where they played volleyball and Spencer learned some humility and then Spencer got to try riding on the pool's flow rider where he managed to face plant at the end.

So a good, busy summer week where often bathrooms don't get cleaned or weeds pulled but life is mostly happy and kid thunder clouds pass quickly.  And if I don't put my phone away I get this:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kid Activities

This week seemed to be a week of doing things with kids.  Allison and Robyn for the last two weeks have been working on an acting class every morning.  This Thursday was their last day where they put on their 20 minute show.  They had a lot of fun putting it together. Allison was the oldest which bothered her a bit but she was a trooper about it.  When she learned that no other older kids had signed up for this session she decided she would just do it anyway.

Spencer and I had a two hour window where every kid was gone but him.  So despite a lot of grumbling I told him to grab his hiking shoes and we took off for a hike.  Our first hike was a bust as he couldn't stop grumping constantly about the hike, the terrain, the lack of shade, the incline etc.  So we packed up, I chewed him out a little and we drove to Provo Canyon for the section of the Bonneville trail there.  On the way there he apologized for being so mean and said how much he appreciated me spending time with me.  I need to record those moments as the previous hour of non-stop grump is so so painful to be around.  But if persevere and don't walk away yet let him know how big of a pill he is being we end up having a great time together.

That actually really sums up life with Spencer now.  Enduring through the prickliness and coming through on the other side where he makes some great choices.  We went to the newly renovated Bean Museum at BYU this week.  We spent 20 minutes in the garage till Robyn and Spencer could apologize to each other for not being willing to share leg room in the middle seat (it was an odd day so Allison had shot-gun - we have a system :) ).  Then on the way back Spencer and Robyn are cuddling as Spencer teaches her who Lincoln Park is and they share head phones.  Friday night Allison and I took Spencer shopping for t-shirts.  After thirty minutes of defending why he should only wear black, non-logo, crew neck t-shirts he found a bunch of t-shirts on sale and was super happy he had money left over.  Last night Spencer went to a big dance and was happy to take our neighbor's son McKay with him.  McKay is disabled but loves to dance.  Spencer was great with him.  Because of that Spencer was slow moving to get to church.  As he sped by me to make it on time I wanted to point out he needed to get all those stray hairs sticking up all over the back of his head.  Then I realized he had sprinted ahead so he could grab the doors for me as I was pushing Taylor.  A mix of contradictions is Spencer right now - frustrating and gratifying all at once.  He is volunteering at the library right now once a week.  He is happy shelving books along with some other volunteers - some voluntary, some court mandated.  That last part made me a little hesitant!  But he is loving it.

Spencer found a nearby park with a lake that he can fish in.  Taylor and I got to take him this week.  Once I realized that taking him involves Taylor and me sitting in the shade with a good book, I told him I would be happy to take him anytime.  Taylor heartily agreed.

Taylor has had a few days of school this week.  His warts seem to be healing up and his back seems to be responding to all the acne treatment.  When you are a teenage boy who sits in a wheelchair a lot you back gets pretty gross.  We went to the pool this week and he was so happy to just lay back in the cool water and float.  It is definitely his happy place.  This week was 7-11 day so of course we had to go get our slurpees.  I learned that Taylor really likes slurpees - and he is very messy while eating one.

Spencer was a little disappointed when he realized that only the small slurpees were free.  Luckily he had brought his own money.

Robyn had a swim meet Saturday morning.  Going to be early Friday night was tough for her but she did it.  She is not the fastest swimmer but she loves it and is towards the top usually.  She was very excited that she didn't DQ in butterfly and beat her PR by 8 seconds.  She swam 5 heats and then was over in the warm up lanes swimming laps whenever she wasn't racing.  I was timing and would just look over and realize that she had been working on swimming fly for an hour.  She loves the water and never seems to want to be done.

Saturday Robyn and I had a date.  We went up to a matinee performance of Mary Poppins at Hale Theater.  It was an amazing production and she loved it.

At the intermission she realized she hadn't eaten lunch but she promised me that when the show was going it was so good she forgot all about being hungry.  So afterwards of course we had to go get dinner at Costa Vida one of her favorite places.  It was a great afternoon and evening.  Full of spontaneous hugs and her beaming face.

Robyn has become lego obsessed lately and spends her free time building.  She does not understand why Spencer isn't willing to share his legos with her.

While Robyn plays legos, at the end of the table is Spencer, Allison and I playing Risk.  I told Allison that part of loving someone is doing things with them that might bore you to tears but that they are very excited about.  We do this in small increments.

Allison and I went shopping this week to get fabric for her to make pajama pants with.  Now she just needs to sew them.  She finished off cooking for our family this week and is just cruising through her personal progress.  She started tennis lessons this week for the month.  She is not so sure about them yet.  Right now she has two rats in her room as she pet sits.  I am not thrilled about them as I don't care for rats.  But she is keeping them out of my hair and having a great time with them.  Allison has been having worse and worse allergic reactions whenever she touches a cat or lays in the grass.  Eyes swell shut, hives break out every where.  She has been taking a lot of benadryl.  I am thinking it is time to see an allergist.  They come on super fast, within minutes of her touching something.  She and I looked at Ikea this week as she plots about how she wants to change her bedroom for her birthday.  She is trying to figure out how to do a little vanity area as getting ready at the same time as Spencer and sharing the mirror is not always peaceful.

Jeremy shot a wedding this weekend.  I know, he doesn't shoot weddings.  High stress, and lots of time on knees and feet.  But it was a last minute emergency gig so he said yes.  Super hot, very long and a lot of time on his knees.  His copter came back this week supposedly fixed but it turns out it still doesn't work very well so its getting sent back again.  He went from cautiously excited to very bummed.  Sometimes its tough being a photographer...

At the Bean museum this week I saw a quote on the wall that I loved and reminds me to go outside and open my eyes more, especially with our kids.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Weekend (photos)

Since Heather does all the heavy lifting on the blog writing, and since I napped through my Sunday family photo processing time, I figured it was time for a quick photo dump from the weekend. Here are a few shots from the weekend to enjoy. The bigger group of cruise photos are still in process of being sorted, selected and processed. Hoping to get those done and shared soon!