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Sunday, September 28, 2014

We now have 3 teenagers!

Today we officially have 3 teenagers in our house!  It doesn't seem so long ago that I was just praying fervently that I would be pregnant and that it would be the sweet little girl that I just knew belonged to our family.  Wow, have the years flown by.  Friday night Allison had her birthday party with some of the nicest girls I have ever met.

They made some candle holders.

They made pizza.

They made ice cream sundaes.

And they tye-dyed shirts and played games.

On Saturday we continued the celebration with the General Women's Broadcast during torrential all day rain.  We met up with Kelly, Kayla and Brynn and went up to SLC.  Allison had a make-up lesson done at the MAC counter and looked way too cute and grown-up.

Of course the little girls had to try out some lip stick as well.

Then we went to wait inside the Tabernacle to get into the meeting in the Conference center as stand-byes.  We got a ticket to walk over just as the first speaker started.  It was an amazing experience to sit with my girls in that meeting.  Even Robyn didn't ask to color on her scrap paper once although she still got the fidgets sometimes.  Afterwards we wondered through the visitors center and the fountains and learned that if you want to get out of SLC or eat at a resturant you do not dilly dally after a meeting.  So we hung out at the food court for a bit and then headed home.  Great, wonderful evening with my girls.

Robyn got up extra early this morning to help do the traditional breakfast in bed for Allison.  She picked Kneader's french toast and hash browns - we are all about the carbs around here.

This week we finished up Allison's bedroom which was her birthday present this year.  She is loving having everything put back together.  We thought of doing it as a surprise but she didn't want to live in the basement for a month.

Saturday morning was supposed to be Spencer's eagle project but we woke up to heavy, non-stop rain.  Jeremy and Spencer had spent Friday night hiking around the canyon marking all the clematis to be killed but you can't do weed killer in the rain.  So he had to reschedule till this Thursday.  I was super grateful although Spencer was very disappointed, because Friday I came down with a cold.  I slept most of Saturday drugged up and am feeling great now.  The benefits of getting 12 hours of sleep 2 nights in a row cannot be overstated!  Last Sunday we got to do a babysitting swap with our neighbor for the temple dedication.  Spencer was thrilled to break out all his little kid toys.

This week Robyn put on a small play of a fairy tale she and her group had written and worked on for the last few weeks.

She was excited to be the wicked witch.  The entire play lasted maybe 2 minutes and there were 4 groups in her class.  I am glad I am able to run over to her school for a 15 minute production that just makes her day.  Robyn and I also got to spend a bonding morning at the dentist one day this week.  She gets to take her retainer off during the day now so her new teeth can come in.

Spencer had a volleyball game Saturday that he won.  It was a super close match and nerves were high.  Its fun to watch him play although he is so nervous I wish he would just relax and smile more.  Sometimes he seems so grown-up and other times you just want to shake some sense in there.  He keeps getting so stressed about trying to get everything done with school.  We are trying to make sure he eats and relaxes as well.

Today I was released from Primary after 2 1/2 years.  I am really going to miss being in there.  We had a luncheon this week to get together one more time and visit.  I worked with some amazing ladies.

Jeremy has had a few photography things this week.  One involved carrying heavy equipment for a very long distance that seriously tweaked his body.  Between work, side project, photography and studio plus trying to cover for a sick wife, help Spencer with his eagle project and everything else, he is swamped.

I got to meet with Taylor's school this week to help advise on their school land trust money.  I am always amazed at the politics and paperwork that goes on in education.  And I am amazed at what these educators are willing to do because they love these kids, because it isn't for the money!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Allison's Room and conferences

This week we have been working on Allison's room.  Jeremy spent Saturday afternoon nailing and screwing things into place and it is almost done.  Nothing too drastic but we are a slow and steady family.  Allison is thrilled at re-doing her room and I am making her promise over and over that we are not doing this again until she leaves for college!

This week I was able to pick up Allison from school and take her to lunch as her celebration for finishing the Book of Mormon.  She had a friend who raved about Blue Lemon so we went there where her face fell when she realized everything had large portions of vegetables.  She decided it was too healthy and veggie for her.  So then we drove around to a different restaurant where she decided a cheese-steak place had too many sauces.  But third time at a pizza place was just right - especially when she realized that since it was her birthday month she could get a free berry pizza.  Hard to believe this little girl is growing up.

This was the week of parent teacher conferences for three kids.  Robyn was short and sweet as you only have to talk to one teacher.  Robyn is doing great in class and is way ahead in reading and comprehension.  Her teacher was excited to have to go hunt for books for her and get to work on reading fun books and really exploring them.  She was a bit nervous this year to be in a class with few of her friends but she is gradually forming new play-mates.  She still really misses her best friend Kelly who moved away from next door and wears her BFF necklace constantly.  She is adapting and learning to play with new friends though.  This week she hiked to Stuart Falls up Provo Canyon with her class.

Spencer's and Allison's conferences are a full afternoon affair for two days this week.  Spencer is doing great in all his classes which reassured me.  The teachers all assured me that he is working his butt off (a phrase every single teacher said to me) but that he is making it in these classes of juniors and seniors.  His history teacher asked me how I kept up with his mind, its just so sharp and always going.  Jeremy and I just laughed about that later as really that can be taken two ways!  We definitely know that most of the time his mind is going full speed.  I am proud of how hard he is working and how he is willing to take a few chances this year.  He is deciding what project he wants to work on for his tech club this year.  And this week started rec volleyball.  It is co-ed and more laid back.  My two favorite points of Saturdays game was when one hit went through the basketball net in the rafters, and then came back down and they continued playing.  Another time the ball hit someone's head and went back over to score a point.  I am trying to be better about celebrating all that Spencer is doing and able to manage rather than mourning what he is unable to handle.  This week Spencer hiked around the mountain with a city employee figuring out his Eagle Project.  This Saturday is the actual project where they hike around and clear a trail of clematis that Spencer is going to mark Friday night.  I am going to be so glad when this project is done!  I have let Spencer just do the whole thing on his own.  I haven't even met any of the city people he is working with, this is just all him.

Allison's conferences are always a joy to go to.  Every teacher just talks about how excited she is to learn and loves being there.  Math is too easy for her this year but they don't want to bump her up anymore.  So they are going to look for ways for her to help tutor and do other things there.  This week for the club she is in they went roller skating and out for pizza.  Tough school day.

This week we got a geo-mat for Taylor's bed.  Its to help prevent pressure sores and feels extremely squishy and comfy.  It looks like a giant egg carton made of memory form.  He has been bouncing around on it with a big grin on his face.

Friday night I had a few friends over to eat cupcakes and watch a movie.  I don't think we heard one line of the movie as we all just wanted to talk and visit.  I am so glad to have some amazing neighbors to be inspired by and that make me laugh.

Today all of us but Taylor got to go to the Ogden temple dedication.  It is amazing to see what it has been transformed into.  I got a little choked up watching my three kids in a row singing The Spirit of God.  Our neighbors graciously watched Taylor for us.  Robyn was in tears this morning as she realized we were walking to our church.  She thought we were going to the actual temple and that she was going inside.  She was devastated and cried the whole way there.  I obviously did not explain today's precedings as carefully as I should have.  Then I understood why she was so concerned about not wanting to wear her white dress today as she thought it gaped too much at the neck.  She makes me laugh and makes me remember what is really important.  Yesterday she spent a marathon day playing with friends and didn't come home till bedtime.  She told me that when a boy was trying to tug a sword away from her and couldn't he told her she must have some super power.  She replied, "yes, its called a 15 year old brother who likes to rough house".

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paint and a dead bird

This week's big project was Allison's room.  It is all painted now and partly put back together.  Pictures to come when it is all finished.  Right now it is a teal color everywhere.  Allison was eager to help and I worry that I was squashing her confidence as I kept reminding her to paint slowly, tape carefully etc.  Eventually she handed me the paint brush and just asked me to do it on my own.  I think I am a little caught up in perfectionism when it comes to home projects.  But she is thrilled to be out of the basement and back in her own room again.

Painting and everything that goes with it took up most of our free time this week.  Allison started a theater dance class this week that she was excited about.  It goes along with her theater group and lasts for the first semester.  I challenged her a while ago to give up sugar for 6 months and I would give her a hundred dollars.  Today she decided she is only going to to do it for a month and not get any money.  I am hoping she will recognize how many treats float through her life at different classes and activities.  She gives all the treats (except vanilla ice cream, her exception to the contest) to Spencer and Robyn who think it is great.

Wednesday and sunshine meant another bike ride with my friend Brenda.  We went up to the top of South Fork in Provo Canyon.  38 miles and a bike short sun tan line.  It was awesome.

Friday night the girls and Jeremy headed out for a daddy/daughter camp-out.  They had a great time of bonfires, mayhem and running around with their dad.  Spencer, Taylor and I went out to dinner and then watched Spider Man.  Last week Spencer and Allison each finished the Book of Mormon.  When they started a year ago I told them that when they finished I would take them out for a special dinner.  With Jeremy's work struggling a bit right now they had to lower their expectations but they did so cheerfully and in Spencer's case with great gusto.  He tried to find the cheapest and most food he could all you can eat cheap pizza at Pizza Pie was it.  Not my pick at all!  But I have decided that if you want a good talk of what is going on in your son's life unlimited pizza is a great tool.  It was good to hear everything that is going on with him in high school right now.  The teenage years so far with him have not been as difficult as I imagined and yet they have been much harder than I was prepared for.  Good thing for prayer, a husband and chocolate!

Saturday Jeremy, the kids and I went to our city's celebration at the park.  Small and cheesy but I like small and cheesy.

Robyn got a branded piece of wood that came in handy today.  We came home from Stake Conference to find her parakeet Sky toes up in his cage.  So the wood became a tombstone in our pet cemetery in our back yard.  Someday my kids will realize that those pets decomposed really really fast or that their mom came in and dug them back up a few days later to dispose of the remains.  The things we do for love.

Today I took the kids over to walk around the remnants of the chalk festival and then up in the canyon to walk around.  Sometimes they just need to get away a little bit.  Taylor, the girls and I had a great time.  Spencer was just spewing forth grumpiness the whole time which made us just want to leave him.  But someday I hope he will remember that he did things with his mom and that she loved him enough to endure the bad cases of grumps that seem to pop up periodically.  They are painful to go through!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Baltic Sea Cruise Photos

Heather posted some photos shortly after our cruise, but because you all know me well you know that there were many more photos where those came from. I've finally made my way through the 2,000+ photos and pared them down to under 1,400. I'll still continue to refine that number and tweak the exposures, but I thought I'd share the link for anyone that has nothing better to do than look through our travel photos. So like the old slide show but in the digital age where you can walk away when you are bored.

You can view the photos here:

I tend to photo everything that interests me and enjoy going back through relive the experience. Hopefully you enjoy seeing some of the sights find a photo or two worth clicking to view larger.

We feel very fortunate to have been able to have this experience and to have enjoyed it with our friends. W

Sunday, September 7, 2014

School Routine

This was a week of canning.  I did salsa and peaches and re-learned how to can because obviously the broken jars were reminding me that I needed to!  I tried a salsa recipe that has you leave the skins on the tomatoes.  So much easier although Jeremy swears he can taste a difference.  So in a few weeks when we have more ripe tomatoes we will try it again with skins off and do a taste comparison.  Someday I would like to learn to can without creating a sticky layer everywhere in the kitchen.

That is how we spend our labor day, canning and Jeremy working.  The kids and I took a break at the free sticky shoe theater and learned first hand how it got its name.

This week we got back into the school routine.  Spencer started up guitar lessons again and the girls started Center Stage again.  Spencer has learned to just put his headphones on to block out distractions and just put his head down and plug through his homework.  He has a big increase in homework this year and that is taking up most of his time now.

I am starting to figure out school schedules and getting my routine down.  I am trying to get better at getting everything done during the day so after school I can just focus on kids more.  One day my friend Brenda and I were able to bike up the canyon to Tibble Fork Reservoir.  It was beautiful and my legs are still recovering.

Friday Jeremy and Spencer went to a camp-out with the teachers quorum.  It was by a lake with craw-dads and rope swings so Spencer was in heaven.

While they were gone we had a girls night with Taylor being our guest for the night.  With our niece Kayla and Allison's friend Evelyn we did pizza and ice skating.