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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Snickers, Volleyball, Portraits, Oh My

Snickers the class pet bunny came home with Robyn this weekend.  It means that we have sawdust shavings all over our house and two happy girls who wish their bunny was so cuddly and willing to give kisses.

This week we started to get our groove on handling life.  It helps that every time I turn around someone seems to be doing something kind for our family.  Seriously, it is overwhelming because I just can't say thank you enough and with enough emphasis for the love that is being shown towards us.  There is the saying that it takes a village to raise a child while in our case it is taking a ward, an extended family and a network of friends to carry us through this time of life.

Allison had choir concerts this week.  We split it so Jeremy went to the first concert, I went to the second and Robyn made brownies for all of her choir carpool to pick up and eat after the last concert.  She had a really generous person reach out to her this week and help her out with something that just blew us away.  Truly our kids are learning about the power of love right now.  She is busy practicing along with Robyn so our house if usually ringing with different songs from the Music Man.  Saturday night Spencer had to work but the rest of us had an awesome night out, and of course Kaori, Allison's friend was along for the ride.  I think most pictures should be titled, "Our family...and Kaori".  I am so glad that she has entered Allison's life and they cheer each other on to be even better than they are.  Couldn't have asked for a better friend, except for when her family talks of moving and then we are not happy.  We went to get Kup Bop, a Korean noodle place as Jeremy pointed out that I wasn't being very politically correct to celebrate Chinese New Year's.  BYU volleyball game that they won in super tight sets.  Thanks to Taylor we sat right in the front behind the players and were in the thick of the action.  And then Jeremy took all the girls for ice cream.  Can't ask for a better family outing than that!  One volleyball player gave Taylor a poster and a mini-volleyball.  Taylor gripped that ball and patted it all night long.

 Taylor helping to pick up the girls from practice.  He is doing well.  Struggles between not eating and being constipated and then the opposite where he eats like there is no tomorrow.  He still loves Megan who gives him a massage twice a week.  Jasper got a bark collar today and I have high hopes that his barking every time Megan rings the doorbell are at an end.

Robyn has been busy making movies with her friend.  It involves lots of giggling, script writing and parading around in outlandish costumes.  A few weeks ago she started a drawing class once a week with a friend.  She has loved learning how to hold a sketch pencil correctly and making projects.    And yes she is gorgeous but has huge bags under her eyes as she stays up with the big kids and gets up the earliest so she can have a quiet uninterrupted bath every morning and her hair will air dry by school time.   We are working on that!

Spencer is struggling with senioritis and just wants to be done with homework already - especially Chemistry.  Most nights you just hear this mutter, grumble sound coming from the dining room.  Saturday I got to take him to lunch and then the archery range which was fun just to hang out and let him talk my ear off.  We had a Duty to God fireside last week and I am hoping it was good kick in the tush for him to get his priests section done when he got his Deacon and Teacher recognitions.

Student teaching is going well.  It really is a lot of fun to do all the teaching part and leave the administrative stuff to the teacher.  I had a district training for a few hours this week and it reminded me that its time to start applying for jobs for next year.  Hard to believe that its here already.  Some big decisions to make!  I had my group of Orem friends meet me for dinner Friday night.  Good food, good friends, lots of laughs and hugs.  There is something really comforting about being with people who have known you for 18 years and where we all have shared our life stories.  And then I got to meet two more friends Saturday for a run.  I am surrounded by some pretty amazing people.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Life Is Good

Life is good.  This little cutie turned 11 this week.  With no school Monday (thank goodness, I think all school weeks should be 4 days long!), we spread out the celebration.  Jeremy took her out for her birthday lunch where she learned the joys of fried ice cream and they shared their love of all things nachos. 

Then Allison and I took her to the mall to get her ears pierced for her birthday.  Lots of tears and nerves.  My favorite moment was right as they did it she was saying "ow, ow" in a high squeaky voice and then squeaked out a "thank-you" to the 2 ladies.

 For her actual birthday she got her requested pancakes and sausages in bed (getting up even earlier was an act of love I tell you), took muffin tops to school, and then I sense a theme here as for her actual birthday she had me make her nachos and then had Jeremy take her to Macey's for a butterscotch dipped ice cream cone.

 Saturday she and her friend Nylie got to go have their special birthday outing with Kneaders french toast and color me mine.  We had a huge snowstorm that morning which made for an ice sheet in the roads.  Luckily Jeremy had a photo shoot in Provo that morning so we were all able to slip and slide down to Provo together in the truck.

And if you are bored and there is an empty photo booth nearby you have fun with mom's phone:

Allison and her friend Evy were my video stars at Olive Garden as they modeled how you act and don't act when you go out to eat.  I am teaching a unit on restaurant and dating skills - my kids are already laughing at the thought.

Jeremy and Spencer went up to catch a Grizzlies hockey game where Allison's choir was singing the national anthem.

Allison and Robyn's theater group had their try-outs for the play Singing in the Rain.  Allison had a bunch of call back which she was very excited about.  They both love how they were cast as tappers and dancers.  Robyn gets to yell out a line and Allison gets to sing a solo so they are both super excited.  We hear 'Moses supposes his toeses are roses" a LOT around here lately.  So the crazy season of theater begins with costume fittings and extra practices.

We were able to have the Hall's over for our monthly dinner.  We discovered a new game and kids were quick to break out Red Neck Life yet again.

Spencer asked a girl out on a date for which we were all cheering him on.  He didn't want to ask the girls who he was asking out until Allison pointed out that they could make a much better poster than he could.  So he scanned pintrest, found a poster and then Allison cranked it out with Robyn jumping up and down and singing songs like K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  Good times.  Jeremy wouldn't let him text to follow up on details so Spencer went over to have a face to face conversation to plan things out.  I was proud of him as that was way out of his comfort zone and it took him 3 tries of getting all spruced up and getting his nerves under control before she was home when he went over to her house.

I started student teaching two weeks ago.  The first week Jeremy left at 5:30 to fly to California for a week just as I was getting dressed.  I am grateful that a sweet 19 year old in our ward agreed to come over every morning to sit with Taylor and get him on the bus.  The second day, I learned sadly that my school has zero internet access as I left after school the first day to numerous texts her.  "Do you have a cat?  The bus isn't here yet.  An hour later, the bus still isn't here" Luckily her mom and my neighbor handled it all for me.  New bus driver, new route meant over an hour delay.  This week is much easier and Taylor seems to be getting used to getting ready early.  I am starting to get a bit ahead on writing lesson plans which has helped with the pressure of it all.  I won't lie though, I come home and I better be able to get a snack and get some exercise before I deal with more kid drama.  As I have learned after some ugly afternoons, my patience is a little tapped out after working 8 straight hours.  No lunch breaks just eat when kids eat so its rather a constant going all day long.  I am pretty lucky to be where I am and work with a teacher I can learn a lot from.  its just an adjustment especially the early morning side of it and trying to think of lesson plans at night when kids are all around me and need to talk.

I will let Jeremy tell you more of what is going on with him.  I picked up his meds the day he got back from CA and he has learned a lot in this last week.  First he takes the meds right before he falls asleep with a snack and a big drink of water and this helps control the really bad nausea.  Most of the time he feels good just tired, like he has the flu.  And sometimes the gut pain just kicks in and there is nothing he can do about it.  Pain killers don't seem to work so he just lives through it.  I don't think we have actually said Suck it up Buttercup to him but kids are getting used to just assuming he will do stuff for them as am I.

Our ward had a fast for Jeremy.  The feeling of prayers and support for him and our family is just overwhelming.  I am fine to talk about the cancer, about our family and everything else.  Someone tells me they are praying for us or they love me and boom I just fall apart crying.  The love people show towards us cannot be comprehended.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

December & a New Year

The beauty picture wise of having Christmas on a Sunday is that we all look nice for photos!  No bed head and mismatched sweats this year.  The true beauty was being able to have sacrament meeting on the day we celebrate Him who we worship plus we got to hear Allison play the piano which just brings me to tears every time.

December was a little of a blur.  I finished up all my classes and had a week of finals.  My last final...ever.  During which I came down sick with strep.  Like lay on the couch in between finals, watching You've Got Mail, unable to eat or drink anything and praying someone would come give me a hug, tell me I was doing a good job and feed me chocolates.  Later that night after my last final my YW presidency did exactly that - angels in disguise.  And the next day a kind doctor gave me lots and lots of pills.  Life became much better.

David and Griselda plus kids came by for a quick visit.  I had a week of no school and no kids and went crazy running errands, cleaning the house and binge watching TV shows.  Girls had their December showcase for their theater group where we watched them dance and sing their hearts out.  Spencer had his work party as did Jeremy.  Then school was out and everyone slept and slept and played.

We went to a Christmas acapella concert.

Since Spencer worked Christmas Eve we ditched Jason and Jeremy to do some cousin ice skating a day early.  I love pushing Taylor's chair around on the ice.  Everyone thinks you are being a nice mom but really he is a grown up version of a kiddie walker.  I never fall!

Christmas Eve we gathered with cousins at our house for football, games, nachos and Elf.  Spencer got a game from work called Redneck that led to more screeching and laughing than we have done in a long time.  It was wildly inappropriate for our kids as they all joked about how many red-headed step-kids named Daryl they would have while Allison kept getting arrested for being inappropriate by hitchhiking naked and Spencer and Garion made a fortune by suing a doughnut shop for making them fat as they didn't know doughnuts caused obesity.  I think the more chocolate you eat and the later it gets, the funnier the game grows.

Christmas Day, Spencer had to go shovel snow at the church so we got up early for stockings and french toast and then went to an amazing sacrament meeting.  We got to spend the afternoon opening and playing with presents and then the evening with cousins.  It was relaxing, spiritual and wonderful all in one day.

The best entertainment of the day was watching Jasper with his new squeaky toy.  Its like crack for a little dog.  He would chew till he couldn't chew anymore, catch a power nap and then be back at it again.

And as previous posts have told the rest of the week was quite stressful.  We are grateful for all the fasts, prayers and love that were sent our way.  And I was grateful for doctors and nurses who worked long past closing to call us and help us out.  I just paced feeling like I should do a million things and not being able to do anything.  I was grateful for meals that were brought and lots of hugs.  I am firm in the belief that God knows where our family needs to be, and the road we need to take to get there.  I just wish I knew what that road is going to look like!

While Spencer and I propped up Jeremy between us we went to see Rogue One.  During which girls were at home making Jeremy cards to open during his biopsy.

But life continues with kids and while this was going on we tried to keep some normalcy as much as possible.  Too many movies for sure were watched and enjoyed.  I got to take the girls (and Taylor) shopping for shoes.  We all went bowling and I was able to take Robyn and her friend swimming.  Not quite as much family fun as we had anticipated but it was greatly appreciated.

Running outside in sunshine with friends is worth the 16 degrees.

With Taylor in respite, friends bringing in meals and nothing but waiting for the doctor I kept my plans to fly out to California for the weekend.  Unfortunately the plane didn't agree with me and my short trip was made shorter by a day.  But I got a wonderful evening and day with my family.  There is something so ultimately comforting about hugging your family and sleeping in the house you grew up in.  We had a big dinner with everyone and a trip to Phil's fish Shack and the Steinbeck museum the next day with part of my family.  I wish we all lived closer but it makes me treasure even more when we are together.