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Sunday, May 27, 2018


At the end of April I picked Spencer up and brought him home for a crazy 10 days to get ready for his mission.  We had a combined wish Spencer good luck on his mission and tell Taylor Happy Birthday party.  It was awesome to hang out with so many friends for a beautiful evening of just visiting and being together.  The people our family are surrounded with are truly awe inspiring in the kindness, love, acceptance and support they show towards our family.  It is completely undeserved and so appreciated and welcomed. 

We also were able to go see the new Avengers as Spencer waited till after finals to go with us.  Then Jeremy was off for a week long business trip.  I think he timed it to miss all the last minute shopping trips and appointments.  Spencer was either seeing doctors, picking up odds and ends or vising different temples all week long.  It was a good week but just a tad stressful on me as emotions were all running high I think.  One super nice thing that Spencer did though was to camp out at the pool at 6 am Monday morning for two hours to get Robyn signed up for swim team.  She was very appreciative.

Jeremy arrived home from his trip Friday night just in time to meet me at Costco after I hit another car.  It was not my best moment.

You know those times when you just can't quite wrap your head around how you are going to be able to handle everything?  I couldn't stop crying at random moments for a day or two, my head hurt constantly and my had had a burn on it that really hurt.  But when ever I wonder how God is planning to have me handle everything - he always shows me the way.  Which includes lots of sleep, chocolate and love shown towards us by many people - including several car loan offers.  So a few hours later I was at the temple with Spencer and Robyn having my son baptize me and confirm me for his first time.  An awesome evening that gave me some perspective back. 

Spencer and I spent Saturday packing and then we all went to Jason and Kelly's for a family dinner.

Monday morning Maria came over at 6 to stay with Taylor and the rest of us drove up to SLC.  We were able to attend a Monday devotional with his mission, meet his mission presidency and many of the other elders and say good-bye.  Spencer was so excited and thrilled to be there and was eager to get on with mission life.  After attending the devotional, none of us had any doubts that this was the perfect fit for Spencer and that he would thrive in this environment.

We have had texts from senior missionaries working with him that Spencer is doing wonderfully in the Family History Discover Center and his emails sound like he is just living his dream right now. 

And for the rest of us life continues with all the end of the year activities and field trips and testing not just for my kids but also my students.  Robyn is ending elementary school so they have had author's fairs and 6th grade swim parties and country reports and many other things that I am sure I have missed seeing and hearing about.

So periodically we take breaks for snow cones:

or the city pool opening:

Allison took MORP pictures for her friends, following in her dad's footsteps:

Allison was selected by her teacher as one of two top chemistry students at her school.  So I got to spend an evening at BYU with her and all the chemistry nerds exploring the labs and presentations.  Seriously proud of that girl.

I was able to chaperone Allison's choir for their choir festival one Saturday.  My favorite part was when one girl who seemed to have some struggles came up to me and told me "I really like Allison.  Just so you know, she is one of the nicest people ever."

Allison had been studying for finals and AP tests, best buddies activities and service projects and lots of soccer games to go to and cheer.  Our high school won the state championship which was an amazing game of 2 over times and going to a kick-off.  Allison is so busy I am always grateful for some family time.

Jeremy came home from dropping Spencer of in SLC, changed and then was back off on another business trip for a week.  He had a pretty bad bike crash a few weeks earlier and  his shoulder is still giving him a lot of grief.  So its good that on these trips he has been an editor and not a photographer.

But he hasn't given up riding and has been trying to get out as much as possible since he came back home.

And when the pain gets bad, Jasper is always ready to help out.

On the Friday evening he flew back to UT he went straight to the hospital for a bunch of immunizations in preparation for loosing his spleen.  Then he met me to go out for a steak one last time.  Then his colonoscopy was last week.  Not fun preparing for but on the good news side - there were no signs of tumor on the inside of the colon.  That is really good news for us.   I was grateful for aides who cover for me so I can go to these things.

We are still van shopping but hoping to find a good replacement soon.  We now know all the vans that won't work with Taylor's wheelchair so that has helped narrow down the selection quite a bit.

For a large portion of March and all of April my girls live and breathe Center Stage as they practice and perform their play.  This year was Mary Poppins.  They had practices almost every day for several hours and often on weekends.  They are on one tired, emotional, super happy, hyper, never wanting to stop high for a good 5 weeks there. 

During that crazy time of Mary Poppins (photos to follow) we also had Jeremy's CT-Scan.  The tumors had grown quite a bit and it was obvious that Gleevac was no longer being effective.  So we moved ahead with meeting with the surgeon and scheduling surgery for June 1st.   It was disappointing but also not that surprising.  Jeremy had been feeling quite a bit of pain off and on so we were pretty sure the tumors had grown.  In many ways I feel that its been a good shift in our thinking.  This isn't some acute emergency, this is a life style, a part of our life that is not going to go away.  It will have its hills and valleys but this is what we are going to be living with from now on.  So instead of letting cancer be our life, it needs to be a part of our life and not our central focus, although at times it will have to be.  Just like lots of things are part of our life from Taylor's disabilities to Spencer struggling with bi-polar to me figuring out how to work full time.  It is just another aspect of our life from now on.

Spencer came home the weekend before the play which happened to be the same weekend my parents had come out so they could see the play the next weekend.  It worked out wonderfully as Spencer was able to go through the temple that Saturday and give his farewell talk Sunday before heading back to college for finals.  And despite his best efforts he was still unable to take his old YM leader in arm wrestling.  It is amazing to watch your son making such great choices and at the same time hitting your head and wondering about small stupid things, "how did I fail to teach him that?"

Our washing machine broke and we have been having the repair guy make regular stops at our house as we work through the warranty process.  Its been 5 weeks of repair visits.  You think at some point they will realize it would be cheaper just to replace it!  And to help keep things interesting Allison had a tooth go bad and required some more extensive work.  Life is never boring around here!

But the girls had a wonderful time living with Mary Poppins non-stop and strengthened friendships, got too little sleep and wore themselves out.  They wouldn't change a thing.

They do such an awesome job and I love watching them perform. Somewhere hidden in a camera if a photo of my girls with my parents who flew out to see them.  We will have to track it down.

Spencer came home for spring break at the beginning of March.  He had received a letter a few days before stating that he was honorably excused from serving a full time mission.  He was bouncing around from staying at school and was figuring out classes and registration, looking at service mission and living at home or using all his savings to buy a car.  Lots of energy, enthusiasm and acceptance but not sure where to put it.  He worked a few days at the outdoor expo Jeremy worked at and ran home one night with Jeremy to meet me at the Stake President's office.  He was handed a white envelope and was so shakey and excited to open it, it was awesome.  He was called to serve up to 24 months at the Church Headquarters Mission leaving May 14th.  He was so excited.  Tough for him to go back to school and focus for the rest of the semester!

While he was it happened to overlap with Rootstec and my parents visiting which worked out perfectly.  Spencer helped my dad rip out the ramp in our garage as he built a platform for us that week in anticipation of our wheelchair lift getting installed.

The lift is awesome and has made is much safer and easier to get Taylor in and out of the house.

Allison had EFY Express with some friends which she enjoyed and resurrected my high school graduation dress from the back of my closet.

Robyn and Allison had way, way too many trip to the dentist this spring and for Allison even to an endodontist.  At the dentist we were laughing because Robyn was so tired out she started snoring - through the whole thing!

Robyn has been registering for junior high and going on tours and meeting with counselors.  It feels all way too grown up for me.  Early one Saturday morning I got to attend her 6th grade film festival.  They rent out a local theater, have the kids drive around in a limo, and then walk the red carpet all dressed up with the paparazzi "parents" cheering them on.  Then we all sit in theaters to watch the mini-movies their different reading groups made.  Jeremy was able to sneak in for Robyn's 10 second movie review and to see the "Oscars" presented at the end.

At the end of February we had our spring break.  We left Taylor in respite and then flew to CA to visit my parents.  My brothers also planned a visit at the same time which meant we were ALL at my parents house.  I can't remember when that last happened.  We played at the beach, ate some ice cream, watched Conference, had a birthday party, dyed Easter eggs and had an Easter egg hunt and hiked through the redwoods.  We just packed in as much fun as possible before my sister and brothers had to return home.  There is something soul-filling and restorative and amazingly joyful with being surrounded by family.

When everyone left we had a few days with just us at my parents.  We went to Santa Cruz to lay on the beach and watch the seals.   We drove with my parents down to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium to spend a day and eat seafood at Phil's fish shack.  We spent a day at Golden Gate Park, looking at the Natural Science Museum and Japanese Gardens, walking everywhere, riding the carousel and having a picnic.  We were tired every night and so grateful for family that made this all possible and the chance we had to spend this time together.