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Sunday, October 20, 2019

First part of fall

Back to school pictures! School always starts a bit early for me with meetings, training, and getting everything set up. I was lucky to have two of my favorite people come back to work as para-educators in my classroom and was blessed to find someone else equally wonderful. Work is so much better when I am surrounded by people I admire and can rely on. I tried once to decide how many of the things that I do in my classroom were just my idea rather than from other people inspiring me and really hardly anything came just from me.

Allison had one last hurrah with her church group and dived into student council activities and her senior year. She seems to either be working, doing homework, or helping with some school event. It keeps her busy and happy.

Robyn is in the same boat doing student council on a smaller scale at the junior high and trying out cross country this year.

With everyone so busy during school days for Labor Day we had Taylor go into respite and drove up to Mirror Lake to spend a day doing absolutely nothing. It was beautiful and awesome. And of course floaties were required.

I was able to steal my kids away for a Saturday of Timpanogous Storytelling Festival. Allison pointed out that after this year I will be down to just Robyn and Taylor. I try to explain how much I enjoy a day of laying around with family listening to stories and talking about authors but I never seem to do it justice. Nevertheless it is one of my favorite yearly traditions. The girls like it even more now that I have them bring a friend. I realized that this was our 15th year of going to this event.

Allison had Homecoming and all the events surrounding it.

Allison has had several trips down to Gunnison with her friend Evy to see friends she made at Student Council Camp. Scary moment for me was when they had a tire blow right outside of Nephi while driving on the free way. Lots of little miracles including a family who stopped to help them change the tire and followed them all the way to the tire store in Nephi to make sure they were OK. If this had happened after Nephi, they would have been out in the middle of nowhere.

Jeremy and Robyn were able to go on a trip to Lava Hot Springs with Jeremy's brother's family and his cousin's family for a weekend. And Jeremy has been able to get out on the lake with friends a couple of times. He has been working to get his bilirubin levels down. They were too high, he had to go off the drug, went back on, again his liver levels were too high so currently he is off again. Its a process, that is for sure.

Robyn has been doing assemblies with student council and having fish nibble her toes with me.

Allison turned 18 and celebrated with a family night of Panda Express and seeing the musical Thoroughly Modern Milly. Then going with a friend to Frightmares at Lagoon for the day.

The school term seems to fly by as we are just finishing up fall break. The girls gave me a family day. We put Taylor in respite and went to check out King's English bookstore (the coolest place ever), did a short hike/picnic, stocking up on treates at Trader Joe's, picked up Jeremy who just got back from the Mayo Clinic to drive the Alpine Look and do Sundance's Haunted Lift followed by checking out a new dessert place.

Then the girls left for a 24 hour Questival sponsered by Cotopaxi where they drove all over the state and even to Winnemucca for 24 hours doing challenges. They did it with their friends and friends dad and had the best time but are so tired now. The challenges ranged from eating a doughnut with a friend without hands, climbing Ensign Peak to helping out a kid you don't know in a non-creepy way.

Spencer continues to do well on his mission. He has a new companion who he loves and enjoyed being part of the General Conference Activities on temple square.

I have had a few requests for my brownie recipe so I am going to post and hopefully get a picture in later. For several years now these have been my treat of choice. I keep a stash in my freezer in individual bags that I pull out often. Kids joke that they can tell how tough a day it was by the size of the brownie. The original recipe was from but then I tweaked it a bit.

 Cookie layer:
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c granualted sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c (12 oz) chocolate chips

Oreo Layer:
1 pkg double stuffed oreos (family size is slightly too many, original size is slightly too few)

Brownie Layer:

1/2 c plus 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/3 c sugar
3 eggs
1 1/3 c flour
1/2 c chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 in dish with foil and spray with Pam.
2. Make the cookie layer: Beat the butter and sugars together till creamy. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Flatten the cookie dough in the bottom of the dish.
3. Top with a layer of Oreos.
4. Make the brownie layer: Melt the butter and cocoa together on the stove. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and flour. When mixture has cooled slightly stir in the eggs and chocolate chips.
5. Pour the brownie mixture on top of the oreos.
6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Summer 2019

I used to think teachers got summers off. Now I know that you get a lot of time off but there is also a lot of training, evaluating, and planning that goes on in the summer time. It seems like it has flown by as we have worked hard and played hard. I am taking 21 credits this summer so I feel that a large part of my summer has been spent reading books and doing assignments. But we have fit in a lot of fun as well. For Father's Day we gave Jeremy sky-diving which he did with our nephew Garion. Of course, we had to play the song, "Live like you were dying..."

Robyn did swim team again this summer. I have a love/hate relationship of her needing a ride to the pool at 6:30 in the morning. So swim meets on Saturday mornings and periodic running work outs to get ready for cross-country in the fall. She took a few days off to go to the Manti temple pageant with me and her friend Collette. We camped in the city park and enjoyed heat, rain, and cold all within a 24 hour period. I had always wanted to go to the pageant and this was the last year.

Allison works at Chubby's some nights along with her many other activities. She went to EFY at BYU with her friend Kaori. They have been planning this for years.

Then Allison had student council camp at Utah state the following week which she loved. They have had a few activities this summer such as marching in the parade or lighting the G as well. She came home from STUCO camp in time to join Robyn and I for the Strawberry Days Rodeo. The week of Strawberry Days makes me grateful for out smallish town.

Jeremy had a few photo trips in June plus his Mayo trips every other week. For awhile he was gone a lot. Drug seemed to be working as tumors stopped growing and even decreased in size a bit. His liver is having a hard time though so he is taking a hopefully short break and allowing his bilirubin levels to come down.

This year we spent the week of the 4th in Washington State. We were spoiled as we flew there and slept in hotels every night. The rest of the family might disagree about the spoilness factor as some of the hotels especially the hostel were more of an experience than anything else. We drove out to the San Juan Islands where we stayed on San Juan for two days and then Orcas for a day. We hiked around, kayaked (Robyn was convinced I would kill her when she was my kayak partner), saw everything we could think of and enjoyed being lazy and being together. We saw a few of Jeremy's high school friends, got doughnuts at Sly's, watched fireworks in Poulsbo (along with a police officer involved shooting right next to us), watched fireworks at the Indian casino, explored down town Seattle, looked at lots of tidepools, and rode on the ferry's. A great trip.

Girls said this camp was the best ever. Allison was a stake YCL and she enjoyed being more of a part of the planning process this year. Robyn came home covered in misquito bites. What I was proud of was that they packed and got themselves there. Then unpacked, did a swim meet, and cleaned the office before we came home from our trip. Love these girls!

We came home to a wonderful visit with my brother Peter and his wife Kathryn and their two kids for a week. We even had a mini-Hall reunion as Jeremy's sister's and brother's family came over along with his cousin for a Sunday night get together. I love having family around and getting to just hang out. We were able to hike Timp caves with Peter's family which is always beautiful.

Then Jeremy and I to celebrate our 25th anniversary a little early went to Washington D.C. for a week while the girls went to girl's camp. Jeremy noted that by the end of the week he had walked over 50 miles. We went to Mount Vernon, all the monuments (I went back several times to re-live my West Wing fantasies of running the mall), almost every museum even the National Bill Engraving Building, Union Station, the Capitol, National Library, National Archives, and the National Zoo. As Jeremy said, if there was a plaque, we saw it. NASA was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 so on Friday night they projected the launching and landing of Apollo 11 on the Washington monument and shut down the mall so tens of thousands of people could watch it. It was amazing. We even got to go to the waterfront one night to try to cool down, eat pancakes at Eastern Market and one night we visited with some friends of Jeremy's who moved there. It was super hot and humid so we just had to embrace being constantly sweaty and gross. The metro and busses were super helpful to cut down on the walking but nap time was a very real part of our day!

Spencer is doing great on his mission. He has had a few ups and downs with companions but is working through them. He is enjoying the tourist season and all the activities on Temple Square.

And then just all the odds and ends of summer time. Getting snowcones, going to the lake, working in the yard, and just having unscheduled time. Allison had youth conference this last weekend at Heber Valley and that is our last planned get away for summer. I almost cried when I realized that its the last Sunday of July as my free time is ending soon but I am going to soak it up as long as I can.