Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's been a long two weeks.

You know our life has been busier than usual when I can't find the time to blog about it.

Michael has found the coziest place in the house to watch TV from.

On the twenty first of this month, Michael turned two. We hadn't been to beach since April, so a birthday celebration was a good excuse to break out the shovels and towels.

We had so much fun at the beach that I was too pooped to party, much less bake the cake I hadn't got to yet, so we celebrated Michael's big day a day late. Luckily, his balloons were still alive (barely).

Last Friday, Rachel was one of two Students of the Month in her classroom. Her teacher (who had Summer two years ago) wrote Stan and me a letter saying, "Words cannot describe the blessing of having another Spencer girl for a student. Rachel is such a neat, intelligent, and thoughtful young lady. She sets the standard for others to reach for in all facets of school life."

We have to agree, she is pretty stellar. Good job Rachel!

Friday night, Stan and I went out on a date and the kids got comfy in the living room so that they could watch a movie together. Who needs beds?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Odds, Ends and Funny Bubbles

Thursday night, the company Stan works for had a party. Clients and spouses were invited. I washed my hair, had the girls make dinner and took off. There was a live band, good food, displays in some of the offices, and interesting people. The caterer had a set up where you chose your pasta and your sauce and the chef sautéed fresh herbs, added the sauce and pasta and heated it all together for you, which was fun. Stan put some pressed plants and a collection of bees and flies out for visitors to peruse as well as a slide show of pictures of species they survey for. One of his fellow biologists spent her time, between eating and visiting, dissecting owl pellets and explaining her findings. The Archeology Dept. had some of the fossils that they had rescued from bulldozers. My favorite was half of a mammoth tooth that whole would have weighed more than the baby I will have in February (I hope!!!). I had a great time and, as you can see, socially I was a hit, causing other party goers to roll their eyes and try to escape.

Saturday, Summer, Rachel and I went with the Young Women on the Metrolink into LA to Olvera Street. There is a Mexican marketplace and quite a few historical buildings. We went on a tour with a docent and had an overview of the history of the city's beginnings. We had a lot of fun and Rachel bought a sombrero. Not the one she is wearing - hers is doll sized, but isn't she cute in this one?

Lastly, here's a link to Funny Bubbles - Every time we watch it, we laugh - hope you do, too!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Look at these two schoolgirls on their way to the car to be dropped off at Elementary and Middle schools. Aren't they smart looking young ladies? You can read and judge for yourself. Here are some recent writings by each of them. Enjoy :)


The Bug
by Rachel

I never thought I’d eat a bug. And I definitely didn’t think I’d eat a cricket. But, unfortunately, my sisters can convince anyone.
The last day of fifth grade one of the parent helpers had brought in a box of Hotlix Lollipops, lollipops with either a larvae or a cricket inside. Picking an orange flavored one, and certainly not planning to eat it, I brought it home. When I arrived at my house, I showed it to my sisters and hid it somewhere. My sisters bugged me. And then they pleaded with me. They bothered me until I finally gave in. I would eat it in September. Then the day finally came.
I was unwilling and nervous. Even though I didn’t want to, I couldn’t get away with it now. All my sisters, my brother, and my mom were watching. Laying it in the water filled sink, I waited for the candy to dissolve. Not wanting to be sucking on candy for the next half hour, I left it there. When all that remained was a water soaked bug, I ate it. It was stringy, and chewy, and leggy, and very gross. I was disgusted. But a cricket isn’t the only kind of bug.
When my Aunt Stephanie heard of that disastrous day, she sent a package with Spicy Larvets, spicy fried larvae made by the same company. Those were better. Everyone except Summer tried some. Although Heather almost spit them out, Michael was stuffing handfuls in his mouth and Gwen was begging for more. Other people in my family liked them.
I learned that you should try even the worst looking food before you determine the flavor, and to some people (like my brother) the worst looking food can taste good. That time will always be remembered. It is embedded in my mind like that cricket was embedded in the lollipop that day in September.

Oct.12, 2006

The Longest Run

by Summer

I never expected to jog two miles before high school, not to mention a whole three point two! Life is full of surprises however. One spring morning, I found myself standing nervously next to my mom on the starting line of a five kilometer Fun Run. In college, my mom couldn’t even run a mile without stopping, so she was as surprised to be there as I was. During the summer of 2005, we both wanted to improve our running, so we ran in our back yard around a dirt track about twice a week. Throughout the school year, as I ran during P.E., she continued to run at home early in the morning and improve her distance and speed. Even with this effort, the most I had ever run without stopping was a mile and a half and my mom had gone two miles. I admired her consistency in jogging and how much she had improved. When our church sponsored a Fun Run and she got excited about giving it a try, I was inspired to run the five kilometers with her.
At eight o’clock one sunny, March morning, our whole family drove to a church building in Woodcrest. While my mom and I nervously walked up to the starting line, my younger siblings played on the grass and my dad supervised them. We were handed a map of the route and were told that the run was winding and hilly. Soon, more and more people assembled at the start with us. Some had bikes, some had kids in strollers and some, like us, were jogging.
“On your marks, get set, go!” someone shouted and we set off. Quickly, the crowd dispersed, some running at the front, some walking in the back and some, including us, jogging in the middle. Although my mom could probably have jogged faster, she stayed with me all the way. Along the route, we passed tree shaded streets, skate boarders, and a house that was built to
look like a small medieval castle. As we went on, we became weary. Eventually, we saw the finish line and all the runners who had arrived before us. Triumphantly, we passed it and went to find out our time.
Although we were slow, at forty two minutes and sixteen seconds, we were glad we did it and jogged the whole way. Afterwards, we drank some water and ate oranges while we waited for the last people to come in. In the car, we talked about it and planned to jog again at the next church Fun Run. This showed me that if I tried, I could jog, what was for me, a long way.
As we exhaustedly pushed ourselves over the finish line, I will always remember how my dad congratulated us and my mom proudly told him we had jogged the entire way. I was thankful my mom inspired me to jog with her. My mom and I got to be together and become better friends. The run showed me I could jog a greater distance than I expected and inspired me to improve my time on shorter runs. I am excited for the next 5K Fun Run in March and I hope my mom can run with me!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Shoe Shopping

Yesterday, Stan had to work all day, so I decided it was a good day to take the kids and get the shoe shopping done I've needed to do for them.

Did I say done? Having a thirteen year old means never having the shoe shopping done, EVER. Even though we went to five different shoe stores, it still isn't done.

But...I digress. In the course of our shopping, we purchased five pairs of shoes, returned two, are keeping two and have two pairs sitting in the laundry room waiting to be returned. In case you are doing the math, that includes a pair purchased for the thirteen year old two months ago.

Overall the trip went well. We all survived. And if you don't know why barely surviving a shopping trip is a good outcome, you haven't ever taken six kids including a toddler shopping for four hours. We had the mandatory mad rush to a public restroom, one minor injury and at least 75 instances of me saying, "One, two, three, four, five...WHERE"S MICHAEL?"

The highlights of our trip were getting two pairs of keepers (Yea!), finding a cute green velveteen purse for me, the trip to In-N-Out when we were done and seeing Heather and Rachel try on boots. Everyone tried on a couple pairs of shoes they knew I wouldn't buy, but Rachel and Heather went to town with the boots. I was wishing I had taken the camera, but I had no idea Heather would look so adorable in the silver slouch boots at Payless or that Rachel would be so smashing in the red suede stiletto heels she slipped on over her jeans. So instead of seeing my cute girls in boots too big for them, you get a cheesy picture of me with the pigeon I caught last year on the beach. This was almost as much of an accomplishment as shoe shopping. I've only done it once before, in Central Park, and I never forgot the thrill

Monday, October 02, 2006

A New Way to Play With Blocks

Michael got tired of making towers, so he stuffed his onesie with all 12 of Kelly's peek-a-blocks. He was so proud of himself that he staggered into the kitchen holding on for dear life to tell me he "put in pocket".

Sunday, October 01, 2006


We listened to General Conference yesterday and today at home. Yesterday, we worked while we were tuned in. Today, Stan and I sat blissfully still, the kids kept their hands busy with artistic endeavors and we all listened. Here are some samples of what the kids did.

Summer cut snowflakes out and let Heather tinge them with blue watercolor.

Rachel used both markers and watercolors to produce this picture of the redwood forest in Northern California. If you look closely you can see the banana slug in the bottom left hand corner.

Just FYI, banana slugs are edible.

Heather created a rainbow by first drawing with markers, then adroitly applying Elmer's glue.

Gwen crafted flowers with felt and beads. The picture is sideways. Just turn your head.

Kelly drew "two princesses and two silly men" with style and pizazz.

And, last but not least, our budding artist who is not defined by convention, nor limited by running out of paper - Michael.