Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!

Posted by JT , 11.20.2010 6:40 PM

Christmas season has come a little early to our house. We braved the wind, snow and cold today to go up into Uinta National Forest to cut down a Christmas tree.

It's probably one of our favorite family holiday traditions. This year even though the weather wasn't great, we still had a ton of fun. There's a phrase in Finland (so we hear) that says there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Good thing we dressed well and kept dry.

Heather held Droolicus, Sissy and Brother took turns walking, riding in the sled and being carried as we tromped through the snow in search for our heathen-inspired holiday decoration.

We normally wander around for an hour or two looking for a tree, but this year we found a couple of good candidates quickly. This year's Christmas tree is a little goofy and two dimensional with a handful of trunks and two tops. It's got a couple of dead branches that just add to the charm. We really like non-traditional Christmas trees. I guess we're just wired weird. :)

Utah's got the best-tasting snow on earth--at least that's what brother thinks. Yum.

We weren't out for very long, but the kidlets were all happy to get back to the car and get warm again.

Thanks to our snow chains, we didn't get stuck. We made it up and back pretty easily.

The tree's propped up in our yard right now camouflaged by all the other trees in our yard. We'll put it up in a couple weeks and it might warrant another blog post. But don't get your hopes up. :)


Does anyone have a Spike the Ultra Dinosaur?

Posted by JT , 9.25.2010 12:05 PM

I'm looking to borrow a remote for Spike the Ultra Dinosaur for a few hours.

So, with a wild look in my eye, last week I bought a Spike the Ultra Dinosaur from Savers (a local thrift store) for $7. It retails for $130-ish and is chock full of awesome electronics, motors, IR sensors, microcontroller, lights and other stuff. Here's a link: http://bit.ly/clFDQG

I first bought it so I could steal all the parts from it, but upon bringing it home, my kids _really_ want to play with it before I disassemble it. I got to thinking it'd be a fun project to reverse-engineer the infrared remote protocol and create a new remote from scratch (that I could control with a computer). I think it'd be fun to give small-brained Spike an IQ upgrade by hooking it up wirelessly to my computer.

Anyway, that's where I'm at a loss. I don't want to have to brute force the protocol, that could take a _really_ long time. I was hoping someone I know would have a Spike dinosaur and would loan me the remote for a few hours. I won't take it a part or anything :). I just need to read the infrared signal that it outputs when you push each of the buttons. I record the signal and that's that. You can have your remote back.

If you have a remote for Spike the Ultra Dinosaur and would be willing to indulge me, please let me know. I'd really appreciate it.



Anyone wanna buy our awesome house?

Posted by Heather , 9.15.2010 11:47 PM

Hey family and friends,

A few weeks ago we became aware of a house for sale in Pleasant Grove that would be a really good fit for all of our family, including Nick. The catch is we'll be looking to sell our current, beloved house. Ugg.

We weren't really planning on moving anytime soon, and we may not for awhile if this situation doesn't work out... but we keep feeling like this is an opportunity we should pursue. We have had the feeling that if this was supposed to work out, things would fall into place. Through our experiences the past few years, we have learned to follow impressions, even if it doesn't make sense or seem logical/plausible. Even if things don't work out the way we think they should, the process teaches us things we couldn't learn in any other way. The home we are looking at would provide space for everyone in our family, including Nick (JT's brother) and future family members to grow and reach their maximum potential.

So we're looking into to selling our current home. We need to find a buyer, or at least be well into the process before we can make a competitive offer on the new house. With the current market, it seems like kind of a long shot, but similar to adoption, it only takes one person to choose you (or your home). It could take years, or days. So, we are just putting it out there... Our home is unofficially for sale. If you, or anyone you know is looking for a home to buy and appreciates awesomeness, please let us know.

Here is a quick synopsis of our lovely home:
Square Feet: about 2,200
Acres: .22

Main Floor: Master bedroom with new 3/4 bath (wheelchair accessible with dual shower heads--woot), 1 additional bedroom, 1 full bath, kitchen & living room
New hickory wood floors & tile
Cathedral ceilings & fireplace

Basement: living room (with hobby nook & fireplace), 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, laundry room (wired for a home Internet server)
New paint, new carpet in bedrooms

2 car garage
Nice big shed

Wheelchair lift to get to the main floor...which we may take with us if the potential buyer doesn't want/need it.

Fully fenced yard, mature trees, fully landscaped with automatic sprinklers

A couple of my favorite things about this house are the yard and location. It feels like you are living in the woods. Every window, even in the basement looks out on to trees or foliage. It's got a pond and a stream with fountains. Backyard parties definitely have a forest ambiance.

The neighbors and neighborhood are awesome. It is in a quiet, safe cul-de-sac off 1600 North in Orem. There are lots of kids to play with close by. We're within walking distance to the park, close to the freeway and within 10 minutes to just about any kind of shopping or the mountains. We really do love it here, and there's a good chance you know someone who would love it too. :)

We have been working with my brother who is a real estate agent and loan officer. It would be awesome if we could find a buyer on our own and have him help with the paperwork to help keep the price as low as possible and the realtor fees low. He has done a bunch of research and thinks the house is worth $215,000 ish.

So, there you have it. If you know of anyone who may be interested, feel free to give them our contact information. We're more than happy to talk to them and show the house.


Love the Zemps
ph: 801-592-2112

Mommy Update

Posted by Heather , 5.12.2010 12:58 AM

Happy Mother’s Day (a couple of days late)!

It seems fitting to do my little update today, especially since the whole past weekend was so awesome. We have a tradition of going to Park City and staying overnight with just “the girls” and then shopping at the outlets for Mother’s Day. It truly is a lovely tradition. This year we had a smaller group, and missed those who weren’t there, but we still had a great time. We used coupons and ate at two of my very most favorite restaurants (Fratelli’s and Bangkok Thai on Main). It was oh, so tasty, and it’s so much cheaper paying for just one person (especially when using coupons). We had a fun day shopping and found some great finds. Mumford got to come this year, and he was a super trooper. We didn’t get home till 11 pm Saturday night. I was a little nervous about how everyone (and the house) faired without me. I was pleasantly surprised to find the house clean, and the kids in bed. While I was gone JT and the kids built square foot gardening boxes, heart-attacked my bed, and made me an awesome Mother’s Day present. Maybe I should leave more often! Just kidding, Sweetie.

For many years I DREADED Mother’s Day, so I understand how un-fun of a holiday it can be. This year I had a really great day. I feel very blessed to be a mother. My heart has been very full the past few days. I just can’t imagine loving anyone more than I love my little family.

We’ve been working through some pretty intense stages with Bro. and Sis. Some days I feel pretty good about my efforts, and some days I feel like a complete failure. It has been very humbling, and I have felt more driven to rely on the Savior to help me overcome my own weaknesses and learn how to respond to situations in a more Christ-like way. I have been studying about parenting a lot in the scriptures and conference talks, and it seems like the last general conference, and our Stake Conference were directed to me and the struggles I have been facing. What a rollercoaster it is to be a parent of young kids. You can go from feeling feelings of exhilaration to devastation in the same day, afternoon, or even interaction. It is never my kids that “devastate” me, it is my reaction to their very normal behaviors that makes me feel so discouraged. I just want to be a good mom.

I really do love my life right now. I know this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. It is hard, but it is worth it. The other day JT and I were talking and he asked me what I would want to be doing with my life if time and money were not an issue. I thought about it really hard and realized that I am doing EXACTLY what I want to be doing right now. I don’t need more time; we have sufficient money. There is no other work I would rather be doing than being home with my kids.

I think it is really easy to “wish-away” stages and not live in the moment. I know I have that tendency, but I really don’t want to do that. I only get to be mortal once, and I only get to be a mom to my kids once. This is my one chance to teach them and influence them in such an intense way. This is the only time when I will be the center of their existence. It is a huge responsibility and can be very draining, but I don’t want to have any regrets.

I want to teach my kids to love the Lord, to be independent, to serve others, to create, to sing, to dance, to love. I know that as they grow older and more independent, and I become less influential in their lives, I will look back on this time with sweet fondness. I don’t want to murmur away the joy that can be mine now.

So, I’m trying. Everyday I try to do my best. There is a lot to do. I say that, realizing that my position is not unique. Every person on the planet has their fair share of challenges. For me right now, it is keeping all the bodies in my care fed, clean, and somewhat civil. It is a lot of work and I love it.

Giggling Mumford and Mom

Sissy Update

Posted by Heather , 5.03.2010 10:22 PM

Sis is full of life. She is running from the time she wakes up until she crashes at night. She really does reminds me of Olivia the pig. “She is really good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out.”

She is a socialite and loves to be where the people are. She eats preschool and primary right up and tells me all about what they did and what she learned. She is my shadow and “go-fer” and helps me all day long. She is really good at cooking and especially likes to crack eggs and run the blender.

Ever since she was a little baby she has been a little clumsy and accident-prone. She still is. Add to that her love for adrenaline and you can imagine how many awesome accidents we have a day. We recently discovered that she has a lazy eye and she’s been wearing a patch over one eye for a couple of hours a day. Whenever someone asks if she’s okay (it looks like a band-aid). She lets them know that she has a “lazy eye.” I was hoping that straightening out her eye issues would help with her clumsiness. The doctor told me not to count on it…dang.

She loves to dance, wrestle, and make art projects. Nearly everyday we make something at our house. Her idea of the ideal project is anything that includes paint, scissors, glue, and tape (especially painter’s tape, the blue kind). She makes lots of cards and crafts for people.

She loves to get presents and new stuff, and she remembers what people gave her. She often reminds me who gave her what clothes and toys as she gets them out. She filled her marble jar (our current rewards program) and got to go get the vacuum she’s been saving up for. It took about 2 months, but it was totally worth it. She was so funny when we went to get it. She would stop everyone we passed and tell them that this was HER vacuum and that she earned it.

Her favorite word is WHY. I would estimate she uses it about 500 times a day, at least. Sometimes she really is curious, but sometimes I think it is just a habit. My favorite thing she does is makes a statement, then ask “why?” For example, she might say something like this: “Eating oranges is my favorite. Why?” or “We went on a field trip today. Why?” You get the picture. I find myself explaining all kinds of natural phenomenon and social/cultural traditions all day. But, a lot of the time I really don’t know why, or I giver her the classic answer, “because I said so, and I’m the mom.” She doesn’t like either of those answers.

She is irresistibly cute—with her beautiful smile and mischevious giggle. She loves to tease and joke and, unfortunately she has a pretty crude sense of humor. I blame that on JT. I love it when she comes and snuggles with me and Mumford in the morning. What a sweet, sweet, sissy. I’m so glad to be her mommy. Oh, and she wants to be Hello Kitty for Halloween with Mumford.

Palo Update....

Posted by Heather , 5.01.2010 11:36 PM

Brothy has also been busy. He and Sissy started preschool this year, and Sunbeams. I can’t believe how grown up they are both getting.

Brother loves Mumford and he is learning how to “be soft” with him. He has an awesome imagination and lives in his own little world that is mostly made up of princesses, Dora, and Thomas the Train. He loves to dress up in his “Sleeping Booty” dress. He can’t watch any shows with music in them without a dress on to dance along. Unfortunately, his pink sparkle shoes are officially too tight. He’ll have to make do with his gold ones, and his collection of plastic heels.

He loves to color and is amazingly good at it. He will sit for hours working on the same picture. Sometimes he colors using ballpoint pens, which makes it take even longer.

He does everything at his own pace, and doesn’t like to be hurried. It is not unusual for him to take over an hour to eat a meal, especially breakfast. This makes getting to preschool a challenge.

He is very funny and loving. He and Sissy love to pretend to go camping, to the store, and California. He gets fixated on toys/items and carries them around. This usually is his box of Thomas trains, or DVD cases. Lately, he has filled his backpack up with Clifford Pull-ups and insists on sleeping with them and carrying them around because he likes to look at all the different scenes of kids and dogs playing on them.

He loves to read books and has memorized many of his favorites. He also is really good at remembering lyrics to songs. His favorite music to listen to is the “Hairspray” soundtrack.

He is a sweet, tender boy. How grateful I am to be his Mama. Oh, and he is planning on being a vampire for Halloween with me.

Time to Catch Up!

Posted by Heather 12:44 AM

Where to even start…It’s embarrassing how long it has been since we posted. So many big and little things have happened. In an attempt to catch up, I thought I’d start by writing a quick post about each person in our family. I thought I’d start with the newest member, Mumford (JT is making me use alternate names for the kiddos…I’ll try to remember, Sweetie). We had a hard time choosing a name. He was 10 days old when we finally settled on one. He picked up the nickname “Mumford” at the hospital because that’s the name that was on his bassinet. It’s actually the name of our pediatrician (whom I highly recommend).

Miracle Mumford

Mumford was born December 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm. He weighed 7 lbs and was 20 inches long.He is our little miracle baby, at least our most recent miracle baby. After 7 years of not being able to get pregnant, he surprised us all. What a tricky blessing!

He is a very happy, sweet soul. From the moment he arrived, he has brought a feeling of peace to our family. He loves a good joke and has eternal patience for E & E’s antics. I love to wake up to his sweet little conversations with himself.

Mumford’s pregnancy was wonderfully boring and textbook. He did surprise us by coming 2 weeks early. I had convinced myself he was going to be late (after Christmas), so it didn’t even register that my water had broke until half the day had passed. Real labor set in around 6 pm. He finally arrived the next afternoon. Giving birth was an awesome experience, and he was, oh, so worth it.

Mumford was born with a ton of hair. That was what actually motivated me to give the final push to get him out. Everyone started exclaiming how much hair he had, and I had to see it.They were right. He looked like a little baby teen wolf, complete with sideburns! His whole body had a cute layer of orangutan fuzz.

Unfortunately, he has lost nearly all of his baby hair at this point (4 1/2 months later). Now he has your basic baby-pattern baldness with a little bit of a flat spot. It’s also a good look for him.

He has been a pure joy. His favorite things to do are eat, sleep, have conversations with anyone, watch his brother and sister, take baths, and chew on his hands. He loves to suck on fabric, especially wet washcloths. He is definitely teething and has become a major drool factory. He doesn’t like to be set down for too long, so my arms are getting pretty buff.

He is a very healthy boy. He weighs over 17 lbs and has rolls on his rolls. Today I started calling him “Mini-Moose,” or “Moose Jr.” after his Grandpa, it sort of fits, we’ll see if it sticks.

Here are a few pictures documenting his first few months with us.

I love you, my funny little bunny!

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