Meta and another dinner party

My friend, Maria, is in town, so this morning we went to Bikram together. We had a great time, despite the profuse fountain of sweat spurting off of the man behind us. Afterward Maria humorously referred to the situation as “his hydroponics.” That made me laugh.

Then we went to Liberty Heights for cheese, and then to Harmon’s for groceries and lunch. We ate in their little cafe area and talked a lot about blogs.

Maria had a lot of great insights into blogging, one of which was that our children deserve privacy. I agree, and so I came away conflicted about my own blog (which deprives my children of that right). So I’ve been thinking, and here are the reasons I blog:

a) personal therapy/fun

b) to preserve memories and chronicle our family life

c) for my sweet grandma’s daily reading material

d) to help any interested people to get a glimpse of how some Mormons live (light on a hill and all that stuff, except when I’m writing all the bad stuff down–then the light gets pretty dim!). I know there are a lot of monetized Mormon mommy blogs out there, and from what I’ve read and heard of them, I don’t think they represent my “Mormon mommy” life at all. So even though I would never try to monetize this blog or even try to reach a large audience, at least I’m representing my reality as best as I can.

e) because I must be a narcissist. I mean, who else blogs their thoughts every single day? Even though this troubles me greatly, the thoughts keep happening and the blogs keep getting written…

For reasons c and d, not to mention what a hassle it was for me to read my own blog when I had the password system in place, my blog is public. But maybe sometime in the future, that will change again.

We also talked about reading blogs. Personally, I’ve cut out reading any blog that does not teach me to do something (like cook or craft). By my standards, I would not read my own blog if it weren’t my own.

So enough meta. Tonight we had a great dinner party with Maria, her husband, Kyle, and a mutual friend, Cynthia Barlow. I had heard a lot about Cynthia but never met her before tonight. What a lovely person! I am excited because I think she might buddy up with me on a yoga pass, which would be awesome.

Also, to record the bad stuff: I burnt the squash for the dinner party. It was pretty mortifying. I did the squash rings again, and I was SO excited because I amped up the egg and cheese in the filling…but then I baked them on the bottom rack so that there’d be room for the souffle (tonight’s menu was an exact repeat from our dinner party on Friday), and the bottoms of the squashes burned. So sad!

Today’s pictures are few, but here they are:

Abe and Lydia playing with Lydia's play food.

Abe and Lydia playing with Lydia’s play food.

Then Abe left, so Lydia and I played with her new doctor set. After curing me, she helped out her sick doll, Tessa. At one point, Lydia took all of my measurements and exclaimed, "You look great!" I love this little girl.

Then Abe left, so Lydia and I played with her new doctor set. After curing me, she helped out her sick doll, Tessa. At one point, Lydia took all of my measurements and exclaimed, “You look great!” I love this little girl.

desultory paragraphs posing as a post

What, oh what to write about today. Well, whenever I run on the treadmill, I watch Youtube videos of various pianists. I love these videos so much that I am currently watching one (a master class Van Cliburn gave in Moscow) as I blog, so excuse the desultory nature of the blog I am about to write.

I got in three hours of practice today, which felt great. But by far the best part of today occurred after dinner when Abe, Lydia and I cuddled up on the couch to watch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Lydia spent the whole movie with her hands daintily clasped in happy anticipation of the Ghost of Christmas Future, but as soon as he made an appearance, she made an urgent plea for us to change the movie. Abe and I hugged her and reassured her, and she got to see that the Ghost of Christmas Future wasn’t quite as scary as she’d anticipated. Honestly, my eyes are so tired of screens that I spent most of the movie watching Lydia and listening to her commentary. That made my whole night.

Here are the pictures from today:

I tried this for the first time today. I found Lydia playing on the potty playing with her poop(!!!), so she had an impromptu shower. Since her hair was wet, I decided to try this braid out. It's not very even, but it's also much easier than I supposed.

I tried this for the first time today. I found Lydia playing on the potty playing with her poop(!!!), so she had an impromptu shower. Since her hair was wet, I decided to try this braid out. It’s not very even, but it’s also much easier than I supposed.

Lydia got to do my hair after i did hers.

Lydia got to do my hair after i did hers.

I vacuumed today. The whole time Mary was (happily) stuck in the basket she'd climbed into.

I vacuumed today. The whole time Mary was (happily) stuck in the basket she’d climbed into.

Lydia attired herself thus (this is chronologically out of order...pre-poop) and colored while I cleaned.

Lydia attired herself thus (this is chronologically out of order…pre-poop) and colored while I cleaned.

The girls matched today. That's Lydia dancing in the background.

The girls matched today. That’s Lydia dancing in the background.

After the girls decided not to take an afternoon nap, I took them to Tony Caputo’s for cheese and happy hippos.

This is what Mary looked like after her happy hippo.

This is what Mary looked like after her happy hippo.

The girls took a 20 minute nap at 6am, which gave me a head start on dinner. I made mac 'n cheese with Teleggio. Frankly, that was irresponsible in light of Abe's new, decreased salary. Also, I discovered that Teleggio is way better in fondue than in mac 'n cheese.

The girls took a 20 minute nap at 6am, which gave me a head start on dinner. I made mac ‘n cheese with Teleggio. Frankly, that was irresponsible in light of Abe’s new, decreased salary. Also, I discovered that Teleggio is way better in fondue than in mac ‘n cheese. The whole point of mac’n cheese is to comfort and feel familiar. Teleggio messes that all up.

This was the mess I decided not to clean this morning. Right now the room looks AMAZING, thanks to Abe's efforts while I blogged away. I would take a picture, but the camera card is in my computer, so you'll just have to trust me: He did a great job.

This was the mess I decided not to clean this morning. Right now the room looks AMAZING, thanks to Abe’s efforts while I blogged away. I would take a picture, but the camera card is in my computer, so you’ll just have to trust me: He did a great job.

 

Of snowmen and Christmas concerts

Lydia woke up this morning screaming for chicken nuggets, which is especially funny since she’s only had them once (when we were desperate on a road trip over a year ago), and she threw them up an hour later. Abe and I spent the rest of the morning in a tired fog, and I lay in bed procrastinating my final project until noon.

We did, however, work in a Skype visit with my mom and grandma, during which they watched Lydia run through the extra-elaborate obstacle course Abe set up this morning. While he was setting it up, I was lying in bed. He kept coming over and asking for pillow after pillow until he sheepishly asked for the last one. I lay flat on my pillowless perch until we Skyped. It was pretty funny.

After I finally typed up my final, we slowly collected ourselves for our afternoon errands. Just as we were about to get in the car, Abe tested the snow and asked if he could have ten more minutes to build a snowman with the girls. Um, of course!

Building.

Building.

Bonding.

Bonding.

 

The finished product

The finished product.

Then we swung by the library and went clothes shopping for Abe. His new job is much more casual than his current job, and most of Abe’s casual clothes date back to college, high school, or even (in some choice cases), middle school. We bought him two pairs of jeans and a shirt. It’s a start.

Then we came home, and I vacuumed the most offensively dirty carpets in the house while Abe got dinner ready and fed the girls. We then rushed to bathe the girls because guess what? A couple days ago, Misty called and offered us some tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert at the Conference Center. Misty is the kind of friend you want to have.

We gleefully accepted her kind offer, and tonight we had such a wonderful time at the concert. The Church pulls out all the stops for its Christmas concert, and there are just no words to communicate the feast this event is for the eyes, ears, and heart. John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in Lord of the Rings) and Deborah Voigt were spectacular. John Rhys-Davies narrated the tale of how Charles Dickens came up with A Christmas Carol, and at one point he and another actor flew across the 20,000 audience members. He also read Luke 2…I wish I had a recording, because I would just play that on Christmas and call the rest of the holiday good. Deborah Voigt’s voice had me crying in song #1, and Richard Elliot’s arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman on the organ was as acrobatic as it was, in John Rhys-Davies’ words, “pure genius.”

The program

The program

IMG_5799

After our joyful experience at the concert, Abe and I went about the more pragmatic task of grocery shopping. But hey, at 10pm, it felt kind of like an extension of our date. I’ll take it!

An attempt at an Abe-centric post–and a video!!!

While I was trying Abe’s patience yet again this afternoon, obsessing over the question, “Am I or am I not a narcissist?” (the fact that this question consumes me on an almost daily basis seems to point to the rather unfortunate, albeit clear, answer…), he did mention that he doesn’t show up much in my blog.

AGHHH!! SO I REALLY AM ONE!!! My sweet husband, who has never said a negative thing about anyone, did not answer my question directly, but instead mildly noted his absence in my posts.

So today, instead of recording the details of my life that feel important to me (such as the fact that I am going to bed in the same outfit I wore yesterday, last night, and all day today, with the only difference being that from last night on I have not enjoyed the support of a bra), today I am determined to focus on the love of my life, my husband.

He is a wonderful dad, a perfect husband, and is in every way a superior human being to myself; it is therefore extremely unfortunate that he doesn’t show up more in this chronicle of our life. This blog would be a cheerier, holier, funnier place with more Abe and less Lily.

I give you this video of his evening with the girls. They set up an obstacle course, and by the time this video was filmed, the girls had run the course at least three times. Mary was all giggles, squeals, and smiles for rounds 1-3, but in the video she was a wee bit tired and more easily frustrated. My favorite part is at minute 4:14, where you can hear Abe direct Lydia to put a pillow under Mary’s perch so Mary doesn’t plummet and hurt herself. He and I think so differently, sometimes…Anyway, here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcDbnDf1RUg&feature=youtu.be

And here are the pictures from my day. I wish I had pictures from Abe’s, but in lieu of photographic evidence, here’s what he did, as far as I know: He went to work. He came home. He listened to me talk his ear off about myself. He watched the kids. He cleaned the house. He worked on his computer. He listened to me play the piano and provided great feedback. And right now he’s exhausted, so here I go posting my pictures for real, now:

Lydia insisted on wearing her owl costume today.

Lydia insisted on wearing her owl costume today.

She also wore an apron I decorated when I was little. (We rolled, cut out, and baked the rest of Monday's cookie dough today.)

She also wore an apron I decorated when I was little. (We rolled, cut out, and baked the rest of Monday’s cookie dough today.)

 

Mary was a little clingy today.

Mary was a little clingy today.

Mary sat with Lydia at the kid table for the first time today. This delighted both girls to no end.

Mary sat with Lydia at the kid table for the first time today. This delighted both girls to no end.

Before I took the girls outside...Mary was having trouble balancing.

Before I took the girls outside, Mary was having trouble balancing.

Can you see the beginnings of the snow fort Abe helped them start building? They LOVE it!

Can you see the beginnings of the snow fort Abe helped them start building? They LOVE it!

Before her nap, Lydia took a look at my feet and furrowed her brow. Then she said, "Actually, Mama, can I have one of your striped socks?" I acquiesced and handed over both for good measure. Minutes later she emerged from her bedroom with both of my socks on. In the video, you can see them dragging.

Before her nap, Lydia took a look at my feet and furrowed her brow. Then she said, “Actually, Mama, can I have one of your striped socks?” I acquiesced and handed over both for good measure. Minutes later she emerged from her bedroom with both of my socks on. She wore them for the rest of the day. In the video, you can see them dragging (until she pulls them off at the end of the clip).

Abe pretended to be an elephant before setting up the obstacle course. Here are the girls running away from the big, scary elephant.

Abe pretended to be an elephant before setting up the obstacle course. Here are the girls running away from the big, scary elephant. 

yucky imagery and my conversion to Harmon’s

So yesterday ended on a high note, and this morning was a hard fall back to reality. Lydia got spanked three times before 7:10am (and Abe was traveling, so guess who the mean parent was?). I felt so bad for the rest of the morning–especially since Lydia was so remorseful and apologized out of the blue hours later. (I spanked her because she started screaming when I told her it was still dark out and she needed to go back to bed. I was afraid she’d wake Mary, but in retrospect I wish I had been a lot more patient.)

But she perked up at preschool with her friends, so that was happy. While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to the library for story time. She loved it, and I was so happy to have some time to focus on her the way I used to focus on Lydia. We checked out more books, and then I picked Lydia up early from preschool because Mary was getting tired and needed to nap.

After story time, Mary ventured over to play with some other children.

After story time, Mary ventured over to play with some other children.

After I brought the girls home, I got an hour of practice in and cooked dinner while Mary napped and Lydia watched Sesame Street. When Mary woke up, I fed the girls and then put them down for quiet time and naps again. Lydia begged me for an hour and a half to tuck her in for a nap, but I was so busy feeding Mary and cooking dinner that by the time I got around to it, the poor thing was exhausted and didn’t wake up until I woke her.

I stuffed chard with lentils, rice, corn, raisins, and Myzithra cheese, and then i covered it all in tomato sauce. I am hoping culinary school will help me figure out how to make stuffed chard attractive; I tried taking pictures of the individual rolls, but they looked too similar to green poop to post.

I stuffed chard with lentils, rice, corn, raisins, and Myzithra cheese, and then i covered it all in tomato sauce. I am hoping culinary school will help me figure out how to make stuffed chard attractive; I tried taking pictures of the individual rolls, but they looked too similar to green poop to post. Here they just kind of look like vomit and blood (sorry for the imagery! But it’s accurate, don’t you think?)

I then packed the kids into the car and met Abe at his office, where I handed over the kids before heading to class. Today we took a field trip to Harmon’s, and after all the stuff we learned tonight, I will be taking the business I currently give to Whole Foods over to Harmon’s. The knowledge of the staff, the loyalty they have to their store, and the quality of the products was mind blowing. There are times when the fish you see in their display is a mere four hours from being caught in the ocean. !!!!! Does that not blow your mind? It blew mine. Also, our Whole Foods has been cutting down its produce section, while Harmon’s produce section is expansive, fresh and seductive. All around, I am now a Harmon’s fan.

I also found out that my final projects are due THIS FRIDAY (and Saturday, for my online class). Can you believe how fast that went? I can’t, especially since I haven’t started my projects. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow!

Being a mom was fun today.

I went grocery shopping before Abe left to work today because I simply could not bear the thought of attempting that with two girls in the snow. As soon as I returned, we loaded the girls up in my car and I took them to the library to pay down the $25 I have in fines. I “pay” these down by reading to my children, sometimes for hours at a time. The library credits you with $1 for every ten minutes you read to one child. Since I have two children, I get $2   instead. Today our reading session was cut short by Mary, who became a little sad an hour and a half after her normal morning nap time. I still paid down $8.40, though! It felt great.

Mary picking out a book at the library.

Mary picking out a book at the library.

Lydia doing the same.

Lydia doing the same.

 

After the library, looking happy that she gets to eat and nap soon.

After the library, looking happy that she gets to eat and nap soon.

After the library, I proceeded to have a fantastic day. The only thing missing from yesterday and today has been exercise, but other than that, I feel absolutely no panic or stress. I’ve come to terms with the sub-par work I’ve been handing in at school, and I’ve started restoring balance by spending more time with my kids. Reading to them lowers my stress level and makes me feel better, and so I’ve decided to start scheduling that into my daily goals just like I schedule in the piano, scriptures, school, and exercise.  Hopefully that will help.

And Lydia is back to doing quiet time without any type of protest, so that makes my life AWESOME. Today Mary took a three hour nap, and Lydia’s quiet time extended to three hours because she elected to take a nap, too. I spent that whole time wasting my life on the internet, but you know what? After mindlessly staring at my iPad for three hours, I emerged the best, most attentive mom I’ve been–ever? I really think it’s ever. I told Abe on the phone that I have never been as nice or as fun a mom as I was this evening, and I wish I could be that way all the time!

We read books and pretended to eat the food Mary cooked for us in their play kitchen.

We read books and pretended to eat the food Mary cooked for us in their play kitchen.

After accidentally kneeling in a puddle of Mary’s pee (she peed with anticipation upon seeing the bath fill up), I jumped into the bath with my kids and let them wash my hair and scrub my peed-on knees with soap. They seemed to have so much fun that I didn’t even need to get the bath toys wet. Plus I got clean, and since I’m not sure when I last showered, that’s no small boon.

Abe’s out of town tonight, so I think I will continue my irresponsible behavior and waste more time online now…

When Abe leaves town, sometimes he leaves me notes around the house. It's so sweet. Today I came home and found a bunch of notes on the walls. Here's one (in the background).

When Abe leaves town, sometimes he leaves me notes around the house. It’s so sweet. Today I came home and found a bunch of notes on the walls. Here’s one (in the background).

Oh! I almost forgot. Lydia said the cutest prayer by herself tonight. She said thank-you that Daddy, Mama and Nana all love Mary and her so much, and then she added a thank-you for her cat. She then said that she thought the cat would not mind if she went on a trip and bought him a gift. And then she went off on a long tangent about what would happen on her trip…

A little later, after the girls were in bed, I listened at the door and heard Lydia entertaining Mary with tales about our India trip. She said, “India is a place where we go to stay. You can have lunch there, Mary, and I will dance. Dance, dance, dance!” (She did some dancing at one of the wedding parties there.)

Dinner with the Andersons (sans pics) and Variations on a Theme (with pics)

Pre-church. I would match my children every day if I could. Variations on a theme is my next favorite thing to do, and a little bit of both makes my heart unreasonably happy.

Pre-church. I would match my children every day if I could. Variations on a theme is my next favorite thing to do, and a little bit of both makes my heart unreasonably happy.

Lydia giving in to her natural hoarding instinct. Mary is waiting patiently for her to start sharing.

Lydia giving in to her natural hoarding instinct. Mary is waiting patiently for her to start sharing.

She did not wait in vain.

She did not wait in vain. (There was quite a bit of parental prodding/cajoling/threatening that took place to get us from point A to point B.)

Mary Berry! (Doesn't she look like one? Abe coined that phrase today.) This is Mary before Abe took the girls outside to build a snow fort.

Mary Berry! (Doesn’t she look like one? Abe coined that phrase today.) This is Mary before Abe took the girls outside to build a snow fort.

The two girls bundled before their snow fort play session.

The two girls bundled before their snow fort play session.

And then I stopped taking pictures, because I was busy cooking dinner. We had our friends, Paige, Michael, Ada and Olive Anderson over for dinner. I kept thinking that I needed to interrupt to take pictures of Ada and Lydia playing, but I enjoy adult conversation to the point where it’s hard to tear myself away. They were so fun.

We were supposed to go to the Christmas devotional at the Conference Center tonight because our friends, the Vattikutis, gave us tickets. However, Abe placed them on the windowsill where Mary found them and (we presume) swatted them into the trash can below. Sad! But at the end of the day, it worked out because we got to spend time with the Andersons.

And now I am full of food and ready for my bed. Goodnight!

Errands, Christmas and another C

This morning we clipped the girls' nails. Mary LOVES this activity. Her enjoyment is the only way we can convince Lydia to let us do the same to her.

This morning we clipped the girls’ nails. Mary LOVES this activity. Her enjoyment convinced Lydia to let us do the same to her.

Lydia didn't enjoy it to quite the same level.

Lydia didn’t enjoy it to quite the same level.

After that, we loaded the girls in the car and hit:

Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kid to Kid, Smith’s and Robinson Tree Farms:

We went here last year for the first time. Abe and I love walking through this big tree lot and pretending we're in a forest.

We went here last year for the first time. Abe and I love walking through this big tree lot and pretending we’re in a forest.

We all played pretend together.

We all played pretend together.

Mary found a tree she liked.

Mary found a tree she liked.

...And so did Lydia.

…And so did Lydia.

Lydia went around hugging various trees and becoming passionately attached to the most skiwompus trees in the lot. Abe would say stuff like, “Lydia, do you like this healthy, even looking tree or this gaunt, sickly one?” and she would reply, “The gaunt, sick-wee one!”

Lydia found a soap box on which to stand and declaim her love of gaunt trees.

Lydia found a soap box on which to stand and declaim her love of gaunt trees.

Mary started getting cold, so Abe bundled her in his coat.

Mary started getting cold, so Abe bundled her in his coat.

Lydia had a blast taking out every single box in our Christmas bins.

Lydia had a blast taking out every single box in our Christmas bins. Don’t let her sober camera face fool you.

See?

See?

Mary was DYING to help hang stuff on the tree, so we finally let her hang some candy canes.

Mary was DYING to help hang stuff on the tree, so we finally let her hang some candy canes.

We almost got Balu to come over, but he had a school meeting to go to. We could have used him tonight because corralling Mary around the tree was impossible.  She just wanted to help so badly.

We almost got Balu to come over, but he had a school meeting to go to. We could have used him tonight; corralling Mary around the tree was impossible! She just wanted to help so badly.

Lydia and I hung ornaments while Abe tried to keep Mary from undoing our work.

Lydia and I hung ornaments while Abe tried to keep Mary from undoing our work.

Here are Martha Stewart's felt ornaments on the tree. I went to so many stores today looking for the screw punch she says you need to thread these ornaments, but after going a million places with no luck, it occurred to me that I could just sew some embroidery floss onto the ornaments. After our afternoon nap, I spent an hour threading all the ornaments--and it worked! No $15 screw punch necessary.

Here are Martha Stewart’s felt ornaments on the tree. I went to so many stores today looking for the screw punch she says you need to thread these ornaments, but after going a million places with no luck, it occurred to me that I could just sew some embroidery floss onto the ornaments. After our afternoon nap, I spent an hour threading all the ornaments–and it worked! No $15 screw punch necessary.

The final product.

The final product.

The girls napped until after 6pm, and I didn't finish threading the ornaments until 6pm. I considered just doing canned soup for dinner, but since today was our official entry into the Christmas season, I decided to make some polenta cakes and kale. The colors were right, and they came together pretty quickly.

The girls napped until after 6pm, and I didn’t finish threading the ornaments until 6pm. I considered just doing canned soup for dinner, but since today was our official entry into the Christmas season, I decided to make some polenta cakes and kale. The colors were right, and they came together pretty quickly.

On the lower right you will notice Abe's Christmas tree from college. One Christmas he was feeling sad and not festive; he went to class and stumbled on a craft fair in the entry of his building. He bought this green retractable extendable tree and felt that God had given him a little gift to help him feel more merry.

On the lower right you will notice Abe’s Christmas tree from college. One Christmas he was feeling sad and not festive; he went to class and stumbled on a craft fair in the entry of his building. He bought this green retractable extendable tree. It cheered him up right away and made him feel like God had put that little tree in his path to help him be more merry.

And now to my homework. I missed another deadline for my menu class, so now I have to go make up that late work. The 74.3% in my online gradebook is seriously stressing me out. Maybe that’s why, even after all the decorating, I still don’t feel very festive this year. Hopefully getting this assignment done will help fix that.

[Too much] piano, and cookies

I practiced for hours today.

I felt so bad about neglecting Lydia for that long, so after a couple hours I stopped and we did this:

We made gingerbread cookies together.

We made gingerbread cookies together.

Lydia liked the whole process very much.

Lydia liked the whole process very much.

When Mary woke up from her nap, she refused to eat anything except our gingerbread cookies. I don't know how she did it because they are hard, but she made a couple disappear with only her 3 teeth.

When Mary woke up from her nap, she refused to eat anything except our gingerbread cookies. I don’t know how she did it because they are hard, but she made a couple disappear with only her 3 teeth.

Some of the finished products.

Some of the finished products.

Lydia spent my practice time watching Sesame Street DVD’s and entertaining herself.

Ever since I taught Lydia how to load books on cd in the cd player, we have been listening to Marian Anderson sing. We have a ton of other books on tape checked out, but this is Lydia's (and our) favorite.

Ever since I taught Lydia how to load books on cd in the cd player, we have been listening to Marian Anderson sing. We have a ton of other books on tape checked out, but this is Lydia’s (and our) favorite.

She keeps telling me that I need to go buy her some pedals for her bike.

She keeps telling me that I need to go buy her some pedals for her bike. In fact, that is exactly what she is saying to me in this picture.

Mary was sleepy today. We put her down for her first nap shortly after Abe (!) took this shot. She proceeded to sleep for the next four hours. That's more like it.

Mary was sleepy today. We put her down for her first nap shortly after Abe (!) took this shot. She proceeded to sleep for the next four hours. That’s more like the Mary I know!

We had a field trip to Muir Farms (really a food distribution center) today, and Abe took the girls to the ward Christmas party during my field trip. Lydia asked Santa to please bring her cat back to her, and Mary spent the party toddling everywhere.

My field trip was done a little early, so I spent the rest of the evening practicing.

IMG_5629

I really need to put the brakes on the piano, but it feels so wonderful to play. Tomorrow is Saturday, though, so I hope to realign my priorities and spend more time with my family starting tomorrow.

Also, Abe got REALLY exciting news today. I hate veiled communication, but such is necessary until Monday. Suffice it to say, we have felt God’s compassionate intervention in some of Abe’s challenges at work, and Abe’s prayers were answered today.

Ornaments and snow

I am a newcomer to panic and anxiety, but Abe is an old pro in those departments. He tells me that exercise is a great way to control your thoughts, so this morning I eased back into my treadmill routine. Heavy on the “ease.” But I did notice improvement! I didn’t feel quite so panicky.

Mainly I bounced between the piano and my felting station all day. I am making our ornaments this year, and yesterday my final package arrived in the mail. So today I set up shop and started felting away. Ever since Martha Stewart featured a little video on felting these ornaments last Christmas, I have been daydreaming about what it must feel like to do the same.

I wish I could say I enjoy felting as much as I anticipated enjoying it, but when you’ve anticipated something for a whole year, meeting those sky-high expectations becomes rather difficult. But I do enjoy making these ornaments, and I am very excited to have a child-friendly tree.

Some cute things that happened with the girls today: Lydia has been having trouble getting her hair washed recently. She has never enjoyed the process, but we do it every day and she gets through it. Lately, though, she has started screaming and trying to climb out of the tub when we try to touch her hair. Today was a loud and painful ordeal for her, and at the end, I gave her a big hug. Mary was watching and toddled over to give Lydia a big hug too. It was kind of adorable.

Here are today’s pictures:

It snowed today! Lydia begged me to go outside with her, and since Mary was napping, I agreed.

It snowed today! Lydia begged me to go outside with her, and since Mary was napping, I agreed.

I spent the first two minutes taking pictures of her, and then I put my camera inside so we could play chase. Building snowmen is Abe's specialty, but it's too cold of an activity for me. Chase, though, I can do...

I spent the first two minutes taking pictures of her, and then I put my camera inside so we could play chase in the snow. Building snowmen is Abe’s specialty, but it’s too cold of an activity for me. Chase, though, I can do…

Here are some of the ornaments I traced, cut out, and felted. Aren't they so fun?

Here are some of the ornaments I traced, cut out, and felted. Aren’t they so fun?

Close up of the detail. Martha Stewart pairs these ornaments with pine cones and bristle ornaments. Currently, I do not collect anything that I can think of, but my new goal is to start collecting bristle woodland ornaments.

Close up of the detail. Martha Stewart pairs these ornaments with pine cones and bristle ornaments. Currently, I do not collect anything that I can think of, but my new goal is to start collecting bristle woodland ornaments.