Wherein we decide to move to Provo next month.

This morning Misty invited us to the Gateway for the children’s museum’s Halloween Party. Abe and I counted and realized that the girls will have gone to TEN Halloween celebrations by the time the actual day rolls around! Crazy, but I love this holiday.

I put Mary in Lydia's old monkey costume, but Mary wanted to wear the wings Ina gave her. No problem--I let her, and she went dressed as a flying monkey!

I put Mary in Lydia’s old monkey costume, but Mary wanted to wear the wings Ina gave her. No problem–I let her, and she went dressed as a flying monkey!

IMG_0006 IMG_0009 IMG_0013I spent the rest of the day reading Dracula. Then Abe and I went to the temple and decided there that we need to move to Provo by Dec 1st. I am going to drop out of school this quarter so I can pack, house hunt, and MOVE. It’s going to be crazy, but once it’s done, I have a feeling it’s going to feel very worth it.

slow (my preferred speed) Wednesday

I really like laid back days, and today felt like one of those. We didn’t get up until after 8 am, which is always a plus. I worked out a little on the treadmill, fed the girls a bunch, did some errands, and then Abe and I had a temple date.

My camera is still in the shop, but here are some pictures I took on my phone before the date.

I did Isabella's hair because we finally had time. (Abe was stuck in traffic)

I did Isabella’s hair because we finally had time. (Abe was stuck in traffic)

oct1

Isabella brought candy for the girls.

Isabella brought candy for the girls.

Mary was having fun on her bike.

Mary was having fun on her bike.

oct1pic3

Lydia’s ballet recital and the Ogden temple open house

This morning was Lydia’s ballet recital! Tom and Suzanne joined us, and we all were thoroughly entertained.

IMG_9119 IMG_9120 IMG_9122 IMG_9125 IMG_9131 IMG_9137 IMG_9140Then we went to the market, after which I ran off to yoga. While I was at yoga, Abe took the girls back to the market to have a picnic with Karin and Jay. When I got home, everyone was in the middle of quiet time, which was perfect because I had two hours of homework to do.

Then we all piled in the car to do errands and pick up Tom and Suzanne for the Ogden Temple Open House.

Dinner before the open house.

Dinner before the open house.

 

 

IMG_9166IMG_9165

Suzanne got us tickets, and we were so grateful. It’s a rare opportunity for the girls to see the inside of a temple. Normally only older people with recommends are allowed in. But since the temple has yet to be dedicated, we could bring the kids inside. Mary loved it and gasped delightedly every time she saw a picture of Jesus (frequently). Lydia, on the other hand, slept through it. Abe tried to wake her up in the celestial room, but she was only dimly aware of what was around her.

Afterward, we sat by the fountain and let the girls make wishes with pennies.

aug15IMG_9168

All sorts of scary

Today I conducted in Primary again, and it was still uncomfortable. I talk in a kind of high, sing-song voice in front of groups, and I do this thing where my voice inflects pointedly up  at the end of each sentence. Maybe when I get more comfortable, I can start talking normally. Until then, they’ll just have to put up with me. Luckily, the children are sweet and haven’t seemed to notice.

We came home and Abe ran right back to Church for his second meeting. As soon as he came home,  ran off to visit teach. I love talking to Andrea so much that I returned home two and a half hours later. Oops. But we covered so many interesting topics! She thoroughly terrified me about Child Protective Services. Did you know that CPS workers are financially incentivized to take children away from parents? If you leave eight dishes  in your sink, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If they find a pair of soiled underpants anywhere in the house, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If your kids are playing outside and you are not actively watching them, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. CPS workers get bonuses for every child they take away, and they get bonuses when those children are adopted into new homes. To make it worse, the new foster parents get extra money if the children need medicine, so the average foster care child is on seven different medications.

She told me horror story after horror story. I could not believe my ears, but in the end, I sort of could. It’s a sad, sad day when parents who adore their children have to actively fear that the government will take their children away for no reason at all. Our government is so corrupt that it is financially incentivizing strangers to take my children away from me. How horrifying.

Last night after Abe went to bed, I watched Blackfish. My heart broke when they took the baby whales from their mothers. The shaking and crying of the mothers made me ill. (They didn’t talk about the babies’ response, but I assume it was equally horrible.) To think that our government not only allows that, but incentivizes that for people makes me totally crazy.

We basically scared ourselves silly talking about CPS, the Second Coming, and the Ebola outbreak. Two and a half hours later, I tore myself away and came home to find Abe and the girls playing outside. I made dinner and took some pictures before cleaning up.

IMG_9023 IMG_9024 IMG_9025

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek's produce at dinner.

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek’s produce at dinner.

IMG_9015 IMG_9017 IMG_9020

And then Abe gave the girls a bath. They had fun with the bubbles.

IMG_9026And now I’m blogging.

Saturday (and a little bit of Friday)

Mom and Grandma, so sorry for not blogging yesterday! The internet was so slooooooooow last night, and after I finished my homework, it was already late and I was burnt out from dealing with the internet. I’m just going to add categories to today’s blog that apply from yesterday. (Yesterday we went to the mall with Rose, Sev, and Taina, babysat the kids while Rose grocery shopped, and went to Bikram in the afternoon.)

Today I went on a run up City Creek Canyon while Abe took the girls to ballet. Afterward, we went to the library and the market.

Abe waiting patiently with the girls while I ran to pick up some produce and cheese.

Abe waiting patiently with the girls while I ran to pick up some produce and cheese.

Then we used a Groupon at O’Falafel, a Palestinian restaurant in Sugar House. The cousin of the owner came over and ended up chatting with us for a long time, and we loved getting to know him and eating the delicious food.

IMG_9005 IMG_9006 IMG_9010 IMG_9007Then we came home for naps. Mary slept a little in the car, so for much of our nap she was climbing over Abe and me and trying to ride us like horses. (Abe played horsey with the girls at his parents’ house after ballet, and she apparently wanted to revisit the game.)

Abe crafted with the girls for an hour after our naps while I practiced the piano. The girls were so cute–they would run up every couple minutes and bring me gifts that they’d crafted. Sometimes the gifts were just wrinkled papers in an envelope, but it was still sweet. Lydia kept saying, “Mom, I made this for you because I love you.” Mary would give me her gift, blow me a kiss, and run back downstairs to craft some more.

I sang children's songs with the girls before Isabella came, and when she wasn't participating, Mary pretended to clean the table. She wipes it down while muttering, "Keen, keen!" (Clean, clean!)

I sang children’s songs with the girls before Isabella came, and when she wasn’t participating, Mary pretended to clean the table. She wipes it down while muttering, “Keen, keen!” (Clean, clean!)

Then Isabella babysat so Abe and I could go to the temple. We picked up some groceries on the way home, and now we may or may not watch a movie.

Fun Friday (and I’m pooped).

I feel like I’m going to jinx myself by saying this, but today was another in what feels like a string of good days. Lydia and I started off by painting our nails (with me doing all of the painting).

Then I fed the girls and practiced piano. The girls played together.

IMG_7659 IMG_7661 IMG_7665 IMG_7664 IMG_7668 IMG_7671 IMG_7673 IMG_7675

Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

IMG_7677 IMG_7681

After that fun, I dropped them off at Sarah’s house for a play date. Sarah volunteered to watch the girls while I slipped out to go to the temple. She lives about a block away, and it felt so great to get to the temple! I had a very meaningful visit, and I can’t thank Sarah enough. Mary didn’t even cry. I think I found myself the perfect swap buddy today!

Then I came home and rested for a bit while the girls had quiet time/nap time. After a while, I realized I had a ton of leftover tamales and other food from class last night, so I called Misty and invited her family over for dinner. It was the perfect ending to a busy week–and a perfect beginning to the weekend.

IMG_7684 IMG_7685 IMG_7686 IMG_7687 IMG_7688 IMG_7691IMG_7692

temple and tricky water

Abe and I finally made it to the temple tonight! Hooray! We really needed it. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so worried about losing my temper at Lydia, and I tried sooooo hard to be better today. I still got mad, but I think I did slightly better than yesterday.

One thing that’s problematic is Lydia’s piano lesson. It always, always ends in tears. I sit down determined to have a happy, relaxed session with Lydia, and then my resolve dissolves as she refuses to even try to play Twinkle. I’m not even asking her to play the whole piece; just the first two notes would make me happy!! I demonstrate over and over and over how to play,  and then I position her fingers and even push them down for her so she can feel the motion. We clap the rhythm and I let her put her hands on my hands so she can feel me play. After all that, she still cries whenever I start to ask her to do it by herself, and then she tells me it’s too hard.

I tell myself that she’s just barely three and it’s okay, but then I get upset because I KNOW she can play it if she would just. try. (For example, I took a picture last week of her pushing down a note. That’s almost the only time she’s ever done that independently, but it showed me she could do it.)

On the other hand, we actually have a good time when I’m not seeing red. Lydia never protests when I tell her it’s time for piano. That makes me think that she enjoys the time–up until we commence our “Try, Lydia, TRY!!!” battle.

On the Mary front, I officially can not administer those eye drops by myself. Good thing the medicine we squeeze in when Abe’s home must be working because, I’ll tell you what, she’s one determined little girl. Also, she’s dramatic whenever she sees her babysitter. She takes one look at Aylah and screams. Last time she dropped back in a chair and screamed until we popped in a pacifier. After that, she stared listlessly at the ceiling in the same position for the next twenty minutes (so Aylah told us) and refused to be roused. Tonight she wasn’t quite that bad, but the initial fury was still there.

Lydia, on the other hand, behaves so much better for other people than for me. I’m actually glad for that, but sometimes I wish she’d behave that way for me! At any rate, she spent the evening talking Aylah’s ear off about her cat.

I DID take pictures today, but they aren’t sending. I took pictures of the girls covered in beets (I made borscht today), and for some reason there’s a disconnect between my iPad and my inbox. Sorry, Grandma and Mom! I’ll try to take some with my actual camera tomorrow.

competition upload complete!

Thanks to the combined baby-sitting efforts of Tom, Suzanne, and my mom, Abe and I were able to sneak off to the temple this morning. Some of the women who worked in initiatories radiated so much light and intelligence that they reminded me of my mom, and then I got to thinking: How do I get from point A (who I am now) to point B (where my mom and these women are)? Maybe it’s a matter of time, experience, and perhaps more suffering. But maybe it’s also a matter of constant mental discipling; I need to consistently notice and replace any thoughts that don’t serve a compassionate or loving cause. That’s hard! But I really, really, really, really want to be a wiser, kinder person by the time I’m a grandma, so I figure no time like the present to get started.

On that note, I will refrain from stating all of the negative, self-critiquing commentary that bubbled up when I watched the videos I recorded tonight. My competition deadline is December 31st, so Abe helped me record some pieces tonight. I won’t even post the Brahams, because after watching it I realized I need to overhaul the whole piece…but here are the Chopin Scherzo no. 2 and the first movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto.

Also, today’s pictures:

I tried making zimsterne again for my grandma. My mom went back to Springfield this afternoon, so this was another early morning project...

I tried making zimsterne again for my grandma. My mom went back to Springfield this afternoon, so this was another early morning project…

My mom loves her new scarf from Karin and wanted me to take a picture in case Karin reads this entry.

My mom loves her new scarf from Karin and wanted me to take a picture.

Lydia loves being with her cat again.

Lydia loves being with her cat again.

She gets wistful when she thinks about his adventures and says, "I hope my cat stays with me!"

She gets wistful when she thinks about his adventures and says, “I hope my cat stays with me!”

She also dressed herself today.

She also dressed herself today.

More fun with Puss.

More fun with Puss.

Mary hugged me when I got back from the temple. Instead of hugging her back, I took advantage of the camera in my hands and got this instead.

Mary hugged me when I got back from the temple. Instead of hugging her back, I took advantage of the camera in my hands and got this instead.

While I was practicing before my recordings, Abe let Lydia wear this headlamp and be Dora the Exploreer. They explored the whole house and then did crafts in the dark.

While I was practicing before my recordings, Abe let Lydia wear this headlamp and be Dora the Exploreer. They explored the whole house and then did crafts in the dark.

slowing down

Abe and I both felt like we had been run over by trucks for most of the day, so today was more about muddling through on low energy and aching muscles, and less about getting stuff done. We did manage to make it to the temple, and Swathi, Clark, Mom and I took Lydia to the library (although she fell asleep and slept through that entire outing).

We came home, ate pizza, and got the girls ready for bed. Swathi, Clark and Balu invited us to go to the movies with them, but Abe and I were so tired that we opted to be boring and stay at home instead. After the girls went down, I lay in bed reading The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I checked out from the library’s “Lucky Day” collection. That made my day feel appropriately lucky; I want to cook almost everything in the book, and I love all of Deb’s essays and pictures.

During the girls’ naps and quiet time, I made another dent in The Table Comes First. Adam Gopnik’s essays on the intersection of food and culture are gorgeously crafted, but I can’t read them for more than twenty minutes at a time before I fall asleep. I really don’t think that’s a reflection on his writing at all; more likely, my attention span is shortening and my ability to focus is waning. I haven’t finished a book in ages, although I have started plenty.

Here are the pictures from today:

Mary playing while the rest of us lay on the couch in a stupor.

Mary playing while the rest of us lay on the couch in a stupor.

Ten minutes earlier, Abe was in this exact same position with his pj's on when I informed him that we had a houseful of babysitters and had no excuse to not attend the temple today. He agreed, showered, changed, and resumed his former position until it was time to go.

Ten minutes earlier, Abe was in this exact same position with his pj’s on when I informed him that we had a houseful of babysitters and had no excuse not to attend the temple today. He agreed, showered, changed, and resumed his former position until it was time to go.

Mary played the piano this morning.

Mary played the piano this morning.

Aunt Swathi affirmed her talent.

Aunt Swathi affirmed her talent.

We were delighted to come home from the library to find Mary eating in her Bumbo. She was an uncharacteristically great eater today.

We were delighted to come home from the library to find Mary eating in her Bumbo. She was an uncharacteristically great eater today.