Canning with Chelsea

I had plans to work out this morning, but those dissipated in the face of housework.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It's a good situation.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It’s a good situation.

Last week Misty called me and told me she’d signed Sophia up for swim lessons, and that there were still empty spots left. I signed Lydia up immediately, and they had so much fun today at their first lesson.

aug3Then we came home, ate lunch, and headed down to Orem to visit my friend, Chelsea. The last time I saw Chelsea, she gave me the best salsa I’d ever had. When I told her how much I liked it, she said she’d teach me how to make it during her next canning session. She grew everything herself, and so she cans when all the salsa veggies are ripe. They were ripe today!

We had the BEST time. The whole drive down I felt so happy and excited to spend time with Chelsea. Abe and I talked about this on the way home, and there’s just something extra special about seeing a friend you’ve known in your pre-adult life. I don’t have any of those out here in Utah except for Chelsea, and I feel really happy whenever I get to spend time with her (not often enough).

If spending time with Chelsea weren’t enough, my eyes were also opened today about the possibilities of living in Orem. Chelsea lives exactly eight minutes from Abe’s work, so when he was done I picked him up and we went back to Chelsea and Derek’s house and had amazing Thai food for dinner. Chelsea and Derek loaded us up with canned and fresh produce, and we left feeling so happy, grateful, and blessed. I asked Abe how soon he thought we could sell our condo so we could buy a house near Chelsea and Derek…

Canning with Chelsea.

Canning with Chelsea.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

She finally settled on this number.

She finally settled on this number.

Mary and Carter.

Mary and Carter.

Lydia dismounting.

Lydia dismounting.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea's strawberry patch.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea’s strawberry patch.

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London and Olivia. London is a really, really child friendly dog.

London and Olivia. London is an exceptionally well-trained, child friendly dog.

Watching London interact with the children.

Watching London interact with the children.

It was cute.

It was cute.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

In front of Chelsea's AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit...basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

In front of Chelsea’s AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit…basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

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Afterward, we headed to the outlets to buy pajamas for Lydia. We’ve spent six months in denial about her pj situation, and it’s finally reached the point where we’ve come to admit: she needs new ones. She spends half the week in her 2T pjs which barely come past her knees. During out outing, we discovered princess pajama dresses. Whoever came up with that must have had Lydia and Mary in mind. I kind of think all the other pj’s we bought might not even get used now that wearing a princess dress to bed is an option. The girls fell asleep before we got home, so I’ll take pictures of the princess pj dress tomorrow.

Cleaning marathon

Aside from taking my girls to story time at the library and then going to the gym for a swim, I literally cleaned all day long. Well, I took a forty-five minute break to play the piano, and I fed the kids a couple times, but other than that, all I did today was clean (and bake cookies). I don’t think the house has ever been this clean, and I feel so happy! The only thing I wish I’d done is mop all the floors, but at least they’re all swept or vacuumed.

I have another final project to do tomorrow, and there’s nothing I hate more than doing school work in the middle of a mess. I anticipate highly enjoying my project tomorrow thanks to today’s efforts.

And, best of all, my friend Candace is coming in tonight and will stay the weekend with us! She got a mini-pass to the Alt Summit to hear Martha Stewart present. I was supposed to buy a pass and go too, but I never had my wallet with me when I was at the computer, and by the time I finally got around to it, the event was sold out. I was bummed. But at least the good news is that, as I mentioned before, I have a final project (and a final exam) tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I would fail both if I were going to see Martha too.

Here are today’s pictures:

The girls woke up and wanted to build a nest for themselves in their princess tent. They had a blast.

The girls woke up and wanted to build a nest for themselves in their princess tent. They had a blast.

I told Mary to say "Hi Mommy!" She opens her mouth pretty wide when she says "hi".

I told Mary to say “Hi Mommy!” She opens her mouth pretty wide when she says “hi”.

The girls were really affectionate with each other this morning.

The girls were really affectionate with each other this morning.

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Oops! (A tumble.)

Oops! (A tumble.)

We have gotten our money's worth out of this dress. Lydia wears it at every opportunity.

We have gotten our money’s worth out of this dress. Lydia wears it at every opportunity.

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Mary makes life pretty easy for everyone by putting herself in voluntary time-outs so she can have her binkies. She's only allowed to have them in her pack-n-play, so she spends a lot of time like this.

Mary makes life pretty easy for everyone by putting herself in voluntary time-outs so she can have her binkies. She’s only allowed to have them in her pack-n-play, so she spends a lot of time like this.

Also, I’m linking to my favorite Christian song of late. It’s called “Build Your Kingdom Here,” and this is what got me on the Christian rock kick.

Quick Post

Today was a good day for everyone at the Darais house.  We haven’t been sleeping much, but in spite of that, God has given us strength to not only manage, but find great joy.

Lily got a TON of house work done, including accomplishing hours worth of laundrey washing, drying, folding, sorting and putting-away.  For a brief moment in the Darais home there was literally NOTHING that needed to be washed…….I know I wont sleep in the socks I’m currently wearing, so unfortunately the pile starts again tonight……

Lily read to the girls separately, read in her book about the Monart method of teaching your children to draw and she read in a book about how to teach your children to read.  She  said she felt very happy and close to God today.  What a wonderful and productive day!

I had a good day at work.  I was a little tired, but I kept my nose to the grind-stone.  Days usually come for two packages for me, successful days and learning days.  Today was more of a learning day, but I did learn and I believe success will come.  At home I had the most wonderful time with the girls.  They were both in super good moods and we all danced to K-Love together.  We went totally wild when our favorite song “Every Act of Love” by Jason Grey came on.  I was dancing while holding Mary and she screamed to indicate that she wanted to be set down…..when I set her down she proceeded to get her groove on and I thought it was hilarious! Days like this I am reminded why I’m so grateful to not have a job that takes my attention at home as well as at work.  I was completely engaged with the children and drinking from the cup of pure joy.

Pictures!

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A play date, great book, boring paper, and a birthday party

This morning I watched Sophia and Max because Misty had a doctor’s appointment. Her kids are so easy that I could have done homework or practiced while they played (well, Max was actually napping), but Lydia and Sophia were beyond adorable playing together. I couldn’t leave! They were saying things such as: “It’s your turn, Sophia!” “Thanks, Lydia. Okay, Lydia, it’s your turn now!” “Thanks, Sophia!” “Sophia, do you want to play Minnie Mouse with me?” “Yes!” [Insert sweet, polite, kind play here.] “Okay, Sophia, do you want to sit next to me?” “Yes! Thanks!”

This is what I had kids for. I was so delighted by how sweet and polite these adorable children were, and I was so happy to hear them play so beautifully that I just couldn’t tear myself away. By the time Misty came back, I was over the moon in love with all of our children.

IMG_7502 IMG_7498 IMG_7501Then I fed the girls, practiced for an hour while Lydia and Mary played, and put Mary down for her four hour nap. Lydia had quiet time that whole time, so I lay in bed reading Crossing to Safety. In fact, I could have written this blog a whole lot earlier and gotten to bed on time if it weren’t for the fact that those characters are so dear to me that I talked Abe’s ear off about the book for about an hour after the girls went down for bed. I still have a lump in my throat–as I type, hours after finishing the book. I have never read a book where I loved the characters so deeply. Also, I am sad the library is closed. I want to go check out everything Wallace Stegner has ever written and read it all right now. I’m so sad my book is done! I just want more time with the characters, but since it’s done, the next best thing I can do is read all the rest of his works.

After finishing my book, I skipped class so I could get a paper written before we go to California. I still have more homework to do tomorrow, but at least this paper is out of the way. It was on the history of Garde Manger, and even though I finished writing the paper, I still am not sure if the term Garde Manger refers to the actual Garde Manger chef or the craft of Garde Manger. I kind of side-stepped that in my paper…

Abe took the girls to his cousin’s birthday party down the street while I did homework. Lydia LOVES her cousin, Isabella, and when she got home, she said, “Mama, I want a play date with Isabella right now because I loooooooooove her so much!!” You can see she likes her from the pictures.

Abe's cousin, Alexander, turned 17.

Abe’s cousin, Alexander, turned 17. Also, it took a while to cut that cake. Abe said that Lydia waited patiently and then said very quietly, “Can I have a really big piece, please?” Everyone laughed.

Mary found Isabella's stuffed animal and held it close all evening.

Mary found Isabella’s stuffed animal and held it close all evening.

Lydia and Abe's little cousin, Isabella.

Lydia and Abe’s little cousin, Isabella. They played outside and Isabella picked flowers for Lydia. Lydia could not get enough play time with her favorite cousin!

A peaceful day

First things first: We had another scare with Grandma Darais today, and we went down to Provo this afternoon to say goodbye. It turned out that we didn’t have to say goodbye just yet, for which we are thankful. There’s still hope she can pull through, and we are praying for her and her children to have strength for whatever comes.

I found out about Grandma Darais while I was walking to the Capitol to meet Misty. The trees are all in bloom, and it was just a lovely walk. We stood in the sunshine and chatted at the end while Lydia and Sophia read a book together. Mary was sick today, so she just sat in the jogger and looked sadly out the window.

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Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung!

blooms in the neighborhood

blooms in the neighborhood

Then we went to Provo to see Grandma Darais. We came home with Suzanne and stopped by In-n-Out for dinner. The girls got stickers.

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Lydia did not want to eat dinner after her fries, but she did drink some bubble bath…

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Mary was feeling sick all evening, so she was extra cuddly. I have the cutest picture of her cuddling with Abe, but it won’t send from my iPad.I did get some of them cuddling in the girls’ room, though. And when I announced that I was going to take a picture, Lydia dashed for her camera so she could take a picture. As a result, I have a picture of Lydia taking a picture. =)

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She need to work on aim...

She need to work on aim…

President’s Day (run, sales and school)

Happy President’s Day! One of the pictures I neglected to take yesterday was of the town right outside of Zion. The entire Main Street was lined with flags, and that helped put us in a patriotic, grateful spirit. On our run this morning, we decided that we would rather lead our very own happy lives than lead the country, and we are so grateful to those who are elected and willing to do the latter.

We went on a run to City Creek Canyon this morning, but since we were both exhausted, we did a lot of talking and walking on our “run.” By the end, Lydia was begging to go to the park, and so Abe took the girls to the park while I showered and did some homework. When they came back to the house, Lydia was a wreck because she did not want to sit in the middle of the messy jogger for even a minute longer. The jogger was full of spilled snacks, sippy cups, random toys, and rumpled blankets. Lydia was screaming and trying to wriggle out of her seat belt when they pulled up to the door. I felt a lot of sympathy because that’s exactly how I feel when the van gets trashed. Maybe she got it from me.

Anyhow, before Lydia’s jogger meltdown, she and Mary had a lot of fun at the park. Mary has started throwing herself off any height she can climb to because she expects Abe to catch her. Abe made me promise to never leave her unattended at the park for even a split second from this point forward. Duly noted.

We calmed down by having a banana swirl party. Here is Lydia pitching in our family effort to get Mary to eat.

We calmed down by having a banana swirl party. Here is Lydia pitching in our family effort to get Mary to eat.

Lydia is more successful than her parents.

Lydia is more successful than her parents.

Then we took a family nap (except for Lydia, who came into our room periodically to do puzzles, ask for food, and color). Then my Auntie Geri called and we got to talk for a long time. I have been meaning to call her for over a month, so it was really wonderful to chat.

And then we took advantage of all the sales at the outlet mall in Lehi. Abe got a whole bunch of new clothes, and I got a sweater and some jeans. I swore off jeans when I discovered leggings last year and made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t wear anything that’s not at least as comfy as my pj’s. That commitment has been extremely comfortable, but I find myself doing crazy things…like not changing my outfit for days because it’s just too easy to wear what I wore during the day to bed…and when I wake up, guess what? I’m already dressed! So the sad, unhygienic continues until the absolute need for a shower intervenes. Also, I am excited to have jeans that fit.

Then I took my midterm for my concepts and theories class. It was really easy, and I suspect the teachers have a lot of pressure from the administration to spoon feed success to the students as much as possible. I’m not complaining, though.

Then we came home and discovered a package from Balu to the girls! Lydia was asleep, so Mary got to sleep with both new stuffed toys:

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