Post birthday Sunday

Today after church and meetings, we headed over to Red Butte Gardens for an afternoon stroll (and to eat leftover birthday cake).

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All together!

All together!

Feeding the fishies.

Feeding the fishies.

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In the three bears' home.

In the three bears’ home.

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eating cake

eating cake

sep28pic20 sep28pic18 sep28pic19Then we came home and just chatted for a couple hours.

At one point, Abe came down to the kitchen after playing with the girls. He looked like this:

Abe is such a great dad. Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

And now Clark and Swathi are about to catch their late night flight back to New York. I am blogging before I take them. I hope they end up here because it will be hard to see them go. It has been such a wonderful treat to be all together! Thanksgiving, when we’ll all be together again, can’t come soon enough!

church, grapes, visits, ice cream social, and tomatoes.

Lydia has been crawling into bed with us in the middle of the night. Growing up, both Abe and I spent many nights cuddled up with our moms, and we love that Lydia can have that experience. I woke up and snapped this photo early in the morning:

You would think, from the massive amount of space on the other side of Abe, that I slept next to him. Wrong! I spent most of the night almost falling off the bed next to Lydia.
You would think, from the massive amount of space on the other side of Abe, that I slept next to him. Wrong! I spent most of the night almost falling off the bed next to Lydia.

Then Abe got up and went to his early morning meetings while I got the girls ready for church.

Yesterday we bought them new toothbrushes and toothpaste to help motivate them to brush on their own. It worked! The power of Disney princesses asserts itself again...
Yesterday we bought them new toothbrushes and toothpaste to help motivate them to brush on their own. It worked! The power of Disney princesses asserts itself again…

At church, Lydia and I left again during sacrament and ate grapes in the church gardens.

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Sev joined us for a little bit.

Sev joined us for a little bit.

I so enjoyed this color combination. It made me feel so lighthearted and happy.

I so enjoyed this color combination. It made me feel so lighthearted and happy.

Inside, Abe kept Mary in the pews by letting her wear his glasses.

Inside, Abe kept Mary in the pews by letting her wear his glasses.

 

After church, Mary played with Ina's new puppy.

After church, Mary played with Ina’s new puppy.

Lydia's scared of dogs, so Ina carried her while Lydia watched the puppy from a safer distance.

Lydia’s scared of dogs, so Ina carried her while Lydia watched the puppy from a safer distance.

After church, we changed them into matching sweaters. They love matching, which makes my heart sooooo happy.

After church, we changed them into matching sweaters. They love matching, which makes my heart sooooo happy.

IMG_9236Then we stopped taking pictures. But the day continued. We had a neighbor, Alan Jorgenson, stop by for a visit. Right after he stopped by, our home teachers visited us. After they left, we took a quick nap (emphasis on quick). Then it was time for a quick (emphasis again on quick) dinner, and we walked a couple blocks to a ward ice cream social. It was a gorgeous night, and we spent a couple hours enjoying treats and friends while the kids played with their friends on the neighbors’ play set.

Afterward, we came home and ate tomatoes from our garden in the twilight. It was a full, fun Sunday. Here’s to another crazy week coming up! Wish us luck!

Happy Birthday, Clark!

Today was my brother’s birthday! Happy birthday, Clark! We’re so excited to celebrate the last year of your twenties with you in New York!

It was also a very busy day here at the Darais household. This morning I took the girls on a walk/run to the park.

The view as I ran. (There was a lot of uphill going on, and I was more than happy to stop and take a picture.)

The view as I ran. (There was a lot of uphill going on, and I was more than happy to stop and take a picture.)

Lydia picked a flower.

Lydia picked a flower.

Mary cooked me food.

Mary cooked me food.

jul7pic10After that, I took the girls home for lunch and naps.

Lydia said, "Mommy, take a picture of my tortilla!" ...So I did. I think she's used to me whipping out my camera for any little thing, and in this instance she simply beat me to it.

Lydia said, “Mommy, take a picture of my tortilla!” …So I did. I think she’s used to me whipping out my camera for any little thing, and in this instance she simply beat me to it. Of course I wanted a picture of her microwaved tortilla–my culinary school skills at work! 

Then we went to a fun pool in Bountiful with our friends Rose, Taina and Sev.

I locked my phone in the locker room so it wouldn't get stolen, but I took one picture before I did that. There was a giant pirate ship in the pool, and here are the girls gearing up to be pirates.

I locked my phone in the locker room so it wouldn’t get stolen, but I took one picture before I did that. There was a giant pirate ship in the pool, and here are the girls gearing up to be pirates.

We didn’t even have time to eat dinner by the time we got home. Abe and I simply packed the girls in the jogger, attached it to a bike and took off for the canyon. We got in five miles before the light gave out.

 

Their "dinner." Go, school, go!

Their “dinner.” I am hoping Lydia doesn’t wake in the middle of the night begging for food because she’s hungry…

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Another long and busy day (could that title be any more generic?)

Because we got to bed at such a wonderfully reasonable time last night, I didn’t mind waking up at 5:15 to go running. I ran around the track behind Ensign Elementary School, and from the track there’s a gorgeous view of the entire Salt Lake Valley. While I was running, the sun rose over the mountains, and, well, it was thrilling.

Then I came home and got ready for the day. The girls have been sleeping in lately, which generally is wonderful, except when we have places to go. Today we rushed breakfast so we could make it to story time at the library.

Another reason we are late everywhere. The girls get distracted en route to the car (a thirty second walk).

Another reason we are late everywhere. The girls get distracted en route to the car (a thirty second walk).

Lydia was really excited that Mary has teeth. Mary has had teeth for a while, but I guess Lydia didn't notice until today.

Lydia was really excited that Mary has teeth. Mary has had teeth for a while, but I guess Lydia didn’t notice until today.

On the way to the library, Lydia loves to push Mary in the stroller.

On the way to the library, Lydia loves to push Mary in the stroller.

Story time at the library. Today the kids all got bee hats (today we had an insect theme) and mini kazoos!

Story time at the library. Today the kids all got bee hats (today we had an insect theme) and mini kazoos!

On the way to the library, we met an artist headed to the Salt Lake Arts Festival. She makes purses, and her purses were so beautiful that I decided to drive to my school to pick up some free tickets. (I volunteered at a catering event a while back, and all the volunteers got tickets as a thank-you.) Since we were already in Draper, we headed to Ikea for lunch.

Ikea smile.

Ikea smile.

Ikea frozen yogurt. We made a mess on the window...

Ikea frozen yogurt. We made a mess on the window…

After Ikea we went to the post office to pick up Abe’s birthday present to me–a replacement iPod for the one we lost over a year ago. Then I did a couple more errands before heading home.While Mary napped, I called all the babysitters we know until Abe’s cousin turned out to be free. I have an unlimited yoga pass this month, so I woke Mary from her nap, dropped the girls off at Abe’s cousin’s house and headed to yoga.

Then we came home and got ready to go to the Arts Festival.

These are the purses that convinced me to add a three hour errand to the day in order to get my free tickets to the arts festival.

These are the purses that convinced me to add a three hour errand to the day in order to get my free tickets to the arts festival. I just read a talk this morning on materialism, and the phrase “We need to recognize when we have enough” ran through my mind while I was looking at these. I don’t need more than one purse, but if I had unlimited resources AND hadn’t read that talk this morning, I might have gotten one. They were so pretty.

The arts festival.

The arts festival.

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We got to hear Rhapsody in Blue at the festival. Mary squirmed a lot.

We got to hear Rhapsody in Blue at the festival. Mary squirmed a lot.

At the end of the festival. We left just as it was starting to rain again.

At the end of the festival. We left just as it was starting to rain again.

All in all, it was another busybusybusy day. I’m hoping for a slower pace tomorrow!

seedlings and such

Today was a really easy day. I loaded the kids in the jogger this morning and went to Marilyn’s house for visit teaching. I love visiting her and today ended up visiting until lunch. Then I trekked back home and fed the kiddos.

Mary proceeded to nap for four hours, during which, I am sorry to say, Lydia spent the time glued to the iPad. I took a two hour nap and then did homework for two hours.

Then it was feed-the-kids time again and off to school. Tonight we made cheeses, another terrine and a broccoli mousseline.

When I arrived home, I discovered this:

Yesterday I told Aria about how I'd killed all of my seedlings. While I was at school, she dropped off all of these!! I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. Now I need to end my blog so I can e-mail her a thank-you.

Yesterday I told Aria about how I’d killed all of my seedlings. While I was at school, she dropped off all of these!! I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. Now I need to end my blog so I can e-mail her a thank-you.

Abe’s allergies hit him hard today, so he’s already asleep. Just one more email, and maybe I’ll get another good night’s sleep again, too!

Sleep and steps on Saturday

Abe and I both slept in while Lydia watched the iPad this morning. By the time we got moving and fed the girls breakfast, it was almost 10am. But boy, did we get moving! I put my Fitbit on at 10am, and in the ensuing two hours got in 10,000 steps. We walked by Anique’s house and visited with Andrew and Fleur, and while we were visiting, our neighbor Ruth Ann joined us. She joined us on our walk up the canyon, and we got to know her story a bit more.

She is a remarkable woman. After starting a business with President Henry B. Eyring, she moved on to become one of the very first female managers AT&T ever hired, and the only one of the first female hires to last more than two months. She worked with them for 26 years, moving all around the country in a variety of roles until she took early retirement. After taking early retirement, she worked for the Church in its Philanthropy department. Recently she served a PR mission in Hong Kong and is about to embark on another mission in September.

I loved chatting with her so much that I kept talking and walking long after I realized I had a female emergency and needed to go back home. Finally, I admitted I had a problem, and Abe, the girls and I turned back and ran home. It was a great morning, aside from that. We look forward to walking more with Ruth Ann in the future.

After that, we ate lunch and took a two-hour nap.

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) I made in class. We ate the leftovers today for lunch. This is my new favorite dish.

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) I made in class. We ate the leftovers today for lunch. This is my new favorite dish.

When we finally got going again after that, we fed the girls and went to the library. At the library we ran into our friends Fallon, Audrey, and Eli. I got distracted talking to Fallon long after Abe had to take Mary back to the car (she was pulling all the books off the shelves). I felt bad for taking so long, but Abe used that time to work on the lesson he’s teaching tomorrow, and just as I reached the car, who should appear but Ed and Isabella (Abe’s uncle and cousin).

Lydia loooooooves Isabella, and they played together a bit.

20140510_174411 20140510_174537 20140510_174556Then we went on our errands: approximately one million grocery stores and Barnes & Noble. By the time we finished at Smith’s, Lydia was fast asleep in the car.

But the good news is, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother and grandmother I know! Mom and Grandma, I couldn’t imagine better mothers and better examples than both of you. You are my heroes. I love you!!

Field trip

Misty scheduled a tour of the fire department today for our preschool group (the one I dropped out of). We joined in for the fun and then had a picnic in the park with everyone afterward. The firemen were so nice and let the kids sit in the fire truck, tour the fire house, and taught them about fighting fires. Lydia now wants to be a fireman when she grows up.

20140421_112650 20140421_112705 20140421_112743 20140421_113702 20140421_114829Then I went to school and made: vada pav (an Indian sandwich), a Southwestern turkey wrap, lamb pita, blackberry yogurt soup, chilled tomato soup, and fried veggie chips. There were a lot of dishes to wash…

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The other fantastic thing that happened today centered around the new book I’m reading. It’s entitled, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education. It’s basically the Bible for many homeschoolers, and everything I read made me want to home school. I just don’t know if I have the energy to do a good job of it. Also, I worry my kids won’t have friends. On the other hand, school can be a vicious place, and I still feel like I’m dealing with the aftermath of social trauma that happened at school. Maybe sparing my children the pains of that wouldn’t be a terrible thing. I’ll have to think a lot more about this, but this is the very first time I’ve ever remotely considered home school. There’s a lot to think about!

A perfect Spring day

Really, it was. This day felt perfect. Having sunshine made all the difference! Even though Abe and I anticipated being zombies because we got so little sleep last night, both of us had great days. We credit God and the sunshine for that. That the girls were really quite adorable all day long helped too.

I got in: a walk to the library, baby book club with Misty, a nap, reading more in The Triple Package, a lot of homework, some ironing, a long walk with Abe and the girls, Bikram yoga, cooking a veggie phyllo roll, picking up the house, doing laundry, folding some laundry, feeding the girls three meals, setting the girls up to craft and watercolor, reading to the girls, a couple phone calls with my mom and grandma and even forty minutes of piano practice. It was an abnormally productive day. As my dad used to say, “variety is the spice of life!” This day had spice.

On the Abe front, he had another tremendous day at work. He raved to me almost the whole walk about how blessed he feels and how there is literally not one part of his day that he dreads. He looks forward to every task at work, and great stuff is basically falling into his lap for no reason other than that God must be looking out for him. Obviously, he’s doing his part, but he can not remember a time in his life where he has felt so abundantly blessed by an outpouring of God’s love.

The girls are cute. Mary said “Nana” to my mom on the phone today, and Lydia is very concerned about my grandma’s health. She kept asking how Grandma was feeling and doing. Here are some pictures Abe took of the girls while I was at yoga:

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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…

Last day with mom–a pretty one, at that!

Today we all slept in after yesterday’s birthday festivities–and it didn’t adversely affect our punctuality at church, since today is BOTH daylight savings and stake conference. For stake conference, our stake meets at the Tabernacle at Temple Square, which is an incredible experience. Sitting in that historic building by itself would have been wonderful, but having served my mission at Temple Square, I felt an added measure of enjoyment.

Abe discreetly took this during conference.

A discreet shot of conference.

 

Mary slept on a bench for  the first part of conference.

Mary slept on a bench for the first part of conference.

One of our speakers was 102 years old, and she was the granddaughter of both President Heber J. Grant and Joseph Fielding Smith. She herself was the General Young Women’s president at one point and was the impetus behind the restoration/building of many church buildings, including the Beehive House, the original Joseph Smith Farm in Palmyra, and the Church History Museum. She told some wonderful stories from her life, and we were all impressed that at 102 years old she could still “rally the faithful.”

But my favorite part of conference was when we learned about our new “forty days of holiness” program. For the next forty days, members of our stake will read through the entire four gospels and 3 Nephi in anticipation of Easter. It’s kind of like Lent, only we’ll be reading about seven pages of scriptures a day instead of giving up something. I am so excited to get started, so I’ll post pictures and start already!

Eventually, the girls couldn't handle conference, so Abe took them outside and let them play on the square.

Eventually, the girls couldn’t handle conference, so Abe took them outside and let them play on the square.

Mary wanted to push Lydia home.

Mary wanted to push Lydia home.

She made it pretty far.

She made it pretty far.

We took a walk after dinner, and the girls fell asleep.

We took a walk after dinner, and the girls fell asleep.

It's been an exciting weekend.

It’s been an exciting weekend.

Most of all, we will miss my mom soooooooooo much. But we know she’s going to another happy spot, and we are happy she and Grandma have each other for company. We love you, Grandma!! We’ll give Mom lots of hugs and kisses tomorrow to give to you when she gets back.