Our last day of packing! (and house closing)

We are packing like crazy because we closed today on the house and the move is TOMORROW, but I just had to throw up some of these pictures from earlier. Ina stopped by with the girls’ Christmas presents. She is so sweet. We will miss her so much!

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Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Really quick: I had a conference with Lydia’s preschool teachers and one of the administrators today. My heart sunk as they told me she doesn’t participate unless directed. I’ve observed this trait in Lydia since infancy. In groups, she stands to the side and watches silently, and then she comes alive at home and tells you everything that happened as if she had been involved. But in the moment, she doesn’t participate.

I felt solely responsible for her lack of participation. I drove home feeling so guilty that she inherited my defunct genes that shut down in big group situations. I called Abe and confessed that my genetic contribution had messed up our kid, and he made me feel a lot better about it all.  He pointed out that Lydia’s problem is not lack of focus (which is what the administrator attributed it to), but just shyness. (Hi, Lily’s genes!). He pointed out that Lydia could sit at the piano for forty five minute stretches when she was just two (under her tyrannical mother’s command), and she can focus indefinitely on any given book. She does not, he emphasized, have ADD.

In the moment, I had totally forgotten that about Lydia! I just swallowed everything the teachers told me as Truth and left feeling so horrible and guilty. I thought my genetic contribution + my lack of restrictions on screen time = permanent damage to my three year old’s ability to succeed in school. I still could do better on screen time, but after talking to Abe, I don’t think Lydia has an actual attention problem. At least that is what I’m telling myself now.

Back to packing!

Sabbath rest

Today was our last day in our ward. After church, we hung around the house and just rested from all of the packing commotion from yesterday. We watched some scripture videos, read some books, ate some Trader Joe’s food (our fare until post move because my kitchen is PACKED), and napped.

Abe snapped a picture for the blog.

IMG_0299Also, I found two new death records for my family history today! One if for my paternal grandmother, and the other is for my paternal great-grandfather. It was very exciting!

Sequestered (sort of)

We forgot to take pictures until the girls were getting ready for bed. That probably happened because I sequestered myself in the house–there are rats outside–and didn’t do anything of note all day. I played with the girls, packed some boxes, napped and cooked.

When Abe got home, we went to dinner at Bob and Katheryn Sonntag’s. We think they are so great, and dinner was very yummy. I daydream that we’ll get Katheryn to design our new yards. Here’s hoping!

And here are the pictures too:

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Mary refused to take off her Minnie Mouse dress today, so she ended up wearing it to the Sonntag's.

Mary refused to take off her Minnie Mouse dress today, so she ended up wearing it to the Sonntag’s.

Also, Paige sent me the pictures from the preschool parade. You can see the updated post here.

Also, here’s one of my baby pictures I came across. Does this remind you of anyone, Mom and Grandma?

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are sad that this is our last year celebrating with Abe’s family down in Sugar House. We love eating with them and then trick or treating in their Halloween-friendly neighborhood. Tonight was absolutely gorgeous, with weather starting in the 70’s as we trick or treated. Supposedly it will get cold tomorrow, but it sure was pretty tonight.

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I tried to get a picture of the pink clouds.

I tried to get a picture of the pink clouds.

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As the night wore on, both girls' buckets started to literally overflow. Abe and I could not convince them to hand over any of their candy to lighten their loads. Mary carried her full basket for blocks. I guess they have good reason not to trust us--I ate most of their trunk or treat candy!

As the night wore on, both girls’ buckets started to literally overflow. Abe and I could not convince them to hand over any of their candy to lighten their loads. Mary carried her full basket for blocks. I guess they have good reason not to trust us–I ate most of their trunk or treat candy!

Afterward we went and hung out at the Andresons’ new home until it was beyond everyone’s bedtime. So sad that this tradition is ending. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable Halloween than this one, but life is full of surprises. Halloween of 2015, feel free to surprise me.

Germy conversations and an anti-racist FHE

I started off by giving the girls a bath because I couldn’t recall the last time we bathed them. They were starting to smell. Lately I’ve been trying to motivate Lydia to wash her hands, brush her teeth, and generally keep clean by dramatizing imagined conversations between germs and her body.

During her bath, she made me repeat over and over how she was drowning the icky germs, and throughout the day she kept asking me, “Mommy, what are my germs saying now?” At one point, right as I was relaying what her germs were saying to her body, she said, “Mom, gotta go, I need to brush my teeth!” (She’d already brushed them half an hour earlier, and she loved the idea of brushing all the germs off.)

After breakfast, the girls peeled and broke up bananas for banana swirl.

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Then I did my treadmill routine while the kids played and crafted in the very messy basement. (I cleaned it during quiet time today.)

IMG_9181 IMG_9183Then we had lunch, books, and quiet time. The picture taking resumed when Abe got home from work.

Abe loves taking pictures of these salads.

Abe loves taking pictures of these Nicoise salads. This was actually a great dinner to have after discussing germs all day. I got to tell Lydia about how all the nutrients in all the different veggies were scaring her germs by making her healthy and strong. She downed them with gusto.

aug18pic4 aug18pic2 aug18Then I had my Primary meeting, after which I came home and took a walk with Abe and the girls. We visited some of Abe’s home teachees who live up a couple blocks. On our way home, we met the nicest older couple, Bob and Becky. After chatting with them for the better part of twenty minutes, they offered us the bounty of their garden–a huge bagful of tomatoes! The girls were ecstatic. We came home, stripped off their shirts and had a tomato-gorging party.

After that, we had an anti-racist FHE. With all that’s been going on in Ferguson, I realized I need to actively start teaching anti-racism at home. Since Salt Lake is so homogeneous, especially where we live, the issue of race barely comes up. The only times Lydia has ever visited with any African Americans were 1) when my high school friend came and stayed with us two years ago 2) when my grad school friend came and stayed with us six months before that and 3) when one of my culinary school friends came over for dinner (she’s since moved). That’s it.

So we had our anti-racist FHE to at least start a conversation with her. We started simple:

1) God made us in all different colors, and he loves all of his children exactly the same. No one is better than anyone else because of skin color.

2) There are people in the world who think that people with different skin colors are bad. God doesn’t like that kind of thinking.

3) Abe read us this quote:
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. ”

Amen and good night.

My new cleaning pal

This morning I took it slow. Other than getting a run in on the treadmill, I basically did nothing all morning (aside from keeping the girls alive).

Things picked up after quiet time, though. Lydia and I shucked corn, and I almost wilted in the heat. Afterward we retreated back into the house for a cooking, cleaning, and laundry marathon.

IMG_9169After Abe came home, we ate dinner and played a vigorous game of chase.

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Taking a break from chase.

Taking a break from chase.

Then we went to Target to buy this dreamy device:

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can't wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

Abe is downstairs duck taping the bag for our old vacuum. We don’t have replacement bags since it is over two decades old, and in order for my steamer to work, you need to follow up with a vacuum. Buying a new vacuum is next on our list. (Actually, we intended to buy a new vacuum today, but I got seduced by the steamer.)

church marathon (wherein Lily drops out of the race)

Today Abe spent over seven hours at church. His new calling means his Sunday afternoon naps are a thing of the past. I feel so sorry for him, especially since he barely sleeps in the week, thanks to his four hours of commuting every day. But he doesn’t complain and serves very cheerfully. I have a lot to learn from him.

Speaking of how Abe and I differ, we have different opinions on how to handle sacrament meeting with the kids. Abe likes to persevere and uses every resource on hand to keep the kids on the pew and in the meeting. My strategy is really simple: leave. Get the bajeebers outta there.

I usually stay in the pew until we take the sacrament, and then the minute my kids start acting up (which is usually immediately), I take them out. Today we compromised. Abe kept Lydia in, and I took Mary out to the gardens in the back of the church. Rose joined me and we had our own “sacrament meeting” in the sunshine by the grape vines. The kids were in heaven.

Picking grapes.

Picking grapes.

Then we came home for a little bit before Abe returned to church for another two and a half hour meeting. I stayed home and napped, after which Lydia and I crafted until Abe came home. Then Abe and the girls gave me a massage, and then Abe and I gave them massages. Mary especially enjoyed hers and squeaked out “thak-oo! (thank-you!) as soon as we started putting lotion on her back.

We scrounged around and ate leftovers for dinner, and then Clark and Swathi called! They are the best listeners. I dumped all of my angst about my calling onto that conversation, and they were so supportive and sweet. While I was talking with them, Abe took the girls on one of his home teaching rounds and visited the Copingas.

aug17 aug17pic1After he came home, Anique called and invited me on a walk around the block. With so many friends and family members listening to me today, I came home with a much lighter, happy heart. I actually felt pretty depressed about my calling after the first two meetings of church, but now I feel a little better.

Blah.

I got up at 5:10 so I could pick up the babysitter and get to yoga in time. After that, I got the kids ready and took them to the Aviary to meet up with Jen, El, Spencer, Laddie, and Natalie. The children were so cute and excited to see the birds–and more ducks, of course!

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I came home exhausted and lay in bed for a while surfing the internet. One of the blogs I read annoyed me, and I made a rather nasty comment to the author (who I do not know). After I did that, I felt so terrible, and actually I’ve felt bad all day. I did send the author a heartfelt apology, and she was very nice about it. I felt grateful for human forgiveness today, although I’ve also felt terrible all day long that I did something that hurtful to such a nice person.

On the bright side, Abe and I are in love with our Hyde Park tenants. They are the nicest people, and Abe has been raving all day about his conversation with them. They are an older couple who are living there for the summer to be close to a new grandchild, and they are so sweet. They actually thanked us for the opportunity to fix up our condo. Abe couldn’t believe his ears. In fact, he’s talking about how much he loves them as I type.

After I had somewhat recovered from my bad behavior and its aftermath, I loaded the kids up and headed to Provo. Abe’s work team had a dinner at his boss’s house, and I really enjoyed meeting his coworkers.

I practically fell asleep driving home, and I cancelled the babysitter for tomorrow morning. I think I might sleep in…

catch-up!

Sorry to have been out of commission for so long! Friday was my birthday, and it was so fun-packed that I didn’t have any energy to blog by the end. The girls were so sweet to me all day. Lydia kept wishing me happy birthday and let me sleep in as a birthday present. I asked her if she could entertain herself so I could sleep longer on my birthday–selfish, I know, but she was so sweet! She went potty, brushed her teeth, and played quietly while I slept an extra hour. Mary also kept saying, “Happy! Happy!” to me all day long. That’s how she says “happy birthday.”

Lydia wanted to help Mary get dressed in the morning. Mary appreciated the help.

Lydia wanted to help Mary get dressed in the morning. Mary appreciated the help.

Lydia and I baked this on my birthday.

Lydia and I baked this on my birthday.

Mary spotted the cake upon awaking from her nap, and she refused to eat anything else.

Mary spotted the cake upon awaking from her nap, and she refused to eat anything else.

 

Abe and I used a groupon to go to Cucina Toscana for dinner, and it was wonderful. Suzanne was an angel and baby-sat for us all evening. We were so grateful!

beef carpaccio.

beef carpaccio.

house made gnocchi in a stupendous tomato sauce, and a mind-blowing spinach lemon ravioli and a mornay sauce.

house made gnocchi in a stupendous tomato sauce, and a mind-blowing spinach lemon ravioli and a mornay sauce.

a truly terrific Cesear.

a truly terrific Cesear.

Sea bass with calms and shrimp.

Sea bass with calms and shrimp.

duck with macerated figs and spinach

duck with macerated figs and spinach

On Saturday, I got up at 5:30 so I could go to yoga. Then I came home and we all went to the pool for a swim.

We got to the pool and realized it wasn't free swim time. The lifeguard was so kind and let us put the kids in a swim lesson that was going on --for free! Mary and Lydia both learned to float, jump in, and kick!

We got to the pool and realized it wasn’t free swim time. The lifeguard was so kind and let us put the kids in a swim lesson that was going on –for free! Mary and Lydia both learned to float, jump in, and kick!

Then we met up with Karin and Jay for lunch at Gourmandise. I have been dreaming about their creme brulee oatmeal ever since I got it when I went to breakfast with Aria a while back. Daydreams were fulfilled.

Mary cuddled with Karin for such a long time. We finally had to take her and try to make her eat something, but she looked pretty content here.

Mary cuddled with Karin for such a long time. We finally had to take her and try to make her eat something, but she looked pretty content here.

Jay relaxing at Gourmandise.

Jay relaxing at Gourmandise.

Lydia picked out this cookie after lunch. That's a mouse cookie. It's a chocolate truffle coated with ganache on a lemony cookie base with a bit of raspberry flling.

Lydia picked out this cookie after lunch. That’s a mouse cookie. It’s a chocolate truffle coated with ganache on a lemony cookie base with a bit of raspberry flling.

Mary eating her mouse cookie.

Mary eating her half of the mouse cookie.

Then we went grocery shopping, took a nap, and got ready for our dinner.

Mary "drove the car" with Abe while I grocery shopped.

Mary “drove the car” with Abe while I grocery shopped.

I made a ton of food, but whenever we have guests I always think we’re going to run out of food. Whenever my parents threw parties growing up, we would eat leftovers for weeks; my dad never wanted to run out of food at a party. I think I inherited my fear of running out of food from him. Anyway, I made Jamaican jerk steak, kasha (threw it out because I did it wrong and replaced it with cous cous), carrot salad, roasted veggies, balsamic blackberry gingered strawberries, corn on the cob, and chimichurri sauce. Candace brought Harmon’s bread and Emily brought a marvelous fruit salad. Unfortunately, I was having so much fun with everyone that I forgot to take pictures. Abe did manage to take a picture of the cake with his phone (Gourmandise had a Groupon for cake!):

Gourmandise had a Groupon for a birthday cake. This was a chocolate truffle raspberry cake. It was to die for.

Gourmandise had a Groupon for a birthday cake. This was a chocolate truffle raspberry cake. It was to die for.

The girls played outside before our party.

The girls played outside before our party.

june21pic5We had to set up an extra table for the party since we had seven grown-ups and five kids. While Abe was taking down the table, he sliced off a good portion of the padding on his finger. He cut off the flap with a scissors, and it’s still bleeding (a full twenty-four hours later). He spent most of last night in excruciating pain. I was up until midnight talking with Candace, and I didn’t realize how much pain Abe was in until he called me up because he was struggling so much. I felt so sorry for him! Today it’s not as painful, although we’re going to douse it in hydrogen peroxide soon, and I’m sure that will be torture for him. Say a prayer for Abe.

We got to church half an hour late today because I was prepping for our post-church picnic.

After church we had a picnic today with Ben, Candace, Cadence, Bentley, Aria, Stephen, and Balu.

After church we had a picnic today with Ben, Candace, Cadence, Bentley, Aria, Stephen, and Balu.

The girls loved playing while we ate.

The girls loved playing while we ate.

After our picnic, Candace and Ben drove back to Idaha. I hated to see them go and felt really lonely and sad with the house empty. I wish Candace lived closer.

I treated my sorrow with a nap, and when we woke up, the house still felt empty. We called Mike and Paige at that point and asked if they could come over to help us finish off the million pounds of leftover food in our fridge. They were wonderful and came. We spent hours discussing the disciplinary council of Kate Kelly and John Dehlin. It was really cathartic, and I felt like I learned a lot from the discussion.

Liv ate some pink paint today.

Liv ate some pink paint today.

Mary somehow got covered in marker while we were getting food out for dinner with the Andersons. Her face matched her dress.

Mary somehow got covered in marker while we were getting food out for dinner with the Andersons. Her face matched her dress.

Mike pointed out that Utah twilight lasts hours, and we enjoyed it all evening. It was a perfect night. This June has been so glorious.

visit and procrastinating packing

We are still last minute packing for our trip tomorrow. We are going to get up at 5:30 am tomorrow, so I am hurrying.

This morning I was supposed to clean the house in preparation for the trip to California tomorrow, but I noticed all the library books I need to return that I haven’t read to the girls. An hour of frantic reading ensued, thus bumping my cleaning plans until…well, actually, they never materialized. The house is still a mess.

But we had a great middle of the day. Jan, George, Chelsea, Olivia, Carter and Camden came over for lunch, and after we all went to the zoo. Jan’s phone took better pictures than mine, so I’m stealing her pics and inserting them here:

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Lydia had another tea party with Olivia that involved probably a gallon of water. I was impressed at how carefully they must have carried their little bowls and cups of water to the bedroom because when I discovered them, the vessels were all filled to the brim. George held Lydia’s hand and showed her all the animals at the zoo–and she fell in love! She kept asking me where George was and would go stick up her hand to hold his. It was sweet.

Mary climbed over a railing in front of the snake display and fell on top of her head smack dab on the concrete floor. I may or may not have sworn so loudly that heads turned. We decided shortly thereafter it was probably time to head home.

Seeing Chelsea always makes me wonder why we are not moving to Orem. It is so nice to see someone you’ve known for a long time. I always feel like these visits are more like family reunions than friend meet-ups.

Then I came home and tried to pack, but mostly I lay on various pieces of furniture stressed out about how much I had to do. I heard Charity Lang, the fictional character in Crossing to Safety say to me, “Do something! Don’t just sit around and gawp.” Sorry, Charity. I gawped today. And when Abe came home, I straight out napped. Now we’re paying for it, and as soon as I hit publish it will be back to the packing grindstone.

Oh, and I probably won’t blog while we’re in California. I might if Auntie Geri’s computer is free, but if not, I’ll blog again on Monday.