Gardens after Dark

We have had so many Halloween activities that I accidentally dressed Lydia up in costume for preschool. I thought the Halloween parade was this week. The school administrator patiently informed me that the parade will occur on Halloween, as the flier they sent home clearly stated. Oops. In between worrying about my mistake and hoping Lydia was too young to feel embarrassed, I visit taught Marilyn and practiced a bit of piano at home.

Playing at Marilyn's.

Playing at Marilyn’s.

Then in the afternoon, Isabella came over and we went shopping for her costume. She wanted to be a cracked doll, so we went to Kid to Kid and DI looking for a lacy dress. I said a silent prayer as we pulled into DI, and bam! Within five minutes, we found the dress. I love God.

Then we picked up Lalitha, Eden and Ada before caravaning with the Pe’as to Red Butte for the Garden After Dark festivities.

Potions with Maleficent.

Potions with Maleficent.

A cracked china doll (aka Isabella)!

A cracked china doll (aka Isabella)!

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The bumblebee climbed a tree.

The bumblebee climbed a tree.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

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Play group party

I have been really depressed by the news lately, and I came across this scripture this morning: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

I was also touched today by this article, written by a friendly acquaintance in my home ward.

And now for the day’s play-by-play.

This morning Aria hosted a Halloween party at her house. While I love Aria and everyone who came, I really dislike big groups. However, I decided to go for the children’s sake, so I dressed them up in costumes and headed over to Aria’s.

IMG_9962 IMG_9960But the girls are slightly shy in big groups too, so after I ascertained that none of us were happy, I packed them up and headed back home.

I proceeded to loll around the house for the rest of the day, since both girls ended up napping for quite a while. I started reading Dracula in honor of Halloween. I want to finish that and also reread The Legend of Sleepy Hollow  before October 31st.

I would have pictures from class, but my phone died. We made a ton of cookies and some pita bread. I am skipping tomorrow to take the girls to Red Butte Gardens for their Halloween activities at night.

I’ll take more pictures tomorrow!

Friend-filled Thursday

This morning while Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to the library.

sep11pic4After reading down some more fines, we attended story time. It was fun watching Mary. I am used to Lydia, who just watches everyone and doesn’t really participate. Mary got really into all the actions the kids were supposed to do, and it was really cute.

Then we spied on Lydia at school. She and her friend, Audrey, were walking around the playground during recess together. I loved watching them making the playground rounds. They were adorable.

After I put the girls down, I got a call. The person on the other end of the line said, “I have tickets to Funville!” Before she could finish, I angrily responded that I wasn’t interested and that it was my kids’ nap time. Bang.

Um, oops. It turns out that person was my dear friend, Maria! She was calling because she and my other dear friend, Lauren, were heading into Salt Lake to visit me. They are staying in Deer Valley for conferences and will head back out to their respective parts of the country this weekend. Time with them is a precious commodity! Thankfully, Maria called me back and explained that she wasn’t a telemarketer…and I felt really embarrassed. For the record, I don’t normally hang up on telemarketers, but I woke up sick this morning, and my patience level was at a flat zero all day. I have officially learned my lesson to be nicer on the phone.

Anyway, seeing them was so, so fun. I loved every minute.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn't figure out where to look.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn’t figure out where to look.

Then I retreated to bed to nurse my cold until Abe came home. After he got home, we raced to get ready to meet the Pe’as for the State Fair.

I have never fully explored the fair, and I have gone every year since we’ve been in Utah. It happens in a giant field right next to my gym, so it’s not far away at all. Anyway, I probably saw more tonight than I ever have. Abe and I also ate our very first funnel cake, which was delicious.

We enjoyed spending time with the Pe’as so much. They are such a fun, kind family.

Lydia wanted a pony ride. This is the first time she stayed on the whole time. She grinned the whole ride long.
Lydia wanted a pony ride. This is the first time she stayed on the whole time. She grinned the whole ride long.
Eldon sweetly bought all of the kids ice cream.

Eldon sweetly bought all of the kids ice cream. In this picture you can see, from left to right, Natalie, Mary, and Spencer. Laddie and Lydia didn’t make it onto camera.

Jen and I!

Jen and I!

And now I am going to retire to bed and feel sorry for my poor, sick self. On the upside, I checked out The Mists of Avalon today and love it. I haven’t read a book since the beginning of summer, and I’m excited to read again!

Hodge Podge Wednesday

This morning we woke up to discover our house had been “heart attacked” by my friend, Kristin! Before she left for the airport, she did this to several parts of the house. She is amazing. I feel like the hearts are little blessings, and I’m not too eager to take them down.

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sep10pic3sep10pic5At 11 am I went to Institute. Tad Callister, author of The Infinite Atonement, was the speaker. I derived a lot of comfort from his presentation.

Afterward, I took the girls outside to pick grapes:

sep10Then we came home and had a play date with Sophia and Max. Misty had to take that icky glucose test you take when pregnant, so I watched the kids while she endured that. I love her kids, so it was a win-win situation.

IMG_9421Then we had quiet time, and Lydia actually took a nap! Lalitha and Eden stopped by during her nap, but since Lydia was sleeping, they just picked apples instead.

I read to the girls for hours today, and my throat really hurts, despite the six hour rest I gave it at school tonight (I don’t talk there unless I absolutely have to). Tonight was Austria night at school:

red snapper and a corn chowder.

red snapper and a corn chowder.

German apple pancake

German apple pancake

meats in puff pastry

meats in puff pastry

duck, endives, and rosti

duck, endives, and rosti

While I was at school, Abe took the girls out to the park and to Isabella’s house. Lydia was disappointed none of her friends were at the park, but she decided to make a friend with a girl named Azalea. Abe said that the two were inseparable all evening. However, he only took pictures of Mary and Lydia.

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Piano, errands, cooking, and FHE

Today started out slowly, and that gave me a chance to work in some good hours at the piano. Mary demanded a nap as soon as she finished breakfast; when I pushed back on the idea, she threw herself on the floor, kicked the oven and screamed, “Nap! Binkies! Amiwals! (‘Animals!’).” I caved. 9:30 nap it was, and as the rest of the day progressed, she got grumpier and grumpier. Next time she tries to take a nap four hours early, I will put up more resistance.

After her nap, we took Lalitha on an errand and then ran an errand ourselves. We came back home and I folded laundry for an hour while the girls played “tea party” in the bathroom. It was flooded afterward.

Then I cooked like crazy until the Andersons joined us for dinner.

I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.

I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.

I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than  regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!

I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!

We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to "Once There Was A Snowman."

We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to “Once There Was A Snowman.”

(The snowman melts in the song.)

(The snowman melts in the song.)

juice burn-out

I was pretty energetic from my juice cleanse this morning. I got up at 5:30, spent an hour studying my scriptures, steam cleaned and vacuumed the entire downstairs, dusted, organized, fed the children multiple times, and had a fun (picture-less, sorry Grandma!) play date with Misty and her adorable kids.

Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary's pants fell down. Even though she's about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.

Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary’s pants fell down. Even though she’s about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.

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Then I crashed. I proceeded to lie in bed lethargically until I decided I needed to eat something. It had been a day and a half by then, and I was starting to obsess over food in my head. It didn’t feel healthy.

I wasn't the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.

I wasn’t the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.

She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she's refused to do this for a year.

She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she’s refused to do this for a year.

After Abe came home, we ate dinner and drove to Red Butte Gardens…only to discover they were closed. No matter. We headed over to Sugar House Park so the girls could still see ducks and then play on the play ground. I had a lot of fun chasing Mary around (in spite of my ankle, which didn’t enjoy the chasing as much as Mary or I).

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Abe and I are having a homework party. He has hours and hours of extra work to do for his job, and I have a ton of homework to do. It works! Except for the fact that I am exhausted and slightly nauseous from the juice experiment. Hopefully we can finish soon and get some sleep at the start of this weekend. We had a pow-wow to plan tomorrow hour by hour because it is so packed. I really hate Saturdays that don’t feel free, but it looks like tomorrow will be one of those days…

Friends and Frozen under the stars

This morning I had a visit from my lovely former visiting teacher, Cierra Block. She moved to London a year ago, and she’s in town for a wedding. It was just like old times! We talked and talked…basically, I could talk to Cierra forever. I just love her. I woke up full of anxiety and struggled with that all day, so Cierra’s visit was a wonderful uplift out of that.

IMG_9278Then I just kind of puttered until it was time for our play date with Jen Pe’a and Natalie.

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Again, talking with Jen was basically balm to my soul. When I’m struggling with anxiety, nothing helps more than talking to a friend who I feel safe to be myself with.

Mary found and tried to eat lemons when we got home…

IMG_9280Then Abe, the kids, and I all headed out to see Frozen under the stars on the lawn outside of the Capitol. It was a gorgeous night, and the girls were enthralled. Mary is a little confused about stars, though. This is the second night that she’s looked up, pointed to the stars and cried, “Fishies! Blub blub!”  I explained that there are no fish in the sky and the stars go “twinkle twinkle.” Maybe after our camping trip it will sink in better.

Afterward, they had fun on the walk back to the car.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we're going camping tomorrow!

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we’re going camping tomorrow!

Our climber.

Our climber.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

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A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

Grandma, we’re going camping tomorrow and won’t be back until Monday. I don’t think I’ll have internet, but I will take a lot of pictures and post when we get back. I love you and think about you every day!!

preschool eve

So a quick recap of yesterday’s pictures:

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

After I came home, I found out about my friend’s baby. The rest of the day revolved around that. We did, however, go to the ward picnic. Abe stayed with the girls while I went to the hospital. He only took one picture:

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Apparently, there was a magician there who did tricks. It turns out that one of the desires of Lydia’s three year old heart was to get chosen for the tricks…but she never raised her hand. I bet she’ll learn that skill in preschool.

Today I leaped out of bed to send off a bunch of emails coordinating help and visits for my friend and do homework. By the time the girls were done with breakfast, it was past 10 am. We’ll have to adjust our schedules tomorrow; Lydia has to be AT school by 8:45!

After breakfast, I went for a quick run, took a shower, and worked on some laundry. I fed the girls lunch, practiced piano, played pretend with Lydia, and then Misty came over for a play date! Misty and her kids never fail to make me happy.

IMG_9270I skipped school today, but Isabella came over at the same time so I could go to the hospital. My friend has had trouble delivering her baby, and it probably won’t come until the wee hours of the morning. Please pray for her and her family.

Then I came home, caught the tail end of dinner, and took the girls and Isabella out for ice cream to lift our spirits.

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Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn't do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Then it was home. While we were at ice cream, Abe was out doing Elder’s Quorum visits. He got home before us and cleaned the house in time for our arrival. He was very excited to try our new steam cleaner on the kitchen floor. We feel enthused about that purchase.

I better get to bed because I am expecting to run to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Better get some sleep.

orientation, princess party, and caterpillars

This morning was orientation for Lydia’s preschool. I got so excited being there and seeing how easily Lydia fit into that new environment. I’m so happy she’ll have a chance to make new friends, learn new things, and thrive. She already has three little friends in her class, and she was so happy to be there that I felt very happy and hopeful about the school year.

After orientation, we came home for naps and quiet time. I watched a little of Lydia’s movie with her before taking my own nap.

After naps, we had a princess party. According to Lydia, everyone dresses up for princess parties. Mary and I were supposed to wave around some pictures she drew and sing words to a song Lydia made up. It was pretty fun.

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It's gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, "Pince!")

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It’s gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, “Pince!”).

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After "eating" them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After “eating” them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Lydia leading us in song.

Lydia leading us in song.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

We ended with a puppet show.

We ended with a puppet show.

After that, we ate a snack and I loaded the kids in the car to meet Rose for yoga. Abe met us in front of her condo and took the kids.

While Rose and I sweated it out, Abe met up with his mom for dinner at Cracker Barrel. Karin bought the girls toy caterpillars, and when I called them after yoga, they were ecstatic about them. They named the caterpillars Crusty and Doodle (Lydia did that) and tucked the caterpillars into bed next to their beds when bedtime rolled around.

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Baking/cooking marathon and Orderville is real

I spent an hour on the treadmill this morning, but the rest of the day revolved around food. I completely undid whatever good that treadmill pain did this morning. We didn’t leave the house because I spent the whole afternoon preparing for our dinner with the Deems and Shala (some teachers in the Primary).

Lydia helped me a little with the baking. We made Martha Stewart’s lemon poppy seed cake, which takes approximately a million steps to do correctly.

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In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In addition to making the cake (which involved: Two rounds of sifting, completing a 1-2-3 batter, whipping egg whites to fold into the batter, making lemon curd, refrigerating curd, whipping cream, whipping cream and curd together, cutting cake into layers, putting curd in between the layers, refrigerating layers + curd together, boiling a corn syrup mixture, mixing that with more whipped egg whites, and–finally–frosting the cake!), I also roasted some lamb that I got on sale at the Farmer’s Market last weekend, made three pounds of mashed potatoes (don’t ask why I thought we needed so many), steamed broccoli, roasted garlic, minced a ton of herbs from the garden, prepared mint water, and cleaned every area of the house the guests would see.

You would think the Queen of England was visiting! But actually, what really happened is that I was just in the mood to cook and bake all day. I found baking with Lydia to be both fun and stressful, and my resolve to not yell was tested and found lacking several times during that process. But even still, I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and everything turned out great (if I say so myself).

The best part, of course, was the actual visit. The Deems are in their late 70’s, and they’re still going strong. We found out their career revolved around a local lingerie chain that used to be the local equivalent of Victoria’s Secret. Shala was also full of interesting stories. She’s from Orderville, Utah. Prior to meeting Shala, I had always assumed Orderville was an LDS myth. It’s not! It was the town that managed to live the United Order longer than any other Mormon settlement, but the order fell apart when one young man from Orderville visited Salt Lake and bought a pair of pants that was different from what everyone else had. That was the start of the disintegration of the United Order. Prior to his Salt Lake visit, everyone wore the exact same style of overalls. After his visit, people wanted to start wearing different things, and it became impossible to live the United Order any longer.

Anyway, Abe is asleep, and so I better wrap this up. Mom, I’m going to get you Mary’s measurements soon. We had to put the kids to bed right after everyone left because Abe had to go do some Elder’s Quorum stuff–we didn’t have time to take her measurements. It was so great talking to you. Love you!