God vs. Genoise. Guess who won.

I had pictures of the food in class, but alas, they are on my phone, which is in the car.

This morning Marilyn came over again and we packed all of the paintings in the house. Then I ran to pick Rose up so we could go to Gourmandise for lunch. I have been dying to try their boeuf bourguignon, but they serve it on Wednesdays, and I am always there on days that don’t happen to be Wednesday. Today we scheduled our lunch specifically so that I could finally try it once before we move. It was delicious. One more thing to miss.

The girls were in a very happy, playful mood all day. I was grateful for that. All of their toys are packed, and so they have been having to use imagination. I think it has been good for them. Right now there are fabric scraps all around the house because I haven’t packed my fabric scrap bin. Why do I buy so many toys when cloth scraps and torn paper pieces seem to be every bit as stimulating? I have no idea. I suspect the answer lies in the match between over-eager consumerism and greedy corporate marketers.

At school today I had several near disasters, but today I had the presence of mind to actively pray over all of my food. Just when I thought my genoise was beyond hope, I offered a silent, extremely fervent prayer that the thing would brown fast. Two minutes later I pulled out a miraculously browned cake. Believe me, it was a miracle! My teammates both prayed over all of our food, too. My friend Ingrid looked at me when we were fearing for the fate of our icing and said, “Have no fear, my friend. God is with us.” How can things go too badly wrong with teammates who exercise faith like that? Unless the chef forces us apart, I am never switching out of my team.

I am so, so sorry I was neglectful on the pictures. I should have taken at least one on my outing with Rose. I will do better tomorrow!

appliance shopping (i.e., toddler temper tantrum displays galore!)

I forgot to take pictures today! Nothing of note happened, though. I did buy a new washer and dryer for the new house, but I couldn’t have taken any pictures on that outing. Mary was a screaming, crying mess because her nap time was approaching, and I honestly started to wonder if Lydia was possessed. The last couple times I have tried to do anything except shop for groceries or check out books in public, the girls go bananas and lose it. It got to the point where they were tearing Christmas ornaments off of trees–and breaking them. I felt incompetent, and in response, we went home and had nap time/quiet time for the rest of the day. I REM’ed slept so much that it’s 1 am and I’m fresh as a daisy.

Well, not really. Guess I better go to bed. Oh! Cooking school was fun, but for the last couple classes I have had to redo at least one, if not two dishes because I’m careless or impatient. Tonight I had to do my pastry cream twice, and since there wasn’t enough time to redo my pate choux, I’m redoing that first thing tomorrow.

Also, Abe got home! Yay! He had a really successful trip, and I’m really glad he’s back.

Sorry, one more P.P.S. in this disjointed post: I went to the dermatologist today. He confirmed that I had a bad outbreak of eczema because I’ve lost so much pigmentation in my arms. I basically have white polka-dot skin right now — I’m a walking, talking, Minnie Mouse dress! But in all seriousness, it was a good visit. He was very reassuring and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience.

Now I’m going to bed and think about all the plants I want to plant in my new yard. That’s my favorite daydream–maybe tonight, those thoughts will replace the horrible nightmares I had during my REM nap!

packing day

Considering Abe was gone, today was a really great day. I don’t know what it is, but I think I am more productive when I have to take care of everything myself. Either that, or I cook more when Abe is home, so I get fewer other tasks accomplished.

Anyway, today I had a lot of fun hanging out with the girls, doing errands, folding loads of laundry and packing a ton of boxes. I figured I would have a lot of time to watch a movie with the girls at the end of the day, but everything just flew by so fast I didn’t get to. In my book, that makes a good day.

Here are some pictures:

Lydia helped me pack!

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And the girls had a dance party while I packed (and paused to take pictures):

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Blast from the past

Abe left for D.C. today, and having him gone brought back all the memories I have from his last job. I had completely forgotten what it was like staring down an evening alone in the house with the kids, but to my delight, what happened tonight is nothing like the monotony I recall from being alone during Abe’s Guardsmark trips.

The girls and I cuddled up on the couch and binge watched The Living Scriptures videos, I fed them dinner at 3:30 pm  (much more in sync with their actual hunger cycle, but normally I have to time their meals so we can have a family dinner with Abe), played with them, read to them, showered, got everyone ready for bed, read scriptures with them, prayed–and voila! 8 pm bedtime happened for the first time in six months. Daylight savings helped, but still. It felt great to be back on track.

Then I updated my family tree with some information I got from the Philippine Jesuits and watched this video about a million times. I discovered it a couple days ago and can’t stop watching it. My heart feels so full and achy each time I watch. I guess Chicago will always feel like my authentic home, even though I am genuinely happy to have adopted Utah for the–indefinite–future.

Here are the pictures from today.

playing with/in the suitcases you gave them, Grandma. On a recent play date one of Mary's friends played with this suitcase and Mary freaked out and started crying, pointing to the suitcase and saying, "Gamma Cuwen! Gamma Cuwen!" (Translation: "Grandma Cullen gave ME that!")

playing with/in the suitcases you gave them, Grandma. On a recent play date one of Mary’s friends played with this suitcase and Mary freaked out and started crying, pointed to the suitcase and shouted, “Gamma Cuwen! Gamma Cuwen!” (Translation: “Grandma Cullen gave ME that!”)

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performing the trick she was trying to show you on the phone, Mom.

performing the trick she was trying to show you on the phone, Mom.

baptism, more packing, and a wedding

This morning I took Mary to a baptism while Abe took Lydia to ballet. She was really good until after the actual baptism. While Peter’s dad was conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost on him, Mary lost it and I had to rush out of the room. She spent the next half hour literally running the halls and jumping up and down the flights of stairs in the church. When we got home, she took a four and a half hour nap. Guess that baptism wore her out!

Then I packed a bunch more. Our living room and dining room bookshelves are almost empty, a bunch of kitchen ware is packed, the dining room hutch is empty, and a couple paintings are bubble wrapped and ready to move. I only have to repeat this feat seven or eight more times, and we’ll be all set to move.

We had a minor scare trying to find a babysitter for this evening. I called every single babysitter I knew and even Abe’s parents, but it wasn’t until one of the people I called gave me a lead on a young woman in our ward that I’d never met before that I finally got someone lined up. That freed Abe and me up for a wedding reception.

We went to Cynthia Barlow’s wedding reception at La Caille (and you really need to click on the link to see what that means) and it was the first time Abe and I had ever been there. It was gorgeous. We should have taken pictures, but for most of the time I was enjoying visiting with my friend, Maria. She is so fun to be around, and some of her stories had Abe and me literally crying from laughter. One of my mission acquaintances happened to also be sitting at our table, and it’s always fun to bump into people like that. Overall, the reception was the highlight of our day.

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Flowers from the reception.

Flowers from the reception.

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While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box...and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.

While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box…and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.

midterm

I spent the morning: babysitting Max and Sophia while Misty went to the doctor, folding laundry, doing errands, packing boxes, babysitting Ada while Liv got allergy tests, and feeding everyone multiple times.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It's Lydia's favorite Living Scriptures video; she's watched it six times (per her request--to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn't we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It’s Lydia’s favorite Living Scriptures video; she’s watched it six times (per her request–to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn’t we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

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Then I napped.

After that, we went to SmashBurger to meet up with Abe before my midterm. We all had black bean burgers with their amazing fries and milkshakes. That buoyed me up for my midterm. (Abe took pictures, but they’re on his phone and I don’t want to disturb him–he’s asleep!)

My midterm went better today. At least I didn’t propose cheating to my bench mate. I honestly feel so ashamed that I did that yesterday, and I am so, so grateful I regained my sanity in time to not go through with the plan.

This is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench. By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Ugh.

See those pale flecks of butter in the cookies? That is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench (the kitchen was 50 degrees). By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Also, I didn’t mix the chocolate chips in evenly enough. I was so worried I’d made the cookies tough from beating the batter (in my futile attempt to soften that butter) that by the time I added the chocolate chips, I felt like I couldn’t afford to let that paddle beat another minute.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

principles for pie dough

I had a primary presidency meeting at the dinosaur play area of the mall this morning, but other than that, I stayed home with the kiddos all day. At the very end of the day, I ran outside and changed the car seats so Abe and I could switch cars. When I came in with the second car seat, I discovered Lydia buckling a happy Mary up in her seat.

IMG_0171 IMG_0172Then I went to class for midterms. It was the most stressful test I’ve had so far! I had to remake several things and I almost asked my teammate to let me pass off her extra pie dough as my own, but I stopped myself mid-proposal. It is really sad that I would trade my principles for pie dough, but in the moment, I felt quite desperate.  However, I stopped myself and rushed through re-making my own dough. Integrity (sort of) saved.

The only thing that I made that kind of came out were these rolls. I was too impatient to wait for the teacher to show me how to knot them, so their shape is wonky.

The only thing that I made that kind of came out were these rolls. I was too impatient to wait for the teacher to show me how to knot them, so their shape is wonky.

Another day in sequester

Aside from keeping the girls alive, getting Lydia to and from preschool, cleaning and cooking, I slept all day. Last night I barely slept at all because Mary got up a couple times and thenI couldn’t get back to bed because I am so excited about the move.

The girls were absolutely perfect today; Mary napped for four hours, and Lydia played next to me in the bed. When I woke up, I played with the girls for two hours. That was probably the highlight of my day. I guess I could have used the time to pack some more boxes, but it felt really fulfilling to just sit on the floor with them and be silly.

Here are the two pictures I have from today.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

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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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Rat sighting.

As we were pulling in from church (and my calling was great today! I feel bad for making such a stink about it for so long.), I saw a GIANT RAT run into the rock wall by the driveway. It took my breath away. I screamed, and then Abe started asking me if I was sure it was a rat and if I was sure of its size. After I emphatically declared I was absolutely sure, he got really quiet and then said he had a confession to make.

Turns out he found a dead rat that was the size of a cat in our driveway THREE MONTHS AGO and never told me. He thought I’d go off the deep end. Good thing he didn’t! We wouldn’t have ventured into our yard once this summer, and we certainly wouldn’t have ever eaten outside had I any inkling we were but yards away from a rat nest. Anyway, I researched it online, and apparently it’s only a matter of time before they make it into your house. When I read that statement by the Utah Department of Public Health, I nearly had a panic attack.

If Abe saw one three months ago + it’s only a matter of time until they come in the house + I keep my window with a broken screen open all the time + most common point of entry is roofline–where my window is = THERE MUST BE A RAT IN MY HOUSE.

I would honest to goodness trade that for the apocolypse, zombie or otherwise.

I went straight to bed and shook under the covers until Abe gave me a blessing, and then I was able to sort of kind of function again. Did I mention I have a phobia of rats? Recurring nighmares of rats? Once again, Lily is Facing Some of Her Greatest Fears, and all I can say is, there couldn’t have been better timing for our move.

Off of the rats. So after I got it together, we had the Andersons over for dinner. I forgot to blog yesterday, but we have been on a dinner-with-friends marathon. Yesterday Rich and Misty had us over for dinner in a pumpkin (practically my favorite meal ever), today we hung out with our pals, the Andersons, and tomorrow we get to go to dinner at the Sonntags’ house. We sure will miss our friends here, although the Andersons go down to Orem all the time, so we entertain high hopes that we will at least still get to see them regularly.

Here are the day’s pictures.

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