A disgruntled call and house pictures

After I visit taught this morning, we headed down to spend the whole day in Orem. I visited preschools, and by the time our preschool hunt was over, the girls were hungry. Enter The Worst Drive-Thru Experience of All Time. And we eat a lot of fast food, so I think that statement has value. As I pulled up to pay, I noticed a sign with a number to call if you have comments about your customer experience. Boy, did I!

Sadly, just as I dialed, another call came through to my phone, so the call was lost. No matter, I thought. I just searched “recent calls” and called the most recent number. A very cheerful voice answered, and I proceeded to rant for the next five minutes about my experience. After I reviewed each complaint a second time to make sure the customer representative was taking notes, the voice on the other end said, “Um, Lily? This is Chelsea. Are you trying to call customer service?”

Chelsea! I had called one of my favorite friends instead of customer service, and she had patiently listened to me itemize my complaints in an aggravated manner twice before I stopped talking long enough for her to clarify my mistake. Oops! I am taking this as a sign from God that I complain too much. When my dad died, he left behind STACKS of complaint letters to businesses, hotels, municipalities–you name it! If it serviced customers, he had complaints to write! I think I might have inherited this tendency. Today’s experience tells me that I might need to reign it in a little.

Anyway, I proceeded to head to Chelsea’s house for a play date. After that, we kidnapped Olivia and took her to our new house during the tail end of the home inspection. After that, we headed back to Chelsea’s for a deeeee-licious dinner of calzones, salad and fruit.

I snapped a million pictures because the listing is now off of real estate sites. Mom and Grandma, I realizes as I uploaded these that I totally forgot to take a picture of the kitchen, but it’s right next to the dining room. Oops! Enjoy anyway, and next time we go I’ll take a picture. I also forgot to take one of the basement bathroom.

basement room in front of the bathroom. We'll put the treadmill here.

basement room in front of the bathroom. We’ll put the treadmill here.

basement room #1. Guest room?

basement room #1. Guest room?

The inspector, Chase and Abe standing in the furnace room. Cute Olivia is in the foreground.

The inspector, Chase and Abe standing in the furnace room. Cute Olivia is in the foreground.

Basement storage closet.

Basement storage closet.

Basement room #2. Office?

Basement room #2. Office?

basement family room with kids play area behind.

basement family room with kids play area behind.

Half of the kids' basement play area.

Half of the kids’ basement play area.

Other half of the basement play room.

Other half of the basement play room.

basement stairs.

basement stairs.

First floor bathroom.

First floor bathroom.

laundry space in mudroom.

laundry space in mudroom.

Mudroom entrance.

Mudroom entrance.

Upstairs bedroom #1. Mom's office.

Upstairs bedroom #1. Mom’s office.

Mom's office's closet.

Mom’s office’s closet.

view from Mom's office.

view from Mom’s office.

Entrance to girls' room.

Entrance to girls’ room.

Girls' room.

Girls’ room.

Girls' room.

Girls’ room.

Mom's bedroom.

Mom’s bedroom.

Mom's bedroom.

Mom’s bedroom.

view from mom's bedroom.

view from mom’s bedroom.

Nursery.

Nursery.

Nursery closet.

Nursery closet.

Upstairs hall closet #1.

Upstairs hall closet #1.

Upstairs bathroom.

Upstairs bathroom.

upstairs hall closet #2.

upstairs hall closet #2.

master bedroom.

master bedroom.

walk-in closet adjacent to master bedroom.

walk-in closet adjacent to master bedroom.

master bath.

master bath.

view from master.

view from master.

kitchen space for fridge.

kitchen space for fridge.

pantry.

pantry.

living/dining.

living/dining.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

piano room.

piano room.

on back deck.

on back deck.

back of house from basketball court.

back of house from basketball court.

looking other way on basketball court.

looking other way on basketball court.

front of house.

front of house.

IMG_0231

our cute mailbox.
looking across the cul-de-sac.

looking across the cul-de-sac.

view from front yard.

view from front yard.

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)!

IMG_9972

The bumblebee climbed a tree.

The bumblebee climbed a tree.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

IMG_9993IMG_9995 IMG_9998 IMG_9999

Red Butte and dinner with the Pe’as.

This morning we went with Lalitha and Eden to Red Butte Gardens. It was a beautiful day. In fact, Abe and I keep having conversations about how amazing the weather this year has been. I wish this year would just repeat over and over for the rest of my life weather wise, but since I can’t count on that, I just have to try to make the most out of every gorgeous day.

IMG_9908 IMG_9909 IMG_9912 IMG_9915 IMG_9918 IMG_9923Then we went grocery shopping with Lalitha and came home. I was the only one who napped, and when I woke up, Lydia informed me that she and Mary climbed onto the piano. I guess that means no more naps for me, or at least no naps while my children are awake.

I spent the rest of the day cooking. We had FHE with our friends, the Pe’as. Since we’ve been reading a lot of books about Halloween, Lydia has become very confused about what ghosts are. We decided to brush up on the doctrine of resurrection and our beliefs about how the spirit and the body are related to each other. Afterward, the kids pictured colors of ghosts.

IMG_9925 IMG_9930Abe and I have been trying to get around to folding four giant baskets of laundry for almost a week. We are going to try to fold some tonight while watching Stardust. We have a new habit to squeeze in movies: ten minutes a day! I wish I were kidding, but that’s actually what we’ve resorted to.

P.S. Mom and Grandma, Paige sent me some cute pictures from our hike Wednesday. If you want to see them, I added them to that post (link here).

All sorts of scary

Today I conducted in Primary again, and it was still uncomfortable. I talk in a kind of high, sing-song voice in front of groups, and I do this thing where my voice inflects pointedly up  at the end of each sentence. Maybe when I get more comfortable, I can start talking normally. Until then, they’ll just have to put up with me. Luckily, the children are sweet and haven’t seemed to notice.

We came home and Abe ran right back to Church for his second meeting. As soon as he came home,  ran off to visit teach. I love talking to Andrea so much that I returned home two and a half hours later. Oops. But we covered so many interesting topics! She thoroughly terrified me about Child Protective Services. Did you know that CPS workers are financially incentivized to take children away from parents? If you leave eight dishes  in your sink, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If they find a pair of soiled underpants anywhere in the house, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If your kids are playing outside and you are not actively watching them, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. CPS workers get bonuses for every child they take away, and they get bonuses when those children are adopted into new homes. To make it worse, the new foster parents get extra money if the children need medicine, so the average foster care child is on seven different medications.

She told me horror story after horror story. I could not believe my ears, but in the end, I sort of could. It’s a sad, sad day when parents who adore their children have to actively fear that the government will take their children away for no reason at all. Our government is so corrupt that it is financially incentivizing strangers to take my children away from me. How horrifying.

Last night after Abe went to bed, I watched Blackfish. My heart broke when they took the baby whales from their mothers. The shaking and crying of the mothers made me ill. (They didn’t talk about the babies’ response, but I assume it was equally horrible.) To think that our government not only allows that, but incentivizes that for people makes me totally crazy.

We basically scared ourselves silly talking about CPS, the Second Coming, and the Ebola outbreak. Two and a half hours later, I tore myself away and came home to find Abe and the girls playing outside. I made dinner and took some pictures before cleaning up.

IMG_9023 IMG_9024 IMG_9025

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek's produce at dinner.

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek’s produce at dinner.

IMG_9015 IMG_9017 IMG_9020

And then Abe gave the girls a bath. They had fun with the bubbles.

IMG_9026And now I’m blogging.

911

At 5:54 am I awoke to the sound of the front door slamming. Abe leaves for work at 5:30 these days, and so I was terrified that someone was in the house. I crept to the stairs and heard light switches going on and off in the house. Convinced there was someone inside, I called 911.

Twenty minutes later, a team of six policemen swarmed the house, only to discover…nothing. I felt so dumb. But I honestly did hear the door slam, and I heard another door slam right before the police arrived. Since Abe and I are missing two full sets of keys, we had all the locks changed today just to be safe. Abe has promised to deadbolt the door behind him when he leaves for work.

To be honest, I still haven’t quite recovered from the adrenaline rush that accompanied lying in bed whispering on the phone with 911 for twenty minutes. It was terrible. I haven’t felt safe since. Also, I’m stressed out that I call 911 so much. This was my fourth call in two and a half years. If I operated 911, I would stop responding to my number’s calls. “Oh, it’s just the hystrionic lady in the Avenues who always thinks she’s under attack. Let’s respond to someone who actually NEEDS help…”

The only times I’ve forgotten the scare today were 1) visiting teaching Marilyn this morning and 2) having dinner with my mission friend, Jen! She’s from France, but her husband is American and they’ve been living in D.C. for the past five years. Jen was a director at Miriam’s kitchen during that time, and the experiences she shared uplifted us so much. We were so inspired by Jen and Chris’s passion for community and homeless-outreach.

Now that they’ve moved to Salt Lake, I’m looking forward to spending more time with Jen. She was also mission companions in Las Vegas with one of Abe’s high school friends, and so for our next get together we’re going to invite the Maudsleys over for dinner and let Katie and Jen reconnect. It’s been almost ten years since our missions!

Here’s a photo Abe took at the end of dinner. Chris was also taking pictures, and Jen and I are each looking at our hubby’s phone.

july28

busy on the horizon

Today was a little crazy at church. Abe and I had a meeting with the stake president wherein Abe got a calling that will take a lot more time. I knew this meeting was coming, and secretly (or actually, not so secretly) I had been hoping Abe’s new calling would translate into a release from my new calling. I really miss going to Sunday School, and I’m slightly allergic to meetings that happen on any day other than Sunday. (Not activities, just meetings.) No such luck.

Anyway, the whole point of Sunday School is to make us better disciples, and disciples serve without complaint. So I guess Sunday School won’t avail me anything if I can’t learn to serve happily. That’s my current goal. Paragraph number one is a fantastic indicator of all the progress I’ve made on that goal.

I visit taught today for a couple hours, and when I came home, everyone was awake and playing on the lawn.

Lydia put on a puppet show behind the bush.

Lydia put on a puppet show behind the bush.

IMG_8786 IMG_8781 IMG_8784

 

Abe and I contemplated calling friends to come over, but we were still exhausted from Friday’s lack of sleep, so instead we just played with the kids all evening. We played, “Sleeping bunnies” for the better part of forty-five minutes, and Mary still couldn’t get enough. She jumps up and down like a pogo stick every time the bunnies wake up, and then she shouts “Gain!!” (Again!!). We acquiesced approximately one million times.

Then we played hide and seek. Originally, I intended to lie on the couch while Abe played hide and seek with the girls, but Abe begged me to play and told me I could hide on the bed. I took him at his word; almost all of my hiding spots included lounging under a blanket. It was actually really funny because even though I was hiding in plain view (albeit under a blanket), Lydia and Mary would come up and check all the spots around me and still not know where I was. It was so funny and cute. They eventually found me each time because I couldn’t help laughing when they were so near and yet so bewildered. 

We then spent the rest of the night reading to the kids and trying to work up energy to get the kids ready for bed. After we put them down, I read Abe a bunch of excerpts from, Carry on Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton. I loved the book, and we both got some great laughs from the excerpts.

Now we’re going to try to go to bed early to make-up for Friday.

Also, as a post script, this is absolutely the most beautiful summer I have ever experienced weather-wise. The weather here is gorgeous. I can’t get enough of the open windows. Yay, beautiful weather that makes life feel good even when my natural state is not quite there!!

Busy, busy

This morning, after I visit taught Marilyn, we went to play group at Red Butte Gardens.

racing to the three bears' house

racing to the three bears’ house

Lydia and Brooke pushed their sisters, Mary and Annie, all around on their strollers. Annie and Mary are just weeks apart. It was pretty cute.

Lydia and Brooke pushed their sisters, Mary and Annie, all around on their strollers. Annie and Mary are just weeks apart. It was pretty cute.

IMG_8284 IMG_8283

feeding the ducks

feeding the ducks

Tinah posing. Doesn't she look like Fancy Nancy?

Tinah posing. Doesn’t she look like Fancy Nancy?

After naps, we spent the afternoon doing errands. I promised my friend, Rose, I would find her a sushi mat–but they were nowhere to be found! I ended up being late to my Primary meeting (I just got called Sunday as first counselor in the Primary) with no sushi mat for Rose. (There was a sushi class in the gym at the same time as my meeting.) It all worked out, though, because the teachers brought sushi mats for everyone. Where they got them, I have no idea. Maybe the bought out all the Salt Lake stores and that’s why I couldn’t find any mats. At any rate, I ended up with a free sushi mat, and the Primary presidency is very laid back. No one cared that I was late–phew!

Also, mom, aren’t you the first counselor in your Primary? I can’t believe I haven’t talked to you since Sunday. We’ll have to chat tomorrow.

Another also: Mary learned how to climb out of her crib today. It’s actually kind of nice, because instead of crying until I come get her, she just climbs out and entertains herself. On the other hand, trying to get her to bed was a nightmare…Lydia came out at one point crying, “Mom, I have an idea! I have an idea! Let’s put a door on top of Mary’s crib! And if she still climbs out, we can put lots of doors!!”

A third “also”: I have pictures from the weekend that I am just posting now:

Cadence and Lydia going to church together.

Cadence and Lydia going to church together.

I am holding the door (and holding Mary like a sack of potatoes).

I am holding the door (and holding Mary like a sack of potatoes).

Here are the pictures Abe took while I was in my meeting:

june24pic4 june24 june24pic2 june24pic3

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!

Some big tantrums and FHE at Temple Square

This morning was such a whirlwind that I did not get a single picture in. Sorry, Grandma! As soon as the girls woke up, it was a race to get them dressed and fed so that we could make it to our visiting teaching appointment with Marilyn. Thankfully, Jen was in the same boat so we arrived at about the same time (an hour late). Marilyn, as usual, was a joy to visit, although we are praying for her health. Mom, feel free to include her in your prayers.

Then we went to Jump Around Utah to meet up with our play group. I’m glad I know what it is, but I do not think I will ever go again. It was so packed with screaming kids who just mowed down all the littler kids in their paths. It was incredibly stressful for everyone, and by the end I was sweating and panicky and Lydia had the worst public tantrum she has ever had in her life. For the rest of the day she kept telling me that she was sad because her experience at Jump Around Utah was so frustrating. I was just glad we all left without injury; at one point, Mary got flipped on the big bouncing thing in the middle and landed in a really painful looking position.

I came home, fed the girls, put Mary down, and tried to cheer Lydia up with hot cocoa and a ton of snuggling and reading.

After Abe came home, we headed out to Temple Square with Balu for FHE. We took a tour of the Conference Center. I have a whole new appreciation for the Arnold Friberg Book of Mormon gallery after seeing the Arnold Friber exhibit a couple months ago. The choir was rehearsing while we were there, so we got to sneak in a little observation too. The tour was great preparation for General Conference, and we’re hoping the tour will contextualize conference for the girls. Then we went to the Lion House for dinner. Brother Richardson left us a gift card the last time he was here, and it came in handy tonight! We had a lot of fun, and we left the square with Lydia sitting on Abe’s shoulders making up songs about flowers and Spring. In spite of all the other tantrums and meltdowns today (and they seemed to follow each other in rapid succession without much interruption), FHE was a success.

apr 1 pic 2 apr1 pic 1 apr1pic3

Then I did some grocery shopping and by the time we came home, the girls were exhausted. One more giant tantrum issued forth from our eldest daughter, and then she fell asleep. It’s been peaceful ever since. Here’s to a more peaceful tomorrow!