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.

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

looking across the cul-de-sac.

view from front yard.

view from front yard.

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.

Sewing costumes, more whining, and sequiny pictures

Today was non stop. Abe ran to clean the church while I bathed the girls, made popovers, blew dry Lydia’s hair (a must with her new hairstyle, so said her stylist), and got everyone dressed.

I don't know why every mom in America doesn't make these. They take approximately the same amount of time as instant oatmeal to mix together, they're portable, and they don't make a crumbly mess!

I don’t know why these aren’t at least as normal as pancakes at the American breakfast table. They take approximately the same amount of time as instant oatmeal to mix together, they’re portable, and they don’t make a crumbly mess!

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After I shooed them out the door to Lydia’s dance class, I read scriptures and looked up witch costumes online.

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Then I hurried to the Primary program practice, during which I really struggled to feel like I was contributing.

Honestly, I’ve traced this eczema back and really feel like it was a stress reaction to my calling. I have never had eczema before, and I remember when I got the calling feeling like I was having an allergic reaction. Then all of the sudden: eczema! (without me knowing what it was). Yuck. I daydream every day about asking to be released, and then I feel guilty and decide to keep doing my duty. I heard a talk the other day about the different reasons why we serve (in order worst to best): to show off, duty, hope of eternal reward, and love of God. I do love God, but I am having trouble connecting serving in my calling to that love. I’ll think to myself, “Think of all Jesus did and does for you! This is NOTHING in comparison! Just serve out of gratitude!” and when that doesn’t work, “It could be worse! Think about all the other callings that you would hate even more!” ..but somehow I just can’t get my heart right. Sorry, God! You’ll have to fix up my heart since I just can’t seem to get it in the right place by myself. I’ll give You more time.

Then I picked up Lydia, took her to the Farmer’s market, the fabric store, and Trader Joe’s. After that, I came home and whipped out two little, very poor quality witch costumes. But the girls love them, and you can only see my sewing mistakes if you stand within a foot–or five–of the girls. Anyway, Grandma, what do you think? The girls are going to wear these for the Wee Witches night at Gardner Village this weekend.

I made the necklines waaaay too big on both capes, but I think I can fix it with a safety pin. Also, the skirts are ridiculously unprofessional, but from a (long) distance, you can't tell, right?

I made the necklines waaaay too big on both capes, but I think I can fix it with a safety pin. Also, the skirts are ridiculously unprofessional, but from a (long) distance, you can’t tell, right?

IMG_9657 IMG_9663 IMG_9664Then we went to the library, the park, and two more grocery stores before heading home for dinner.

Outside of the library doing "tricks."

Outside of the library doing “tricks.”

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Some random stranger came up to Abe at the park and raved about Mary's hair. I was in the car reading some cookbooks I'd just checked out from the library, but when Abe came back and told me, I felt so happy! Shallow, I know, but I cut her hair and have felt guilty ever since, especially since my hair cutting skills (HA!) are...searching  for the right word...nonexistent. But yay! Someone likes the cut!!

Some random stranger came up to Abe at the park and raved about Mary’s hair. I was in the car reading some cookbooks I’d just checked out from the library, but when Abe came back and told me, I felt so happy! Shallow, I know, but I cut her hair and have felt guilty ever since, especially since my hair cutting skills (HA!) are…searching for the right word…nonexistent. But yay! Someone likes the cut!!

Lice crazy and Too Much Information (after the pics)

Did I neglect to mention in my last post that after we thought Mary was the only person with lice, Abe discovered a ton of nits in my hair Friday night? Yeah, I thought so. Between that time and now, my hair has undergone: RID (scary, ineffective pesticide treatment), multiple sessions of nit comb-throughs, LiceFree! Spray, three blow-dry treatments (so hot and long that I thought my scalp would burn off), two tea-tree oil shampoo washes, a priesthood blessing, and right now: I have soaked 1/4 cup of pure tea tree oil into my scalp. Tome gave me an 8 ounce bottle, bless his heart. Oh, and I’ve laundered my sheets every day since Thursday.

From Amazon, arriving soon are these three exciting products: A Robi comb (a battery charged comb that zaps lice with electricity so that they die on contact), a Terminator comb (best lice comb on the market!), and a giant VAT of tea-tree oil shampoo.

All of last night’s dreams revolved around picking lice off of my head. Do I sound crazy and obsessed? That’s about how I feel. Poor Abe just wants a break, but every time we have a spare moment, I hand him a comb and order him to get to work on my hair. While he does that I pore over the Amazon reviews of different lice products and read them like it’s therapy. Most people write their terrifying lice stories into their review and send words of encouragement and support to the review reader. The reviews make me feel like I have a global support group.

When I am not actively combating lice, I perform tasks in a distracted state and have several times thought I might be losing my mind. Case in point: Yesterday, after forgetting a bag of groceries at the store, I went out and climbed back into the passenger seat of the car and sat there for a minute before I realized the car wasn’t going to drive itself back to the store.

Okay, enough about lice (even though, honestly, that’s basically all I think about). Today was General Conference! A welcome, uplifting, four hour distraction. One of my favorite talks was Elder Holland’s about caring for the poor. I also liked Elder Bednar’s talk on missionary work. He pointed out that the reason we do missionary work is because we have felt that power of the atonement in our own lives and desire the same blessing for others. That’s kind of how I feel about LiceFree! Spray and tea tree oil–I want to share the info with EVERYONE so no one else has to go through the panic and icky pesticides I used before figuring out which products worked. Oops! I wasn’t going to write more about lice…

I’ll just cut to the pictures:

Lydia and I made this plum cake today. I needed a pick-me-up. I should have taken a picture...but guess what? I have enough plums to make it again tomorrow, so maybe I'll just do that since this one disappeared.

Lydia and I made this plum cake today. I needed a pick-me-up. I should have taken a picture…but guess what? I have enough plums to make it again tomorrow, so maybe I’ll just do that since this one disappeared. Also, doesn’t my hair look like a perfect home for lice? I would chop it all off, but no salon can legally do that for me until this ordeal is over, at which point I will probably reconsider.

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I discovered Mary reading Each Peach, Pear, Plum while the plum cake was baking.

I discovered Mary reading Each Peach, Pear, Plum while the plum cake was baking.

Abe must have taken this one.

Abe must have taken this one.

Tom and Suzanne came over for dinner. Tom gave Abe a blessing afterwards.

Tom and Suzanne came over for dinner. Tom gave Abe a blessing afterwards.

Tom reading to the girls.

Tom reading to the girls.

I love the mountains in the background. Of course, I also find the little girl in the foreground quite endearing as well.

I love the mountains in the background. Of course, I also find the little girl in the foreground quite endearing as well.

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Also, here’s a daily dose of Too Much Information: After I spent all that time in the hospital with my friend Andrea, who had to deliver her stillborn daughter, I decided I wanted to get pregnant again. Maybe it’s because I wanted the baby to be alive, or maybe it’s because I love spending time in Labor and Delivery (really, I love that floor of the hospital), but I emerged from that experience wanting, for the first time in two years, to be pregnant again. Didn’t happen the first month (which was really about two weeks before my period came), and now I have soaked my hair twice in pesticides, so I think I’ll give my body another couple months to get these chemicals out of its system before trying again. Sad.

On the upside, I have a couple classes left on my Bikram yoga pass, so I can at least use those up now! (I can’t while trying to get pregnant because the heat isn’t good for in-utero babies).

Lice apocalypse

Oh my goodness, I haven’t blogged since Wednesday! Whoa. I have a lot of pictures from the missing days, but I am so sleep deprived right now that I can’t really recall the details of what happened. On Thursday we found out that Mary had lice, and basically my world ended right then. Since no salon cuts infested hair, I had to cut Mary’s hair off myself.

I given exactly one haircut in my life, and the person went straight to the salon afterward to get what I did fixed. My heart drops a little bit each time I look at my shorn little Mary.

So all I’ve done since The Bad News is comb out everyone’s hair with a nit comb a million times, wash every single piece of clothing, bedding, and any other loose material I can find in the house, and fold a TON of laundry. We listened to General Conference today, which was the bright spot in this sad time. Oh, and I had Abe give me a blessing yesterday, which also helped.

Here are some of the pictures I have (dating back to Thursday):

Lydia and Audrey holding hands on the play ground at preschool (they're the two little girls in white shirts). I spy on them before I pick Lydia up.

Lydia and Audrey holding hands on the play ground at preschool (they’re the two little girls in white shirts). I spy on them before I pick Lydia up.

On the way to the doctor's office, before I found out Mary had lice.

On the way to the doctor’s office, before I found out Mary had lice.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the doctor's.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the doctor’s.

Lydia getting her hair cut. She didn't have lice.

Lydia getting her hair cut. She didn’t have lice, but we cut it anyway.

 

Abe took Friday off, which was a HUGE blessing considering all the work we had to do around the house. We took a break in the middle of  the day and took the girls to the park. I have a ton of pictures, but I'm having trouble sending them to my email. This one came through, though.

Abe took Friday off, which was a HUGE blessing considering all the work we had to do around the house. We took a break in the middle of the day and took the girls to the park. 

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I did get my camera fixed, though! Abe went crazy and took pictures during last night’s dinner to celebrate:

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Some of the laundry that we did. All of this is now folded and put away. This wasn't even all of it.

Some of the laundry that we did. All of this is now folded and put away. This wasn’t even all of it.

Mary was so exhausted after everything that she fell asleep like this.

Mary was so exhausted after everything that she fell asleep like this.

The rest of my pictures come from our outing to the park today:

You can see Lydia's new haircut. I actually LOVE Lydia's new hair, so that is a little consolation.

You can see Lydia’s new haircut. I actually LOVE Lydia’s new hair, so that is a little consolation.

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You can see what a terrible job I did on her bangs. No salon will fix it until two weeks after the treatment. :( ...But she's still adorable! Here she is giving me some pretend food she cooked up at the playground.

You can see what a terrible job I did on her bangs. No salon will fix it until two weeks after the treatment. 🙁 …But she’s still adorable! Here she is giving me some pretend food she cooked up at the playground.

Birthday eve with my mom, Clark, Swathi and Balu

Today I baked Mary’s birthday cake, made dinner, folded laundry, and did some errands. It was so, so wonderful to have my mom around during the day. That made everything feel like a celebration.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary's cake.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary’s cake.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

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Abe's work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

Abe’s work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

That's not Abe, but it is the zip line!

That’s not Abe, but it is the zip line!

We had dinner with Clark, Swathi, my mom and Balu. We tried to go on a walk afterwards, but we got caught in a torrential downpour. Abe and I decided to take the girls on some last minute errands, so we did that instead.

And now…happy weekend, and happy early birthday to Mary!!!

date night

Today started off with breakfast and a play date with Misty. I harbor fond hopes that someday Mary and Max will get married, and they were so cute and played ball together.

IMG_9470After Misty left, I took the girls to the basement to paint while I did the treadmill.

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At five minutes and forty seconds in, Mary proceeded to spill green paint all over the basement carpet. I spent the next hour scrubbing and vacuuming and scrubbing the paint some more.

Then I put Mary down for a nap, knocked out three homework assignments and cleaned up Lydia and the back room carpet after she peed all over the floor. Feeling harried, I downed a cup of cocoa while the girls watched Snow White, and then I joined them until Isabella came over.

Isabella babysat the girls while Abe and I went to dinner and a concert with Karin and Jay.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

Then we headed over to hear the Utah Chamber Artists perform a splendid concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were late, but we caught the end of the first half and all of the second half of the concert. The second half was the Utah premiere of Eriks Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection. My favorite part was the very end, where the chorus sings to the soprano, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she responds, “Sir, if thou has borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away.” The chorus then sings, “Mariam, Mariam, Mariam,” in a sweet, echoing refrain. The lights in the church went out as the soprano took up an alter candle and walked to the end of the church singing, “Rabboni, Rabboni, Rabboni.”

The concert is free, and I want to go again tomorrow, at least to hear the parts I missed tonight. We’ll see if that’s even logistically possible, but I really, really enjoyed it.

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Dinner with Suzanne

Agh, only one picture today, Grandma! I was going to take a picture of Lydia in the outfit she told you about, but I had to get dinner ready and she changed out of that too soon. I did get a picture of dinner, though:

We had red lentil and lime soup with Greek yogurt, saffron rice, and a tomato/cucumber salad. I made lemon bars for dessert, but, thankfully, they were a disaster. I wasn't even really tempted.

We had red lentil and lime soup with Greek yogurt, saffron rice, and a tomato/cucumber salad. I made lemon bars for dessert, but, thankfully, they were a disaster. I wasn’t even really tempted.

Tom had to do church stuff, but Suzanne came over for dinner. We had a lot of fun with her and discussed one of my favorite topics: The Second Coming. Mom, did you know that President Hinckley announced in the General Conference right after September 2011 that the prophecies of Joel had been fulfilled? Suzanne told us, and I looked it up here. It was very exciting. Abe and I are thinking about postponing our end-of-the-year Disney trip and buying food storage instead…

I was pretty tired today, so other than bathing the girls, taking Lydia to preschool, feeding everyone and cleaning up, I just lay in bed sleeping and reading. I have a ton of laundry to fold and a lot of toys to sort, so maybe tomorrow I will finally get around to that!

Oh, I did one fun thing, though. I was reading All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, and the author cited research that said most parents would prefer housework over spending time with their kids. Feeling guilty, I put the book down, rounded up Lydia and had a “cocoa and cookies party” with her. We ate cookies, drank cocoa, and talked. I learned more about preschool during our “party” than I have in all the time I’ve drilled her about it in the car! It was fun.

Mom and Grandma, we loved talking to you today. We love you and miss you so much!

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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