Jon and Shirley’s wedding video! (wherein Abe officiates)

We have the video link to Jon and Shirley’s wedding (the one where Abe officiated)! It is absolutely GORGEOUS. Here’s the link. Theirs was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. I was so happy to see the video, especially because I didn’t get to hear the actual ceremony (I was busy taking the girls on a “princess hunt” in the gardens to make sure they didn’t interrupt anything).

We had a busy morning. I procrastinated buying the gift for Addelyn’s birthday until a half an hour before the party, and then we swung back to pick up another friend for the party.

The party. Apparently there was a parade, dancing, and lots of treats. Lydia came home with a marshmallow tiger tail, a chocolate Minnie Mouse cookie, popcorn, and a balloon. She had a blast.

The party. Apparently there was a parade, dancing, and lots of treats. Lydia came home with a marshmallow tiger tail, a chocolate Minnie Mouse cookie, popcorn, and a balloon. She had a blast.

Mary was sad she didn't get to stay at the party (she was still sick, and I didn't want the other kids to get sick).

Mary was sad she didn’t get to stay at the party (she was still sick, and I didn’t want the other kids to get sick). She got this popsicle as a consolation prize.

The rest of the day was low-key. I should have used the time to do homework, but instead I just lay around, practiced piano, and prayed a lot.

After naps, we went outside to play in the hose, pick tomatoes, and play until Abe got home.

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Mary thought the big tomatoes were apples. She LOVES pictures of apples in books and won't ever let me turn the page and finish the book if we happen to come across a page with apples. She'd rather just stare at all the apples. Anyway, even though I kept telling her she was consuming a tomato, she kept telling me that she was eating an apple.

Mary thought the big tomatoes were apples. She LOVES pictures of apples in books and won’t ever let me turn the page and finish the book if we happen to come across a page with apples. She’d rather just stare at all the apples. Anyway, even though I kept telling her she was consuming a tomato, she kept telling me that she was eating an apple.

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Swarming Daddy.

Swarming Daddy.

Helping a tired Daddy get up.

Helping a tired Daddy get up.

Then Abe and I went inside and were too tired to even eat dinner. We fed the girls and then lay on the couch while the girls tucked us in and gave us all sorts of toys. I sprained a toe running through the sprinklers today, and so I  babied it all evening.

I have hopes of watching Divergent tonight on Abe’s new Apple laptop that he just got from work. I guess the homework can wait until tomorrow…

Saturday (and a little bit of Friday)

Mom and Grandma, so sorry for not blogging yesterday! The internet was so slooooooooow last night, and after I finished my homework, it was already late and I was burnt out from dealing with the internet. I’m just going to add categories to today’s blog that apply from yesterday. (Yesterday we went to the mall with Rose, Sev, and Taina, babysat the kids while Rose grocery shopped, and went to Bikram in the afternoon.)

Today I went on a run up City Creek Canyon while Abe took the girls to ballet. Afterward, we went to the library and the market.

Abe waiting patiently with the girls while I ran to pick up some produce and cheese.

Abe waiting patiently with the girls while I ran to pick up some produce and cheese.

Then we used a Groupon at O’Falafel, a Palestinian restaurant in Sugar House. The cousin of the owner came over and ended up chatting with us for a long time, and we loved getting to know him and eating the delicious food.

IMG_9005 IMG_9006 IMG_9010 IMG_9007Then we came home for naps. Mary slept a little in the car, so for much of our nap she was climbing over Abe and me and trying to ride us like horses. (Abe played horsey with the girls at his parents’ house after ballet, and she apparently wanted to revisit the game.)

Abe crafted with the girls for an hour after our naps while I practiced the piano. The girls were so cute–they would run up every couple minutes and bring me gifts that they’d crafted. Sometimes the gifts were just wrinkled papers in an envelope, but it was still sweet. Lydia kept saying, “Mom, I made this for you because I love you.” Mary would give me her gift, blow me a kiss, and run back downstairs to craft some more.

I sang children's songs with the girls before Isabella came, and when she wasn't participating, Mary pretended to clean the table. She wipes it down while muttering, "Keen, keen!" (Clean, clean!)

I sang children’s songs with the girls before Isabella came, and when she wasn’t participating, Mary pretended to clean the table. She wipes it down while muttering, “Keen, keen!” (Clean, clean!)

Then Isabella babysat so Abe and I could go to the temple. We picked up some groceries on the way home, and now we may or may not watch a movie.

Fun Friday (and I’m pooped).

I feel like I’m going to jinx myself by saying this, but today was another in what feels like a string of good days. Lydia and I started off by painting our nails (with me doing all of the painting).

Then I fed the girls and practiced piano. The girls played together.

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Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

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After that fun, I dropped them off at Sarah’s house for a play date. Sarah volunteered to watch the girls while I slipped out to go to the temple. She lives about a block away, and it felt so great to get to the temple! I had a very meaningful visit, and I can’t thank Sarah enough. Mary didn’t even cry. I think I found myself the perfect swap buddy today!

Then I came home and rested for a bit while the girls had quiet time/nap time. After a while, I realized I had a ton of leftover tamales and other food from class last night, so I called Misty and invited her family over for dinner. It was the perfect ending to a busy week–and a perfect beginning to the weekend.

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A happy, warm, successful day

This morning Lydia and I made buckwheat muffins again. It’s a good thing, too, since I found out today the competition on Saturday is a cupcake competition, and one of the ingredients is garlic. I am thinking of revamping the buckwheat muffin and calling it a cupcake. Maybe I’ll pipe some onion/garlic jam in the middle and top it with some sort of honey frosting and toasted almonds. We’ll see.

After we made cupcakes, we headed out to meet Misty, Sophia and Max at the park for a play date/ picnic. While we were there, we also ran into Jen, Eldon, Natalie, Laddie and Spencer–a two for one play date!

IMG_0007 IMG_0001 IMG_0002 IMG_0003Then we went home for naps and such. After I fed the girls again, we headed to the car to go to school. Tonight I made spinach and cheese tamales. I was so excited because I got to partner up with the best student in class. I have observed her in awe all semester–she cooks so fast, so clean, and her food always tastes amazing. Sadly, she got sick half way through and had to go home. I was terrified to plate our food all by myself, but it turned out okay. I forgot to take a picture because I was so frazzled. Her ceviche and shredded meat dish turned out amazingly good.

But by far, the best news of the day is about Abe. Abe met his quota at work today, and the quarter is only half done! I was so proud of him and really grateful to God for the blessing. I have been praying a lot and feeling really close to God lately, and this felt like some direct divine communication. Yay, Abe!

Also, Mary is finally talking more. She is learning to say “please” instead of screaming in her high chair. Glory be, allelujah. I am always so charmed by her cuteness that it’s hard to get mad at her, but I won’t miss her screaming in her high chair one bit.

A bike ride

We did take pictures today, but the camera card was accidentally in the computer. Oops! Better tomorrow.

This morning we had a play date with Jen, Natlalie, Laddie and Spencer. The best part was after we all went to institute, and Lydia and Natalie had so much fun running around the church. They were so cute! I wish I’d had my camera on me, but seeing that the card wasn’t in the camera anyway, it wouldn’t have done much good.

After we all ate and napped, Abe came home and we went on a bike ride up the canyon. It was a gorgeous evening and the recent rain has turned everything green. Everything smelled and looked so fresh. It was a wonderful end to the day. Too bad my Fitbit can’t tell when I bike! Next time I’m going to stick it in my sock and see if it can tell I’m moving.

We made pizza when we came home, Abe bathed the girls, I did homework, and now we’re all ready for bed. Abe has had so little sleep because of his long commute. I feel sorry for him. Right now he’s dying of tiredness, so I better stop blogging so we can turn out the light and he can go to sleep.

Mixed feelings

The day started well enough, but it deteriorated to the point where I can just not wait for it to be over already.

This morning Rose came over and treated my hair for hours. It was wonderful talking with her, and the girls and Sev had a play date. My hair looks great, but I can’t put it up for three days, and tomorrow I was thinking of doing yoga and going to the competition team meeting. I guess if I do, I’ll have to figure out a way to keep my hair out of my face that doesn’t involve elastic.

After Rose finished, I fed the girls and put Mary down for a nap. That’s when the day started to deteriorate. I felt tired and wanted to nap, but Lydia kept interrupting every ten minutes until I was almost out of my mind. I tried reading my new book, but by that kept getting interrupted too. I stayed in bed for a long time hoping that eventually I’d feel energetic and rested, but I finally got up more stressed out than when I lay down.

Then I totally lost it when Lydia wouldn’t clean her room, and I practically lost my voice screaming. I felt so out of control that I finally just took my own time out and asked the girls to pray with me that God would help me control my temper and also help the girls to listen better. After that, I took some deep breaths and decided to take the girls outside in the rain to plant some seeds. Abe got home around then.

IMG_7484 IMG_7487 IMG_7489I took those pictures for you, Grandma! I love you and think of you every day. Lydia thinks about you too and always says she hopes you’re feeling okay. Mom, she keeps saying how much she misses you. We love you both!

Take your family to work day (Egg hunt #3)

Mary locked herself in my mom’s room this morning for several hours. It was very scary, but I was grateful for the assurance of the Spirit. I kept getting the feeling that it would be okay, and it did turn out okay. Our landlord came over and explained that he used to get locked in rooms all the time as a child, and his mom would pop the lock with a crochet needle. I had been trying to pop the lock with all sorts of things, but we tried a key (imagine that!) and it worked great. Mary was contentedly playing with a doll when we got her, and I was SO happy to pick her up and hug her.

Right after that, I loaded the girls in the car and we drove to Abe’s work for their Bring Your Family to Work Day. They had amazing food, a quick presentation, and an Easter egg hunt for the girls. The girls are getting to be pros at finding Easter eggs by now, and even Mary has the drill down.

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Abe and the girls in the parking lot. I wish I'd gotten a closer shot because they looked so cute. Lydia talked the whole way down about how she was going to give her daddy a big hug and kiss because she missed him. After we left, she talked about how happy she was to see her daddy during the day. It was sweet.

Abe and the girls in the parking lot. I wish I’d gotten a closer shot because they looked so cute. Lydia talked the whole way down about how she was going to give her daddy a big hug and kiss because she missed him. After we left, she talked about how happy she was to see her daddy during the day. It was sweet.

I practically fell asleep driving back home, and I guess the girls were as tired as I was. When we got home, all three of us slept for three hours. Okay, okay–I woke up after an hour and a half, but then I lay on the couch reading food blogs until the girls woke up. They woke up right when Abe got home.

After Abe got home, we went on a run in the canyon. It was a lovely Spring evening, and my favorite trees are in bloom. They smell soooooooo good. When we got back, Abe ate dinner outside while the girls and I (who had already eaten) ran around the yard hunting down flowers to smell, mint to pick, and robins to watch.

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I even got some practice in when we went back inside, although today I decided that I am not doing my competition. Maybe I will do one next year, but I really want to prioritize the time I have with my grandma, and there’s no way to know if I’ll be done with my round in time to make it to the reunion dinner. Also, I don’t want to pay $175 just to withdraw after the first round, so I think it makes more sense to postpone competing. When I practiced tonight, I enjoyed it so much; I was bored with my competition pieces, and so now I’m giving myself a chance to play other stuff.

Yay for a great start to the weekend!

We love you, Grandma Darais.

Today Grandma Darais joined Grandpa Darais in heaven. We are so thankful for her influence in our lives. In the few short years I’ve known her, I’ve learned so much from Grandma Darais. She loved the Gospel with all of her heart, and as one of her grandsons said as we stood in the room, she loved to break the silence with, “I’m so glad I have a testimony of the gospel!” She would have said that if she could have, I am sure.

Christina joked that when Grandma meets Grandpa in heaven, she’ll say, “I”ve been dying to see you on your birthday!” Today is Grandpa Darais’ birthday, and Grandma Darais was his greatest love. Both Grandpa and Grandma Darais had a special fondness for puns, so I could almost picture that greeting. Whatever was communicated, we know it was joyful.

Here’s one story I learned that I hadn’t heard before. When Grandma and Grandpa Darais first married, they honeymooned near a beach. One day when they went to go sit on the beach, Grandpa wanted to sit up away from the water on dry sand. Grandma didn’t want to sit there because there were cigarette butts and other junk in the sand, plus she wanted to get her toes wet. Finally, she went down by herself to the water’s edge and sat there with her toes in the water and cried. Grandpa sat up on the dry sand laughing and took a picture of her crying. Then he took a selfie (waaaay before that was even a word) of him grinning by himself.

Now, their relationship is remembered by all as extremely loving on both sides, but this little newlywed snafu was a tidbit I thought was cute and worth recording. Abe was actually shocked when he heard the story because it isn’t reflective at all of their long-term relationship, but I think every little memory is worth capturing. Even the greatest marriages have some things to work out (especially at first), and it’s comforting to know that this truly successful couple also had to adjust.

Grandma Darais was an example not only of deep, life-changing faith, but cheerfulness, love, and kindness. She loved good jokes and puns. She came from a long line of break makers, and she ground her own wheat regularly to make delicious bread. She memorized poems and recited verses as apt situations arose. As I’ve been thinking about her, I keep coming back to the fact that she was a lover of all righteousness. She loved the light and good, and her influence was only that. All of her children and grandchildren had a deep, profound love for her, and she will be missed more than words can say.

My heart aches for her surviving children, especially one in particular. It was almost too painful to witness her endure the pain of losing her sweet mother, and she will be in my prayers a lot during this hard time.

They allowed us to bring in the children during the last half an hour of Grandma Darais’ life, but they started getting noisy during the family prayer, so I took them to the hall. Abe stayed and witnessed the passing of his beloved grandmother, and it was hard.

BUT. There really is a but. With a few exceptions, everyone there had a strong testimony that death is not the end, and we are so grateful that we know that. We’re grateful to know that families can be eternal, and in the cases of believers and disciples like Norma Darais, they will be. Her grandchildren impressed me so much as they bore their testimonies around her bed. We were all in tears, but the knowledge that God lives and loves us was truly comforting.

This day was a treasure that I will never forget. I am so thankful I have some of Grandma Darais’ stories written down, and I am thankful I even have videos of her telling them. I had no idea she was so close to the end when I made those. They are a treasure.

Reposting pictures from that special day:

Grandma Darais and mary Grandma Darais and LydiaWe love you so much, Grandma.

A peaceful day

First things first: We had another scare with Grandma Darais today, and we went down to Provo this afternoon to say goodbye. It turned out that we didn’t have to say goodbye just yet, for which we are thankful. There’s still hope she can pull through, and we are praying for her and her children to have strength for whatever comes.

I found out about Grandma Darais while I was walking to the Capitol to meet Misty. The trees are all in bloom, and it was just a lovely walk. We stood in the sunshine and chatted at the end while Lydia and Sophia read a book together. Mary was sick today, so she just sat in the jogger and looked sadly out the window.

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Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung!

blooms in the neighborhood

blooms in the neighborhood

Then we went to Provo to see Grandma Darais. We came home with Suzanne and stopped by In-n-Out for dinner. The girls got stickers.

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Lydia did not want to eat dinner after her fries, but she did drink some bubble bath…


Mary was feeling sick all evening, so she was extra cuddly. I have the cutest picture of her cuddling with Abe, but it won’t send from my iPad.I did get some of them cuddling in the girls’ room, though. And when I announced that I was going to take a picture, Lydia dashed for her camera so she could take a picture. As a result, I have a picture of Lydia taking a picture. =)

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She need to work on aim...

She need to work on aim…


I am at the climax of my book, The Family, by David Laskin, and I really want to get back to it. So here’s the run-down of today:

We started off by crafting all morning with Jen and her kids. I had a lot of fun chatting with Jen and making another Spring decoration, and Lydia loved wearing Natalie’s princess attire. Mary loved playing with Jen’s baby-proof iPad. We were going to go to Institute, but we missed it because paint takes a bit of time to dry.

Then we came home for lunch and naps. I spent the first hour and a half of quiet time devouring my book, and then I headed downstairs to clean and cook. Also, the piano tuner came today! I switched to a new tuner, and he did an amazing job. I loved chatting with our old piano tuner. He’d tell me stories and tear up quite regularly. He was a lovely, sweet older gentleman, but I wasn’t totally convinced that he was completely competent at tuning the piano. This new guy is amazing, and even though we didn’t sit around for hours chatting and crying (a la our old tuner, Doug,) he absolutely fixed the piano. I’m excited to practice tomorrow.

Then Jen came over for dinner with Natalie. One of her twins got really sick right before they were supposed to come over, so the boys stayed home with Eldon, but we had a ton of fun with Jen and Natalie. Jen regaled us with tales about the Samoan physique (Eldon is Samoan), and Abe and I came to the conclusion that she married a super hero. After one day of weight-lifting, her husband gets bruises on his back because the muscle has already grown that fast! She told us other stories that had our jaws dropping. I guess I never really thought much about the Samoan build before, but I am duly impressed by now.

Lydia told us that she spent the evening tumbling and climbing and giggling with Natalie, but she fell off a chair right at the end and had a little sad moment. We played a bit on the stairs, and I think she ended the evening feeling pretty good.

Abe had a great day at work, but he’s a little overwhelmed with his new job duties. This is his first week in his new position, and there is a ton of information to absorb. Qualtrics has a “clinic”; really just a red psychiatrist’s couch set up by the tech experts. Whenever the salesmen have technical questions with clients on the phone, they go sit on the red couch and get help. Abe visited the clinic several times today.

Right now he’s on a run past down town to retrieve our car from the auto shop. It’s been ready all week, but we never have time to go get it together. So tonight he just decided to run on foot and get it. Oh! There he is! I have to end if I want time to read my book.

Here are some pictures I took of Mary after she woke up. We played for a long time after she woke up from her nap because she was in a great mood. I tried to capture her fun on camera but failed miserably. She loved emptying her pack ‘n’ play of all contents and I kept putting her stuff back in to keep her going. We also played a lot with her binky. She’s only allowed to have it at nap time, and she thinks it is hilarious fun when I put her binky in my mouth.  I put in two at a time and then blew them over her crib, and she about died laughing. I have a video somewhere of Abe playing that game with Lydia to the same effect.

Anyway, here are the pictures, such as they are. Mary was a lot cuter in person.

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