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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Happy birthday, Mary (round 2 1/2)!

We celebrated Mary’s birthday again tonight, this time at the Miners’. I baked a cake and filled the pan too full, so now the bottom of the oven is chock full of burnt cake. I will have to clean that tomorrow…

Anyway, Abe and I are trying to get to bed early, so here are the pictures:

While Mary napped, Lydia, Abe, and I played pretend after Abe got home. This is Lydia standing on an "apple tree" while being assisted by aliens (the Minnie Mouses) who wanted to help her.

While Mary napped, Lydia, Abe, and I played pretend after Abe got home. This is Lydia standing on an “apple tree” while being assisted by aliens (the Minnie Mouses) who wanted to help her.

With her poor, lopsided cake...

With her poor, lopsided cake…

IMG_9870 IMG_9859 IMG_9864 IMG_9865 IMG_9855When Abe got home, he tickled the girls until they begged for mercy and bedtime.

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Wee Witches

This morning we went to Gardner Village for Wee Witches Weekend with the Pe’as and the Andersons. I have a ton of pictures, so without further ado:

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

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There was dancing!

IMG_9804 IMG_9813 IMG_9814IMG_9797IMG_9800IMG_9815 IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9817And hand holding:

IMG_9822 IMG_9824And bubbles:

IMG_9832As we were leaving, I ran into one of my new friends from culinary school! It was a treat to see her and meet her beautiful children. Then Abe and I headed to the farmer’s market before coming home to crash.

After naps, we went on a bunch of errands. We bought enough chili for 200 people at Costco (Abe is in charge of the ward Trunk or Treat), checked books out from the library, grocery shopped, ate junky fast food, and played at the park:

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Abe explaining the game of Tag to the girls.

Abe explaining the game of tag to the girls.

Mental health day

I was exhausted, lazy, and itchy all morning, so I stayed in bed until 3 pm. I did rouse myself to feed the children, shower, and blow dry my hair (to kill lice), but after the exertion, I retreated right back to bed.

At 3 pm, though, the poor kids were dying for an outing, and it happened to be a gorgeous day. So we piled in the van and drove to Gardner Village to see the witches. It was so fun that we went to pick Abe up at the nearby train station and headed back to Gardner Village–only to discover tonight was Witches’ Night Out! That meant that literally hundreds of women attired in full witch regalia descended on Gardner Village to shop, party, and parade.

It was soooooo fun! I have a new goal in life: To acquire my own witch costume. I want to be a witch next year at the event. But considering how elaborate most of the witches were, I will have to wait a bit before I can achieve this new life dream. I mean, there was one witch who had a remote controlled giant spider attached as part of her costume! Others had stuffed owls, staffs with crystal balls, and the most elaborate, fascinating hats I’ve ever seen. I want a hat.

Here are the pictures from the active part of our day. Before that, the girls and I were all cuddled up in beds absorbed in our iPads or eating. If I didn’t hate crumbs in the bed so much, we would have knocked out both activities simultaneously… Anyway:

A witch flying on her bicycle!

A witch flying on her bicycle!

A gardening witch

A gardening witch

A witch with a cat chasing a rat under her skirt.

A witch with a cat chasing a rat under her skirt.

Witches playing baseball.

Witches playing baseball.

Looking at the witches playing baseball.

Looking at the witches playing baseball.

A witch going potty!

A witch going potty!

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Taffy break.

Taffy break.

"Mom, it's a beautiful day today. It's a great day to sit here and rest." --Lydia, as she sat on this chair eating her taffy.

“Mom, it’s a beautiful day today. It’s a great day to sit here and rest.” –Lydia, as she sat on this chair eating her taffy.

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Lydia got her face painted!

Lydia got her face painted!

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Abe joined us. You can see the beginning of the witch gathering in the background.

Abe joined us. You can see the beginning of the witch gathering in the background.

Witches dancing!

Witches dancing!

Abe dancing with the girls in the middle of the witches.

Abe dancing with the girls in the middle of the witches.

I tried to catch some of the parade, but I also had to prevent Mary from killing herself. (She wanted to climb on top of the bench I was standing on and capitulate off the back. It was a twenty minute struggle, after which we decided to call it a night and head home.)

I tried to catch some of the parade, but I also had to prevent Mary from killing herself. (She wanted to climb on top of the bench I was standing on and capitulate off the back. It was a twenty minute struggle, after which we decided to call it a night and head home.)

A video!

As I blog, Abe is kindly picking through each strand of my hair for nits again. Thank-you, my wonderful husband. I love you.

We just stayed home all day. I’m pretty tired from the lice situation. Mary was lice-free until she napped, and then she woke up with a bite on her neck and some nits around her ear. My heart dropped when I saw that.

Other than that, I spent the whole day cooking, reading to the girls, and cleaning.

Here are the pictures!

Lydia and I tried to turn challah into brioche today. I should have just googled a brioche recipe; the challah didn't convert that well.

Lydia and I tried to turn challah into brioche today. I should have just googled a brioche recipe; the challah didn’t convert that well.

After being trapped inside all day, Mary really wanted to go outside and read books. After all she's been through, I happily aquiesced.

After being trapped inside all day, Mary really wanted to go outside and read books. After all she’s been through, I happily aquiesced.

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We had pot pies in pumpkins tonight. Mary thought it was novel.

We had pot pies in pumpkins tonight. Mary thought it was novel.

After dinner, the girls sang a song before FHE. Lydia made up the words and Mary was her chorus.

After dinner, the girls sang a song before FHE. Lydia made up the words and Mary was her chorus.

We got part of the song on video! You can see it here.

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We had a FHE lesson on reverence. Abe had the girls play a game like Stop and Go! wherein the girls danced and acted crazy when Abe called out, "Crazy!", and they knelt and acted reverent when he said, "Reverent!". This is them kneeling.

We had a FHE lesson on reverence. Abe had the girls play a game like Stop and Go! wherein the girls danced and acted crazy when Abe called out, “Crazy!”, and they knelt and acted reverent when he said, “Reverent!”. This is them kneeling.

Crazy!

Crazy!

Crazy again!

Crazy again!

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).

Bye, Mom :( …and celebration dinner!

This morning we took my mom to the airport. That’s the sad part. The good news is, she took a lot of pictures before she left!

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

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Mary posing for Nana

Mary posing for Nana

...and eating apples.

…and eating apples.

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Popovers, because I make them a lot.

Popovers, because I make them a lot.

The house the morning my mom left.

The house the morning my mom left.

On the way to school!

On the way to school!

sep30pic5It was sad to see my mom go, but Grandma, I am happy you get to have her. Love you both!

Today was the last day of the quarter, and so Abe surprised me and took me out for dinner and ice cream to celebrate this great quarter.

sep30 sep30pic1It was a great day! Now, tomorrow, if I can just find time to work off some of the food I ate today, tomorrow can be a great day too.

organizing day

Today I stayed home and sanitized and organized all of the toys, children’s books, and children’s clothes in the house. It took all day. As the day wore on, I heard myself saying ridiculous things like, “Mary, put down that toy! I just organized that, and you can’t play with any of your toys until tomorrow!” …But, hours upon hours later, the toys are all disinfected and in their proper places, the books are sorted by color (ROYGBIV), and I have assessed the girls’ wardrobe situations (Mary = clothes galore, Lydia = one outfit away from naked. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!).

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than  that Lydia's hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than that Lydia’s hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

All the organized books made me want to read to Mary, so we did that for a while. Then I ate too many carbs and indulged in too much Apple Barn fudge (thanks, Mom!)…and then Abe came home and we had dinner. Thankfully, my mom is here and she makes the world’s best salads, so I had salad for dinner. My body was grateful.

Then we had FHE. My mom had the wonderful idea of cutting up a picture of Jesus holding a lamb into puzzle pieces. We hid the piece with the lamb, and the girls had to put the puzzle together and hunt down the missing piece. Abe then explained to them that just like Jesus loves the little lamb in the picture, He loves us. He explained that whenever we are lost or lonely, we can pray and feel comfort and peace.sep29pic12 sep29pic13 sep29pic11

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

That made her happy.

That made her happy.

The girls climbed across "Daddy Bridge."

The girls climbed across “Daddy Bridge.”

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Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

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Post birthday Sunday

Today after church and meetings, we headed over to Red Butte Gardens for an afternoon stroll (and to eat leftover birthday cake).

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All together!

All together!

Feeding the fishies.

Feeding the fishies.

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In the three bears' home.

In the three bears’ home.

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eating cake

eating cake

sep28pic20 sep28pic18 sep28pic19Then we came home and just chatted for a couple hours.

At one point, Abe came down to the kitchen after playing with the girls. He looked like this:

Abe is such a great dad. Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

And now Clark and Swathi are about to catch their late night flight back to New York. I am blogging before I take them. I hope they end up here because it will be hard to see them go. It has been such a wonderful treat to be all together! Thanksgiving, when we’ll all be together again, can’t come soon enough!

Happy birthday, Mary!

I have thirty something pictures of today, so let’s get to it!

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

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She couldn't reach the pedals.

She couldn’t reach the pedals.

Abe solved that problem this way.

Abe solved that problem this way.

It was raining, so we went to the aquarium instead of the zoo.

sep27pic2 sep27pic3 sep27pic4 sep27pic1 sep27 sep27pic5 sep27pic6 sep27pic22Then we came home and had pizza for lunch.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it's her birthday, so I couldn't say no.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it’s her birthday, so I couldn’t say no.

sep27pic8 sep27pic10 sep27pic9After lunch, Mary refused to nap. She didn’t want to miss a minute of her birthday! Instead, she ran around the house in the bugaboo necklace you gave her for Christmas, Grandma!

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She also played the piano…

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...and she played with Abe.

…and she played with Abe.

Abe took the girls outside to jump in puddles in the rain.

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Then I made dinner, and we celebrated Mary’s birthday with Tom, Suzanne, Clark, Swathi, Balu, and Mom.

We had Mary's favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

We had Mary’s favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

And cake!

And cake!

Cake!

Cake!

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The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

Then, gifts!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

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Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases!

Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases! Thank-you so much. It meant so much to Lydia to have a gift on Mary’s birthday. Also, thank-you for the garlic case you sent me–I LOVE it!!

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Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

With all of her gifts. Happy birthday, sweet Mary! We adore you!!

With all of her gifts. sep28pic13 sep28pic12 sep28pic11Happy birthday, Mary! We adore you!