Meta and another dinner party

My friend, Maria, is in town, so this morning we went to Bikram together. We had a great time, despite the profuse fountain of sweat spurting off of the man behind us. Afterward Maria humorously referred to the situation as “his hydroponics.” That made me laugh.

Then we went to Liberty Heights for cheese, and then to Harmon’s for groceries and lunch. We ate in their little cafe area and talked a lot about blogs.

Maria had a lot of great insights into blogging, one of which was that our children deserve privacy. I agree, and so I came away conflicted about my own blog (which deprives my children of that right). So I’ve been thinking, and here are the reasons I blog:

a) personal therapy/fun

b) to preserve memories and chronicle our family life

c) for my sweet grandma’s daily reading material

d) to help any interested people to get a glimpse of how some Mormons live (light on a hill and all that stuff, except when I’m writing all the bad stuff down–then the light gets pretty dim!). I know there are a lot of monetized Mormon mommy blogs out there, and from what I’ve read and heard of them, I don’t think they represent my “Mormon mommy” life at all. So even though I would never try to monetize this blog or even try to reach a large audience, at least I’m representing my reality as best as I can.

e) because I must be a narcissist. I mean, who else blogs their thoughts every single day? Even though this troubles me greatly, the thoughts keep happening and the blogs keep getting written…

For reasons c and d, not to mention what a hassle it was for me to read my own blog when I had the password system in place, my blog is public. But maybe sometime in the future, that will change again.

We also talked about reading blogs. Personally, I’ve cut out reading any blog that does not teach me to do something (like cook or craft). By my standards, I would not read my own blog if it weren’t my own.

So enough meta. Tonight we had a great dinner party with Maria, her husband, Kyle, and a mutual friend, Cynthia Barlow. I had heard a lot about Cynthia but never met her before tonight. What a lovely person! I am excited because I think she might buddy up with me on a yoga pass, which would be awesome.

Also, to record the bad stuff: I burnt the squash for the dinner party. It was pretty mortifying. I did the squash rings again, and I was SO excited because I amped up the egg and cheese in the filling…but then I baked them on the bottom rack so that there’d be room for the souffle (tonight’s menu was an exact repeat from our dinner party on Friday), and the bottoms of the squashes burned. So sad!

Today’s pictures are few, but here they are:

Abe and Lydia playing with Lydia's play food.

Abe and Lydia playing with Lydia’s play food.

Then Abe left, so Lydia and I played with her new doctor set. After curing me, she helped out her sick doll, Tessa. At one point, Lydia took all of my measurements and exclaimed, "You look great!" I love this little girl.

Then Abe left, so Lydia and I played with her new doctor set. After curing me, she helped out her sick doll, Tessa. At one point, Lydia took all of my measurements and exclaimed, “You look great!” I love this little girl.

day after Christmas

It’s past midnight and my desk chair is currently at the dining room table because we had another family dinner tonight (with Tom, Suzanne, Jere and David). My mom and I spent the morning swimming (we each did a mile!) and grocery shopping, and the rest of the afternoon I spent cooking. The whole house smells like fried shallots, and the after-smell isn’t that great. The smell is also stuck in my hair, which is unfortunate, since I can’t escape.

In other news, Abe and I are on a movie kick! We have more than doubled the movies we’ve seen together in the last two months. Tonight we saw The Hobbit. We were a little late and sat in the front row, but I liked that because it meant that all of the scary fighting scenes were so blurry that the scariness was significantly mitigated.

Anyway, my elbows and knees are going numb, so here are today’s pictures:

Abe and Lydia did an Insanity work-out together.

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I baked pears again. They are so easy! I just peeled them, put them in a buttered pan, sprinkled some cinnamon and allspice cloves on top, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then I poured some cream over them and baked for 20 more minutes. We paired these with Argentine Caramel ice cream, and voila! Yesterday's brunch food became today's dessert!

I baked pears again. They are so easy! I just peeled them, put them in a buttered pan, sprinkled some cinnamon and allspice cloves on top, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then I poured some cream over them and baked for 20 more minutes. We paired these with Argentine Caramel ice cream, and voila! Yesterday’s brunch food became today’s dessert!

After dinner, this is what we looked like. It's officially the day after Christmas.

After dinner, this is what we looked like. It’s officially the day after Christmas.

I stole Abe's chair.

I made space for myself next to my hubby.

Also, ever since the doctor told me to aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week, I have been keeping meticulous track. Today’s swim put me at 170 minutes. It is a testament to the horrific amount of sugar I intake that all this exercise manages to be consistently offset by my poor (but oh, so yummy) diet.

Another also: If anyone knows how to get fried-food smell out of your house, I need your knowledge! The last time I fried food in this house was last Thanksgiving when my friend, Jennifer, heroically stepped up to the plate and fried shallots for this green bean casserole. I’m scared of splatter, so I needed her help. I made it again today because I’d a) gathered my courage and b) totally forgotten the smelly side-effect of frying…

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas! Technically, it’s already Christmas. All I can say is, at least Abe and I are not in the throes of assembling Lydia’s kitchen–which is what we were doing last Christmas until 3am. He’s still downstairs wrapping the last present and tidying up, and I am typing as fast as I can so we can go to bed. Tomorrow I have to get up at 6 am to start the orange rolls.

Today has been loooong. It started with scriptures and Bikram yoga–a delightful combination, made better by Anique’s company at yoga. Then we both did some last minute grocery shopping, after which Abe and I went to Barnes and Noble to do our Christmas shopping. Before today, we had not even started to think about the process. The busy mall comforted us and helped us feel better about the fact that we are not the only procrastinators of the season.

Then I came home and played some piano, after which we headed over to the Miner’s for their Christmas Eve celebration. They do readings, songs and a talent show of sorts, so that was fun. I always miss the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston on Christmas Eve, because the pageant there never failed to bring home the story of Christ’s birth for me. But since there’s no similar event here, it is really nice to celebrate with Suzanne’s family. Plus they have a great cookie buffet at the end.

After that, we put out cookies and a letter for Santa, and we told the girls to listen for the reindeer as they fell asleep. Abe shook some bells outside their door and said, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” We could hear Lydia inside telling Mary to be good and that Santa was here to bring her cat back.

Then I made stratas for our brunch tomorrow, and Abe wrapped all of the presents. We still have to order some gifts online, and then we’ll be done and ready for bed!

Here are today’s pictures:

The girls started the day in bed with Nana reading books.

The girls started the day in bed with Nana reading books.

Lydia sometimes cries so much she gets a nosebleed. Or she picks her nose to the point where she gets a nosebleed. I think the latter happened here.

Lydia sometimes cries so much she gets a nosebleed. Or she picks her nose to the point where she gets a nosebleed. I think the latter happened here.

Leaving cookies for Santa.

Leaving cookies for Santa.

Writing a note to Santa.

Writing a note to Santa.

The note Lydia helped dictate to Abe.

The note Lydia helped dictate to Abe.

See that blue bag? I didn't see it until this evening, but Abe brought it up from where he's been storing it, and it turns out that Clark and Swathi sent us a microwave for Christmas! Those two. They are the sweetest siblings ever. But Abe has been eyeing the bag the microwave came in, and he used it as "Santa's sack." Also, note Lydia's cat peeking out of her stocking. We are so excited for her to reunite with him!

See that blue bag? I didn’t see it until this evening, but Abe brought it up from where he’s been storing it, and it turns out that Clark and Swathi sent us a microwave for Christmas! Those two. They are the sweetest siblings ever. But Abe has been eyeing the bag the microwave came in, and he used it as “Santa’s sack.” Also, note Lydia’s cat peeking out of her stocking. We are so excited for her to reunite with him!

A perfect ending

I started off the day with an 8am session of Bikram Yoga. It felt awesome, and I hit 180 minutes of exercise this week! When I saw my doctor last week, he said to shoot for 150 minutes, so it felt really great to meet that goal.

I also finished the Book of Mormon yesterday, so I started again on the title page today. I have been thinking a lot about truth, courage, and missionary work lately. Missionary work confuses me, but thinking about it in terms of absolute truths helps me understand it a little better. Finishing and restarting a reading of the Book of Mormon always gets the juices flowing around truth, so my scripture study felt meaningful.

I even got some practice in, although my piano is by a huge window and can NEVER stay in tune. Right now it’s so out of tune I almost shudder to hear some registers (especially the upper), but I pressed on (!) through the awful sounds.

We also played in the snow today. Abe is sure that by the end of winter we will have a full blown snow fort, so he and the girls worked hard on it today:

Working hard on the snow fort.

Working hard on the snow fort.

Mary was at the ready.

Mary was at the ready.

And happy about it.

And happy about it.

:Lydia busied herself decorating the ground with snow angels.

:Lydia busied herself decorating the ground with snow angels.

The snow fort.

The snow fort.

We also went to This is the Place Heritage Park for their Candlelight Christmas with Balu, Tom, Suzanne, Steve, Charlie and Henry. We walked all over, sampling gingerbread, square dancing, learning about the first Christmas cards, signing Santa’s lists, meeting Santa, eating the best doughnuts I have ever had, and feeling moved by the live Nativity. Lydia spent the whole day anticipating the Baby Jesus and kept talking about how she would be quiet and not wake him, how she’d give him a binky, and how she’d take off her gloves when she saw him (I have no idea about that last part, but she was adamant…). Anyway, I love that place. To make it even better, at the end, Abe bought me a new wedding ring!!! I can only wear a plain band in my lab classes, and we found a plain silver band for $14.50!!!!!! It fit perfectly, and since I’ll probably wear it for the next decade, I could not be more pleased.

Mary Berry in her poof outfit. She toddled all around the park in this and kind of stole the show.

Mary Berry in her poof outfit. She toddled all around the park in this and kind of stole the show.

When I came home, I baked more cookies.

I baked a forest of bittersweet chocolate Christmas trees. Now if I can just get around to packaging them and giving them away before I eat them all...

I baked a forest of bittersweet chocolate Christmas trees. Now if I can just get around to packaging them and giving them away before I eat them all…

Oh! I made another pint of lemon curd today. I think I’m going to make this for Christmas brunch. It just so happens I have a lot of mascarpone and now a ton of lemon curd in the fridge already. Now I just have to make a million crepes and it’ll be all downhill from there.

And now, my mom is here!!! So I’m going to stop blogging and go talk to her.

desultory paragraphs posing as a post

What, oh what to write about today. Well, whenever I run on the treadmill, I watch Youtube videos of various pianists. I love these videos so much that I am currently watching one (a master class Van Cliburn gave in Moscow) as I blog, so excuse the desultory nature of the blog I am about to write.

I got in three hours of practice today, which felt great. But by far the best part of today occurred after dinner when Abe, Lydia and I cuddled up on the couch to watch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Lydia spent the whole movie with her hands daintily clasped in happy anticipation of the Ghost of Christmas Future, but as soon as he made an appearance, she made an urgent plea for us to change the movie. Abe and I hugged her and reassured her, and she got to see that the Ghost of Christmas Future wasn’t quite as scary as she’d anticipated. Honestly, my eyes are so tired of screens that I spent most of the movie watching Lydia and listening to her commentary. That made my whole night.

Here are the pictures from today:

I tried this for the first time today. I found Lydia playing on the potty playing with her poop(!!!), so she had an impromptu shower. Since her hair was wet, I decided to try this braid out. It's not very even, but it's also much easier than I supposed.

I tried this for the first time today. I found Lydia playing on the potty playing with her poop(!!!), so she had an impromptu shower. Since her hair was wet, I decided to try this braid out. It’s not very even, but it’s also much easier than I supposed.

Lydia got to do my hair after i did hers.

Lydia got to do my hair after i did hers.

I vacuumed today. The whole time Mary was (happily) stuck in the basket she'd climbed into.

I vacuumed today. The whole time Mary was (happily) stuck in the basket she’d climbed into.

Lydia attired herself thus (this is chronologically out of order...pre-poop) and colored while I cleaned.

Lydia attired herself thus (this is chronologically out of order…pre-poop) and colored while I cleaned.

The girls matched today. That's Lydia dancing in the background.

The girls matched today. That’s Lydia dancing in the background.

After the girls decided not to take an afternoon nap, I took them to Tony Caputo’s for cheese and happy hippos.

This is what Mary looked like after her happy hippo.

This is what Mary looked like after her happy hippo.

The girls took a 20 minute nap at 6am, which gave me a head start on dinner. I made mac 'n cheese with Teleggio. Frankly, that was irresponsible in light of Abe's new, decreased salary. Also, I discovered that Teleggio is way better in fondue than in mac 'n cheese.

The girls took a 20 minute nap at 6am, which gave me a head start on dinner. I made mac ‘n cheese with Teleggio. Frankly, that was irresponsible in light of Abe’s new, decreased salary. Also, I discovered that Teleggio is way better in fondue than in mac ‘n cheese. The whole point of mac’n cheese is to comfort and feel familiar. Teleggio messes that all up.

This was the mess I decided not to clean this morning. Right now the room looks AMAZING, thanks to Abe's efforts while I blogged away. I would take a picture, but the camera card is in my computer, so you'll just have to trust me: He did a great job.

This was the mess I decided not to clean this morning. Right now the room looks AMAZING, thanks to Abe’s efforts while I blogged away. I would take a picture, but the camera card is in my computer, so you’ll just have to trust me: He did a great job.

 

Dinner with Jessica

Lydia had two nightmares last night, so her 7am request for tape (to fix one of the books she accidentally broke in her sleep) came a little early today. I felt like such a zombie this morning, and that feeling gave me a lot more compassion for my excessively low productivity/activity level this past three years. If I felt that sleep deprived (and let’s be honest, having a newborn and/or pregnancy is light years away from a mere two-nightmare night), then I should be celebrating the fact that I even managed to function at all.  Piano practice and cooking school would not even be remote possibilities under that level of fatigue.

During Mary’s nap, I made a beeline for bed. After that, I felt much better. So much better that I took the kids to the grocery store and the library. Then I cooked for the rest of the day because my responsible friend from cooking school, Jessica, came over for dinner.

She is a passionate foodie, so I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before. After scrolling through food blogs, I settled upon this post. Don’t those squash rings look dear? Well, let me tell you: They’re insanely, ridiculously complicated, especially if you, like me, have no knife skills to speak of. I practically lost my hand trying to cut those stupid squash rings, and finally, after hacking an entire acorn squash to bits and getting one ONE measly little ring out of it, I said to heck with it. Stuffed squash for dinner it was.

I should have glazed the squash with butter and maple syrup, but I was so demoralized by my cutting fiasco that I neglected the rest of the instructions.

Looks dry, doesn’t it? I should have glazed the squash with butter and maple syrup, but I was so demoralized by my cutting fiasco that I neglected to follow the rest of the directions.

By the time I took this picture, I had put the rest of the food (whipped sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli) away. Dessert was still on the table though.

Chocolate amaretto cake. Basically, you grind up amaretto cookies, zest some orange, melt some chocolate, add eggs and sugar, bake and voila! For the real recipe, click here.

Chocolate amaretto cake. Basically, you grind up amaretto cookies, zest some orange, melt some chocolate, add eggs and sugar, bake and voila! For the real recipe, click here. I can actually really vouch for this one–I’ve done it many times, and it’s pretty foolproof.

We so enjoyed our time with Jessica. We learned a lot about the military (she spent ten years in it, and even was in the head trauma unit in both Iraq and Afghanistan), and I had my heartstrings pulled by her personal stories. What a wonderful person.

In kid-related news, Mary has now learned to climb the stove. I kid you not. Tomorrow I will try to rearrange the kitchen, but in the meantime I have random pieces of furniture strewn everywhere from my various attempts to block her progress.

This is where she perched while I cooked. She'd alternate between eating her amaretto cookie and standing up to see if she could reach anything interesting on the counter.

This is where she perched while I cooked. She’d alternate between eating her amaretto cookie and standing up to see if she could reach anything interesting on the counter.

Of snowmen and Christmas concerts

Lydia woke up this morning screaming for chicken nuggets, which is especially funny since she’s only had them once (when we were desperate on a road trip over a year ago), and she threw them up an hour later. Abe and I spent the rest of the morning in a tired fog, and I lay in bed procrastinating my final project until noon.

We did, however, work in a Skype visit with my mom and grandma, during which they watched Lydia run through the extra-elaborate obstacle course Abe set up this morning. While he was setting it up, I was lying in bed. He kept coming over and asking for pillow after pillow until he sheepishly asked for the last one. I lay flat on my pillowless perch until we Skyped. It was pretty funny.

After I finally typed up my final, we slowly collected ourselves for our afternoon errands. Just as we were about to get in the car, Abe tested the snow and asked if he could have ten more minutes to build a snowman with the girls. Um, of course!

Building.

Building.

Bonding.

Bonding.

 

The finished product

The finished product.

Then we swung by the library and went clothes shopping for Abe. His new job is much more casual than his current job, and most of Abe’s casual clothes date back to college, high school, or even (in some choice cases), middle school. We bought him two pairs of jeans and a shirt. It’s a start.

Then we came home, and I vacuumed the most offensively dirty carpets in the house while Abe got dinner ready and fed the girls. We then rushed to bathe the girls because guess what? A couple days ago, Misty called and offered us some tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert at the Conference Center. Misty is the kind of friend you want to have.

We gleefully accepted her kind offer, and tonight we had such a wonderful time at the concert. The Church pulls out all the stops for its Christmas concert, and there are just no words to communicate the feast this event is for the eyes, ears, and heart. John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in Lord of the Rings) and Deborah Voigt were spectacular. John Rhys-Davies narrated the tale of how Charles Dickens came up with A Christmas Carol, and at one point he and another actor flew across the 20,000 audience members. He also read Luke 2…I wish I had a recording, because I would just play that on Christmas and call the rest of the holiday good. Deborah Voigt’s voice had me crying in song #1, and Richard Elliot’s arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman on the organ was as acrobatic as it was, in John Rhys-Davies’ words, “pure genius.”

The program

The program

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After our joyful experience at the concert, Abe and I went about the more pragmatic task of grocery shopping. But hey, at 10pm, it felt kind of like an extension of our date. I’ll take it!

Errands, Christmas and another C

This morning we clipped the girls' nails. Mary LOVES this activity. Her enjoyment is the only way we can convince Lydia to let us do the same to her.

This morning we clipped the girls’ nails. Mary LOVES this activity. Her enjoyment convinced Lydia to let us do the same to her.

Lydia didn't enjoy it to quite the same level.

Lydia didn’t enjoy it to quite the same level.

After that, we loaded the girls in the car and hit:

Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kid to Kid, Smith’s and Robinson Tree Farms:

We went here last year for the first time. Abe and I love walking through this big tree lot and pretending we're in a forest.

We went here last year for the first time. Abe and I love walking through this big tree lot and pretending we’re in a forest.

We all played pretend together.

We all played pretend together.

Mary found a tree she liked.

Mary found a tree she liked.

...And so did Lydia.

…And so did Lydia.

Lydia went around hugging various trees and becoming passionately attached to the most skiwompus trees in the lot. Abe would say stuff like, “Lydia, do you like this healthy, even looking tree or this gaunt, sickly one?” and she would reply, “The gaunt, sick-wee one!”

Lydia found a soap box on which to stand and declaim her love of gaunt trees.

Lydia found a soap box on which to stand and declaim her love of gaunt trees.

Mary started getting cold, so Abe bundled her in his coat.

Mary started getting cold, so Abe bundled her in his coat.

Lydia had a blast taking out every single box in our Christmas bins.

Lydia had a blast taking out every single box in our Christmas bins. Don’t let her sober camera face fool you.

See?

See?

Mary was DYING to help hang stuff on the tree, so we finally let her hang some candy canes.

Mary was DYING to help hang stuff on the tree, so we finally let her hang some candy canes.

We almost got Balu to come over, but he had a school meeting to go to. We could have used him tonight because corralling Mary around the tree was impossible.  She just wanted to help so badly.

We almost got Balu to come over, but he had a school meeting to go to. We could have used him tonight; corralling Mary around the tree was impossible! She just wanted to help so badly.

Lydia and I hung ornaments while Abe tried to keep Mary from undoing our work.

Lydia and I hung ornaments while Abe tried to keep Mary from undoing our work.

Here are Martha Stewart's felt ornaments on the tree. I went to so many stores today looking for the screw punch she says you need to thread these ornaments, but after going a million places with no luck, it occurred to me that I could just sew some embroidery floss onto the ornaments. After our afternoon nap, I spent an hour threading all the ornaments--and it worked! No $15 screw punch necessary.

Here are Martha Stewart’s felt ornaments on the tree. I went to so many stores today looking for the screw punch she says you need to thread these ornaments, but after going a million places with no luck, it occurred to me that I could just sew some embroidery floss onto the ornaments. After our afternoon nap, I spent an hour threading all the ornaments–and it worked! No $15 screw punch necessary.

The final product.

The final product.

The girls napped until after 6pm, and I didn't finish threading the ornaments until 6pm. I considered just doing canned soup for dinner, but since today was our official entry into the Christmas season, I decided to make some polenta cakes and kale. The colors were right, and they came together pretty quickly.

The girls napped until after 6pm, and I didn’t finish threading the ornaments until 6pm. I considered just doing canned soup for dinner, but since today was our official entry into the Christmas season, I decided to make some polenta cakes and kale. The colors were right, and they came together pretty quickly.

On the lower right you will notice Abe's Christmas tree from college. One Christmas he was feeling sad and not festive; he went to class and stumbled on a craft fair in the entry of his building. He bought this green retractable extendable tree and felt that God had given him a little gift to help him feel more merry.

On the lower right you will notice Abe’s Christmas tree from college. One Christmas he was feeling sad and not festive; he went to class and stumbled on a craft fair in the entry of his building. He bought this green retractable extendable tree. It cheered him up right away and made him feel like God had put that little tree in his path to help him be more merry.

And now to my homework. I missed another deadline for my menu class, so now I have to go make up that late work. The 74.3% in my online gradebook is seriously stressing me out. Maybe that’s why, even after all the decorating, I still don’t feel very festive this year. Hopefully getting this assignment done will help fix that.

low-key Thursday

This morning I visit taught my friend, Marilyn. She’s had six kids (all of whom are grown up now), and I always leave her feeling like she’s visit taught me instead of visa versa. For instance, today she told me this inspiring story: When her first son was two years old, he spilled a pitcher of lemonade all over a dinner she had spent the whole day preparing (they had company that night). In total shock, she stared at the mess and then with tears in her eyes said, “Guess who still loves you? Can you help Mommy clean this up?”

Wow! I felt so motivated to be kinder to my two year old after that. Marilyn told me she wished she had reacted that way more often when her kids were little, and I left feeling inspired to be a better mom. I was more inclined to say yes when Lydia begged to go outside and play in the snow today because of my morning visit. I forgot to take pictures, but we played chase again. It was sunny and not too cold, and actually I had a lot of fun.

I also played with Mary on the stairs for the better part of an hour, and that activity was made especially more fun because there were lots of cuddles involved. After Mary got tired on the stairs, I put her down for a nap (and put Lydia in her room for quiet time) and read and felted for the next couple of hours.

I also got a good deal of piano in during Mary’s first nap–she took two naps again today!!!–, and since I also did Bikram this evening, I am feeling pretty great about life. My only wish is that school tomorrow did not fall smack dab during the ward Christmas party.

I didn’t take any pictures today, but while Abe watched the girls during my yoga session, he took some.

Looks like they got a bubble bath today.

Looks like they got a bubble bath today.

Lydia made Abe talk in Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck voices for two hours straight. Whenever he'd stop, she'd burst into tears.

Lydia made Abe talk in Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck voices for two hours straight. Whenever he’d stop, she’d burst into tears.

Someone got a bubble beard...

Someone got a bubble beard…

slowing down

Abe and I both felt like we had been run over by trucks for most of the day, so today was more about muddling through on low energy and aching muscles, and less about getting stuff done. We did manage to make it to the temple, and Swathi, Clark, Mom and I took Lydia to the library (although she fell asleep and slept through that entire outing).

We came home, ate pizza, and got the girls ready for bed. Swathi, Clark and Balu invited us to go to the movies with them, but Abe and I were so tired that we opted to be boring and stay at home instead. After the girls went down, I lay in bed reading The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I checked out from the library’s “Lucky Day” collection. That made my day feel appropriately lucky; I want to cook almost everything in the book, and I love all of Deb’s essays and pictures.

During the girls’ naps and quiet time, I made another dent in The Table Comes First. Adam Gopnik’s essays on the intersection of food and culture are gorgeously crafted, but I can’t read them for more than twenty minutes at a time before I fall asleep. I really don’t think that’s a reflection on his writing at all; more likely, my attention span is shortening and my ability to focus is waning. I haven’t finished a book in ages, although I have started plenty.

Here are the pictures from today:

Mary playing while the rest of us lay on the couch in a stupor.

Mary playing while the rest of us lay on the couch in a stupor.

Ten minutes earlier, Abe was in this exact same position with his pj's on when I informed him that we had a houseful of babysitters and had no excuse to not attend the temple today. He agreed, showered, changed, and resumed his former position until it was time to go.

Ten minutes earlier, Abe was in this exact same position with his pj’s on when I informed him that we had a houseful of babysitters and had no excuse not to attend the temple today. He agreed, showered, changed, and resumed his former position until it was time to go.

Mary played the piano this morning.

Mary played the piano this morning.

Aunt Swathi affirmed her talent.

Aunt Swathi affirmed her talent.

We were delighted to come home from the library to find Mary eating in her Bumbo. She was an uncharacteristically great eater today.

We were delighted to come home from the library to find Mary eating in her Bumbo. She was an uncharacteristically great eater today.