Veteran’s Day 2014

After preschool and quiet time, we took a trip to the veteran’s section of the Salt Lake Cemetery. We did this last year, and I remember how this activity made me feel more connected and grateful for all the service veterans have given for the country.

Today my heart felt full again as I tried to explain to the girls what it meant to be a veteran and to serve the country. We read the names on as many graves as we could. Actually, Mary gave us lots of opportunities to say names because she would pull flags off of graves and I would say, “Mary! Don’t do that! That’s Thomas Haley’s grave, and he fought in WWI. I’m sure he wants his flag back!” …In this fashion, we got to say a lot of names out loud.

At one point, Mary pulled a balloon off of one man’s grave and I said, “Mary! Someone put that there because they loved Anthony. How sad! Now he doesn’t have his balloon!”

With tears spilling out of the corners of her eyes and her voice wavering, Lydia said, “Mommy, can we go get another balloon so that man can have a bawoon (balloon) on his stone?” My heart was so moved. We headed straight to the car, and as I started to drive to the store to get a replacement balloon, Lydia said (again, with her eyes full of quiet tears and her voice quivering), “Mama, can we say a prayer so that Jesus can help us get the same balloon?” So we said a prayer, got replacement balloons, and returned to the cemetery.

After we replaced the missing balloons, Lydia recited the Pledge of Allegiance among the tombstones. It touched my heart. This day was just full of heart-warming moments.

With replacement balloons.

With replacement balloons.

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packing day

Considering Abe was gone, today was a really great day. I don’t know what it is, but I think I am more productive when I have to take care of everything myself. Either that, or I cook more when Abe is home, so I get fewer other tasks accomplished.

Anyway, today I had a lot of fun hanging out with the girls, doing errands, folding loads of laundry and packing a ton of boxes. I figured I would have a lot of time to watch a movie with the girls at the end of the day, but everything just flew by so fast I didn’t get to. In my book, that makes a good day.

Here are some pictures:

Lydia helped me pack!

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And the girls had a dance party while I packed (and paused to take pictures):

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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.

Another day in sequester

Aside from keeping the girls alive, getting Lydia to and from preschool, cleaning and cooking, I slept all day. Last night I barely slept at all because Mary got up a couple times and thenI couldn’t get back to bed because I am so excited about the move.

The girls were absolutely perfect today; Mary napped for four hours, and Lydia played next to me in the bed. When I woke up, I played with the girls for two hours. That was probably the highlight of my day. I guess I could have used the time to pack some more boxes, but it felt really fulfilling to just sit on the floor with them and be silly.

Here are the two pictures I have from today.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

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Sequestered (sort of)

We forgot to take pictures until the girls were getting ready for bed. That probably happened because I sequestered myself in the house–there are rats outside–and didn’t do anything of note all day. I played with the girls, packed some boxes, napped and cooked.

When Abe got home, we went to dinner at Bob and Katheryn Sonntag’s. We think they are so great, and dinner was very yummy. I daydream that we’ll get Katheryn to design our new yards. Here’s hoping!

And here are the pictures too:

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Mary refused to take off her Minnie Mouse dress today, so she ended up wearing it to the Sonntag's.

Mary refused to take off her Minnie Mouse dress today, so she ended up wearing it to the Sonntag’s.

Also, Paige sent me the pictures from the preschool parade. You can see the updated post here.

Also, here’s one of my baby pictures I came across. Does this remind you of anyone, Mom and Grandma?

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are sad that this is our last year celebrating with Abe’s family down in Sugar House. We love eating with them and then trick or treating in their Halloween-friendly neighborhood. Tonight was absolutely gorgeous, with weather starting in the 70’s as we trick or treated. Supposedly it will get cold tomorrow, but it sure was pretty tonight.

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I tried to get a picture of the pink clouds.

I tried to get a picture of the pink clouds.

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As the night wore on, both girls' buckets started to literally overflow. Abe and I could not convince them to hand over any of their candy to lighten their loads. Mary carried her full basket for blocks. I guess they have good reason not to trust us--I ate most of their trunk or treat candy!

As the night wore on, both girls’ buckets started to literally overflow. Abe and I could not convince them to hand over any of their candy to lighten their loads. Mary carried her full basket for blocks. I guess they have good reason not to trust us–I ate most of their trunk or treat candy!

Afterward we went and hung out at the Andresons’ new home until it was beyond everyone’s bedtime. So sad that this tradition is ending. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable Halloween than this one, but life is full of surprises. Halloween of 2015, feel free to surprise me.

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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Play group party

I have been really depressed by the news lately, and I came across this scripture this morning: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

I was also touched today by this article, written by a friendly acquaintance in my home ward.

And now for the day’s play-by-play.

This morning Aria hosted a Halloween party at her house. While I love Aria and everyone who came, I really dislike big groups. However, I decided to go for the children’s sake, so I dressed them up in costumes and headed over to Aria’s.

IMG_9962 IMG_9960But the girls are slightly shy in big groups too, so after I ascertained that none of us were happy, I packed them up and headed back home.

I proceeded to loll around the house for the rest of the day, since both girls ended up napping for quite a while. I started reading Dracula in honor of Halloween. I want to finish that and also reread The Legend of Sleepy Hollow  before October 31st.

I would have pictures from class, but my phone died. We made a ton of cookies and some pita bread. I am skipping tomorrow to take the girls to Red Butte Gardens for their Halloween activities at night.

I’ll take more pictures tomorrow!

fix-it cut, the aviary, and Provo

This day was the kind of day that made me stop and feel grateful to be a stay at home mom. I enjoyed each part of the day. Even though I dropped Lydia off half an hour late to preschool, I didn’t panic (like I normally would) and feel like a terrible mom. I just figured I was doing my best, I didn’t yell at the girls to hurry, and the timing kind of fell where it did. What will be will be–I should have that attitude more often!

While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to Cookie Cutterz to get her haircut fixed, and then we went to the Aviary.

The store was selling lice deterrent leave in conditioner. Of course, I bought some. Apparently, rosemary is even better than tea tree at deterring lice. Duly noted. I will remember to ask Santa for a jug of Rosemary essential oils this Christmas.

The store was selling lice deterrent leave in conditioner. Of course, I bought some. Apparently, rosemary is even better than tea tree at deterring lice. Duly noted. I will remember to ask Santa for a jug of Rosemary essential oils this Christmas.

IMG_9949 IMG_9945 IMG_9942 IMG_9940Then we picked Lydia up and came home. While the girls were down for quiet time, I napped and researched essential oils, salt lamps, house plants, and diffusers. The experience I had with lice has made me very interested in homeopathic remedies, and now I’m convinced the reason we stay sick six months out of the year is because our home is filled with toxins. This winter I am going to invest in some of the above things and see if perhaps we stay healthier for it.

After daydreaming about filling my home with salt lamps, I dragged myself out of bed and folded laundry for an hour. It’s all folded! Just in time for more loads tomorrow! But hey, I will take it.

Then I loaded the girls in the car and drove to Provo. Abe’s work gave everyone free flu shots/nose sprays. After getting our sprays and shots, we drove to Abe’s friends’ house. Morgan and Jesse bought a house with my dream backyard in Provo, and Abe has been wanting to show it to me for a while. Afterward we drove around their neighborhood. We have looked at neighborhoods more than a few times since Abe transferred jobs, but we never find anything that seems to compare with how much we love the avenues. However, today we found a great neighborhood that resonated. It’s good to know that there are places in Provo where we won’t be abjectly miserable!

We sped home so I could be in time for my meeting…which went so well! I can’t put my finger on what it was, but I actually enjoyed the meeting. Perhaps I felt like I had more to contribute tonight, or I came away with legitimate action items that made me feel useful; whatever it was, I was grateful for an experience with my calling that made me like it more.

While I was at my meeting, Abe took pictures of the girls playing with their Happy Meal paraphernalia from Provo:

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And now we’re going to finish Stardust! I can’t wait. I had nightmares about the witches last night, but I still really want to find out what happens to everybody.