Our last day of packing! (and house closing)

We are packing like crazy because we closed today on the house and the move is TOMORROW, but I just had to throw up some of these pictures from earlier. Ina stopped by with the girls’ Christmas presents. She is so sweet. We will miss her so much!

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Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Really quick: I had a conference with Lydia’s preschool teachers and one of the administrators today. My heart sunk as they told me she doesn’t participate unless directed. I’ve observed this trait in Lydia since infancy. In groups, she stands to the side and watches silently, and then she comes alive at home and tells you everything that happened as if she had been involved. But in the moment, she doesn’t participate.

I felt solely responsible for her lack of participation. I drove home feeling so guilty that she inherited my defunct genes that shut down in big group situations. I called Abe and confessed that my genetic contribution had messed up our kid, and he made me feel a lot better about it all.  He pointed out that Lydia’s problem is not lack of focus (which is what the administrator attributed it to), but just shyness. (Hi, Lily’s genes!). He pointed out that Lydia could sit at the piano for forty five minute stretches when she was just two (under her tyrannical mother’s command), and she can focus indefinitely on any given book. She does not, he emphasized, have ADD.

In the moment, I had totally forgotten that about Lydia! I just swallowed everything the teachers told me as Truth and left feeling so horrible and guilty. I thought my genetic contribution + my lack of restrictions on screen time = permanent damage to my three year old’s ability to succeed in school. I still could do better on screen time, but after talking to Abe, I don’t think Lydia has an actual attention problem. At least that is what I’m telling myself now.

Back to packing!

Pie taste-off

While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to Trader Joe’s and picked up a pumpkin pie. All of my kitchen is 99% packed, so cooking or baking is out of the question. The girls are obsessed with The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and since we have read this book a million times in the last month, I decided that they needed to eat pumpkin pie.

As we were about to eat, the doorbell rang. Paige showed up with boxes, and since their timing was fortuitous, they joined us for pie and a play date. After the play date, we had nap time and quiet time.

After that, I decided that we needed to have a pie taste-off. Harmon’s was having a sale today, so I picked up another pie and headed to Paige’s house. We ended up staying there until bedtime. Paige made a delicious lasagna, and we all tried the second pie. Trader Joe’s was the clear winner, hands down. It’s also half the price, so once again I have cause to mourn that we will be so far away from Trader Joe’s in Orem. I hope we get one soon!

Here are some pictures from the play date:

Mary was pretending to sleep.

Mary was pretending to sleep.

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They were pretending it was sleepy time.

They were pretending it was sleepy time.

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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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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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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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.

Errands–and Clark and Swathi arrive!

Today we mainly ran errands–with my mom! It is so wonderful having her in town. As if that weren’t enough, Clark and Swathi just arrived tonight. The only thing that would make it better is if you were here, Grandma!

Mom and I took a bunch of pictures on her iPhone.

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary's 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western "outfit" (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary’s 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western “outfit” (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

I'm pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia's school looks like.

I’m pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia’s school looks like.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

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Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary's curls.

Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary’s curls.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

 But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, "Nana, wook at vis! ("Nana, look at this!)"

But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, “Nana, wook at vis! (“Nana, look at this!)”

"Nana, wook at vis!"

“Nana, wook at vis!”

I forgot to say a thank-you to Mom for watching the kids while I went to lunch with my visiting teachee, Andrea. We had a really fun lunch, and it was only possible because my mom babysat. Thanks, Mom!

Grandma, we wish you were here. Thanks for lending us Mom!

Post office, picnic, and FHE

Today I got up at 5:20 am, when Abe always gets up. Since I was awake early, I had time to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, do yoga, make popovers, shower and get the kids ready for the day.

Today Lydia had preschool, so Mary and I spent a lot of time walking around Sugar House. It was a beautiful morning, and the leaves are just barely starting to turn colors. We walked to the post office, Barnes and Noble, and the Sprage branch of the Salt Lake library. We also went to Tony Caputo’s to pick up some Dine O’ Round lunches for a picnic we had in the park with Jen, Natalie, Laddie, and Spencer. Sadly, Tony Caputo’s messed up my order–I discovered when we got to the park that my sandwiches were full of lunch meat. Gross. We skipped the sandwiches and just ate cake instead.

Jen was so fun and inspiring to talk to! She’s planning a bachelorette party for a friend, and she is really trying to make the party fun and appropriate. So tricky, but I was impressed with her efforts to keep the party elevated.

Then we came home and napped. After I woke up, I cooked for three hours. Abe came home and played with the girls while I finished cooking.

sep23pic5 sep23pic1 sep23 sep23pic4Then we had dinner (finally!), FHE and a treat.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl. Also, we realize she needs a haircut. Hopefully we’ll get around to that soon.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the "bread" of "Dear Heavenly Father" and "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our "sandwich" with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the “bread” of “Dear Heavenly Father” and “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our “sandwich” with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

And now Abe and I are going to finish The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We are both tired, so hopefully we can stay awake!

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!

Friend-filled Thursday

This morning while Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to the library.

sep11pic4After reading down some more fines, we attended story time. It was fun watching Mary. I am used to Lydia, who just watches everyone and doesn’t really participate. Mary got really into all the actions the kids were supposed to do, and it was really cute.

Then we spied on Lydia at school. She and her friend, Audrey, were walking around the playground during recess together. I loved watching them making the playground rounds. They were adorable.

After I put the girls down, I got a call. The person on the other end of the line said, “I have tickets to Funville!” Before she could finish, I angrily responded that I wasn’t interested and that it was my kids’ nap time. Bang.

Um, oops. It turns out that person was my dear friend, Maria! She was calling because she and my other dear friend, Lauren, were heading into Salt Lake to visit me. They are staying in Deer Valley for conferences and will head back out to their respective parts of the country this weekend. Time with them is a precious commodity! Thankfully, Maria called me back and explained that she wasn’t a telemarketer…and I felt really embarrassed. For the record, I don’t normally hang up on telemarketers, but I woke up sick this morning, and my patience level was at a flat zero all day. I have officially learned my lesson to be nicer on the phone.

Anyway, seeing them was so, so fun. I loved every minute.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn't figure out where to look.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn’t figure out where to look.

Then I retreated to bed to nurse my cold until Abe came home. After he got home, we raced to get ready to meet the Pe’as for the State Fair.

I have never fully explored the fair, and I have gone every year since we’ve been in Utah. It happens in a giant field right next to my gym, so it’s not far away at all. Anyway, I probably saw more tonight than I ever have. Abe and I also ate our very first funnel cake, which was delicious.

We enjoyed spending time with the Pe’as so much. They are such a fun, kind family.

Lydia wanted a pony ride. This is the first time she stayed on the whole time. She grinned the whole ride long.
Lydia wanted a pony ride. This is the first time she stayed on the whole time. She grinned the whole ride long.
Eldon sweetly bought all of the kids ice cream.

Eldon sweetly bought all of the kids ice cream. In this picture you can see, from left to right, Natalie, Mary, and Spencer. Laddie and Lydia didn’t make it onto camera.

Jen and I!

Jen and I!

And now I am going to retire to bed and feel sorry for my poor, sick self. On the upside, I checked out The Mists of Avalon today and love it. I haven’t read a book since the beginning of summer, and I’m excited to read again!