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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baptism, more packing, and a wedding

This morning I took Mary to a baptism while Abe took Lydia to ballet. She was really good until after the actual baptism. While Peter’s dad was conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost on him, Mary lost it and I had to rush out of the room. She spent the next half hour literally running the halls and jumping up and down the flights of stairs in the church. When we got home, she took a four and a half hour nap. Guess that baptism wore her out!

Then I packed a bunch more. Our living room and dining room bookshelves are almost empty, a bunch of kitchen ware is packed, the dining room hutch is empty, and a couple paintings are bubble wrapped and ready to move. I only have to repeat this feat seven or eight more times, and we’ll be all set to move.

We had a minor scare trying to find a babysitter for this evening. I called every single babysitter I knew and even Abe’s parents, but it wasn’t until one of the people I called gave me a lead on a young woman in our ward that I’d never met before that I finally got someone lined up. That freed Abe and me up for a wedding reception.

We went to Cynthia Barlow’s wedding reception at La Caille (and you really need to click on the link to see what that means) and it was the first time Abe and I had ever been there. It was gorgeous. We should have taken pictures, but for most of the time I was enjoying visiting with my friend, Maria. She is so fun to be around, and some of her stories had Abe and me literally crying from laughter. One of my mission acquaintances happened to also be sitting at our table, and it’s always fun to bump into people like that. Overall, the reception was the highlight of our day.

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Flowers from the reception.

Flowers from the reception.

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While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box...and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.

While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box…and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.

A disgruntled call and house pictures

After I visit taught this morning, we headed down to spend the whole day in Orem. I visited preschools, and by the time our preschool hunt was over, the girls were hungry. Enter The Worst Drive-Thru Experience of All Time. And we eat a lot of fast food, so I think that statement has value. As I pulled up to pay, I noticed a sign with a number to call if you have comments about your customer experience. Boy, did I!

Sadly, just as I dialed, another call came through to my phone, so the call was lost. No matter, I thought. I just searched “recent calls” and called the most recent number. A very cheerful voice answered, and I proceeded to rant for the next five minutes about my experience. After I reviewed each complaint a second time to make sure the customer representative was taking notes, the voice on the other end said, “Um, Lily? This is Chelsea. Are you trying to call customer service?”

Chelsea! I had called one of my favorite friends instead of customer service, and she had patiently listened to me itemize my complaints in an aggravated manner twice before I stopped talking long enough for her to clarify my mistake. Oops! I am taking this as a sign from God that I complain too much. When my dad died, he left behind STACKS of complaint letters to businesses, hotels, municipalities–you name it! If it serviced customers, he had complaints to write! I think I might have inherited this tendency. Today’s experience tells me that I might need to reign it in a little.

Anyway, I proceeded to head to Chelsea’s house for a play date. After that, we kidnapped Olivia and took her to our new house during the tail end of the home inspection. After that, we headed back to Chelsea’s for a deeeee-licious dinner of calzones, salad and fruit.

I snapped a million pictures because the listing is now off of real estate sites. Mom and Grandma, I realizes as I uploaded these that I totally forgot to take a picture of the kitchen, but it’s right next to the dining room. Oops! Enjoy anyway, and next time we go I’ll take a picture. I also forgot to take one of the basement bathroom.

basement room in front of the bathroom. We'll put the treadmill here.

basement room in front of the bathroom. We’ll put the treadmill here.

basement room #1. Guest room?

basement room #1. Guest room?

The inspector, Chase and Abe standing in the furnace room. Cute Olivia is in the foreground.

The inspector, Chase and Abe standing in the furnace room. Cute Olivia is in the foreground.

Basement storage closet.

Basement storage closet.

Basement room #2. Office?

Basement room #2. Office?

basement family room with kids play area behind.

basement family room with kids play area behind.

Half of the kids' basement play area.

Half of the kids’ basement play area.

Other half of the basement play room.

Other half of the basement play room.

basement stairs.

basement stairs.

First floor bathroom.

First floor bathroom.

laundry space in mudroom.

laundry space in mudroom.

Mudroom entrance.

Mudroom entrance.

Upstairs bedroom #1. Mom's office.

Upstairs bedroom #1. Mom’s office.

Mom's office's closet.

Mom’s office’s closet.

view from Mom's office.

view from Mom’s office.

Entrance to girls' room.

Entrance to girls’ room.

Girls' room.

Girls’ room.

Girls' room.

Girls’ room.

Mom's bedroom.

Mom’s bedroom.

Mom's bedroom.

Mom’s bedroom.

view from mom's bedroom.

view from mom’s bedroom.

Nursery.

Nursery.

Nursery closet.

Nursery closet.

Upstairs hall closet #1.

Upstairs hall closet #1.

Upstairs bathroom.

Upstairs bathroom.

upstairs hall closet #2.

upstairs hall closet #2.

master bedroom.

master bedroom.

walk-in closet adjacent to master bedroom.

walk-in closet adjacent to master bedroom.

master bath.

master bath.

view from master.

view from master.

kitchen space for fridge.

kitchen space for fridge.

pantry.

pantry.

living/dining.

living/dining.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

living/dining room.

piano room.

piano room.

on back deck.

on back deck.

back of house from basketball court.

back of house from basketball court.

looking other way on basketball court.

looking other way on basketball court.

front of house.

front of house.

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our cute mailbox.
looking across the cul-de-sac.

looking across the cul-de-sac.

view from front yard.

view from front yard.

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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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.

Red Butte and dinner with the Pe’as.

This morning we went with Lalitha and Eden to Red Butte Gardens. It was a beautiful day. In fact, Abe and I keep having conversations about how amazing the weather this year has been. I wish this year would just repeat over and over for the rest of my life weather wise, but since I can’t count on that, I just have to try to make the most out of every gorgeous day.

IMG_9908 IMG_9909 IMG_9912 IMG_9915 IMG_9918 IMG_9923Then we went grocery shopping with Lalitha and came home. I was the only one who napped, and when I woke up, Lydia informed me that she and Mary climbed onto the piano. I guess that means no more naps for me, or at least no naps while my children are awake.

I spent the rest of the day cooking. We had FHE with our friends, the Pe’as. Since we’ve been reading a lot of books about Halloween, Lydia has become very confused about what ghosts are. We decided to brush up on the doctrine of resurrection and our beliefs about how the spirit and the body are related to each other. Afterward, the kids pictured colors of ghosts.

IMG_9925 IMG_9930Abe and I have been trying to get around to folding four giant baskets of laundry for almost a week. We are going to try to fold some tonight while watching Stardust. We have a new habit to squeeze in movies: ten minutes a day! I wish I were kidding, but that’s actually what we’ve resorted to.

P.S. Mom and Grandma, Paige sent me some cute pictures from our hike Wednesday. If you want to see them, I added them to that post (link here).

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.

A hike, family history discoveries, and puff pastry

Today started off a little rocky, but then I decided at the last minute to get the girls ready for a play group hike to Ensign Peak. The hike turned our day around! Half way through my camera ran out of batteries, which was tragic since the best views come near the top (and the girls were cute too, of course). However, I did get some pictures in.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

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Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: "Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?" And when we would round a bend: " Oh, please be the top, please be the top."

Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: “Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?” And when we would round a bend: ” Oh, please be the top, please be the top.”

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We were late, so we didn’t join up with Paige, Aria and Ashley (the only moms who came) until we reached the top. On the way down, Ada and Lydia held hands the whole way.

Ada and Lydia both really wanted a play date, so we had one afterward. The girls have been really into making “baboon salad” lately. Don’t know where they got that from.

Also, one sweet thing I overheard today: Lydia and Mary were playing, and Mary couldn’t figure out how to turn on Lydia’s iPad. Lydia said, “Mary, let’s have a prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to turn on the iPad. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Then I listened closely to see if they got their prayer answered…and they did! I was one happy mother.

Another piece of great news is that I heard back from the Philippine Jesuits. My dad was a Jesuit priest for ten years before leaving the Society of Jesus, and I wanted to know more about his time there. I got a great email back this morning and hope to have even more questions answered soon. It was really wonderful to learn more about my dad.

In class tonight we made puff pastry from scratch. I have been dying to learn how to do this, and I was pleased to learn that it isn’t that hard. I don’t know if I’d do it regularly, but it certainly isn’t impossible to do at home. That was fun. We also did more muffins and worked on brioche and challah. Honestly, I think my challah recipe is better than the one we used in class, but any bread that even approximates challah is, in my opinion, eat-worthy.

More witch nerdiness

I am a little obsessed with witches right now, and since my friend Paige is moving in less than a month, I took it upon myself to sew a costume for Ada. That meant that we went back to the fabric store this morning, and then we went to the library before coming back home.

I didn't get a picture of Ada in the full costume, but I did get Lydia. Picture this with a black t-shirt underneath.

I didn’t get a picture of Ada in the full costume, but I did get Lydia. Picture this with a black t-shirt underneath.

Then I couldn’t wait for Ada to try it on, but my house is still under quarantine for the lice. So Ada came over and had a play date outside with the girls for a little bit, and I got to see (but not take a picture of) her in the outfit.

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Eventually, Ada and Lydia shed their clothing. They prefer to be naked. Lydia at one point started pulling down pants AND undies after announcing she would pee on the grass, which Ada thought was hilarious. Abe and I always offer Lydia the option of peeing on the side of the road during road trips knowing she won't want to, but today she called that bluff.

Eventually, Ada and Lydia shed their clothing. They prefer to be naked. Lydia at one point started pulling down pants AND undies after announcing she would pee on the grass, which Ada thought was hilarious. Abe and I always offer Lydia the option of peeing on the side of the road during road trips knowing she won’t want to and will try really hard to hold it instead, but today she called that bluff.