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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Coconut oil and Karin’s birthday dinner

Just a real quick plug for coconut oil, since it’s 12:47 a.m. I have been drinking it and applying it regularly ever since the lice debacle, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin/internal functions…um, TMI? But seriously, that stuff is amazing. Grandma, I hope you and mom find a way to acquire some. You need to buy the cold-pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil. It should look white and smell like coconuts. Here is the article that converted me to coconut oil.

Anyway, my hair is practically ruined from my lice treatments, so today I soaked my hair in coconut oil all day. I also used it as an all-over moisturizer and even took the brave step of using it in replacement of deodorant! It was risky, but I took the leap. I thought it was working, but to make sure, I had Abe smell my arm pits when he got home from work. All sorts of risks taken today…but guess what? The coconut oil works! It is a total natural deodorant!! I am now considering purchasing a 5 gallon vat wholesale, but in the meantime, Mom and Grandma, you really need to try it!

The rest of the day revolved around cooking dinner for Karin’s birthday dinner. And Jere’s in town, so we got to visit with him after dinner. That was so nice. It was very sweet to hear him and Abe discuss how much they love their jobs, especially since they both transitioned to their jobs from working situations that were extremely taxing.

Karin brought Mary a whole bunch of birthday gifts, and both girls looooved that.

Karin brought Mary a whole bunch of birthday gifts, and both girls looooved that.

I should have taken a picture of the dinner, but just so I can have the recipe on file, I stuffed each person a pumpkin with this. Things done differently: I cooked the rices separately in the rice cooker. I cooked the wild rice in chicken broth and the basmati in a combo of water and apple cider. I added 3/4 lb (!) of Irish cheddar, a kind that was practically wet and very crumbly. I moistened the individual stuffed pumpkins with a couple tablespoons of heavy cream and more cider before baking. This was the best variation I’ve had on this idea to date. Again, should have taken a picture. Drat!

My cake was a total flop, but Karin was so nice about it. I asked Abe to buy a replacement cake on his way home from work, but he convinced me that it’s the thought that counts. I sort of agree, but when it comes to chocolate cake, I kind of prefer that it’s done right. Thankfully, no one spit it out in disgust. I need to write down recipe corrections in my cookbook so those same mistakes don’t happen again!

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!

 

Birthday eve with my mom, Clark, Swathi and Balu

Today I baked Mary’s birthday cake, made dinner, folded laundry, and did some errands. It was so, so wonderful to have my mom around during the day. That made everything feel like a celebration.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary's cake.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary’s cake.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

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Abe's work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

Abe’s work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

That's not Abe, but it is the zip line!

That’s not Abe, but it is the zip line!

We had dinner with Clark, Swathi, my mom and Balu. We tried to go on a walk afterwards, but we got caught in a torrential downpour. Abe and I decided to take the girls on some last minute errands, so we did that instead.

And now…happy weekend, and happy early birthday to Mary!!!

school clothes, a date, a Miner party, and my new steam cleaner does it all

Mary has been waking up at 4:30am a couple times a week recently. I have conflicted feelings about this. I miss not sleeping through the night, but I absolutely adore cuddling with Mary. Last night after I rocked her, I was so awake I couldn’t fall back asleep. Finally at 7 am I leaped out of bed to get a head start on the day.

I raced to the market and Tony Caputo’s for produce and cheese, then headed home to pick up the girls. Abe had an Elder’s Quorum move this morning, so I took the girls to get Lydia some more school clothes and her new preschool uniform (which she has to wear every Tuesday).

They were best buddies in the car.

They were best buddies in the car. We spent a ton of time driving around, and we talked and bonded the whole time. I sometimes tune Lydia’s talking out, but today I determined not to do that–and it was great! We had a lot of fun.

At the mall. The girls raced around and had a lot of fun together.

At the mall. The girls raced around and had a lot of fun together.

After that outing, we drove home, ate lunch, and took naps.

When we woke up, Suzanne came over to pick the girls up for a Miner family party.

aug23pic7 aug23pic6 aug23pic4 aug23pic3 aug23pic2 aug23pic1 aug23In the meantime, Abe and I went on a date with an Amazon Local deal to one of our favorite restaurants.

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Ichiban Sushi. We love this place.

Ichiban Sushi. We love this place.

Then we bought Lydia more clothes, because honestly, she is growing so fast and I just can’t keep up. Once we’d purchased a whole new wardrobe at Kid-to-Kid, we went grocery shopping.

Suzanne dropped the girls off, and while Abe bathed them, I steam cleaned the carpet in their room. I am in love with the new cleaner! I cleaned the house for the next three hours (with the neighbors’ permission), and our floors and carpets have never looked cleaner. Once midnight was upon us, I stopped steam cleaning and just vacuumed, but still–it looks great, and I can’t wait for Monday because I can steam clean every last inch of the house that I didn’t get to today! Yippee!!

cookies, cub scout car wash, ballet, party, nap, Sharon, carnival, walk, groceries: July Saturday or The Longest Title Ever

This morning I set my alarm early so I could bake cookies for the cub scout car wash. Then Abe took Ada and Lydia to ballet while Mary and I headed over to dry some cars. I was scared to put Mary down near the cars, so I carried her while I dried and called it my work-out o’the day.

jul26pic12jul26pic16 jul26pic17 jul26pic19Then it was time for Liv’s birthday party at Liberty Park (by the Seven Canyons splash pad/rivers).

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Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike's bike. Isn't it amazing?

Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike’s bike. Isn’t it amazing?

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After we came home and napped, our friend Sharon Harris joined us for dinner. I didn’t take any pictures during dinner because every second with Sharon was precious. She’s from New York and has spent a couple weeks in Utah for the Neal A. Maxwell symposium. We were so glad to see her, even though the time flew by.

After dinner Tom and Suzanne took the girls to a Miner family party while Abe and I stayed home and did homework and lesson prep. We also took a beautiful walk to the grocery store. The sun was setting and the weather was gorgeous. We saw a neighbor slow dancing to Jazz music with his garden hose. That was truly delightful.

The Miners’ had a carnival of sorts going on because so many family members were in town.

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Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

The prizes.

The prizes.

jul26pic5 jul26pic4 jul26pic1 jul26Then it was home to bed. I have an early morning meeting tomorrow, so I should get to bed. Abe’s already asleep!

Pioneer Day!

It’s late because we had a long night out with family and fireworks, so just pictures today. Abe has to get up at 5:45 am to take the train! Oh, I guess I should mention that he took the train today and realized the Provo bus was cancelled because today is Pioneer Day (a Utah state holiday, potentially bigger than July 4 here). He walked six miles to work. And then at the end he forded a river because he couldn’t find a bridge. Balu pointed out Abe had his own little Pioneer Day trek!

This morning the girls woke up early, so we raced down to the church for the Pioneer Day breakfast.

Pioneer Day breakfast at church.

Pioneer Day breakfast at church.

Then we went to the parade:

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Missionaries holding up the world. =)

Missionaries holding up the world. =)

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Waving to the parade.

Waving to the parade.

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President Monson!

President Monson!

Isabella babysat the girls this afternoon so I could go swimming. Then I came home, made a salad, and headed over (with Abe and Balu) to the Miners’ family gathering for dinner and fireworks.

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Making ice cream

Making ice cream

Pre-fireworks. Once those started, she was pretty scared and not quite this happy.

Pre-fireworks. Once those started, she was pretty scared and not quite this happy.

IMG_8835 IMG_8837On the way home, we parked by a hill and watched the Liberty Park fireworks and were blown away. They were definitely better than the 4th of July fireworks, and we thought those were pretty good! Well, it is Pioneer Day. In Utah. Light the sky on fire! (I can see and hear sooooooo many fireworks as I type…)

4th of July recap

Happy belated 4th! We were so exhausted by the time we got home that I am just now blogging.

In the morning while I was at yoga, Abe and the girls had a flag hunt. The girls would hide flags and then go find them, over and over again. In fact, that’s what the three of them are doing now as I type:

Hide and seek with the flags. The flags are hiding and everyone else is counting. Also, the girls are still wearing their 4th of July dresses today because they slept in them last night. We may or may not change them before tomorrow--if they wear these for three straight days, they could wake up on Sunday all dressed for church!

Hide and seek with the flags. The flags are hiding and everyone else is counting. Also, the girls are still wearing their 4th of July dresses today because they slept in them last night. We may or may not change them before tomorrow–if they wear these for three straight days, they could wake up on Sunday all dressed for church!

The flag hunt yesterday morning.

The flag hunt yesterday morning.

Abe fed them breakfast.

Abe fed them breakfast.

Mary pretended to be on the phone a lot (I'm gathering, since Abe took a million photos of her in this pose).

Mary pretended to be on the phone a lot (I’m gathering, since Abe took a million photos of her in this pose).

Abe got the trunk of the car open for the first time since May (it was stuck) and retrieved my anniversary present! We forgot to take a picture of me wearing it yesterday. I'll wear it tomorrow and take a picture.

Abe got the trunk of the car open for the first time since May (it was stuck) and retrieved my anniversary present! We forgot to take a picture of me wearing it yesterday. I’ll wear it tomorrow and take a picture.

After I got home from yoga, I watched How to Train A Dragon with Lydia. Abe and I watched it Thursday night and loved it, and it was fun to watch with Lydia. Afterward, Abe gave me a massage and the girls helped. Mary loves to pound my back with her little fists. It’s really cute.

Then we went to the Darais picnic down in Provo. We picked up Balu on the way there.

On the way to Provo for the picnic.

On the way to Provo for the picnic.

At the Darais picnic, there was a lot of reposing going on.

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There was also a fair amount of rolling down hills.

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Lydia waiting to "catch" mary.

Lydia waiting to “catch” mary.

After the hill-rolling, the girls sat like this for a hile.

After the hill-rolling, the girls sat like this for a while.

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After the picnic, we headed to Sugar House Park for fireworks. We got a great view, and it was a beautiful night. By the time we got home, Lydia and I were asleep, but Mary was still as excited as could be. She was the first person to wake up this morning. I think yesterday was a happy day for her–and everyone!

birthdays

This morning was my first Sunday in my new calling. I enjoyed the Primary, although I am a little overwhelmed at the prospect of learning everyone’s names. I also am not quite sure how to make myself most useful, but I’m sure that that will become clear in time.

We left church soon after Sacrament meeting (our last meeting) because Mary was inconsolable. We came home, ate, took naps, and then had a family council. Abe loves to plan for the week, and he really wanted to plan as a family. This is what it looked like:

IMG_8326 IMG_8327A little hectic.

We Skyped right afterward with Clark and Swathi. The sound on my iPad broke last week, so Skyping is a lot more complicated now. Nevertheless, it was great to chat with Clark and Swathi. We love them so much.

Then we headed to the Miners’ for birthday celebrations.

Playing badminton outside.

Playing badminton outside.

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Katie played while holding Mary. Impressive.

Katie played while holding Mary. Impressive.

Abe discussing how much he loves his job and why.

Abe discussing how much he loves his job and why.

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Frankie.

Frankie.

Waiting for the birthday festivities to begin.

Waiting for the birthday festivities to begin.

We moved Lydia under the counter so she could see the action.

We moved Lydia under the counter so she could see the action.

We celebrated Clint's birthday. He and Heather live in Phoenix but were in town. It was great getting to know them better!

We celebrated Clint’s birthday. He and Heather live in Phoenix but were in town. It was great getting to know them better!

Charlie and Henry trying to blow out the trick candles once and for all.

Charlie and Henry trying to blow out the trick candles once and for all.

It was Steve's birthday, too. Henry helped blow out the candles.

It was Steve’s birthday, too. Henry helped blow out the candles.

Mary clapped.

Mary clapped.

Steve with nieces and nephews.

Steve with nieces and nephews.

Siblings.

Siblings.

Steve with his parents. The cutest picture of the day, I think.

Steve with his parents. The cutest picture of the day, I think.

Examining seed pods afterward.

Examining seed pods afterward.

And throwing them.

And throwing them.

This is a picture Abe took yesterday after the market (that I forgot to post).

This is a picture Abe took yesterday after the market (that I forgot to post).

Yoga, Market, Baptism, Wedding.

Today was another 5:15 am day. I have an unlimited Bikram yoga pass for a month AND today is the last Saturday that my studio offers a 6 am class. There was no way I could miss it! After that, I came home, showered, scarfed down one of Abe’s fabulous pancakes, and took the girls to the market. (I had to wake Abe at 5:30 to help me find his car keys, and so he needed a nap.)

Lydia pushing Mary to the market.

Lydia pushing Mary to the market. Mom, can you see the stickers you sent them on their dresses?

Lydia and Mary each got to pick a rock for a quarter.

Lydia and Mary each got to pick a rock for a quarter.

The sweet, kind men at the rock stand let the girls have some rocks for free, too.

The sweet, kind men at the rock stand let the girls have some rocks for free, too.

Watching the trapeze.

Watching the trapeze.

Lydia swinging at the playground.

Lydia swinging at the playground.

We ran into Nathan and Hannah (and Gregory) at the market! Not pictured: We also ran into Karin and Jay.

We ran into Nathan and Hannah (and Gregory) at the market! Not pictured: We also ran into Karin and Jay.

After the market, we came home and rested for a minute. I had to play the piano for a baptism at 12:30, so it was a quick rest. Abe was really sweet and gave me a shin massage because yesterday’s 10,000 steps gave me shin splints. Pathetic, I know. With the greatest reluctance, I cut the massage off and headed over to the baptism.

The baptism was absolutely wonderful. I sat down with Jessica Felix (who got baptized) afterward, and she told me her amazing conversion story. She kept referring to how wonderful “that Mormon book” is and even quoted passages to me–spontaneously, with great enthusiasm. She was incredibly inspiring. I’m so glad she’s part of our ward family now.

After I got home from the baptism, I discovered the girls eating a big lunch.

After I got home from the baptism, I discovered the girls eating a big lunch.

Abe set this out for me. Sweet man.

Abe set this out for me. Sweet man.

Then it was errands and a wedding. Abe’s cousin got married today, and since we couldn’t make it to the sealing this morning, we headed up to their reception in Midway tonight. Midway is so beautiful. For a minute, I thought maybe we should move there…and then I thought about how cold it is (it’s up in the mountains) and how Abe would have to commute through a canyon everyday. No thanks. But as the setting for a reception (it was at Susie’s aunt’s house), it was perfect.

Lydia painted Isabella some pictures a couple days ago and put them in an envelope. She was so happy to give Isabella the pictures today when we carpooled en route to the wedding.

Lydia painted Isabella some pictures a couple days ago and put them in an envelope. She was so happy to give Isabella the pictures today when we carpooled en route to the wedding.

Watching Isabella open her pictures.

Watching Isabella open her pictures.

On the way to Midway.

On the way to Midway.

So Pretty.

So Pretty.

Walking to the reception.

Walking to the reception.

 

Isabella and Lydia on the bench while the rest of us went through the line.

Isabella and Lydia on the bench while the rest of us went through the line.

Susie made these darling flower garlands.

Susie made these darling flower garlands.
In the line.

In the line.

Dessert table.

Dessert table.

I'd never had dippin' dots before. They're cold! And tasty.

I’d never had dippin’ dots before. They’re cold! And tasty.

The house had a beautiful, Martha Stewart worthy garden.

The house had a beautiful, Martha Stewart-worthy garden.

This was the biggest, most healthy looking rhubarb plant I have ever seen.

This was the biggest, most healthy looking rhubarb plant I have ever seen.

 

Pretty cake.

Pretty cake.

Eating their dippin' dots.

Eating their dippin’ dots.

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Under the mistletoe. \

Under the mistletoe. 

 

The gorgeous couple.

The gorgeous couple.

 

Sadie is one week apart from Mary, and you can kind of see a resemblance, I think. Her mother and Abe are cousins.

Sadie is one week apart from Mary, and you can kind of see a resemblance, I think. Her mother and Abe are cousins.

Since the reception only had desserts, Abe and I took the girls straight to Whole Foods afterward and filled up. Lydia kept running around saying, “I’m so healthy! Who’s a healthy girl??? Me!!! I am!!! I’m so healthy!!”

At whole Foods.

At whole Foods.

We also discovered that Mary looooooves pepperoni pizza. Since we were so late, Whole Foods sold us a leftover pizza for a discounted price. We didn’t break it open until the car ride home, and Mary went totally nuts. She can’t even say three syllable words yet, but in the middle of the ride she said, “pah-pah-roh-nee” and pointed vigorously at the pizza box. She ended up eating an entire slice by herself.

I comforted myself about the late hour on the way home by thinking, “Oh, well. If we’re fifteen minutes late to church tomorrow, no big deal.” And then I remembered that I have a calling now that requires me to get to church on time. Sorry to say it, but darn. Guess I’ll get to bed ASAP so the morning isn’t quite so painful.