First day scares

Today was my first day of class, and it scared me half to death. The chefs, one of whom is Chef Katie from Top Chef, made us:

  • concasse a tomato
  • brunois a carrot
  • supreme an orange
  • brunois the orange peel
  • tourne an apple
  • julienne an onion — this included cutting and scraping every single peel until they were all of uniform depth
  • small dice a large baking potato

…in forty five minutes. Needless to say, I did not make it happen. I dropped so many things from nervousness that at one point the chefs probably wondered if I thought the task at hand was actually to decorate the floor with organic matter. The whole exercise was a scary wake up call that I need to practice more seriously at home.

In addition to writing my recipes for tomorrow, I have to find an economical place to get my knives sharpened. I also have to buy an outfit for when I work front of house, find and write recipes, organize my binder, and learn how to tie a tie. Somehow I’m 31 an still have no idea how to do that. (We have to wear a tie when we’re working front of house.)

It was just plain scary, although I feel sure that I will learn more in this class than in any other.

While I was sweating nervous bullets at class, Abe was home having an Elsa dress dance party with the girls.

IMG_0821IMG_0819 IMG_0825

Ear wax removal

I had the worst cramps today that I can remember since adolescence, so every spare moment I had I spent out of commission. However, in the not-so-spare moments, I fed children, read to children, chauffeured children, took children to the library, cooked dinner, and cleaned the same rooms over and over again.

In the late afternoon, Lydia threw two tantrums and then said her ear hurt. Since I’ve known her ears have been chock full of wax for almost a year (I  have tried ear drops and other stuff to no avail), I immediately suspected there was an ear infection behind the wax. I decided to let Abe take her to the doctor because a) we don’t have a pediatrician yet and had to go to Instacare b) I called Instacare and they were really busy c) Mary was napping and I couldn’t see myself taking a sleep-deprived two year old and a sick three year old to a busy Instacare together.

Abe dutifully took Lydia to Instacare where they stayed for the next two hours. Lydia’s ears were so full of wax they had to flush them to diagnose her, and flushing took a long time. Both ears are now squeaky clean, and to our utter shock, Lydia was perfect the whole time. When I try to clean her ears at home, she screams and throws hysterical fits. At the Instacare, she was a perfect angel and did everything the nurse instructed without any resistance at all. I am so proud of her…although I suspect, since she did so well with the nurse, that must be the problem at home.

That’s disheartening. On the other hand, I was very heartened to see the wax specimens. I begged Abe to bring them home so I could see them because I have a weird fascination with ear wax, and it was soooooo satisfying to see that all of that gunk is now really and truly out of her poor ears.

Anyway, everyone finally ate dinner at 9 pm, and the girls finally made it to bed by 11 pm. I hope and pray they sleep in to 11 am tomorrow.

Here are the pictures:

At Instacare.

At Instacare.

IMG_0503

Mary stayed home with me and pretended that she was at the doctor with Lydia. She loved getting her ears cleaned and asked me to clean her ears again and again. Finally she just danced and ran around the house for an hour straight and demanded that I take pictures of her. I complied.

Mary stayed home with me and pretended that she was at the doctor with Lydia. She loved getting her ears cleaned and asked me to clean her ears again and again. Finally she just danced and ran around the house for an hour straight and demanded that I take pictures of her. I complied.

Lydia got two tokens for prizes since was so perfect for the nurse. One of the tokens won her a ring, which she proudly placed on her ring finger.

Lydia got two tokens for prizes since was so perfect for the nurse. One of the tokens won her a ring, which she proudly placed on her ring finger.

A concert and The Nutcracker

Abe always supports my blogging, but yesterday we came home late from our date in Salt Lake, and he asked me not to blog because he was so tired and needed to go to bed. Of course, I couldn’t say no, but I felt bad, Grandma! I even took pictures yesterday too. Oh, well. I will post them today.

Yesterday we went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert with our friends, Mike and Paige. We went out to dinner first at our favorite restaurant, Ichiban. Abe and I had two Amazon local deals for the restaurant, and we want to still use them even though we’ve moved away. Anyway, after dinner we parked a couple blocks away from the Conference Center and sprinted the whole way to the concert. We made it just in time!

Every year the choir hosts special guests for its concert, and this year it collaborated with PBS to host the muppets. It was such a fun concert. Santino Fontana (the voice of Prince Hans in Frozen) was also featured, and he did one of the best Luke 2 readings I have ever heard. It was a great evening.

And our next door neighbor turned out to be a terrific babysitter! Not only do the girls love her, but she cleaned the house too. I remember cleaning every house I ever babysat in, but so far we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that babysitters these days (fogey-phrase alert!!) leave messes. We’ll have to see if she makes cleaning a habit, but if she does, in my book, she deserves a pretty immediate raise. What a star.

Today I looked online and realized that the Utah Regional Ballet had a matinee performance of The Nutcracker. We were listening to the classical radio station earlier this week when The Nutcracker came on, and I narrated the events and attempted to demonstrate what the Russian dance looked like (that part was hilarious, let me assure you). Ever since Lydia has developed a minor obsession with The Nutrcracker, and so I knew she’d enjoy the performance.

It turned out that taking Lydia to the ballet was both of our dreams come true. I have always daydreamed about taking my kids to arts performances with me, and today that daydream was fulfilled. I felt like I was floating slightly while walking around the theater hand-in-hand with my sweet, excited three year old. When I took her out of the car to go in the theater, Lydia said, “Mama, I’m so excited to see The Nutcracker! Are you excited too?” And then, upon entering the theater: “Mama, this is so fun.” Melt away, my heart. I was in heaven.

Or at least I was in heaven for the first hour and a half. The last half hour was slightly trying because Lydia has been sick, and when she’s sick she gets tired easily. When she’s tired, her behavior becomes very difficult to manage. So I spent the last thirty minutes trying to convince her not to dance in the back of the theater and not to wander up and down the stairs in the balcony. Once I explained that we needed to be respectful of how hard the dancers had worked, she settled into my lap and didn’t struggle anymore. I should have tried explaining (as opposed to cajoling) earlier.

Anyway, here are the pictures from yesterday and today:

Yesterday

IMG_0477

Mary has been going through a phase where she tucks all of her stuffed animals in with a blanket and a binky each.
Very excited to cover another animal with a blanket.

Very excited to cover another animal with a blanket.

Lydia has been going through a phase where she "bakes" for upwards of an hour on end. She just takes random spices, pours a generous amount of honey in with them, and stirs.

Lydia has been going through a phase where she “bakes” for upwards of an hour on end. She just takes random spices, pours a generous amount of honey in with them, and stirs.

 

Lydia's concoction. She actually ate it with peas. I was scared to try it.

Lydia’s concoction. She actually ate it with peas. I was scared to try it.

Cute.

Cute.

This image perfectly captures the mood each of these girls has been in for the past week. Lydia has gone days without smiling at all (although today she smiled at least three times at The Nutcracker), and Mary can't wipe the grin off her face.

This image perfectly captures the mood each of these girls has been in for the past week. Lydia has gone days without smiling at all (although today she smiled at least three times at The Nutcracker), and Mary can’t wipe the grin off her face.

I raked for a couple hours yesterday. It's going to snow today, so at least the front yard won't have a foot of leaves decomposing under the snow.

I raked for a couple hours yesterday. It’s going to snow today, so at least the front yard won’t have a foot of leaves decomposing under the snow.

After the concert, we went through Temple Square to get back to our car.

After the concert, we went through Temple Square to get back to our car. I definitely did not need that coat, but I figured wearing it was easier than carrying it.

Today’s picture

Before our Mama-daughter date today.

Before our Mama-daughter date today.

Sabbath rest

Today was our last day in our ward. After church, we hung around the house and just rested from all of the packing commotion from yesterday. We watched some scripture videos, read some books, ate some Trader Joe’s food (our fare until post move because my kitchen is PACKED), and napped.

Abe snapped a picture for the blog.

IMG_0299Also, I found two new death records for my family history today! One if for my paternal grandmother, and the other is for my paternal great-grandfather. It was very exciting!

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

IMG_9763

IMG_9783

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:

IMG_9851 IMG_9849 IMG_9848 IMG_9845 IMG_9846 IMG_9843 IMG_9841

Abe explaining the game of Tag to the girls.

Abe explaining the game of tag to the girls.

date night

Today started off with breakfast and a play date with Misty. I harbor fond hopes that someday Mary and Max will get married, and they were so cute and played ball together.

IMG_9470After Misty left, I took the girls to the basement to paint while I did the treadmill.

IMG_9474

At five minutes and forty seconds in, Mary proceeded to spill green paint all over the basement carpet. I spent the next hour scrubbing and vacuuming and scrubbing the paint some more.

Then I put Mary down for a nap, knocked out three homework assignments and cleaned up Lydia and the back room carpet after she peed all over the floor. Feeling harried, I downed a cup of cocoa while the girls watched Snow White, and then I joined them until Isabella came over.

Isabella babysat the girls while Abe and I went to dinner and a concert with Karin and Jay.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

Then we headed over to hear the Utah Chamber Artists perform a splendid concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were late, but we caught the end of the first half and all of the second half of the concert. The second half was the Utah premiere of Eriks Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection. My favorite part was the very end, where the chorus sings to the soprano, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she responds, “Sir, if thou has borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away.” The chorus then sings, “Mariam, Mariam, Mariam,” in a sweet, echoing refrain. The lights in the church went out as the soprano took up an alter candle and walked to the end of the church singing, “Rabboni, Rabboni, Rabboni.”

The concert is free, and I want to go again tomorrow, at least to hear the parts I missed tonight. We’ll see if that’s even logistically possible, but I really, really enjoyed it.

sep21pic3

 

preschool eve

So a quick recap of yesterday’s pictures:

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

After I came home, I found out about my friend’s baby. The rest of the day revolved around that. We did, however, go to the ward picnic. Abe stayed with the girls while I went to the hospital. He only took one picture:

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Apparently, there was a magician there who did tricks. It turns out that one of the desires of Lydia’s three year old heart was to get chosen for the tricks…but she never raised her hand. I bet she’ll learn that skill in preschool.

Today I leaped out of bed to send off a bunch of emails coordinating help and visits for my friend and do homework. By the time the girls were done with breakfast, it was past 10 am. We’ll have to adjust our schedules tomorrow; Lydia has to be AT school by 8:45!

After breakfast, I went for a quick run, took a shower, and worked on some laundry. I fed the girls lunch, practiced piano, played pretend with Lydia, and then Misty came over for a play date! Misty and her kids never fail to make me happy.

IMG_9270I skipped school today, but Isabella came over at the same time so I could go to the hospital. My friend has had trouble delivering her baby, and it probably won’t come until the wee hours of the morning. Please pray for her and her family.

Then I came home, caught the tail end of dinner, and took the girls and Isabella out for ice cream to lift our spirits.

IMG_9271 IMG_9272

Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn't do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Then it was home. While we were at ice cream, Abe was out doing Elder’s Quorum visits. He got home before us and cleaned the house in time for our arrival. He was very excited to try our new steam cleaner on the kitchen floor. We feel enthused about that purchase.

I better get to bed because I am expecting to run to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Better get some sleep.

A train. Some meetings and meat. Disney land gifts.

I am still loving the train, but it puts me on a very early schedule so I will be brief.

My day went super well today.  It included a lot of productivity and a two and a half hour internal meeting followed by another hour long internal meeting.  Yay meetings!

On my way home, Lily said something that made me feel really nostalgic.  She was at school and she said she missed seeing me.  I always used to meet her at school and pick up the kids on my way home from work.  Now that we have babysitters and I take frontrunner, we no longer make the exchange.  I miss it too.  It was so nice to see her, even if just for five minutes.  I realize I will literally go the whole day today without seeing her, sigh.

As far as Lily’s day today, this is what I have been able to piece together:

She thought Mary’s binky was missing, but found it just in the nick of time for her nap. She went to yoga while Isabella babysat.  She spent some time working on things for her calling.  She did all the usual, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and intervening when Lydia and Mary fight etc.  Lily and I have both noticed a huge increase in Mary and Lydia’s engagement with each other.  This goes for both positive and negative interaction.  They are playing much more together and they really engage with each other.  They also fight more and more intensely.  Ahh, the life of siblings 🙂

After work I went to Costco with the girls to pick up a flank steak Lily requested.  I bought it with a gift card that I redeemed from my Red Lion Hotel points. At Costco, I got a call from my dad who said that Suzanne had some gifts from Disney Land for the girls and he asked the best way for us to meet up.  I said I would stop by and so I did.

Lydia got a sleeping beauty music box, which she loves and Mary got a book, a Sophia the first tambourine and a glow wand.  They both also got boxes of disney cookies.  I was so touched at how they thought specifically to bring things back to the girls. Thanks dad and Suzanne!

Pictures!IMG_8905 IMG_8906 20140730_210305 20140730_210322 20140730_201414 20140730_203437 20140730_203439

 

July 3

Kate showed up at 8:30 so I could make it to 9 am yoga this morning. I think I might have pushed it too hard in yoga because for the rest of the day I just dragged. For example, at one point I dumped all the laundry on the floor in the girls room with every intention of sorting and folding…and instead, I just sat there playing with and reading to the girls. I finally got around to the laundry at bedtime. Six hours later.

In the interim, Abe came home and we did errands. We had what felt like social hour at the grocery store. We ran into Abe’s old friend, Abe’s first grade teacher, my visiting teacher, and the mother of some of the kids in Primary who gave talks last Sunday.

Blueberries outside of Sprouts.

Blueberries outside of Sprouts.

The girls rode this ancient merry-go-round outside of Rite Aid for a quarter. Might as well have been Disneyland--they loved it.

The girls rode this ancient merry-go-round outside of Rite Aid for a quarter. Might as well have been Disneyland–they loved it.

jul3pic1

Then we came home and had s’mores for dinner, much to Abe’s chagrin. But I pointed out the girls had eaten a ton of raw snap peas before our errands, and they’d had a ton of berries and crackers on our outing. I couldn’t picture them eating much more substantial food, plus I couldn’t wait for s’mores. We were supposed to go camping tonight, and when the reservations didn’t work out, the one thing I was sad about was the prospect of missing out on s’mores. The electric coils on our stove top were a fine–superior, even–substitute.

Lydia was our official s'more smusher. She smushed the graham crackers together after I slid the marshmallows in between.

Lydia was our official s’more smusher. She smushed the graham crackers together after I slid the marshmallows in between.

IMG_8593

Mary wasn't interested in s'mores. She got really excited about her ice water, though.

Mary wasn’t interested in s’mores. She got really excited about her ice water, though.

 

Lydia has had nosebleeds in the middle of the night two nights in a row. Her bed is right over an air conditioning duct, and I wonder if that’s why. At any rate, Abe and I are exhausted and hoping she doesn’t have one tonight. It’s a little hard to drag ourselves out of bed, clean the blood and start a load of laundry at 3 am every night.  I’d love it if we could break the habit tonight.

And a fireworks show just started in the valley. It’s so exciting to be able to watch from my desk–time to wrap this up!

Discouraged by organized

I felt kind of discouraged today. I’ve been keeping track, and I went on antibiotics at the end of April/beginning of May because I had had a stuffy nose since January. After barely a month of reprieve, it feels like my sinus infection is back for good. I am trying not to feel depressed, especially since I know as trials go, this is pretty minor.

Abe didn’t have a great day either, and his allergies are hitting pretty hard.

I baked muffins with Lydia this morning and then it felt like we spent a lot of time eating outside at various times throughout the day. In the afternoon, Lydia begged to paint, so I took the girls to the basement so Lydia could paint. After that, I collapsed on the couch with the girls and watched Peter Rabbit until Abe came home–an hour early! Hooray!

We foraged for dinner and I disappeared to the basement to iron and get laundry done. When I emerged, I found Lydia sulking in her room after her seventh tantrum today (I counted), Mary playing with her binkies in her pack’n play, and Abe passed out on the floor. He mumbled that he’d hit a wall, and I took that as my cue to lie down (again) until we all decided it was time to do something with our lives.

Abe and I spent the rest of the evening organizing the girls’ clothes and sorting old/seasonally-inappropriate clothing into bins. We have been on an organizing kick lately, and it felt sooooooooo good to have that done.

When that project was done, it was already 9:40pm, and so we thought it wise to send our tired children to bed.

After Fablehaven, I am in the mood to get addicted to something again, so I think we’re going to watch Downtown Abbey now. I’ve never watched it and am really excited.

Here are a few pictures I took of Mary encroaching on Lydia’s territory:

IMG_8152 IMG_8155 IMG_8153