Lazy, sleepy Sunday…

First of all, I fixed yesterday’s links, so that the scherzo is now public. Oopsy! Thanks, Mom and Grandma, for catching that. Also, apologies for how out of tune the piano is. It’s right by a huge single pane window, and the temperature changes may have just permanently damaged it. The upper register is especially unpleasant.

Today at church we made it through Sacrament without having to take the kids to the hall! Wonder should abound at this abnormality. Our strategy was basically to feed them junk food the entire time, and wow–it worked! The families surrounding us were probably aghast at the things our children were eating so early in the morning, but hey. I’m trusting in the good influence of church to ease judgment all around.

And that was basically the apex of our day. We spent the rest of the day sleeping, eating, and watching The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. We used it as an intro to understanding the atonement, although Lydia’s grasp of that concept still seems precarious–at best. Since C.S. Lewis was SO explicit in his analogy, our job of translating the story to Lydia was easy, but the hard part came when we tried to explain the concept of laying down innocent life to save the transgressor. No problem with the resurrection, though; the minute Aslan appeared again it was all cheers, smiles, and hooray.

After the girls went to bed, Abe and I finished off Prince Caspian (started yesterday) for good measure. We are movied/analogied out.

Here are today’s pictures:

This really should be in yesterday's blog, since I organized it yesterday. After the influx of Christmas books, I overhauled the bookshelf in the girls' room and moved a bunch of books to other parts of the house. This is the final product--I am SO proud.

This really should be in yesterday’s blog, since I organized it yesterday. After the influx of Christmas books, I overhauled the bookshelf in the girls’ room and moved a bunch of books to other parts of the house. This is the final product–I am SO proud.

Abe took pictures during our bedtime routine.

Abe took pictures during our bedtime routine. Mary had just finished brushing Lydia’s hair.

I got lots of snuggles tonight.

I got lots of snuggles tonight.

She also played with my lips...

She also played with my lips…

competition upload complete!

Thanks to the combined baby-sitting efforts of Tom, Suzanne, and my mom, Abe and I were able to sneak off to the temple this morning. Some of the women who worked in initiatories radiated so much light and intelligence that they reminded me of my mom, and then I got to thinking: How do I get from point A (who I am now) to point B (where my mom and these women are)? Maybe it’s a matter of time, experience, and perhaps more suffering. But maybe it’s also a matter of constant mental discipling; I need to consistently notice and replace any thoughts that don’t serve a compassionate or loving cause. That’s hard! But I really, really, really, really want to be a wiser, kinder person by the time I’m a grandma, so I figure no time like the present to get started.

On that note, I will refrain from stating all of the negative, self-critiquing commentary that bubbled up when I watched the videos I recorded tonight. My competition deadline is December 31st, so Abe helped me record some pieces tonight. I won’t even post the Brahams, because after watching it I realized I need to overhaul the whole piece…but here are the Chopin Scherzo no. 2 and the first movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto.

Also, today’s pictures:

I tried making zimsterne again for my grandma. My mom went back to Springfield this afternoon, so this was another early morning project...

I tried making zimsterne again for my grandma. My mom went back to Springfield this afternoon, so this was another early morning project…

My mom loves her new scarf from Karin and wanted me to take a picture in case Karin reads this entry.

My mom loves her new scarf from Karin and wanted me to take a picture.

Lydia loves being with her cat again.

Lydia loves being with her cat again.

She gets wistful when she thinks about his adventures and says, "I hope my cat stays with me!"

She gets wistful when she thinks about his adventures and says, “I hope my cat stays with me!”

She also dressed herself today.

She also dressed herself today.

More fun with Puss.

More fun with Puss.

Mary hugged me when I got back from the temple. Instead of hugging her back, I took advantage of the camera in my hands and got this instead.

Mary hugged me when I got back from the temple. Instead of hugging her back, I took advantage of the camera in my hands and got this instead.

While I was practicing before my recordings, Abe let Lydia wear this headlamp and be Dora the Exploreer. They explored the whole house and then did crafts in the dark.

While I was practicing before my recordings, Abe let Lydia wear this headlamp and be Dora the Exploreer. They explored the whole house and then did crafts in the dark.

day after Christmas

It’s past midnight and my desk chair is currently at the dining room table because we had another family dinner tonight (with Tom, Suzanne, Jere and David). My mom and I spent the morning swimming (we each did a mile!) and grocery shopping, and the rest of the afternoon I spent cooking. The whole house smells like fried shallots, and the after-smell isn’t that great. The smell is also stuck in my hair, which is unfortunate, since I can’t escape.

In other news, Abe and I are on a movie kick! We have more than doubled the movies we’ve seen together in the last two months. Tonight we saw The Hobbit. We were a little late and sat in the front row, but I liked that because it meant that all of the scary fighting scenes were so blurry that the scariness was significantly mitigated.

Anyway, my elbows and knees are going numb, so here are today’s pictures:

Abe and Lydia did an Insanity work-out together.

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I baked pears again. They are so easy! I just peeled them, put them in a buttered pan, sprinkled some cinnamon and allspice cloves on top, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then I poured some cream over them and baked for 20 more minutes. We paired these with Argentine Caramel ice cream, and voila! Yesterday's brunch food became today's dessert!

I baked pears again. They are so easy! I just peeled them, put them in a buttered pan, sprinkled some cinnamon and allspice cloves on top, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then I poured some cream over them and baked for 20 more minutes. We paired these with Argentine Caramel ice cream, and voila! Yesterday’s brunch food became today’s dessert!

After dinner, this is what we looked like. It's officially the day after Christmas.

After dinner, this is what we looked like. It’s officially the day after Christmas.

I stole Abe's chair.

I made space for myself next to my hubby.

Also, ever since the doctor told me to aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week, I have been keeping meticulous track. Today’s swim put me at 170 minutes. It is a testament to the horrific amount of sugar I intake that all this exercise manages to be consistently offset by my poor (but oh, so yummy) diet.

Another also: If anyone knows how to get fried-food smell out of your house, I need your knowledge! The last time I fried food in this house was last Thanksgiving when my friend, Jennifer, heroically stepped up to the plate and fried shallots for this green bean casserole. I’m scared of splatter, so I needed her help. I made it again today because I’d a) gathered my courage and b) totally forgotten the smelly side-effect of frying…

The Simmons and a prayer

We got to church over an hour late today…oops! Guess we stayed up too late last night.

During Sacrament meeting, Mary lay on the floor and cuddled Chester, a service dog. (His owner is our friend and gave us explicit, unsolicited permission.) Lydia, who is scared of dogs, interrupted the whole meeting by crying in a loud, terrified voice," Daddy!! Get May-wee! Chester is going to eat her!!"

During Sacrament meeting, Mary lay on the floor and cuddled Chester, a service dog. (His owner is our friend and gave us explicit, unsolicited permission.) Lydia, who is scared of dogs, interrupted the whole meeting by crying in a loud, terrified voice,” Daddy!! Get May-wee! Chester is going to eat her!!”

In other news, we caught up on sleep all afternoon, and then I cooked for the rest of the day. We had Balu, Fallon, Morgan, Audrey and Eli over for dinner. I made stuffed pumpkins again ($1 pumpkins at Sprouts right now!) and followed through with the actual kale-garlic mashed potatoes recipe that I didn’t quite finish last week. Last night I dried out spelt bread for the pumpkins. I think this time was the best go of the pumpkins yet; the quality of the bread makes SUCH a difference! In my ideal world, the next time I’d try this would be with brioche or challah…but let’s be serious. That type of bread wouldn’t last long enough to go stale in my house, so spelt might be as good as it gets.

Audrey and Lydia and Mary spent the evening running around the house playing with each other. It was so cute to see how Audrey and Lydia included Mary in their play and even became distressed when Mary would wander back to the grown-ups. Meanwhile, the grown-ups were going ga-ga over 23 pound, one-year old Eli (his 3 year old sister, Audrey, weighs a mere three pounds more than he). He kept flashing the table these adorable, mile-wide grins that melted us right down through the floor.

Balu was a great sport and endured another dinner conversation about parenting, Provo and potty-training, and he remained jovial through it all. We love him.

At bedtime, Lydia said the most beautiful prayer of her life. I have Balu, my mom, and Abe to corroborate what I’m recording, and I hope if I get any of it wrong or leave out parts, they’ll help me amend this post later. We did not help Lydia at all–this is just what was in her heart tonight.

“Fank-you (“thank-you”) that Balu and Nana could come over. Fank-you that Daddy could get a new job. Fank-you that May-wee and me can get a good sweep (sleep). Fank-you for Marian (Anderson, the African American opera singer from the 30’s). Fank-you for my new books. Fank-you that we can sleep in late. Fank-you for all of my bwessings (blessings). In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

I’m sure I’m leaving parts out because it was quite a long prayer, but that’s what I remember. At the end we were all so grateful for our sweet, grateful little girl.

Here are today’s pictures:

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After Mary's nap, we neglected to go to her right away. We then found Lydia by Mary's Pack 'n Play saying, "Ma-wee, are you awake sweet baby? Do you want to get out of your cwib?" It was very touching.

After Mary’s nap, we neglected to go to her right away. We then found Lydia by Mary’s Pack ‘n Play saying, “May-wee, are you awake sweet baby? Do you want to get out of your cwib?” It was very touching.