God vs. Genoise. Guess who won.

I had pictures of the food in class, but alas, they are on my phone, which is in the car.

This morning Marilyn came over again and we packed all of the paintings in the house. Then I ran to pick Rose up so we could go to Gourmandise for lunch. I have been dying to try their boeuf bourguignon, but they serve it on Wednesdays, and I am always there on days that don’t happen to be Wednesday. Today we scheduled our lunch specifically so that I could finally try it once before we move. It was delicious. One more thing to miss.

The girls were in a very happy, playful mood all day. I was grateful for that. All of their toys are packed, and so they have been having to use imagination. I think it has been good for them. Right now there are fabric scraps all around the house because I haven’t packed my fabric scrap bin. Why do I buy so many toys when cloth scraps and torn paper pieces seem to be every bit as stimulating? I have no idea. I suspect the answer lies in the match between over-eager consumerism and greedy corporate marketers.

At school today I had several near disasters, but today I had the presence of mind to actively pray over all of my food. Just when I thought my genoise was beyond hope, I offered a silent, extremely fervent prayer that the thing would brown fast. Two minutes later I pulled out a miraculously browned cake. Believe me, it was a miracle! My teammates both prayed over all of our food, too. My friend Ingrid looked at me when we were fearing for the fate of our icing and said, “Have no fear, my friend. God is with us.” How can things go too badly wrong with teammates who exercise faith like that? Unless the chef forces us apart, I am never switching out of my team.

I am so, so sorry I was neglectful on the pictures. I should have taken at least one on my outing with Rose. I will do better tomorrow!

16 boxes closer.

Today I packed sixteen more boxes, with the help of Marilyn Brinton and Suzanne. Marilyn stopped by randomly this morning with boxes and told me she wanted to help me pack for an hour. She was a total answer to prayer–I was just about to take a nap after having packed only four boxes, but with her help, I packed five more. Then Suzanne stopped by this evening to help, and after her amazing efforts, we are sixteen boxes closer to being ready to move.

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

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They were really sweet all morning.

They were really sweet all morning.

Then we had a play date with Misty, and I got to see her basement in the final stages of being finished. It was very exciting, and also a little sad. I will miss this family so much!

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slow (my preferred speed) Wednesday

I really like laid back days, and today felt like one of those. We didn’t get up until after 8 am, which is always a plus. I worked out a little on the treadmill, fed the girls a bunch, did some errands, and then Abe and I had a temple date.

My camera is still in the shop, but here are some pictures I took on my phone before the date.

I did Isabella's hair because we finally had time. (Abe was stuck in traffic)

I did Isabella’s hair because we finally had time. (Abe was stuck in traffic)

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Isabella brought candy for the girls.

Isabella brought candy for the girls.

Mary was having fun on her bike.

Mary was having fun on her bike.

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Take-it-easy Wednesday

I took it easy today because my ankle is pretty swollen from all of Monday’s activities. Lydia and I did go outside and play for a bit during Mary’s nap, though:

IMG_9358 IMG_9357Then Lydia, Mary and I all squeezed into Lydia’s bed and rented 101 Dalmations (the live version) on Amazon. After that, it was practically time for cooking school. While I was at school, Isabella took some great pictures of the girls at her house (after Abe walked the girls and Isabella to her home):

sep3pic3 sep3pic2 sep3pic1 sep3 sep3pic4I did the best plating of my whole life in class tonight, but sadly, I didn’t get a picture! One of my classmates promised to send me his pictures (which, I think, show my plating), but those haven’t come to my inbox yet.

Our guests are staying one more night. Tomorrow will be a massive clean-up day. I better get to bed!

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!!

orientation, princess party, and caterpillars

This morning was orientation for Lydia’s preschool. I got so excited being there and seeing how easily Lydia fit into that new environment. I’m so happy she’ll have a chance to make new friends, learn new things, and thrive. She already has three little friends in her class, and she was so happy to be there that I felt very happy and hopeful about the school year.

After orientation, we came home for naps and quiet time. I watched a little of Lydia’s movie with her before taking my own nap.

After naps, we had a princess party. According to Lydia, everyone dresses up for princess parties. Mary and I were supposed to wave around some pictures she drew and sing words to a song Lydia made up. It was pretty fun.

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It's gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, "Pince!")

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It’s gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, “Pince!”).

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After "eating" them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After “eating” them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Lydia leading us in song.

Lydia leading us in song.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

We ended with a puppet show.

We ended with a puppet show.

After that, we ate a snack and I loaded the kids in the car to meet Rose for yoga. Abe met us in front of her condo and took the kids.

While Rose and I sweated it out, Abe met up with his mom for dinner at Cracker Barrel. Karin bought the girls toy caterpillars, and when I called them after yoga, they were ecstatic about them. They named the caterpillars Crusty and Doodle (Lydia did that) and tucked the caterpillars into bed next to their beds when bedtime rolled around.

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My new cleaning pal

This morning I took it slow. Other than getting a run in on the treadmill, I basically did nothing all morning (aside from keeping the girls alive).

Things picked up after quiet time, though. Lydia and I shucked corn, and I almost wilted in the heat. Afterward we retreated back into the house for a cooking, cleaning, and laundry marathon.

IMG_9169After Abe came home, we ate dinner and played a vigorous game of chase.

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Taking a break from chase.

Taking a break from chase.

Then we went to Target to buy this dreamy device:

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can't wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

Abe is downstairs duck taping the bag for our old vacuum. We don’t have replacement bags since it is over two decades old, and in order for my steamer to work, you need to follow up with a vacuum. Buying a new vacuum is next on our list. (Actually, we intended to buy a new vacuum today, but I got seduced by the steamer.)

All sorts of scary

Today I conducted in Primary again, and it was still uncomfortable. I talk in a kind of high, sing-song voice in front of groups, and I do this thing where my voice inflects pointedly up  at the end of each sentence. Maybe when I get more comfortable, I can start talking normally. Until then, they’ll just have to put up with me. Luckily, the children are sweet and haven’t seemed to notice.

We came home and Abe ran right back to Church for his second meeting. As soon as he came home,  ran off to visit teach. I love talking to Andrea so much that I returned home two and a half hours later. Oops. But we covered so many interesting topics! She thoroughly terrified me about Child Protective Services. Did you know that CPS workers are financially incentivized to take children away from parents? If you leave eight dishes  in your sink, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If they find a pair of soiled underpants anywhere in the house, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If your kids are playing outside and you are not actively watching them, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. CPS workers get bonuses for every child they take away, and they get bonuses when those children are adopted into new homes. To make it worse, the new foster parents get extra money if the children need medicine, so the average foster care child is on seven different medications.

She told me horror story after horror story. I could not believe my ears, but in the end, I sort of could. It’s a sad, sad day when parents who adore their children have to actively fear that the government will take their children away for no reason at all. Our government is so corrupt that it is financially incentivizing strangers to take my children away from me. How horrifying.

Last night after Abe went to bed, I watched Blackfish. My heart broke when they took the baby whales from their mothers. The shaking and crying of the mothers made me ill. (They didn’t talk about the babies’ response, but I assume it was equally horrible.) To think that our government not only allows that, but incentivizes that for people makes me totally crazy.

We basically scared ourselves silly talking about CPS, the Second Coming, and the Ebola outbreak. Two and a half hours later, I tore myself away and came home to find Abe and the girls playing outside. I made dinner and took some pictures before cleaning up.

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We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek's produce at dinner.

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek’s produce at dinner.

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And then Abe gave the girls a bath. They had fun with the bubbles.

IMG_9026And now I’m blogging.

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!

busy on the horizon

Today was a little crazy at church. Abe and I had a meeting with the stake president wherein Abe got a calling that will take a lot more time. I knew this meeting was coming, and secretly (or actually, not so secretly) I had been hoping Abe’s new calling would translate into a release from my new calling. I really miss going to Sunday School, and I’m slightly allergic to meetings that happen on any day other than Sunday. (Not activities, just meetings.) No such luck.

Anyway, the whole point of Sunday School is to make us better disciples, and disciples serve without complaint. So I guess Sunday School won’t avail me anything if I can’t learn to serve happily. That’s my current goal. Paragraph number one is a fantastic indicator of all the progress I’ve made on that goal.

I visit taught today for a couple hours, and when I came home, everyone was awake and playing on the lawn.

Lydia put on a puppet show behind the bush.

Lydia put on a puppet show behind the bush.

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Abe and I contemplated calling friends to come over, but we were still exhausted from Friday’s lack of sleep, so instead we just played with the kids all evening. We played, “Sleeping bunnies” for the better part of forty-five minutes, and Mary still couldn’t get enough. She jumps up and down like a pogo stick every time the bunnies wake up, and then she shouts “Gain!!” (Again!!). We acquiesced approximately one million times.

Then we played hide and seek. Originally, I intended to lie on the couch while Abe played hide and seek with the girls, but Abe begged me to play and told me I could hide on the bed. I took him at his word; almost all of my hiding spots included lounging under a blanket. It was actually really funny because even though I was hiding in plain view (albeit under a blanket), Lydia and Mary would come up and check all the spots around me and still not know where I was. It was so funny and cute. They eventually found me each time because I couldn’t help laughing when they were so near and yet so bewildered. 

We then spent the rest of the night reading to the kids and trying to work up energy to get the kids ready for bed. After we put them down, I read Abe a bunch of excerpts from, Carry on Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton. I loved the book, and we both got some great laughs from the excerpts.

Now we’re going to try to go to bed early to make-up for Friday.

Also, as a post script, this is absolutely the most beautiful summer I have ever experienced weather-wise. The weather here is gorgeous. I can’t get enough of the open windows. Yay, beautiful weather that makes life feel good even when my natural state is not quite there!!