Natural consequence fail (and Maleficent)

Misty told me this morning that there was a reptile show at the library, so I decided to bring the kids. The only thing is, now that I am trying so hard to be the World’s Nicest Mom, I can’t figure out how to get Lydia to listen. I sat on the steps for half an hour repeating, “Lydia, honey/love/darling/sweetie-pie/babycakes/sugarpop, can you please put on your shoes?” Thirty-five minutes later, she finally complied, and we arrived to the library just in time to see people streaming out. We’d missed the show.

What a great opportunity for a natural consequence, I thought! “Lydia, honey, we missed the show because you wouldn’t listen to Mommy and put on your shoes. Isn’t that sad?”

“Well, Mommy, the reptiles are scary. I don’t want to see reptiles.”

Um, okay. I guess she won all around.

Playing blithely outside the library. No natural consequences, today!

Playing blithely outside the library. No natural consequences, today!

In all seriousness, though, I’d rather miss a million shows and feel powerless and frustrated than know that my daughter feels scared and shamed and sad, which is how I felt when I got yelled at on Wednesday. So Project World’s Nicest Mom continues, and I’ll just have to learn to be more creative and resourceful when it comes to teaching my kids to listen.

After the library, we came home for lunch and quiet time. Afterward, I played play-doh with Lydia for an hour and half while Mary slept on. (Mary took a four hour nap today. It made me nostalgic for times not-so-long-ago when that was just her norm.)

While playing play-doh, I called my mom. Mom, thanks so much for talking with me. I really needed to talk to you, and it was so great to feel loved and understood. Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you.

Anyway, after Mary woke up, we all went outside to pick tomatoes and play in the sprinkler. Mary doesn’t like to get dirty or wet (which character trait seems incongruous with her otherwise adventuresome spirit), but she’ll get wet if I hold her hand. Lydia held the hose and Mary and I raced through a couple times. After about three runs, Lydia asked if we wanted to get wet again. I hesitated, and Mary yelled, “Nooooo!!” We spent the rest of the time drying out in the sun.

In the meantime, Lydia, my little not-so-adventuresome child, loves to get wet and doesn’t seem to notice or care when she’s dirty. She was pretty happy.

IMG_8912 IMG_8913 IMG_8916 IMG_8922 IMG_8921

Distressed by her dirty hands.

Distressed by her dirty hands.

Gesturing emphatically that her hands are dirty. This is a problem, people!!

Gesturing emphatically that her hands are dirty. This is a problem, people!!

She also didn't appreciate getting her feet dirty. She wanted me to wash them off about twenty times--but not get any other part of her wet (except her hands, which she also wanted washed).

She also didn’t appreciate getting her feet dirty. She wanted me to wash them off about twenty times–but not get any other part of her wet (except her hands, which she also wanted washed).

OUT! (She wants out of the dirty garden.)

OUT! (She wants out of the dirty garden.)

IMG_8928

Where's the snow?

Where’s the snow?

IMG_8930 IMG_8925Abe and I also went on a date, tonight! We saw Maleficent. Mom, you would love this movie. I don’t know why, but I love it when movies make me cry. This one definitely did. I asked Abe to give this to me for Christmas–I can’t wait to watch it again!

Happy third birthday, Lydia!!!

IMG_6868

Happy birthday, Lydia!! We tried to make this the happiest, most fun day for Lydia we could think of. We started off by watching videos of when she was a baby while we cuddled and I told her how exciting it was to meet her this day three years ago. Abe headed downstairs to make pancakes with pureed strawberry syrup, which both girls had fun dipping their pancakes in.

marystrawberry

My mom went to the church to fulfill our cleaning assignment so we could have the morning with Lydia together. She is the most selfless person I know. We are so happy to have her here!

Then Lydia and I baked the other half of Lydia’s cake while Abe played with Mary.

lydiabirthday10

Abe did all the dishes while I read to the girls. Then my mom gave the girls matching dresses to wear for Lydia’s birthday. We took Mary’s off so she wouldn’t get it dirty climbing around the movie theater, but they played at home in their matching outfits (my heart pitter-pattering the whole time).

IMG_6878 IMG_6871

 

Lydia giving Mary a birthday kiss.

Lydia giving Mary a birthday kiss.

IMG_6887

When Abe and I were both finally dressed and ready to go, all of us (including my mom!) headed to the Gateway where we had Dairy Queens before going to Frozen. 

lydiabirthday1 lydiabirthday11

Tom joined us for the movie, and he was a great help when Mary escaped near the end and started climbing the stairs at the movie theater.

lydiabirthday2

After the movie, we played outside in the sunshine for a while and let the girls run around. Lydia loved twirling in one of the new dresses Nana gave her for her birthday.

lydiabirthday4 lydiabirthday7 lydiabirthday8

Then we headed to the library and read Lydia a book about birthdays. The protagonist was not only her favorite thing in the world–a cat–but she was wearing a startlingly similar dress to Lydia’s. Then we checked out some pink books in honor of her birthday and headed to the store to pick up some things before going home.

At home, we made frosting and assembled her yellow and strawberry cake. The strawberry turned gray when Lydia dumped in the sprinkles (THE essential ingredient of her cake, in her opinion).

IMG_6900

I basically injected pureed strawberries into a regular buttercream icing, and while the result was tasty, the texture left a LOT to be desired. Basically, it fell off of the cake. But Lydia didn’t care since the cake was pink and full of strawberries, and after dinner she enjoyed the whole song-candle-blowing-cake-and-ice-cream-eating process.IMG_6903 IMG_6907 IMG_6908

Pinterest fail. Maybe I'll learn how to make a successful, fresh, fruit icing when I take my baking and pastry classes.

Pinterest fail. Maybe I’ll learn how to make a successful, fresh, fruit icing when I take my baking and pastry classes.

Then Abe gave the girls baths and changed them into jammies before we opened presents.

Nana brushed their hair.

Nana brushed their hair.

IMG_6919

Eyeing presents.

Eyeing presents.

IMG_6922IMG_6923 IMG_6927

IMG_6934 IMG_6930IMG_6921

Mary was dying to wear a costume, too, so she got to wear this hand-me-down shirt from a family reunion we had years ago. It made her SO happy.

Mary was dying to wear a costume, too, so she got to wear this hand-me-down shirt from a family reunion we had years ago. It made her SO happy.

This diaper cover completed her look.

This diaper cover completed her look.

IMG_6952IMG_6955

For the last hour the girls have been playing with Lydia’s new presents, and right now Abe is trying to make sure they sleep in tomorrow by playing vigorous games of chase-and-throw-the-children.

Then Clark, Swathi, and Balu called from New York and wished Lydia a happy birthday. She relived her whole day in their conversation and kept repeating that she had a fun birthday. She especially loved telling them repeatedly about how the game of chase made her laugh and giggle.

I am beyond ready for bed, so I’m blogging early and will be retiring as soon as I hit publish (hopefully). Happy birthday, my sweet and beautiful Lydia!!!

IMG_6877 IMG_6876 IMG_6872 IMG_6870 IMG_6867

Early Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Well, it was for Abe and me. We celebrated early since babysitters are booked on Friday. Pre-date, the day was so relaxing. Lydia was exhausted from all the highs of yesterday and took an almost three hour nap. Mary slept too. Abe got home by 5:15 and we left on our six hour date right away–which just might be the longest date we’ve ever been on.

Here are the pictures from early in the day:

Mary dancing (before her outfit change post-messy meal).

Mary dancing (before her outfit change post-messy meal).

Playing.

Playing.

Playing "fish, fish, fish, fish, FREEZE!" We learned this game yesterday, and Mary especially loves putting her hands together and pretending to swim like a fish.

Playing “fish, fish, fish, fish, FREEZE!” We learned this game yesterday, and Mary especially loves putting her hands together and pretending to swim like a fish.

And from our date:

We went to a restaurant called Cedars of Lebanon. The food was amazing. I would love to work here (part time) and learn how to make that yummy food sometime down the road!

We went to a restaurant called Cedars of Lebanon. The food was amazing. I would love to work here (part time) and learn how to make that yummy food sometime down the road!

Our food.

Our food.

valentine2014 1Then we tried to go see Saving Mr. Banks, but it was only showing in Layton, and we were late. So we saw Catching Fire instead and have talked nothing but rebellion, revolution, and fantasy lit ever since.

A series of delightful events

Days like this make me wonder why every day can’t just be like today. Why can’t they? I can’t figure it out, but I’m really glad when days like this happen.

This morning Lydia crawled into bed with me and wanted the iPad. I trade the iPad for practice time reciting scriptures, and today I actually recorded her reciting her scripture.

Then we went to a Valentine’s day party at preschool:

mary at preschool audreyLydia spent the rest of the day going through the valentines from her friends over and over. She had so much fun.

Then I took the kids to Gateway for Dairy Queen Blizzards and some pizza:

lydia and shakeAgain, this part of the day made us all unreasonably happy.

Then I gathered my courage and took both girls to the movie, Frozen.

frozenThis was their first movie, and they loved it. Well, Mary spent most of the movie climbing up and down the stairs and running around the theater while I chased her. Thankfully, there was only one other family in the theater, and they had small kids too. At one point, Mary ran right under the huge screen just as a big boom from the movie rang out. She let out a delighted yelp and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her straight back to me.  She’s my little thrill seeker.

Then we came home and took naps. They napped so long that I didn’t have the heart to wake them in time for me to get to class, so I just read all of the class slides and did a bunch of homework instead.

The only low point was when I lost my temper at Lydia after dinner because she was screaming for cake. But that really was the only low point for Lydia and me, and the rest of the day was just a delightful series of fun events. I guess if this happened every day, I wouldn’t appreciate these good times the same way…but really, it would be so nice.

On top of it all, Abe got moved up into a track that positions him for the next round of promotions today, so honestly, every one of us had a great day.

Now it’s time for baths and bed. I think I even have time to read my book tonight. Yay!

Here are some more pictures from the day (mainly for Mom and Grandma!):

Talking with Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Talking with Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Lydia wanted them to see her cat's pink smile.

Lydia wanted them to see her cat’s pink smile.

She spent a lot of time trying to get them to see her cat.

She spent a lot of time trying to get them to see her cat.

Here's her cat's "pink" smile. He needs a bath...

Here’s her cat’s “pink” smile. He needs a bath…

I did Mary's hair while we were on the phone. Clearly, I need to focus more when I'm attempting pigtails.

I did Mary’s hair while we were on the phone. Clearly, I need to focus more when I’m attempting pigtails.

After naps. Trying to figure out the iPad

After naps. Trying to figure out the iPad

Because I don't understand the "less is more" principle when it comes to pictures of my kids.

Because I don’t understand the “less is more” principle when it comes to pictures of my kids.

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.

IMG_6050 IMG_6052 IMG_6043 IMG_6038

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…