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!

Cupcake competition, etc.

I am so exhausted I can barely function, but guess what? I won second place at the cupcake competition this morning! Since we had to use garlic, I made a garlic/chocolate gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a garlic/ginger/walnut brittle on top. In my humble opinion, the cupcake turned out delicious! Actually, everyone did a great job. The winner had been practicing her cupcake for over a month, so I think she deserved to win (although I secretly liked mine better). Here are everyone’s cupcakes:

Mine!

Mine! I used this recipe. I added blanched, minced garlic and ginger to the cupcake.  I can’t find the link I used for the brittle, but basically I found a garlic brittle recipe and added some ginger (both powdered and fresh, blanched and minced).

This is a chocolate garlic cupcake with hibiscus icing and an inside surprise of figs soaked in a port wine reduction.

This is a chocolate garlic cupcake with hibiscus icing and an inside surprise of figs soaked in a port wine reduction.

cornmeal cupcakes with saffron icing and avocado garnish.

cornmeal cupcakes with saffron icing and avocado garnish.

an ancho chile chocolate cupcake next to the winner, a basil cupcake soaked in a garlic simple syrup topped with blackberry icing, white chocolate and garlic brittle.

an ancho chile chocolate cupcake next to the winner, a basil cupcake soaked in a garlic simple syrup topped with blackberry icing, white chocolate and garlic brittle.

One of the cupcakes wasn't pictured, but it was a garlic chocolate mousse cupcake with a garlicky ganache. It was really garlicky, but very good!

One of the cupcakes wasn’t pictured, but it was a garlic chocolate mousse cupcake with a garlicky ganache. It was really garlicky, but very good!

The contenders ready for judgment.

The contenders ready for judgment.

Abe and the girls showed up at the end, but they didn’t let them in the kitchen. I gave them cupcakes to go outside and eat:

cupcake mary cupcake mary cupcake2 lydia eating cupcakeI won a James Beard Award winning cookbook on bread baking (can’t remember the title) and a bunch of things that I actually already own. But it was still so fun!

Here are the other activities of the day:

6 am Bikram Yoga; getting my mom’s car serviced/washed; errands at Target, the gas station, sprouts and Smith’s Garden Center; FHE; planting tomatoes as a family (almost all of the plants I planted earlier died from frost and, um, because I forgot to water them); cooking dinner; eating outside; cleaning the kitchen; bathing the girls; paying bills; tidying various parts of the house.

Here are the accompanying pictures:

Abe took a break from paying bills and played with Lydia. It was one of the happiest parts of his day.

Abe took a break from paying bills and played with Lydia. It was one of the happiest parts of his day.

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Planting tomatoes. Lydia went really nuts with the hose and basically gave the entire exterior of our house a big shower.

Planting tomatoes. Lydia went really nuts with the hose and basically gave the entire exterior of our house a big shower.

Abe and I have been trying to watch a movie for months. We are both so tired–but we’re determined to finally watch one. I think we might to either Saving Mr. Banks or Lincoln. (Whichever’s shorter??)

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Last night Abe and I watched the entire Salt Lake valley explode into fireworks from our bedroom window. It was beautiful! I remember having New Year’s on my mission (in Salt Lake) and wanting so badly to see the fireworks, and with that memory in mind, I enjoyed the luxury of watching the fireworks a little extra last night.

After Bikram this morning, I tried to make sure that I was heading into the new year with only positive connotations about everyone I know. To the best of my knowledge, I think I’m heading into the new year with happy and grateful feelings about all of my friends and acquaintances; if I had any official resolutions, the first would be to keep it that way all year long. If you’re in my life and reading this, know that you are appreciated, respected and loved. If you’re in my life and not reading this, then you’re still appreciated, respected and loved…and I’ll have to try to find ways of communicating that throughout this coming year.

Here are today’s pictures:

We took the girls to the playground today, since it was actually pretty nice out.

In their winter clothes, they made the jogger soooo heavy.

In their winter clothes, they made the jogger soooo heavy.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the playground, so Mary got some attention all to herself.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the playground, so Mary got some attention all to herself.

She loved going down the slide.

She loved going down the slide.

I loved cuddling her, but she was wriggling to get down and play some more.

I loved cuddling her, but she was wriggling to get down and play some more.

...and then Lydia woke up and bravely walked across the wobbly bridge. I love the way she cautiously holds on (an inherited trait from my side of the family).

…and then Lydia woke up and bravely walked across the wobbly bridge. I love the way she cautiously holds on (an inherited trait from my side of the family).

After dinner, Lydia was in a snuggly mood.

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We missed FHE on Monday, so we had it today. We acted out the walls of Jericho three times, and then Abe built a mountain out of pillows which the girls proceeded to repeatedly climb for the next thirty minutes.

Circling the "walls of Jericho."

Circling the “walls of Jericho.”

Mary was in heaven climbing this mountain of pillows. She’s a happy girl, but Abe remarked that he’s never seen her that happy…and we suspect she would have kept climbing for days–given the opportunity.

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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…