A hike, family history discoveries, and puff pastry

Today started off a little rocky, but then I decided at the last minute to get the girls ready for a play group hike to Ensign Peak. The hike turned our day around! Half way through my camera ran out of batteries, which was tragic since the best views come near the top (and the girls were cute too, of course). However, I did get some pictures in.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

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Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: "Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?" And when we would round a bend: " Oh, please be the top, please be the top."

Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: “Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?” And when we would round a bend: ” Oh, please be the top, please be the top.”

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We were late, so we didn’t join up with Paige, Aria and Ashley (the only moms who came) until we reached the top. On the way down, Ada and Lydia held hands the whole way.

Ada and Lydia both really wanted a play date, so we had one afterward. The girls have been really into making “baboon salad” lately. Don’t know where they got that from.

Also, one sweet thing I overheard today: Lydia and Mary were playing, and Mary couldn’t figure out how to turn on Lydia’s iPad. Lydia said, “Mary, let’s have a prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to turn on the iPad. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Then I listened closely to see if they got their prayer answered…and they did! I was one happy mother.

Another piece of great news is that I heard back from the Philippine Jesuits. My dad was a Jesuit priest for ten years before leaving the Society of Jesus, and I wanted to know more about his time there. I got a great email back this morning and hope to have even more questions answered soon. It was really wonderful to learn more about my dad.

In class tonight we made puff pastry from scratch. I have been dying to learn how to do this, and I was pleased to learn that it isn’t that hard. I don’t know if I’d do it regularly, but it certainly isn’t impossible to do at home. That was fun. We also did more muffins and worked on brioche and challah. Honestly, I think my challah recipe is better than the one we used in class, but any bread that even approximates challah is, in my opinion, eat-worthy.

Love you, Grandma!

Grandma, I am so sorry to hear that you went to the hospital today. The girls and I immediately stopped and said a prayer for you, and during dinner Lydia wouldn’t let me finish my prayer until I prayed for you. We love you and hope you don’t have to deal with pain. We love you so much!

I forgot to take pictures today, so Abe took a bunch before putting the girls to bed:

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Mary is now allowed to have her binkies in her toddler bed. She occasionally loses them underneath the bed, and she searches for them thus.

Mary is now allowed to have her binkies in her toddler bed. She occasionally loses them underneath the bed, and she searches for them thus.

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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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Post office, picnic, and FHE

Today I got up at 5:20 am, when Abe always gets up. Since I was awake early, I had time to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, do yoga, make popovers, shower and get the kids ready for the day.

Today Lydia had preschool, so Mary and I spent a lot of time walking around Sugar House. It was a beautiful morning, and the leaves are just barely starting to turn colors. We walked to the post office, Barnes and Noble, and the Sprage branch of the Salt Lake library. We also went to Tony Caputo’s to pick up some Dine O’ Round lunches for a picnic we had in the park with Jen, Natalie, Laddie, and Spencer. Sadly, Tony Caputo’s messed up my order–I discovered when we got to the park that my sandwiches were full of lunch meat. Gross. We skipped the sandwiches and just ate cake instead.

Jen was so fun and inspiring to talk to! She’s planning a bachelorette party for a friend, and she is really trying to make the party fun and appropriate. So tricky, but I was impressed with her efforts to keep the party elevated.

Then we came home and napped. After I woke up, I cooked for three hours. Abe came home and played with the girls while I finished cooking.

sep23pic5 sep23pic1 sep23 sep23pic4Then we had dinner (finally!), FHE and a treat.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl. Also, we realize she needs a haircut. Hopefully we’ll get around to that soon.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the "bread" of "Dear Heavenly Father" and "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our "sandwich" with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the “bread” of “Dear Heavenly Father” and “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our “sandwich” with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

And now Abe and I are going to finish The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We are both tired, so hopefully we can stay awake!

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.

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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.

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Zion trip and Labor Day

We decided to come back last night since we got everything done that we wanted in a shorter time than we anticipated. Sadly, my camera broke! Well, it’s not completely broken, but it won’t let me zoom in or out to take pictures. I will have to call Canon tomorrow and see if I need to send it in to them.

In the meantime, here’s what we did in Zion.

On the way to Zion we stopped at our favorite fast food place of all time--Dairy Queen!

On the way to Zion we stopped at our favorite fast food place of all time–Dairy Queen!

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While Abe and I were setting up the tent, we locked Mary in the van and let her walk around while Lydia slept. When we finished, we discovered she had piled Lydia's lap high with all sorts of presents.

While Abe and I were setting up the tent, we locked Mary in the van and let her walk around while Lydia slept. When we finished, we discovered she had piled Lydia’s lap high with all sorts of presents.

Hiking to the Narrows the next morning.

Hiking to the Narrows the next morning.

We stopped hiking at the part where you have to hike in the river. You should have special shoes and a walking stick for that part, and we only had one baby carrier. Maybe we'll try again when our kids are older.

We stopped hiking at the part where you have to hike in the river. You should have special shoes and a walking stick for that part, and we only had one baby carrier. Maybe we’ll try again when our kids are older.

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Lydia and Mary spent about an hour building a "castle" out of rocks and playing in the mud by the river.

Lydia and Mary spent about an hour building a “castle” out of rocks and playing in the mud by the river.

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I'm pretty sure those pants are ruined...but Lydia sure had fun ruining them!

I’m pretty sure those pants are ruined…but Lydia sure had fun ruining them!

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Abe was trying to fix the camera. I have no idea what I was doing with my arms.

Abe was trying to fix the camera. I have no idea what I was doing with my arms.

Zion is my favorite national park. The pictures don't do it justice, so I didn't really try. I did take a couple though as a futile exercise in trying to capture a bit of the majesty and splendor of the place.

Zion is my favorite national park. The pictures don’t do it justice, so I didn’t really try. I did take a couple though as a futile exercise in trying to capture a bit of the majesty and splendor of the place.

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Someone was tired after playing in the mud.

Someone was tired after playing in the mud.

Then we headed back to our campground, which had a pool. After a quick, cold swim, we packed up an headed home. We arrived just before midnight.

This morning we were so happy to be home and have a full day together. We started off by going for a run around the City Creek Canyon loop.

sep1On the way back home, we visited with Anique, Andrew and Fleur who were out in their beautiful yard.

Then I ran off to yoga while Abe took the girls to the park.

After that, we all had naps and quiet time, and now Abe and Lydia are cleaning out the very dirty van. We have a TON of errands to do, so I’m blogging now in anticipation of not having time tonight. If we do anything else fun or picture worthy, I’ll edit this post and add whatever pictures we take. If not, this is it, I guess! Happy Labor Day!

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.

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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.

Hives and corn

Last night Lydia crawled into bed with us again, and this morning I woke up before her. I turned over and noticed her face was covered in hives. Oh no! The rest of the morning was devoted to bribing her to let me wash them, giving her allergy medicine and going to the doctor. Neither of us even had time to eat until 1:30 pm. This is what she looked like:

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she's wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she’s wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

After we came home from the doctor, I fed Mary lunch, put her down for a nap, and went on a treadmill run while Lydia “crafted.” (That just means she cut paper. Cutting is her favorite “craft.”)

Then it was time for a blitz nap and another doctor appointment–this time for me. I scheduled a physical way back for points with my insurance company. My doctor ended up looking at Lydia, too, and his diagnosis was different than the pediatrician. I don’t know who to believe, so I am keeping her home from school tomorrow just in case. My heart is a little broken for Lydia, who has been looking forward to the first day of preschool…but I don’t want to take chances.

After my doctor appointment, I spent the next three hours cooking. Lydia napped while Mary and I shucked corn.IMG_9243 IMG_9245 IMG_9246

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We're not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We’re not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

Abe came home and took the girls on a run while I finished cooking. I was making enough corn chowder for 15 people. We’re going to eat the rest Thursday, when I have another Primary dinner party.

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After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia's preschool drop-off stickers.

After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia’s preschool drop-off stickers.

IMG_9257Then Abe taught another FHE lesson on Prayer. We started with a “fashion show” from the girls. That just means they twirl around and do “tricks.”

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Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for Heavenly Father. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for God. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe and I have a goal to get to bed early tonight. We never caught up on rest over the weekend, and both of us were feeling it today. Tomorrow I get my lab tests done and find out if I have an actual thyroid problem (I have all sorts of crazy symptoms. At this point, I hope it is my thyroid!). Night Night!

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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Baking/cooking marathon and Orderville is real

I spent an hour on the treadmill this morning, but the rest of the day revolved around food. I completely undid whatever good that treadmill pain did this morning. We didn’t leave the house because I spent the whole afternoon preparing for our dinner with the Deems and Shala (some teachers in the Primary).

Lydia helped me a little with the baking. We made Martha Stewart’s lemon poppy seed cake, which takes approximately a million steps to do correctly.

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In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In addition to making the cake (which involved: Two rounds of sifting, completing a 1-2-3 batter, whipping egg whites to fold into the batter, making lemon curd, refrigerating curd, whipping cream, whipping cream and curd together, cutting cake into layers, putting curd in between the layers, refrigerating layers + curd together, boiling a corn syrup mixture, mixing that with more whipped egg whites, and–finally–frosting the cake!), I also roasted some lamb that I got on sale at the Farmer’s Market last weekend, made three pounds of mashed potatoes (don’t ask why I thought we needed so many), steamed broccoli, roasted garlic, minced a ton of herbs from the garden, prepared mint water, and cleaned every area of the house the guests would see.

You would think the Queen of England was visiting! But actually, what really happened is that I was just in the mood to cook and bake all day. I found baking with Lydia to be both fun and stressful, and my resolve to not yell was tested and found lacking several times during that process. But even still, I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and everything turned out great (if I say so myself).

The best part, of course, was the actual visit. The Deems are in their late 70’s, and they’re still going strong. We found out their career revolved around a local lingerie chain that used to be the local equivalent of Victoria’s Secret. Shala was also full of interesting stories. She’s from Orderville, Utah. Prior to meeting Shala, I had always assumed Orderville was an LDS myth. It’s not! It was the town that managed to live the United Order longer than any other Mormon settlement, but the order fell apart when one young man from Orderville visited Salt Lake and bought a pair of pants that was different from what everyone else had. That was the start of the disintegration of the United Order. Prior to his Salt Lake visit, everyone wore the exact same style of overalls. After his visit, people wanted to start wearing different things, and it became impossible to live the United Order any longer.

Anyway, Abe is asleep, and so I better wrap this up. Mom, I’m going to get you Mary’s measurements soon. We had to put the kids to bed right after everyone left because Abe had to go do some Elder’s Quorum stuff–we didn’t have time to take her measurements. It was so great talking to you. Love you!