Bye, Mom :( …and celebration dinner!

This morning we took my mom to the airport. That’s the sad part. The good news is, she took a lot of pictures before she left!

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

sep30pic9

Mary posing for Nana

Mary posing for Nana

...and eating apples.

…and eating apples.

sep30pic6

Popovers, because I make them a lot.

Popovers, because I make them a lot.

The house the morning my mom left.

The house the morning my mom left.

On the way to school!

On the way to school!

sep30pic5It was sad to see my mom go, but Grandma, I am happy you get to have her. Love you both!

Today was the last day of the quarter, and so Abe surprised me and took me out for dinner and ice cream to celebrate this great quarter.

sep30 sep30pic1It was a great day! Now, tomorrow, if I can just find time to work off some of the food I ate today, tomorrow can be a great day too.

dinner prep

Today I basically spent the whole day preparing for my primary dinner with Judy Jardine, Lira French and her two kids. I decided to do something simple, but it ended up taking the entire day. While Lydia was at preschool, Mary and I shopped almost the whole time, although we managed to squeeze in story time at the library.

Mary loves to say, “Oh, nooooo!” during books, and during story time she went crazy with that expression. The librarians kept looking back at her and smiling because every time something bad happened in story time, she’d say, “Oh, noooo!” in her darling little voice. We were all enchanted.

Then we came home and I fed the girls lunch.  Afterward, Lydia and I made cake together.IMG_9439After Lydia and I made cake, Lydia played in the dining room until she fell asleep on the floor.

IMG_9442Grandma, she was wearing the attire she told you about on the phone the other day. She thinks those teething balls make a really great bracelet.

After dinner, I vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen, sanitized the upstairs bathroom, and polished all the hard floors downstairs.

I came upstairs to find the girls playing sweetly in the closet. Mary looked up, grinned at me and said, “Big mess!” She pulled down a small tower of toys as she said that.

"Big Mess!"

“Big Mess!”

Then Abe played chase with the girls to try to tire them out. They are still awake two hours later, so I kind of think we’ll have to try a more soothing approach in the future…

IMG_9445

 

Quota celebration…and Clark and Swathi are having a boy!!

First of all, the exciting new of the day: CLARK AND SWATHI ARE HAVING A BOY!!! We are so, so excited for them! I can’t wait to meet my very first nephew!!!! The rest of the day pales in comparison to their news.

Nevertheless…

This morning I took the girls to the library and then to the church nursery while I attended institute. Last week we kicked off institute with Tad Callister, the general Sunday School president of the church, giving a talk on the atonement. That was a tough act to follow, but today I really enjoyed the descendents of J. Reuben Clark (a member of the first presidency through three different prophets) talk about what he was like as a grandfather.

Our ward is kind of unique in that a whole lot of apostles and prophets have lived within the boundaries, and J. Reuben Clark was one of those. His children all lived in homes on the same block, so they had many memories of their grandfather. For example, President Clark’s first granddaughter couldn’t say, “Grandpa,” so she called him “Bum-Bum,” and the name stuck! That anecdote reminded me of Lydia. She couldn’t say “Grandpa” or “Grams” at first, so she just called Tom and Suzanne “Bapa” and “Baps.” That’s what the girls still call them today. I guess these nicknames stick.

Grandma, didn’t you get your nickname, “Tiss” because you couldn’t pronounce “Clarissa” when you were little? It also made me think of you!

Anyway, before we went on our outings, I took a picture of Mary climbing into her pack ‘n play. Since she can only have her binky in there, she often announces she’s tired and wants her nap, binkies, “amiwals”, and pack ‘n play. Then she climbs in, thus:

IMG_9432 IMG_9433She is getting a toddler bed Saturday.

Our babysitter forgot to come today, so I skipped class. It worked out fine because Abe and I decided to take the girls out for ice cream instead of eating dinner. His boss was so kind and personally bought him a gift card to Baskin Robbins to celebrate that Abe has already blown through his quota before the quarter even ended. Abe has worked so hard, and Lucas was so, so nice in demanding that he celebrate.

sep17…And then the ice cream made me think that I was hungry for dinner, so we went and got dinner afterward. Tonight was a little backwards.

Anyway, congratulations, Abe!

“We’re not at the circus, not at the pool…we’re at SCHOOL!”

Ever since Lydia started preschool, she has started to sing this song: “We’re not at the circus, not at the pool…we’re at SCHOOL!” I really like the song, and it plays through my mind at random times during the day. This morning I was changing Mary’s diaper and singing the song, and then it occurred to me: “…we’re at school…today is Thursday…OH MY GOSH, LYDIA HAS SCHOOL IN FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!”

Twenty five minutes later, I escorted my late preschooler to her class. Oops. Hopefully I’ll get this new schedule straight sooner or later.

While Lydia was at school, Mary and I went to the library to read down our fines.

Then we picked up Lydia and headed home. After I fed the girls, I proceeded to do nothing for the next three hours.

I took Mary to the bakery for a quiche "muffin" since we didn't have time for breakfast. I am on a three day juice cleanse, so it was kind of painful watching her eat. The only cheating today I did was taking one bite of her quiche and one bite of her chewed-up-and-spit-out bread crust (I didn't want it to mess up our newly cleaned van).

I took Mary to the bakery for a quiche “muffin” since we didn’t have time for breakfast. I am on a three day juice cleanse, so it was kind of painful watching her eat. The only cheating today I did was taking one bite of her quiche and one bite of her chewed-up-and-spit-out bread crust (I didn’t want it to mess up our newly cleaned van).

Running to the library

Running to the library

sep4pic2Then I called Paige. I needed help motivating myself to make dinner and clean the house, and we had parents night for Lydia and Ada’s preschool. Paige came over, did my laundry, and made me feel all around better.

Ada was building a pretend fire, which fascinated the other girls.

Ada was building a pretend fire, which fascinated the other girls.

Dinner

Dinner

IMG_9366 IMG_9367

IMG_9364

We had dinner after the hubbies got done with work and headed over to parents night. Since Paige and Michael so kindly shared their babysitter, it felt like a double date. Abe and I had so much fun, even if we thought some of the tips the school gave us on parenting were unrealistic. 

I am really not looking forward to another two days without food. Ugh. But this experiment will at least tell me some things I want to know, such as whether I have a hormonal imbalance or food allergies. I am excited for that info, so I suppose I can endure another two days without food…yikes! That feels so bleak.

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.

IMG_9271 IMG_9272

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.

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.

aug23pic8

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!!

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.

IMG_9191

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!

Germy conversations and an anti-racist FHE

I started off by giving the girls a bath because I couldn’t recall the last time we bathed them. They were starting to smell. Lately I’ve been trying to motivate Lydia to wash her hands, brush her teeth, and generally keep clean by dramatizing imagined conversations between germs and her body.

During her bath, she made me repeat over and over how she was drowning the icky germs, and throughout the day she kept asking me, “Mommy, what are my germs saying now?” At one point, right as I was relaying what her germs were saying to her body, she said, “Mom, gotta go, I need to brush my teeth!” (She’d already brushed them half an hour earlier, and she loved the idea of brushing all the germs off.)

After breakfast, the girls peeled and broke up bananas for banana swirl.

IMG_9180

Then I did my treadmill routine while the kids played and crafted in the very messy basement. (I cleaned it during quiet time today.)

IMG_9181 IMG_9183Then we had lunch, books, and quiet time. The picture taking resumed when Abe got home from work.

Abe loves taking pictures of these salads.

Abe loves taking pictures of these Nicoise salads. This was actually a great dinner to have after discussing germs all day. I got to tell Lydia about how all the nutrients in all the different veggies were scaring her germs by making her healthy and strong. She downed them with gusto.

aug18pic4 aug18pic2 aug18Then I had my Primary meeting, after which I came home and took a walk with Abe and the girls. We visited some of Abe’s home teachees who live up a couple blocks. On our way home, we met the nicest older couple, Bob and Becky. After chatting with them for the better part of twenty minutes, they offered us the bounty of their garden–a huge bagful of tomatoes! The girls were ecstatic. We came home, stripped off their shirts and had a tomato-gorging party.

After that, we had an anti-racist FHE. With all that’s been going on in Ferguson, I realized I need to actively start teaching anti-racism at home. Since Salt Lake is so homogeneous, especially where we live, the issue of race barely comes up. The only times Lydia has ever visited with any African Americans were 1) when my high school friend came and stayed with us two years ago 2) when my grad school friend came and stayed with us six months before that and 3) when one of my culinary school friends came over for dinner (she’s since moved). That’s it.

So we had our anti-racist FHE to at least start a conversation with her. We started simple:

1) God made us in all different colors, and he loves all of his children exactly the same. No one is better than anyone else because of skin color.

2) There are people in the world who think that people with different skin colors are bad. God doesn’t like that kind of thinking.

3) Abe read us this quote:
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. ”

Amen and good night.

An ideal morning (and class again)

This morning was PERFECT. If every morning could be like this one, I’d have it made! The kids slept in, so before I got them for breakfast, I had a chance to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, run two miles (on the treadmill in the basement), and take a shower. It was wonderful.

Then I fed the kids breakfast, after which Mary asked for a nap and Lydia asked for quiet time. Um, sure? I put them down and practiced for an hour before I got them up to go to Lydia’s swimming lesson. I spent the entire lesson chasing Mary outside. She loves being chased. Then it was lunch and more quiet time. I got another two hours of piano in, plus folded a load of laundry AND tidied/cleaned the house.

Then Lydia and I went outside for a nail painting party.

IMG_9059 IMG_9060 IMG_9061Then I fed the girls a snack before leaving for school.

I have so much anxiety before class these days. I basically spiritually crawl to the feet of Jesus the whole car ride to school and beg for help/strength to make it through class. So far, that tactic has served me well. Tonight went great. I made ratatouille, a fish dish, a sauce, escargot, and some vinaigrette.

My ratatouille and my teammate's mousse.

My ratatouille and my teammate’s mousse.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My sloppy plating of my teammate's pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

My sloppy plating of my teammate’s pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

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.

IMG_9023 IMG_9024 IMG_9025

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

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

IMG_9015 IMG_9017 IMG_9020

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

IMG_9026And now I’m blogging.