Another day in sequester

Aside from keeping the girls alive, getting Lydia to and from preschool, cleaning and cooking, I slept all day. Last night I barely slept at all because Mary got up a couple times and thenI couldn’t get back to bed because I am so excited about the move.

The girls were absolutely perfect today; Mary napped for four hours, and Lydia played next to me in the bed. When I woke up, I played with the girls for two hours. That was probably the highlight of my day. I guess I could have used the time to pack some more boxes, but it felt really fulfilling to just sit on the floor with them and be silly.

Here are the two pictures I have from today.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

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Wee Witches

This morning we went to Gardner Village for Wee Witches Weekend with the Pe’as and the Andersons. I have a ton of pictures, so without further ado:

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

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There was dancing!

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IMG_9822 IMG_9824And bubbles:

IMG_9832As we were leaving, I ran into one of my new friends from culinary school! It was a treat to see her and meet her beautiful children. Then Abe and I headed to the farmer’s market before coming home to crash.

After naps, we went on a bunch of errands. We bought enough chili for 200 people at Costco (Abe is in charge of the ward Trunk or Treat), checked books out from the library, grocery shopped, ate junky fast food, and played at the park:

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Abe explaining the game of Tag to the girls.

Abe explaining the game of tag to the girls.

Lice apocalypse

Oh my goodness, I haven’t blogged since Wednesday! Whoa. I have a lot of pictures from the missing days, but I am so sleep deprived right now that I can’t really recall the details of what happened. On Thursday we found out that Mary had lice, and basically my world ended right then. Since no salon cuts infested hair, I had to cut Mary’s hair off myself.

I given exactly one haircut in my life, and the person went straight to the salon afterward to get what I did fixed. My heart drops a little bit each time I look at my shorn little Mary.

So all I’ve done since The Bad News is comb out everyone’s hair with a nit comb a million times, wash every single piece of clothing, bedding, and any other loose material I can find in the house, and fold a TON of laundry. We listened to General Conference today, which was the bright spot in this sad time. Oh, and I had Abe give me a blessing yesterday, which also helped.

Here are some of the pictures I have (dating back to Thursday):

Lydia and Audrey holding hands on the play ground at preschool (they're the two little girls in white shirts). I spy on them before I pick Lydia up.

Lydia and Audrey holding hands on the play ground at preschool (they’re the two little girls in white shirts). I spy on them before I pick Lydia up.

On the way to the doctor's office, before I found out Mary had lice.

On the way to the doctor’s office, before I found out Mary had lice.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the doctor's.

Lydia fell asleep on the way to the doctor’s.

Lydia getting her hair cut. She didn't have lice.

Lydia getting her hair cut. She didn’t have lice, but we cut it anyway.

 

Abe took Friday off, which was a HUGE blessing considering all the work we had to do around the house. We took a break in the middle of  the day and took the girls to the park. I have a ton of pictures, but I'm having trouble sending them to my email. This one came through, though.

Abe took Friday off, which was a HUGE blessing considering all the work we had to do around the house. We took a break in the middle of the day and took the girls to the park. 

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I did get my camera fixed, though! Abe went crazy and took pictures during last night’s dinner to celebrate:

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Some of the laundry that we did. All of this is now folded and put away. This wasn't even all of it.

Some of the laundry that we did. All of this is now folded and put away. This wasn’t even all of it.

Mary was so exhausted after everything that she fell asleep like this.

Mary was so exhausted after everything that she fell asleep like this.

The rest of my pictures come from our outing to the park today:

You can see Lydia's new haircut. I actually LOVE Lydia's new hair, so that is a little consolation.

You can see Lydia’s new haircut. I actually LOVE Lydia’s new hair, so that is a little consolation.

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You can see what a terrible job I did on her bangs. No salon will fix it until two weeks after the treatment. :( ...But she's still adorable! Here she is giving me some pretend food she cooked up at the playground.

You can see what a terrible job I did on her bangs. No salon will fix it until two weeks after the treatment. 🙁 …But she’s still adorable! Here she is giving me some pretend food she cooked up at the playground.

organizing day

Today I stayed home and sanitized and organized all of the toys, children’s books, and children’s clothes in the house. It took all day. As the day wore on, I heard myself saying ridiculous things like, “Mary, put down that toy! I just organized that, and you can’t play with any of your toys until tomorrow!” …But, hours upon hours later, the toys are all disinfected and in their proper places, the books are sorted by color (ROYGBIV), and I have assessed the girls’ wardrobe situations (Mary = clothes galore, Lydia = one outfit away from naked. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!).

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than  that Lydia's hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than that Lydia’s hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

All the organized books made me want to read to Mary, so we did that for a while. Then I ate too many carbs and indulged in too much Apple Barn fudge (thanks, Mom!)…and then Abe came home and we had dinner. Thankfully, my mom is here and she makes the world’s best salads, so I had salad for dinner. My body was grateful.

Then we had FHE. My mom had the wonderful idea of cutting up a picture of Jesus holding a lamb into puzzle pieces. We hid the piece with the lamb, and the girls had to put the puzzle together and hunt down the missing piece. Abe then explained to them that just like Jesus loves the little lamb in the picture, He loves us. He explained that whenever we are lost or lonely, we can pray and feel comfort and peace.sep29pic12 sep29pic13 sep29pic11

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

That made her happy.

That made her happy.

The girls climbed across "Daddy Bridge."

The girls climbed across “Daddy Bridge.”

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Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

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Friends and Frozen under the stars

This morning I had a visit from my lovely former visiting teacher, Cierra Block. She moved to London a year ago, and she’s in town for a wedding. It was just like old times! We talked and talked…basically, I could talk to Cierra forever. I just love her. I woke up full of anxiety and struggled with that all day, so Cierra’s visit was a wonderful uplift out of that.

IMG_9278Then I just kind of puttered until it was time for our play date with Jen Pe’a and Natalie.

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Again, talking with Jen was basically balm to my soul. When I’m struggling with anxiety, nothing helps more than talking to a friend who I feel safe to be myself with.

Mary found and tried to eat lemons when we got home…

IMG_9280Then Abe, the kids, and I all headed out to see Frozen under the stars on the lawn outside of the Capitol. It was a gorgeous night, and the girls were enthralled. Mary is a little confused about stars, though. This is the second night that she’s looked up, pointed to the stars and cried, “Fishies! Blub blub!”  I explained that there are no fish in the sky and the stars go “twinkle twinkle.” Maybe after our camping trip it will sink in better.

Afterward, they had fun on the walk back to the car.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we're going camping tomorrow!

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we’re going camping tomorrow!

Our climber.

Our climber.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

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A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

Grandma, we’re going camping tomorrow and won’t be back until Monday. I don’t think I’ll have internet, but I will take a lot of pictures and post when we get back. I love you and think about you every day!!

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!!

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.

Canning with Chelsea

I had plans to work out this morning, but those dissipated in the face of housework.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It's a good situation.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It’s a good situation.

Last week Misty called me and told me she’d signed Sophia up for swim lessons, and that there were still empty spots left. I signed Lydia up immediately, and they had so much fun today at their first lesson.

aug3Then we came home, ate lunch, and headed down to Orem to visit my friend, Chelsea. The last time I saw Chelsea, she gave me the best salsa I’d ever had. When I told her how much I liked it, she said she’d teach me how to make it during her next canning session. She grew everything herself, and so she cans when all the salsa veggies are ripe. They were ripe today!

We had the BEST time. The whole drive down I felt so happy and excited to spend time with Chelsea. Abe and I talked about this on the way home, and there’s just something extra special about seeing a friend you’ve known in your pre-adult life. I don’t have any of those out here in Utah except for Chelsea, and I feel really happy whenever I get to spend time with her (not often enough).

If spending time with Chelsea weren’t enough, my eyes were also opened today about the possibilities of living in Orem. Chelsea lives exactly eight minutes from Abe’s work, so when he was done I picked him up and we went back to Chelsea and Derek’s house and had amazing Thai food for dinner. Chelsea and Derek loaded us up with canned and fresh produce, and we left feeling so happy, grateful, and blessed. I asked Abe how soon he thought we could sell our condo so we could buy a house near Chelsea and Derek…

Canning with Chelsea.

Canning with Chelsea.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

She finally settled on this number.

She finally settled on this number.

Mary and Carter.

Mary and Carter.

Lydia dismounting.

Lydia dismounting.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea's strawberry patch.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea’s strawberry patch.

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London and Olivia. London is a really, really child friendly dog.

London and Olivia. London is an exceptionally well-trained, child friendly dog.

Watching London interact with the children.

Watching London interact with the children.

It was cute.

It was cute.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

In front of Chelsea's AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit...basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

In front of Chelsea’s AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit…basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

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Afterward, we headed to the outlets to buy pajamas for Lydia. We’ve spent six months in denial about her pj situation, and it’s finally reached the point where we’ve come to admit: she needs new ones. She spends half the week in her 2T pjs which barely come past her knees. During out outing, we discovered princess pajama dresses. Whoever came up with that must have had Lydia and Mary in mind. I kind of think all the other pj’s we bought might not even get used now that wearing a princess dress to bed is an option. The girls fell asleep before we got home, so I’ll take pictures of the princess pj dress tomorrow.

super short

Mom and Grandma, I’m sorry that this is so short and doesn’t include the pictures we talked about on the phone today. We are babysitting some children who haven’t seen their mom since Wednesday, and it has been a little crazy. The poor little girl basically moaned “I want my mommy” over and over again until she finally fell asleep at midnight. Abe and I tried to comfort her, but to no avail. Lydia is currently awake because they’re all sleeping in the same room. I’m contemplating how I can sneak their window open since the air conditioner scared Harley (the little girl), so I had to turn it off.

Here’s the only picture we took today:

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Ode to Isabella

Abe and I have a lot to give thanks for today. He had a fantastic day at work and I had a wonderful day at home. Well, actually, I spent a lot of the time at yoga because Abe’s cousin is now on the babysitting market, and she charges the same rate as my gym childcare. Lydia has begged me to let Isabella babysit her, and even though I was initially hesitant because Isabella is slightly on the young side, I finally relented.

When I got home from yoga, not only was Mary peacefully napping, but Lydia and Isabella were happily chatting away in Lydia’s clean room. That’s right. Isabella and Lydia cleaned while I was at yoga. Isabella found her way to my heart strings today. I should have snapped more photos of Lydia hugging Isabella, which she did spontaneously and with great affection multiple times, but I was just too busy trying to do laundry and deep clean the house. Isabella hung out with us for the rest of the day, and when Mary got up, we all went to the pool for a little bit.

Then we came back home and ate dinner. Abe took the girls to buy a present for Sophia’s birthday party tomorrow, and I stayed home and “cleaned.” (I actually spent most of the time eating banana bread.)

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We held FHE when Abe and the girls returned. I gave a little lesson on the flag and then we drew pictures of the flag on Sophia’s wrapping paper.

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