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!

IMG_9804 IMG_9813 IMG_9814IMG_9797IMG_9800IMG_9815 IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9817And hand holding:

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.

Industrious, laziness, friend and family-liness

After I steam cleaned and vacuumed all of the floors this morning, I figured I had earned a vacation for the rest of the day, so I finished The Mists of Avalon. I’m glad I got through it, but I’m also glad I’m done! That fictional world was a little too crazy for me, and I’m glad to be firmly back in my own paradigm.

In the late afternoon, Lydia asked me when I was going to “wake up” since I had been reading in bed for hours. I decided I could read just as well outside, so that’s where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

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The Andersons invited us over for dinner, which was wonderful because I was busy reading and hadn’t prepared a thing.

Lydia was tired. When we unloaded her from the car, she curled up on the grass and tried to go to sleep.

Lydia was tired. When we unloaded her from the car, she curled up on the grass and tried to go to sleep.

Paige made delicious pizza. I was carsick from reading in the car and didn't think I was hungry, but this made me want to basically never stop eating.

Paige made delicious pizza. I was carsick from reading in the car and didn’t think I was hungry, but this made me want to basically never stop eating.

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Then we went to Tom and Suzanne’s for FHE. They read to the girls a ton, which the girls loved. Abe did another puppet show–he’s the best at those!

sep15pic1 sep15pic2Then Lydia begged to come home and go to bed. She has preschool tomorrow, so I was very amenable to her pleas.

She was falling asleep on the potty before bed.

She was falling asleep on the potty before bed.

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!!

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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Cleaning marathon

Aside from taking my girls to story time at the library and then going to the gym for a swim, I literally cleaned all day long. Well, I took a forty-five minute break to play the piano, and I fed the kids a couple times, but other than that, all I did today was clean (and bake cookies). I don’t think the house has ever been this clean, and I feel so happy! The only thing I wish I’d done is mop all the floors, but at least they’re all swept or vacuumed.

I have another final project to do tomorrow, and there’s nothing I hate more than doing school work in the middle of a mess. I anticipate highly enjoying my project tomorrow thanks to today’s efforts.

And, best of all, my friend Candace is coming in tonight and will stay the weekend with us! She got a mini-pass to the Alt Summit to hear Martha Stewart present. I was supposed to buy a pass and go too, but I never had my wallet with me when I was at the computer, and by the time I finally got around to it, the event was sold out. I was bummed. But at least the good news is that, as I mentioned before, I have a final project (and a final exam) tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I would fail both if I were going to see Martha too.

Here are today’s pictures:

The girls woke up and wanted to build a nest for themselves in their princess tent. They had a blast.

The girls woke up and wanted to build a nest for themselves in their princess tent. They had a blast.

I told Mary to say "Hi Mommy!" She opens her mouth pretty wide when she says "hi".

I told Mary to say “Hi Mommy!” She opens her mouth pretty wide when she says “hi”.

The girls were really affectionate with each other this morning.

The girls were really affectionate with each other this morning.

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Oops! (A tumble.)

Oops! (A tumble.)

We have gotten our money's worth out of this dress. Lydia wears it at every opportunity.

We have gotten our money’s worth out of this dress. Lydia wears it at every opportunity.

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Mary makes life pretty easy for everyone by putting herself in voluntary time-outs so she can have her binkies. She's only allowed to have them in her pack-n-play, so she spends a lot of time like this.

Mary makes life pretty easy for everyone by putting herself in voluntary time-outs so she can have her binkies. She’s only allowed to have them in her pack-n-play, so she spends a lot of time like this.

Also, I’m linking to my favorite Christian song of late. It’s called “Build Your Kingdom Here,” and this is what got me on the Christian rock kick.

Field trip

Misty scheduled a tour of the fire department today for our preschool group (the one I dropped out of). We joined in for the fun and then had a picnic in the park with everyone afterward. The firemen were so nice and let the kids sit in the fire truck, tour the fire house, and taught them about fighting fires. Lydia now wants to be a fireman when she grows up.

20140421_112650 20140421_112705 20140421_112743 20140421_113702 20140421_114829Then I went to school and made: vada pav (an Indian sandwich), a Southwestern turkey wrap, lamb pita, blackberry yogurt soup, chilled tomato soup, and fried veggie chips. There were a lot of dishes to wash…

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The other fantastic thing that happened today centered around the new book I’m reading. It’s entitled, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education. It’s basically the Bible for many homeschoolers, and everything I read made me want to home school. I just don’t know if I have the energy to do a good job of it. Also, I worry my kids won’t have friends. On the other hand, school can be a vicious place, and I still feel like I’m dealing with the aftermath of social trauma that happened at school. Maybe sparing my children the pains of that wouldn’t be a terrible thing. I’ll have to think a lot more about this, but this is the very first time I’ve ever remotely considered home school. There’s a lot to think about!

Sunshine, a somber note, and some snores

Today I cleaned the house for two hours, and then practiced a little bit. Paige and her kids came over for a play date, during which the girls colored outside, we got attacked by ants (accidentally sat on an ant hill on the lawn), ate some food and chatted a lot. It was wonderful to be outside in the sunshine. My soul felt so nourished after that. Oh! And we practiced a musical number for church, since Paige plays the violin. We’re not going to perform until mid-summer, but practicing was fun.

Then the girls had a short nap/quiet time while I lay on my bed and finished The Triple Package. As much as I enjoyed the book (and I enjoyed it a lot), the best part of that was having my window open and feeling the spring breeze. Having an open window makes my heart go pitter-patter with delight, and right now the sounds outside my (still) open window are making me so happy.

A more somber part of our day was the viewing for Grandma Darais. We headed to Provo for the evening viewing. I did love all the pictures and momentos from her life everywhere. I thought a lot on the drive back about what makes a meaningful life. Grandma Darais couldn’t have lived a better life, but since I just read The Triple Package, I had to consider that her life was very different from the type described in my book. Obviously, there are many ways to be a successful person, and the authors themselves admit up front that they take a crass, materialistic approach to defining success. “Success” for them means wealth, prestige and power derived from hyperactive achievement-oriented types.

As I drove home, I thought about both my grandma and Abe’s grandma and then concluded that the best way to measure the difference you made in the world is to count how many people love and feel loved by you. I guess there’s not a real way to know how many people your life has changed, but what I’m trying to say is that I prefer a definition of success that takes into account things that are hard to count–like love, compassion, and forgiveness. I also think that creating a home where people love to be makes a big difference in the world. As people remember Grandma Darais, almost everyone mentions her home and how wonderful it felt to be there. I loved being there, and I only visited a couple times. But I visited my grandma’s home many, many times, and that probably made more of an impression on me than any other home I’ve ever visited. The orderliness, the food, and the peaceful flow of activities inspires me daily.

Anyway, Grandma, since Lydia has been dominating the phone conversations of late, just know I’m in the background sending you my love. I love you so much. And, of course, you too Mom! Lydia talked a lot about how much she misses you after she hung up today. You two are the very best. We love you.

Oh, here’s a picture I took of Mary. I was trying to keep her awake so she would sleep through my shopping trip in the afternoon. A Methodist church in Sandy was having a huge consignment sale, and I wanted both girls to sleep in their strollers while I shopped. No such luck. She didn’t even make it through her second lunch. I tried to get a video of her snoring, but I got distracted, so all I have is this:

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What will be will be

This morning was beautiful outside, so I packed breakfast snacks and let the girls eat in the jogger while I took a two hour walk. We walked up to the part of City Creek Canyon where bright green clovers grow in the creek; ever since we’ve moved here, that’s what I look for every year to tell me it’s Spring. And wow, is it Spring! The clovers were lush, bright green, and much more abundant than I’ve ever seen them. Too bad I didn’t take my phone–I wish I could have taken a picture. The birds were chirping, the creek was gurgling, and that bright green clover made me really happy.

The sad part is that I have had shin splints for over a week, and the two hour walk (with a couple short jogs in the middle) exacerbated them to the point where I spent the rest of the day in a mild state of pain. Happily, on my walk home, I ran into Aria and Anique, both avid runners with lots of shin splint experience, and they gave me some tips. There’s hope!

Then I came home, cleaned the house, fed the girls, and gave Lydia a piano lesson. We make such little progress in these lessons that sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. But then I always conclude that it is worth it, just because Lydia and I get so much one-on-one time, and, if nothing else, Lydia is learning to sit and focus at the piano. At first I’d give her a treat when the lesson was done, but then I started to worry she’d confuse sugar with happiness, so now at the end of our lesson we take water breaks and read together. It’s my favorite part.

Then I finished my book, fed the girls, practiced the piano, and cleaned the house. Abe and I had planned on going to the temple tonight, but as soon as Abe brought the baby-sitter over, he checked his wallet and could not find his recommend. He searched for fifteen minutes and finally gave up. Truthfully, I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to going to the temple all day, and I almost suggested that I go by myself–but then I didn’t know what we’d say to the babysitter, who was already at our house. We ended up going to the Cheesecake Factory, since Abe’s mom gave him a gift card there a while back. When it came time to pay, Abe found his recommend behind his credit card. I guess it wasn’t meant to be a temple night, and even though I was initially disappointed, I always love talking to my husband, so it turned out okay.

The flash on the camera phone is BLINDING. Abe took a picture of me, but my lopsided squint in the face of the flash made me look inebriated, which I was not.

The flash on the camera phone is blinding. This is Abe enduring it. Abe took a picture of me, but my lopsided squint in the face of the flash made me look inebriated, which I was NOT.

grace

This morning I woke up and prayed a lot for strength to make it through the day. It seemed like there was a lot to do, and I was tired and a little overwhelmed. But I really felt God answering my prayer. I got most everything done on my to-do list, and I enjoyed doing it. It feels unusual, so I feel pretty confident there was divine intervention along the way.

The morning was filled with feeding children, cleaning, homework and practicing. At one point Mary was crying because she wanted my attention, so I picked her up and talked to her. I asked her if she wanted to read (vigorous head shake no), if she wanted to play with her bugaboos (slightly less vigorous head shake no) and if she wanted to play with her blocks (a little sound that sort of kind of sounded like “yes”). Hopeful that she wanted to play with blocks, I put her down.

Sure enough, off she toddled to her blocks and proceeded to play with them until Lydia announced that she loved Mary and wanted to play with her. This announcement was greeted with a squeal–nay, scream–of excitement, and the two of them spent the next half an hour playing happily together. I wanted nothing more than to watch, but I knew that would ruin the dynamic…and I had homework to do, so I just listened delightedly. When I was done with my homework, I sneaked into their room and caught a picture of them in play.

IMG_6381Then I folded laundry until our play date. I had scheduled a visiting teaching play date with my companion and visiting teachee, but I never informed our poor visiting teachee that the play date was at my house. I wanted to spare her the descent of five small children and two adults upon her home, but since I never relayed that intention, our play date included everyone but our visiting teachee and her daughter. Oops.

But here are the pictures from the play date:

IMG_6382 IMG_6385 IMG_6383Doesn’t Mary look a lot like those twins? They are a week younger than Mary, and the three of them look like they belong together.

Then I rushed off to cooking school. While I was learning about soups and eggs, Abe took the girls to a Thai restaurant in Lehi where they met up with Karin, Jay, and Jay’s kids to celebrate Jay’s birthday. Abe tells me the girls were perfectly behaved. I felt bad because I forgot they were going to do that, and I didn’t bother to put shoes on Mary when I loaded her into the car to go to school (where Abe and I meet and pass off the girls). She walked around the restaurant in her socks.

mary at restaurant lydia at restaurant jayOh, and at cooking school, my group decided to do our presentation on fried foods. I have never truly fried anything in my life (unless you count when the oil is barely a quarter inch deep), and I’m covering tempura. I just nodded and smiled like there’s nothing more in the world that I’d love more than to research and do tempura, but inside I was dying a little bit. But I do love to eat tempura, so maybe this won’t be so terrible…

Abe’s first day

Today was Abe’s first day at his new job! I wish I had more to report, but I haven’t seen or spoken to him much, since I went to class tonight and ever since I’ve been home he’s been running on the treadmill. We did have a quick conversation during one of my class breaks, though, and he was ecstatic about his new work environment. It seems like such a healthy, wonderful change for him.

In the meantime, I enjoyed his new schedule, because it means I now get up before the kids. It was really nice to read and shower and brush my teeth BEFORE the kids woke up. I also like getting up when it’s still dark out. There’s something cozy about that.

This morning I cleaned the whole house while Mary, who was in a don’t-put-me-down mood, cried most of the time. I fed her a couple times, and that helped a bit.

Class was also fantastic. I finally feel like it’s what I signed up to learn, and I learned so much tonight! For example, stock is not supposed to be salted. Who knew? We learned about a ton of stuff that I’d love to write down, except I hear Abe and want to hear about his new day. So, quickly:

By the time I took this photo, I'd already showered, dressed, and brushed my teeth. (This is AM.) Sadly, I was about six hours ahead of normal.

By the time I took this photo, I’d already showered, dressed, and brushed my teeth. (This is AM.) Sadly, I was about six hours ahead of normal.

While I was cleaning, the girls stopped tantruming for a couple minutes to watch Daniel Tiger together.

While I was cleaning, the girls stopped tantruming for a couple minutes to watch Daniel Tiger together.

When Abe was watching the girls tonight, he took this picture of Mary with the potty seat around her head.

When Abe was watching the girls tonight, he took this picture of Mary with the potty seat around her head.

Here's another one Abe took tonight. That's supposed to be a smile...

Here’s another one Abe took tonight.

Okay, now I get to hear the full scoop on Abe’s day!!!