Our last day of packing! (and house closing)

We are packing like crazy because we closed today on the house and the move is TOMORROW, but I just had to throw up some of these pictures from earlier. Ina stopped by with the girls’ Christmas presents. She is so sweet. We will miss her so much!

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Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Really quick: I had a conference with Lydia’s preschool teachers and one of the administrators today. My heart sunk as they told me she doesn’t participate unless directed. I’ve observed this trait in Lydia since infancy. In groups, she stands to the side and watches silently, and then she comes alive at home and tells you everything that happened as if she had been involved. But in the moment, she doesn’t participate.

I felt solely responsible for her lack of participation. I drove home feeling so guilty that she inherited my defunct genes that shut down in big group situations. I called Abe and confessed that my genetic contribution had messed up our kid, and he made me feel a lot better about it all.  He pointed out that Lydia’s problem is not lack of focus (which is what the administrator attributed it to), but just shyness. (Hi, Lily’s genes!). He pointed out that Lydia could sit at the piano for forty five minute stretches when she was just two (under her tyrannical mother’s command), and she can focus indefinitely on any given book. She does not, he emphasized, have ADD.

In the moment, I had totally forgotten that about Lydia! I just swallowed everything the teachers told me as Truth and left feeling so horrible and guilty. I thought my genetic contribution + my lack of restrictions on screen time = permanent damage to my three year old’s ability to succeed in school. I still could do better on screen time, but after talking to Abe, I don’t think Lydia has an actual attention problem. At least that is what I’m telling myself now.

Back to packing!

God vs. Genoise. Guess who won.

I had pictures of the food in class, but alas, they are on my phone, which is in the car.

This morning Marilyn came over again and we packed all of the paintings in the house. Then I ran to pick Rose up so we could go to Gourmandise for lunch. I have been dying to try their boeuf bourguignon, but they serve it on Wednesdays, and I am always there on days that don’t happen to be Wednesday. Today we scheduled our lunch specifically so that I could finally try it once before we move. It was delicious. One more thing to miss.

The girls were in a very happy, playful mood all day. I was grateful for that. All of their toys are packed, and so they have been having to use imagination. I think it has been good for them. Right now there are fabric scraps all around the house because I haven’t packed my fabric scrap bin. Why do I buy so many toys when cloth scraps and torn paper pieces seem to be every bit as stimulating? I have no idea. I suspect the answer lies in the match between over-eager consumerism and greedy corporate marketers.

At school today I had several near disasters, but today I had the presence of mind to actively pray over all of my food. Just when I thought my genoise was beyond hope, I offered a silent, extremely fervent prayer that the thing would brown fast. Two minutes later I pulled out a miraculously browned cake. Believe me, it was a miracle! My teammates both prayed over all of our food, too. My friend Ingrid looked at me when we were fearing for the fate of our icing and said, “Have no fear, my friend. God is with us.” How can things go too badly wrong with teammates who exercise faith like that? Unless the chef forces us apart, I am never switching out of my team.

I am so, so sorry I was neglectful on the pictures. I should have taken at least one on my outing with Rose. I will do better tomorrow!

Pie taste-off

While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to Trader Joe’s and picked up a pumpkin pie. All of my kitchen is 99% packed, so cooking or baking is out of the question. The girls are obsessed with The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and since we have read this book a million times in the last month, I decided that they needed to eat pumpkin pie.

As we were about to eat, the doorbell rang. Paige showed up with boxes, and since their timing was fortuitous, they joined us for pie and a play date. After the play date, we had nap time and quiet time.

After that, I decided that we needed to have a pie taste-off. Harmon’s was having a sale today, so I picked up another pie and headed to Paige’s house. We ended up staying there until bedtime. Paige made a delicious lasagna, and we all tried the second pie. Trader Joe’s was the clear winner, hands down. It’s also half the price, so once again I have cause to mourn that we will be so far away from Trader Joe’s in Orem. I hope we get one soon!

Here are some pictures from the play date:

Mary was pretending to sleep.

Mary was pretending to sleep.

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They were pretending it was sleepy time.

They were pretending it was sleepy time.

16 boxes closer.

Today I packed sixteen more boxes, with the help of Marilyn Brinton and Suzanne. Marilyn stopped by randomly this morning with boxes and told me she wanted to help me pack for an hour. She was a total answer to prayer–I was just about to take a nap after having packed only four boxes, but with her help, I packed five more. Then Suzanne stopped by this evening to help, and after her amazing efforts, we are sixteen boxes closer to being ready to move.

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

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They were really sweet all morning.

They were really sweet all morning.

Then we had a play date with Misty, and I got to see her basement in the final stages of being finished. It was very exciting, and also a little sad. I will miss this family so much!

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Sabbath rest

Today was our last day in our ward. After church, we hung around the house and just rested from all of the packing commotion from yesterday. We watched some scripture videos, read some books, ate some Trader Joe’s food (our fare until post move because my kitchen is PACKED), and napped.

Abe snapped a picture for the blog.

IMG_0299Also, I found two new death records for my family history today! One if for my paternal grandmother, and the other is for my paternal great-grandfather. It was very exciting!

The hows and whys and way-too-long ramblings of this move.

I forgot to tell a Lydia story from a couple days ago. We were driving to the new house with Olivia, Chelsea’s daughter. Lydia was telling Olivia her whole life story, and Olivia listened attentively and asked appropriate conversational questions. I was blown away by Olivia’s interpersonal skills, especially because Lydia’s Life Story lacked any sort of narrative arc and kept coming back to this theme:

“I have a Daddy, and he’s really, really tired when he comes home from work.”

“Is that why your mommy has to drive him in her car?” — Attentive, sweet Olivia. (I was driving.)

“Yes. My Daddy is always really tired.” –Lydia, who then pressed on in her strain of desultory conversation wherein Olivia somehow managed to meet her.

Rewind to two weeks ago. Abe and I were in the temple, and Abe sidled up to me in the last part of the endowment session and whispered to me to pray about moving by January first. I was totally blind sided because, bad wife that I am, I thought he loved his commute and was managing to do it all: Doubling his work quota! Elder’s quorum president! 100% engaged father (changes all diapers when home, plays more with the kids when he’s home than I do during the entire day I have with them, etc.)! Unfailingly patient and kind husband! AND A THREE + HOUR COMMUTE FIVE DAYS A WEEK!!!

Somehow, I failed to look outside of myself for the two seconds it would take anyone else to realize no one could do the above list, which Abe has been doing without complaint since January, and not feel exhausted and broken. So there I was, realizing that all this time Abe had been holding in the pain of bearing so many burdens while I traipsed along obliviously. I felt so bad.

So we talked about it, and we decided then and there to move. On Saturday we thought we would find another rental. On Sunday we decided to buy a house. On Monday I found our house (in three hours). Two days later we put in an offer in, a day later it was accepted, and today our financing was approved. Our closing date is Thursday (Abe is going to try to push it to Wednesday), and I have movers and appliances scheduled for delivery on Friday.

I guess in my attempt to make up for the fact that I let Abe suffer so long, I pushed this process into turbo-speed mode, and it has been a little bit of a whirlwind.

Add to that the fact that I have gotten only a couple hours of sleep a night ever since the process started because I am kept awake by vivid daydreams about our new yard. I imagine putting a hobbit hole, a trellis swing, a bounteous English cottage garden, a small orchard–espaliered fences included!–, and a thousand individual plants that I can’t wait to get in that ground. Many of the plants have a lot of sentimental value and are related to you and my memories of your garden, Grandma! Because of you I want gooseberry bushes, hollyhocks, and zinnias. Because of what Mom’s gardens I want peonies, wisteria, clematis, grape vines, lilacs, cosmos, day lilies. I also have a million other plants that I want but won’t list here for fear of boring the bejeebers out of my posterity, should they ever encounter this post. But needless to say, I can not sleep at night because I can actually see the flowers and vegetables in my head, and I get so excited that sleep becomes impossible.

Anyway, all those sleepless nights caught up with me today, and I crashed. I literally did nothing except feed my children and entertain them–from bed. I put on exercise pants at 7 pm when Abe came home and didn’t even bother to change anything else. But I did come to life at Abe’s arrival! I got some more boxes packed, and we both played a bunch with the kids.

Here are some pictures of the girls I took. I took one from bed, as you can probably discern from the weird angle and lighting.

Lydia played dress up with my sewing scraps and embroidery hoop. This is the picture I took from bed. Sad, I know.

Lydia played dress up with my sewing scraps and embroidery hoop. This is the picture I took from bed. Sad, I know.

Lydia lit the way downstairs for Mary with her night light.

Lydia lit the way downstairs for Mary with her night light.

Mary was apparently happy to be shown the way.

Mary was apparently happy to be shown the way.

appliance shopping (i.e., toddler temper tantrum displays galore!)

I forgot to take pictures today! Nothing of note happened, though. I did buy a new washer and dryer for the new house, but I couldn’t have taken any pictures on that outing. Mary was a screaming, crying mess because her nap time was approaching, and I honestly started to wonder if Lydia was possessed. The last couple times I have tried to do anything except shop for groceries or check out books in public, the girls go bananas and lose it. It got to the point where they were tearing Christmas ornaments off of trees–and breaking them. I felt incompetent, and in response, we went home and had nap time/quiet time for the rest of the day. I REM’ed slept so much that it’s 1 am and I’m fresh as a daisy.

Well, not really. Guess I better go to bed. Oh! Cooking school was fun, but for the last couple classes I have had to redo at least one, if not two dishes because I’m careless or impatient. Tonight I had to do my pastry cream twice, and since there wasn’t enough time to redo my pate choux, I’m redoing that first thing tomorrow.

Also, Abe got home! Yay! He had a really successful trip, and I’m really glad he’s back.

Sorry, one more P.P.S. in this disjointed post: I went to the dermatologist today. He confirmed that I had a bad outbreak of eczema because I’ve lost so much pigmentation in my arms. I basically have white polka-dot skin right now — I’m a walking, talking, Minnie Mouse dress! But in all seriousness, it was a good visit. He was very reassuring and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience.

Now I’m going to bed and think about all the plants I want to plant in my new yard. That’s my favorite daydream–maybe tonight, those thoughts will replace the horrible nightmares I had during my REM nap!

Veteran’s Day 2014

After preschool and quiet time, we took a trip to the veteran’s section of the Salt Lake Cemetery. We did this last year, and I remember how this activity made me feel more connected and grateful for all the service veterans have given for the country.

Today my heart felt full again as I tried to explain to the girls what it meant to be a veteran and to serve the country. We read the names on as many graves as we could. Actually, Mary gave us lots of opportunities to say names because she would pull flags off of graves and I would say, “Mary! Don’t do that! That’s Thomas Haley’s grave, and he fought in WWI. I’m sure he wants his flag back!” …In this fashion, we got to say a lot of names out loud.

At one point, Mary pulled a balloon off of one man’s grave and I said, “Mary! Someone put that there because they loved Anthony. How sad! Now he doesn’t have his balloon!”

With tears spilling out of the corners of her eyes and her voice wavering, Lydia said, “Mommy, can we go get another balloon so that man can have a bawoon (balloon) on his stone?” My heart was so moved. We headed straight to the car, and as I started to drive to the store to get a replacement balloon, Lydia said (again, with her eyes full of quiet tears and her voice quivering), “Mama, can we say a prayer so that Jesus can help us get the same balloon?” So we said a prayer, got replacement balloons, and returned to the cemetery.

After we replaced the missing balloons, Lydia recited the Pledge of Allegiance among the tombstones. It touched my heart. This day was just full of heart-warming moments.

With replacement balloons.

With replacement balloons.

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packing day

Considering Abe was gone, today was a really great day. I don’t know what it is, but I think I am more productive when I have to take care of everything myself. Either that, or I cook more when Abe is home, so I get fewer other tasks accomplished.

Anyway, today I had a lot of fun hanging out with the girls, doing errands, folding loads of laundry and packing a ton of boxes. I figured I would have a lot of time to watch a movie with the girls at the end of the day, but everything just flew by so fast I didn’t get to. In my book, that makes a good day.

Here are some pictures:

Lydia helped me pack!

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And the girls had a dance party while I packed (and paused to take pictures):

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baptism, more packing, and a wedding

This morning I took Mary to a baptism while Abe took Lydia to ballet. She was really good until after the actual baptism. While Peter’s dad was conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost on him, Mary lost it and I had to rush out of the room. She spent the next half hour literally running the halls and jumping up and down the flights of stairs in the church. When we got home, she took a four and a half hour nap. Guess that baptism wore her out!

Then I packed a bunch more. Our living room and dining room bookshelves are almost empty, a bunch of kitchen ware is packed, the dining room hutch is empty, and a couple paintings are bubble wrapped and ready to move. I only have to repeat this feat seven or eight more times, and we’ll be all set to move.

We had a minor scare trying to find a babysitter for this evening. I called every single babysitter I knew and even Abe’s parents, but it wasn’t until one of the people I called gave me a lead on a young woman in our ward that I’d never met before that I finally got someone lined up. That freed Abe and me up for a wedding reception.

We went to Cynthia Barlow’s wedding reception at La Caille (and you really need to click on the link to see what that means) and it was the first time Abe and I had ever been there. It was gorgeous. We should have taken pictures, but for most of the time I was enjoying visiting with my friend, Maria. She is so fun to be around, and some of her stories had Abe and me literally crying from laughter. One of my mission acquaintances happened to also be sitting at our table, and it’s always fun to bump into people like that. Overall, the reception was the highlight of our day.

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Flowers from the reception.

Flowers from the reception.

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While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box...and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.

While I packed, Lydia was outside with Abe collecting petals from all of the dying flowers in the garden. She meticulously collected each petal in this box…and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all. She carefully put them back in, one by one. This picture represents a good hour of her day.