Abe gets a new calling

Today Abe got sustained as the new Elder’s Quorum President. He will be wonderful, I’m sure. It will mean a lot less time home with family and a lot more time out doing visits and giving service, but this is how I feel: God gave me Abe. If God wants me to give some of Abe back to Him, I’m very happy to do that. As long as my husband is alive and healthy, God can have all the Abe he wants and I will just stand by and be grateful to be married to such a faith-filled man.

I had to conduct Primary today. Even though I’m supposedly a trained teacher, getting up in front of people is hard for me. The children were very nice, though. Josh Geiger, my visiting teachee’s son, was very nice and volunteered to say the opening prayer when I realized our scheduled child wasn’t there. He gave me a reassuring wink as he headed up to the stand, and that made me feel happy. I have an ally in Primary!

We were up until 1:30 am last night visiting with Jon and Shirley, and we enjoyed every second of that. It was so hard to stop chatting, but we finally decided to be responsible and say goodnight after two and a half hours flew by without us even realizing it. They stopped by again for a short visit after church and saw the girls. We are so grateful to have such wonderful friends in our lives.

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Mary was naughty and ran into the living room while I played the piano. She's not supposed to leave the kitchen while she's eating, and she gets a real thrill disobeying that rule.

Mary was naughty and ran into the living room while I played the piano. She’s not supposed to leave the kitchen while she’s eating, and she gets a real thrill disobeying that rule.

Abe reading a note from Jon and Shirley after they'd gone. They are the sweetest.
Abe reading a note from Jon and Shirley after they’d gone. They are the sweetest.

Sunday Dinner pics

Not much happened today. Mary made it through twenty minutes of nursery unattended, but for the rest of the time Abe and I traded off being there. In Sunday School we talked about the Exodus and the Passover, although the discussion turned into the whys and hows of suffering.

When I was trying to teach Lydia the 23rd Psalm, I looked up a discourse on youtube given by a Jewish rabbi explaining his interpretation of the psalm. He pointed out that the rod and the staff have different meanings; the rod is a correcter and the staff is a comforter, and yet both are said to “comfort me” in the psalm. I had always glossed over that line thinking that the rod and staff were just synonyms and the repetition was poetic. Anyway, ever since I watched that video, I have adopted the verse, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” as a mantra whenever I’m feeling upset by a given situation. It helps a lot, and that line came to mine when we were discussing the hows of suffering.

Abe taught a wonderful lesson on the Sacrament today, although I wasn’t there to witness it. He loves the new teaching style and says the trick is this: the less the teacher talks, the greater everyone seems to think the lesson went. When I passed by his room on my way to Relief Society, Abe was standing at the front silently while the class broke up into pairs to discuss a question he asked them. It sounded like a lot of active discussions were taking place, and that always spurs learning. The only thing I don’t like about Abe being an Elder’s Quorum teacher is that I never get to hear his lessons. I wish I could.

Our new home teachers came over to visit us after church, and it was great getting to know them better. One of them is a professional down tester. He says most of the down he tests is good quality, but he’s found sticks, cigarette butts, beaks, and bird feet in the down before. Yikes! Makes me want to buy synthetic pillows…

Then I made rolls and we went to Tom and Suzanne’s for dinner. I took a lot of pictures while we were there:

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And then these two that Abe took a couple days ago that I didn’t see until just now:

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A perfect Spring day

Really, it was. This day felt perfect. Having sunshine made all the difference! Even though Abe and I anticipated being zombies because we got so little sleep last night, both of us had great days. We credit God and the sunshine for that. That the girls were really quite adorable all day long helped too.

I got in: a walk to the library, baby book club with Misty, a nap, reading more in The Triple Package, a lot of homework, some ironing, a long walk with Abe and the girls, Bikram yoga, cooking a veggie phyllo roll, picking up the house, doing laundry, folding some laundry, feeding the girls three meals, setting the girls up to craft and watercolor, reading to the girls, a couple phone calls with my mom and grandma and even forty minutes of piano practice. It was an abnormally productive day. As my dad used to say, “variety is the spice of life!” This day had spice.

On the Abe front, he had another tremendous day at work. He raved to me almost the whole walk about how blessed he feels and how there is literally not one part of his day that he dreads. He looks forward to every task at work, and great stuff is basically falling into his lap for no reason other than that God must be looking out for him. Obviously, he’s doing his part, but he can not remember a time in his life where he has felt so abundantly blessed by an outpouring of God’s love.

The girls are cute. Mary said “Nana” to my mom on the phone today, and Lydia is very concerned about my grandma’s health. She kept asking how Grandma was feeling and doing. Here are some pictures Abe took of the girls while I was at yoga:

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Fast Fast Fast

Everything in life is fast right now.  On the way to work I listen to 6 chapters in 3 Nephi for my ward’s 40 days of Holiness.  As soon as I walk through the door at work, I juggle prospecting expectations, trainings to attend, product learning, meeting preparation, meetings to attend and general housekeepings.  I leave every day feeling like I’m leaving a mountain for the next day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.  It is very fast.

Lily’s life is fast as she chases around our daughters, prepares for her piano competition, goes to school full time and keeps food on the table.  Today, chasing the kids involved a play-group Easter Egg hunt for the kids.  It looks like they had a lot of fun.

As usual, I met Lily halfway at her school on my way home from work.  It was so nice to see her, if even for a moment.  At home, it was dinner, bathing, night routine and then cleaning.

I will say, there was a moment during the children’s night routine when everything slowed down.  It was right around the time that Lydia was having Puss bark like a seal and I had a moment where I just looked at her and felt pure joy.  There she was. So perfect, innocent, playful and happy, in her own little world.  Watching her be happy brought a flash of my own childhood joy and it was like drinking from a well of youth for my soul.  I love my children.  Lydia also explained to me that she wants Daniel to stay a stuffed animal because tigers are scary, but Puss and Tabitha can grow up and become real in about a year just like the velvatine rabbit.  Meanwhile, Mary has been stacking all of her blankets and stuffed animals into one corner of her crib so she can try to get a let up on capitulating herself out of the crib.  I had to take away everything except three small blankets, a pillow and a tiny stuffed animal for fear that she would actually succeed.

Pics!

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Mary gets to be an only child for an evening.

Mary’s old enough to go to nursery in church now! Theoretically, this means Abe and I could drop her off and focus on our meetings. However, Mary is very, very, very sad whenever we leave her in nursery by herself, so we’re taking turns staying in nursery with Mary. Last week I stayed, and this week Abe did. He took photos of her on his phone while he was watching her:

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While I never recall Lydia hitting any child other than Mary, Mary is different. She’s been hit and pushed and grabbed from all of her little life (thanks to Lydia), so she is a little more aggressive in nursery. When some other child took one of her toys today, she had no problem bonking him in the head several times. Lydia would have just run to me and cried. I guess they’re all different.

This evening Suzanne came over and took Lydia to the Miners’ party. We were feeling tired and under the weather, so Abe and I stayed home with Mary. She got more attention this evening than she ever has. In fact, she’s so excited about all the attention she got that she can’t currently get to sleep and is standing next to me watching me type. We have a ton of pictures of her from our evening together.

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IMG_7186 IMG_7195 IMG_7194 IMG_7193 IMG_7196 IMG_7197 IMG_7201And then Suzanne brought Lydia and two balloons home! The girls had fun with those.

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Playing chase

Playing chase

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This is what happened when we took Mary's balloon away before bed.

This is what happened when we took Mary’s balloon away before bed.

The sky was a beautiful color, and we tried to capture it through the girls' window.

The sky was a beautiful color, and we tried to capture it through the girls’ window.

Mary is really trying hard to climb into my lap and type, so I think I’ll sign off and pay attention to my baby.

Ambition morphs into a long, long nap

I had big plans when Saturday morning dawned: hiking Ensign Peak! Biking up the canyon!! Using our improved insurance to buy new glasses for Abe!!!

…And one three and a half hour nap later, we did none of that. Well, almost none. We tried to buy Abe new glasses, but insurance only covers $100, and glasses are more expensive than that. So we headed to the grocery store, bought groceries instead, and headed home to hibernate.

Afterward, I went to Women’s Conference. Our stake had a dinner first. I have a lot of social anxiety in big groups, so stuff like that is hard for me. But I powered through, even though I had to fight an active urge to get up and leave about every five minutes. As soon as the closing prayer ended, I grabbed my coat and practically ran to the car.

Abe just said, “Oh my heck.” For the record, he never used to say that, but working in Provo with a bunch of other LDS young dads has changed his linguistic patterns. I asked him to please revert back to his old verbal habits.

On the other hand, one of his coworkers told him that the work he was doing was “BA.” Abe was really confused and asked him if he was talking about “Bachelor of Arts,” and his coworker thought that was hilarious. Now whenever Abe does anything of note, his coworker tells him he’s “Bachelor of Arts.”

What a hodge podge post. Here are the pictures we took today:

Mary loves to dip food. Giving her bowls of sauce/syrup/peanut butter has bought me an extra ten minutes of peace during meals.

Mary loves to dip food. Giving her bowls of sauce/syrup/peanut butter has bought me an extra ten minutes of peace during meals.

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Gesturing for more because she's...not very verbal. But we understand her, so maybe she feels like she doesn't have to talk. I wish she would, though!!!

Gesturing for more because she’s…not very verbal. But we understand her, so maybe she feels like she doesn’t have to talk. I wish she would, though!!!

Lydia did a “trick” for me:

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While I was at Women’s Conference, Abe took the girls to the park:

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Lydia looked at the bars and said, "I know I can do this!" That's probably because of our coaching session at the park two days ago. Alas, these bars surpassed her current abilities.

Lydia looked at the bars and said, “I know I can do this!” That’s probably because of our coaching session at the park two days ago. Alas, these bars surpassed her current abilities.

And during the girls’ last snack of the day, Lydia lost focus and started making funny faces:

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Post-midnight post

First things first: Grandma Darais’ surgery went extremely well today, and she is doing much better. We are very thankful. Abe has resolved to spend at least one lunch break a week with her in the event that she returns home, and I am trying to figure out how we can make it down to Provo more often to see her. We are very happy she is doing so well.

I think Abe had a great day at work, but we saw each other for a grand total of less than five minutes today. I did get one phone call in after my final, but I think we talked a lot about our various physical ailments (Abe’s now sure he has a virus, and I think I might have a virus/sinus infection combo).

On the school front, I aced my final exams in my lab class and that made me feel really happy. I sometimes wonder if it’s okay that I’m spending so much time away from my children, and getting some validation that I’m making progress in acquiring a much-desired skill felt great. I think after this is all done, I will appreciate being home with my children SO much more, and I will love not having so many competing interests. But for now, I love being at school when I’m there.

Before school, we had a fun morning with the Pe’a’s. Jen offered to teach me how to craft cute decorative blocks, and it was so fun crafting with her! I wish I had a picture of my blocks, but the day just slipped away and now they feel sooooo far away (even though they’re just downstairs…but it’s past midnight, and that feels like a trek). Anyway, I wasn’t the only one having fun. Lydia was in heaven playing with Natalie because Natalie not only has a ton of princess attire, but she is an excellent sharer.

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In the meantime, here’s a picture of Mary at home reading a book about Babies:

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Prayers for Grandma Darais

Today we got the scary news that Abe’s Grandma Darais was doing poorly and the family was notified to come say good-bye. I drove the girls down to Provo and picked up Abe at work.

We drove to the hospital, and while we were there, her heart started responding! Not only that, but she elected to have a surgery that might help her condition. We will know more tomorrow, but for now, things are looking as good as they possibly can. We love her so much, and it was so meaningful to have a chance to tell her that. I wish I could have said more, but it was so emotional seeing her in such a hard condition that all I could really say was “I love you.” I guess that is what matters most, but I would love to one day tell her how much I love visiting with her, hearing her stories, and listening to her testimony. I also appreciate how good of a grandma she’s been to Abe. I hope we can still have that chance.

That’s really the most important news of the day. We are praying for her and hoping that she makes it through the night and tomorrow’s surgery successfully.

Here are some pictures from this morning and the hospital.

Playing in their room this morning.

Playing in their room this morning.

Abe was trying to entertain the kids in the waiting room.

Abe was entertaining Mary. (She and Suzanne took this picture on Suzanne’s iPad.)

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“SOCKS!!!!” “SAUCE!!!” (Lydia’s new swear words)

I took a bunch of happy pictures today, but don’t let that fool you. I’m pretty sure I spent the whole day yelling at Lydia–and occasionally at Mary. While at Sugar House Park this afternoon, I listened to this mom talk sweetly to her children and felt insanely jealous. I thought, “Wow, that woman seems exceptionally cut out for this mom business. I bet she never yells at her kids.” And then I proceeded to feel horrible about myself, even though I fully realize that:

1) I am nice to my kids on the playground too.

2) Who knows how that mom acts when she’s tired and not standing in the sunshine?

Which brings me around to the tired bit. I just don’t have any energy lately! It is so annoying. Today I decided to power through it and try to fold laundry, but I couldn’t even do that. With terrific effort, I managed to bring my kids to play group, the grocery store, Kid to Kid, and another park today, but by the end I couldn’t do anything but sit on the couch while the kids tore up the living room around me.

I think I’m tired because my coughing wakes me up at night. Like I said, it’s annoying, and I’m appropriately annoyed.

In addition, Lydia has invented her own swear words. Obviously, she doesn’t know what a swear word is–and I hope she hasn’t been in earshot when I let stuff slip–but she’s started yelling “SOCKS!” and “SAUCE!!!” when she’s extremely angry. I asked her what those words meant, and she explained that she says those words when she wants to hit. Lately, she’s been combining the words and the action–hence much of my yelling, but I was mildly amused that she essentially invented her own swear words. My dad always used to say that swearing was for people who were creatively stilted in the language department. I think Lydia’s invention would have made him happy.

On to the happy pictures and more happy news–Abe had ANOTHER great day at work. It’s kind of a miracle. When I met Abe, one of the first things I learned about him was that he hated his job, and the whole time he’s worked for Guardsmark, that sentiment has persisted. This switch to Qualtrics has been amazing.

One thing he loves is his coworkers. For example, today he left the flashers on his car, and one of his coworkers noticed and sent a memo out on some company thread that Abe didn’t read. When Abe went to his car after work, the person who noticed (who parked next to him) was ready with cables to jump Abe’s car. He knew the car’s battery would be dead, so he got prepared to help–even though he didn’t know whose car it was. When you work with people like that, it’s hard to dislike your work.

Lindsay Gardens for play group, 11 am:

Liv and Mary swinging

Liv and Mary swinging

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Paige pushed Lydia and Ada on the merry-go-round thing.

Paige pushed Lydia and Ada on the merry-go-round thing.

Sugar House Park, 3:30 pm:

 

I must have read A Snowy Day to Lydia a million times. Watching her hit the tree with a stick made me recall "A stick that was just right for smacking a snow covered tree," only this tree lacked snow.

I must have read A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats to Lydia a million times. Watching her hit the tree with a stick made me recall “A stick that was just right for smacking a snow covered tree,” only this tree lacked snow.

Cimbing this rainbow-monkey-bar contraption. At the top she panicked, but I stood below and she made it over. One thing I LOVE about Lydia is her caution. I know I should be cheering for her ability to surmount an obstacle, but I'm most proud of her sensitivity to her own safety. That's my paranoia right there, thank-you very much.

Cimbing this rainbow-monkey-bar contraption. At the top she panicked, but I stood below and she made it over. One thing I LOVE about Lydia is her caution. I know I should be cheering for her ability to surmount an obstacle, but I’m most proud of her sensitivity to her own safety. That’s my paranoia right there, thank-you very much.

Hey! I just noticed that inadvertently took a picture of the mom who talked soooo sweetly to her kids. Doesn't she even look like a nice mom? I'm still jealous.

Hey! I just noticed that inadvertently took a picture of the mom who talked soooo sweetly to her kids. Doesn’t she even look like a nice mom? I’m still jealous.

Wistfully watching some kids swing.

Wistfully watching some kids swing.

I took these pictures of the girls swinging right before I gave Lydia a push that accidentally knocked her off the swing. We were both traumatized, but thankfully she was fine. I proposed driving home for a cupcake break, and that seemed to solve the problem.

I took these pictures of the girls swinging right before I gave Lydia a push that accidentally knocked her off the swing. We were both traumatized, but thankfully she was fine. I proposed driving home for a cupcake break, and that seemed to solve the problem.

IMG_7084For FHE, Abe built an obstacle course and dressed the girls up in their owl and monkey costumes. They had fun. I was supposed to give a spiritual thought, but I have felt less-than-spiritual (and I forgot), so we skipped that part.

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Lydia’s birthday, round 2

After church today, we napped. Lydia was watching Veggie Tales on the iPad when suddenly I awoke to hear her having a full-blown conversation with someone on the iPad. I asked Abe who Lydia was talking to, and in his groggy, half-asleep state he replied, “Nape.” I asked him who “Nape” was, and he told me that he was tired but that Lydia was definitely talking to Nape. By this time, I was waking up a little more and realized that Lydia was Face Timing with Clark and Swathi. They called while we were sleeping, and since Lydia was on the iPad, she answered their call.

A few minutes later, we all called and chatted with Clark and Swathi, and this time Abe joined us. He was still barely awake, but he was awake enough to know that we weren’t talking to Nape.

Then we picked up Balu and headed to the Miners’ for birthday celebrations. We haven’t seen Balu in a long time, and it was great to spend time with him again. Lydia had a blast having a second round of her birthday, but you wouldn’t know it from the solemn way she opened her presents and whispered her thank-you’s. She didn’t crack a smile once, but when we got home, she could barely sleep because she wanted to play with all of her new presents. We compromised by letting her sleep with six new books and one of her birthday cards.

She also made her own cupcakes for the Miners’ gathering today. Usually, I try to control parts of the baking process that can get messy, but today I figured, what the heck? They’re her cupcakes, and she should be able to do whatever she wants with them. I ended up helping with the frosting just because she kept tearing up the cupcakes she frosted, but really, she did (almost) everything else.

IMG_7043 IMG_7050Having fun at the Miners’:

Okay, okay. Initially she was zonked on the couch because she didn't nap today...

Okay, okay. Initially she was zonked on the couch because she didn’t nap today…

But she woke up!

But she woke up!

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