The Mists of Avalon

I designated today my Get-Well day, and since I couldn’t go back to sleep after Abe left, I started at 5:30 by nestling in a cozy chair and reading…for the next fourteen hours. I did feed the kids a couple times and take care of their basic necessities, but other than that, they were on their own.

I am currently engrossed in The Mists of Avalon. Fourteen hours later, I am only halfway through it (page 446 as I type), but it is fascinating! Since I couldn’t bear to put it down, I didn’t manage to snap pictures until I sat down at the computer to do homework and blog.

Chase with Daddy!

Chase with Daddy!

Trying to escape from Daddy...and, as you can see, the bed isn't made because I was in it with my book all day. Lydia and I never made it out of our pajamas...

Trying to escape from Daddy…and, as you can see, the bed isn’t made because I was in it with my book all day. Lydia and I never made it out of our pajamas…

Naked babies after the bath.

Naked babies after the bath.

The only other thing of note was that Abe had an amazing work week!! He hit his quota early, and it looks like he’ll double it in the next week. Go, Abe, go! We’re so proud of you!!

Hives and corn

Last night Lydia crawled into bed with us again, and this morning I woke up before her. I turned over and noticed her face was covered in hives. Oh no! The rest of the morning was devoted to bribing her to let me wash them, giving her allergy medicine and going to the doctor. Neither of us even had time to eat until 1:30 pm. This is what she looked like:

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she's wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she’s wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

After we came home from the doctor, I fed Mary lunch, put her down for a nap, and went on a treadmill run while Lydia “crafted.” (That just means she cut paper. Cutting is her favorite “craft.”)

Then it was time for a blitz nap and another doctor appointment–this time for me. I scheduled a physical way back for points with my insurance company. My doctor ended up looking at Lydia, too, and his diagnosis was different than the pediatrician. I don’t know who to believe, so I am keeping her home from school tomorrow just in case. My heart is a little broken for Lydia, who has been looking forward to the first day of preschool…but I don’t want to take chances.

After my doctor appointment, I spent the next three hours cooking. Lydia napped while Mary and I shucked corn.IMG_9243 IMG_9245 IMG_9246

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We're not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We’re not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

Abe came home and took the girls on a run while I finished cooking. I was making enough corn chowder for 15 people. We’re going to eat the rest Thursday, when I have another Primary dinner party.

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After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia's preschool drop-off stickers.

After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia’s preschool drop-off stickers.

IMG_9257Then Abe taught another FHE lesson on Prayer. We started with a “fashion show” from the girls. That just means they twirl around and do “tricks.”

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Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for Heavenly Father. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for God. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe and I have a goal to get to bed early tonight. We never caught up on rest over the weekend, and both of us were feeling it today. Tomorrow I get my lab tests done and find out if I have an actual thyroid problem (I have all sorts of crazy symptoms. At this point, I hope it is my thyroid!). Night Night!

Lydia’s ballet recital and the Ogden temple open house

This morning was Lydia’s ballet recital! Tom and Suzanne joined us, and we all were thoroughly entertained.

IMG_9119 IMG_9120 IMG_9122 IMG_9125 IMG_9131 IMG_9137 IMG_9140Then we went to the market, after which I ran off to yoga. While I was at yoga, Abe took the girls back to the market to have a picnic with Karin and Jay. When I got home, everyone was in the middle of quiet time, which was perfect because I had two hours of homework to do.

Then we all piled in the car to do errands and pick up Tom and Suzanne for the Ogden Temple Open House.

Dinner before the open house.

Dinner before the open house.

 

 

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Suzanne got us tickets, and we were so grateful. It’s a rare opportunity for the girls to see the inside of a temple. Normally only older people with recommends are allowed in. But since the temple has yet to be dedicated, we could bring the kids inside. Mary loved it and gasped delightedly every time she saw a picture of Jesus (frequently). Lydia, on the other hand, slept through it. Abe tried to wake her up in the celestial room, but she was only dimly aware of what was around her.

Afterward, we sat by the fountain and let the girls make wishes with pennies.

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Sick day and a double play date

I didn’t sleep enough last night AND I overdid it on the chocolate mousse, and I think my sugar-compromised immune system couldn’t handle it. I woke up feeling sick, and since my kids have both been battling colds for over a week, I decided to call it a stay-at-home day and skip Lydia’s last swimming lesson.

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

In her glory.

Some leftover tears  are still on her cheek because Lydia wanted a turn with the glasses.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

We did a lot of movies, reading, piano playing, song singing…and more movies. At 5 pm Aria and Paige rescued me from an evening of digital entertainment and came over for a play date.

Misting in the hose outside.

Misting in the hose outside.

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Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

I had the kids help me bread the eggplant that I turned into eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Abe and I had a wonderful time talking for dinner. We kept mindlessly feeding the girls whatever they wanted so we could talk longer. We don’t get to see each other at all on Wednesdays, so it felt like we had to catch up. Next semester I have class Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll go those two days without seeing each other at all. So sad.

Anyway, I think I am going to bed early to try to get rid of this bug. We have a birthday party to attend tomorrow, so I can’t have another stay-at-home day. In fact, I’ll have a really rushed morning because I have yet to buy and wrap the gift!!

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.

Movie marathon

Yesterday one of the lifeguards told me I could swim with Mary during Lydia’s lesson. I then promised Mary she could finally go swimming at Lydia’s next lesson instead of watching Lydia longingly, but when we got there the head lifeguard told me I’d been misinformed. Poor Mary! I didn’t know how I was going to break the bad news, especially since she was already in her swimsuit and practically hyperventilating with anticipation.

Thankfully, the lifeguard took one look at her and said, “Oh, look at her! How could I say no? Just this once…” Yay! So Mary and I swam while Lydia had her lesson.

That was really the only activity of note today. The rest of the day was just homework, laundry, cooking, and marathon naps from both girls. They didn’t sleep in, so I guess they were making up for yesterday’s late bedtimes during their naps.

After naps, Lydia helped  me make a souffle.

After naps, Lydia helped me make a souffle.

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I had a hunch there wouldn't be anything exciting to take pictures of, so I just snapped some of Mary eating her snack.

I had a hunch there wouldn’t be anything exciting to take pictures of, so I just snapped some of Mary eating her snack.

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I made a gorgonzola, cherry, and almond souffle. It was inspired by Bittman's apricot and goat cheese recipe, and I think it turned out great. What didn't turn out great were my strips of sauteed eggplant. I struggled to get that right in class and decided to practice today, but it was a disaster. I think I'm just going to return to baking and broiling eggplant in the future.

I made a gorgonzola, dried cherry, and almond souffle. It was inspired by Mark Bittman’s apricot and goat cheese recipe, and I think it turned out great. What didn’t turn out great were my strips of sauteed eggplant. I struggled to get that right in class and decided to practice today, but it was a disaster. I think I’m just going to return to baking and broiling eggplant in the future.

Abe bought me flowers yesterday. Aren't they cheerful?

Abe bought me flowers yesterday. Aren’t they cheerful?

After dinner, we all watched Aladdin in memory of Robin Williams, who died today. I have mixed emotions about Disney princesses, and Princess Jasmine and Ariel top my list as way-too-sexy princess role models for young girls. For Lydia’s first two years, I feel like I put up a decent fight, but this last year I’ve just given in. I just hope the damage isn’t too severe. Lydia rolled up her shirt halfway through the movie, at which point my heart may have stopped. I suppose I should have stopped the movie right then and there. Sigh.

FHE at Temple Square

On Saturday I had Majudara for the first time (because of our O’Falafal Groupon). Imagine my excitement when this month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated contained the recipe! It was too good to be true. I had to make the dish.

So tonight I made it, and we had the Anderson’s over for dinner because I was so excited to share the joy of this dish. And I had leftover sugared saffron sauce from class and wanted to make panna cotta again. I love it when food turns out well, and tonight I can say, with the exception of the panna cotta (too gelatinous; I should have dialed down the gelatin), everything turned out great! And we love the Andersons, so visiting with them is always fun.

Abe wanted to take a picture of the panna cotta with saffron sauce.

Abe wanted to take a picture of the panna cotta with saffron sauce.

Afterward, Abe and Mike went to help with a move in the ward, and Paige and I took the kids around Temple Square. After Paige left, Abe joined us and we walked around until almost 10pm. The girls had so much fun in the fountains. They kept throwing in pennies to make wishes, and Mary would come up to me and say, “More wishes! More wishes!” It was so cute. She was also enamored with the temple and said “bye-bye” to it about a million times.

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Ada and Lydia below the Seagull Monument. Ada brought her pet snail along for the adventure.

Ada and Lydia below the Seagull Monument. Ada brought her pet snail along for the adventure.

Watching their pennies sink to the bottom of the fountain.

Watching their pennies sink to the bottom of the fountain.

She's wet from splashing in all the fountains.

She’s wet from splashing in all the fountains.

IMG_9044 IMG_9045When we got home, both girls had a snack before going to bed. I think they were too busy playing during dinner to actually eat, so they were both very hungry.

Mary eating her post-10 pm snack. I have high hopes they will sleep in tomorrow!

Mary eating her post-10 pm snack. I have high hopes they will sleep in tomorrow!

Natural consequence fail (and Maleficent)

Misty told me this morning that there was a reptile show at the library, so I decided to bring the kids. The only thing is, now that I am trying so hard to be the World’s Nicest Mom, I can’t figure out how to get Lydia to listen. I sat on the steps for half an hour repeating, “Lydia, honey/love/darling/sweetie-pie/babycakes/sugarpop, can you please put on your shoes?” Thirty-five minutes later, she finally complied, and we arrived to the library just in time to see people streaming out. We’d missed the show.

What a great opportunity for a natural consequence, I thought! “Lydia, honey, we missed the show because you wouldn’t listen to Mommy and put on your shoes. Isn’t that sad?”

“Well, Mommy, the reptiles are scary. I don’t want to see reptiles.”

Um, okay. I guess she won all around.

Playing blithely outside the library. No natural consequences, today!

Playing blithely outside the library. No natural consequences, today!

In all seriousness, though, I’d rather miss a million shows and feel powerless and frustrated than know that my daughter feels scared and shamed and sad, which is how I felt when I got yelled at on Wednesday. So Project World’s Nicest Mom continues, and I’ll just have to learn to be more creative and resourceful when it comes to teaching my kids to listen.

After the library, we came home for lunch and quiet time. Afterward, I played play-doh with Lydia for an hour and half while Mary slept on. (Mary took a four hour nap today. It made me nostalgic for times not-so-long-ago when that was just her norm.)

While playing play-doh, I called my mom. Mom, thanks so much for talking with me. I really needed to talk to you, and it was so great to feel loved and understood. Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you.

Anyway, after Mary woke up, we all went outside to pick tomatoes and play in the sprinkler. Mary doesn’t like to get dirty or wet (which character trait seems incongruous with her otherwise adventuresome spirit), but she’ll get wet if I hold her hand. Lydia held the hose and Mary and I raced through a couple times. After about three runs, Lydia asked if we wanted to get wet again. I hesitated, and Mary yelled, “Nooooo!!” We spent the rest of the time drying out in the sun.

In the meantime, Lydia, my little not-so-adventuresome child, loves to get wet and doesn’t seem to notice or care when she’s dirty. She was pretty happy.

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Distressed by her dirty hands.

Distressed by her dirty hands.

Gesturing emphatically that her hands are dirty. This is a problem, people!!

Gesturing emphatically that her hands are dirty. This is a problem, people!!

She also didn't appreciate getting her feet dirty. She wanted me to wash them off about twenty times--but not get any other part of her wet (except her hands, which she also wanted washed).

She also didn’t appreciate getting her feet dirty. She wanted me to wash them off about twenty times–but not get any other part of her wet (except her hands, which she also wanted washed).

OUT! (She wants out of the dirty garden.)

OUT! (She wants out of the dirty garden.)

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Where's the snow?

Where’s the snow?

IMG_8930 IMG_8925Abe and I also went on a date, tonight! We saw Maleficent. Mom, you would love this movie. I don’t know why, but I love it when movies make me cry. This one definitely did. I asked Abe to give this to me for Christmas–I can’t wait to watch it again!

911

At 5:54 am I awoke to the sound of the front door slamming. Abe leaves for work at 5:30 these days, and so I was terrified that someone was in the house. I crept to the stairs and heard light switches going on and off in the house. Convinced there was someone inside, I called 911.

Twenty minutes later, a team of six policemen swarmed the house, only to discover…nothing. I felt so dumb. But I honestly did hear the door slam, and I heard another door slam right before the police arrived. Since Abe and I are missing two full sets of keys, we had all the locks changed today just to be safe. Abe has promised to deadbolt the door behind him when he leaves for work.

To be honest, I still haven’t quite recovered from the adrenaline rush that accompanied lying in bed whispering on the phone with 911 for twenty minutes. It was terrible. I haven’t felt safe since. Also, I’m stressed out that I call 911 so much. This was my fourth call in two and a half years. If I operated 911, I would stop responding to my number’s calls. “Oh, it’s just the hystrionic lady in the Avenues who always thinks she’s under attack. Let’s respond to someone who actually NEEDS help…”

The only times I’ve forgotten the scare today were 1) visiting teaching Marilyn this morning and 2) having dinner with my mission friend, Jen! She’s from France, but her husband is American and they’ve been living in D.C. for the past five years. Jen was a director at Miriam’s kitchen during that time, and the experiences she shared uplifted us so much. We were so inspired by Jen and Chris’s passion for community and homeless-outreach.

Now that they’ve moved to Salt Lake, I’m looking forward to spending more time with Jen. She was also mission companions in Las Vegas with one of Abe’s high school friends, and so for our next get together we’re going to invite the Maudsleys over for dinner and let Katie and Jen reconnect. It’s been almost ten years since our missions!

Here’s a photo Abe took at the end of dinner. Chris was also taking pictures, and Jen and I are each looking at our hubby’s phone.

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cookies, cub scout car wash, ballet, party, nap, Sharon, carnival, walk, groceries: July Saturday or The Longest Title Ever

This morning I set my alarm early so I could bake cookies for the cub scout car wash. Then Abe took Ada and Lydia to ballet while Mary and I headed over to dry some cars. I was scared to put Mary down near the cars, so I carried her while I dried and called it my work-out o’the day.

jul26pic12jul26pic16 jul26pic17 jul26pic19Then it was time for Liv’s birthday party at Liberty Park (by the Seven Canyons splash pad/rivers).

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Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike's bike. Isn't it amazing?

Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike’s bike. Isn’t it amazing?

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After we came home and napped, our friend Sharon Harris joined us for dinner. I didn’t take any pictures during dinner because every second with Sharon was precious. She’s from New York and has spent a couple weeks in Utah for the Neal A. Maxwell symposium. We were so glad to see her, even though the time flew by.

After dinner Tom and Suzanne took the girls to a Miner family party while Abe and I stayed home and did homework and lesson prep. We also took a beautiful walk to the grocery store. The sun was setting and the weather was gorgeous. We saw a neighbor slow dancing to Jazz music with his garden hose. That was truly delightful.

The Miners’ had a carnival of sorts going on because so many family members were in town.

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Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

The prizes.

The prizes.

jul26pic5 jul26pic4 jul26pic1 jul26Then it was home to bed. I have an early morning meeting tomorrow, so I should get to bed. Abe’s already asleep!