Mixed feelings

The day started well enough, but it deteriorated to the point where I can just not wait for it to be over already.

This morning Rose came over and treated my hair for hours. It was wonderful talking with her, and the girls and Sev had a play date. My hair looks great, but I can’t put it up for three days, and tomorrow I was thinking of doing yoga and going to the competition team meeting. I guess if I do, I’ll have to figure out a way to keep my hair out of my face that doesn’t involve elastic.

After Rose finished, I fed the girls and put Mary down for a nap. That’s when the day started to deteriorate. I felt tired and wanted to nap, but Lydia kept interrupting every ten minutes until I was almost out of my mind. I tried reading my new book, but by that kept getting interrupted too. I stayed in bed for a long time hoping that eventually I’d feel energetic and rested, but I finally got up more stressed out than when I lay down.

Then I totally lost it when Lydia wouldn’t clean her room, and I practically lost my voice screaming. I felt so out of control that I finally just took my own time out and asked the girls to pray with me that God would help me control my temper and also help the girls to listen better. After that, I took some deep breaths and decided to take the girls outside in the rain to plant some seeds. Abe got home around then.

IMG_7484 IMG_7487 IMG_7489I took those pictures for you, Grandma! I love you and think of you every day. Lydia thinks about you too and always says she hopes you’re feeling okay. Mom, she keeps saying how much she misses you. We love you both!

Non-Profit, Exam, David

Today was a little bit of a hard day on the home front.  When I chatted with Lily at our kid-handoff in front of her cooking school, I learned that today the doorbell woke Mary from her nap, Lily learned Mary could squeeze through the second floor railing, a strange beggar came to the house asking for money (and this is after the Elizabeth Smart book she just read), and she’s feeling sicker than yesterday.  My heart definitely went out to Lily to hear about these struggles, especially since things are really starting to go well at work.

Today I received my account list that I will be responsible for to call on.  My list is comprised almost all of non-profit organizations, meaning Qualtrics wants me to become expert in selling to that industry.  I started working on the list today and found great joy working on my own accounts and not just setting up meetings for other salesmen.  Also, during lunch we had a regional meeting and my team lead commended my hard work in front of every body and I was awarded fifty dollars.  Sweet!

Lily just got home from cooking school and reported that she feels she did very well on her final (Yay!). That is especially amazing since she was feeling so unwell.  While Lily was at cooking school, the following transpired.

I picked up mail from my mom’s office (Lydia asleep in the car) and then drove home (Lydia still asleep in the car).  Lydia woke up as we pulled in the driveway and proceded to be an emotional disaster for the next two hours.  I do not fault her.  She took a late nap, and she was just out of sync.  She melted down over a variety of topics such as curry being too spicy (Mary ate it), being tired, being cold (right after her bath), not wanting to comb her hair, wanting the ipad, wanting to sit in my lap……you get the idea.  Finally at the end of the day, right before going to bed, she cheered up, partially because she enjoyed watching Mary run around only half-way in her pajamas.  I only got half-way putting Mary into pajamas before I had to intervene with another dramatic emotional episode from Lydia.  Everything ended on a good note when I put the kids to bed.

Right afterwords, my brother, David, came over.  He is in-town from his PHD studies at Harvard.  We chatted for a while and then played one hour and thirty minutes of Wayne Gretzky Hockey on Nintendo 64.  We had so much fun that we made plans to do it again Monday.


Lydia asked to go to bed while Mary ran around and she was amused at Mary half-way in her pajamas

Lydia asked to go to bed while Mary ran around and she was amused at Mary half-way in her pajamas

IMG_7026 IMG_7021 IMG_7024

Lily took the girls to the library today.

Lily took the girls to the library today.


Lily made a knockout curry today and included Lydia in the process.

Lily made a knockout curry today and included Lydia in the process.


Mary at the Library

Mary at the Library

temple and tricky water

Abe and I finally made it to the temple tonight! Hooray! We really needed it. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so worried about losing my temper at Lydia, and I tried sooooo hard to be better today. I still got mad, but I think I did slightly better than yesterday.

One thing that’s problematic is Lydia’s piano lesson. It always, always ends in tears. I sit down determined to have a happy, relaxed session with Lydia, and then my resolve dissolves as she refuses to even try to play Twinkle. I’m not even asking her to play the whole piece; just the first two notes would make me happy!! I demonstrate over and over and over how to play,  and then I position her fingers and even push them down for her so she can feel the motion. We clap the rhythm and I let her put her hands on my hands so she can feel me play. After all that, she still cries whenever I start to ask her to do it by herself, and then she tells me it’s too hard.

I tell myself that she’s just barely three and it’s okay, but then I get upset because I KNOW she can play it if she would just. try. (For example, I took a picture last week of her pushing down a note. That’s almost the only time she’s ever done that independently, but it showed me she could do it.)

On the other hand, we actually have a good time when I’m not seeing red. Lydia never protests when I tell her it’s time for piano. That makes me think that she enjoys the time–up until we commence our “Try, Lydia, TRY!!!” battle.

On the Mary front, I officially can not administer those eye drops by myself. Good thing the medicine we squeeze in when Abe’s home must be working because, I’ll tell you what, she’s one determined little girl. Also, she’s dramatic whenever she sees her babysitter. She takes one look at Aylah and screams. Last time she dropped back in a chair and screamed until we popped in a pacifier. After that, she stared listlessly at the ceiling in the same position for the next twenty minutes (so Aylah told us) and refused to be roused. Tonight she wasn’t quite that bad, but the initial fury was still there.

Lydia, on the other hand, behaves so much better for other people than for me. I’m actually glad for that, but sometimes I wish she’d behave that way for me! At any rate, she spent the evening talking Aylah’s ear off about her cat.

I DID take pictures today, but they aren’t sending. I took pictures of the girls covered in beets (I made borscht today), and for some reason there’s a disconnect between my iPad and my inbox. Sorry, Grandma and Mom! I’ll try to take some with my actual camera tomorrow.

A better day

I neglected to take any pictures today, but basically we stayed home all day and recovered from life. I cleaned some stuff, gave Lydia a piano lesson, cooked with Lydia, spent a ton of time just playing with the girls and read another ton of books to them. We had FHE on the priesthood and talked about priesthood blessings (since we have all been so sick), and we ended by watching songs from Mary Poppins on Youtube.

In some ways, it was a delightful day because I got to spend so much time with the girls. On the other hand, I had the hardest time controlling my temper at Lydia, which makes me so, so sad. I hope she doesn’t grow up confused; one minute I will be hyperventilating trying not to yell (or I’ll just go ahead and yell) and the next I’ll be cuddling her, saying sorry, and asking her if she knows how much I love her. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just crazy or if parenting toddlers always feels this schizophrenic. I’m leaning toward the former, although I really don’t recall experiencing such fast and dramatic emotional swings before parenting. Maybe it was all suppressed before.

She did say some really cute things today which I can’t remember now. Yesterday when Abe came home he ran up the stairs and asked if all of his princesses were there. Lydia responded: “Yes, Daddy, you have lots of princesses here! There’s Mary, Mama, me, Puss and Tabitha (her two cats). We’re all your princesses.”

Mary said “bear” today after she brought me a teddy bear and we played “going on a bear hunt” for the next twenty minutes. Maybe we just need to make games out of everything to get her to talk. She was also in one of her “don’t put me down or pay attention to anything but me” modes for quite a bit of the day. Oh! And she slept in until 11 am this morning!!! I couldn’t believe it. I had to check a couple times to make sure she was alive, as that had never happened before. Usually the girls are up between 7 and 8. Between her cut lip, pink-eyed eyes, and out-of-the-blue-nighttime-wake, she must have been exhausted.

Anyway, I also started The Return of the King today, so I’m going to stop blogging now and go read that.

Mopey Monday

I stayed at preschool this morning. Misty had the kids make “giraffe skin” out of yellow paper, cut sponges and brown paint. Afterward, we took the kids out to the back yard to play.

preschool 3 preschool 1Then we came home and I gave Lydia another piano lesson before lunch. Her technique is really coming along, although I was a little impatient today and our lesson ended in tears and hugs. I had a little bit of an emotionally down day today, and I felt so bad for taking it out on Lydia.

Abe wanted to take me out to Smashburger to celebrate my cooking competition on Saturday, so we met him there before school.

smashburger1 smashburger2

While I was at school, Abe was home with two very melodramatic girls.

This was after Mary got put in her crib for not behaving, and Lydia was denied a princess puppet show because she refused to clean up. Misery loves company.

This was after Mary got put in her crib for not behaving, and Lydia was denied a princess puppet show because she refused to clean up. Misery loves company.

But they did have a princess hair night again.

But they did have a princess hair night again.

Then Lydia attempted to knock Mary in the head with the iPad. Thankfully she missed. While she was being disciplined, Mary ran around the house naked. When Abe found her, this is what he saw:

She was typing code into his laptop.

She was typing code into his laptop.

Lydia perked up and joined her.

Lydia perked up and joined her.

Guess my night learning about different dry heat/wet heat methods to cook food was pretty tame in comparison. Abe’s downstairs running off the evening’s stresses on the treadmill, and I am just about to try to forget mine by picking up my book.

Oh! Mom and Grandma, I am about to post some pictures from yesterday onto yesterday’s blog. Abe forgot to email me some cute pictures he took from his phone. I’ll just tack them onto the end of yesterday’s blog.


preschool and Abe’s birthday party

Today I finally enrolled Lydia in preschool. After calling Challenger this morning, I felt so relieved to find a preschool that had a philosophy that fit what I’ve been looking for. Originally, I was going to go down tomorrow to sign Lydia up, but then I got scared the open slots would fill up, so I rearranged my schedule, picked up Lydia’s immunization forms and headed down to sign Lydia up.

From the moment I pulled up to the school, I had a good feeling. I would go into detail, but it’s late and I’m trying to hit my bedtime goal, so basically: we feel good about this decision, and we think Lydia will thrive at Challenger.

Then I took the girls grocery shopping, after which it was nap time and cooking-time. Abe had his birthday celebration a month late because Dan’s in town and staying with us, and so we took advantage of the situation to have Kade, Brittany, and William over too. It was a fun evening. The only way it could have been better is if Preethi, Nat and Kina could have been here too.

IMG_6804Mary napped from 1:30 to 6:15pm today. That made it possible for me to cook dinner, but I felt sorry for her because she woke up feverish and miserable. We think/hope she’s teething, since thus far she only has four teeth.

To bed, to bed.

Too. many. carbs. (in class tonight)

This morning we had a play date with Lalitha and Eden:

Eden danced for us.

Eden danced for us.

We all loved watching Eden dance.

We all loved watching Eden dance.

Mary was so sleepy, but she was mesmerized by the dancing, too.

Mary was so sleepy, but she was mesmerized by the dancing, too.

Then I fed the children, set Lydia up to paint in the basement, and put Mary down for a nap. Then Lydia took a nap.

Representation of what happened during quiet time. I drew pictures for preschool tomorrow, called/researched local preschools for an hour, lesson planned, and did homework.

Representation of what happened during quiet time. I copied pictures off the internet for preschool tomorrow, called/researched local preschools for an hour, lesson planned, and did homework.

Then I went to class. Tonight was carbs night, and in addition to all the carbs we cooked, the chocolates class next door was sending over their midterm projects. I feel so sick right now. Time for a shower and bed.


Dona nobis pacem

The girls watched “Let it Go” from Frozen for a little bit this morning.

IMG_6700Then we ate breakfast and read books until it was time for Institute. Today Institute featured some artist who has studied how Joseph Smith looked in life, and so the talk was slide-centric. Unfortunately, Mary was pretty tired and sad, so we ended up leaving early.

Then we came home for naps. I could have done so much during their nap marathon! Instead I wasted massive amounts of time online and just dozing off. But after their naps, Anique and Fleur came over for an impromptu play date. I should have taken a picture since Fleur and Mary are almost the same age, and they were so cute together. Next time.

Abe came home in time for us to head over to the Jewish Community Center for their preschool open house. We love the JCC more than ever, but it seems to be the most expensive preschool around. Gulp. Good thing we saved! The other good news is that we get a student discount since I am in school, so that’s great. And Lydia loved the preschool. She didn’t want to leave and talked the whole way home about how much she wanted to go there.

lydia at preschool girls at jccThen we came home, had FHE, and watched more of the Olympics. The ladies’ short program was tonight, and I am so glad we got to see it.


mary with carrotOn a different note, we said many prayers for Ukraine today. One of my friends posted an excerpt from the Book of Common Prayer on Facebook, and I had never read anything from that before. It was beautiful and so relevant. A phrase she posted later has been ringing through my mind ever since: “Dona nobis pacem.” That’s what I hope to fall asleep praying tonight.

A series of delightful events

Days like this make me wonder why every day can’t just be like today. Why can’t they? I can’t figure it out, but I’m really glad when days like this happen.

This morning Lydia crawled into bed with me and wanted the iPad. I trade the iPad for practice time reciting scriptures, and today I actually recorded her reciting her scripture.

Then we went to a Valentine’s day party at preschool:

mary at preschool audreyLydia spent the rest of the day going through the valentines from her friends over and over. She had so much fun.

Then I took the kids to Gateway for Dairy Queen Blizzards and some pizza:

lydia and shakeAgain, this part of the day made us all unreasonably happy.

Then I gathered my courage and took both girls to the movie, Frozen.

frozenThis was their first movie, and they loved it. Well, Mary spent most of the movie climbing up and down the stairs and running around the theater while I chased her. Thankfully, there was only one other family in the theater, and they had small kids too. At one point, Mary ran right under the huge screen just as a big boom from the movie rang out. She let out a delighted yelp and ran as fast as her little legs could carry her straight back to me.  She’s my little thrill seeker.

Then we came home and took naps. They napped so long that I didn’t have the heart to wake them in time for me to get to class, so I just read all of the class slides and did a bunch of homework instead.

The only low point was when I lost my temper at Lydia after dinner because she was screaming for cake. But that really was the only low point for Lydia and me, and the rest of the day was just a delightful series of fun events. I guess if this happened every day, I wouldn’t appreciate these good times the same way…but really, it would be so nice.

On top of it all, Abe got moved up into a track that positions him for the next round of promotions today, so honestly, every one of us had a great day.

Now it’s time for baths and bed. I think I even have time to read my book tonight. Yay!

Here are some more pictures from the day (mainly for Mom and Grandma!):

Talking with Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Talking with Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Lydia wanted them to see her cat's pink smile.

Lydia wanted them to see her cat’s pink smile.

She spent a lot of time trying to get them to see her cat.

She spent a lot of time trying to get them to see her cat.

Here's her cat's "pink" smile. He needs a bath...

Here’s her cat’s “pink” smile. He needs a bath…

I did Mary's hair while we were on the phone. Clearly, I need to focus more when I'm attempting pigtails.

I did Mary’s hair while we were on the phone. Clearly, I need to focus more when I’m attempting pigtails.

After naps. Trying to figure out the iPad

After naps. Trying to figure out the iPad

Because I don't understand the "less is more" principle when it comes to pictures of my kids.

Because I don’t understand the “less is more” principle when it comes to pictures of my kids.

reunion and lots of soup

Today started off with a wonderful reunion with some old friends, Jan, Chelsea, and Chelsea’s kids: Olivia (3), Carter (1) and Camden (1). Her boys are fraternal twins, and I think this is the first time I’ve met them in person. It was so fun to see them again, and I started to wonder again why we aren’t moving to Provo (Chelsea lives in Orem–right next door to Provo).

After meeting up at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, we headed home for lunch. Olivia was a doll and listened to Lydia blab on and on about her cat while they pretended to have tea. The twins were so cute and need to be in the same room to sleep. We stuck them in Mary’s closet together and they slept beautifully. It was fun to see their different personalities, too!

I just love Jan and Chelsea, and it honestly felt like a family reunion of sorts. Here are some pictures that Jan took:

discovery play discovery 1 discovery play1 discovery3 discovery2 discovery play3And from lunch:

jan and chelsea


Today was also sort of a soup heavy day. I made chili for lunch, and then I remembered I signed up to bring dinner to a woman in our ward, so I made lentil soup after that. During class tonight we made split pea soup and chicken waterzooi. To be perfectly frank, I am less than enthusiastic my other group member tonight, but I got to exercise…patience. I was sorely, sorely tempted to be less than kind (am giving into temptation now by writing about it on the blog), but I just kept thinking: appearance vs. reality, appearance vs. reality. Who knows what kind of hardships this person has endured? My experience of her is so minute compared to the scope of her life and intentions. That said, I am dreading next week because we have to work together for one more week. I just hope some other group members show up so the experience will be somewhat diluted.

So it was a kind of social high/low day. I loved my reunion with Jan, Chelsea, and the kids, and I kind of hated my life a little bit during class. And I just saw some big fireworks from the window as I typed. I have no idea what they were for, but I guess I’ll take that as a sign to sign off.

Oh, and here's a photo from two days ago that was on my iPad and I never posted. Lydia pre-quiet time.

Oh, and here’s a photo from two days ago that was on my iPad and I never posted. Lydia pre-quiet time.