Butterfly Wings

I didn’t talk to Lily much today, so I apologize if this blog is a lot about me. First I want to say that I completely adore Mary’s new hairstyle, and well…Mary in general.  Her new hair looks so hip and modern and with a few clips that Lily put in, it still looks very femenine.  Add on to that Mary’s pink nails that Lily painted today and you have one adorable Toddler! (Pictures coming I promise).

Lily’s day included a visit from Ina, who brought over butterfly wings to give to the girls.  Lily’s day overall was very good, but hit a kink of frustration when she was unable to reach me at work to coordinate a babysitting situation.  She called my cell 29 times! I’m sorry honey! Also, the reason I am blogging is because it is Lily’s first day of school for her new Semester.  It is a class about baking and pastries and she said she is very excited.  I’m anxious to hear the report!

As for me, this is the first time in about a month that I feel free from work stress.  It has been very intense and I had some big meetings today that I was nervouse about.  Now with those behind me, and it being the beginning of the quarter, I hope to enjoy a little peace before it gets crazy again. Pictures!

IMG_9601 IMG_9590 IMG_9591IMG_9593IMG_9597IMG_9600

A Play Date, Amazing Babysitter, Georgia Arrives!!!!!!!!, Final Exam, and Additional Funding

The day kicked off with Lily today with a play-date with her friend Kim.  I’m not sure what happened after that since I didn’t talk to Lily much during the day, but I know she cooked because I came home to the best egg-salad sandwich I’ve every had (super fluffy home-made bread and perfectly seasoned egg salad.)

Lily left early for school tonight because she has her final exam for her European cooking class.  She’s been in my thoughts because I know she was nervous.  She isn’t back yet, but I’m excited to hear the report.

Isabella came over early to babysit so Lily could leave.  Then, shortly after that…..

Georgia arrived!!!!!!!!  It was so wonderful to see her.  As if having her in town wasn’t gift enough, she came baring gifts for everyone.  Some are gifts that I won’t mention until Mary’s birthday, but she also brought some super cute bug suitcases for the girls from Grandma Cullen (Thanks Grandma!), fudge for everyone, new plates and bowls, flashcards, a coloring book and well, you get the idea, lots of great things for the family.  It’s so great to have her around for a few days.  I got to catch up with her quite a bit, and Lydia spontaneously burst out to me, “Daddy, I love Nana.”  In her night prayer she also said (unprompted), “Thank you for my beautiful Nana.”

Because Isabella is amazing, she wanted to stick around even after I got home and her babysitting gig was over.  She proceeded to play chase with the girls for a very long time.  Tonight is one of two times in my life when I have seen Mary worn out from playing so hard.  Nice work Isabella!

On a quick note about work.  Qualtrics was just valued at over $1 billion and received $150 million dollars in venture capital funding.  The funding is to help us run faster and grow quicker.  It’s an exciting place to be right now.


photo (18) photo (17) photo (16)

A tad exhausted

Today was a good day for both me and Lily, but I think it is fair to say we are both exhausted.  There was in incredible thunderstorm at 4 in the morning that was impressive, but also unfortunate as it shaved more time off of our already limited sleep.

Work went well for me.  I’ve already hit my quota for the quarter which is nice, but I’ve already set my sites on next quarter and I’ve been working very hard.  By the time I got home, I was completely pooped.

Lily had a good day, but she had her own mountains to climb.  Lydia was in a particularly difficult mood today and Lily also woke up feeling sick and exhausted.  She basically cleaned every square inch of our home yesterday so I’m not surprised she needed a little recovery today.  The day did start out fun for her by having Rose and her children over for breakfast.

For dinner, we had Tom and Suzanne over for dinner and Lily did a repeat of her wonderful egg-salad sandwiches that she did yesterday.  After dinner, we all went to the park.  Enjoy the pictures!

IMG_9451 IMG_9450 IMG_9449 IMG_9447 IMG_9460 IMG_9457 20140919_193041 IMG_9459 IMG_9458

Wednesday :)

Today was very busy and very fast.  Work is going very well.  I got credit again for a deal that was routed to me after the person who did all the work left the company.  I’ll get commission and quota and I’m very happy, but I’m also highly aware that so far most of my success has had little to do with me.  Still, I’ll take it.  Any day that I bill is a great day at work.  I’m still loving the train!

I take it that Lily also had a super busy day because she didn’t get a chance to take pictures so I snapped some over dinner.  I’m actually not too sure what Lily did today because the first time we connected during the day, Lily had to go because she was simultaneously doing homework and trying to prevent Lydia from melting down while fielding a conversation with me on the phone.  The second time we connected, it was all about me (Lily is a really good listener, I’m so jealous), so I still don’t know much about her day.  Tomorrow when she blogs, perhaps she can mention a few highlights, especially some information on how her class went tonight.  If you remember, last week was a very horrible experience for her and I’ve had her on my mind today, praying that tonight goes better.

When I got home from work, a haircut and an informational meeting with the previous Elder’s quorum president, I walked our babysitter/cousin home with the girls, visited with my aunts and then returned home.  At home we had what I think was “second dinner” as hobbits would call it, and hustled to bed.  Of course the girls were in their princess PJs!

Dinner pics!

IMG_8991 IMG_8992 IMG_8994 IMG_8996 IMG_8997 IMG_8998 IMG_8999


A train. Some meetings and meat. Disney land gifts.

I am still loving the train, but it puts me on a very early schedule so I will be brief.

My day went super well today.  It included a lot of productivity and a two and a half hour internal meeting followed by another hour long internal meeting.  Yay meetings!

On my way home, Lily said something that made me feel really nostalgic.  She was at school and she said she missed seeing me.  I always used to meet her at school and pick up the kids on my way home from work.  Now that we have babysitters and I take frontrunner, we no longer make the exchange.  I miss it too.  It was so nice to see her, even if just for five minutes.  I realize I will literally go the whole day today without seeing her, sigh.

As far as Lily’s day today, this is what I have been able to piece together:

She thought Mary’s binky was missing, but found it just in the nick of time for her nap. She went to yoga while Isabella babysat.  She spent some time working on things for her calling.  She did all the usual, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and intervening when Lydia and Mary fight etc.  Lily and I have both noticed a huge increase in Mary and Lydia’s engagement with each other.  This goes for both positive and negative interaction.  They are playing much more together and they really engage with each other.  They also fight more and more intensely.  Ahh, the life of siblings 🙂

After work I went to Costco with the girls to pick up a flank steak Lily requested.  I bought it with a gift card that I redeemed from my Red Lion Hotel points. At Costco, I got a call from my dad who said that Suzanne had some gifts from Disney Land for the girls and he asked the best way for us to meet up.  I said I would stop by and so I did.

Lydia got a sleeping beauty music box, which she loves and Mary got a book, a Sophia the first tambourine and a glow wand.  They both also got boxes of disney cookies.  I was so touched at how they thought specifically to bring things back to the girls. Thanks dad and Suzanne!

Pictures!IMG_8905 IMG_8906 20140730_210305 20140730_210322 20140730_201414 20140730_203437 20140730_203439


One of the best days ever!!!!! (and no pictures to show it ): )

Hi, it’s me, Abe.  Lily’s new cooking school semester started so she is there tonight.  I do miss her when she is gone, but on the bright side, it is only twice per week this semester (if you count Saturday’s competition team), and also I get tons of joy envisioning Lily doing something she loves so much.  I also have become a little more of a foodie since she started and I find myself genuinely interested in what she is cooking at what things she is learning.  What fun! I didn’t talk to Lily much today, but I know that she went to the gym, had a play date with Misty and did homework…..I wish I knew more!

As far as my day, I was blessed to have one of the best work days I think I have ever had in my entire life.  Everything today seemed to turn my way.  Today I learned that I will get credit and commission for a deal that another salesman closed, because he quit and left, and the business got passed to me.  I also had an amazing meeting that could very well turn into a deal that was passed to me by a friend who was in a different region.  I also had another fantastic meeting that seems very promising.  I’m now feeling like I’m poised to have a very good quarter.  I know God led me to Qualtrics, and today felt like evidence as to why He led me to start my career over at an entry level position at Qualtrics. It was amazing and fun.

But that isn’t all.  During work, one of my friends informed me that for all residents living in Salt Lake proper (not Sandy, West Valley, North Salt Lake etc) there is a HUGE discount for the Frontrunner train to Orem and Provo.  I’ve thought about taking the train many times, but I just haven’t had quite the incentive to switch.  Well, with this new discount, I will save about $2000 per year in gas money.  Also, we wont need to save up to buy a new car soon since the commute was wearing our cars down so fast.  Also, the train has wireless internet, so I can be productive.  I was so excited.  After meeting Lily at school and picking up the girls, I went straight to the Sorenson Unity Center and bought my pass.  Hooray!

Which reminds me….the train does take longer, meaning my new wake time is 5:30 AM.  It’s 10:30 now.  I better sleep!

A truly special day

Today was truly special in the Darais household.

First of all, our friends, Ben and Candice, are staying with us for a few nights and we absolutely love seeing them whenever we can.

Secondly, Lily got to see her idol, Martha Stewart, speak at a blogging convention and have the best buffet of her life. Candice planned to see Martha Stewart and had bought a ticket, but when Lily tried to buy a ticket, it was sold out.  Since what I do for a living is track down important people and get things from them, I thought I would try to intervene.  I eventually tracked someone important down who was super sweet and said they still had a few tickets.  Lily got to go and had an AMAZING TIME.  The buffet at the Grand America was the best she has ever had, and Martha Stewart was outstanding as always.  Martha gave tips about when she uses butter, lard and vinegar for different pie crusts.

Also, Lily got her present today from my parents which was a pressure cooker.  I hear she was very excited about that.  (She just got home and I haven’t had a chance to ask).

After work, I drove to meet my Lily, my dad and Suzanne, my cousins Isabella and Henry, and my girls.  We were all going to go to the new aquarium while Lily was at school.  Unfortunately the aquarium closed at six (oops!), but we all went to Wendy’s and then went to Thanksgiving point for the petting zoo.  Everyone had a great time!  Highlights were: The turkey that puffed itself bigger than I’ve ever seen a turkey go in order to impress a female. Lydia rode on a pony for one minute and then decided she was done and tried to jump off (I caught her fortunately). Baby goats (only two weeks old), butting heads with each other to play and playing king of the rock.  It was all very fun and the weather was perfect.



20140619_184219 20140619_184205 20140619_184219 IMG_8326 IMG_8325 IMG_8324 IMG_8323 IMG_8322 IMG_8321 IMG_8320 IMG_8319 IMG_8318 IMG_8317 IMG_8316 IMG_8315 IMG_8314 IMG_8313 IMG_8312 IMG_8311 IMG_8310 IMG_8309 IMG_8308 IMG_8307 IMG_8306 IMG_8305 IMG_8333 IMG_8332 IMG_8331 IMG_8330 IMG_8329 IMG_8328 IMG_8327 20140619_192549 20140619_192800 20140619_192858 20140619_193755 20140619_193811 20140619_193847 20140619_194904 20140619_195406 20140619_201036 20140619_201332


Quick Post

It’s getting late, so I’ll mostly focus on pictures (Abe here):

I had a great day a work, listened to Huckleberry Finn in the car and went on a great run at home.

Lily had a great time playing with the girls, got to see some more Downton Abbey and made a delicious Samon supper.

Lydia has been darling and extremely well-behaved.

Mary has been super cute and shouting the few words she knows at the top of her lungs “No!” “Buuh!” (for bird) etc.

We are all loving the weather and we spent time eating, painting, playing and enjoying icecream outside. Pictures!!IMG_8171 IMG_8172 IMG_8173 IMG_8174 IMG_8175 IMG_8176 IMG_8177 IMG_8178 IMG_8179 IMG_8180 IMG_8181 IMG_8182 IMG_8183 IMG_8184 IMG_8185 IMG_8187 IMG_8188 IMG_8189

Our beautiful rose bushes

Our beautiful rose bushes




Not much to report

Today was not super eventful for either Lily or myself.  I had a pretty typical day at work and Lily had a pretty low key day and enjoyed more Downton Abbey.  She reported that the girls were very happy and well-behaved today.

When I got home, I changed into athletic clothes and went straight to the park with the girls.  I jumped rope while I watched them climb on the playground and was a very joyful experience all around.  When I finished jumping rope, we went to the other bigger playground that requires my closer supervision.

At home we had chicken and cheese quesadillas outside, with of-course a bannana on the side for Lydia.  Today she and Mary were both pretending their piece of bannana was an elephant trunk, and they were both making awsome elephant noises.  It was so cute!

Then it was bath and bedtime for the girls.  Right before going to bed, Lydia announced that when Mary turns three she would be able to sleep in the toddler bed with Lydia.  It was so nice to see this declaration of sibling adoration, especially since our playground outing completely melted down when Mary was playing with the jump-rope and Lydia fell apart because she then wanted to play with it.

After Lydia’s declaration, Mary jumped in the bed and they generated some cute photos!

IMG_8159 IMG_8160 IMG_8161 IMG_8162 IMG_8166 IMG_8167 IMG_8168 IMG_8169 IMG_8170

Church, Friends and Sunshine

It is very late and I get up quite early so I will be brief.  Today was a fantastic day.  Everyone woke up late (I think we are all sluggish from allergies), but we made it to church before the end of the first meeting.  In Elder’s Quorum, I learned about the power of the Book of Mormon while Lily tended Mary in nursery.  Eventually, Lily was able to slip out, so we both met up in our gospel doctrine class where we learned about the story of Ruth and Naomi in the old testament.  Lily made the great observation that Christ and David were decended from Ruth and both displayed incredible faithfulness, loyalty and devlotion just as Ruth did to Naomi.  Sacrament meeting was mostly dominated by Lily and I taking care of the girls and minimizing screaming.

After church we ate and then Mary went down for her nap. During that time, Lily continued getting some R&R to get over her bug and enjoyed Downton Abbey and I read scriptures and learned some very neat things.  Specifically I learned that to fully embrace truth, we must often unlearn things we thought were true in the process (to make room for the truth and to not contaminate it by mixing it with falsehood.) Truth cannot be fully operative in our lives if it is constrained by competition with falsehoods were are also holding onto.

When Mary woke up, I took her into her bedroom where Lydia was watching Veggie Tales on the laptop.  Lydia was so sweet to Mary when Mary entered! Lydia said, “Mary, come here! Come sit with me in this tent, here I will make a place just for you.  I have your special pillow right here Mary.  Mary, do you want to come in the tent and watch the show with me?” Mary obliged and joined Lydia in her tent (see below). Lydia was so excited to have her buddy, Mary, watch the show with her and it touched my heart to see her enthusiasm to spend time with her sister.  Sure, it devolved into crying on both ends within fifteen minutes (Mary thought the laptop was a touch-screen, which it wasn’t and Lydia was very distraught about Mary’s misuse), but Lydia’s initial intent was very touching.

IMG_8156 IMG_8157 IMG_8158


Later in the afternoon we all went to Bobby and Ashley Bassett’s home where we had dinner with them and Caleb and Marissa.  The food and story telling were all great.  We exchanged stories fo how we all met our spouses, where we grew up etc. and it was all so delightful.  Dinner was an amazing Mexican casserole with Crepes for desert and the rolls Lily brought for our contribution were fantastic.

Well, so I guess I wasn’t so brief.  Writing is fun!