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!

midterm

I spent the morning: babysitting Max and Sophia while Misty went to the doctor, folding laundry, doing errands, packing boxes, babysitting Ada while Liv got allergy tests, and feeding everyone multiple times.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It's Lydia's favorite Living Scriptures video; she's watched it six times (per her request--to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn't we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It’s Lydia’s favorite Living Scriptures video; she’s watched it six times (per her request–to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn’t we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

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Then I napped.

After that, we went to SmashBurger to meet up with Abe before my midterm. We all had black bean burgers with their amazing fries and milkshakes. That buoyed me up for my midterm. (Abe took pictures, but they’re on his phone and I don’t want to disturb him–he’s asleep!)

My midterm went better today. At least I didn’t propose cheating to my bench mate. I honestly feel so ashamed that I did that yesterday, and I am so, so grateful I regained my sanity in time to not go through with the plan.

This is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench. By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Ugh.

See those pale flecks of butter in the cookies? That is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench (the kitchen was 50 degrees). By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Also, I didn’t mix the chocolate chips in evenly enough. I was so worried I’d made the cookies tough from beating the batter (in my futile attempt to soften that butter) that by the time I added the chocolate chips, I felt like I couldn’t afford to let that paddle beat another minute.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

Wee Witches

This morning we went to Gardner Village for Wee Witches Weekend with the Pe’as and the Andersons. I have a ton of pictures, so without further ado:

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

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There was dancing!

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IMG_9822 IMG_9824And bubbles:

IMG_9832As we were leaving, I ran into one of my new friends from culinary school! It was a treat to see her and meet her beautiful children. Then Abe and I headed to the farmer’s market before coming home to crash.

After naps, we went on a bunch of errands. We bought enough chili for 200 people at Costco (Abe is in charge of the ward Trunk or Treat), checked books out from the library, grocery shopped, ate junky fast food, and played at the park:

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Abe explaining the game of Tag to the girls.

Abe explaining the game of tag to the girls.

Mental health day

I was exhausted, lazy, and itchy all morning, so I stayed in bed until 3 pm. I did rouse myself to feed the children, shower, and blow dry my hair (to kill lice), but after the exertion, I retreated right back to bed.

At 3 pm, though, the poor kids were dying for an outing, and it happened to be a gorgeous day. So we piled in the van and drove to Gardner Village to see the witches. It was so fun that we went to pick Abe up at the nearby train station and headed back to Gardner Village–only to discover tonight was Witches’ Night Out! That meant that literally hundreds of women attired in full witch regalia descended on Gardner Village to shop, party, and parade.

It was soooooo fun! I have a new goal in life: To acquire my own witch costume. I want to be a witch next year at the event. But considering how elaborate most of the witches were, I will have to wait a bit before I can achieve this new life dream. I mean, there was one witch who had a remote controlled giant spider attached as part of her costume! Others had stuffed owls, staffs with crystal balls, and the most elaborate, fascinating hats I’ve ever seen. I want a hat.

Here are the pictures from the active part of our day. Before that, the girls and I were all cuddled up in beds absorbed in our iPads or eating. If I didn’t hate crumbs in the bed so much, we would have knocked out both activities simultaneously… Anyway:

A witch flying on her bicycle!

A witch flying on her bicycle!

A gardening witch

A gardening witch

A witch with a cat chasing a rat under her skirt.

A witch with a cat chasing a rat under her skirt.

Witches playing baseball.

Witches playing baseball.

Looking at the witches playing baseball.

Looking at the witches playing baseball.

A witch going potty!

A witch going potty!

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Taffy break.

Taffy break.

"Mom, it's a beautiful day today. It's a great day to sit here and rest." --Lydia, as she sat on this chair eating her taffy.

“Mom, it’s a beautiful day today. It’s a great day to sit here and rest.” –Lydia, as she sat on this chair eating her taffy.

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Lydia got her face painted!

Lydia got her face painted!

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Abe joined us. You can see the beginning of the witch gathering in the background.

Abe joined us. You can see the beginning of the witch gathering in the background.

Witches dancing!

Witches dancing!

Abe dancing with the girls in the middle of the witches.

Abe dancing with the girls in the middle of the witches.

I tried to catch some of the parade, but I also had to prevent Mary from killing herself. (She wanted to climb on top of the bench I was standing on and capitulate off the back. It was a twenty minute struggle, after which we decided to call it a night and head home.)

I tried to catch some of the parade, but I also had to prevent Mary from killing herself. (She wanted to climb on top of the bench I was standing on and capitulate off the back. It was a twenty minute struggle, after which we decided to call it a night and head home.)

Bye, Mom :( …and celebration dinner!

This morning we took my mom to the airport. That’s the sad part. The good news is, she took a lot of pictures before she left!

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

Lydia in her Challenger uniform

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Mary posing for Nana

Mary posing for Nana

...and eating apples.

…and eating apples.

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Popovers, because I make them a lot.

Popovers, because I make them a lot.

The house the morning my mom left.

The house the morning my mom left.

On the way to school!

On the way to school!

sep30pic5It was sad to see my mom go, but Grandma, I am happy you get to have her. Love you both!

Today was the last day of the quarter, and so Abe surprised me and took me out for dinner and ice cream to celebrate this great quarter.

sep30 sep30pic1It was a great day! Now, tomorrow, if I can just find time to work off some of the food I ate today, tomorrow can be a great day too.

Happy birthday, Mary!

I have thirty something pictures of today, so let’s get to it!

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

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She couldn't reach the pedals.

She couldn’t reach the pedals.

Abe solved that problem this way.

Abe solved that problem this way.

It was raining, so we went to the aquarium instead of the zoo.

sep27pic2 sep27pic3 sep27pic4 sep27pic1 sep27 sep27pic5 sep27pic6 sep27pic22Then we came home and had pizza for lunch.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it's her birthday, so I couldn't say no.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it’s her birthday, so I couldn’t say no.

sep27pic8 sep27pic10 sep27pic9After lunch, Mary refused to nap. She didn’t want to miss a minute of her birthday! Instead, she ran around the house in the bugaboo necklace you gave her for Christmas, Grandma!

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She also played the piano…

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...and she played with Abe.

…and she played with Abe.

Abe took the girls outside to jump in puddles in the rain.

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Then I made dinner, and we celebrated Mary’s birthday with Tom, Suzanne, Clark, Swathi, Balu, and Mom.

We had Mary's favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

We had Mary’s favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

And cake!

And cake!

Cake!

Cake!

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The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

Then, gifts!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

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Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases!

Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases! Thank-you so much. It meant so much to Lydia to have a gift on Mary’s birthday. Also, thank-you for the garlic case you sent me–I LOVE it!!

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Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

With all of her gifts. Happy birthday, sweet Mary! We adore you!!

With all of her gifts. sep28pic13 sep28pic12 sep28pic11Happy birthday, Mary! We adore you!

 

Errands–and Clark and Swathi arrive!

Today we mainly ran errands–with my mom! It is so wonderful having her in town. As if that weren’t enough, Clark and Swathi just arrived tonight. The only thing that would make it better is if you were here, Grandma!

Mom and I took a bunch of pictures on her iPhone.

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary's 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western "outfit" (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary’s 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western “outfit” (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

I'm pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia's school looks like.

I’m pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia’s school looks like.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

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Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary's curls.

Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary’s curls.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

 But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, "Nana, wook at vis! ("Nana, look at this!)"

But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, “Nana, wook at vis! (“Nana, look at this!)”

"Nana, wook at vis!"

“Nana, wook at vis!”

I forgot to say a thank-you to Mom for watching the kids while I went to lunch with my visiting teachee, Andrea. We had a really fun lunch, and it was only possible because my mom babysat. Thanks, Mom!

Grandma, we wish you were here. Thanks for lending us Mom!

date night

Today started off with breakfast and a play date with Misty. I harbor fond hopes that someday Mary and Max will get married, and they were so cute and played ball together.

IMG_9470After Misty left, I took the girls to the basement to paint while I did the treadmill.

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At five minutes and forty seconds in, Mary proceeded to spill green paint all over the basement carpet. I spent the next hour scrubbing and vacuuming and scrubbing the paint some more.

Then I put Mary down for a nap, knocked out three homework assignments and cleaned up Lydia and the back room carpet after she peed all over the floor. Feeling harried, I downed a cup of cocoa while the girls watched Snow White, and then I joined them until Isabella came over.

Isabella babysat the girls while Abe and I went to dinner and a concert with Karin and Jay.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

Then we headed over to hear the Utah Chamber Artists perform a splendid concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were late, but we caught the end of the first half and all of the second half of the concert. The second half was the Utah premiere of Eriks Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection. My favorite part was the very end, where the chorus sings to the soprano, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she responds, “Sir, if thou has borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away.” The chorus then sings, “Mariam, Mariam, Mariam,” in a sweet, echoing refrain. The lights in the church went out as the soprano took up an alter candle and walked to the end of the church singing, “Rabboni, Rabboni, Rabboni.”

The concert is free, and I want to go again tomorrow, at least to hear the parts I missed tonight. We’ll see if that’s even logistically possible, but I really, really enjoyed it.

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organizing kick

This morning I had to make up a class at school while Abe took Lydia to dance and Mary to the park. After school I went to IKEA to look for a toddler bed only to discover Lydia’s bed was discontinued. No luck! Instead, I bought a bunch of random stuff, including containers to organize the craft area.

After I came home, I organized the girls’ craft area while Lydia painted happily away with her new paints. Then we did errands, after which Abe had to run to the church to set up chairs for the temple dedication broadcast tomorrow. While he did that, I attacked all of my kitchen cabinets and my fridge. Since I was on an organizing kick, they got organized! I threw away a ton of expired things and discovered wonderful spices and treasures that I had completely forgotten about. I have THREE packages of saffron! What abundance! I can make saffron rice every day this week if I want!

Now the bad news. Grandma and Mom, I am sorry, but we were so busy today that we forgot to take pictures. We should have taken one of Mary. We let her run around until 10:30 while we organized. (Lydia fell asleep at 6:30 and never woke up after that.)

But good news! My friend, Jen, took pictures of the girls at ballet and some of the kids at the park. Thanks, Jen!

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Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Anyway, Abe and I were hoping to get a movie in, so maybe we’ll get half–or a quarter–of one in instead.