Red Butte and dinner with the Pe’as.

This morning we went with Lalitha and Eden to Red Butte Gardens. It was a beautiful day. In fact, Abe and I keep having conversations about how amazing the weather this year has been. I wish this year would just repeat over and over for the rest of my life weather wise, but since I can’t count on that, I just have to try to make the most out of every gorgeous day.

IMG_9908 IMG_9909 IMG_9912 IMG_9915 IMG_9918 IMG_9923Then we went grocery shopping with Lalitha and came home. I was the only one who napped, and when I woke up, Lydia informed me that she and Mary climbed onto the piano. I guess that means no more naps for me, or at least no naps while my children are awake.

I spent the rest of the day cooking. We had FHE with our friends, the Pe’as. Since we’ve been reading a lot of books about Halloween, Lydia has become very confused about what ghosts are. We decided to brush up on the doctrine of resurrection and our beliefs about how the spirit and the body are related to each other. Afterward, the kids pictured colors of ghosts.

IMG_9925 IMG_9930Abe and I have been trying to get around to folding four giant baskets of laundry for almost a week. We are going to try to fold some tonight while watching Stardust. We have a new habit to squeeze in movies: ten minutes a day! I wish I were kidding, but that’s actually what we’ve resorted to.

P.S. Mom and Grandma, Paige sent me some cute pictures from our hike Wednesday. If you want to see them, I added them to that post (link here).

Festivus for the rest of us

Last night Mary barely slept, so Abe and I were exhausted today. Heck, Mary was exhausted; after breakfast, she took an hour and a half nap. After she woke up, we did errands while Lydia was at preschool.

One of our errands involved shopping for a baby shower present. I walked into Pottery Barn Kids and was disgusted (for the first time ever in that particular store) because there were Christmas decorations everywhere. Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year, hasn’t even happened yet!!! I want to walk in places and see witches, ghosts, and hobgoblins, and, most of all, PUMPKINS AND ALL THINGS FALL–not elves and Santa!

Also, I genuinely hate the commercialization of a holiday that does have actual religious significance to me. So in the spirit of objection, I went home and baked babka and celebrated Festivus. I air grievances all the time, and in light of how much I love babka (tonight was the first time I’ve had it), I think it should be a regular holiday around here. I’m sure I can drum up an aluminum pole somewhere…

Anyway, since I knew my social anxiety could NOT handle the baby shower, and since Abe was home exhausted with the kids, I literally spent ten seconds at the shower– enough to hand over a gift, grimace, and flee in terror. Even the ten second exposure I had kept me panicking until I made two more personal, uplifting visits on the way home (one to a visiting teachee and one to Abe’s aunt). Those picked me right back up.

I should stop writing and go help Abe. The poor man is cleaning the house, and I know he’s about to drop from exhaustion.

Here are the pictures!

Making babka.

Making babka.

The messy chocolate part.

The messy chocolate part.

One of the loaves.

One of the loaves.

While I was gone, Abe made these broom with the girls for our FHE activity. When I got back, we sang along to Frozen and I showed the girls a picture of my dad and taught them a little about who he was.

While I was gone, Abe made these broom with the girls for our FHE activity. I should note that they foraged for all of the materials in our yard. When I got back, we sang along to Frozen and I showed the girls a picture of my dad and taught them a little about who he was.

A video!

As I blog, Abe is kindly picking through each strand of my hair for nits again. Thank-you, my wonderful husband. I love you.

We just stayed home all day. I’m pretty tired from the lice situation. Mary was lice-free until she napped, and then she woke up with a bite on her neck and some nits around her ear. My heart dropped when I saw that.

Other than that, I spent the whole day cooking, reading to the girls, and cleaning.

Here are the pictures!

Lydia and I tried to turn challah into brioche today. I should have just googled a brioche recipe; the challah didn't convert that well.

Lydia and I tried to turn challah into brioche today. I should have just googled a brioche recipe; the challah didn’t convert that well.

After being trapped inside all day, Mary really wanted to go outside and read books. After all she's been through, I happily aquiesced.

After being trapped inside all day, Mary really wanted to go outside and read books. After all she’s been through, I happily aquiesced.

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We had pot pies in pumpkins tonight. Mary thought it was novel.

We had pot pies in pumpkins tonight. Mary thought it was novel.

After dinner, the girls sang a song before FHE. Lydia made up the words and Mary was her chorus.

After dinner, the girls sang a song before FHE. Lydia made up the words and Mary was her chorus.

We got part of the song on video! You can see it here.

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We had a FHE lesson on reverence. Abe had the girls play a game like Stop and Go! wherein the girls danced and acted crazy when Abe called out, "Crazy!", and they knelt and acted reverent when he said, "Reverent!". This is them kneeling.

We had a FHE lesson on reverence. Abe had the girls play a game like Stop and Go! wherein the girls danced and acted crazy when Abe called out, “Crazy!”, and they knelt and acted reverent when he said, “Reverent!”. This is them kneeling.

Crazy!

Crazy!

Crazy again!

Crazy again!

organizing day

Today I stayed home and sanitized and organized all of the toys, children’s books, and children’s clothes in the house. It took all day. As the day wore on, I heard myself saying ridiculous things like, “Mary, put down that toy! I just organized that, and you can’t play with any of your toys until tomorrow!” …But, hours upon hours later, the toys are all disinfected and in their proper places, the books are sorted by color (ROYGBIV), and I have assessed the girls’ wardrobe situations (Mary = clothes galore, Lydia = one outfit away from naked. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!).

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than  that Lydia's hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than that Lydia’s hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

All the organized books made me want to read to Mary, so we did that for a while. Then I ate too many carbs and indulged in too much Apple Barn fudge (thanks, Mom!)…and then Abe came home and we had dinner. Thankfully, my mom is here and she makes the world’s best salads, so I had salad for dinner. My body was grateful.

Then we had FHE. My mom had the wonderful idea of cutting up a picture of Jesus holding a lamb into puzzle pieces. We hid the piece with the lamb, and the girls had to put the puzzle together and hunt down the missing piece. Abe then explained to them that just like Jesus loves the little lamb in the picture, He loves us. He explained that whenever we are lost or lonely, we can pray and feel comfort and peace.sep29pic12 sep29pic13 sep29pic11

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

That made her happy.

That made her happy.

The girls climbed across "Daddy Bridge."

The girls climbed across “Daddy Bridge.”

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Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

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Post office, picnic, and FHE

Today I got up at 5:20 am, when Abe always gets up. Since I was awake early, I had time to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, do yoga, make popovers, shower and get the kids ready for the day.

Today Lydia had preschool, so Mary and I spent a lot of time walking around Sugar House. It was a beautiful morning, and the leaves are just barely starting to turn colors. We walked to the post office, Barnes and Noble, and the Sprage branch of the Salt Lake library. We also went to Tony Caputo’s to pick up some Dine O’ Round lunches for a picnic we had in the park with Jen, Natalie, Laddie, and Spencer. Sadly, Tony Caputo’s messed up my order–I discovered when we got to the park that my sandwiches were full of lunch meat. Gross. We skipped the sandwiches and just ate cake instead.

Jen was so fun and inspiring to talk to! She’s planning a bachelorette party for a friend, and she is really trying to make the party fun and appropriate. So tricky, but I was impressed with her efforts to keep the party elevated.

Then we came home and napped. After I woke up, I cooked for three hours. Abe came home and played with the girls while I finished cooking.

sep23pic5 sep23pic1 sep23 sep23pic4Then we had dinner (finally!), FHE and a treat.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl. Also, we realize she needs a haircut. Hopefully we’ll get around to that soon.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the "bread" of "Dear Heavenly Father" and "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our "sandwich" with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the “bread” of “Dear Heavenly Father” and “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our “sandwich” with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

And now Abe and I are going to finish The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We are both tired, so hopefully we can stay awake!

Industrious, laziness, friend and family-liness

After I steam cleaned and vacuumed all of the floors this morning, I figured I had earned a vacation for the rest of the day, so I finished The Mists of Avalon. I’m glad I got through it, but I’m also glad I’m done! That fictional world was a little too crazy for me, and I’m glad to be firmly back in my own paradigm.

In the late afternoon, Lydia asked me when I was going to “wake up” since I had been reading in bed for hours. I decided I could read just as well outside, so that’s where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

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The Andersons invited us over for dinner, which was wonderful because I was busy reading and hadn’t prepared a thing.

Lydia was tired. When we unloaded her from the car, she curled up on the grass and tried to go to sleep.

Lydia was tired. When we unloaded her from the car, she curled up on the grass and tried to go to sleep.

Paige made delicious pizza. I was carsick from reading in the car and didn't think I was hungry, but this made me want to basically never stop eating.

Paige made delicious pizza. I was carsick from reading in the car and didn’t think I was hungry, but this made me want to basically never stop eating.

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Then we went to Tom and Suzanne’s for FHE. They read to the girls a ton, which the girls loved. Abe did another puppet show–he’s the best at those!

sep15pic1 sep15pic2Then Lydia begged to come home and go to bed. She has preschool tomorrow, so I was very amenable to her pleas.

She was falling asleep on the potty before bed.

She was falling asleep on the potty before bed.

juice burn-out

I was pretty energetic from my juice cleanse this morning. I got up at 5:30, spent an hour studying my scriptures, steam cleaned and vacuumed the entire downstairs, dusted, organized, fed the children multiple times, and had a fun (picture-less, sorry Grandma!) play date with Misty and her adorable kids.

Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary's pants fell down. Even though she's about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.

Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary’s pants fell down. Even though she’s about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.

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Then I crashed. I proceeded to lie in bed lethargically until I decided I needed to eat something. It had been a day and a half by then, and I was starting to obsess over food in my head. It didn’t feel healthy.

I wasn't the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.

I wasn’t the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.

She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she's refused to do this for a year.

She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she’s refused to do this for a year.

After Abe came home, we ate dinner and drove to Red Butte Gardens…only to discover they were closed. No matter. We headed over to Sugar House Park so the girls could still see ducks and then play on the play ground. I had a lot of fun chasing Mary around (in spite of my ankle, which didn’t enjoy the chasing as much as Mary or I).

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Abe and I are having a homework party. He has hours and hours of extra work to do for his job, and I have a ton of homework to do. It works! Except for the fact that I am exhausted and slightly nauseous from the juice experiment. Hopefully we can finish soon and get some sleep at the start of this weekend. We had a pow-wow to plan tomorrow hour by hour because it is so packed. I really hate Saturdays that don’t feel free, but it looks like tomorrow will be one of those days…

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!

Germy conversations and an anti-racist FHE

I started off by giving the girls a bath because I couldn’t recall the last time we bathed them. They were starting to smell. Lately I’ve been trying to motivate Lydia to wash her hands, brush her teeth, and generally keep clean by dramatizing imagined conversations between germs and her body.

During her bath, she made me repeat over and over how she was drowning the icky germs, and throughout the day she kept asking me, “Mommy, what are my germs saying now?” At one point, right as I was relaying what her germs were saying to her body, she said, “Mom, gotta go, I need to brush my teeth!” (She’d already brushed them half an hour earlier, and she loved the idea of brushing all the germs off.)

After breakfast, the girls peeled and broke up bananas for banana swirl.

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Then I did my treadmill routine while the kids played and crafted in the very messy basement. (I cleaned it during quiet time today.)

IMG_9181 IMG_9183Then we had lunch, books, and quiet time. The picture taking resumed when Abe got home from work.

Abe loves taking pictures of these salads.

Abe loves taking pictures of these Nicoise salads. This was actually a great dinner to have after discussing germs all day. I got to tell Lydia about how all the nutrients in all the different veggies were scaring her germs by making her healthy and strong. She downed them with gusto.

aug18pic4 aug18pic2 aug18Then I had my Primary meeting, after which I came home and took a walk with Abe and the girls. We visited some of Abe’s home teachees who live up a couple blocks. On our way home, we met the nicest older couple, Bob and Becky. After chatting with them for the better part of twenty minutes, they offered us the bounty of their garden–a huge bagful of tomatoes! The girls were ecstatic. We came home, stripped off their shirts and had a tomato-gorging party.

After that, we had an anti-racist FHE. With all that’s been going on in Ferguson, I realized I need to actively start teaching anti-racism at home. Since Salt Lake is so homogeneous, especially where we live, the issue of race barely comes up. The only times Lydia has ever visited with any African Americans were 1) when my high school friend came and stayed with us two years ago 2) when my grad school friend came and stayed with us six months before that and 3) when one of my culinary school friends came over for dinner (she’s since moved). That’s it.

So we had our anti-racist FHE to at least start a conversation with her. We started simple:

1) God made us in all different colors, and he loves all of his children exactly the same. No one is better than anyone else because of skin color.

2) There are people in the world who think that people with different skin colors are bad. God doesn’t like that kind of thinking.

3) Abe read us this quote:
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. ”

Amen and good night.

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!