MARTHA: A DREAM SURPASSED

Except for Jesus, there is no one in the history of the world that I would rather meet than Martha Stewart. That is not an exaggeration. It is a dry fact. Today, I got to do what very few people on the earth have ever done; I lived out my wildest, most fantastic dream. I met Martha Stewart.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Not only that, but I spent the day with her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was.

I ran out of words. How can I convey the bliss? I think I just might name my next daughter Candace, after my friend Candace, who toted me along on this amazing adventure. Candace Martha Darais. What do you think?

We baked biscuits with Martha. We ate the most delicious meal I have ever had (that Martha cooked herself) with Martha. We got our make-up done by Martha’s make-up artist. We toured Martha’s farm several times, once with Martha. We helped set up for Martha’s party. We attended Martha’s (Audubon) party. We picked apples from Martha’s espaliered apple trees. We met and pet Martha’s dogs. And horses. We saw Martha’s grandchildren, Kevin Sharkey, and Ryan (her head gardner). We walked around Martha’s house and poked around her basement. We ate ourselves sick at the party.

In short, the day was unbelievable. And Martha in person? Is even better than on T.V.. So natural, gracious, straight-forward, hospitable, interesting, funny, beautiful…Let’s just say, I left more convinced than ever that Martha is a demi-God. And she even made jokes at the party about her imprisonment. What a woman.

She also almost lost her temper when she found out our trip was short and no one arranged for us to tour her New York offices. She told us we are welcome the next time we are in New York to see her offices, and her assistants pulled us aside afterward and renewed the invitation. We are stoked.

Also, this is a link to the blog of my friend, Candace. She is going to post her much more detailed account of what took place (along with her pictures) once she gets home.

stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers

Martha's stable carraiges

Martha’s carriages

shallot and garlic in Martha's barn

shallot and garlic in Martha’s barn

Ramon, one of Martha's horses. She has many horses, and they are all look alike.

Ramon, one of Martha’s horses. She has many horses, and they are all look alike.

Preparation for the Audubon party

Preparation for the Audubon party

More party prep

More party prep

Martha's eggs and produce in her kitchen

Martha’s eggs and produce in her kitchen

Martha's chickens

Martha’s chickens

Martha's bees. They aren't producing honey, though. I almost brought Martha some honey from Salt Lake, and when I found out her bees did not produce this year, I kicked myself.

Martha’s bees. They aren’t producing honey, though. I almost brought Martha some honey from Salt Lake, and when I found out her bees did not produce this year, I kicked myself.

Martha's basement. Off to the side she has another huge room full of super-organized storage.

Martha’s basement. Off to the side she has another huge room full of super-organized storage.

Martha uses Softsoap! It was at every sink I saw.

Martha uses Softsoap! It was at every sink I saw.

Martha leading a garden tour.

Martha leading a garden tour.

Lunch with Martha. She was in her work-out clothes and did not have make-up, so she could not be photographed until the party.

Lunch with Martha. She was in her work-out clothes and did not have make-up, so she could not be photographed until the party.

Linden Allee

Linden Allee

Lamb shank (recipe from her Cooking School cook book) and stuffed peppers.

Lamb shank (recipe from her Cooking School cook book) and stuffed peppers.

In front of the stable

In front of the stable

Martha's horse

Martha’s horse

Daisy, Martha's make-up artist.

Daisy, Martha’s make-up artist. She did our make-up!

Clouds at the party

Clouds at the party

Martha at the party

Martha at the party

Espaliered apple trees. We picked some.

Espaliered apple trees. We picked some.

Tomatoes in the catering kitchen

Tomatoes in the catering kitchen

View from Martha's porch

View from Martha’s porch

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

With Francesca, one of Martha's darling dogs.

With Francesca, one of Martha’s darling dogs.

Getting ready

Today was Mary’s birthday! We are going to celebrate a month late, but I can’t believe that one year ago I was just meeting my sweet, adorable little girl. I still remember how beautiful a day it was, and how happy we were after the whole process of introduction. She is a joy and light to our lives.

I feel a bit guilty being away on her big day, but I am comforting myself that she doesn’t know. In the meantime, I had a great day! I got my hair done, walked for hours around New York, and toured the Cloisters.Here are some pictures of my touring. So far I have tried meditating at/on: the airport, the airplane, the subway, clark’s apartment, the hair salon, and The Cloisters. I am so glad I started meditating because meditating at The Cloisters is an incredible experience I shall never forget (especially since I am writing it down!).

the cloisters flowers at the cloisters fort tryon garden lily at the cloisters

Then I met up with Candace at the airport and a car brought us to our hotel, in Greenwich, CT:  The Homestead Inn. We feel fancy.

candace at the homesteadBut we arrived here hungry, and the restaurant is ridiculously expensive (think $16 for a humble bowl of oatmeal), so we ordered a pizza from town. Candace bravely did the walk of shame in front of the maitre’d (who had all but commanded us to eat at the hotel) carrying our extra large pizza up to our room.

I am all in a tizzy because I did not think to bring a basket for the gifts we have for Martha, nor did I write a note. What was I thinking??!!!! But I think we have a short term solution, so maybe all is not lost. I also did not bring a copy of Martha’s latest book to sign. Again, I am kicking myself.

Here are some pics from Abe’s day back at home. Lydia had two play dates today! Aria kindly babysat her in the morning, and then Abe babysat Espen while Aria did yoga. Then Anthony, Malika and Emil came over and had another play date. From the pictures Abe has, it looks like he took the girls to Coldstone at some point. At the end of the day, Abe and the girls headed over to Tom and Suzanne’s so the girls could open some presents. ( Today was, after all, Mary’s actual birthday.) It looks like it was a fun day!

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New York, New York

I am in New York City! It feels a bit strange because the last time I was here, we were all so jet-lagged, sleep deprived and together. Now I’m here with my lovely brother and sister-in-law; we are all deeply engaged in our electronic devices, and the apartment is quiet. Very different from the soundtrack Lydia and Mary (and, let’s be honest and include me in that group) provided the last time we were here.

I just realized, I forgot my toothbrush! Normally, (TMI!!) Abe, the girls and I are gross and share in this scenario–which seems to occur every time we travel. And even though part of me is tempted to sneak into Clark and Swathi’s bathroom and steal one of their brushes, I will spare them if only because I like them so, so much.

How did I get into this predicament? Well, you see, we were supposed to leave the house at 9am to get to the Salt Lake airport in time, and at 8am every single member of our family was still in bed. So in one hour, I had to pack everything for this trip, tidy the house, disinfect the bathroom, cook up some eggs, and get myself dressed.

Putting Lydia's pants on right before we were supposed to leave. She did not enjoy the idea of wearing pants, and so I procrastinated this fight until the end. She doesn't look so unhappy here, does she?

Putting Lydia’s pants on right before we were supposed to leave. She did not enjoy the idea of wearing pants, and so I procrastinated this fight until the very last minute. She doesn’t look so unhappy though, does she?

Did I mention I got dressed? I felt great about this for two reasons. Reason #1) This morning I stepped on the scale for the first time in a LONG time and got the shock of my life. I am a mere 10ish pounds over where I was when I married Abe. Considering I gain 75 lbs per pregnancy, this is HUGE!!!! All this to say, dressing myself was much more fun with that information in mind. #2) For the majority of my pregnancy and the ensuing 9 months afterward, I wore the same three t-shirts and the same two skirts almost every day. Sometimes I got fancy and donned yoga pants. An actual sweatshirt for special occasions. But I actually dressed myself today, and I'm sorry, but that felt like something momentous in life.

Did I mention I got dressed? I felt great about this for two reasons. Reason #1) This morning I stepped on the scale for the first time in a LONG time and got the shock of my life. I am a mere 10 okay, 13 pounds over where I was when I married Abe. Considering I gain 75 lbs per pregnancy, this is HUGE!!!! All this to say: I was so happy I actually got dressed today. #2) For the majority of my pregnancy and the ensuing 9 months afterward, I wore the same three t-shirts and the same two skirts almost every day. Sometimes I got fancy and donned yoga pants. An actual sweatshirt for special occasions. But I actually dressed myself today, and I’m sorry, but that felt like something momentous.

Clark and Swathi took me to the East Village tonight for Indian food, cupcakes and ice cream. Don't I have SUCH a pretty sister-in-law?

Clark and Swathi took me to the East Village tonight for Indian food, cupcakes and ice cream. Don’t I have SUCH a pretty sister-in-law?

We walked around afterward. Here we are in Washington Park.

We walked around afterward. Here we are in Washington Park.

Meanwhile, back at home, Abe was busy taking care of the girls. His best friend, Anthony, along with Anthony’s wife, Malika, and their little boy, Emil, are in town. They all ate dinner together and had a great time. I can’t caption the pictures because I wasn’t there, but it looks fun!

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picture-less post

My house is a pigsty right now, so in the interest of time, this post will have no pictures. I’ll just record my temperature for a quick second before I board a plane tomorrow and head to New York to meet the woman of my dreams, Martha Stewart.

Here’s my temperature: I am excited! Grateful! …and a little stressed out. I know I just complained about how I can never get away from my girls, but I don’t know how I’ll handle being away for days. I already miss them.

So a quick update on today, because I feel committed (at least for now) to recording these precious days of life.

Lydia had her preschool in the morning, during which I took Mary to do some visiting teaching. One of the ladies I visit teach has a wonderful garden, and she loaded me up with goodies–including a gorgeous, big pumpkin!

Then I fed the girls as fast as possible and put them down for quiet time/naps so I could lie down and waste time online before a babysitting marathon. One of my friends has a son who needed to have surgery today, so she dropped off her two kids for the afternoon. They were little angels, and I have photos on my camera that I wish I had energy to share here.

Then I ran out the door to do some Bikram Yoga, after which I had an awesome conversation with my Sunday School teacher/ yoga buddy. She introduced me to the concept of meditation, and I am so excited to start the practice. She told me that meditation can help clear negativity from the mind so that all that’s left is compassion and love. I want a mind like that!!

Then my friend, Candice, came over to say good-bye because, sniffle, she is moving to Saint George. I detained her way too long because a) I will miss her a lot and b) so she could act as my fashion consultant regarding what to wear when I meet Martha. (One of the things that makes Candice special is that she always looks like she walked out of an Anthropologie catalogue, and she pulls that off even as the mother of the most energetic–sweet!!–two year old on the planet. People like me need people like her in their lives.)

And now it is time to clean the, um, entire house. Can I please eat another cookie first?

turnaround

I did not post anything yesterday because, honestly, I was feeling too low.  I felt trapped by the fact the only way I can get away from my (darling) daughters is to have someone (usually Abe or my mom) do me the favor of watching them.  I mean, I love spending time with them and I would not want to ever HAVE to leave my children to go to work, but sometimes the around-the-clock mommy thing gets a little tiring.  Happily, Abe and my mom are always, always happy to help in any way. The result  is I can actually get away almost anytime I want or need, but still…I hate having to be so dependent.  I intensely dislike having to be the recipient of service.

Also, Mary is almost one and I am still at least (depending on how you calculate) twenty pounds overweight. (This despite the fact I have gone MONTHS at a time without a single sugary treat, worked out multiple times a week–many weeks–on very few hours of sleep, and I cook relatively healthy food with equally relative regularity. Is life super unfair or what?)

To top it all off, yesterday I finished reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist. By the closing sentences, wherein the reader is left with a sense of impending doom offset by only the faintest of hope glimmers, I was done. Not only does my emotional landscape look bleak, but the world is a wreck too. Where’s my bed?

Thankfully, Abe gave me a blessing this morning. It literally felt like someone extended a hand and brought me out of the dark into the light. When he started pronouncing the blessing, I was practically catatonic, but by the end (it was the looooongest blessing I have EVER had in my life), I felt full of light and thankful for my life. I had a great day, and every time I did an internal scan to see how my heart was feeling, I came to the same conclusion: I felt happy!

Since I was so stressed out yesterday, I kind of lost my mind and cooked meat for the first time in two years. (I have a weakness for lamb.) I also made plum/apple/thyme turnovers because I am crazy. Mary basically cried any time I put her down, and if you know how puff pastry works, you know that to make these suckers I had to put her down. I repeat, I am/the process of making these was crazy.

In case you're interested, I got the recipe for these here:

In case you’re interested in making a prettier version of these, I got the recipe for these here:

http://apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com/2012/09/plum-and-apple-turnovers-with-thyme.html

When I thought Mary's crying was going to drive me out of my mind, I said a quick prayer for help. Seconds later Lydia went over to Mary and said, "Here, sweetheart. Do you want to play with these toys?" And she calmed Mary down. It was a small miracle.

When I thought Mary’s crying was going to drive me out of my mind, I said a quick prayer for help. Seconds later Lydia went over to Mary and said, “Here, sweetheart. Do you want to play with these toys?” And she calmed Mary down. It was a small miracle.

Abe came home and wrestled with the girls outside. I was too busy moping inside to join them, but watching this made me feel at least one small twinge of pleasure.

Abe came home and wrestled with the girls outside. I was too busy moping inside to join them, but watching this through the window made me feel at least one small twinge of happiness.

So enough whining about yesterday! Today Misty called to tell me she was going to Costco and kindly invited me to come. She even waited an extra hour so Mary could wake up and come too (even though I am sure this compromised Sophia’s nap). Did I mention how much I love Misty? Also, she completed a sprint triathlon this weekend, and it feels to me like she JUST gave birth to little Max. (She placed 4th in her age group.) I told you she was cool.

Here are Lydia and Sophia playing footsie in Costco.

Here are Lydia and Sophia goofing around in Costco.

Here is Mary having a bad, bad hair day at Costco.

Here is Mary having a bad hair day at Costco.

After Costco, I pumped Mary full of Tylenol and put her down for a nap. It worked. My awesome visiting teacher, Erika Bowen, came over with her two kids, and Mary slept through the entire visit. I should have taken pictures because Erika’s kids are a.dor.a.ble., but I was having so much fun chatting with Erika that I completely forgot.

When Erika left, Lydia and I stayed on the front lawn and raced each other (at times, I sat on the stoop and convinced Lydia to race, um, the clock) until Mary woke up. At which time, I fed Mary dinner #1. Then I cooked our real dinner, fed everyone again, and hightailed it to DSW for some stuff I need for my Martha Stewart trip this weekend. (I know. I am ridiculous for complaining about anything ever at all. My life is actually perfect and I am just a whiner.)

We match! Abe said Mary should have worn black, though. She was waaaay too sad today to be wearing yellow!

We match! Abe said Mary should have worn ALL black, though. She was waaaay too sad today to be wearing yellow, although she loves the camera and mustered a smile for it in spite of herself.
Here is Mary pretending that she was happy all day.

Here is Mary trying to pretend that she was happy all day. Here is me having a bad hair day.

Okay, okay. I know how I complained about how unfair it is that I am still 20 lbs overweight, but maybe it's not that unfair. On the left you will see some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I made today, and on the right you will see some chocolate cookies Erika brought me. At this moment, wherein I am full of cookies, I truly intend to give the rest away. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Okay, okay. I know how I complained about how unfair it is that I am still 20 lbs overweight, but maybe it’s not that unfair. On the left you will see some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I made today, and on the right you will see some chocolate cookies Erika brought me. At this moment, wherein I am full of cookies, I truly intend to give the rest away. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

 

Abe took this while I was out shopping tonight.

Abe took this while I was out shopping tonight.

He also took this one; I assume he took it because he thinks it's funny that Lydia cuddles with her books at night?

He also took this one; I assume he took it because he thinks it’s funny that Lydia cuddles with her books at night?

And in case she gets too lonely, this is her emergency stash. (Actually, we just have not thought of a better place to store our library books.)

And in case she gets too lonely, this is her emergency stash. (Actually, we just have not thought of a better place to store our library books.)

Not quite oblivion

Not much happened today. We went to church, played with our kids, ate food, and, right when I was about to consign the day to oblivion (even thought that exact thought as I glanced at my camera and decided NOT to bring it with me to the park), a memorable thing happened.

At the park, the wind was whipping up a storm. Abe jogged Lydia over to a family flying kites, and out of the blue they let Lydia fly a kite! For the next thirty minutes, Lydia held tight and stared wide-eyed at her big kite aloft in the sky. A grinning Mary even held out her hand and grabbed the string. It was magical, memorable, and…not photographed.

Oh, well. Before I lost steam, I did take some other pictures during our lazy day.

Mary was excited to eat breakfast.

Mary was excited to eat breakfast.

Abe does not often prepare the girls food, and so he overdid it a little on Lydia's after-church snack.

Abe does not often prepare the girls food, and so he overdid it a little on the portion size of Lydia’s after-church snack.

Mary missed her nap because of church. She and I are, um, tight. Here she is throwing herself on the ground and crying because I am ten whole feet away.

Mary and I are, um, tight. Here she is throwing herself on the ground and crying because I am ten whole feet away.

 

Better now! She made Mama so proud today.

Better now! She made Mama so proud today.

And she knew it.

And she knew it.

Abe's original joke of the day: "What did the chef say who was cutting fruit? "I'm Cuban." (That is a delicious yellow watermelon he so perfectly cut.)

Abe’s original joke of the day: “What did the chef say who was cutting fruit? ‘I’m Cuban.’ ” (That is a delicious yellow watermelon he “cubed.”)

Chard, eggplant and tomato lasagne. Cooking the tomatoes yesterday turned out not to be a mistake.

Chard, eggplant and tomato lasagne. Cooking the tomatoes yesterday turned out to be the right thing to do.

Mary's appetite has stayed strong since yesterday evening! Hooray! Here she is eating watermelon after consuming an adult size portion of lasagne.

Mary’s appetite has stayed strong since yesterday evening. Hooray! Here she is eating watermelon after consuming an adult size portion of lasagne.

We got a lot of mileage out of these glasses today.

We got a lot of mileage out of these glasses today.

Right before bath time. See what I mean?

Right before bath time. See what I mean?

Ahhh, Saturday.

Abe was a gem of a husband and let me lie in bed until 9:30 this morning. I feel: happy! energetic! in love with my husband, my children, and life! What a difference sleep makes!

As a result of my sky-high mood, I dragged my husband and kids all around today. They are all pooped, and I feel like I could yet clean, read a book, bake a plum cake, and, of course, blog. In the interest of my exhausted husband’s bedtime, though, I will probably just blog and clean (the kitchen).

So after I got out of bed, we went for a long walk/run to City Creek Canyon.

Right before we loaded the kids in the jogger. They spent the better part of the day in their jammies.

Right before we loaded the kids in the jogger. They spent the better part of the day in their jammies.

The entrance to the really part of the canyon. Right before this picture, a bunch of joggers/dog owners/bikers swarmed past, and Abe observed that they all smiled at the children and remarked how children generate so many smiles in the world simply by being children. So true.

Right before this picture, a bunch of joggers/dog owners/bikers swarmed past, and Abe observed that they all smiled at the children. He then remarked how children generate so many smiles in the world simply by being children. So true.

I LOVE the sunflowers along the road to the canyon. I took a picture of the flowers with the state capitol in the background. Of course, my limited photography skills and the phone camera do not convey the prettiness of the tangled, leggy flowers, the breeze, the sunshine, and the happy yellow petals.

I LOVE the sunflowers along the road to the canyon. I took a picture of the flowers with the state capitol in the background. Of course, my limited photography skills and the phone camera do not convey the prettiness of the tangled, leggy flower stems, the breeze, the sunshine, and the happy yellow petals.

We then walked to the yard sale of our friends, Joe, Candice and Cole. They are moving to Saint George, and we will miss them so much! On a happy note, though, the weather was PERFECT for a yard sale. Lydia loved seeing Cole, and she even got to use his potty. =)

We then went home and I improvised lunch. Yesterday I just happened to have roasted a spaghetti squash and made pesto with the sincere intent to give it all away, but I never got around to giving anything away. Today we became hungry ones in need of lunch, and so yesterday’s good intentions flew out the window.

Spaghetti squash with pesto I made yesterday (with one hand! Mary, I think I mentioned, is going through a don't-put-me-down stage. I felt very self-satisfied after managing to wrangle the skins off the garlic cloves--single handed, without a knife.)

Spaghetti squash with pesto I made yesterday (with one hand! Mary, I think I mentioned, is going through a don’t-put-me-down stage. I felt very self-satisfied after managing to wrangle the skins off the garlic cloves–single handed, without a knife.)

Then we put down the girls and I took off for my happy place, the farmer’s market. When we first came to Salt Lake, I disliked how big the market here is. Back in Hyde Park, we had a small market and I knew where to go for what. However, I have stopped moping about what I miss and instead have started to embrace what is here. The variety turns out to be quite welcome, and the bounty of September produce makes me happy to be an eater of food.

I bought a ton of exquisite little tomatoes from the market today, only to discover the eggplant chard lasagne I wanted to make called for fresh tomato sauce. It felt wrong, but I cooked them for ten minutes like the recipe said. We'll see if this was the world's worst mistake or not.

I bought a ton of exquisite little tomatoes from the market today, only to discover the eggplant chard lasagne I wanted to make called for fresh tomato sauce. It felt wrong, but I cooked them for ten minutes like the recipe said. We’ll see if this was the world’s worst mistake or not.

And then the pictures stop. After the market, we cleaned the house while the kids napped. I also got a head start cooking a lot of that farmer’s market produce. Then we packed up our children and headed for the pool at a nearby community center. We spent an hour there, and (I kid you not) Abe spent most of that time bribing Lydia to go down the big slide with him. This tentative little soul (she takes after me) wouldn’t budge until finally we announced it was time to go. She had a choice: either slide down the big slide with Abe and earn a trip to Coldstone, or get out of the pool and go shower. Guess what she chose?

We then used a Groupon  to eat dinner at a Sushi restaurant on State Street. Remember how Mary is teething and super duper picky right now? Well, it turns out she loves Japanese food. She could not get enough of everything, and I was so relieved to see her finally eat something. The service was so fast (appreciated when you have hungry children in tow) and the food was delicious. Oh, and Lydia is better at using chopsticks than I am. I don’t know how that happened. She referred to them as “my chop.”

Then it was off to Coldstone. I distinctly recall days in my former life when I felt torn between my love of Coldstone’s birthday cake remix and my desire to reduce caloric intake. On those such days, I would do the following: drive to Coldstone, eat a sizable serving of birthday cake remix, and then eat nothing else until the next day. Such a day was not today.

Then home, and guess what?!! I think I might have time yet to read a chapter in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a book I checked out at the library a couple days ago. If so, I am so excited. I’ve sneaked reading the first chapter, and I am hooked!

This Friday felt like Saturday

Here’s how quiet time goes at our house: I shut Lydia in her room and do not go to her–unless there’s a major problem–until Mary wakes up. Usually, Mary’s nap is one or two hours. During that time, Lydia plays, sings, hoots and hollers (joyfully) and, on very rare occasions, she will call for me to help her with a puzzle. (I never respond. Guilt inevitably abounds.) Sometimes she will also tuck herself neatly in bed and take a nap.

The result is, Lydia can be very independent when she chooses to be. Today, for example, she awoke from her nap with a nosebleed, but since she also needed to pee, she immediately peed in her potty (while bleeding) and then used up all the tissues in her room in an attempt to clean her nose. After she had exhausted the tissue box, she politely knocked on the door and asked for some help. Love/guilt/delight swelled up in my heart when I saw how hard she had worked to take care of her own mess. Sweet, conscienscious thing.

Abe has been out of town and came home early today–at 11am. He was in time to help out with the play date we had this morning, and having him around made the whole day feel like Saturday. To top it off, we ended the day with a walk/jog around the canyon and a temple trip to do initiatories–two activities that we normally do on Saturdays. I feel happy (and thankful to Suzanne, Abe’s stepmom, who made our temple date possible!).

Also, I took at least fifty pictures today. The following may seem like a lot, but consider yourself spared.

I am getting better at these waterfall braids! Couldn't practice without the help of Dora the Explorer...

Couldn’t practice Lydia’s waterfall braids without the help of Dora the Explorer

Espen and Lydia water coloring. Lydia, of course, drank the water color water.

Espen and Lydia water coloring. Lydia, of course, drank the water color water.

Playing cars with Espen and our new friends, the Skardas.

Playing cars with Espen and our new friends, the Skardas.

Lydia and Espen lounging on the lawn together.

Lydia and Espen lounging on the lawn together. Could this be a shot on a college green? I think so.

Mary was sad again today. This is what she did anytime I put her down for longer than...30 seconds?

Mary was sad again today. This is what she did anytime I put her down for longer than…30 seconds? Her cry is so funny. She says “Ay-yi-yi-yi” over and over. That’s the Filipino in her.

Lydia tried on Abe's shoes.

Lydia tried on Abe’s shoes.

We spent a lot of time outside today. This was in the evening while we ate "dinner" (corn, string cheese, and an apple) on the lawn.

We spent a lot of time outside today. This was in the evening while we ate “dinner” (corn, string cheese, a banana and an apple) on the lawn.

Lydia tried to pour water from this watering can on the ground. When I told her there was no water in it, she civilly asked me to please stop talking. And then she proceeded to tell me not to come with her to her chalk (where she tried again to pour water out of the empty watering can).

Lydia tried to pour water from this watering can on the ground. When I told her there was no water in it, she civilly asked me to please stop talking. She then proceeded to tell me not to come with her to her chalk (where she tried again to pour water out of the empty watering can).

She drew the blue smiley face all by herself. Good job, Lydia!

She drew the blue “smiley face” all by herself. Good job, Lydia!

Did you know rose bushes bloom both at the beginning AND at the end of summer? I had no idea. Maybe these bushes are just super special, but they surprise and delight me every day we go outside.

Did you know rose bushes bloom both at the beginning AND at the end of summer? I had no idea. Maybe these bushes are just super special, but they surprise and delight me every day we go outside.

More roses, because I love them (and did not take enough pictures today, obviously).

More roses, because I love them (and did not take enough pictures today, obviously).

Whew!

So Lydia woke up at 5am screaming that she had peed in the bed, but it turned out to be a nightmare. I do not know what we did to instill such a fear of bed wetting in her, but it’s to the point where I feel sorry for the poor little thing. Since Abe is gone and I wanted a cuddle buddy anyway, I took the risk and brought Lydia into bed with me.  She did great! No accidents and lots of cuddles. Fun, fun for everyone (but only sleep for Lydia. Sigh.)

And then our day started. It went as follows:

  • Drive randomly around Salt Lake’s Marmalade district for long time because I could not make up my mind about whether to go to Misty’s house or take the girls shopping. This neighborhood is so pretty, and the roads are steep and twisty.  I got lost, took pictures of cute streets, and decided to head to Misty’s.
  • Awesome play date with Misty, Sophia and Max. We ended on this high point: Misty and I walked in on Sophia and Lydia, who had both shed their undies during a potty marathon and were playing in Sophia’s room stark naked from the waste down. Lydia threw a fit when I forced her to put her undies and skirt back on.
  • Against my better judgment, I took the girls to Old Navy without feeding them lunch first. It was already noon. It went surprisingly well, although if you had asked me in the moment, I would have told you otherwise. (Lydia ran around sporadically pulling things off the shelves and stuffing things into a Halloween bag. After hissing a million empty threats at her, I gave in and let her do whatever she wanted so I could try to concentrate. Yes, I am that mom who can not control her child. Sorry, world.)
  • Lunch and a truncated nap/quiet time. During her quiet time, Lydia climbed on top of a bunch of boxes and fell over. She was, understandably, traumatized. But her trauma woke Mary, and all was lost in the nap department.
  • So I packed the girls up and headed to the library. We checked out DVDs and books for the girls, and even some books for me. Who knows if I’ll get to read them; about six months ago I announced to anyone who cared to listen that I’d given up reading because it felt like an incompatible hobby with motherhood, but I just. can’t. do. that. I need a plane of mental engagement higher than my kitchen floor.
  • We headed over to Temple Square to work in some religious education. The only way I could convince Lydia to leave was to tell her that we needed to rescue our car from the Big, Baaaad, Parking Police. She eventually complied, but not before almost hurling herself into City Creek.
  • Dinner, baths, clean-up, reading, bed. Then the obligatory post-bedtime house clean-up. Now blog time and waste-time-on-internet time (and maybe reading time!!!!). Whenever there’s a day like today wherein the girls skipped naps, I do stupid things like stay up until 1am just because it’s quiet, I kind of love the quiet, and…I can. I hope I make smarter choices tonight.

So for the photos. There were a LOT today!!

Getting lost on Apricot Avenue. The picture does not begin to do the pleasure justice.

Getting lost on Apricot Avenue. The picture does not begin to do the pleasure justice.

I felt teary looking at these two thinking that I remember when they were so little that they had no idea how to even interact. They met when they were teeny, tiny babies...and now look at them!

Um. Cuteness.

Misty and Max. Can you handle the cuteness?

Misty and Max. Can you even handle them?

I, for one, can not. I am kind of in love with Max. Not only is he (see picture!!!!) absolutely adorable, but he is the sweetest thing. I hope Mary marries him someday.

I, for one, can not. I am kind of in love with Max. Not only is he (see picture!!!!) absolutely adorable, but he is the sweetest thing. I hope Mary marries him someday. Also, Misty made that hat.

Misty's inspiring Menu chalkboard. Or in other words, Ode to a Good Mom.

Misty’s inspiring Menu chalkboard. Or in other words, “Ode to a Good Mom.”

At the check-out in Old Navy, I turned around to see Lydia hugging and holding hands with the mannikins.

At the check-out in Old Navy, I turned around to see Lydia hugging and holding hands with the mannikins.

On the way back from the library. I parked far away because 1) it was free and 2) the weather was gorgeous, and I want to make the most of this beautiful blip before winter.

On the way back from the library. I parked far away because 1) it was free and 2) the weather was gorgeous, and I want to make the most of this beautiful blip before winter.

Lydia watching a temple bride. A great teaching moment.

Lydia watching a temple bride. A great teaching moment.

Applesauce break at the temple.

Applesauce break at the temple.

As I turned my back to ask some people to take this photo, Lydia ran for the fountain and almost dove in head first. We look so calm in the picture, though, don't we? HA!

As I turned my back to ask some people to take this photo, Lydia ran for the fountain and almost dove in head first. We look so calm in the picture, though, don’t we? HA!

We always talk about how Jesus loves the little children. I think the girls felt the Spirit here because they were very reverent during the presentation.

I hope the girls had a spiritual experience here.

The last moments of our outing. Aren't you scared Lydia is going to clamber OVER the rock and fall in? I was.

The last moments of our outing. Aren’t you scared Lydia is going to clamber OVER the rock and fall in? I was.

joy school

Today was Lydia’s first day of “joy school,” a preschool co-op with some moms in my ward. Some moms conceived the idea while we were out of town, and the minute I heard about it I begged to join. They graciously let me.

It was a glorious day, and since we were only going a couple blocks, I took the girls in the “buddy bubble” (i.e., the double jogger). A lovely walk, and a great way to start a day–even though I started on approximately five hours of sleep. (Poor Mary is really struggling this week.)

Cute kids eating snacks before the lesson (this week on circles and the letter "C".

Cute kids eating snacks before the lesson (this week on circles and the letter “C”).

Afterwards, we had a lovely walk back and played with chalk a bit before coming inside for lunch. I put the girls down for quiet time and naps as soon as possible and then passed out on the couch until Mary woke up two hours later. After I got Mary, I went into Lydia’s room to find Lydia sitting on her little potty reading books, singing to herself, and peeing. So proud. (We got tired of the false alarms during quiet time and bed time; Lydia just wanted to get out of her room and kept telling us she needed to go potty when she did not need to. We solved the problem by sticking a potty in her bedroom.)

Lydia never got a nap, and so for the next two hours, both girls took turns throwing fits and being weepy.

I got ambitious with Lydia's waterfall braid and did a double waterfall braid today. Clearly, I need a lot more practice.

Here is Lydia crying that she wants Mary’s stickers (picture two below). On another note, I got ambitious with Lydia’s waterfall braid and did a double waterfall braid today. Clearly, I need a lot more practice.

You might wonder why I can so heartlessly photograph my two year old as she tantrums on the floor. Let me tell you, this girl has stamina. About an hour into her fits, I no longer have the capacity to think or feel authentic emotions, so I just take pictures of her instead. Sometimes, the photo taking even distracts her for the tantrum (not this time, though!)

You might wonder why I can so heartlessly photograph my two year old as she tantrums on the floor. Let me tell you, this girl has stamina. About an hour into her fits, I no longer have the capacity to think or feel authentic emotions, so I just take pictures of her instead. Sometimes, the photo taking even distracts her for the tantrum (not this time, though!).

Mary was so sad from her rash and teething situation that up until five minutes before this picture, I could not put her down unless it was in her crib for a nap. (Translation: I had to pee with Mary on my lap multiple times today. I feel slightly ambivalent about that acrobatic achievement.)

Mary was so sad from her rash and teething situation that up until five minutes before this picture, I could not put her down unless it was in her crib for a nap. (Translation: I had to pee with Mary on my lap multiple times today. I feel slightly ambivalent about that acrobatic achievement.) Doesn’t she just melt your heart, though? Here she is absorbed in peeling Lydia’s potty stickers off of the sticker sheet. I had another sheet of stickers, but Lydia went ballistic  when she saw Mary touching her stickers. Since the stickers were the sole reason Mary let me put her down, I made Lydia share.

And three catch-up photos from yesterday and Monday.

Abe took the girls to Cold Stone while I was at yoga yesterday evening. Lydia clearly loved it. (Mary, not pictured, also loved it. She is ice cream's number one fan.)

Abe took the girls to Cold Stone while I was at yoga yesterday evening. Lydia clearly loved it. (Mary, not pictured, also loved it. She is ice cream’s number one fan.)

We have been giving the girls bubble baths at night. Two weeks ago we realized the "shampoo" we had been using for the past couple months was actually bubble bath. Oops!

We have been giving the girls bubble baths at night. Two weeks ago we realized the “shampoo” we had been using for the past couple months was actually…bubble bath. Oops!

I took a picture of Lydia at the doctor's office because she was so incredibly well-behaved on that outing. As in, she sat in this chair quietly and patiently throughout Mary's entire appointment, and she never whined or complained. I don't even recall her squirming. I was so proud.

I took a picture of Lydia at the doctor’s office because she was so incredibly well-behaved on that outing. As in, she sat in this chair quietly and patiently throughout Mary’s entire appointment, and she never whined or complained once. I don’t even recall her squirming. She is becoming such a well-behaved child–in public. =)

Also, this piece of information is of interest to absolutely no one but me (but it interests me SO highly), my house is impeccably clean right now. Well, only the downstairs and basement are completely sanitized and picked up, but you should have seen the messes before the girls went down. I spent an hour in high gear attacking every mess, and right now I feel…kind of like a rock star? That is so sad, I know. People are dying in Syria and I am congratulating myself on my clean house, but sometimes, home hits closest to home, you know?