a sermon, a concert, and a birthday bash

Today Abe had to pass the sacrament at the hospital, so I had to get the girls fed, dressed, and ready for church by myself. We arrived approximately forty-five minutes late. Good things Mormons have three hours of church every Sunday! That means that even though I missed my favorite teacher for Relief Society, I still got all of Sunday School AND Sacrament meeting in.

Sunday School was all about what it means to minister to the poor. Whenever these lessons are taught, someone inevitably points out that there are many ways to be “poor,” and that our call to minister to the poor is broader than simply doling out money. I agree, sort of. But I agree more with this: at the end of the day, there are people in the world whose problems could be resolved by money. We, middle class citizens of a first world country, should be giving them ours. That simple.

[pause in blogging] Abe just came down and talked to me for a while about the lesson he’s teaching next Sunday. The topic he was assigned is “talking to our children with gentleness and mildness.” He was really excited because in the Book of Mormon, when the people are trying to kill two prophets, God surrounds the prophets with fire and then proceeds to chasten the people in a voice of perfect mildness and gentleness. The point here: Even when we do crazy awful things like try to kill a prophet, God speaks gently and mildly to us; therefore, we should always speak gently and mildly to our children–no matter what.

I pointed out that if we could surround our children with a pillar of fire anytime they were doing something heinous, we wouldn’t need to yell either. We could just whisper directions all day long, and our children would be perfectly behaved. Poor Abe left scratching his head. Sometimes I wonder what God is going to do with me.

So back to the day. After church, we ate lunch, I got a blessing from Abe (about culinary school–I am going!!!!!!), we took naps, and we played in the living room for an hour before Skyping with one set of Abe’s grandparents. I played the piano for them, and that felt like the perfect channel for all the practicing I’ve gotten in lately.

I finished making Mary's birthday cake after church, and Lydia wanted to lick the chocolate hazelnut mousse whip.

I finished making Mary’s birthday cake after church, and Lydia wanted to lick the chocolate hazelnut mousse whip.

We spent a lot of time lying around while the girls destroyed the house.

We spent a lot of time lying around while the girls destroyed the house.

I played the piano with the blinds up. Getting that much sun is SO bad for the piano, but felt so delicious to me.

I played the piano with the blinds up. Getting that much sun is SO bad for the piano, but felt so delicious to me.

After Skyping, we went to the Miners’ house for dinner and family birthday celebrations.

In front of the Miner's house, I was fussing with Mary's car seat, and I looked up to catch Abe smiling sweetly at me. I killed the spontaneity of it by making him hold the smile so I could take a picture and remember the moment.

In front of the Miner’s house, I was fussing with Mary’s car seat, and I looked up to catch Abe smiling sweetly at me. I killed the spontaneity of it by making him hold the smile so I could take a picture and remember the moment.

They were doing September and October birthdays, so Mary (Sept 27th!) got a cake and presents. She was pretty cute.

Mary liked her cake and presents.

Mary liked her cake and presents.

She even helped with unwrapping.

She even helped with unwrapping.

And she had an all-around great time.

And she had an all-around great time.

Lydia spent most of that time navigating the tricky territory of toddler sharing.

Lydia spent most of that time navigating the tricky territory of toddler sharing.

It's just easier when everyone is in their own separate sphere and sharing is not an issue.

It’s just easier when everyone is in their own separate sphere and sharing is not an issue.

Then we came home and I played the piano for another hour while Abe kindly bathed the girls.

After her bath, Lydia was distraught that she could not figure out how to put her pants on correctly. (She had both legs in the same pant leg.) I was mean and took a picture--at Abe's request, though!!!

After her bath, Lydia was distraught that she could not figure out how to put her pants on correctly. (She had both legs in the same pant leg.) I was mean and took a picture–at Abe’s request, though!!!

 

After that, I wasted time online and picked up the messy house. Abe just came down to check to see if I’m done blogging yet, and so–

Yes. I’m done!

another sunny Saturday

Saturday is best done in pictures, so here goes:

The first activity of note today was the farmer's market. We got ourselves there by 1pm. (Excessive laziness marked the time leading up to this outing.)

The first activity of note today was the farmer’s market. We got ourselves there by 1pm. (Excessive laziness marked the time leading up to this outing.)

Two years of unsupportive nursing bras will make you look like this. When you have a baby, please buy more than two nursing bras, and for heaven's sake, buy new ones for baby number 2. (If you are like me, you wear those things to bed, and so by the end of nursing, they are worn. out.)

Two years of unsupportive nursing bras will make you look like this. When you have a baby, please buy more than two nursing bras, and for heaven’s sake, buy new ones for baby number 2.

We met up with Karin and Jay (Abe's mom and stepdad) at the market. They are the sweet couple on the right.

We met up with Karin and Jay (Abe’s mom and stepdad) at the market. They are the sweet couple on the right.

Today was the last day of the outdoor market. Here's the owner of the limeade stand packing up. After I took this shot, he said, "See you next year!" That made me sad.

Today was the last day of the outdoor market. Here’s the owner of the limeade stand packing up. After I took this shot, he said, “See you next year!” That made me sad.

After the market, I went to Tony Caputo's for more cheese. Lydia was confused about why I did not buy her a happy hippo.

After the market, I went to Tony Caputo’s for more cheese. Lydia was confused about why I did not buy her a happy hippo.

The reason I did not buy her a happy hippo was because we were going straight to lunch with Karin and Jay. Karin had a birthday this week, so we celebrated at The Wild Grape.

The reason I did not buy her a happy hippo was because we were going straight to lunch with Karin and Jay. Karin had a birthday this week, so we celebrated at The Wild Grape.

Karin and Jay and the Wild Grape's grapevine in the background.

Karin and Jay and the Wild Grape’s grapevine in the background.

Martha Stewart proudly told me that her grandchildren do NOT use electronics in restaurants. But, I just would like to point out, her two grandchildren have five--count 'em--five nannies.

Martha Stewart proudly told me that her grandchildren do NOT use electronics in restaurants. But, I just would like to point out, her two grandchildren have five–count ’em–five nannies.

And I'll tell you what, this one kept me pretty busy the entire two hours we lingered at our table.

And I’ll tell you what, this one kept me pretty busy the entire two hours we lingered at our table.

After lunch, I was in a carb coma and lay unmoving on the bed for a while. When I came to, I dictated a children’s book I’ve been thinking about into Abe’s phone. I’m so excited about it! The main character is a dog who lives in my old Chicago neighborhood, and her owner is a lovely Muslim lady named Fatima (I think). I just want to make a small contribution to the misunderstanding going on the world at present, and so I thought that helping to normalize the “other”–even in a simple way–might help.

After we recovered from our comas, I played a little piano concert for my beloved mom and grandma over the phone (Skype wasn’t working), and then Abe and I took the girls on a run around the canyon. His only goal for the day was to do the run, and by the time I got my act together, we were staring down the prospect of running in the dark. Thankfully, that motivated us to move fast [a totally relative, nay–hyperbolic– term] enough to make it home before it was pitch black out.

After dinner, I abandoned Abe and went on the grocery shopping rounds I neglected to make this morning. While I was gone, he bathed the girls and put them to bed.

While Abe was dressing Mary, Lydia poured the entire bottle of bubble bath in the bath. Abe decided to let her enjoy the bubbles tonight, but we are not buying her any more bubble bath for the next couple months (according to Abe, who does not do the grocery shopping).

While Abe was dressing Mary, Lydia poured the entire bottle of bubble bath in the bath. Abe decided to let her enjoy the bubbles tonight, but we are not buying her any more bubble bath for the next couple months (according to Abe, who does not do the grocery shopping).

After I came home, I cleaned our dee-sgusting kitchen and started making Mary’s birthday cake for her celebration at the Miners’ (Suzanne’s parents’) house tomorrow. Abe helped pick up the house, and I think he is currently passed out on the bed right now. Let me end this now and get my stinky self in the shower so that I can go to bed soon.

absent parenting

Last night Lydia had an accident at 1am, so I cleaned her up and brought her into bed with me. As delightful it was to sleep next to such a sweet little heater, sleep was lighter from there on out.

Lydia made up for my light sleep by sitting in front of Dora the Explorer and Harry the Bunny for two hours (eep!) while I studied my scriptures, ran on the treadmill, and showered. (Mary, thank the stars, naps all morning with the exception of breakfast.)

After Mary woke up from her nap, I fed the girls lunch and hauled them to the Discovery Museum for an hour. Lydia didn’t want to leave, and I did not feel up to carrying her kicking and screaming in one arm while holding Mary in the other…so I bribed her to leave with cookies. I felt like a bad mom, especially because the minute Mary saw the cookies she practically foamed at the mouth until I gave her some. I am SO worried about her sugar addiction, and I feel really bad every time I find myself giving her sugar. It shouldn’t be that hard to just not give her any, right?!

Mary liked the little car.

Mary liked the little car.

She liked it so much that Lydia got jealous and found herself a car, too.

She liked it so much that Lydia got jealous and found herself a car, too.

We came home and the girls passed out long enough for me to embroider and hem some fabric for a baby skirt. Our friend, Aria, just had a baby, and I have been meaning to get this skirt made for months. Now the baby’s been here for practically two weeks, and I am just now getting around to the project.

I have not embroidered since elementary school. I distinctly remembering embroidering in front of Th

 I distinctly remembering embroidering in front of Thomas the Train and Lamb Chops, so it’s been a while. It took me until “Olive” to get back in the swing of things, and the result is: this skirt will be one of those “thought-that-counts” presents.

When the girls woke up from their naps, we went on an “outing” to the garbage to throw away the many poopy diapers Mary produced today, and then the girls had dinner.

After dinner, Lydia insisted that she wanted to read to Mary and play with Mary…without me.  A host of emotions ensued. First off, I completely understand why playing without me is, as Lydia said, more fun. I always point out the ways various activities she’s engaged in can end in her demise. One particularly embarrassing example of this occurred last week. The back door was open and I was scolding Lydia loudly for hanging onto the book shelf. I described to her in graphic, gory detail what it would feel like if the shelf fell on her and she died and or got maimed and or got dismembered. Our sweet, angelic, seventy-three year old landlord happened to pass by the open door during my diatribe, and he was clearly shocked. I was embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough to change my ways. So no wonder Lydia doesn’t want to play with me!

It still hurts, though.

On the other hand, the fact that she successfully entertained Mary without my supervision translated into more free time for me, so being kicked out of their play time wasn’t exactly terrible. I got an hour of piano practice in.

What am I practicing for? I have no idea. I said in a recent blog I play for myself and my family, and that’s true. But I also realize that having a goal might help focus my practice, so I am considering entering some amateur competitions. You have to be 35 for the Van Cliburn, so I have four and a half years to get myself in shape.

Abe got home from his trip at 8pm, and I immediately ran to the piano for another hour of practice. And now it’s blogging time, and soon–sleepy time. Hooray! We made it to the weekend! In fact, since my house always gets trashed on the weekend, I am not picking up tonight as a nod to that sad reality.

pearls

When Kristin was here with her girls two (?) weeks ago, we talked some about happiness. She told me that happiness is like pearls on a string; the pearls are moments of joy linked together by the string of normal (less joyful) life. I like that.

I’ll tell you what my string is: Mealtime. I keep hoping I’ll become a more patient person so that feeding my children does not make me want to weep with frustration, but right now I’m not there. Tonight Mary screamed from the moment I put her into her high chair until I gave her a bottle after her bath (one hour later). She provided a similar soundtrack for her three other meals as well.

BUT. But. That is actually the only string I can think of today. The rest of the day felt like a concentrated series of pearls. E.g., we went to the library and read books on the crunchy leaves outside. (Actually, just one book by my favorite children’s author, Jan Brett. Doesn’t her art just transport you? And the text is pretty darn good, too!)

We spent hours playing on the floor and reading books at home, and I even got over an hour of piano practice in–with Abe out of town! A minor miracle. I’m learning the Chopin nocturne I listened to while giving birth to Lydia, and whenever I hear it I feel overcome with love and emotion. After Mary’s fourth meal, I NEEDED that music in my life.

I also took the girls to the playground. It was chilly and they both have runny noses, but I figured it was sunny out, and we needed sun.

Today was also the first day in a while where Lydia’s iPad usage was under five minutes long. That, for me, is a record. I just decided to see what would happen if I studied my scriptures and tried to take a nap without sticking an iPad in front of Lydia, and guess what? It wasn’t the end of the world. Granted, my study and nap were frequently interrupted because Lydia parked herself and her toys right next to me on the bed, but I loved the interruptions because they frequently ended in cuddles. More pearls!

Speaking of pearls…:

I resolved to take just one picture, put my camera away and spend the rest of the time playing with the girls. Also, I wanted a shot of the beautiful day and the park with mountains in the background.

I resolved to take just one picture, put my camera away and spend the rest of the time playing with the girls. Also, I wanted a shot of the beautiful day and the park with mountains in the background.

My resolve lasted approximately half a minute.

My resolve lasted approximately half a minute.

At the park this evening.

Whee! (Actually, that’s me whee-ing. Lydia enjoyed the slide a bit more soberly.)

Mary really wanted to climb the climbing wall. After I took this photo, I helped her out, and she grinned and giggled the whole way up.

Mary really wanted to climb the climbing wall. After I took this photo, I helped her out, and she grinned and giggled the whole way up.

Lydia saw this bench and said, "Mama, I s'pose we could have a picnic on this bench." At that moment, all I wanted in the world was for pre-park me to have packed a picnic basket. I s'pose it would have been a great experience. Also, Mary really just wanted to climb stuff today.

Lydia saw this bench and said, “Mama, I s’pose we could have a picnic on this bench.” At that moment, all I wanted in the world was for pre-park me to have packed a picnic basket. I s’pose it would have been a lovely experience. Also, Mary really just wanted to climb stuff today. (Very funny, considering she can only walk a couple steps at a time.)

oops, and long winded carpe diems

I found out this morning that I put the wrong date on Mary’s birthday evites. Oops! But guess what? The date I selected turns out to be October 26, so that means I have an entire week longer than I thought. Phew.

Also, thanks to all for your prayers and good thoughts for Abe. He had an excellent, successful morning, and we are grateful for all the love and cheering on he’s gotten.

Lydia had preschool this morning, and Sarah (one of the other moms) had to walk and take Trax around downtown to complete some errands. Mary and I tagged along and got our daily dose of vitamin D. It was nice to remember we live in a city! Even though our neighborhood is right next to downtown, it feels very separate and suburban-like. I loved our urban morning. While we were walking up Main Street, I even popped into the jeweler’s store that made Swathi’s engagement ring, and they cleaned my ring for free. Right next door was a new boulangerie, and I regretted blowing my weekly budget this past Saturday; I really wanted to try something! Good reason to go back when my budget resets in two days…

Then I picked up Lydia and we all went home where Abe joined us for lunch. After that, we drove to the Art Institute to talk to an admissions officer about their culinary program and tour the campus. I really want to go to that culinary school. My one problem is childcare. I can’t figure that out quite yet, but maybe an answer will present itself soon. In the meantime, the tour was awesome.

After the tour, we drove to Temple Square and I popped into the temple to do initiatories while Abe wandered around the square with the girls. In the bathroom, who should I bump into but Suzanne (Abe’s stepmom!). It was so fun to see her, and we got to chat again on the square after I was done in the temple.

Then Abe, the girls and I went to the downtown Olive Garden to use up a gift card we had. All I can say about that is, almost five hours later, I still have a stomachache.

When we got home, Abe let me practice the piano for two hours while he bathed the girls and got them ready for bed. Between Liszt and the sheer abundance of me-time, I was in heaven–but I did have this thought: did I spend thousands of hours of my childhood practicing…for this? Practicing so one day I could be background music as my husband chased my squealing girls (who were giggling so hard there’s no way they were paying the least bit attention to the music) above me?

And I came to the conclusion: Yes! Absolutely, this is what I practiced for. I practiced so someday I would have a skill set that freed my soul to self-actualize joyfully AND communicated to my children the value of music. Even if that communication takes the basic form of osmosis, it still conveys my hope that my children will become stewards of an ever-less appreciated art form.

After the girls went to bed, I walked into the kitchen expecting a huge mess. To my delight, Abe had cleaned most of it already. I have no idea when he even found time to do that! If it isn’t obvious, I kind of idolize my husband. Sometimes that mindset has its own set of problems, but seriously. Abe is awesome/scarily perfect at times. I am never scarily perfect (hence my problems).

Here’s a picture that Abe took at the north visitor’s center on Temple Square:

lydia and jesusThat’s kind of how this whole day felt like.

late to the party

Did anyone see the most recent Smitten Kitchen blog? I checked it today and could not believe my eyes: Deb posted a glorious recipe for purple plum torte. This is relevant to my life. Highly relevant, because today I made the spur-of-the-moment decision that we are having a birthday party for Mary. Not only that, but it is going to be a Very Hungry Caterpillar party (inspired by this post on Preethi’s blog).

If you recall, the very hungry caterpillar eats, among other things, plums. Now if you don’t see the hand of God in the very hungry caterpillar’s preferences and the most recent post by Deb, then perhaps you did not feel the same sense of panic I did when I clicked out my evites today. What was I thinking?! Abe has a HUGE day tomorrow, and he’s out of town the following two days. And I have committed us to hosting a rather large party the afternoon after he flies in. Breathe.

I used to read The Babysitter’s Club books the same way I currently eat chocolate. In one quite memorable book, Claudia has an identity crisis because she thinks her parents adopted her and never let her know. Come to find out, her parents were just worn down because she was the second child, and they just never took the time to photograph her or dote on her the same way they did her older sister. That story stuck with me, and whenever I feel like I’m slacking off in the Mary department, Claudia’s tween trauma flits through my mind. As I was deliberating about whether to do anything about Mary’s birthday (which happened a month ago), I remembered Claudia…the next thing I knew, I’d sent out evites to, um, a large contingency of our local friends.

So that’s where my energy will be for the rest of the week. I did, however, put some effort today into non-party things. For example, I changed the sheets, sneaked a shower (while Lydia cried downstairs), took the girls to the library, made butternut squash soup, cleaned the kitchen, practiced the piano, and had Family Home Evening (one day late, since Abe was gone yesterday). Here are the pics from those parts of the day:

I roasted beets last night while I was cleaning. Beets are our family's favorite food. Lydia found the beets and ate them like this a

I roasted beets last night while I was cleaning. Beets are our family’s favorite food. Lydia found the beets and ate them like this after breakfast.

Outside the library, I introduced the girls to the texture of bark. They were enamored for the next five minutes.

Outside the library, I introduced the girls to the texture of bark. They were enamored for the next five minutes.

Inside the library Mary tried to woo my attention away from the story I was reading to Lydia by playing peek-a-boo with me.

Inside the library Mary tried to woo my attention away from the story I was reading to Lydia by playing peek-a-boo with me.

She may or may not have succeeded.

She may or may not have succeeded.

She spotted the lens cap of the camera on the floor and made a beeline.

She spotted the lens cap of the camera on the floor and made a beeline.

I think the girls missed Abe. This is how the three of them ate dinner. (Well, Mary and Lydia had already eaten for an hour and half by this time, but they were more than willing to eat again with Daddy.)

I think the girls missed Abe. This is how the three of them ate dinner. (Well, Mary and Lydia had already eaten for an hour and half by this time, but they were more than willing to eat again with Daddy.)

My view from the piano. My cup runneth over, truly. Just look at that sky!

My view from the piano. My cup runneth over, truly. Just look at that sky! And the camera doesn’t capture it, but the mountains are all around. Tonight was a clear night, and we felt happy to be residents of Utah.

If you think of it, please say a prayer or think good thoughts for Abe tomorrow! It’s a big day for him. Email me for details if curious since we can’t disclose on the blog.

of reached and unreached resolutions

I woke up this morning and knew that today was the day my house WOULD get clean. I resolved to put my children’s needs ahead of my goal, but I also promised myself that by the end of today, my whole house would be organized, picked up and sanitary.

I made little progress on that goal until I put the children to bed at 8:30pm. Between that time and now, I have reached my goal. I am so tempted to type the details of what went into accomplishing that feat, but I think that would make me look vapid and vain. So I’ll keep those [vapid and vain] thoughts to myself, and I’ll just tell you that right now I feel great about life.

Also, Lydia has been taking her angel pills lately. While I was organizing my closet this morning, she came over and–out of the blue–started giving me a foot massage. I eventually had to sit down because she was so intent on doing a good job. I love her.

Additionally, I realized I need to take a chill pill on 1) spills and 2) accidents. First of all, I, a thirty-year-old woman, still spill things, so surely I should not be shaming my little two-year-old for spilling her water. (!!) Secondly, I should cut her some slack in the accident department. This evening, Lydia had an accident right before bed, and I was about to get upset when she started apologizing all over the place. She apologized all the way to the bathroom, and then when I was saying our night prayer, she interrupted me to petition God for help so she wouldn’t have any more accidents. I felt appropriately awful about myself. From here on out I AM going to be a nicer mom. I hope, I pray.

Speaking of how I need to be nicer, here’s some visual evidence that I have ample room for improvement.

Mary didn't get much of an afternoon nap, and so I had to hold her at all times. At one point, I got tired, put her down, and took a picture of what happened as a result.

Mary didn’t get much of an afternoon nap, and so I had to hold her at all times. At one point, I got tired, put her down, and took a picture of what happens when I put her down. Please note that I did not deprive her of food, attention (I was taking a picture of her, hello!!!) or love. I just put her down. Yes, this is my life right now.

I suspected I wouldn't have time to take more pictures today, so I prolonged Mary's distress long enough to take one shot of Lydia. I just wanted to memorialize this day marked by so much angelic behavior.

I suspected I wouldn’t have time to take more pictures today, so I prolonged Mary’s distress long enough to take one shot of Lydia. I just wanted to memorialize this day marked by so much angelic behavior.

I also abandoned Mary as soon as it started hailing outside. Leaving Mary wailing in her high chair, I ran to Lydia and carried her outside as fast as possible so she could learn about hail. I have no idea why I thought it was so important that she experience hail, but at the time it seemed urgent. I must be sleep deprived or something.

The only other thing of note today was my phone conversation with my mom and grandma. They are so sweet.

My grandma did not want me to Facebook this picture, but I forgot to ask permission about the blog. Grandma, I'll take it down if you want, but you look so fantastic that I just had to put it up, at least for a little bit!

My grandma did not want me to Facebook this picture, but I forgot to ask permission about the blog. Grandma, I’ll take it down if you want, but you look so fantastic that I just had to put it up, at least for a little bit!

Abe's traveling today, and during our phone conversation tonight it seemed to make perfect sense for him to send me a picture of his dinner. I don't even know why I'm including this in the blog--maybe just so Abe is represented a little bit in the day? I don't know.

Abe’s traveling today, and during our phone conversation tonight, it seemed to make perfect sense for him to send me a picture of his dinner. I don’t even know why I’m including this in the blog–maybe just so Abe is represented a little bit in the day? I don’t know.

poblano fingers and lots of questions

My fingers are on fire. Well, actually, they just feel like they’re on fire because I chopped a bunch of unusually hot poblanos today. The pain, hours later, is making it so uncomfortable to type that this will be a short post.

After church, I had a chance to talk with Abe about some things that have been on my mind. Actually, we talk about these issues almost daily, and we always go in circles. I’m left with this question: what does it mean to be a humble disciple of Jesus Christ? For example, currently there are a couple social movements within the church where activist members are pushing for change. While I share their confusion (in fact, I am boggled), my primary concern is this: what does Jesus expect of me?

Doesn’t discipleship, at least as its spelled out in the scriptures, mean exerting continual effort to act out of love and kindness? Shouldn’t political issues be ancillary? But when I step out of my own shoes (a heterosexual woman who has zero desire for any church responsibility, least of all the priesthood), and I consider the feelings of those who might feel differently, my heart yearns to respond with love and empathy. I imagine Christ is much more loving and empathetic than I am, and so the plight of those distressed by church doctrine tugs at His heart too.

At the same time, I truly believe this is Christ’s church and that we are led by an actual prophet who receives revelation for the church. I want nothing more than to follow Christ and humbly accept counsel given. The activists among us make the argument that doctrines have changed in the past and can continue to do so; they look hopefully toward the day when change will come. But what if change doesn’t come? What will we do then? Will we leave the church? As Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life.”

And so my mind spins and spins, and I am sure I weary out poor Abe (not to mention God) with all of my questions, push-backs, and spiritual wanderings. Like I said, because I can’t solve the issues of the church as a whole, I always come back to the same question: What does it mean to be a humble disciple of Jesus Christ? As a true disciple, should I be actively looking out for those who are different or feel differently than I do? Should I, as a humble disciple, be pushing for change that affects my afflicted brethren and sisters? Or does true discipleship mean humbly, meekly accepting current prophetic direction, waiting patiently on the Lord, and trying my best to be a unifying force in the Kingdom of God?

I guess I’m still searching for the answer there. But trust me, the search is an active one. SO active, that I forgot about my throbbing fingers as I tried to discern answers through typing. (I misplaced my scripture journal a week ago, so this is some of the pent up stuff that would normally go in there.)

Pivoting now towards the actual occurrences of the day, it went like this: church, nap, cook, clean, dinner (with Balu, Swathi’s cousin), Skype with Clark and Swathi, clean, clean, clean, and now blog.

Here are some pictures:

Before church, Lydia was distressed that she could not carry all of her books without some falling to the floor. We eventually had pity and carried them for her.

Before church, Lydia was distressed that she could not carry all of her books without some falling to the floor. We eventually had pity and carried them for her.

Mary's bath. 'Nuff said.

Mary’s bath. ‘Nuff said.

Balu reading to the girls. I promised his mom I would take a picture of him at our house, and it's been over two months since I made that promise. So I hope she gets a copy of this!

Balu reading to the girls. I promised his mom I would take a picture of him at our house, and it’s been over two months since I made that promise. So I hope she gets a copy of this!

Below is my first attempt to upload a video. This is of Balu reading Lydia a postcard from her beloved stuffed cat. We misplaced the cat on our India trip, but Clark and Swathi found him and have been sending him around the States on an adventure. Every so often a postcard arrives, and Lydia is currently sleeping with the latest one.

This is my first attempt to upload a video. This is of Balu reading Lydia a postcard from her beloved stuffed cat. We misplaced the cat on our India trip, but Clark and Swathi found him and have been sending him around the States on an adventure. Every so often a postcard arrives, and Lydia is currently sleeping with the latest one.

Hooray for Saturday

This morning I took Lydia on an outing with Misty.

pre-outing Lydia, ready for the day.

pre-outing Lydia, ready for the day.

We went to Tony Caputo’s to try cheese and buy some necessities (cheese, gnocchi, chocolate, and a Happy Hippo). We crossed the street to the market, and I got to meet Misty’s friend, Trapper, who sells the best pumpkins from his stand. Afterwards, the three of us wandered through the market tasting everything. Lydia went through three sample cups of popcorn alone, and I feel suitably guilty for not actually buying any popcorn after letting her go to town on their generous, free samples.

The chocolate on her mouth is from a Happy Hippo. She talked about how much she loved Tony Caputo's for the rest of the day...

The chocolate on her mouth is from a Happy Hippo. She talked about how much she loved Tony Caputo’s for the rest of the day…

Then Misty went home and Lydia and I proceeded on our Saturday morning circuit: Target, Trader Joe’s, Smith’s.

Lydia was perfectly behaved all morning (actually, all day today!!!!), but she did not want to leave Target.

Lydia was perfectly behaved all morning (actually, all day today!!!!), but she did not want to leave Target.

I got her to leave Target by reminding her she would get her own kid cart at Trader Joe's. She took command of it like a champ and checked us out with alacrity.

I got her to leave Target by reminding her she would get her own kid cart at Trader Joe’s. She took command of it like a champ and checked us out with alacrity.

You would have thought that by the end, Lydia would be ready to go home and eat lunch, but unfortunately, all the places we went had fun things for kids (stickers! lollipops! cookies!), and she was less than enthusiastic about going home to take a nap. But home we went, and Lydia spent her whole nap playing vigorous games of pretend.

After nap time, we took the girls on a glorious bike ride up City Creek Canyon. The leaves have changed and the air smelled like Fall. The weather was beautiful, and we were so happy to be out partaking of the season. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and dried leaves are my favorite outdoorsy smell. (Pine trees on a mountain might tie for first…oh, and that briny ocean smell is good too. Hmmm…well, let’s just say I like that Fall smell a whole lot and leave it at that.)

When we got home, I cooked up a dinner proposed to me by the cheese guy at Tony Caputo’s: Saute some shallots and melt a half pound (!!!) of Gorgonzola dolce into that. Pour on top of gnocchi, and garnish with fresh thyme. That’s all, and can I just say, Mary ate that Gorgonzola gnocchi with a gusto that she’s thus far only exhibited for ice cream and chocolate chips. It was a good dinner.

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce. You want to try this at home.

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce. You want to try this at home.

Mary was fussy again today. She is especially upset when there is no food in front of her. Abe noted that her way of saying, "My hair's on fire!!!" is the exact same way she says, "I need more food NOW!!" Basically, she does a lot of screaming these days.

Mary was fussy again today. She is especially upset when there is no food in front of her. Abe noted that her way of saying, “My hair’s on fire!!!” is the exact same way she says, “I need more food NOW!!” Basically, she does a lot of screaming these days.

After dinner, I cleaned the kitchen, and Tom and Suzanne came over for a bit to play with the girls. After they left, I made that hazelnut mousse chocolate ganache cake for tomorrow’s dessert, and then I spent too much time shopping on Zulily. (Hey, I have free shipping today!)

blech

Today looked gorgeous outside, but I did not step foot outside today–not even to take out the six poopy diapers (go, Mary, go!) hanging out by the door. The girls and I were sick and cranky all day, so we stayed inside to play, read books, and throw tantrums.

It is totally ironic that I want to go to culinary school so badly because my very least favorite part of the day is meal time. Mary gets really impatient and screams from the moment I put her in her high chair until the moment I take her out–or until I produce chocolate chips. In the meantime, Lydia does her share of whining, fit throwing, and peeing–and every time I stop shoveling food into Mary’s mouth in order to take care of Lydia’s problems, Mary goes ballistic. Considering my children eat all day long, by the end of the day, I’m ready to trade lives with anyone. Please, please: Let’s trade.

Also, since I’m in whining mode: Mary was up at all hours of the night last night, and then Lydia woke up bright and early this morning. As wonderfully helpful Abe is when he is 1) home 2) awake, night time is 99.9999% my domain, so I was, um, a little tired today. I’m sure every mom can say that 99.9999% of the time, but hey–it still feels good to mention it.

But the laundry is folded! While I was blogging last night, Abe cleaned the house. It was such a nice surprise.

Since he’s not home yet, I’m not in for that surprise tonight. Oh, and there’s Lydia crying again. (She’s supposed to be asleep.)

[Break in blogging]

All better, for now. I did not take a single photo today, but here are some from yesterday. In the course of my organizing, Mary found a toy that’s been lost in the bins. She loved it, and she played with it again today, so these scenes actually are still relevant.

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