entering the fray

Recently there was an article written by a bishop in Meridian magazine about modesty, and it has gotten a lot of attention. Thus far, I have been following the internet scuffles from the sidelines and hashing out my own thoughts with Abe, God, and my scripture journal. Today I finally decided to add my own two cents to the fray and commented on Alison’s blog, Mormon Momma. I thought her response was the best one I’ve read so far, and since she said in some of the comments that she wasn’t sure how modesty should be taught, I suggested correlating purchasing power with our charge to care for the poor.

She wrote back and asked me to do a guest post on her blog, and I am so excited to have an excuse to delve into this topic further. I have a lot of my own faults and issues that keep me from seeing this particular issue completely clearly, but I do have a strong desire to study God’s word and discern, to the best of my ability, what I think is His counsel on the subject.

I am also scared to death. As far as I can tell, no matter what anyone says on this subject, scores of people are bound to vehemently disagree. But oh, well. I’m just trying to figure out the issue myself, and I guess the benefits of hearing other people’s viewpoints in internet discussions will outweigh the bad stuff.

In other news, we had a great play date with Lalitha and Eden this morning. Actually, Lydia spent most of it begging me to read her books, and I kept rebuffing her request and admonishing her to go play with Eden, so maybe it was just a great play date for me.

I also got over two hours of practice in and realized that I am almost at the point where all of the pieces I’m playing at the competition are(very roughly) put together. Abe suggested I (re)memorize them all, and I agreed with him. The only problem is, when you’re already playing passages that are twelve years deep in your rote memory, it gets really hard to memorize them in a more stable way.  So we’ll have to see how it goes.

I also spent a lot of time trying to iron scheduling snafus out with the program director at the Art Institute. It is extremely frustrating and I can’t type any more because I am getting all tight and irritated, so let’s just conclude by saying I have a meeting with her tomorrow, and hopefully it will get straightened out then.

Also, I had a great discussion with my AWESOME sister-in-law; she told me to go see a gastroenterologist, so I get to make that fun appointment tomorrow. I am so, so thankful my brother married such a great woman.

Finally, I have some homework for school, so let’s post these pics and get a move on, shall we?

Breakfast ponytail. Recent discovery: Mary loves Chex!! Woo-hoo!!

Breakfast ponytail. Recent discovery: Mary loves Chex!! Woo-hoo!!

So does Lydia!

So does Lydia!

Lydia during her play date. Maybe all that pre-play date Elmo ennervated her. Also, she's lucky I didn't take this shot when she had both pointer fingers up her nostrils (one per nostril). We're degressing in the nose-picking department.

Lydia during her play date. Maybe all that pre-play date Elmo enervated her. Also, she’s lucky I didn’t take this shot when she had both pointer fingers up her nostrils (one per nostril). We’re regressing in the nose-picking department.

Eden was interactive, but Lydia has picked up Abe's and my bad habit of acting like lying on the floor is actually playing.

Eden was interactive, but Lydia has picked up Abe’s and my bad habit of acting like lying on the floor counts as  playing.

Everyone clapped for Mary with every bite she took at dinner. We are resorting to drastic measures to get her to eat.

Everyone clapped for Mary with every bite she took at dinner. We are resorting to drastic measures to get her to eat.

Lydia dressed up Mary in this outfit.

Lydia dressed up Mary in this outfit.

Mary seemed to like it.

Mary seemed to like it.

Then Lydia dressed herself up.

Then Lydia dressed herself up.

Another shot of Lydia.

Another shot of Lydia.

Last one.

Last one.

all sorts of ugh

I know there is disease, terror, hardship, poverty, war, abuse, exploitation, neglect, famine, and all sorts of horror in the world. Even typing that acknowledgment makes me feel extra small for what I am about to complain about. But on this blog I am trying the best I can to honestly portray the good, bad and ugly about my life for my primary audience: my children, grandchildren and descendents in general. Also, of course, my mom and grandma. (Hi, Mom and Grandma! It was wonderful talking to you yesterday!!) But I think every day about how connectedness with those who went before me strengthens me, and I want my children and descendents to find strength in our shared experiences and struggles.

I sincerely hope none of my daughter descendents come out with the self-image and weight issues I have, but if they do, at least they’ll know they weren’t alone. I have been sick and unable to work out for about a week, and in that week I have gained so much weight it is simply depressing. I wish my world would not shrink to the size of my expanded waistline when there are so many other important things to care about or do, but the truth is, at times like these, my weight just gets me down.

Also, today was a cleaning day, so I didn’t shower or put on a bra or brush my hair for most of the day. Lydia spent hours in front of Elmo while I lay in bed reading and sleeping and giving myself pep talks so I could get to all the cleaning that needed to happen.

This evening we were invited to Fleur’s one-year birthday party, and since Anique is so free-spirited and kind, I figured I could just go as is–without a bra, without having brushed my hair, and in the clothes I slept in the night before. As we pulled up to her house, I saw a woman walking toward her door in–no joke–high heels and earrings so sparkly I could see them across the street in the dark. At times like that, I really hate living in Utah. The emphasis on appearance here makes me totally crazy (one infamous example I cannot erase from memory: on the free day at the zoo, I saw numerous stay-at-home moms dressed like they thought they were going shopping in New York City. I was dumbfounded and slightly a lot judgmental. I need to be a better disciple.) I could understand this kind of emphasis if we lived on the East Coast or even a major metropolis, but please, people. This is the Rocky Mountain West. And that was a zoo.

Or maybe I’m just mad and jealous because the extra thirty pounds I’m carrying around means I can’t dress like that. Who knows? I don’t, but I do know that when I saw Exhibit A walking to the door, I did the cowardly thing and went back home to change. At the end of the day, it probably was more considerate to pretend I hadn’t been cleaning toilets all day. Although I still forgot to brush my hair.

Oh, and the hypochondriac in me is now sure I have Crohn’s Disease. I am calling my physician sister-in-law tomorrow because I’m sure Instacare would do me no good. So I guess today was just that kind of day.

I clearly didn’t bother to brush Lydia’s hair today, either. Here’s my little Bellatrix LeStrange:

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Food and friends

The first thing I did this morning was run to the kitchen to bake a lemon pound cake. Don’t ask me why; I just woke up and knew I had to get it baked before 9am church, and so 7am found me frantically melting butter and grating lemons so I could get the thing out of the oven before we left for church.

When we got back from church, we all ate leftovers for lunch, and then I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on dinner. Just as I was about to stick the lamb in the oven, Misty called me and invited us over for dinner. How convenient! So I told her I had lamb in the oven and asked if she could come over instead. She agreeably acquiesced, and at 6:30 she, Rich, Sophia and Max brought over a ton of delicious potato leek soup to supplement our lamb and glazed carrots. I also baked my favorite dinner rolls (amended with whole wheat flour), and by the time we were done eating, I was feeling pretty fat full.

Whenever we get together with Rich and Misty, Abe and I spend the next week discussing how they are the salt of the earth and how fortunate we feel to have them in our lives. We replay this discussion over and over to the point where I should just transcribe a script and save ourselves some breath by periodically waving it enthusiastically under Abe’s nose. In a nutshell and to state the obvious, we love them.

Our cousin, Balu, joined us for dinner too, and we love him too–so much, that it was only with great reluctance that we finally broke up our post-party party (at almost 10pm).

Basically, we ate a lot, visited with friends and family, and had a great day at church. Oh, and we took a nap. That’s a great Sunday in my book. (Although even though I cleaned for an hour, there’s still a lot left to do in the kitchen…oh, well. That’s a small price to pay for evenings like this.)

I get way too excited about matching. I would match my daughters every day if I could. (I used to secretly match my companion in the MTC and then act like it was an accident. People started making fun of us, but she would vehemently deny an pre-emptive planning on our part. I'd just stand there and smile.)

I get way too excited about matching. I would match my daughters every day if I could. (I used to secretly match my companion in the MTC and then act like it was an accident. People started making fun of us, but she would vehemently deny any planning on our part. I have since confessed.)

Abe lit a fire in the fireplace for the firs time this season. The girls were mesmerized.

Abe lit a fire in the fireplace for the firs time this season. The girls were mesmerized.

Lydia helped me make the rolls.

Lydia helped me make the rolls.

The Sorensons.

The Sorensons.

Finally, this is for mom. Mom, Gloria is back in town! She brought you a ton of roses, and I promised her I'd take a picture and send to you. There's a whole other vase of roses that look like this, but so far I have just gotten around to taking a picture of this one. She sends you her love and wants to see you when you're in town soon.

Finally, this is for mom. Mom, Gloria is back in town! She brought you a ton of roses, and I promised her I’d take a picture and send to you. There’s a whole other vase of roses that look like this, but so far I have just gotten around to taking a picture of this one. She sends you her love and wants to see you when you’re in town soon.

Errands and some funny pictures of Mary’s hair

I have not felt up to taking the girls to the grocery store, and finally last night we ran out of food. Abe and I realized that when the girls would wake up in the morning, we would literally have nothing (except for canned beans, dried pasta and condiments) to feed them. So we decided to take them to Smith’s for breakfast.

And so we did. When the girls woke up, we read a couple books to them, bundled them up and brought them to Smith’s, where Abe fed them while I shopped. In light of the situation in the Philippines, my grocery budget has been chopped in half. On normal weeks I have to operate on a cash basis to make sure I don’t go over budget (which is sad, because I loooooove credit card rewards, but I just can’t handle using one responsibly), and by the end of the week I am barely scraping by. So the past two weeks on a half-budget have been awesome exercises in self-control and discipline. I was SO proud of myself because by the end of our errands, I was sure I had more than enough food to get us through the week–and I stayed within my budget!!! A truly out-of-character accomplishment for me, let me assure you.

During our errands, we made a stop at the library where we literally busted our library book bag in an attempt to return all of the books we had checked out. It exploded right in front of the elevator. We then asked the guy at circulation if we could get a free replacement. After all, it is a bag we bought from the library for the express purpose of carrying books, and it failed to perform its function. However, he informed us that we would have to buy a replacement. Since I was at the end of my budget, buying a $2.00 library bag was an unfathomable expense, so we had to make do carrying our new stacks of freshly checked out books in (free!) plastic grocery bags.

I am SO excited about my new books! In light of the recent increased activity in my life, I have had trouble finishing my books in a timely fashion. In fact, I checked out The Paris Wife on audio in the hopes that I can finish it on my commute to and from school. I also checked out an audio book on the first woman in the government in Afghanistan, and three books: Black Folktales by Julius Lester, Flashman and the Tiger by George MacDonald Fraser, and Harvard Square by Andre Aciman. I don’t know if I’ll end up finishing Harvard Square because lately I can’t seem to handle the dark places of other people’s memories, but I did find the plot intriguing: A Jewish exile from Egypt befriends an anti-American named Kalaj who hates America because (so he claims) of this: ““Their continental breakfasts are jumbo-ersatz, their extra-long cigarettes are jumbo-ersatz, their huge steak dinners with whopping all-you-can-eat salads are jumbo-ersatz, their refilled mugs of all-you-can-drink coffee, their faux-mint mouthwash with triple pack toothpaste and extra toothbrushes thrown in for value, their cars, their malls, their universities, even their monster television sets and spectacular big-screen epics, all, all of it, jumbo ersatz.”

In light of my rant yesterday about conspicuous consumerism and materialism gone wild, that quote caught my attention.  As a result, this novel is now sitting next to me bed waiting to be started before I go to bed tonight. We’ll see how it goes.

I also have to do my readings for my menu writing class, and I’ll try to get my homework done too. So I better hurry up and post pictures before it gets too late.

Before our breakfast outing. Mary loves the book Mary Wore Her Red Dress. It's a library book, and when she was crying last week, I grabbed it and started singing it to her. Ever since then, she walks up to me waving it in her hands and pulling on my shirt until I read it to her. For the record, her other favorite book is Duck and Goose. We've probably read it a hundred times, but whenever I ask her to choose a book to read, she goes and grabs that one and then giggles at every page.

Before our breakfast outing. Mary loves the book Mary Wore Her Red Dress. It’s a library book, and when she was crying last week, I grabbed it and started singing it to her. Ever since then, she walks up to me waving it in her hands and pulling on my shirt until I read it to her. For the record, her other favorite book is Duck and Goose. We’ve probably read it a hundred times, but whenever I ask her to choose a book to read, she goes and grabs that one and then giggles at every page. Also, Abe and I were too tired to change out of our clothes last night, and we were too tired this morning to put on new ones. So this I’ve been wearing those (super comfy) leggings for over twenty-four hours by now.

We did a lot of reading today. This is after Mary's three hour nap and Lydia's three hour quiet time session. When we finally released her from quiet time (at 4pm), she was giving her stuffed animals a puppet show and making Minnie Mouse act out the role of "doctor."

We did a lot of reading today. This is after Mary’s three hour nap and Lydia’s three hour quiet time session. When we finally released her from quiet time (at 4pm), she was giving her stuffed animals a puppet show and making Minnie Mouse act out the role of “doctor.”

Mary looked like a mini-teenager in her jeans and yellow shirt today. It made me feel nostalgic. Also, we can put her hair in a ponytail now!

Mary looked like a mini-teenager in her jeans and yellow shirt today. It made me feel nostalgic. Also, we can put her hair in a ponytail now!

And this is what happens when we take the ponytail out.

And this is what happens when we take the ponytail out.

Mary didn't think it was funny, but Abe and I did.

Mary didn’t think it was funny, but Abe and I did.

Another sick day and the LDS modesty debate

I woke up not feeling well, so for Mary’s morning nap I let Lydia watch Elmo for two hours while I curled up in bed reading and sleeping. For Mary’s afternoon nap, I shut Lydia in her room for quiet time and then returned to my own bed. Poor Lydia. I guess Mommy took the day off today. But I did spend all of Mary’s wake time feeding the girls, reading to the girls, playing piano with the girls, and cuddling the girls. I hope I never forget some of the terrific, long, snuggly hugs and vigorous “ugga mugga’s” Lydia gave me today (right before melting down when I announced I was heading to my bed during her quiet time).

I was also forty minutes late to school today because Abe and I spent too much time debating whether I should go to Instacare instead of school (I thought I had appendicitis, but turns out that’s on the other side) and then we picked up our ongoing Mormon modesty debate while I changed into my chef clothing. I would like to see the modesty issue reframed in terms of conspicuous consumption; that means more preaching about how the plight of the poor should influence our purchasing decisions and less direction on where hemlines should hit. There is way more scriptural precedent for this approach (in my opinion) than any other. Also, have you seen the pictures of the Philippines recently? I do not understand how disciples of Christ could purchase any piece of unnecessary clothing until those victims get food and water.

Abe, on the other hand, feels like modesty promotes virtue, and that current direction from Church leaders is exactly what we need to keep us all acting like team players. He thinks the women who vehemently reject these teachings are selfishly shrugging off social responsibility; at the same time he agrees that men are completely responsible for their thoughts and actions. His point is that disciples act more out of concern for others than for self, and we all can be disciples by helping each other in whatever ways we can.

At the end of the day, Abe and I both interpret modesty to be in issue of discipleship, even if our focus is different. I suppose when my girls are old enough to understand, I will teach them the following: our deportment should reflect our discipleship. Also, I will point them to the scriptures that connect inattentiveness to the poor with excessive consumption.

One more consumption aside: I have been browsing real estate in Orem and Provo (related to Abe’s exciting upcoming news), and I just have to say how disgusting I think McMansions are. Little Parisian cafe spaces adjoined to movie theaters belong in public, not in one’s basement. I know I’m being judgmental (maybe because I’m sick and grouchy?), but there comes a point when extra space crosses the line from pleasant to grotesque.

I’m also probably hypocritical in my judgment, because ideally I would like a house big enough for two to three grand pianos (for duo piano music and so that my children can practice at the same time), enough rooms so my kids (I think I eventually want 4-6) can have their own personal spaces, and enough space for my mom and any visitors who want to come. Also, acres of vegetable and flower gardens would be a plus. That sounds like at least a mini-McMansion to me, so why don’t I stop typing before my hypocrisy becomes any more apparent.

Here are a series of pictures where Lydia is examining and “playing” the piano. I’m sorry, but I just can not get over her beautiful technique. I can barely wait until we start official lessons.IMG_5132 IMG_5130 IMG_5128 IMG_5127And then two of Mary looking cute, as always:

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categories

So I just now got around to adding categories to my blog. I’m hoping I can cut down on the boring cataloging of daily activities and instead just check boxes. It feels so exciting! I basically created a to-do list with stuff I normally do, and when I check off those boxes, I’ll feel like I accomplished stuff during the day. When I first started this exercise five minutes ago, I was sure I had done nothing today. But holy cow, nothing feels better than making a to-do list of stuff you’ve already done; I feel like a rock star, even though I spent most of the day in bed!!

But I guess this day did have some activity in it. Anique, one of the ladies I visit teach, had a hair appointment this morning and needed a last-minute babysitter, so I watched her daughter for a couple hours. During that time, I had a wonderful spiritual experience. First of all, I was nervous about babysitting since her daughter is about the same age as Mary, and I could not quite visualize how things would play out when I had two crying babies on my hands. (How do mothers of multiples do it?!) However, I prayed hard that God would help me figure out how to get Fleur to sleep (she was yawning and obviously exhausted, and the only way she goes to sleep normally is through nursing–can’t do that–or a ride in the stroller–another non-option), and then I put her in her car seat and rocked her. Within two minutes, the sweet thing was asleep, and I felt like God had directly answered my prayer–especially since minutes later, Mary woke up from her nap. Whew! It felt like a miracle, because until that point, Fleur made it abundantly clear that she preferred her mommy, and all attempts at entertainment were a no-go.

When Anique returned from her hair appointment, we visited until Fleur woke up. She wanted to see the house, so I gave her a quick tour. When we got to my closet, she observed that I have an extremely limited wardrobe. (This fact only bothers me when I get down to a two-shirt rotation, which, since my wardrobe is that limited, happens more often than you’d think.) BUT THEN! Then sweet Anique went on to offer me a bunch of her clothes! Her brother-in-law owns a boutique full of bohemian style clothing, which just happens to be right up my alley. Weather permitting, I would wear hippie skirts every day if I only had enough in the rotation. Comfy, colorful, and the same elastic waistband I get in pj’s, yoga pants, and–it just so happens–my chef pants. Is life a bowl of cherries or what?

Another great thing that happened today: Our piano got tuned! I love our piano tuner. He is a very sweet older gentleman who served a mission in the Philippines and loves Filipinos. Ever since he found out I am half Filipino, He ascribes any display of good behavior on my part to the fact that I am half Filipino. It is very funny and endearing.

After a morning full of such excitement, Abe came home early since he had to leave town tonight. When he came home, I went straight to bed because I could feel myself getting sicker every hour. Right now I have a pretty sore throat, and I’m sure if I don’t wrap up soon and go to bed, it will get worse. I put the kids down half an hour early with the hopes that more sleep for them would translate into more sleep for me.

I don't know if it's inappropriate to post pictures of my toddler on the potty, but I think she is SO cute when she goes. She sits there swinging her legs and singing to herself.

I don’t know if it’s inappropriate to post pictures of my toddler on the potty, but I think she is SO cute when she goes. She sits there swinging her legs and singing to herself.

These two pics were from a couple days ago and I just forgot to post them then. I can't believe I forgot to post them since I LOVE the fact that Lydia wears elf slippers around the house.

These two pics were from a couple days ago and I just forgot to post them then. I can’t believe I forgot to post them since I love the fact that Lydia wears elf slippers around the house.

 

I accidentally switched the camera button to "manual" instead of "auto," and for most of the day I thought my camera was broken. I really need to read the manual. Anyway, Abe took this picture when he was trying to figure out what was wrong with my camera.

I accidentally switched the camera button to “manual” instead of “auto,” and for most of the day I thought my camera was broken. I really need to read the manual. Anyway, Abe took this picture when he was trying to figure out what was wrong with my camera.

Mary and I were bonding.

Mary and I were bonding.

And then Mary crawled up and down the stairs for half an hour while Abe and I made sure she didn't fall.

And then Mary crawled up and down the stairs for half an hour while Abe and I made sure she didn’t fall.

She learned this "trick" from Lydia.

She learned this “trick” from Lydia.

She crawled until she exhausted herself. For twenty minutes it was all smiles and giggles, and then suddenly she was a sobbing mess devoid of any extra energy.

She crawled until she exhausted herself. For twenty minutes it was all smiles and giggles, and then suddenly she was a sobbing mess devoid of any extra energy.

Preschool and cooking school

I think I’m getting sick, so I’ll make it short.

This morning I ran, showered and read before the girls woke up. Lydia had a nightmare at 6am, and so that was my wake-up call. Then I fed the girls breakfast and got them ready for preschool.

Paige, the host mom, was so creative today. She had the kids coloring under the table, navigating string obstacle courses, and playing parachute.

Paige, the host mom, was so creative today. She had the kids coloring under the table, navigating string obstacle courses, and playing parachute.

Getting ready for the obstacle course...

Getting ready for the obstacle course…

Crawling through the strings!

Crawling through the strings!

After preschool, their naps were all messed up, but I did get one hour of practice in before Mary woke up. Then I fed them both several times and played the piano with them.

Then it was time for cooking school. I enjoyed it, and I’ve made a responsible friend to help me through it! Her name is Jessica, and she reminds me so strongly of my friend, Jean, who helped me through grad school. I feel blessed.

Play date and sweet daughters

This morning I blitz cleaned the house, read to Mary, and practiced the piano before our friends, Fallon, Audrey and Eli, showed up for our morning play date. During the play date, Lydia announced she was going to water color and then retired to the bathroom, not to be seen again until after the “play date” was over. So much for that attempt at socialization.

But I had fun socializing, which, let’s be honest here, is the real purpose of any play date. In fact, I feel like I’ve had so many activities centered around my needs lately that my guilt is starting to make me into a more patient mom. I’m so happy about this! Knowing that my kids are giving me space to do what makes me happy helps me feel much, much more willing to be patient with them. It’s about time, because I was about to throw in the towel in the self-improvement department.

During the girls’ afternoon quiet time, I squeezed in the homework for my purchasing class. Speaking of which, I should probably hurry up and post pictures so I can go and do the readings too.

Also, Abe had a great day today. I have to stay vague for the next while, but let’s just say today was exciting, and I am happy for my husband.

Eli at our play date. He is about four months younger than Mary, but he could (Abe always says) eat her for dinner. She's 17 lbs and he's 24. Can you even get over his cheeks? I LOVE them. And I laugh every time I see him next to Fallon, who is teeny tiny--and yet has this sweet, enormous baby.

Eli at our play date. He is about four months younger than Mary, but he could (Abe says) eat her for dinner. She’s 17 lbs and he’s 24. Can you even get over his cheeks? I LOVE them. And I laugh every time I see him next to Fallon, who is teeny tiny–and yet has this sweet, enormous baby.

After the play date, Mary walked around with the phone for a while. That’s a no-no, but she’s so cute with it that I had trouble taking it away from her.

IMG_5079 IMG_5073Lydia has become incredibly affectionate in the past couple months. The other day Abe looked at me and asked, “Did you ever imagine that the train wreck that was our daughter six months ago could morph into this sweet child?” I just shook my head. She still has her melt downs, but she tells us she loves us all the time, and she comes up to us and gives us hugs all day long. It is the sweetest. Here she is hugging Mary in the bath.

IMG_5085 IMG_5082And now time for homework…

Veteran’s Day

Abe informed me it was Veteran’s Day (I never know these things), and that the weather was supposed to be gorgeous today (never know those things either). He then proceeded to suggest that I take the kids on a walk to the veteren’s section of the cemetery and tell them about what it means to be a veteran.

What a brilliant idea.

And so, after a morning of naps, meals, piano practice, and one unsuccessful attempt to extract massive amounts of earwax from Lydia’s ear, I finally (think a 3pm kind of finally) got the kids loaded in the jogger and ready to go. On the way to the cemetary, we passed many flags, and I did manage to talk to the kids about the flag before Lydia passed out.

On the way to the veteran's section, Lydia fell asleep.

On the way to the veteran’s section, Lydia fell asleep.

Mary was whimpering because she was stuck like this. I fixed her after taking this picture, and she really hollered then. (She was expecting me to let her get out an walk, and when that didn't happen, she broke the peaceful silence of the cemetery.)

Mary was whimpering because she was stuck like this. I fixed her after taking this picture, and she really hollered then. (She was expecting me to let her get out and walk, and when that didn’t happen, she broke the peaceful silence of the cemetery.)

When we got to the veteran's section, Mary quieted down. It was a beautiful experience to stand there and reflect on the gruesome sacrifices brave people have made so that I can live a free and happy life.

When we got to the veteran’s section, Mary quieted down. It was a beautiful experience to stand there and reflect on the sacrifices brave people have made so that I can live a free and happy life.

I wandered around and tried to imagine the lives and deaths of the people in this section. I was very happy to find this Jewish man from Utah, and I would love to learn more about him. There aren't a lot of Jews here, and so I figure his story must be intriguing. (Although there are enough Jews that there is a Jewish Community Center, and, fingers crossed, that is where we hope to enroll Lydia in preschool for next year.)

I wandered around praying for the people buried here and their descendents. I also tried to imagine the lives and deaths of the people in this section. I was very happy to find this Jewish man from Utah, and I would love to learn more about him. There aren’t a lot of Jews here, and so I figure his story must be intriguing. (Although there are enough Jews that there is a Jewish Community Center, and, fingers crossed, that is where we hope to enroll Lydia in preschool for next year.)

A beautiful resting place. As I left, a man in army band attire drove up, got up, and played a trumpet salute (taps, maybe? I don't know my army songs.) to the veterans. It was hauntingly beautiful, and I felt lucky to have been the only awake and living soul to hear his beautiful music.

A beautiful resting place. As I left, a man in army band attire drove up, got out, and played a trumpet salute (Taps, maybe? I don’t know my army songs) to the veterans. It was ethereal.

By the time I got back home, the girls were fast asleep, so I went around photographing things that bring me joy. This tree, as I have mentioned before, is one such thing.

By the time I got back home, the girls were fast asleep, so I went around photographing things that bring me joy. This tree, as I have mentioned before, is one such thing.

This magnificent feathery grass plant is another.

This magnificent feathery grass plant is another.

These cattails are another simply because their name endears them to Lydia, who continues to pray that her missing cat will come back to her. She stroked these cattails and called them "so cute!" the other day.

These cattails are another simply because their name endears them to Lydia, who continues to pray that her missing stuffed cat will come back to her. She stroked these cattails and called them “so cute!” the other day.

When the girls woke up, I let them play outside for a bit. Can you tell I didn't bother brushing anyone's hair (including my own) today? Because I didn't.

When the girls woke up, I let them play outside for a bit. Can you tell I didn’t bother brushing anyone’s hair (including my own) today? Because I didn’t.

Experimenting with the person icon on my camera. I assume that means the camera will take better shots of people if it's turned to that icon, but I can't really tell.

Experimenting with the person icon on my camera. I assume that means the camera will take better shots of people if it’s turned to that icon, but I can’t really tell.

Lydia showing me the mint she picked.

Lydia showing me the mint she picked.

She gave some to Mary.

She was telling Mary where the jack-o-lanterns are. They are not where she is pointing.

Then we went to Tony Caputo’s for a pound and a half of Gorgonzola. Since apples and pears abound right now, I go through a LOT of cheese. Also, we had Gorgonzola gnocchi tonight–accompanied by a very fancy can of green beans. I found out yesterday that I love canned green beans!!

I got the girls Happy Hippos at Tony Caputo's. Mary is in a daze from all of the chocolate.

I got the girls Happy Hippos at Tony Caputo’s. Mary is in a daze from all of the chocolate.

Lydia begged to eat hers in the car, so she was a little jealous when Mary got to eat hers at home.

Lydia begged to eat hers in the car, so she was a little jealous when Mary got to eat hers at home.

After dinner, I cleaned the kitchen and practiced for another hour while Abe bathed the girls. Then we had FHE, wherin I taught a lesson on Veteran’s Day, and Abe had us all write letters of appreciation to three veterans (two of them are his grandpas, and the other is the husband of our friend, Jill).

And now I need to do some homework for my purchasing class. I am so excited to have homework! (And also a little dismayed…it’s already late, and if I don’t get it done tonight, there’s almost zero chance of getting it done tomorrow. Abe will be gone at night and we have a play date in the morning.)

Sunday and friends

I came away from church with one resolution: I am going to read a conference talk a day between now and Dec 18. Our Relief Society teacher gave a lesson on putting God above worldliness today, and she suggested that exercise as a way to take an inner inventory and see how our priorities play out in our daily lives. A good challenge, I think.

After church we came home and ate lunch.

Lydia wanted to sit in Abe's chair, so he sat in hers.

Lydia wanted to sit in Abe’s chair, so he sat in hers.

Then  we napped for over an hour. I was so deep asleep that I dreamed Mary could talk! I was having so much fun conversing with her that I was doubly sad when I woke up. But the good news is that I woke up to the phone ringing; our friends Fallon and Morgan invited us over for dessert after dinner. Of course, we never turn down dessert.

With a couple hours yet to kill, we took the kids on a walk to the park.

Lydia wanted me to take a picture of her in her poofy coat. It wasn't that cold out, but she loves her coat.

Lydia wanted me to take a picture of her in her poofy coat. It wasn’t that cold out, but she loves her coat.

These trees have the most beautiful leaves. They're silver and green in the summer, and in the fall, they stay on the trees a long time and make a beautiful sound. We stopped and listened for a while to the percussive rolls the leaves made from  shaking in the wind. Also, please not the moon.

These trees have the most beautiful leaves. They’re silver and green in the summer, and in the fall, they stay on the trees a long time and make a beautiful sound. We stopped and listened for a while to the percussive rolls the leaves made from shaking in the wind. Also, please not the moon.

Lydia fell asleep in the jogger. She used to tuck herself in during quiet time, but now she doesn't do that as often. She's still tired, though, so if you put her in a car seat or stroller she goes out like a light.

Lydia fell asleep in the jogger. She used to tuck herself in during quiet time, but now she doesn’t do that as often. She’s still tired, though, so if you put her in a car seat or stroller she goes out like a light.

Since Lydia was asleep, Mary got all of our attention at the park. She loves the slide and loves going down upside down.

Since Lydia was asleep, Mary got all of our attention at the park. She loves the slide and loves going down upside down.

Walking around.

Walking around.

Wheeeee!

Wheeeee!

Again, again!

Again, again!

Climbing up the stairs.

Climbing up the stairs.

Going down the slide.

Going down the slide.

In the meantime, Lydia face planted on the blanket during her sleep.

In the meantime, Lydia face planted on the blanket during her sleep.

Then we returned home and ate a very sub standard dinner. I had never had spaghetti sauce from a can (not bottle) before, much less canned spaghetti sauce that was almost a year past its expiration date. It tasted like the can. Oh, well. It’s Sunday, and I didn’t want to cook, so I headed down to the basement and hunted down some cans to do the work for me. At least I didn’t have to chop up anything today–and, more importantly, clean-up was quite minimal.

Lydia ate all of her food though. We made a big deal about it and took a picture in front of Mary, in the hopes that Mary will learn what a good thing it is to eat your food. As it stands now, Mary just cries and spits out most of the food we try to feed her.

Lydia ate all of her food though. We made a big deal about it and took a picture in front of Mary, in the hopes that Mary will learn what a good thing it is to eat your food. As it stands now, Mary just cries and spits out most of the food we try to feed her.

Then we headed over to the Simmons’ house for dessert. We had so much fun that we stayed well past Lydia and Mary’s bedtime. We loved chatting with them; Morgan is a pilot, and they had some pretty funny stories about flying stand-by. On their honeymoon, they missed five flights trying to get to their cruise, and finally, they took a circuitous route and caught up with their cruise two days late.

Abe could not get over that story and has been talking about it ever since. “Can you imagine?!” he asked me. “If that had been us, you would have been SO mad and I would have been having panic attacks!” That’s probably true. But hey! It would be a honeymoon! We still haven’t gone on one…maybe when things slow down in ten years? I hope, I hope!