Mary gets to be an only child for an evening.

Mary’s old enough to go to nursery in church now! Theoretically, this means Abe and I could drop her off and focus on our meetings. However, Mary is very, very, very sad whenever we leave her in nursery by herself, so we’re taking turns staying in nursery with Mary. Last week I stayed, and this week Abe did. He took photos of her on his phone while he was watching her:

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While I never recall Lydia hitting any child other than Mary, Mary is different. She’s been hit and pushed and grabbed from all of her little life (thanks to Lydia), so she is a little more aggressive in nursery. When some other child took one of her toys today, she had no problem bonking him in the head several times. Lydia would have just run to me and cried. I guess they’re all different.

This evening Suzanne came over and took Lydia to the Miners’ party. We were feeling tired and under the weather, so Abe and I stayed home with Mary. She got more attention this evening than she ever has. In fact, she’s so excited about all the attention she got that she can’t currently get to sleep and is standing next to me watching me type. We have a ton of pictures of her from our evening together.

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IMG_7186 IMG_7195 IMG_7194 IMG_7193 IMG_7196 IMG_7197 IMG_7201And then Suzanne brought Lydia and two balloons home! The girls had fun with those.

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Playing chase

Playing chase

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This is what happened when we took Mary's balloon away before bed.

This is what happened when we took Mary’s balloon away before bed.

The sky was a beautiful color, and we tried to capture it through the girls' window.

The sky was a beautiful color, and we tried to capture it through the girls’ window.

Mary is really trying hard to climb into my lap and type, so I think I’ll sign off and pay attention to my baby.

Ambition morphs into a long, long nap

I had big plans when Saturday morning dawned: hiking Ensign Peak! Biking up the canyon!! Using our improved insurance to buy new glasses for Abe!!!

…And one three and a half hour nap later, we did none of that. Well, almost none. We tried to buy Abe new glasses, but insurance only covers $100, and glasses are more expensive than that. So we headed to the grocery store, bought groceries instead, and headed home to hibernate.

Afterward, I went to Women’s Conference. Our stake had a dinner first. I have a lot of social anxiety in big groups, so stuff like that is hard for me. But I powered through, even though I had to fight an active urge to get up and leave about every five minutes. As soon as the closing prayer ended, I grabbed my coat and practically ran to the car.

Abe just said, “Oh my heck.” For the record, he never used to say that, but working in Provo with a bunch of other LDS young dads has changed his linguistic patterns. I asked him to please revert back to his old verbal habits.

On the other hand, one of his coworkers told him that the work he was doing was “BA.” Abe was really confused and asked him if he was talking about “Bachelor of Arts,” and his coworker thought that was hilarious. Now whenever Abe does anything of note, his coworker tells him he’s “Bachelor of Arts.”

What a hodge podge post. Here are the pictures we took today:

Mary loves to dip food. Giving her bowls of sauce/syrup/peanut butter has bought me an extra ten minutes of peace during meals.

Mary loves to dip food. Giving her bowls of sauce/syrup/peanut butter has bought me an extra ten minutes of peace during meals.

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Gesturing for more because she's...not very verbal. But we understand her, so maybe she feels like she doesn't have to talk. I wish she would, though!!!

Gesturing for more because she’s…not very verbal. But we understand her, so maybe she feels like she doesn’t have to talk. I wish she would, though!!!

Lydia did a “trick” for me:

IMG_7177The girls got balloons at the store:

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While I was at Women’s Conference, Abe took the girls to the park:

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Lydia looked at the bars and said, "I know I can do this!" That's probably because of our coaching session at the park two days ago. Alas, these bars surpassed her current abilities.

Lydia looked at the bars and said, “I know I can do this!” That’s probably because of our coaching session at the park two days ago. Alas, these bars surpassed her current abilities.

And during the girls’ last snack of the day, Lydia lost focus and started making funny faces:

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Lots and lots of cute play date pictures

We had two great play dates today. After our second play date, I went to school to clean ovens while Abe took the girls to a work party down in Provo. They had a big day, and we are crossing our fingers that they sleep in tomorrow!

Here are the play date pictures:

Mary took advantage of Max’s nap by playing with Misty.

IMG_7111 IMG_7113Max woke up!

IMG_7117The girls loved him and tried to give him stuffed animals.

IMG_7116 IMG_7118Then there was a lot of jumping on the bed.

IMG_7121 IMG_7132 IMG_7130 IMG_7139 IMG_7136 IMG_7153By the end, Mary and Max just watched Lydia and Sophia jump.

IMG_7151 IMG_7150Then Mary took a short nap. When she woke up, I despaired. And then I called Paige to see if she was free to come over. She was! That made all the difference this afternoon. We played inside for a bit and then went out because it was so sunny out. When we were outside, we discovered that our yard was full of ladybugs! The girls were enchanted. A neighborhood cat also came over and beguiled the girls. I missed a lot of cute photos because I put my camera inside after the first five minutes, but I think this day has a lot of photos already, so I’ll try to be content with that.

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Post-midnight post

First things first: Grandma Darais’ surgery went extremely well today, and she is doing much better. We are very thankful. Abe has resolved to spend at least one lunch break a week with her in the event that she returns home, and I am trying to figure out how we can make it down to Provo more often to see her. We are very happy she is doing so well.

I think Abe had a great day at work, but we saw each other for a grand total of less than five minutes today. I did get one phone call in after my final, but I think we talked a lot about our various physical ailments (Abe’s now sure he has a virus, and I think I might have a virus/sinus infection combo).

On the school front, I aced my final exams in my lab class and that made me feel really happy. I sometimes wonder if it’s okay that I’m spending so much time away from my children, and getting some validation that I’m making progress in acquiring a much-desired skill felt great. I think after this is all done, I will appreciate being home with my children SO much more, and I will love not having so many competing interests. But for now, I love being at school when I’m there.

Before school, we had a fun morning with the Pe’a’s. Jen offered to teach me how to craft cute decorative blocks, and it was so fun crafting with her! I wish I had a picture of my blocks, but the day just slipped away and now they feel sooooo far away (even though they’re just downstairs…but it’s past midnight, and that feels like a trek). Anyway, I wasn’t the only one having fun. Lydia was in heaven playing with Natalie because Natalie not only has a ton of princess attire, but she is an excellent sharer.

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In the meantime, here’s a picture of Mary at home reading a book about Babies:

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Prayers for Grandma Darais

Today we got the scary news that Abe’s Grandma Darais was doing poorly and the family was notified to come say good-bye. I drove the girls down to Provo and picked up Abe at work.

We drove to the hospital, and while we were there, her heart started responding! Not only that, but she elected to have a surgery that might help her condition. We will know more tomorrow, but for now, things are looking as good as they possibly can. We love her so much, and it was so meaningful to have a chance to tell her that. I wish I could have said more, but it was so emotional seeing her in such a hard condition that all I could really say was “I love you.” I guess that is what matters most, but I would love to one day tell her how much I love visiting with her, hearing her stories, and listening to her testimony. I also appreciate how good of a grandma she’s been to Abe. I hope we can still have that chance.

That’s really the most important news of the day. We are praying for her and hoping that she makes it through the night and tomorrow’s surgery successfully.

Here are some pictures from this morning and the hospital.

Playing in their room this morning.

Playing in their room this morning.

Abe was trying to entertain the kids in the waiting room.

Abe was entertaining Mary. (She and Suzanne took this picture on Suzanne’s iPad.)

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“SOCKS!!!!” “SAUCE!!!” (Lydia’s new swear words)

I took a bunch of happy pictures today, but don’t let that fool you. I’m pretty sure I spent the whole day yelling at Lydia–and occasionally at Mary. While at Sugar House Park this afternoon, I listened to this mom talk sweetly to her children and felt insanely jealous. I thought, “Wow, that woman seems exceptionally cut out for this mom business. I bet she never yells at her kids.” And then I proceeded to feel horrible about myself, even though I fully realize that:

1) I am nice to my kids on the playground too.

2) Who knows how that mom acts when she’s tired and not standing in the sunshine?

Which brings me around to the tired bit. I just don’t have any energy lately! It is so annoying. Today I decided to power through it and try to fold laundry, but I couldn’t even do that. With terrific effort, I managed to bring my kids to play group, the grocery store, Kid to Kid, and another park today, but by the end I couldn’t do anything but sit on the couch while the kids tore up the living room around me.

I think I’m tired because my coughing wakes me up at night. Like I said, it’s annoying, and I’m appropriately annoyed.

In addition, Lydia has invented her own swear words. Obviously, she doesn’t know what a swear word is–and I hope she hasn’t been in earshot when I let stuff slip–but she’s started yelling “SOCKS!” and “SAUCE!!!” when she’s extremely angry. I asked her what those words meant, and she explained that she says those words when she wants to hit. Lately, she’s been combining the words and the action–hence much of my yelling, but I was mildly amused that she essentially invented her own swear words. My dad always used to say that swearing was for people who were creatively stilted in the language department. I think Lydia’s invention would have made him happy.

On to the happy pictures and more happy news–Abe had ANOTHER great day at work. It’s kind of a miracle. When I met Abe, one of the first things I learned about him was that he hated his job, and the whole time he’s worked for Guardsmark, that sentiment has persisted. This switch to Qualtrics has been amazing.

One thing he loves is his coworkers. For example, today he left the flashers on his car, and one of his coworkers noticed and sent a memo out on some company thread that Abe didn’t read. When Abe went to his car after work, the person who noticed (who parked next to him) was ready with cables to jump Abe’s car. He knew the car’s battery would be dead, so he got prepared to help–even though he didn’t know whose car it was. When you work with people like that, it’s hard to dislike your work.

Lindsay Gardens for play group, 11 am:

Liv and Mary swinging

Liv and Mary swinging

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Paige pushed Lydia and Ada on the merry-go-round thing.

Paige pushed Lydia and Ada on the merry-go-round thing.

Sugar House Park, 3:30 pm:

 

I must have read A Snowy Day to Lydia a million times. Watching her hit the tree with a stick made me recall "A stick that was just right for smacking a snow covered tree," only this tree lacked snow.

I must have read A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats to Lydia a million times. Watching her hit the tree with a stick made me recall “A stick that was just right for smacking a snow covered tree,” only this tree lacked snow.

Cimbing this rainbow-monkey-bar contraption. At the top she panicked, but I stood below and she made it over. One thing I LOVE about Lydia is her caution. I know I should be cheering for her ability to surmount an obstacle, but I'm most proud of her sensitivity to her own safety. That's my paranoia right there, thank-you very much.

Cimbing this rainbow-monkey-bar contraption. At the top she panicked, but I stood below and she made it over. One thing I LOVE about Lydia is her caution. I know I should be cheering for her ability to surmount an obstacle, but I’m most proud of her sensitivity to her own safety. That’s my paranoia right there, thank-you very much.

Hey! I just noticed that inadvertently took a picture of the mom who talked soooo sweetly to her kids. Doesn't she even look like a nice mom? I'm still jealous.

Hey! I just noticed that inadvertently took a picture of the mom who talked soooo sweetly to her kids. Doesn’t she even look like a nice mom? I’m still jealous.

Wistfully watching some kids swing.

Wistfully watching some kids swing.

I took these pictures of the girls swinging right before I gave Lydia a push that accidentally knocked her off the swing. We were both traumatized, but thankfully she was fine. I proposed driving home for a cupcake break, and that seemed to solve the problem.

I took these pictures of the girls swinging right before I gave Lydia a push that accidentally knocked her off the swing. We were both traumatized, but thankfully she was fine. I proposed driving home for a cupcake break, and that seemed to solve the problem.

IMG_7084For FHE, Abe built an obstacle course and dressed the girls up in their owl and monkey costumes. They had fun. I was supposed to give a spiritual thought, but I have felt less-than-spiritual (and I forgot), so we skipped that part.

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Abe has a great day and Lily fails (or thinks she failed) the ServSafe

I awoke to the sound of Lydia running into my room and chattering about her birthday presents. As I rolled over I heard, “Oh, Mama, I need to go potty…uh, oh, I’m having an accident…”

I wish I could say I was composed in the face of this wake-up call, but I wasn’t.  I gave Lydia a shower, and even though she hates showers, the good news is that her hair was wet and easy to braid. For the rest of the day, she didn’t have to deal with hair in her face (and I admired her tight braid).

IMG_7053I was, as usual it seems, low on energy this morning, so the girls spent the first two hours playing by themselves. I walked by their room to hear them jumping on Lydia’s bed and giggling. I grabbed my camera, but I was too late. I did take a couple other pictures, though. Grandma, Abe said you requested pictures after we got lazy and posted some picture-less posts last week. I want you to know that these pictures are for YOU!

IMG_7056 IMG_7054 IMG_7057 IMG_7051After a couple hours, Mary came into my room and cried until I suggested that we go into her room and play blocks. She stopped crying immediately and nodded hard. I spent the next hour playing with the girls and sneaking in some room-organization/cleaning while I was at it.

Then I fed the girls a lunch that ended in too many cupcakes. That got Mary ready for bed, and Lydia played on the iPad while I did homework and studied for my ServSafe exam and other final. I’m pretty sure I failed the ServSafe exam tonight. It was hard! It was hard to study for and hard to take. In order to progress in the program, I need to pass it, and I think I can take it as many times as I need…I just don’t want to have to go through the studying rigamarole again. I had to do sit through fourteen hours of online lessons, not including the practice test, in order to prepare. Mom, can you pray that I passed so I don’t have to do this again? Your prayers always seem to work, and my prayers feel tired and slightly faithless.

I came home before the girls got to bed, and it was so fun to hug and cuddle them. Being away always makes me appreciate time with them so much more. Also, David came over to play video games with Abe, and before they played, the three of us chatted in the kitchen for a loooong time about parenting. David was remarkably engaged as Abe and I bored him with descriptions of our daughters’ personalities and our own parenting dilemmas, and he gave us great advice.

Now I’m trying to work up the motivation to take a much-needed shower before going to bed. Abe and David are downstairs playing an enthusiastic video game before David returns to Boston.

Oh! And Abe had a fantastic day at work!! He came home raving about how great it was. He also had a perfect home-teaching experience on his way home. He caught the family just when they were having some computer problems he helped solve, and then out of the blue the dad (who grew up LDS but no longer practices) gave Abe some money for a fast offering. It was kind of a textbook happy-home-teaching experience, and that on top of his already-great day made this day a winner in Abe’s book. He did struggle to manage Lydia’s continual tantrums throughout the evening, but after a great day at work and a great home-teaching experience, even hours of straight melt-downs don’t seem like such a big deal–or at least Abe didn’t seem to be phased.

My eyelids just drooped. Time for a shower and bed.

Lydia’s birthday, round 2

After church today, we napped. Lydia was watching Veggie Tales on the iPad when suddenly I awoke to hear her having a full-blown conversation with someone on the iPad. I asked Abe who Lydia was talking to, and in his groggy, half-asleep state he replied, “Nape.” I asked him who “Nape” was, and he told me that he was tired but that Lydia was definitely talking to Nape. By this time, I was waking up a little more and realized that Lydia was Face Timing with Clark and Swathi. They called while we were sleeping, and since Lydia was on the iPad, she answered their call.

A few minutes later, we all called and chatted with Clark and Swathi, and this time Abe joined us. He was still barely awake, but he was awake enough to know that we weren’t talking to Nape.

Then we picked up Balu and headed to the Miners’ for birthday celebrations. We haven’t seen Balu in a long time, and it was great to spend time with him again. Lydia had a blast having a second round of her birthday, but you wouldn’t know it from the solemn way she opened her presents and whispered her thank-you’s. She didn’t crack a smile once, but when we got home, she could barely sleep because she wanted to play with all of her new presents. We compromised by letting her sleep with six new books and one of her birthday cards.

She also made her own cupcakes for the Miners’ gathering today. Usually, I try to control parts of the baking process that can get messy, but today I figured, what the heck? They’re her cupcakes, and she should be able to do whatever she wants with them. I ended up helping with the frosting just because she kept tearing up the cupcakes she frosted, but really, she did (almost) everything else.

IMG_7043 IMG_7050Having fun at the Miners’:

Okay, okay. Initially she was zonked on the couch because she didn't nap today...

Okay, okay. Initially she was zonked on the couch because she didn’t nap today…

But she woke up!

But she woke up!

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Daddy-daughter date, Mommy-Mary date.

This morning our competition team didn’t meet, so I celebrated by taking myself straight to Instacare. The doctor figured out right away that I have a sinus infection. She didn’t waste any time; even after I tried to tell her I was a little scared of taking antibiotics because I got C Diff last year, she interrupted and told me that I had nothing to worry about. I guess they run a tight schedule over in Instacare!

By the time I arrived home, Abe had started making pancakes, and he was just about to help celebrate the cat’s birthday. Every couple days Lydia announces that it’s Puss’s birthday, but today she was especially insistent that we celebrate. We indulged.

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Then I practiced and gave Mary a piano lesson. Lately I have been too sick and tired to give Lydia lessons, but Mary is easy. I just helped her play “Twinkle” over and over. Abe took pictures.

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Then we all ate lunch and took naps. Well, Lydia played on the iPad, but everyone else napped. Lydia had a meltdown when her headphones stopped working, so Abe got up and helped her. He then bought his plane tickets for his friend’s wedding in July. He ran into some snafus and, long story short, discovered that you can cancel your ticket if you call within twenty-four hours. Phew! We are so happy for that policy. He’ll try again next week.

I dragged myself out of bed to practice for the second half of my culinary fundamentals final next Thursday. We have to make chicken chardonnay, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. I swapped out the carrots for green beans tonight, but maybe I’ll practice the carrots on Wednesday. My final last night tested a ton of knife skills and required me to make cream of mushroom soup and broccoli hollandaise. I accidentally scrambled my hollandaise in the thirty seconds it took me to take my plate out of the oven and arrange the broccoli on top, but I didn’t have time to redo it, so I just kind of smoothed out the globs and prayed for the teacher’s mercy.

I also have a test on Monday that certifies us for managerial positions in a food establishment. I really should have studied today because that test covers a ridiculous amount of material, including the scientific names of a bunch of different food borne illnesses that I can never remember or keep straight. Maybe I’ll find time on Monday…

But back to today. Qualtrics sent Abe’s work team to the Jazz game tonight. Because I’m pretty sure a basketball game might just bore me straight out of my mind, Abe took Lydia on a daddy-daughter date. She had a blast, although when she met Abe’s co-workers she didn’t respond to any of their attempts to engage in conversation. Abe explained that she is shy, and explained to Abe that just yesterday I gave Lydia a long lecture on not talking to strangers. She was just following instructions.

Talking to her cat for twenty minutes and describing her evening. "Yeah, Puss, I'm at the arena. We're at the Jazz game. Talk to you later!"

Talking to her cat for twenty minutes and describing her evening. “Yeah, Puss, I’m at the arena. We’re at the Jazz game. Talk to you later!”

Watching the game. Abe said she locked in and pounded popcorn the entire time.

Watching the game. Abe said she locked in and pounded popcorn the entire time.

Almost smiling. When asked what her favorite part of the evening was, Lydia replied, "They winning!" Apparently, it was an exciting win.

Almost smiling. When asked what her favorite part of the evening was, Lydia replied, “They winning!” Apparently, it was an exciting win.

mar22pic4Meanwhile, I spent the evening trying to catch Mary up on all of the things she’s missed out on because she’s a second child. We cuddled and read books, built towers, ate felt food and FaceTimed with my mom and grandma. She didn’t want to go to bed, so I got to rock and sing to her. We usually don’t have time to rock or sing to the girls before bed, so this felt really nice. She wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me big kisses–right before she started slapping my cheeks and giggling…

I’m excited to go apply some Vick’s before bed. I love that stuff–it’s the difference between breathing and not breathing for me. Here’s to sleeping through the night!

Non-Profit, Exam, David

Today was a little bit of a hard day on the home front.  When I chatted with Lily at our kid-handoff in front of her cooking school, I learned that today the doorbell woke Mary from her nap, Lily learned Mary could squeeze through the second floor railing, a strange beggar came to the house asking for money (and this is after the Elizabeth Smart book she just read), and she’s feeling sicker than yesterday.  My heart definitely went out to Lily to hear about these struggles, especially since things are really starting to go well at work.

Today I received my account list that I will be responsible for to call on.  My list is comprised almost all of non-profit organizations, meaning Qualtrics wants me to become expert in selling to that industry.  I started working on the list today and found great joy working on my own accounts and not just setting up meetings for other salesmen.  Also, during lunch we had a regional meeting and my team lead commended my hard work in front of every body and I was awarded fifty dollars.  Sweet!

Lily just got home from cooking school and reported that she feels she did very well on her final (Yay!). That is especially amazing since she was feeling so unwell.  While Lily was at cooking school, the following transpired.

I picked up mail from my mom’s office (Lydia asleep in the car) and then drove home (Lydia still asleep in the car).  Lydia woke up as we pulled in the driveway and proceded to be an emotional disaster for the next two hours.  I do not fault her.  She took a late nap, and she was just out of sync.  She melted down over a variety of topics such as curry being too spicy (Mary ate it), being tired, being cold (right after her bath), not wanting to comb her hair, wanting the ipad, wanting to sit in my lap……you get the idea.  Finally at the end of the day, right before going to bed, she cheered up, partially because she enjoyed watching Mary run around only half-way in her pajamas.  I only got half-way putting Mary into pajamas before I had to intervene with another dramatic emotional episode from Lydia.  Everything ended on a good note when I put the kids to bed.

Right afterwords, my brother, David, came over.  He is in-town from his PHD studies at Harvard.  We chatted for a while and then played one hour and thirty minutes of Wayne Gretzky Hockey on Nintendo 64.  We had so much fun that we made plans to do it again Monday.

Pictures!

Lydia asked to go to bed while Mary ran around and she was amused at Mary half-way in her pajamas

Lydia asked to go to bed while Mary ran around and she was amused at Mary half-way in her pajamas

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Lily took the girls to the library today.

Lily took the girls to the library today.

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Lily made a knockout curry today and included Lydia in the process.

Lily made a knockout curry today and included Lydia in the process.

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Mary at the Library

Mary at the Library