I just typed the entire post and had a computer issue that whiped all of it clean.  Doh!  I’ll try to crank this out again.

Lily is at cooking school, not because she feels good enough for it, but because her final is tomorrow and she wants to finish strong down the home-stretch.  I feel so bad for all the time she has been sick.  It seems she has been just a day or two behind me in the sickness and its symptoms.  I started feeling better today, so my hope is that she will start feeling better by the weekend.

Work is going really well.  I found out yesterday that I will be on the South East Sales Team 1 (there are two teams).  I will start April 1 officially as a Sales Representative.  It also means I will have to start waking up earlier so I can be making calls in Provo by 8:30 AM ET.  Yikes!

Lily is playing piano again!  She stopped for a bit after slicing her finger, but she is back practicing and I am very happy for two reasons: 1 because I genuinely love hearing her play and 2: because her competition is in TWO MONTHS.  The good news is that she decided to not play in her second round (even if she advances) so that she wont miss any of her family reunion.  This means that she only needs practice two pieces instead of four.  I think that was a great move on her part.

I don’t think either of us took pictures today, but I will end by telling of a phase that Lydia is going through.  She is story-telling.  She tried to tell me a story over the phone at work, but I was short on time and it was hard to hear on the phone what she was saying.  Lily told her that she could tell me stories when I got home, and that she most certainly did.  When I got home and was eating with the girls, Lydia asked if she could tell me a story.  I agreed and she proceeded to tell me no fewer than FIVE stories.  All of them were a variation of this story-line, “There was a boy who wanted to go up high, so he climbed a bookshelf and then fell off and died.  Then his mom was sad so she died too.  Then a bunch of people came over [I presume for the funeral?] and they died too.  Then a bad man tried to break through the door.”  After the fifths story like this, I intervined (I don’t know why I waited so long!).  “Lydia,” I said, “those stories are all so sad.  Do you have any happy stories?”  She did!  She then told me a story about her stuffed cat “Puss” that involved giggles, laughing, singing and maybe even some cake and sprinkles.  Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as keyed into the happy story as I was to the sad ones…….maybe that’s human nature?  During her bath later that night, I was on the phone with Jere and I asked Lydia to tell Jere a story.  At that point, Lydia announced that she only tells stories at the kitchen table.  Well, I’m glad we go that straightened out.  She even has rules surrounding her story-telling!  I love her.


It’s sunny again

This morning over breakfast, Lydia turned to me and said, “Mama, what is it when I want something that Mary has?” I answered by telling her the word jealousy and explaining the concept a little bit. Lydia paused and then told me that Mary is a good sharer (which, for all of her hair-pulling antics, she really is). I agreed and then suggested Lydia could try to share more with Mary.

We ended the day full circle with Lydia screaming and crying on the ground because she wanted the pencils Mary had during our FHE craft. After a long post-tantrum cuddle, I asked Lydia what she was feeling, and she told me she was jealous. At least she knows, right?

The only eventful thing we did today that I don’t have pictures for  is institute. We attended institute for approximately twenty minutes, at which point Lydia announced she was hungry and wanted to go home. I didn’t protest because the presenter was basically just summarizing Mark chapter by chapter. I was hoping for a little more commentary and a little less straight summary.

So I came home, fed the girls, and got a two hour nap in. Afterward, Lydia wanted to have a play date with Ada. I thought it was a long shot since it was already 3 pm, but it turned out that Paige was free! So we had a fun play date:

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IMG_6998 IMG_6997 IMG_6995 IMG_6994 IMG_6993Then we had dinner and FHE, wherein we talked about gratitude and wrote a thank-you note for the Valentine chocolates our neighbor gave us all the way back in February…





The tantrum increases in intensity.

The tantrum increases in intensity.



IMG_7011 IMG_7016 IMG_7013IMG_7010 And then it was peek-a-boo before bed:

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Lots of eating [out]

We had so much fun with David, Karin and Jay at dinner that we accidentally stayed until 11 pm. We were the last ones at the restaurant, and now it’s almost midnight. In light of our desperate need to go to bed, I really just want to throw up pictures with captions and then go to bed.

Except! Except that I forgot to take pictures of my lunch with Misty, and that was a huge highlight of the day. Abe took a long lunch from work and took the girls to nearby IKEA for free food (kids eat free on Tuesdays) while Misty and I had our lunch date.

mar18pic2 mar18

Misty and I went to my school’s restaurant, and the theme today was “Spring.” I forgot to take pictures of the food or the menu, but it was all very yummy. The starter was ahi tuna with rhubarb salsa…except that we couldn’t discern where the rhubarb was, even though we searched, searched, and searched some more. The second dish was a salad with bagna cauda (again, couldn’t quite figure out where that was) with a salad and bread stick. It looked pretty fancy. We ordered different entrees, and then had molten chocolate cakes with white mocha ice cream for dessert. The menu was set, and I am now really looking forward to my restaurant class where we get to put together these menus, plate them, and serve them to actual people. In my present class, we throw out most of the food we make because there’s never enough time to wrap it up to take home.

Strangely, the rest of the day felt fun and productive too, although I’m not sure how that happened because I’m still sick, queasy, and easily tired. I think the girls were just more self-sufficient than usual, so I got to get more done with less effort. Plus, Mary napped from 2 pm until 6 pm, and Lydia napped from 2 pm until almost 4 pm. That probably helped.

Then Abe came home and I frantically folded laundry until the last minute, when we picked up David and headed up Mill Creek Canyon to meet Karin and Jay at Log Haven. There’s a gorgeous waterfall right across from the restaurant, and the ambiance of the restaurant felt really…nice. The best part was just the conversation, but the food was amazing too. I should have taken a picture of my entree, but alas, I started eating before that could happen. We did, however, take a shot of Abe’s beet soup starter.



mar18pic6Happy (belated) birthday, David!

Sick but not sad

Still sick here. I can’t wait for summer. Abe and I both slogged through our days, but the girls were in pretty good moods today. That was a blessing, because I spent a lot of the morning working on my power-point for a school presentation today, and I practiced. The competition is coming up soon, and even though I’m planning on withdrawing after the first round so that I can attend a family reunion, I still want to do my best. All that to say, the girls were very patient with me today because I could have scored a lot higher in the attentive-mom department.

The girls entertained themselves, though. Mom, that’s one of the dresses you got for Lydia’s birthday. She loves it. it’s her BEST twirling dress, and she specifically requests it so she can twirl.

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I did listen to Lydia tell me stories, though. That was so fun. Lately I’ve been making up stories for her about her cat because that allows me to exert minimal physical effort and yet still feel like I’m kind of on the job. Today I got the pleasure of being the audience while Lydia told me stories…mostly about a little boy who died because he didn’t listen to his mommy. Every time she concluded with his death, her eyes would get really round and she’d nod knowingly.

Pleasure abated slightly at that point. Maybe I am too vigilant about pointing out the potential hazards all around all the time. “Lydia, do NOT run across that parking lot because you could get hit by a car and DIE.” “Lydia, do NOT hang on that bookshelf because it could fall on you and you could DIE.” “Lydia, hold mommy’s hand while we walk on the sidewalk because there are driveways in front of us and you could get hit by a car and DIE.” Also, in the spring we get ants and then we spend a lot of time killing ants. There’s too much death in her life, it seems. Tomorrow I’m going to take a break from homework and ant-killing and instead point out all the new little plants and the baby partridges we have in the neighborhood. Perhaps a little more focus on life and beauty will give Lydia some new happy endings for her stories.

Speaking of happy, tonight on my drive home from school I listened to the radio, and one of my favorite pieces came on. Holst’s Jupiter turned a sleepy, windy commute into an actively joyful, at times downright glorious experience. I have a copy of it somewhere. Maybe I’ll play that in the background during my life-is-also-happy discussion with Lydia.

Staying on the topic of happy, I came home to discover my friend Paige had dropped off a plate of chocolate chip cookies. I dropped out of our preschool group this morning because I just feel too overwhelmed right now, and she kindly brought over a good-luck-on-finals treat with a super sweet note. I felt so happy eating my favorite food in the whole wide world, chocolate chip cookies, and reading her note. That really topped my day off in a terrific way.

And tomorrow is going to be a fantastic day! Misty and I have a lunch date, and in the evening Karin is taking us to Log Haven for David’s birthday! (He’s in town!) Wow. A double whammy of fun. I can’t wait. Better go to bed so I can wake up and have it be tomorrow already.

Here are the pictures Abe took while I was at school:

Mary Berry.

Mary Berry.

Then he asked Lydia to smile and look at the camera. She couldn’t manage to do both actions simultaneously, but she did get down a succession:

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sick Sunday

Abe and I both woke up sick again. Boooo. But even though Abe was up all night coughing, he somehow still had energy to take both girls to church. For my part, I was feeling queasy and exhausted, so I stayed home. Apparently, at the end of church Lydia called her cat on the phone and continued to chat with him for the next twenty minutes:

“Hi cat! Oh, yeah? Uh-huh. Okaaay, because we’re cwossing the street now. Oh-oh-oh-oh!! Yep! Talk to you later!” (etc.)

Abe then went back to church to get trained on the new teaching style the church is promoting. He came home sooooo excited. Teachers are now only supposed to talk eight minutes or less, so the classes will be driven by questions and discussion. Our only regret is that we love listening to our Sunday School teacher, Larry Perkins. He asks a lot of questions, but he also tells wonderful stories that illustrate doctrine so beautifully. We could listen to well more than eight minutes of him. In almost every other case, though, we’re excited for the change.

I stayed home and read some commentary on the New Testament and then switched over to watching a ton of interviews surrounding Elizabeth Smart. I checked out her memoir yesterday and could not put it down–I finished it at 11pm last night, and all morning I could not get her story out of my head. She is such a beautiful, resilient person, and I admire her strength, courage, and example in making a difference for others. I would now count her among my top heroes, and I could not tear myself away from all of the interviews on Youtube.

The vindictive part of me also enjoyed watching Brian David Mitchell get interrogated by a Salt Lake City Police Detective and an FBI officer. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but the Salt Lake detective was obviously LDS and knew his scriptures; when Mitchell tried to pull his pseudo-religious crap out, the detective called him on it in a way that made me want to stand up and applaud. I’ve always had trouble with the idea that some people are evil through and through, but after reading about Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee (who fed her children their pet rabbit for dinner and smiled while they ate it), I have finally decided that there are people who are completely shut off to anything good.

Back to the events of today. Abe played with the girls all day. He crafted with them, took them to the park, fed them, and played chase-and-throw-the-babies. He told me that today he felt like a kid again, and that he never anticipated how fun being a parent would be. I think it’s fun because he makes it so fun. He’s such a terrific dad. And husband. And person. I’m a fan.

Even though I basically lay in bed all day, I still feel sick and tired, so I will wrap up. I didn’t take any pictures today, and I don’t think Abe did either. I also can’t remember the last time I showered, so I’m going to go take care of that now…

A good day

O-k, so Lily and I both woke up sick, but has actually turned out to be a really good change.  I think it was the weather change combined with the work stress that got me.  Lily also runs a really heavy schedule so maybe each of our bodies were just saying, “take a day to slow down,” and our bodies decided to communicate that message through soar throats and feeling ill.

But seriously, it was a good day.  Lily had her best Saturday competition practice ever.  She was trained on cake-making by the best chef at the school, Chef Ramsey, and Lily said her second cake that she made was the best in the class, even better than Chef Ramseys! (Your jaw can drop here)  I’m really proud of the great work Lily is doing.  Lily also shared an extremely comical moment when she was feeling incredibly tired and had the train of thought, “I wonder what would happen if I cracked an egg onto the middle of the counter.”  And so she did.  She cracked an egg, and while the raw egg mess was sitting on the counter, Chef Ramsey walked by, looked at it, and said, “um, are you o-k?”  I thought was the most hilarious thing I’d heard all day.  Lily is definitely having a good time.

I had a great time at home with the girls too.  I was pretty whiped out from feeling sick, but we managed some good moments.  Here are both Mary and Lydia fingerpainting in the basement.IMG_6971

After fingerpainting, we all ate brunch (becuase with kids there are six meals per day) and Lydia and Mary sat together at the table. IMG_6972


After this meal, I put Mary down to nap while Lydia played on her own.  I got a good nap so I was able to play with the kids after Lily got home so she could get her rest in.  After Lily rested we left the house to start the day at 4:30 PM.

Lydia was asleep within minutes in the car and Mary was happy just being alive in her car-seat.  She used to hate being in her car-seat, but ever since we switched her into the green-grey and black one that Lydia used to use, she has done really well.  It’s a very big seat, looks very comfortable and makes me think of a captains chair on a giant spaceship.

First I dropped of Lily at the main library and while she picked out books I got a healight and brake-light fixed at Jiffy-Lube.  I really enjoyed watching the guy replace the bulbs and I figured to myself that next time I can probably save a buck and do it on my own.  After I picked up Lily we went to subway because I was starving and needed something healthy because yesterday I binged on jelly-beans and buttered-popcorn and I was still feeling gross.  After subway we all went to a playground at Liberty Park.  We had fun, but didn’t stay too late because it was a little chilly.  Then we went to Smith’s, came home, ate, bathed the girls, and put them to bed.

Since that time, I have taken a quick nap and put away all of our clutteriffic winter accessories into the basement, totally clearing out our hall closet.  I also just finished the book of Ruth in the Old Testament which means I start Samuel tomorrow.  Since being in the car on our errands, Lily has completely absorbed in the Elizabeth Smart autobiography she checked out.  She is just finishing it now downstairs.  I’m sure she’ll report on it tomorrow, but from what she told me so far, it is horrifying how evil her kidnapper is, but it is also inspiring how pure Elizabeth is and it is also inspiring reading how God comforted her and helped her very explicitly during that horrifying time in her life.  Rest!


Ants and the Rohirrim

The girls went down for naps and quiet time super early today, and instead of doing homework like I should have done, I read a couple hours into The Return of the King. It turned out to be an apt read; while I was feeding the girls an after-nap meal, I killed about a dozen ants in my kitchen. I couldn’t help but think about Tolkein’s description of the Rohirrim in battle–specifically, I thought about how they sang as they fought. I didn’t feel like singing while I was killing ants, but the glimmer of satisfaction I felt helped me understand that initially bewildering passage a little better.

After the girls were fed, I took them outside to play:

20140314_153844 20140314_153856 20140314_153916 20140314_154659 20140314_154607 20140314_154651Then I took them to the library, grocery shopping, the gas station, and back home. Abe arrived shortly after we did, and after dinner he bathed and chased the girls while I cleaned the downstairs and practiced. I was supposed to go to school tonight, but I’m feeling kind of icky and a brand new cold has introduced itself at our house. I am trying to avoid getting sick yet again.

Oh! I forgot to mention that while I was at school yesterday, Abe cleaned the whole house. I came home and fell in love with my husband all over again. It was soooooo nice, especially since I never feel like I have time or energy to clean these days. I hate the messes that accumulate, and having them gone has felt like THE greatest luxury. I’m going to try to be better at staying on top of the messes since today I enjoyed my mess-free life so much more than my regular mess-filled life.

The Daily Grind

Quick blog today.  Lily is still on her way home from school and it is almost midnight.  Yikes!  I’m sure the reason she is late is because she has a big heart and she is giving rides to her classmates in need.  She is so wonderful.

My day was a bit of a roller-coaster, but overall very good.  My department is having a competition to see who can perform the best and I am pretty squarely in the middle of the pack.  I sometimes get discouraged about my mediocrity, but it helps to remember how amazing everyone around me is at Qualtrics.  They truly hire the best and I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

I don’t know too much about Lily’s day.  When we talked on the phone, she spent most of the time listening to my frustrations and giving me a pep-talk.  She is seriously so supportive and perfect….o-k, I’ll stop gushing.  I’m just so blessed to have someone who is always willing and capable of being my cheering squad when I need it.  I truly love her.

But this is what I do know.  She had a piano lesson with Lydia.  Mary completely refused her eye-drops today.  Lydia napped.  Lily just got home and told me she absolutely loved cooking class today.

Pictures!Crying while Lily does her homework

Crying while Lily does her homework
Mary under the bed

Mary under the bed

Lily's plate from tonight.  Isn't it great!  She says her secret is to copy the photo the teacher provides exactly.

Lily’s plate from tonight. Isn’t it great! She says her secret is to copy the photo the teacher provides exactly.

Another amazing plating job by Lily.  This is from last week, but we just now got it to load.Another amazing plating job by Lily. This is from last week, but we just now got it to load.

temple and tricky water

Abe and I finally made it to the temple tonight! Hooray! We really needed it. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so worried about losing my temper at Lydia, and I tried sooooo hard to be better today. I still got mad, but I think I did slightly better than yesterday.

One thing that’s problematic is Lydia’s piano lesson. It always, always ends in tears. I sit down determined to have a happy, relaxed session with Lydia, and then my resolve dissolves as she refuses to even try to play Twinkle. I’m not even asking her to play the whole piece; just the first two notes would make me happy!! I demonstrate over and over and over how to play,  and then I position her fingers and even push them down for her so she can feel the motion. We clap the rhythm and I let her put her hands on my hands so she can feel me play. After all that, she still cries whenever I start to ask her to do it by herself, and then she tells me it’s too hard.

I tell myself that she’s just barely three and it’s okay, but then I get upset because I KNOW she can play it if she would just. try. (For example, I took a picture last week of her pushing down a note. That’s almost the only time she’s ever done that independently, but it showed me she could do it.)

On the other hand, we actually have a good time when I’m not seeing red. Lydia never protests when I tell her it’s time for piano. That makes me think that she enjoys the time–up until we commence our “Try, Lydia, TRY!!!” battle.

On the Mary front, I officially can not administer those eye drops by myself. Good thing the medicine we squeeze in when Abe’s home must be working because, I’ll tell you what, she’s one determined little girl. Also, she’s dramatic whenever she sees her babysitter. She takes one look at Aylah and screams. Last time she dropped back in a chair and screamed until we popped in a pacifier. After that, she stared listlessly at the ceiling in the same position for the next twenty minutes (so Aylah told us) and refused to be roused. Tonight she wasn’t quite that bad, but the initial fury was still there.

Lydia, on the other hand, behaves so much better for other people than for me. I’m actually glad for that, but sometimes I wish she’d behave that way for me! At any rate, she spent the evening talking Aylah’s ear off about her cat.

I DID take pictures today, but they aren’t sending. I took pictures of the girls covered in beets (I made borscht today), and for some reason there’s a disconnect between my iPad and my inbox. Sorry, Grandma and Mom! I’ll try to take some with my actual camera tomorrow.

A better day

I neglected to take any pictures today, but basically we stayed home all day and recovered from life. I cleaned some stuff, gave Lydia a piano lesson, cooked with Lydia, spent a ton of time just playing with the girls and read another ton of books to them. We had FHE on the priesthood and talked about priesthood blessings (since we have all been so sick), and we ended by watching songs from Mary Poppins on Youtube.

In some ways, it was a delightful day because I got to spend so much time with the girls. On the other hand, I had the hardest time controlling my temper at Lydia, which makes me so, so sad. I hope she doesn’t grow up confused; one minute I will be hyperventilating trying not to yell (or I’ll just go ahead and yell) and the next I’ll be cuddling her, saying sorry, and asking her if she knows how much I love her. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just crazy or if parenting toddlers always feels this schizophrenic. I’m leaning toward the former, although I really don’t recall experiencing such fast and dramatic emotional swings before parenting. Maybe it was all suppressed before.

She did say some really cute things today which I can’t remember now. Yesterday when Abe came home he ran up the stairs and asked if all of his princesses were there. Lydia responded: “Yes, Daddy, you have lots of princesses here! There’s Mary, Mama, me, Puss and Tabitha (her two cats). We’re all your princesses.”

Mary said “bear” today after she brought me a teddy bear and we played “going on a bear hunt” for the next twenty minutes. Maybe we just need to make games out of everything to get her to talk. She was also in one of her “don’t put me down or pay attention to anything but me” modes for quite a bit of the day. Oh! And she slept in until 11 am this morning!!! I couldn’t believe it. I had to check a couple times to make sure she was alive, as that had never happened before. Usually the girls are up between 7 and 8. Between her cut lip, pink-eyed eyes, and out-of-the-blue-nighttime-wake, she must have been exhausted.

Anyway, I also started The Return of the King today, so I’m going to stop blogging now and go read that.