A train. Some meetings and meat. Disney land gifts.

I am still loving the train, but it puts me on a very early schedule so I will be brief.

My day went super well today.  It included a lot of productivity and a two and a half hour internal meeting followed by another hour long internal meeting.  Yay meetings!

On my way home, Lily said something that made me feel really nostalgic.  She was at school and she said she missed seeing me.  I always used to meet her at school and pick up the kids on my way home from work.  Now that we have babysitters and I take frontrunner, we no longer make the exchange.  I miss it too.  It was so nice to see her, even if just for five minutes.  I realize I will literally go the whole day today without seeing her, sigh.

As far as Lily’s day today, this is what I have been able to piece together:

She thought Mary’s binky was missing, but found it just in the nick of time for her nap. She went to yoga while Isabella babysat.  She spent some time working on things for her calling.  She did all the usual, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and intervening when Lydia and Mary fight etc.  Lily and I have both noticed a huge increase in Mary and Lydia’s engagement with each other.  This goes for both positive and negative interaction.  They are playing much more together and they really engage with each other.  They also fight more and more intensely.  Ahh, the life of siblings 🙂

After work I went to Costco with the girls to pick up a flank steak Lily requested.  I bought it with a gift card that I redeemed from my Red Lion Hotel points. At Costco, I got a call from my dad who said that Suzanne had some gifts from Disney Land for the girls and he asked the best way for us to meet up.  I said I would stop by and so I did.

Lydia got a sleeping beauty music box, which she loves and Mary got a book, a Sophia the first tambourine and a glow wand.  They both also got boxes of disney cookies.  I was so touched at how they thought specifically to bring things back to the girls. Thanks dad and Suzanne!

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Recovery

No 911 calls this morning, and it was a peaceful follow-up to yesterday’s stress. I still feel silly about being so quick to call 911, but I keep telling myself better safe than sorry.

Isabella came over and watched the girls while I worked out and then swam. When I came home, we went to the library for new books. The girls collected prizes for the summer reading program, and then we came home for naps and quiet time. Lydia actually napped today!

She woke up when Sophia, Max and Misty came over for a play date. Waking up from naps is a delicate process for Lydia…but having Sophia over to play with made her transition much easier. They love playing together, and I love talking to Misty, so a play date with Misty and her kids is just optimal for everyone.

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After the play date, Mary wanted a turn in the dress.

After the play date, Mary wanted a turn in the dress.

 

Here's how Lydia felt about that.

Here’s how Lydia felt about that.

 

Mary decided the dress was too cumbersome. The two reconciled.

Mary decided the dress was too cumbersome. The two reconciled.

 

Mary calling Nana and Grandma on the phone.

Mary calling Nana and Grandma on the phone.

 

After our play date, I scrambled to make dinner. Abe insisted on taking a picture.

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It seems that ever since starting cooking school, I’ve been too busy to cook at home. Abe was wowed by a salad. I felt remorseful that expectations have sunk so low that a salad elicited such effusive praise. Well, compared to mac ‘n cheese or spaghetti with bottled sauce (the usual, it would seem), I guess this was a step up. Sigh.

Then I went to my Primary meeting. I was just starting to warm up to the calling–I loved the cub scout car wash, and I really enjoyed attending Primary on Sunday…but the meetings. I struggle. I hope/pray that with time I can learn to enjoy them more AND contribute more. Tonight I contributed nothing. At one point, I looked at the clock and let out an exasperated sigh without even realizing what I was doing, and afterward I was soooooooo embarrassed. Yikes!

I came home to discover Abe and the girls Skyping with my mom and getting ready for FHE.

Skyping with Nana.

Skyping with Nana.

Lydia did a fashion show at the beginning of FHE. Mary is crying because she wants to participate. I forget why she couldn't.

Lydia did a fashion show at the beginning of FHE. Mary is crying because she wants to participate. I forget why she couldn’t.

Abe taught a lesson about Moroni building walls to protect his people.

Abe taught a lesson about Moroni building walls to protect his people.

Lydia was riveted by the story of Amalikiah. She named her post-FHE popsicle "Amalikiah" and wanted us to tell her over and over again why Amalikiah was so mean.

Lydia was riveted by the story of Amalikiah. She named her post-FHE popsicle “Amalikiah” and wanted us to tell her over and over again why Amalikiah was so mean.

We can build our own strong walls with prayer, reading scriptures, and going to the temple. Here's Abe teaching Mary about prayer.

We can build our own strong walls with prayer, reading scriptures, and going to the temple. Here’s Abe teaching Mary about prayer.

And finally, some pictures Abe took while I was at my meeting:

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911

At 5:54 am I awoke to the sound of the front door slamming. Abe leaves for work at 5:30 these days, and so I was terrified that someone was in the house. I crept to the stairs and heard light switches going on and off in the house. Convinced there was someone inside, I called 911.

Twenty minutes later, a team of six policemen swarmed the house, only to discover…nothing. I felt so dumb. But I honestly did hear the door slam, and I heard another door slam right before the police arrived. Since Abe and I are missing two full sets of keys, we had all the locks changed today just to be safe. Abe has promised to deadbolt the door behind him when he leaves for work.

To be honest, I still haven’t quite recovered from the adrenaline rush that accompanied lying in bed whispering on the phone with 911 for twenty minutes. It was terrible. I haven’t felt safe since. Also, I’m stressed out that I call 911 so much. This was my fourth call in two and a half years. If I operated 911, I would stop responding to my number’s calls. “Oh, it’s just the hystrionic lady in the Avenues who always thinks she’s under attack. Let’s respond to someone who actually NEEDS help…”

The only times I’ve forgotten the scare today were 1) visiting teaching Marilyn this morning and 2) having dinner with my mission friend, Jen! She’s from France, but her husband is American and they’ve been living in D.C. for the past five years. Jen was a director at Miriam’s kitchen during that time, and the experiences she shared uplifted us so much. We were so inspired by Jen and Chris’s passion for community and homeless-outreach.

Now that they’ve moved to Salt Lake, I’m looking forward to spending more time with Jen. She was also mission companions in Las Vegas with one of Abe’s high school friends, and so for our next get together we’re going to invite the Maudsleys over for dinner and let Katie and Jen reconnect. It’s been almost ten years since our missions!

Here’s a photo Abe took at the end of dinner. Chris was also taking pictures, and Jen and I are each looking at our hubby’s phone.

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slow Sunday.

After church we laid low, although we did go outside for a bit to play in the srinklers.

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Lydia running to pour the watering can on Abe and Mary.

Lydia running to pour the watering can on Abe and Mary.

Lydia executes her plan.

Lydia executes her plan.

Picking tomatoes.

Picking tomatoes.

Lying down for the "sleeping bunnies" song.

Lying down for the “sleeping bunnies” song.

The hopping part of the "sleeping bunnies" song.

The hopping part of the “sleeping bunnies” song.

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cookies, cub scout car wash, ballet, party, nap, Sharon, carnival, walk, groceries: July Saturday or The Longest Title Ever

This morning I set my alarm early so I could bake cookies for the cub scout car wash. Then Abe took Ada and Lydia to ballet while Mary and I headed over to dry some cars. I was scared to put Mary down near the cars, so I carried her while I dried and called it my work-out o’the day.

jul26pic12jul26pic16 jul26pic17 jul26pic19Then it was time for Liv’s birthday party at Liberty Park (by the Seven Canyons splash pad/rivers).

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Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike's bike. Isn't it amazing?

Abe had fun driving the girls around in Paige and Mike’s bike. Isn’t it amazing?

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After we came home and napped, our friend Sharon Harris joined us for dinner. I didn’t take any pictures during dinner because every second with Sharon was precious. She’s from New York and has spent a couple weeks in Utah for the Neal A. Maxwell symposium. We were so glad to see her, even though the time flew by.

After dinner Tom and Suzanne took the girls to a Miner family party while Abe and I stayed home and did homework and lesson prep. We also took a beautiful walk to the grocery store. The sun was setting and the weather was gorgeous. We saw a neighbor slow dancing to Jazz music with his garden hose. That was truly delightful.

The Miners’ had a carnival of sorts going on because so many family members were in town.

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Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

Everyone had to wear shower caps covered in shaving cream. After the Cheeto fight, whoever was covered in the most cheetos won.

The prizes.

The prizes.

jul26pic5 jul26pic4 jul26pic1 jul26Then it was home to bed. I have an early morning meeting tomorrow, so I should get to bed. Abe’s already asleep!

Sprinklers and Abe anecdotes

This morning we picked up Rose, Taina and Sev and headed over to Nordstrom to pick out some $12 sunglasses. I lose approximately two pairs per summer, and Rose offered to help me pick some. She did a great job, and I am so happy to not be squinting now!

Then we came home, ran through the sprinklers, and had a picnic.

Rose engineered our hose so that it could stay put like a sprinkler.

Rose engineered our hose so that it could stay put like a sprinkler.

 

Mary was afraid of the sprinklers. Therefore, she hung on to me for dear life and didn't appear in any of the sprinkler shots.

Mary was afraid of the sprinklers. Therefore, she hung on to me for dear life and didn’t appear in any of the sprinkler shots.

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Rolling down the hill.

Rolling down the hill.

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After naps, Isabella came so I could go swimming and grocery shopping. Then we all ate outside before heading to Baskin Robbins to celebrate the start of the weekend.

Isabella-- Spiderman 2 flavored ice cream (chocolate and colored vanilla with exploding candy bits); Lydia--Very Berry Strawberry; Abe--Gold Medal; Mary--chocolate chip cookie dough; Lily--Mint Chocolate Chip.

Isabella– Spiderman 2 flavored ice cream (chocolate and colored vanilla with exploding candy bits); Lydia–Very Berry Strawberry; Abe–Gold Medal; Mary–chocolate chip cookie dough; Lily–Mint Chocolate Chip. I should also not that this Baskin Robbins is where my visiting teachee, Marilyn, had her first date with her husband many decades ago. It’s stood the test of time!

Afterward, we went to Smith’s to pick out a toy for Liv’s birthday party tomorrow. Abe became passionately attached to a farm toy and went to elaborate lengths to convince me it was the perfect toy. I was convinced. We bought it.

Oh! I forgot to write down a funny thing that happened on Wednesday. We had gone down to Provo to hear Sharon’s talk, and we got lost. It took us forever to find the JFSB (one of the Joseph Smith buildings). Everyone kept saying, “It’s the one with the blue windows–you can’t miss it!” …and Abe and I kept missing it. All of the BYU campus buildings seem to have blue windows. Abe noted that they might have well said, “It’s the building with WALLS–you can’t miss it!”

Anyway, once we got to the building, we wandered all over until we finally found the symposium room. Afterward, as we attempted to navigate the maze out, Abe cried, “Oh, look! A street!!” in the same tone that one might use when saying, “Oh, look! We’re there!!”

This might be the place to note that while my sense of direction is far from stellar, Abe sometimes makes me feel like a professional navigator. That was one of those moments. I took his hand and gently led him back to the car (which was in the opposite direction of the street). We laughed the whole way there.

Also, I wish I could post a picture of Abe’s photo for his public transit pass. I haven’t seen him smile like that for a photo since our wedding day. He is definitely very happy to be free of his drive–he actually jumped out of bed at 5:40 am this morning to make his train. Abe is NOT a morning person, so again: More evidence that what he said tonight must be at least partly true. “Honey, without that drive, every second of my life feels enjoyable!!”

I heart Abe.

Pioneer Day!

It’s late because we had a long night out with family and fireworks, so just pictures today. Abe has to get up at 5:45 am to take the train! Oh, I guess I should mention that he took the train today and realized the Provo bus was cancelled because today is Pioneer Day (a Utah state holiday, potentially bigger than July 4 here). He walked six miles to work. And then at the end he forded a river because he couldn’t find a bridge. Balu pointed out Abe had his own little Pioneer Day trek!

This morning the girls woke up early, so we raced down to the church for the Pioneer Day breakfast.

Pioneer Day breakfast at church.

Pioneer Day breakfast at church.

Then we went to the parade:

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Missionaries holding up the world. =)

Missionaries holding up the world. =)

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Waving to the parade.

Waving to the parade.

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President Monson!

President Monson!

Isabella babysat the girls this afternoon so I could go swimming. Then I came home, made a salad, and headed over (with Abe and Balu) to the Miners’ family gathering for dinner and fireworks.

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Making ice cream

Making ice cream

Pre-fireworks. Once those started, she was pretty scared and not quite this happy.

Pre-fireworks. Once those started, she was pretty scared and not quite this happy.

IMG_8835 IMG_8837On the way home, we parked by a hill and watched the Liberty Park fireworks and were blown away. They were definitely better than the 4th of July fireworks, and we thought those were pretty good! Well, it is Pioneer Day. In Utah. Light the sky on fire! (I can see and hear sooooooo many fireworks as I type…)

One of the best days ever!!!!! (and no pictures to show it ): )

Hi, it’s me, Abe.  Lily’s new cooking school semester started so she is there tonight.  I do miss her when she is gone, but on the bright side, it is only twice per week this semester (if you count Saturday’s competition team), and also I get tons of joy envisioning Lily doing something she loves so much.  I also have become a little more of a foodie since she started and I find myself genuinely interested in what she is cooking at what things she is learning.  What fun! I didn’t talk to Lily much today, but I know that she went to the gym, had a play date with Misty and did homework…..I wish I knew more!

As far as my day, I was blessed to have one of the best work days I think I have ever had in my entire life.  Everything today seemed to turn my way.  Today I learned that I will get credit and commission for a deal that another salesman closed, because he quit and left, and the business got passed to me.  I also had an amazing meeting that could very well turn into a deal that was passed to me by a friend who was in a different region.  I also had another fantastic meeting that seems very promising.  I’m now feeling like I’m poised to have a very good quarter.  I know God led me to Qualtrics, and today felt like evidence as to why He led me to start my career over at an entry level position at Qualtrics. It was amazing and fun.

But that isn’t all.  During work, one of my friends informed me that for all residents living in Salt Lake proper (not Sandy, West Valley, North Salt Lake etc) there is a HUGE discount for the Frontrunner train to Orem and Provo.  I’ve thought about taking the train many times, but I just haven’t had quite the incentive to switch.  Well, with this new discount, I will save about $2000 per year in gas money.  Also, we wont need to save up to buy a new car soon since the commute was wearing our cars down so fast.  Also, the train has wireless internet, so I can be productive.  I was so excited.  After meeting Lily at school and picking up the girls, I went straight to the Sorenson Unity Center and bought my pass.  Hooray!

Which reminds me….the train does take longer, meaning my new wake time is 5:30 AM.  It’s 10:30 now.  I better sleep!

Funny exchanges, Sharon’s paper, and missing cats.

Today we started off early by heading over to Red Butte Gardens with Rose, Taina and Sev.

IMG_8800 IMG_8815 IMG_8819 IMG_8821 IMG_8823 IMG_8826 IMG_8828 IMG_8808 IMG_8807And then Paige was wonderful and watched the girls until their babysitter came an hour later. Yesterday I forgot to write down something funny Lydia said before Ada came over. Lydia is very conscious about what she wears in public, and she’s refused to appear in public with any pants that have holes in them. (Responding to my exasperation with tears streaming down her face: “But Mommy, what if someone sees the holes in my pants??”) She happened to be wearing a pair of holey pants before Ada came, and she ran into my room right before Ada arrived saying, “Mommy, I need to change my pants so Ada doesn’t think I’m a dorphan (orphan)!”

Anyway, today I drove down to Provo to see my friend, Sharon Harris, speak at the Neal A. Maxwell symposium. She delivered a brilliant paper on singles wards and her solution to current retention problems of older single adults. (Change some infantilizing terms, scale back the transition age to “conventional” wards to 25, etc. Her full paper will be posted online after the symposium concludes.)

july22pic4Then I came home, went shopping with the girls, and came home and cooked dinner.

Lydia in full princess regalia before dinner.

Lydia in full princess regalia before dinner.

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We ate outside. In the summer we sometimes go on Tofurkey dog kicks, and tonight we had Tofurkey dogs. Lydia announced they looked like poop and refused to eat hers. After a while, she closely observed how I ate mine with gusto, and then asked, “Mommy, can I eat some of your poop?” We might have died laughing.

Afterward Abe took them to the park while I ate s’mores and cleaned up.

jul22pic2 jul22pic3 july22 july22pic1A really sad thing happened just now. Lydia told me that she took Puss and Casper (her two cats that she sleeps with and LOVES) outside to play in the sprinklers with Ada. She never brought them back inside, and now we can’t find them. I asked her why she did that after I’d told her not to, and she tearfully replied, “Mommy, I did it because Puss wuvs (loves) to be siwwy (silly) and Casper reawwy wanted to pway (play)!” I felt so sorry for her. We said a prayer that we’d find them, and now I really do hope we find them.

rough start, smooth ending

Today started a bit rocky. I felt a lot of anxiety and panic in the morning about various random things, but I walked the girls to the park and then went to yoga. After yoga, everything was fine.

At the park:

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Paige, Mike, Ada and Liv spent the evening with us. After dinner we had a great FHE about the pioneers, and then we made s’mores and ate them outside.

"Twinners!"

“Twinners!”

IMG_8794I am exhausted, and tomorrow feels like it will be a big day, so, as the pajanamals say, I’m ready for “beddy-bye”!