Friends and Frozen under the stars

This morning I had a visit from my lovely former visiting teacher, Cierra Block. She moved to London a year ago, and she’s in town for a wedding. It was just like old times! We talked and talked…basically, I could talk to Cierra forever. I just love her. I woke up full of anxiety and struggled with that all day, so Cierra’s visit was a wonderful uplift out of that.

IMG_9278Then I just kind of puttered until it was time for our play date with Jen Pe’a and Natalie.

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Again, talking with Jen was basically balm to my soul. When I’m struggling with anxiety, nothing helps more than talking to a friend who I feel safe to be myself with.

Mary found and tried to eat lemons when we got home…

IMG_9280Then Abe, the kids, and I all headed out to see Frozen under the stars on the lawn outside of the Capitol. It was a gorgeous night, and the girls were enthralled. Mary is a little confused about stars, though. This is the second night that she’s looked up, pointed to the stars and cried, “Fishies! Blub blub!”  I explained that there are no fish in the sky and the stars go “twinkle twinkle.” Maybe after our camping trip it will sink in better.

Afterward, they had fun on the walk back to the car.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

It was 10:15 by the time the movie was over. Mary lay down on the sidewalk and asked us to put a blanket on top of her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia thought about joining her.

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we're going camping tomorrow!

Lydia and Mary both decided they wanted to sleep there. Good thing we’re going camping tomorrow!

Our climber.

Our climber.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

Abe had to carry her protesting little body away from the stairs.

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A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

A praying mantis was on our car when we got back. Mary wanted to hold it.

Grandma, we’re going camping tomorrow and won’t be back until Monday. I don’t think I’ll have internet, but I will take a lot of pictures and post when we get back. I love you and think about you every day!!

sad day

It was Lydia’s first day of preschool today. She loved it.

IMG_9274 IMG_9276I spent most of the morning and afternoon in the hospital. In the morning, Mary was perfect and spent the whole time quietly eating and watching Dora the Explorer while I sat with Andrea through her contractions.

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In the afternoon, Andrea finally gave birth. I have never been to a birth other than my own. The little baby girl was perfectly formed, except her eyes hadn’t quite finished forming. Everything else was exactly like a healthy, live baby…only the cord was wrapped four times around her neck and actually braided (like you would braid hair) down the side. She was one active little child in utero. I felt such grief when I saw her. But I was so inspired by Andrea’s resilience. She has so much faith, and she really knows her baby is okay and in a better place. I admire her so much.

I should also mention what a help Ina was. When I returned from preschool with the girls in tow, Andrea was in transition. Ina has been by Andrea’s side almost the whole time, and when she saw me with my girls, she immediately gave me her place by Andrea and took the girls until the birth was over.

After the birth, I took the girls grocery shopping and then made dinner. We had the Escalantes over for dinner. They are such a nice family, although they must have been so annoyed by how we followed them to their car and kept talking as they were trying to leave. Sometimes, Abe and I like to pretend we have tons of time to kill. It’s a nice illusion, but in retrospect, I feel bad that they had to pay the price.

And now I am exhausted. Andrea’s in-laws and their six kids are staying the weekend in our place since Andrea’s place is so small. When I wake up tomorrow, I guess I will hunt down our blow up beds. In the meantime, I am exhausted. My thoughts and prayers are with Andrea and her family.

preschool eve

So a quick recap of yesterday’s pictures:

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

Yesterday Ina babysat so I could go get my blood tests done. Everything came back normal, which confirms that I am, indeed, a hypochondriac.

After I came home, I found out about my friend’s baby. The rest of the day revolved around that. We did, however, go to the ward picnic. Abe stayed with the girls while I went to the hospital. He only took one picture:

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Abe took a picture of Mary with cotton candy remnants on her face.

Apparently, there was a magician there who did tricks. It turns out that one of the desires of Lydia’s three year old heart was to get chosen for the tricks…but she never raised her hand. I bet she’ll learn that skill in preschool.

Today I leaped out of bed to send off a bunch of emails coordinating help and visits for my friend and do homework. By the time the girls were done with breakfast, it was past 10 am. We’ll have to adjust our schedules tomorrow; Lydia has to be AT school by 8:45!

After breakfast, I went for a quick run, took a shower, and worked on some laundry. I fed the girls lunch, practiced piano, played pretend with Lydia, and then Misty came over for a play date! Misty and her kids never fail to make me happy.

IMG_9270I skipped school today, but Isabella came over at the same time so I could go to the hospital. My friend has had trouble delivering her baby, and it probably won’t come until the wee hours of the morning. Please pray for her and her family.

Then I came home, caught the tail end of dinner, and took the girls and Isabella out for ice cream to lift our spirits.

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Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn't do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Our view from the ice cream shop. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It felt like we were right under the mountains.

Then it was home. While we were at ice cream, Abe was out doing Elder’s Quorum visits. He got home before us and cleaned the house in time for our arrival. He was very excited to try our new steam cleaner on the kitchen floor. We feel enthused about that purchase.

I better get to bed because I am expecting to run to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Better get some sleep.

Friend in labor

Sorry, Grandma, but I don’t have pictures and I’m racing to bed. My friend whom I visit teach is in labor, and I’ve been with her until now. They’re going to call me when it gets close, so I need to get to bed to get some sleep in first. It’s an extremely sad situation because her baby has no heartbeat, so my friend is having to deal with that knowledge while trying to give birth. She’s amazing. If you could send a prayer her way, that would be great.

Love you! I will post the pictures I took today in tomorrow’s blog.

Hives and corn

Last night Lydia crawled into bed with us again, and this morning I woke up before her. I turned over and noticed her face was covered in hives. Oh no! The rest of the morning was devoted to bribing her to let me wash them, giving her allergy medicine and going to the doctor. Neither of us even had time to eat until 1:30 pm. This is what she looked like:

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

I told her not to smile because I wanted my sister-in-law to see the full effect of the hives. It is the BEST having a sister-in-law who is also a doctor!!

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she's wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

She wanted to smile, though, because: Look at what she’s wearing! Yes, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I was desperate to get that allergy medicine in her, and I resorted to bribery. She is now Princess Ana.

After we came home from the doctor, I fed Mary lunch, put her down for a nap, and went on a treadmill run while Lydia “crafted.” (That just means she cut paper. Cutting is her favorite “craft.”)

Then it was time for a blitz nap and another doctor appointment–this time for me. I scheduled a physical way back for points with my insurance company. My doctor ended up looking at Lydia, too, and his diagnosis was different than the pediatrician. I don’t know who to believe, so I am keeping her home from school tomorrow just in case. My heart is a little broken for Lydia, who has been looking forward to the first day of preschool…but I don’t want to take chances.

After my doctor appointment, I spent the next three hours cooking. Lydia napped while Mary and I shucked corn.IMG_9243 IMG_9245 IMG_9246

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We're not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

A caterpillar! A minute later she stepped quite purposefully on him. We’re not a bug-friendly family, as a rule.

Abe came home and took the girls on a run while I finished cooking. I was making enough corn chowder for 15 people. We’re going to eat the rest Thursday, when I have another Primary dinner party.

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After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia's preschool drop-off stickers.

After dinner, Mary gave me a massage while I filled out Lydia’s preschool drop-off stickers.

IMG_9257Then Abe taught another FHE lesson on Prayer. We started with a “fashion show” from the girls. That just means they twirl around and do “tricks.”

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Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for Heavenly Father. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe had Lydia think up problems and then had her bring the problems to Mickey Mouse, who was standing in for God. Mickey Mouse resolved all the problems Lydia made up and gave her a hug after each problem. The problems Lydia made up were: 1) Having a problem in school because a friend pushed her. 2) Having problems in swimming lessons because she was afraid of the deep water.

Abe and I have a goal to get to bed early tonight. We never caught up on rest over the weekend, and both of us were feeling it today. Tomorrow I get my lab tests done and find out if I have an actual thyroid problem (I have all sorts of crazy symptoms. At this point, I hope it is my thyroid!). Night Night!

church, grapes, visits, ice cream social, and tomatoes.

Lydia has been crawling into bed with us in the middle of the night. Growing up, both Abe and I spent many nights cuddled up with our moms, and we love that Lydia can have that experience. I woke up and snapped this photo early in the morning:

You would think, from the massive amount of space on the other side of Abe, that I slept next to him. Wrong! I spent most of the night almost falling off the bed next to Lydia.
You would think, from the massive amount of space on the other side of Abe, that I slept next to him. Wrong! I spent most of the night almost falling off the bed next to Lydia.

Then Abe got up and went to his early morning meetings while I got the girls ready for church.

Yesterday we bought them new toothbrushes and toothpaste to help motivate them to brush on their own. It worked! The power of Disney princesses asserts itself again...
Yesterday we bought them new toothbrushes and toothpaste to help motivate them to brush on their own. It worked! The power of Disney princesses asserts itself again…

At church, Lydia and I left again during sacrament and ate grapes in the church gardens.

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Sev joined us for a little bit.

Sev joined us for a little bit.

I so enjoyed this color combination. It made me feel so lighthearted and happy.

I so enjoyed this color combination. It made me feel so lighthearted and happy.

Inside, Abe kept Mary in the pews by letting her wear his glasses.

Inside, Abe kept Mary in the pews by letting her wear his glasses.

 

After church, Mary played with Ina's new puppy.

After church, Mary played with Ina’s new puppy.

Lydia's scared of dogs, so Ina carried her while Lydia watched the puppy from a safer distance.

Lydia’s scared of dogs, so Ina carried her while Lydia watched the puppy from a safer distance.

After church, we changed them into matching sweaters. They love matching, which makes my heart sooooo happy.

After church, we changed them into matching sweaters. They love matching, which makes my heart sooooo happy.

IMG_9236Then we stopped taking pictures. But the day continued. We had a neighbor, Alan Jorgenson, stop by for a visit. Right after he stopped by, our home teachers visited us. After they left, we took a quick nap (emphasis on quick). Then it was time for a quick (emphasis again on quick) dinner, and we walked a couple blocks to a ward ice cream social. It was a gorgeous night, and we spent a couple hours enjoying treats and friends while the kids played with their friends on the neighbors’ play set.

Afterward, we came home and ate tomatoes from our garden in the twilight. It was a full, fun Sunday. Here’s to another crazy week coming up! Wish us luck!

school clothes, a date, a Miner party, and my new steam cleaner does it all

Mary has been waking up at 4:30am a couple times a week recently. I have conflicted feelings about this. I miss not sleeping through the night, but I absolutely adore cuddling with Mary. Last night after I rocked her, I was so awake I couldn’t fall back asleep. Finally at 7 am I leaped out of bed to get a head start on the day.

I raced to the market and Tony Caputo’s for produce and cheese, then headed home to pick up the girls. Abe had an Elder’s Quorum move this morning, so I took the girls to get Lydia some more school clothes and her new preschool uniform (which she has to wear every Tuesday).

They were best buddies in the car.

They were best buddies in the car. We spent a ton of time driving around, and we talked and bonded the whole time. I sometimes tune Lydia’s talking out, but today I determined not to do that–and it was great! We had a lot of fun.

At the mall. The girls raced around and had a lot of fun together.

At the mall. The girls raced around and had a lot of fun together.

After that outing, we drove home, ate lunch, and took naps.

When we woke up, Suzanne came over to pick the girls up for a Miner family party.

aug23pic7 aug23pic6 aug23pic4 aug23pic3 aug23pic2 aug23pic1 aug23In the meantime, Abe and I went on a date with an Amazon Local deal to one of our favorite restaurants.

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Ichiban Sushi. We love this place.

Ichiban Sushi. We love this place.

Then we bought Lydia more clothes, because honestly, she is growing so fast and I just can’t keep up. Once we’d purchased a whole new wardrobe at Kid-to-Kid, we went grocery shopping.

Suzanne dropped the girls off, and while Abe bathed them, I steam cleaned the carpet in their room. I am in love with the new cleaner! I cleaned the house for the next three hours (with the neighbors’ permission), and our floors and carpets have never looked cleaner. Once midnight was upon us, I stopped steam cleaning and just vacuumed, but still–it looks great, and I can’t wait for Monday because I can steam clean every last inch of the house that I didn’t get to today! Yippee!!

orientation, princess party, and caterpillars

This morning was orientation for Lydia’s preschool. I got so excited being there and seeing how easily Lydia fit into that new environment. I’m so happy she’ll have a chance to make new friends, learn new things, and thrive. She already has three little friends in her class, and she was so happy to be there that I felt very happy and hopeful about the school year.

After orientation, we came home for naps and quiet time. I watched a little of Lydia’s movie with her before taking my own nap.

After naps, we had a princess party. According to Lydia, everyone dresses up for princess parties. Mary and I were supposed to wave around some pictures she drew and sing words to a song Lydia made up. It was pretty fun.

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It's gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, "Pince!")

Mary loved being something other than a prince (the role Lydia usually assigns her. It’s gotten to the point where Mary points to herself and says, “Pince!”).

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After "eating" them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

We ate magic sandwiches that gave us magic powers. After “eating” them, I could fly, feel happy all the time, AND shoot magic ice from my hands.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary assembling a sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Mary gave me her sandwich.

Lydia leading us in song.

Lydia leading us in song.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

Mary got tired of her wings, so Lydia assumed them.

We ended with a puppet show.

We ended with a puppet show.

After that, we ate a snack and I loaded the kids in the car to meet Rose for yoga. Abe met us in front of her condo and took the kids.

While Rose and I sweated it out, Abe met up with his mom for dinner at Cracker Barrel. Karin bought the girls toy caterpillars, and when I called them after yoga, they were ecstatic about them. They named the caterpillars Crusty and Doodle (Lydia did that) and tucked the caterpillars into bed next to their beds when bedtime rolled around.

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Baking/cooking marathon and Orderville is real

I spent an hour on the treadmill this morning, but the rest of the day revolved around food. I completely undid whatever good that treadmill pain did this morning. We didn’t leave the house because I spent the whole afternoon preparing for our dinner with the Deems and Shala (some teachers in the Primary).

Lydia helped me a little with the baking. We made Martha Stewart’s lemon poppy seed cake, which takes approximately a million steps to do correctly.

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In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In between the four layers of luscious cake, there is a whipped lemon curd filling. Mom, I am making this for you when you come out. I had to give the rest of the cake away to our neighbors because I would have eaten it ALL if it stayed in the house.

In addition to making the cake (which involved: Two rounds of sifting, completing a 1-2-3 batter, whipping egg whites to fold into the batter, making lemon curd, refrigerating curd, whipping cream, whipping cream and curd together, cutting cake into layers, putting curd in between the layers, refrigerating layers + curd together, boiling a corn syrup mixture, mixing that with more whipped egg whites, and–finally–frosting the cake!), I also roasted some lamb that I got on sale at the Farmer’s Market last weekend, made three pounds of mashed potatoes (don’t ask why I thought we needed so many), steamed broccoli, roasted garlic, minced a ton of herbs from the garden, prepared mint water, and cleaned every area of the house the guests would see.

You would think the Queen of England was visiting! But actually, what really happened is that I was just in the mood to cook and bake all day. I found baking with Lydia to be both fun and stressful, and my resolve to not yell was tested and found lacking several times during that process. But even still, I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and everything turned out great (if I say so myself).

The best part, of course, was the actual visit. The Deems are in their late 70’s, and they’re still going strong. We found out their career revolved around a local lingerie chain that used to be the local equivalent of Victoria’s Secret. Shala was also full of interesting stories. She’s from Orderville, Utah. Prior to meeting Shala, I had always assumed Orderville was an LDS myth. It’s not! It was the town that managed to live the United Order longer than any other Mormon settlement, but the order fell apart when one young man from Orderville visited Salt Lake and bought a pair of pants that was different from what everyone else had. That was the start of the disintegration of the United Order. Prior to his Salt Lake visit, everyone wore the exact same style of overalls. After his visit, people wanted to start wearing different things, and it became impossible to live the United Order any longer.

Anyway, Abe is asleep, and so I better wrap this up. Mom, I’m going to get you Mary’s measurements soon. We had to put the kids to bed right after everyone left because Abe had to go do some Elder’s Quorum stuff–we didn’t have time to take her measurements. It was so great talking to you. Love you!

park and lots of time with Lydia

It’s almost midnight, and I just got back from school. Abe has his eye mask on and ear plugs in, so I can blog and he won’t even wake up!

This morning I had a play date with Jen and her three kids at the park. They’ve been in Canada most of the summer, so it was nice to see them again.

IMG_9184 IMG_9185 IMG_9188 IMG_9190…and those were all the pictures I took today. Mostly we just hung around the house, cooked, read books, and spent time together. I felt good because during quiet time, which is usually my time to myself, I actually missed Lydia and voluntarily interrupted her movie so we could spend time together. That doesn’t happen as often as it should, and I was glad it happened today.

Then Isabella came and babysat the girls while I went to school. OH! I have one more picture I took! It’s of the food we made tonight:

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