Germy conversations and an anti-racist FHE

I started off by giving the girls a bath because I couldn’t recall the last time we bathed them. They were starting to smell. Lately I’ve been trying to motivate Lydia to wash her hands, brush her teeth, and generally keep clean by dramatizing imagined conversations between germs and her body.

During her bath, she made me repeat over and over how she was drowning the icky germs, and throughout the day she kept asking me, “Mommy, what are my germs saying now?” At one point, right as I was relaying what her germs were saying to her body, she said, “Mom, gotta go, I need to brush my teeth!” (She’d already brushed them half an hour earlier, and she loved the idea of brushing all the germs off.)

After breakfast, the girls peeled and broke up bananas for banana swirl.

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Then I did my treadmill routine while the kids played and crafted in the very messy basement. (I cleaned it during quiet time today.)

IMG_9181 IMG_9183Then we had lunch, books, and quiet time. The picture taking resumed when Abe got home from work.

Abe loves taking pictures of these salads.

Abe loves taking pictures of these Nicoise salads. This was actually a great dinner to have after discussing germs all day. I got to tell Lydia about how all the nutrients in all the different veggies were scaring her germs by making her healthy and strong. She downed them with gusto.

aug18pic4 aug18pic2 aug18Then I had my Primary meeting, after which I came home and took a walk with Abe and the girls. We visited some of Abe’s home teachees who live up a couple blocks. On our way home, we met the nicest older couple, Bob and Becky. After chatting with them for the better part of twenty minutes, they offered us the bounty of their garden–a huge bagful of tomatoes! The girls were ecstatic. We came home, stripped off their shirts and had a tomato-gorging party.

After that, we had an anti-racist FHE. With all that’s been going on in Ferguson, I realized I need to actively start teaching anti-racism at home. Since Salt Lake is so homogeneous, especially where we live, the issue of race barely comes up. The only times Lydia has ever visited with any African Americans were 1) when my high school friend came and stayed with us two years ago 2) when my grad school friend came and stayed with us six months before that and 3) when one of my culinary school friends came over for dinner (she’s since moved). That’s it.

So we had our anti-racist FHE to at least start a conversation with her. We started simple:

1) God made us in all different colors, and he loves all of his children exactly the same. No one is better than anyone else because of skin color.

2) There are people in the world who think that people with different skin colors are bad. God doesn’t like that kind of thinking.

3) Abe read us this quote:
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. ”

Amen and good night.

My new cleaning pal

This morning I took it slow. Other than getting a run in on the treadmill, I basically did nothing all morning (aside from keeping the girls alive).

Things picked up after quiet time, though. Lydia and I shucked corn, and I almost wilted in the heat. Afterward we retreated back into the house for a cooking, cleaning, and laundry marathon.

IMG_9169After Abe came home, we ate dinner and played a vigorous game of chase.

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Taking a break from chase.

Taking a break from chase.

Then we went to Target to buy this dreamy device:

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can't wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

A carpet and hardwood floor scrubber/steamer! 1000 scrubs per minute! Lightweight! I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!!!!

Abe is downstairs duck taping the bag for our old vacuum. We don’t have replacement bags since it is over two decades old, and in order for my steamer to work, you need to follow up with a vacuum. Buying a new vacuum is next on our list. (Actually, we intended to buy a new vacuum today, but I got seduced by the steamer.)

church marathon (wherein Lily drops out of the race)

Today Abe spent over seven hours at church. His new calling means his Sunday afternoon naps are a thing of the past. I feel so sorry for him, especially since he barely sleeps in the week, thanks to his four hours of commuting every day. But he doesn’t complain and serves very cheerfully. I have a lot to learn from him.

Speaking of how Abe and I differ, we have different opinions on how to handle sacrament meeting with the kids. Abe likes to persevere and uses every resource on hand to keep the kids on the pew and in the meeting. My strategy is really simple: leave. Get the bajeebers outta there.

I usually stay in the pew until we take the sacrament, and then the minute my kids start acting up (which is usually immediately), I take them out. Today we compromised. Abe kept Lydia in, and I took Mary out to the gardens in the back of the church. Rose joined me and we had our own “sacrament meeting” in the sunshine by the grape vines. The kids were in heaven.

Picking grapes.

Picking grapes.

Then we came home for a little bit before Abe returned to church for another two and a half hour meeting. I stayed home and napped, after which Lydia and I crafted until Abe came home. Then Abe and the girls gave me a massage, and then Abe and I gave them massages. Mary especially enjoyed hers and squeaked out “thak-oo! (thank-you!) as soon as we started putting lotion on her back.

We scrounged around and ate leftovers for dinner, and then Clark and Swathi called! They are the best listeners. I dumped all of my angst about my calling onto that conversation, and they were so supportive and sweet. While I was talking with them, Abe took the girls on one of his home teaching rounds and visited the Copingas.

aug17 aug17pic1After he came home, Anique called and invited me on a walk around the block. With so many friends and family members listening to me today, I came home with a much lighter, happy heart. I actually felt pretty depressed about my calling after the first two meetings of church, but now I feel a little better.

Lydia’s ballet recital and the Ogden temple open house

This morning was Lydia’s ballet recital! Tom and Suzanne joined us, and we all were thoroughly entertained.

IMG_9119 IMG_9120 IMG_9122 IMG_9125 IMG_9131 IMG_9137 IMG_9140Then we went to the market, after which I ran off to yoga. While I was at yoga, Abe took the girls back to the market to have a picnic with Karin and Jay. When I got home, everyone was in the middle of quiet time, which was perfect because I had two hours of homework to do.

Then we all piled in the car to do errands and pick up Tom and Suzanne for the Ogden Temple Open House.

Dinner before the open house.

Dinner before the open house.

 

 

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Suzanne got us tickets, and we were so grateful. It’s a rare opportunity for the girls to see the inside of a temple. Normally only older people with recommends are allowed in. But since the temple has yet to be dedicated, we could bring the kids inside. Mary loved it and gasped delightedly every time she saw a picture of Jesus (frequently). Lydia, on the other hand, slept through it. Abe tried to wake her up in the celestial room, but she was only dimly aware of what was around her.

Afterward, we sat by the fountain and let the girls make wishes with pennies.

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Jon and Shirley’s wedding video! (wherein Abe officiates)

We have the video link to Jon and Shirley’s wedding (the one where Abe officiated)! It is absolutely GORGEOUS. Here’s the link. Theirs was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. I was so happy to see the video, especially because I didn’t get to hear the actual ceremony (I was busy taking the girls on a “princess hunt” in the gardens to make sure they didn’t interrupt anything).

We had a busy morning. I procrastinated buying the gift for Addelyn’s birthday until a half an hour before the party, and then we swung back to pick up another friend for the party.

The party. Apparently there was a parade, dancing, and lots of treats. Lydia came home with a marshmallow tiger tail, a chocolate Minnie Mouse cookie, popcorn, and a balloon. She had a blast.

The party. Apparently there was a parade, dancing, and lots of treats. Lydia came home with a marshmallow tiger tail, a chocolate Minnie Mouse cookie, popcorn, and a balloon. She had a blast.

Mary was sad she didn't get to stay at the party (she was still sick, and I didn't want the other kids to get sick).

Mary was sad she didn’t get to stay at the party (she was still sick, and I didn’t want the other kids to get sick). She got this popsicle as a consolation prize.

The rest of the day was low-key. I should have used the time to do homework, but instead I just lay around, practiced piano, and prayed a lot.

After naps, we went outside to play in the hose, pick tomatoes, and play until Abe got home.

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Mary thought the big tomatoes were apples. She LOVES pictures of apples in books and won't ever let me turn the page and finish the book if we happen to come across a page with apples. She'd rather just stare at all the apples. Anyway, even though I kept telling her she was consuming a tomato, she kept telling me that she was eating an apple.

Mary thought the big tomatoes were apples. She LOVES pictures of apples in books and won’t ever let me turn the page and finish the book if we happen to come across a page with apples. She’d rather just stare at all the apples. Anyway, even though I kept telling her she was consuming a tomato, she kept telling me that she was eating an apple.

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Play-doh.

Play-doh.

Swarming Daddy.

Swarming Daddy.

Helping a tired Daddy get up.

Helping a tired Daddy get up.

Then Abe and I went inside and were too tired to even eat dinner. We fed the girls and then lay on the couch while the girls tucked us in and gave us all sorts of toys. I sprained a toe running through the sprinklers today, and so I  babied it all evening.

I have hopes of watching Divergent tonight on Abe’s new Apple laptop that he just got from work. I guess the homework can wait until tomorrow…

Sick day and a double play date

I didn’t sleep enough last night AND I overdid it on the chocolate mousse, and I think my sugar-compromised immune system couldn’t handle it. I woke up feeling sick, and since my kids have both been battling colds for over a week, I decided to call it a stay-at-home day and skip Lydia’s last swimming lesson.

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

In her glory.

Some leftover tears  are still on her cheek because Lydia wanted a turn with the glasses.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

We did a lot of movies, reading, piano playing, song singing…and more movies. At 5 pm Aria and Paige rescued me from an evening of digital entertainment and came over for a play date.

Misting in the hose outside.

Misting in the hose outside.

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Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

I had the kids help me bread the eggplant that I turned into eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Abe and I had a wonderful time talking for dinner. We kept mindlessly feeding the girls whatever they wanted so we could talk longer. We don’t get to see each other at all on Wednesdays, so it felt like we had to catch up. Next semester I have class Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll go those two days without seeing each other at all. So sad.

Anyway, I think I am going to bed early to try to get rid of this bug. We have a birthday party to attend tomorrow, so I can’t have another stay-at-home day. In fact, I’ll have a really rushed morning because I have yet to buy and wrap the gift!!

An ideal morning (and class again)

This morning was PERFECT. If every morning could be like this one, I’d have it made! The kids slept in, so before I got them for breakfast, I had a chance to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, run two miles (on the treadmill in the basement), and take a shower. It was wonderful.

Then I fed the kids breakfast, after which Mary asked for a nap and Lydia asked for quiet time. Um, sure? I put them down and practiced for an hour before I got them up to go to Lydia’s swimming lesson. I spent the entire lesson chasing Mary outside. She loves being chased. Then it was lunch and more quiet time. I got another two hours of piano in, plus folded a load of laundry AND tidied/cleaned the house.

Then Lydia and I went outside for a nail painting party.

IMG_9059 IMG_9060 IMG_9061Then I fed the girls a snack before leaving for school.

I have so much anxiety before class these days. I basically spiritually crawl to the feet of Jesus the whole car ride to school and beg for help/strength to make it through class. So far, that tactic has served me well. Tonight went great. I made ratatouille, a fish dish, a sauce, escargot, and some vinaigrette.

My ratatouille and my teammate's mousse.

My ratatouille and my teammate’s mousse.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My sloppy plating of my teammate's pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

My sloppy plating of my teammate’s pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

Movie marathon

Yesterday one of the lifeguards told me I could swim with Mary during Lydia’s lesson. I then promised Mary she could finally go swimming at Lydia’s next lesson instead of watching Lydia longingly, but when we got there the head lifeguard told me I’d been misinformed. Poor Mary! I didn’t know how I was going to break the bad news, especially since she was already in her swimsuit and practically hyperventilating with anticipation.

Thankfully, the lifeguard took one look at her and said, “Oh, look at her! How could I say no? Just this once…” Yay! So Mary and I swam while Lydia had her lesson.

That was really the only activity of note today. The rest of the day was just homework, laundry, cooking, and marathon naps from both girls. They didn’t sleep in, so I guess they were making up for yesterday’s late bedtimes during their naps.

After naps, Lydia helped  me make a souffle.

After naps, Lydia helped me make a souffle.

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I had a hunch there wouldn't be anything exciting to take pictures of, so I just snapped some of Mary eating her snack.

I had a hunch there wouldn’t be anything exciting to take pictures of, so I just snapped some of Mary eating her snack.

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I made a gorgonzola, cherry, and almond souffle. It was inspired by Bittman's apricot and goat cheese recipe, and I think it turned out great. What didn't turn out great were my strips of sauteed eggplant. I struggled to get that right in class and decided to practice today, but it was a disaster. I think I'm just going to return to baking and broiling eggplant in the future.

I made a gorgonzola, dried cherry, and almond souffle. It was inspired by Mark Bittman’s apricot and goat cheese recipe, and I think it turned out great. What didn’t turn out great were my strips of sauteed eggplant. I struggled to get that right in class and decided to practice today, but it was a disaster. I think I’m just going to return to baking and broiling eggplant in the future.

Abe bought me flowers yesterday. Aren't they cheerful?

Abe bought me flowers yesterday. Aren’t they cheerful?

After dinner, we all watched Aladdin in memory of Robin Williams, who died today. I have mixed emotions about Disney princesses, and Princess Jasmine and Ariel top my list as way-too-sexy princess role models for young girls. For Lydia’s first two years, I feel like I put up a decent fight, but this last year I’ve just given in. I just hope the damage isn’t too severe. Lydia rolled up her shirt halfway through the movie, at which point my heart may have stopped. I suppose I should have stopped the movie right then and there. Sigh.

FHE at Temple Square

On Saturday I had Majudara for the first time (because of our O’Falafal Groupon). Imagine my excitement when this month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated contained the recipe! It was too good to be true. I had to make the dish.

So tonight I made it, and we had the Anderson’s over for dinner because I was so excited to share the joy of this dish. And I had leftover sugared saffron sauce from class and wanted to make panna cotta again. I love it when food turns out well, and tonight I can say, with the exception of the panna cotta (too gelatinous; I should have dialed down the gelatin), everything turned out great! And we love the Andersons, so visiting with them is always fun.

Abe wanted to take a picture of the panna cotta with saffron sauce.

Abe wanted to take a picture of the panna cotta with saffron sauce.

Afterward, Abe and Mike went to help with a move in the ward, and Paige and I took the kids around Temple Square. After Paige left, Abe joined us and we walked around until almost 10pm. The girls had so much fun in the fountains. They kept throwing in pennies to make wishes, and Mary would come up to me and say, “More wishes! More wishes!” It was so cute. She was also enamored with the temple and said “bye-bye” to it about a million times.

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Ada and Lydia below the Seagull Monument. Ada brought her pet snail along for the adventure.

Ada and Lydia below the Seagull Monument. Ada brought her pet snail along for the adventure.

Watching their pennies sink to the bottom of the fountain.

Watching their pennies sink to the bottom of the fountain.

She's wet from splashing in all the fountains.

She’s wet from splashing in all the fountains.

IMG_9044 IMG_9045When we got home, both girls had a snack before going to bed. I think they were too busy playing during dinner to actually eat, so they were both very hungry.

Mary eating her post-10 pm snack. I have high hopes they will sleep in tomorrow!

Mary eating her post-10 pm snack. I have high hopes they will sleep in tomorrow!

All sorts of scary

Today I conducted in Primary again, and it was still uncomfortable. I talk in a kind of high, sing-song voice in front of groups, and I do this thing where my voice inflects pointedly up  at the end of each sentence. Maybe when I get more comfortable, I can start talking normally. Until then, they’ll just have to put up with me. Luckily, the children are sweet and haven’t seemed to notice.

We came home and Abe ran right back to Church for his second meeting. As soon as he came home,  ran off to visit teach. I love talking to Andrea so much that I returned home two and a half hours later. Oops. But we covered so many interesting topics! She thoroughly terrified me about Child Protective Services. Did you know that CPS workers are financially incentivized to take children away from parents? If you leave eight dishes  in your sink, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If they find a pair of soiled underpants anywhere in the house, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. If your kids are playing outside and you are not actively watching them, CPS has the legal right to take your children away. CPS workers get bonuses for every child they take away, and they get bonuses when those children are adopted into new homes. To make it worse, the new foster parents get extra money if the children need medicine, so the average foster care child is on seven different medications.

She told me horror story after horror story. I could not believe my ears, but in the end, I sort of could. It’s a sad, sad day when parents who adore their children have to actively fear that the government will take their children away for no reason at all. Our government is so corrupt that it is financially incentivizing strangers to take my children away from me. How horrifying.

Last night after Abe went to bed, I watched Blackfish. My heart broke when they took the baby whales from their mothers. The shaking and crying of the mothers made me ill. (They didn’t talk about the babies’ response, but I assume it was equally horrible.) To think that our government not only allows that, but incentivizes that for people makes me totally crazy.

We basically scared ourselves silly talking about CPS, the Second Coming, and the Ebola outbreak. Two and a half hours later, I tore myself away and came home to find Abe and the girls playing outside. I made dinner and took some pictures before cleaning up.

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We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek's produce at dinner.

We ate through more of Chelsea and Derek’s produce at dinner.

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And then Abe gave the girls a bath. They had fun with the bubbles.

IMG_9026And now I’m blogging.