organizing day

Today I stayed home and sanitized and organized all of the toys, children’s books, and children’s clothes in the house. It took all day. As the day wore on, I heard myself saying ridiculous things like, “Mary, put down that toy! I just organized that, and you can’t play with any of your toys until tomorrow!” …But, hours upon hours later, the toys are all disinfected and in their proper places, the books are sorted by color (ROYGBIV), and I have assessed the girls’ wardrobe situations (Mary = clothes galore, Lydia = one outfit away from naked. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much!).

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Mom took a picture of me organizing.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than  that Lydia's hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

Grandma, I think Mom took this picture for no other reason than that Lydia’s hair was out of her face. We WILL get her a haircut soon.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

While I was cleaning upstairs, Mary amused herself downstairs on her new bike.

All the organized books made me want to read to Mary, so we did that for a while. Then I ate too many carbs and indulged in too much Apple Barn fudge (thanks, Mom!)…and then Abe came home and we had dinner. Thankfully, my mom is here and she makes the world’s best salads, so I had salad for dinner. My body was grateful.

Then we had FHE. My mom had the wonderful idea of cutting up a picture of Jesus holding a lamb into puzzle pieces. We hid the piece with the lamb, and the girls had to put the puzzle together and hunt down the missing piece. Abe then explained to them that just like Jesus loves the little lamb in the picture, He loves us. He explained that whenever we are lost or lonely, we can pray and feel comfort and peace.sep29pic12 sep29pic13 sep29pic11

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

Mary spent a lot of FHE climbing on furniture.

That made her happy.

That made her happy.

The girls climbed across "Daddy Bridge."

The girls climbed across “Daddy Bridge.”

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Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

Then Abe doled out horsey rides for the remainder of the evening.

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Post birthday Sunday

Today after church and meetings, we headed over to Red Butte Gardens for an afternoon stroll (and to eat leftover birthday cake).

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All together!

All together!

Feeding the fishies.

Feeding the fishies.

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In the three bears' home.

In the three bears’ home.

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eating cake

eating cake

sep28pic20 sep28pic18 sep28pic19Then we came home and just chatted for a couple hours.

At one point, Abe came down to the kitchen after playing with the girls. He looked like this:

Abe is such a great dad. Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

And now Clark and Swathi are about to catch their late night flight back to New York. I am blogging before I take them. I hope they end up here because it will be hard to see them go. It has been such a wonderful treat to be all together! Thanksgiving, when we’ll all be together again, can’t come soon enough!

Happy birthday, Mary!

I have thirty something pictures of today, so let’s get to it!

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

Mary woke up to see her new bicycle in the room. She climbed right out of her crib and went to it.

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She couldn't reach the pedals.

She couldn’t reach the pedals.

Abe solved that problem this way.

Abe solved that problem this way.

It was raining, so we went to the aquarium instead of the zoo.

sep27pic2 sep27pic3 sep27pic4 sep27pic1 sep27 sep27pic5 sep27pic6 sep27pic22Then we came home and had pizza for lunch.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it's her birthday, so I couldn't say no.

Mary finagled her way out of pizza and into a cookie. Funny how that happened, but it’s her birthday, so I couldn’t say no.

sep27pic8 sep27pic10 sep27pic9After lunch, Mary refused to nap. She didn’t want to miss a minute of her birthday! Instead, she ran around the house in the bugaboo necklace you gave her for Christmas, Grandma!

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She also played the piano…

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...and she played with Abe.

…and she played with Abe.

Abe took the girls outside to jump in puddles in the rain.

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Then I made dinner, and we celebrated Mary’s birthday with Tom, Suzanne, Clark, Swathi, Balu, and Mom.

We had Mary's favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

We had Mary’s favorite foods: Macaroni and cheese, squash, and salad.

And cake!

And cake!

Cake!

Cake!

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The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

The inside was scrumptious but skiwampus.

Then, gifts!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

A Minnie Mouse dress! Thanks, Nana!!

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Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases!

Grandma, the girls adore their new suitcases! Thank-you so much. It meant so much to Lydia to have a gift on Mary’s birthday. Also, thank-you for the garlic case you sent me–I LOVE it!!

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Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

Mary zipped and unzipped her suitcase for an hour. Thanks, Tom, for assisting patiently that WHOLE time!

With all of her gifts. Happy birthday, sweet Mary! We adore you!!

With all of her gifts. sep28pic13 sep28pic12 sep28pic11Happy birthday, Mary! We adore you!

 

Birthday eve with my mom, Clark, Swathi and Balu

Today I baked Mary’s birthday cake, made dinner, folded laundry, and did some errands. It was so, so wonderful to have my mom around during the day. That made everything feel like a celebration.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

Mom and Mary in their nightgowns.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary's cake.

The girls watched their new favorite Disney movie, Snow White, while I baked Mary’s cake.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

The roses outside. Our wonderful landlords were here doing yard work during the morning. They love my mom and were so happy to see her.

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Abe's work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

Abe’s work team. They all got to celebrate today because everyone met their quota! They celebrated by zip lining through Provo Canyon for two hours. Abe said it was really fun and beautiful because all the colors are changing.

That's not Abe, but it is the zip line!

That’s not Abe, but it is the zip line!

We had dinner with Clark, Swathi, my mom and Balu. We tried to go on a walk afterwards, but we got caught in a torrential downpour. Abe and I decided to take the girls on some last minute errands, so we did that instead.

And now…happy weekend, and happy early birthday to Mary!!!

Errands–and Clark and Swathi arrive!

Today we mainly ran errands–with my mom! It is so wonderful having her in town. As if that weren’t enough, Clark and Swathi just arrived tonight. The only thing that would make it better is if you were here, Grandma!

Mom and I took a bunch of pictures on her iPhone.

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary's 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western "outfit" (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

On our way out the door and ready to go drop Lydia off at Challenger for Western Day. I put Mary’s 12-18 month size vest on Lydia, threw boots on her, and called it her Western “outfit” (the kids were supposed to dress up as cowgirls).

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

Mom wanted a picture of the two of us in front of Challenger.

I'm pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia's school looks like.

I’m pretty sure my mom took this picture for you, Grandma, so you could see what Lydia’s school looks like.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

While Lydia was in school, Mom and I did errands with Mary.

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Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary's curls.

Mom wanted to get a picture of Mary’s curls.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

During our afternoon errands, Lydia slept.

 But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, "Nana, wook at vis! ("Nana, look at this!)"

But Mary was awake! She showed Nana pictures from the books and kept saying, “Nana, wook at vis! (“Nana, look at this!)”

"Nana, wook at vis!"

“Nana, wook at vis!”

I forgot to say a thank-you to Mom for watching the kids while I went to lunch with my visiting teachee, Andrea. We had a really fun lunch, and it was only possible because my mom babysat. Thanks, Mom!

Grandma, we wish you were here. Thanks for lending us Mom!

A Play Date, Amazing Babysitter, Georgia Arrives!!!!!!!!, Final Exam, and Additional Funding

The day kicked off with Lily today with a play-date with her friend Kim.  I’m not sure what happened after that since I didn’t talk to Lily much during the day, but I know she cooked because I came home to the best egg-salad sandwich I’ve every had (super fluffy home-made bread and perfectly seasoned egg salad.)

Lily left early for school tonight because she has her final exam for her European cooking class.  She’s been in my thoughts because I know she was nervous.  She isn’t back yet, but I’m excited to hear the report.

Isabella came over early to babysit so Lily could leave.  Then, shortly after that…..

Georgia arrived!!!!!!!!  It was so wonderful to see her.  As if having her in town wasn’t gift enough, she came baring gifts for everyone.  Some are gifts that I won’t mention until Mary’s birthday, but she also brought some super cute bug suitcases for the girls from Grandma Cullen (Thanks Grandma!), fudge for everyone, new plates and bowls, flashcards, a coloring book and well, you get the idea, lots of great things for the family.  It’s so great to have her around for a few days.  I got to catch up with her quite a bit, and Lydia spontaneously burst out to me, “Daddy, I love Nana.”  In her night prayer she also said (unprompted), “Thank you for my beautiful Nana.”

Because Isabella is amazing, she wanted to stick around even after I got home and her babysitting gig was over.  She proceeded to play chase with the girls for a very long time.  Tonight is one of two times in my life when I have seen Mary worn out from playing so hard.  Nice work Isabella!

On a quick note about work.  Qualtrics was just valued at over $1 billion and received $150 million dollars in venture capital funding.  The funding is to help us run faster and grow quicker.  It’s an exciting place to be right now.

Pictures!

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Post office, picnic, and FHE

Today I got up at 5:20 am, when Abe always gets up. Since I was awake early, I had time to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, do yoga, make popovers, shower and get the kids ready for the day.

Today Lydia had preschool, so Mary and I spent a lot of time walking around Sugar House. It was a beautiful morning, and the leaves are just barely starting to turn colors. We walked to the post office, Barnes and Noble, and the Sprage branch of the Salt Lake library. We also went to Tony Caputo’s to pick up some Dine O’ Round lunches for a picnic we had in the park with Jen, Natalie, Laddie, and Spencer. Sadly, Tony Caputo’s messed up my order–I discovered when we got to the park that my sandwiches were full of lunch meat. Gross. We skipped the sandwiches and just ate cake instead.

Jen was so fun and inspiring to talk to! She’s planning a bachelorette party for a friend, and she is really trying to make the party fun and appropriate. So tricky, but I was impressed with her efforts to keep the party elevated.

Then we came home and napped. After I woke up, I cooked for three hours. Abe came home and played with the girls while I finished cooking.

sep23pic5 sep23pic1 sep23 sep23pic4Then we had dinner (finally!), FHE and a treat.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl.

For sharing time during FHE, Lydia told us all about her owl. Also, we realize she needs a haircut. Hopefully we’ll get around to that soon.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Mary also wanted to share about the owl.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the "bread" of "Dear Heavenly Father" and "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our "sandwich" with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Abe taught the girls about prayer using a sandwich. We frame our prayers with the “bread” of “Dear Heavenly Father” and “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Afterward, we practiced saying a prayer and filled our “sandwich” with all sorts of thank-yous and blessing requests.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

Post FHE snack of giant toasted marshmallows.

And now Abe and I are going to finish The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We are both tired, so hopefully we can stay awake!

date night

Today started off with breakfast and a play date with Misty. I harbor fond hopes that someday Mary and Max will get married, and they were so cute and played ball together.

IMG_9470After Misty left, I took the girls to the basement to paint while I did the treadmill.

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At five minutes and forty seconds in, Mary proceeded to spill green paint all over the basement carpet. I spent the next hour scrubbing and vacuuming and scrubbing the paint some more.

Then I put Mary down for a nap, knocked out three homework assignments and cleaned up Lydia and the back room carpet after she peed all over the floor. Feeling harried, I downed a cup of cocoa while the girls watched Snow White, and then I joined them until Isabella came over.

Isabella babysat the girls while Abe and I went to dinner and a concert with Karin and Jay.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

Then we headed over to hear the Utah Chamber Artists perform a splendid concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were late, but we caught the end of the first half and all of the second half of the concert. The second half was the Utah premiere of Eriks Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection. My favorite part was the very end, where the chorus sings to the soprano, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she responds, “Sir, if thou has borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away.” The chorus then sings, “Mariam, Mariam, Mariam,” in a sweet, echoing refrain. The lights in the church went out as the soprano took up an alter candle and walked to the end of the church singing, “Rabboni, Rabboni, Rabboni.”

The concert is free, and I want to go again tomorrow, at least to hear the parts I missed tonight. We’ll see if that’s even logistically possible, but I really, really enjoyed it.

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Ogden dedication

Today was the dedication of the Ogden temple, and that was broadcast all around Salt Lake. We didn’t have church because there were three dedicatory sessions instead. Abe and I swapped babysitting with the Andersons so we could go to a session together. It was an uplifting experience.

At home, we babysat the girls while the Andersons went to their session.

We had some 3 year old naked time. They felt averse to clothing.

We had some 3 year old naked time. They felt averse to clothing.

Abe set up an extra pack 'n play for Liv's nap, and Mary took a ride in it.Abe set up an extra pack ‘n play for Liv’s nap, and Mary took a ride in it.

I had no idea that Mary had grown so much! We set up the bigger pack n' play in her closet for her naps. Clearly, this one is almost too small!

I had no idea that Mary had grown so much! We set up the bigger pack n’ play in her closet for her naps. Clearly, this one is almost too small!

Mom, we are getting so excited for your visit! We can’t wait to see you soon!!!

organizing kick

This morning I had to make up a class at school while Abe took Lydia to dance and Mary to the park. After school I went to IKEA to look for a toddler bed only to discover Lydia’s bed was discontinued. No luck! Instead, I bought a bunch of random stuff, including containers to organize the craft area.

After I came home, I organized the girls’ craft area while Lydia painted happily away with her new paints. Then we did errands, after which Abe had to run to the church to set up chairs for the temple dedication broadcast tomorrow. While he did that, I attacked all of my kitchen cabinets and my fridge. Since I was on an organizing kick, they got organized! I threw away a ton of expired things and discovered wonderful spices and treasures that I had completely forgotten about. I have THREE packages of saffron! What abundance! I can make saffron rice every day this week if I want!

Now the bad news. Grandma and Mom, I am sorry, but we were so busy today that we forgot to take pictures. We should have taken one of Mary. We let her run around until 10:30 while we organized. (Lydia fell asleep at 6:30 and never woke up after that.)

But good news! My friend, Jen, took pictures of the girls at ballet and some of the kids at the park. Thanks, Jen!

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Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Anyway, Abe and I were hoping to get a movie in, so maybe we’ll get half–or a quarter–of one in instead.