Introducing Maher Shalal Hash Baz, our cat.

Abe and I just finished cleaning every single room in the house. We are so excited because we can now wander through the entire house and admire livable space! Before now, there were piles of boxes and junk in various places, and now they are ALL gone. It feels so liberating.

The other things of note today: Clark and Swathi went to the airport, which means we are all alone again. Mom and Balu left yesterday, and so now the house just feels empty.

Abe took the girls to Petsmart this morning to get  a cat house and some cat food. We inherited an outdoor cat with this house, and we’ve decided to feed and shelter him (in a cat house outside–don’t worry, Mom!) so he can survive the winter. I am so excited to have my own protector against rodents! I named him Maher Shalal Hash Baz, or Bozi for short. His name comes from the book of Isaiah and means “destruction is imminent” or “he hastens to the prey.” A perfect name for my guard cat.

Anyway, Abe took some pictures of the girls at Petsmart, and that’s all there is for today.

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Black Friday

I gave into Black Friday this year. We just moved into a new house, and in the transition, we’ve discovered we have furniture/housing needs, and it just so happens that Black Friday is a great opportunity for filling those. After today’s purchases, we will be almost completely settled in. Hooray!

We also went back to the old house and cleaned it out. As I walked through the empty rooms, my heart filled up with memories. I am grateful for the time I got to spend there, and even though I am happy to be in my new house, I will always remember 604 G Street and the Avenues with great tenderness. I loved that house.

I took a couple pictures today, but most of my blogging efforts went to revamping yesterday’s posts. Tomorrow I will take down the million iterations of our family photos (I’ll leave the best one up, Mom!), and I will put the photos from the day in order. But today I worked on throwing in some extra pictures Mom sent me, and on recording my notes on all the food we ate so that I can remember them for next year.

Here are today’s pictures:

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Abe worked hard to clear a space for the car. This garage was PACKED with boxes right after the move.

Abe worked hard to clear a space for the car. This garage was PACKED with boxes right after the move.

My new washer and dryer. Mom took this picture and I think wants Grandma to see. Do you like them, Grandma?

My new washer and dryer. Mom took this picture and I think wants Grandma to see. Do you like them, Grandma?

Thanksgiving 2014

I love Thanksgiving. It’s like Christmas, but without all the stress and madness. Instead, on Thanksgiving all you have to focus on 1) people you love 2) things you are grateful for, and 3) food.

Today I am thankful for Mary’s guardian angels. That little child has had a lot of close calls, but today we had a real scare. During dinner, my mom exclaimed, “Oh, look! Mary fell asleep standing up!” We all got up out of our seats to admire the cuteness, and while we were admiring, Mary coughed, screamed, and started crying. We feel pretty sure she wasn’t sleeping. She was choking. We concluded she had probably passed out standing up. Her mouth was full of kale leaves, and her lips were blue. It was really scary.

Thankfully, her guardian angels got her back on track. Tonight I am thankful that all the people I love are alive, well, and close.

Here are some pictures. Sorry for the million iterations of our family photos. I promised Mom that I would share them all with her, and I have no energy for an email in addition to blogging.

First of all, the end product:

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The menu this year consisted of:

Thoughts for next year: I would try the stuffing again with cornbread. For the cranberry sauce, I would add two cans of whole berry sauce so that there would be three total cans of cranberry sauce in the mixture. The recipe as is isn’t cranberry-intensive enough. I would also definitely do the back of the bag cranberry sauce–I missed that! I might also do the mashed potatoes next year, if only as a vehicle for the gravy. I wanted an excuse for a gravy puddle, and so maybe I’ll reinstate the mashed potatoes next year. Also, the salt brine was great for tenderizing the turkey, but next year I will do it 48 hours in advance instead of a mere 10. I would also double the amount of pie filing in the pecan pie, especially if I used the same pie plate again.

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just pictures

Sorry for the short post! Clark, Swathi, Abe and I went to see Mockingjay Part 1 tonight, and that sapped my energy for blogging. But I have some pictures from today!

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Mary sleeping with her stuffed animals. Can you find her in there?

Mary sleeping with her stuffed animals. Can you find her in there?

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Moved in.

Hi Grandma! Thanks for letting us borrow Mom for a bit! She made it in safely, and I am throwing up a couple of pictures before heading to bed. It has been a little hectic trying to unpack and get the house in order so that we can pull of Thanksgiving. I’ll blog more tomorrow.

Hoarding her binkies.

Hoarding her binkies.

Uncle Clark reading books to the girls.

Uncle Clark reading books to the girls.

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Mary and Nana cuddled extensively this evening.

Mary and Nana cuddled extensively this evening.

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The girls have new electronic toothbrushes. During my lunch with Rose, she told me of a kid in the ward who is Mary's age and had cavities. That scared me, especially since Mary is brushing averse. We're lucky if we get more than ten seconds of brush time a day. These electronic toothbrushes have done the trick!

The girls have new electronic toothbrushes. During my lunch with Rose, she told me of a kid in the ward who is Mary’s age and had cavities. That scared me, especially since Mary is brushing averse. We’re lucky if we get more than ten seconds of brush time a day. These electronic toothbrushes have done the trick!

Post brushing, pensive/sleepy stare.

Post brushing, pensive/sleepy stare.

Our last day of packing! (and house closing)

We are packing like crazy because we closed today on the house and the move is TOMORROW, but I just had to throw up some of these pictures from earlier. Ina stopped by with the girls’ Christmas presents. She is so sweet. We will miss her so much!

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Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Ina even had one for Abe and me. She tolerated my pictures so nicely.

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Mary discovered that we have yet to pack the nail polish. TOYS!!

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Lydia was excited (and she wanted to pose for the camera).

Really quick: I had a conference with Lydia’s preschool teachers and one of the administrators today. My heart sunk as they told me she doesn’t participate unless directed. I’ve observed this trait in Lydia since infancy. In groups, she stands to the side and watches silently, and then she comes alive at home and tells you everything that happened as if she had been involved. But in the moment, she doesn’t participate.

I felt solely responsible for her lack of participation. I drove home feeling so guilty that she inherited my defunct genes that shut down in big group situations. I called Abe and confessed that my genetic contribution had messed up our kid, and he made me feel a lot better about it all.  He pointed out that Lydia’s problem is not lack of focus (which is what the administrator attributed it to), but just shyness. (Hi, Lily’s genes!). He pointed out that Lydia could sit at the piano for forty five minute stretches when she was just two (under her tyrannical mother’s command), and she can focus indefinitely on any given book. She does not, he emphasized, have ADD.

In the moment, I had totally forgotten that about Lydia! I just swallowed everything the teachers told me as Truth and left feeling so horrible and guilty. I thought my genetic contribution + my lack of restrictions on screen time = permanent damage to my three year old’s ability to succeed in school. I still could do better on screen time, but after talking to Abe, I don’t think Lydia has an actual attention problem. At least that is what I’m telling myself now.

Back to packing!

God vs. Genoise. Guess who won.

I had pictures of the food in class, but alas, they are on my phone, which is in the car.

This morning Marilyn came over again and we packed all of the paintings in the house. Then I ran to pick Rose up so we could go to Gourmandise for lunch. I have been dying to try their boeuf bourguignon, but they serve it on Wednesdays, and I am always there on days that don’t happen to be Wednesday. Today we scheduled our lunch specifically so that I could finally try it once before we move. It was delicious. One more thing to miss.

The girls were in a very happy, playful mood all day. I was grateful for that. All of their toys are packed, and so they have been having to use imagination. I think it has been good for them. Right now there are fabric scraps all around the house because I haven’t packed my fabric scrap bin. Why do I buy so many toys when cloth scraps and torn paper pieces seem to be every bit as stimulating? I have no idea. I suspect the answer lies in the match between over-eager consumerism and greedy corporate marketers.

At school today I had several near disasters, but today I had the presence of mind to actively pray over all of my food. Just when I thought my genoise was beyond hope, I offered a silent, extremely fervent prayer that the thing would brown fast. Two minutes later I pulled out a miraculously browned cake. Believe me, it was a miracle! My teammates both prayed over all of our food, too. My friend Ingrid looked at me when we were fearing for the fate of our icing and said, “Have no fear, my friend. God is with us.” How can things go too badly wrong with teammates who exercise faith like that? Unless the chef forces us apart, I am never switching out of my team.

I am so, so sorry I was neglectful on the pictures. I should have taken at least one on my outing with Rose. I will do better tomorrow!

Pie taste-off

While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to Trader Joe’s and picked up a pumpkin pie. All of my kitchen is 99% packed, so cooking or baking is out of the question. The girls are obsessed with The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and since we have read this book a million times in the last month, I decided that they needed to eat pumpkin pie.

As we were about to eat, the doorbell rang. Paige showed up with boxes, and since their timing was fortuitous, they joined us for pie and a play date. After the play date, we had nap time and quiet time.

After that, I decided that we needed to have a pie taste-off. Harmon’s was having a sale today, so I picked up another pie and headed to Paige’s house. We ended up staying there until bedtime. Paige made a delicious lasagna, and we all tried the second pie. Trader Joe’s was the clear winner, hands down. It’s also half the price, so once again I have cause to mourn that we will be so far away from Trader Joe’s in Orem. I hope we get one soon!

Here are some pictures from the play date:

Mary was pretending to sleep.

Mary was pretending to sleep.

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They were pretending it was sleepy time.

They were pretending it was sleepy time.

16 boxes closer.

Today I packed sixteen more boxes, with the help of Marilyn Brinton and Suzanne. Marilyn stopped by randomly this morning with boxes and told me she wanted to help me pack for an hour. She was a total answer to prayer–I was just about to take a nap after having packed only four boxes, but with her help, I packed five more. Then Suzanne stopped by this evening to help, and after her amazing efforts, we are sixteen boxes closer to being ready to move.

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

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They were really sweet all morning.

They were really sweet all morning.

Then we had a play date with Misty, and I got to see her basement in the final stages of being finished. It was very exciting, and also a little sad. I will miss this family so much!

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Sabbath rest

Today was our last day in our ward. After church, we hung around the house and just rested from all of the packing commotion from yesterday. We watched some scripture videos, read some books, ate some Trader Joe’s food (our fare until post move because my kitchen is PACKED), and napped.

Abe snapped a picture for the blog.

IMG_0299Also, I found two new death records for my family history today! One if for my paternal grandmother, and the other is for my paternal great-grandfather. It was very exciting!