Potty day

Thank goodness, today was much better than yesterday. Abe and I both woke up on the right side of the bed, and we were able to focus a lot more on potty training Mary. She made progress today! We were so happy and relieved about that. We’ve been looking forward to this window Abe has off of work for a long time with the hopes that it would be a great time to potty train, and I am so grateful it actually seems to be going as planned.

Since today was dedicated to potty training AND it happened to be the stormiest, blusteriest day of the year to date, we holed up inside and didn’t do much else.

Here are today’s pictures:

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Grumpy day

We had a grumpy day today, and boy am I glad it’s over. Potty training was a total bust because we were so focused on being grumps that we neglected Mary. (Either that or she’s just not ready.)  We’ll try again tomorrow.

Here are a couple pictures I have of Mary on the potty. By the end of the day, we still hadn’t caught any pee in the potty, so we were trying to get her to drink gallons of orange juice while sitting on the potty, hoping that would help.

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Abe played with the girls. At certain points in the day, we just couldn't convince Mary to put on underwear at all.

Abe played with the girls. At certain points in the day, we just couldn’t convince Mary to put on underwear at all.

I rearranged the living room today! I really like it now.

I rearranged the living room today! I really like it now.

Whew!

We had a crazy marathon day yesterday and by the end, I was so tired I couldn’t blog. So here’s what happened yesterday! Abe wrote his talk, I cleaned the house, and we drove to Salt Lake to meet up with our friends, Anthony, Malika, Emile, Jon and Shirley at the Natural History museum. Emile was just a baby the last time I saw him, and when I saw him yesterday, he was bigger than Mary! He was so cute and mobile, and I couldn’t believe how fast time has gone.

I wanted to get pictures of the kids together, but I didn’t get a chance. I might have been distracted because I wanted to enjoy visiting with Malika as much as possible–she and her family live in Switzerland, and it felt like a treat to be able to visit with her again.

And of course, we always love visiting with Jon and Shirley. We did get pictures with them!

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At the museum.

At the museum.

After the museum, we went out to eat with Jon and Shirley, after which we headed to DSW to do some quick shopping, and then drove to IKEA to get some things for the house.

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At IKEA

At IKEA

Then we went grocery shopping and headed home to put the kids to bed. Once they were in bed, the real work began. We worked like dervishes to get the basement toy room in order, and at 2 am, the task was complete.

I took a picture of the completed work this morning because I was too tired last night:

IMG_0665 IMG_0666 IMG_0667And today we both gave talks and church and came home to set up for our get together with Jan, George, Alex, Chelsea, Derek, Olivia, Carter and Camden. While we were setting up, a member of the bishopric came over to extend Abe a calling.

Abe wore my apron you gave me, Grandma, while we were preparing for lunch. He was so cute-- I just had to take a picture!

Abe wore my apron you gave me, Grandma, while we were preparing for lunch. He was so cute– I just had to take a picture!

Ready for lunch. We had lentil soup, glazed squash, Greek salad (made as directed by George, who is Greek. It was amazing.!), a cheese plate Jan brought over, whole wheat rolls, amaretto cookies, and ice cream.

Ready for lunch. We had lentil soup, glazed squash, Greek salad (made as directed by George, who is Greek. It was amazing.!), a cheese plate Jan brought over, whole wheat rolls, amaretto cookies, and ice cream.

It kind of felt like a family reunion to me. I just love this family.

It kind of felt like a family reunion to me. I just love this family.

After they left, we cleaned the house just in time for David and Jere to come over for dinner, visiting, and now video games (with Abe).

I, for one, am ready for bed! Tomorrow we potty train Mary, so I’m going to get some sleep and pray tomorrow goes well.

Over them (the holidays)

My Christmas wish came true today! Abe took down the tree!! I am so happy. Everything else is all packed up and ready for storage, and boy am I ready for the holidays to be done. As one last hurrah, we watched It’s A Wonderful Life after dinner tonight. We originally only meant to watch ten minutes and put the kids down, but it has been years since either Abe or I have seen the movie, and we were both so mesmerized that we couldn’t stop watching. The kids got down at 11 pm. Oops.

I spent the entire morning writing my church talk for Sunday, and in the meantime Abe played with the kids. Here are his pictures:

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Apparently, Mary refuses to walk in the snow. She just stands there and says, "Carry me."

Apparently, Mary refuses to walk in the snow. She just stands there and says, “Carry me.”

Just pictures

Santa came last night.

Santa came last night.

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The girls ran around for ten minutes celebrating their oranges. I often fear they are spoiled, and so that was a very refreshing way to start the day.

The girls ran around for ten minutes celebrating their oranges. I often fear they are spoiled, and so that was a very refreshing way to start the day.

Showing their oranges and candy canes to Bahzi.

Showing their oranges and candy canes to Bahzi.

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Thanks, Nana!! She loves him!

Thanks, Nana!! She loves him!

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Thanks, Balu! The girls LOVE their Elmos, and I adore my new Kindle!!!

Thanks, Balu! The girls LOVE their Elmos, and I adore my new Kindle!!!

Abe took Lydia on his rounds to deliver neighbor gifts. We had a white Christmas! It was a wonderful surprise because it certainly hadn't snowed a bit when we went to bed at 2 am, and then we woke up to this!

Abe took Lydia on his rounds to deliver neighbor gifts. We had a white Christmas! It was a wonderful surprise because it certainly hadn’t snowed a bit when we went to bed at 2 am, and then we woke up to this!

I spent the whole day cooking. The desserts.

I spent the whole day cooking. The desserts.

I made braised lamb, pommes dauphine, kale salad, and rolls. Abe and I spent an hour peeling chestnuts for chestnut soup before we called i quits. All the chestnuts were rotten!

I made braised lamb, pommes dauphine, kale salad, and rolls. Abe and I spent an hour peeling chestnuts for chestnut soup before we called i quits. All the chestnuts were rotten!

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Christmas Eve night.

I am sooooooo excited for Christmas to come, but probably for different reasons than Lydia and Mary have. While they’re upstairs dreaming of sugar plums, I am dreaming of throwing out the dead Christmas tree, taking down what has started to feel like an oppressive number of decorations, and some clutter-free spaces in the house to look at.

I’m a little tired and intimidated by all that stands between me and my bed tonight. I shouldn’t have procrastinated wrapping presents again…

So without further ado, here are today’s pictures.

I took pictures of the girls stuffing their faces with broccoli because I'm pretty sure I've been so busy the past two days that they've eaten nothing but cookies and junk food. I had to record the ONE moment of meal time success I've had in the entire past 48 hours.

I took pictures of the girls stuffing their faces with broccoli because I’m pretty sure I’ve been so busy the past two days that they’ve eaten nothing but cookies and junk food. I had to record the ONE moment of meal time success I’ve had in the entire past 48 hours.

IMG_0579I spent most of today working on tomorrow’s foods. I made a sweet potato casserole for the Darais get together, lemon curd tarts with candied lemons for our dinner, and frangipane-apple tarts for dessert. I got nothing done on tomorrow’s actual dinner, so that makes planning out tomorrow so easy! (You will find me in the kitchen panicking over my sure-to-be-burned croutons and dry lamb.)

apple tarts

Apple tarts. I am trusting that the little ones will look better when I take them out of their molds tomorrow. Grandma, I discovered I have a lot of your old tart molds! They even have some of your recipes with them! Unfortunately, I found them after I’d used up almost all of my tart dough, but I will think of a party or some excuse to use them soon.

Candied lemons. I think I stand unevenly on my feet and therefore make uneven knife cuts. One of my chefs noted that I cut on an angle, and you can really see that in these lemons.

Candied lemons. I think I stand unevenly on my feet and therefore make uneven knife cuts. One of my chefs noted that I cut on an angle, and you can really see that in these lemons.

At the Miners' Christmas Eve party.

At the Miners’ Christmas Eve party.

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Loralee gave the girls a cool looking smart pad.

Loralee gave the girls a cool looking smart pad.

After the Miners' party, we headed to Tom and Suzanne's for gift exchanges.

After the Miners’ party, we headed to Tom and Suzanne’s for gift exchanges.

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It was after 10 pm when we got home, and we were all a mess. But through the tantrums (I threw one too!) Abe managed to get out a Santa letter. We put out cookies, cold cocoa, and a carrot for the reindeer.

It was after 10 pm when we got home, and we were all a mess. But through the tantrums (I threw one too!) Abe managed to get out a Santa letter. We put out cookies, cold cocoa, and a carrot for the reindeer.

Mary asked for dinner, milk, and explicitly "nothing" else. Lydia had to be restrained; otherwise her list would have gone on indefinitely. I told her she got to list three things she wants since she's three.

Mary asked for dinner, milk, and explicitly “nothing” else. Lydia had to be restrained; otherwise her list would have gone on indefinitely. I told her she got to list three things she wants since she’s three.

Christmas Eve morning update.

I can’t remember what happened yesterday, except that I was so tired by the end that blogging seemed impossible. Oh, I remember! We did a marathon grocery run, and at the end I was horrified at the grand total and a little tired from trying to find the hard-to-find items on my list. Provo has a severe shortage of pre-made blinis and white wine.

I need a whole bottle of good white wine to cook the lamb in, but trying to find that in Provo was hard! When we finally found a state liquor store, it was closed–at 7pm. Overall, I am thrilled to live in a community of committed fellow teetotalers, but after the long and difficult search for wine yesterday, I have a little sympathy for those who find the situation irritating.

I tried to get two pictures of Mary yesterday, but both moments passed before I could snap them. Early in the day I discovered her clinging to the sink. She had scaled the cabinets in front and was curled up on the edge of the sink. I considered removing her from the situation, but it was so funny that I ran for my camera, and by the time I had it in place, she had already slid back down to the stool below.

The other picture I missed happened in the pet aisle in Harmon’s. Again, Mary scaled the shelves and pretended to take a nap two shelves up on a very comfy looking doggy bed. Before I could get that picture, she again scurried back to ground level.

But this is one picture I got! Lydia and I worked on our sweet tart dough yesterday, and here’s a picture I got of her rolling it out.

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Almost there

Because Isabella was here, I got in my last minute Christmas shopping this morning. The shopping didn’t take that long, but the time bomb came when I combed the entire Super Target looking for To and From tags–to no avail. I guess I will have to make my own. Darn.

I also turned out two batches of Zimmsterne today. The first batch was a flop, but the second came out fine. I’m starting to feel Christmased out. Thank goodness we’re only three days away–I don’t think I could keep up the pace much longer than that. Plus, I can’t wait to get rid of our tree. It’s dead, and the girls play with the garland and ornaments so much that it has turned into a bedraggled eye sore. The minute I wake up on December 26, I am going to get that outta here.

Oh, the other monumental event of the day occurred when I did Isabella’s hair. I’m so out of practice from Lydia’s short hair cut that it took me two hours to do Isabella’s hair. Her legs fell asleep from sitting for so long! But finally, finally I managed to do a waterfall/fishtail combo, and she looked so pretty.

We also drove to Salt Lake to return Isabella and check out daycare options for the girls during our Cancun trip. We found a really great contender, but seeing day care options made me so, so grateful I get to stay home with my kids. I take that for granted often, and today helped give me some perspective.

Abe had a great “reunion” with his AXB friends tonight. They have a secret Santa exchange every year, and he thought that tonight they were meeting up at a restaurant–another reason we headed up to Salt Lake. It turned out though that everyone did a group video chat. Since we were driving, Abe rigged up his lap top and phone and managed to fully participate while I drove home on the freeway. Connecting with his friends was a huge highlight of his day.

Pictures:

painting Zimmsterne with meringue.

painting Zimmsterne with meringue. (This was the first batch with insufficiently chilled dough.)

Abe, Lydia and Isabella singing "Let it Go" to karaoke.

Abe, Lydia and Isabella singing “Let it Go” to karaoke.

Waterfall-fishtail combo.

Waterfall-fishtail combo.

Sunday the fun day

I actually forgot to blog yesterday, and so I’m trying to squeeze it in now before the kids wake up. After church, we napped, ate dinner, and danced to music and acted silly until bedtime. (Well, Abe, Isabella, Lydia, and Mary participated. I was pooped from cooking two meals and lay on the couch smiling and watching.) Here are the pictures!

Apples to apples.

Apples to apples.

Abe cut out some homemade marshmallows I'd brought home from school and floated them in some Droste's hot cocoa.

Abe cut out some homemade marshmallows I’d brought home from school and floated them in some Droste’s hot cocoa.

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Dancing with scarves

Dancing with scarves

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Isabella day

Our temple plans were thwarted when Mary had a nightmare last night. I spent much of the rest of the night cuddling with her in our bed trying to get her to go back to sleep. So instead we just spent the whole day enjoying Isabella’s company.

We baked cookies, went out to eat Thai food, and went to the mall for some last minute Christmas shopping. There was a lot of lazing around in between those events, and we are about to watch The Two Towers with Isabella in a minute. She hasn’t seen it!

Here are today’s pictures:

Baking cookies.

Baking cookies.

At dinner.

At dinner.

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Shopping. We could not have done our shopping without Isabella's help. She watched the girls and entertained them the whole time.

Shopping. We could not have done our shopping without Isabella’s help. She watched the girls and entertained them the whole time.

Isabella took this and the next picture.

Isabella took this and the next picture.

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