Sleepover with Isabella

We spent a long time in the car today because we drove to and from Salt Lake in one continuous loop to pick up Isabella for our sleepover tonight. As I type I can hear murmuring and giggles from the girls’ room.  They have had a blast.

Abe and I celebrated the end of the hardest, most productive week of Abe’s career at Qualtrics by going out to see The Hobbit tonight. Since Isabella is here, we are going to get up early and sneak in a temple session, so we are going to bed as soon as possible.

Here are some pictures from Isabella’s sleepover. We are so excited to have her with us again!

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Spacey

We had a play date with our next door neighbor today. Their three year old, Anabelle, was born in Evanston hospital–where Lydia and I were both born! They were in our home ward while we were there, but we didn’t know them then. It was fun getting to know our neighbors better.

Today was a get-to-know-our-neighbors day. After the play date, my new visiting teaching companion dropped by with some amazing bread, and then I chatted with another neighbor, Laurie, for the better part of an hour during Mary’s nap. Lydia was thrilled because that meant she got to pet the cats that whole time.

I flunked the portfolio part of my final tonight. I didn’t spend any time on it at all, and so I wasn’t very surprised. I’ll still pass the class, which is all that really matters to me. Oh, and I accidentally took the final test with the review sheet open in front of me. I didn’t realize I had it in front of me until I was about to turn in my test, and then I gasped and grabbed the review sheet to make sure it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. The class mate at my table arched an eyebrow, and I felt like the world’s biggest dummy. When oh when will I become a little less spacey??

Abe had, potentially, the best day at work he’s had since starting Qualtrics. We are very grateful to God for how well everything is going right now. Mom, feel free to call for details tomorrow.

On the other hand, the Salt Lake Library is threatening to send debt collectors after me because I accidentally packed a library book, and I now have $80 in fines. I will be driving to Salt Lake to return that tomorrow (and to pick up Isabella, who is sleeping over! Fun!)

Pictures:

Showing off her hat.

Showing off her hat.

Abe took this while I was at school.

Abe took this while I was at school.

Lydia is going through a phase where she draws on her body with marker. Tonight she drew on herself and Mary.

Lydia is going through a phase where she draws on her body with marker. Tonight she drew on herself and Mary.

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play date and final

I let Lydia skip preschool today because Paige, Ada, and Liv came down for a play date. Lydia was so excited to see Ada that she she stood on a stool by the kitchen counter for twenty minutes and refused to move because she wanted to “wait for Ada to come.” When Ada got here, the girls decorated cookies, ate lunch, and played outside. It was great fun.

Waiting for Ada to come.

Waiting for Ada to come.

Mary busied herself with the iPad while waiting. Mainly I wanted a photo of her headband, which I thought was cute.

Mary busied herself with the iPad while waiting. Mainly I wanted a photo of her headband, which I thought was cute.

Decorating gingerbread men.

Decorating gingerbread men.

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Lydia's gingerbread man.

Lydia’s gingerbread man.

Playing outside.

Playing outside.

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Ada is amazing at climbing trees. She got even higher than that, but this is the best picture I have of her.

Ada is amazing at climbing trees. She got even higher than that, but this is the best picture I have of her.

Abe took this picture while I was at school.

Abe took this picture while I was at school.

Speaking of school, I finished my final practical for my baking class today. I got the highest score in the class! Well, tied with two others. I felt really proud of myself because cooking school has not been easy, and I have been very mistake prone all quarter. It felt good to get some things right.

One thing I did not get right is that I lost my pastry cream. Actually, I was convinced one of my class mates stole it, and I was pretty upset all of class until I realized that someone had just moved my pastry cream, and then I felt ashamed of suspecting my class mate. (In my defense, he stole my equipment last during the final last week, and so I just assumed he had moved on to my actual products this week. I should really give people the benefit of the doubt more often.)

No sleep for the weary (children, that is)

I just erased my blog because I realized that all I wanted to talk about was my headache  and I know that is about as interesting to read about as my chin hair growth rate (maybe less? I could tell a story with a semblance of narrative arc about the latter…)

At any rate, I am powering through the pain to record today’s events.  Heroic, I know. Today started off really great. Abe and I both got up early, and he worked in a nice scripture study before work while I worked out, showered, and got in my own study. The girls did not sleep in, and because of that, their moods today were…delicate. I did manage to bathe them, feed them, read to them, and play with them, but more often than not all of these activities ended in tears. I also folded a week’s worth of laundry and made gingerbread men with Lydia. (I had to squeeze that last sentence in there because I am darn proud of myself for getting those things done).

We met up with Misty at IKEA, and Lydia was thrilled to see Sophia again. I was thrilled to meet Misty’s newborn, Owen.

Afterward, we came home and held a truncated FHE (truncated in honor of the girls’ delicate moods). A couple tantrums later, both girls are in bed, and I again have (vain?) hopes that they will sleep in tomorrow.

Two pictures:

I pushed the girls in their "rowboats" (aka laundry baskets) to a party Lydia planned out. The party involved dressing up in adult shoes and socks and, as far as I could tell, making big giant messes everywhere.

I pushed the girls in their “rowboats” (aka laundry baskets) to a party Lydia planned out. The party involved dressing up in adult shoes and socks and, as far as I could tell, making big giant messes everywhere.

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Ear wax removal

I had the worst cramps today that I can remember since adolescence, so every spare moment I had I spent out of commission. However, in the not-so-spare moments, I fed children, read to children, chauffeured children, took children to the library, cooked dinner, and cleaned the same rooms over and over again.

In the late afternoon, Lydia threw two tantrums and then said her ear hurt. Since I’ve known her ears have been chock full of wax for almost a year (I  have tried ear drops and other stuff to no avail), I immediately suspected there was an ear infection behind the wax. I decided to let Abe take her to the doctor because a) we don’t have a pediatrician yet and had to go to Instacare b) I called Instacare and they were really busy c) Mary was napping and I couldn’t see myself taking a sleep-deprived two year old and a sick three year old to a busy Instacare together.

Abe dutifully took Lydia to Instacare where they stayed for the next two hours. Lydia’s ears were so full of wax they had to flush them to diagnose her, and flushing took a long time. Both ears are now squeaky clean, and to our utter shock, Lydia was perfect the whole time. When I try to clean her ears at home, she screams and throws hysterical fits. At the Instacare, she was a perfect angel and did everything the nurse instructed without any resistance at all. I am so proud of her…although I suspect, since she did so well with the nurse, that must be the problem at home.

That’s disheartening. On the other hand, I was very heartened to see the wax specimens. I begged Abe to bring them home so I could see them because I have a weird fascination with ear wax, and it was soooooo satisfying to see that all of that gunk is now really and truly out of her poor ears.

Anyway, everyone finally ate dinner at 9 pm, and the girls finally made it to bed by 11 pm. I hope and pray they sleep in to 11 am tomorrow.

Here are the pictures:

At Instacare.

At Instacare.

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Mary stayed home with me and pretended that she was at the doctor with Lydia. She loved getting her ears cleaned and asked me to clean her ears again and again. Finally she just danced and ran around the house for an hour straight and demanded that I take pictures of her. I complied.

Mary stayed home with me and pretended that she was at the doctor with Lydia. She loved getting her ears cleaned and asked me to clean her ears again and again. Finally she just danced and ran around the house for an hour straight and demanded that I take pictures of her. I complied.

Lydia got two tokens for prizes since was so perfect for the nurse. One of the tokens won her a ring, which she proudly placed on her ring finger.

Lydia got two tokens for prizes since was so perfect for the nurse. One of the tokens won her a ring, which she proudly placed on her ring finger.

Dinner with Abe’s boss

Other than church, I spent the entire day cooking for a dinner we had with Abe’s boss and his boss’s wife tonight. I am slooooooww in the kitchen. All of my Sabbath time and attention revolved around: roasted leg of lamb with anchovies and rosemary, salsa verde, all sorts of squash with brown sugar, lime, and pomegranate, fennel foccacia (under-kneaded, and so the crust blew off. Needless to say, I didn’t serve that one!), kale salad, and gingersnaps. Abe almost took a picture, and then one of the kids threw a tantrum and we forgot to follow through.

The best part was, quite sincerely, the company. We had such a great time. I just liked Kim and Lucas a lot, and my social anxiety was so eased by their loveliness that I didn’t even feel flattened by panic during or after their visit. Yay for making more friends in Orem!

OH! Another good thing that happened was a phone call with Clark and Swathi. We talked about so much good news: Swathi got placed at her number one pick for her fellowship, Clark got promoted to a senior consultant with IBM just one year after starting there, and Swathi turned 30 on Friday. I love that little family.

Since we forgot to take pictures today, Abe snapped another one of Mary with her excessive number of binkies.

dec14Also, I want to get rid of Francie. I find her seriously irritating because she sits in front of the front door and tries to get in the house each time we leave or enter. Lydia and Abe are both attached though, so I will have to figure out a scheme to transfer their affection onto only Bazi.

We did take a picture of our beanbag that we got on a holiday sale from Restoration Hardware. We watched The 11th Hour  last night, and I have to say, that bean bag makes the best foot rest ever!

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A concert and The Nutcracker

Abe always supports my blogging, but yesterday we came home late from our date in Salt Lake, and he asked me not to blog because he was so tired and needed to go to bed. Of course, I couldn’t say no, but I felt bad, Grandma! I even took pictures yesterday too. Oh, well. I will post them today.

Yesterday we went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert with our friends, Mike and Paige. We went out to dinner first at our favorite restaurant, Ichiban. Abe and I had two Amazon local deals for the restaurant, and we want to still use them even though we’ve moved away. Anyway, after dinner we parked a couple blocks away from the Conference Center and sprinted the whole way to the concert. We made it just in time!

Every year the choir hosts special guests for its concert, and this year it collaborated with PBS to host the muppets. It was such a fun concert. Santino Fontana (the voice of Prince Hans in Frozen) was also featured, and he did one of the best Luke 2 readings I have ever heard. It was a great evening.

And our next door neighbor turned out to be a terrific babysitter! Not only do the girls love her, but she cleaned the house too. I remember cleaning every house I ever babysat in, but so far we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that babysitters these days (fogey-phrase alert!!) leave messes. We’ll have to see if she makes cleaning a habit, but if she does, in my book, she deserves a pretty immediate raise. What a star.

Today I looked online and realized that the Utah Regional Ballet had a matinee performance of The Nutcracker. We were listening to the classical radio station earlier this week when The Nutcracker came on, and I narrated the events and attempted to demonstrate what the Russian dance looked like (that part was hilarious, let me assure you). Ever since Lydia has developed a minor obsession with The Nutrcracker, and so I knew she’d enjoy the performance.

It turned out that taking Lydia to the ballet was both of our dreams come true. I have always daydreamed about taking my kids to arts performances with me, and today that daydream was fulfilled. I felt like I was floating slightly while walking around the theater hand-in-hand with my sweet, excited three year old. When I took her out of the car to go in the theater, Lydia said, “Mama, I’m so excited to see The Nutcracker! Are you excited too?” And then, upon entering the theater: “Mama, this is so fun.” Melt away, my heart. I was in heaven.

Or at least I was in heaven for the first hour and a half. The last half hour was slightly trying because Lydia has been sick, and when she’s sick she gets tired easily. When she’s tired, her behavior becomes very difficult to manage. So I spent the last thirty minutes trying to convince her not to dance in the back of the theater and not to wander up and down the stairs in the balcony. Once I explained that we needed to be respectful of how hard the dancers had worked, she settled into my lap and didn’t struggle anymore. I should have tried explaining (as opposed to cajoling) earlier.

Anyway, here are the pictures from yesterday and today:

Yesterday

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Mary has been going through a phase where she tucks all of her stuffed animals in with a blanket and a binky each.
Very excited to cover another animal with a blanket.

Very excited to cover another animal with a blanket.

Lydia has been going through a phase where she "bakes" for upwards of an hour on end. She just takes random spices, pours a generous amount of honey in with them, and stirs.

Lydia has been going through a phase where she “bakes” for upwards of an hour on end. She just takes random spices, pours a generous amount of honey in with them, and stirs.

 

Lydia's concoction. She actually ate it with peas. I was scared to try it.

Lydia’s concoction. She actually ate it with peas. I was scared to try it.

Cute.

Cute.

This image perfectly captures the mood each of these girls has been in for the past week. Lydia has gone days without smiling at all (although today she smiled at least three times at The Nutcracker), and Mary can't wipe the grin off her face.

This image perfectly captures the mood each of these girls has been in for the past week. Lydia has gone days without smiling at all (although today she smiled at least three times at The Nutcracker), and Mary can’t wipe the grin off her face.

I raked for a couple hours yesterday. It's going to snow today, so at least the front yard won't have a foot of leaves decomposing under the snow.

I raked for a couple hours yesterday. It’s going to snow today, so at least the front yard won’t have a foot of leaves decomposing under the snow.

After the concert, we went through Temple Square to get back to our car.

After the concert, we went through Temple Square to get back to our car. I definitely did not need that coat, but I figured wearing it was easier than carrying it.

Today’s picture

Before our Mama-daughter date today.

Before our Mama-daughter date today.

library card and Cancun trip

I got an Orem library card today! One part of the process that struck fear in my heart occurred when the librarian told me that this library does not have a read-down-your-fines program. I am just going to have to learn how to return books on time, I guess. I don’t know if I can do it, but  it’s either that or I need to budget for beans and rice every night since the rest of our budget will be taken up by library fines.

My final in class went well tonight! I have two more finals next week. Tonight we had to make French bread, sweet tart dough, and eclaire paste. My eclairs and Paris brests were not great, but I accidentally made my dough too runny, so they were the best I could eek out of what I had to work with.

I also forgot to take pictures today. I could have taken more sunrise shots since Lydia came into my room and watched the “show” with me, but it looked a lot like yesterday. I’m not tired of it yet, but I don’t know if the camera would have captured anything remarkably different.

Oh, and I forgot to say congratulations to Abe! He won a work contest, so he and I get to go to a resort in Cancun for five days next month. At first we were concerned about what to do with our kids, but Tom and Suzanne agreed to watch them today, and we are so grateful. Abe has just done an amazing job at his job, and I’m so proud of him. It was a big risk switching to Qualtrics for him, but he’s just worked so ridiculously hard. In fact, he’s exhausted, so I need to stop blogging and let the poor exhausted man rest!

Sunrise

I was up a lot last night with Lydia, and she finally just joined us in bed in the middle of the night. We cuddled a lot, and when I woke up this morning, we both watched the sun rise over the mountains together. When I got up to brush my teeth, Lydia kept me posted on all of the new colors appearing in the sky. At the end, I asked her what colors there were and she said, “Mom, it’s just purple now.” How true! Once the sun rose, the sky was the lightest shade of early morning purple. Anyhow, these pictures were taken before that point–when there were lots of colors still rioting in the sky. IMG_0473 IMG_0474Here is my other window. In real life, Mt. Timpanogas (pictured) appears much crisper and clearer, but the camera fuzzies it up and I am not camera savvy enough to know how to get it to focus on the mountain.

IMG_0475I decided to focus again on the girls today. The house isn’t finished, but who knows when it will be. In the meantime, the girls really need attention, and it felt so luxurious to do nothing but play with them, work with them, talk with them, and laugh with them all day (or at least until I had to leave for class).

Here’a a picture from yesterday that I forgot to post. Abe has been really busy at work and very tired as he recovers from the last six months. Tonight while I was at school, he lay on the floor of the girls’ bedroom and napped deeply while they played around him. I imagine they played in a similar fashion to how they did yesterday (pictured below).

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Feats to repeat

A little scared by all the spending we’ve been doing for the new house, I figured one way to cut back on spending is to stay home all day. The other half of the equation was to keep busy enough that my iPad didn’t tempt me either, and it worked! The grand total I spent today was $0. Now if I can just repeat this feat more often, things will turn out hunky dory.

In my time at home, I focused on house projects–and Lydia! She has suffered so much from our neglect during this move, and while Mary has been every bit as neglected, Lydia is a little bit more emotionally sensitive…basically, she needed some attention. So today Lydia and I cuddled together, played 8 rounds of bingo together (she won every time–may her luck hold out like that for the rest of her life), baked cookies together, and read together. By the end of the day, she was so sweet. I basically baked the cookies while she hugged me the whole time. Again, a feat occurred today that bears repeating.

We got a very nice visit from our Bishopric tonight, and I feel very happy about our new ward. This is the friendliest community we’ve ever lived in.

Pictures:

Bingo with my favorite three year old.

Bingo with my favorite three year old.

I read and sang "Good King Wenceslas" to the girls tonight, and Mary decided the song was worth dancing to. She convinced Abe to join her.

I read and sang “Good King Wenceslas” to the girls tonight, and Mary decided the song was worth dancing to. She convinced Abe to join her.

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