Packing it in on Isabella’s first day here

Isabella read to and played with the girls for two hours this morning while I cooked. They are in love.

Isabella read to and played with the girls for two hours this morning while I cooked. They are in love. (P.S. mom, we are moving that chair back into your room when you come back. This is a temporary seating solution.)

We went shopping for Isabella and the girls had trouble giving her privacy.

We went shopping for Isabella and the girls had trouble giving her privacy.

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We went hiking on the Mt. Timpanogas trail for our FHE activity.

We went hiking on the Mt. Timpanogas trail for our FHE activity. The only shoes that currently fit Mary are her dress shoes. She hiked in those.

I told Lydia before the hike to hurry up because we didn't want to get hunted by mountain lions in the dark. Big mistake. She wailed the entire hour about being scared of mountain lions and wanted to go straight back home.

I told Lydia before the hike to hurry up because we didn’t want to get hunted by mountain lions in the dark. Big mistake. She wailed the entire hour about being scared of mountain lions and wanted to go straight back home.

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Isabella with her big hiking stick.

Isabella with her big hiking stick.

It wasn't until Isabella calmed her down at the end that Lydia finally cheered up.

It wasn’t until Isabella calmed her down at the end that Lydia finally cheered up.

Mary drumming on Daddy.

Mary drumming on Daddy.

Lydia even told us that she would be happy to return to that hike so she could collect some rocks for her collection.

Lydia even told us that she would be happy to return to that hike so she could collect some rocks for her collection.

IMG_0077 (2)The only thing of note that happened that isn’t pictured is that we had a play date with Saige, our carpool friend. We baked Isabella’s mom’s brownies during the play date. Oh, and Isabella, Abe and I finished watching (or, in Abe’s and my case, rewatching) Les Miserables this evening. Oh my weepy. I had forgotten how that movie stirs such deep emotion. I got tickets so Andrea and Isabella can go to the play on Isabella’s birthday, so Abe and I thought we should watch it with her so she can know what’s going on during the play.

Oh, and here’s a video from the hike:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqTxNnRSeB0

Isabella pick-up!

Church was very inspiring today with the best talk I have ever heard from a newly returned missionary. I honestly thought I was listening to a future prophet. Abe also taught a wonderful Sunday school lesson on John 6 (the Bread of Life sermon) and about Peter walking on water. By the end of the lesson, I was crying. The room was so full of the spirit, and people made such amazing, personal comments.

Then we headed straight to Tom and Suzanne’s for dinner AND to pick up Isabella!! We get to have her here for a whole week, and we are so excited. The girls are beside themselves with excitement.IMG_0031 IMG_0037 (1)

Laundry catch-up

Since Mary again spent most of the day napping, Abe and I spent the day taking care of a very tired Lydia. Well, actually, Abe did most of the work. My energy bursts happened between 7am and 11:30 am, and again between 9 pm and now (1 am). In between I was a pretty useless lump that migrated from the couch to the bed and back again.

Pictures!

Lydia and I made empanadas stuffed with kale, spinach, chard, kalamatas, provolone, onion, garlic, and a leeetle quinoa and rice. I have been craving greens and overdid it on the filling.

Lydia and I made empanadas stuffed with kale, spinach, chard, kalamatas, provolone, onion, garlic, and a leeetle quinoa and rice. I have been craving greens and overdid it on the filling. Also, my ponytail is perpetually falling out. I need a haircut. Another also: Abe helped me out and did the edge crimping for me. I can’t get things to look pretty, and he used to make calzones in a pizza parlor, so we used his expertise to make the calzones look good. I need to start taking pictures of my food agian because I need a portfolio of home pictures for my final final.

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Abe taught Lydia how to fold clothes. Lydia eventually convinced him to leave the laundry and help her craft, but guess what? We got all of the laundry done today! And every room in the house is clean! I woke up thinking these were impossibilities, but they happened. Woo-hoo!

Abe taught Lydia how to fold clothes. Lydia eventually convinced him to leave the laundry and help her craft, but guess what? We got all of the laundry done today! And every room in the house is clean! I woke up thinking these were impossibilities, but they happened. Woo-hoo!

nap-ful Friday

Yesterday went well. I mustered up the energy to clean the main floor, and even though I am two weeks behind in laundry (maybe three? –can’t remember the last time I folded and put away anything), at least the downstairs looks fine. Just don’t go up or down from there.

I also felt helped at my internship. When things went wrong or I made mistakes, I felt calm assurances. It was a very sweet spiritual experience, and one that I haven’t had much during cooking school or my internship (aside from Thursday) thus far.

We had a new babysitter because Summer joined a soccer team, and I asked Abe how the girls liked her. Abe told me that Mary never met her because she didn’t wake up until 6:30 pm and Emma, the babysitter, left at 6. Mary went down at noon. I think she and Lydia are coming down with a cold or something. Hopefully all that sleep means they’ll be better today.

Abe took some pictures while he played with them outside after he got home:

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Another catch up picture post–and a miracle!

School got out early last night and I went to bed very early, so I skipped blogging.

Today I had a miracle happen at work. I was shelling and slicing an enormous colander of peas, and I was feeling so ill I honestly thought I was going to vomit or pass out or both. I was sweating like crazy (it was before service and not even hot) and felt soooo bad. All I could do was pray over and over that I would have the strength to get through the hours of pea cutting in front of me. Finally, I went to the chef and told him I didn’t think I could make it through the whole colander and asked what he needed that night. Without batting an eye, the chef said, “Fine, just do half the colander.”

I have absolutely no hard feelings against him because he is very young and has no idea what pregnancy illness feels like, but to give an idea of how long half a colander would take: It took me two and a half hours. At high end restaurants, they have interns who do nothing but mince parsley and slice/shell peas all day long. That’s how time consuming these tasks are.

I returned to my station wondering if I would actually have to quit because I didn’t think I could make it through any more, and all of the sudden: The pain went away. It was amazing. In one moment I was in so much pain I knew I could not continue, and in the next I felt 100% better. All I could reference was the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon whose burdens are made so light they “couldn’t feel them on their backs” because God heard their prayers and took care of them. I felt like that happened to me tonight.

I had spent most of the day praying for strength to make it cheerfully through my internship, because honestly now that I’m done with school (if you don’t count one last final in May and an online class between now and then), I just CAN’T WAIT to be done with cooking outside of my home. Period.

But I read this morning in the scriptures how God does not take anything in His heart to do but that He does it. That, to me, means that God finishes what He starts. I want to finish what I start, and so the whole day I prayed that God would see me through this trial–and then in my hour of desperation, He literally took my burden completely away. I am blown away by how good He is. I ended up shelling and slicing 99% of the colander. The chef came over at that point and told me not to worry about the remaining few peas.

Pictures:

Yesterday

Mary was a sleepyhead yesterday morning. I went in and out of her room a lot, and she didn't bat an eyelash. She must have fallen out of her bed during the night...

Mary was a sleepyhead yesterday morning. I went in and out of her room a lot, and she didn’t bat an eyelash. She must have fallen out of her bed during the night…

Lydia and Mary are obsessed with Lydia's new cupcake board game. They play with it all day long.

Lydia and Mary are obsessed with Lydia’s new cupcake board game. They play with it all day long.

Abe and the girls took Bazi in for her booster shots. Lydia was in heaven and made up this song: "You are free...to stay in your cage...and then we'll let you out when we get there! We love you we love you we love you! Oooh, sweet kitly, we love you!" --the whole time.

Abe and the girls took Bazi in for her booster shots. Lydia was in heaven and made up this song: “You are free…to stay in your cage…and then we’ll let you out when we get there! We love you we love you we love you! Oooh, sweet kitly, we love you!” –the whole time.

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Playing with Carter, Camden, and Olivia after ballet today.

Playing with Carter, Camden, and Olivia after ballet today.

Dinner tonight while I was gone.

Dinner tonight while I was gone.

Swathi sent us this gorgeous picture. I got to Face Time with Soren the other day, and he just melted my heart. He is the cutest little nephew!!

Swathi sent us this gorgeous picture. I got to Face Time with Soren the other day, and he just melted my heart. He is the cutest little nephew!!

Almost there

I forgot to take pictures today! Darn.

It was a pretty normal day. I took the girls to ballet/childcare and worked out, and then we all came home and rested. Mary refused to eat lunch and begged for a nap instead; she napped for the next five hours. Lydia fell asleep two hours later curled up with her head on my stomach.  I snuck out of bed to make dinner and visit with my visiting teachers before going to school (for the second to last time!).

I calculated I have been gone for over forty hours a week ever since I started my internship. I can not wait for this last week of forty hours of gone-ness to be done.

after school pics and video

Tonight was the first night I had to face the chefs after filing my complaints. It went surprisingly well. I have no idea if they know or not, but either way, I made it!

I took a video of Lydia telling me all about her school day. I’ll post it right after the picture of her showing me her preschool art. After I took the video, I showed it to Lydia. She asked me, “Mommy, why did I use a mean voice there?” (at the part where she tells me in exasperation that Talia buckles her in). I was so happy that she could recognize that on her own! Anyway, that and all the rest of her talking made me so happy.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jpWdWlaXvw

Miners’ March birthdays

This morning we took a picture of the girls eating breakfast because we think the way Lydia crosses her legs while she eats is cute:

IMG_0318Then before church we made some funfetti cupcakes for Lydia’s birthday party at the Miners’.

IMG_0325 IMG_0321After church, we went to the Miners’ for March birthday celebrations:

IMG_0327 IMG_0331And after that, we went to Tom and Suzanne’s to print off my final project for class on Tom’s amazing color printer. While we were there, Isabella showered the girls with gifts-it was like Christmas! Everyone loves Isabella! She gave them a wicker chair, an alligator toy that “bites,” a tiger flashlight that roars, pom poms, a pop-up book, and probably something else that I’m forgetting. She also helped them play with the gifts Lydia got at the Miners’. The girls had so much fun with her.

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catch-up at 4:45 am

On Friday I went and talked to the head of the program and discussed some of my concerns with her. Afterward I sent her an itemized write-up of some highlighted experiences I had had in class. I still don’t know whether that was the right course of action or not. I do know I tried hard to do my best to walk that line between turning the other cheek (which, after trying all semester, I ultimately failed  to do) and standing up for what I thought was right, in the hope that somehow that would change the environment for future students who might find themselves on these two chefs’ bad list.

I am a little scared to go to class next week and face the chefs, but I have to go. I guess life is just full of opportunities to do hard things. I didn’t blog Friday because I was so tired after my shift at the restaurant that I came home and went straight to bed. The only drama that happened on that shift occurred when the owner found me salting the pesto without a measuring spoon. I don’t know what came over me! Normally I ask so many questions that I am annoying, but when I couldn’t find the spoons I thought, “Oh well. They don’t have any.” –and I went on to try to eyeball the measurements. Oops!

And then today we leased a new car! Our old one was seriously breaking down. The brake light was perpetually on and we couldn’t drive it without it making the sound of fingernails-on-the -chalkboard continuously. It was a huge blessing to have the old car up until now, but it felt so nice to drive off with a working van. It’s the exact same color and model as our last van (Toyota Sienna) only fourteen years newer.

We came this close  to getting a Ford Explorer, and finally the Toyota sales person’s pitch about how Toyotas retain their value swayed us. We don’t want to have to pay a ton of money in two years just to keep our lease payments the same.

I didn’t take pictures of the new van because by the end it was 7 pm and we were famished and exhausted. We ate and came straight home so I could finish my portfolio for class.

I did get one picture of Abe and Mary in front of the Ford dealership.

I did get one picture of Abe and Mary in front of the Ford dealership.

By the time that was done, it was 11 pm and I took a “nap.” It’s 4:45 am now, and so I figure I have had a long enough nap!

Here’s a video of the dance party Abe and the girls had Saturday morning before we car shopped:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7QC0vLjGtg

a spat (<-- and that's my pun o' the day)

Abe and the girls went out to dinner with Abe’s extended family at La Cuca tonight while I was at my internship.

I went swimming this morning, and we all took looong naps this afternoon.

Abe has been begging me to wake the girls up either earlier in the morning or up from their naps so that they actually go to bed at a reasonable hour, but it’s so hard for me to wake them up! So Mary took a five hour nap and Lydia took a two and a half hour nap. I took a nap and read some before going off to my internship.

The owner of the restaurant has kindly offered to hire me afterward, and I almost feel obligated to accept because this internship is sparing me so much school pain. However, today was physically hard at the internship. I spent the last couple hours repeating to myself “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” while I chopped hundreds of mushrooms, lots of squash, and a ton of apples.

At the beginning of my internship, things got a little hairy between the chef and the sous chef. I was supposed to be making the creme Anglaise for the pudding, and the chef told me to switch out my whisk for a spatula while I waited for it to thicken. The sous chef came over and said, “$%*# the spatula! Use the whisk.” And he proceeded to take the spatula out of my hand and replace it with a whisk. Five seconds later the chef came by and saw me stirring with a whisk again. Uh-oh.  He and the sous chef had a little spat (HA) that ended in them physically pulling each other’s utensils out of each other’s hands and getting splattered with boiling creme Anglaise. At that point, no one was stirring the creme Anglaise and it started to curdle. After we worked really hard to fix it, the chef said quietly, “Next time, just use the spatula.”

Um, okay. I just hope the sous chef isn’t around the next time they ask me to make the pudding.