Cleaning day

After I spent the entire day deep cleaning the house, I lay in bed trying to catch my breath before Abe came home. As I lay there, I heard Lydia say in the next room, “Mary, come on! Let’s make the biggest mess ever and surprise Mama! Won’t that be fun?”

I didn’t have energy to protest, so I opened Alice in Wonderland and read my troubles away.

Thankfully, “the biggest mess ever” turned out to be a couple board books in the middle of Ammon’s room, and so my entire day didn’t go totally to waste.

Abe had a great day at work, but we’re biting our nails because tomorrow is the end of the quarter, and the one deal he needs to go through to hit his quota has been stuck in his client’s legal department for weeks. We are hoping it goes through tomorrow.

Pictures:

I spend an inordinate amount of time in bed. Therefore, my bedroom windows have intense significance to me. As the seasons have passed, I keep thinking there is no way my view can get better--but the other day, I realized I have a luscious trumpet vine growing on the side of my window! Not only that, but hummingbirds hang out in front of the flowers. My cup runneth over.

I spend an absurd amount of time in bed. One of my chief joys in life consists of looking out of my bedroom windows; I can remember every bedroom window I’ve ever had (26). As the seasons have passed in this house, I keep thinking there is no way my view can get better–but the other day, I realized I have a luscious trumpet vine growing on the side of my window! Not only that, but hummingbirds hang out in front of the flowers. My cup runneth over.

If I turn my head, I see Mt. Timpanogos.

If I turn my head to the left, I see Mt. Timpanogos. If my whole life fell apart, I think these two windows (and God, of course) could probably keep me going.

FHE sharing time. Both girls shared their balls.

FHE sharing time. Both girls shared their balls.

Lydia did a live demonstration on how a ball works.

Lydia did a live demonstration on how a ball works.

Right now Abe is crafting birthday cards with the girls for our FHE craft while I blog.

Our dying lawn: Can it be resuscitated?

This morning Abe realized our lawn is dying. We thought our pest control guy, who also works on our lawn, had turned on the sprinklers, but apparently they’re broken. I am not observant enough to realize that our lawn has been slowly turning brown for the past couple weeks, but I guess Abe has suspected something is wrong, and this morning he realized that without immediate action, we would have to re-seed the entire lawn.

Our lovely neighbor lent us a sprinkler, and it’s been going all day. Right now Abe is outside changing its position for the umpteenth time.

The only other exciting thing that happened today was I got to have hot flashes all day long. That was fun.

Running through the sprinkler before church.

Running through the sprinkler before church.

Abe's lesson plan on the parable of the sower.

Abe’s lesson plan on the parable of the sower. He taught Elder’s Quorum today.

I was, once again, out of commission for most of the evening. I tried to read the girls books and had to stop halfway through one book because I was gasping for air after every sentence. Abe painted with the girls and read to them until bedtime.

I was, once again, out of commission for most of the evening. I tried to read the girls books and had to stop halfway through one book because I was gasping for air after every sentence. Abe painted with the girls and read to them until bedtime. Today both girls were…fragile. That meant Abe had to work twice as hard to stave off tantrums. I just love that man so much.

Balu send-off

We got to spend most of the day with Balu, who is moving to Kansas City next week. We are so sad to see him go and hope he comes back to Utah soon!

First we went to Timpanogos Cave. The tours were sold out, so we booked one for three weeks from today. We also had a picnic across from the visitor center. I spent most of the picnic worrying about the squirrels. I hate squirrels, and people apparently fed the squirrels in this picnic area because they weren’t afraid of people at all. Eventually, I packed up and left while everyone else headed down to the creek. I have a video of Balu and the girls throwing rocks.  And here’s one of Mary eating watermelon. (Abe took this because even though nothing happens, we all think everything Mary does is cute.)

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It’s plain to see the girls adore Balu. We will miss him a lot!

Then we headed over to the BYU creamery for ice cream.

IMG_1891 IMG_1894 IMG_1902 IMG_1904Afterward, we figured out where the Y trailhead starts because I want to start hiking that in the morning. I might bump into Stephanie Nielson! We also made two library stops and went to the Pizza Pie Cafe for dinner. (The girls earned a coupon for pizza from the Orem library. I was exhausted from the heat and decided that using the coupons was an easy way out of meal prep.)

When we came home, I was a lump on a log and read Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? cover to cover while Abe entertained the kids and put them to bed. He deserves some sort of award for selflessness. Here’s a video of one of the puppet shows he and the kids put on for me.

Friendship day

When I moved to Orem, the first Sunday at church I took a look around and then decided I was done making friends for a while. I felt tired and play-dated out. My ward is absolutely lovely, and I like liking everyone–from a distance. But sometimes I feel a little guilty because my children day dream about play dates, and at other times I miss having more frequent interactions with friends.

Today, I got to see three friends! This morning I saw Chelsea in passing on our way to swim lessons, and then right after lunch Candace surprised me with a visit. She was on a road trip and saw on my blog that I had extra carrot cake, so she stopped by to help relieve me of the burden. It was such a joy to visit with her–over cake! Candace’s visit alone was enough to make my day.

And then this evening we went to Salt Lake to have dinner with my dear friend, Lauren, and her new husband, Grant. I wanted to take a picture, but of course I forgot because they are so fun to talk to. It wasn’t until we were in the car that I remembered that I forgot to take a picture. They are such a beautiful newly-wed couple. I felt bad because I accidentally booked our Yellowstone trip on the weekend of their wedding, but it did feel special to have some two-on-two time with such outstanding people. Abe and I drove home refreshed. If only we had a picture.

I did get three pictures today, though.

The girls had their first summer swim lesson today.

The girls had their first summer swim lesson today.

Lydia and Cadence eating cake.

Lydia and Cadence eating cake.

Candace is my main inspiration for how to approach motherhood with fun and light-heartedness. Here she is tickling Lydia.

Candace is my main inspiration for how to approach motherhood with fun and light-heartedness. Here she is tickling Lydia.

carrot cake craving

Once again, my motivation to venture out melted at the sight of all the hot sunshine, so we stayed home again all day. I finished my book and napped a bunch. Abe is coming down with a bad cold, probably from all the work stress, so we continued to take it easy this evening.

I painted the girls' nails this morning after their baths.

I painted the girls’ nails this morning after their baths.

I have been craving carrot cake for days now. I felt like the ancient Israelites preparing their unleavened bread in haste; I hurried so much to bake and assemble this cake because I was DYING to eat it. The result? A lopsided, super-sloppy looking, delicious mess. The sad thing is, after one piece, my craving was gone. I anticipated eating half the cake, or at least a quarter...but now I have this huge cake on my hands that is too ugly to give away. I suppose we can chip away at it for the next week and throw it out when it gets stale.

I have been craving carrot cake for days now. I felt like the ancient Israelites preparing their unleavened bread in haste; I hurried so much to bake and assemble this cake because I was DYING to eat it. The result? A lopsided, super-sloppy looking, delicious mess. The sad thing is, after one piece, my craving was gone. I anticipated eating half the cake, or at least a quarter…but now I have a huge cake on my hands that is too ugly to give away. (This photo gets the cake at its absolute best angle. I should have been honest and taken a picture of the cake in its horrific entirety, but it was kind of mortifying.) I suppose we can chip away at it for the next week and throw it out when it gets stale. First world problems.

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easy to entreat

I woke up feeling like today I should adopt this mantra: “Easy to entreat.” Sometimes I have a bad habit of saying “no,” or “maybe later” automatically to my kids’ requests, and today I resolved to be easy to entreat. The result was surprising. I still did all necessary housework, but somehow I had more time for my kids than normal–and I took three naps! I am going to try to be more easy to entreat every day.

It was almost one hundred degrees today, and we stayed home all day. Even stepping outside for a minute felt draining to me, although the kids spent a lot of the late afternoon and evening outside.

We read a lot today. Mary poses whenever she spots me whipping out my phone.

We read a lot today. Mary poses whenever she spots me whipping out my phone.

We also lounged a lot. After Abe came home, Lydia, Abe and I sat around doing nothing until we shook off lethargy and ate dinner.

We also lounged a lot. After Abe came home, Lydia, Abe and I sat around doing nothing until we shook off lethargy and ate dinner.

Lydia made a tea party for her dolls.

Lydia made a tea party for her dolls.

Abe built the girls a fort.

Abe built the girls a fort.

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Back home

Today Abe went back into the end of quarter whirlwind, and I did laundry and post-trip cleaning all day. I did take the girls to Inside Out in the morning, and that was fun. It wasn’t Frozen in terms of kid-appeal (at least for my kids), but it was funny, clean and tender.

This evening we went to Chelsea and Derek’s for dinner, and then we went to Qualtrics for a tour of the building and new building’s rose garden.

We just love Chelsea's food. Those squash were amazing.

We just love Chelsea’s food. Those squash were amazing.

Dress-up.

Dress-up.

Whirlwind morning in Chicago

I was so excited to be in Chicago that I only managed to sleep two hours. I tried to go swimming at 4 am, but the health club opened at 5. The hotel pool overlooked downtown Chicago, and I watched the fog burn off of the skyscrapers as I swam. It was so extremely enjoyable that I swam for an hour.

After that, we let the kids sleep in for another hour because they didn’t fall asleep until midnight last night. Abe woke them up in this funny video.  They had been sleeping like this:

IMG_0694After breakfast, we walked to Buckingham Fountain.

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Mary fell in love with this banana at breakfast and declared that it was special to God. She carried it like a lovey for the whole walk...until she dropped it in the street and watched, horrified, as a white car zoomed on top of her banana and it exploded in pieces. Her ensuing meltdown lasted until we bought her a replacement banana at the hotel bakery.

Mary fell in love with this banana at breakfast and declared that it was special to God. She carried it like a lovey for the whole walk…until she dropped it in the street and watched, horrified, as a white car zoomed on top of her banana and it exploded in pieces. Her ensuing meltdown lasted until we bought her a replacement banana at the hotel bakery.

Then we drove to Lincoln Park Zoo.

At the front of the zoo.

At the front of the zoo.

We rode the endangered species carousel. Mary declared that it was fun and reminded her of Disneyland.

We rode the endangered species carousel. Mary declared that it was fun and reminded her of Disneyland.

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The girls also enjoyed the tiger.

The girls also enjoyed the tiger.

In the gorilla house.

In the gorilla house.

Watching flamingos.

Watching flamingos.

In the shuttle on the way back to O'Hare from our car rental place.

In the shuttle on the way back to O’Hare from our car rental place.

And now we are home. We had a wonderful trip, and the only issue we faced involved temperature control. Aside from the fact that all of our hotels had in-room air conditioning problems, I found the humidity of Illinois to be oppressive. Basically, I discovered that I belong in Utah. However, when we got home we discovered…our air conditioner is not working. Tomorrow I am taking the girls to the air conditioned movies to kill the time until the AC guy comes over.

Back to Chicago

Clark, Swathi and Soren popped over to our room before heading back to Pittsburg this morning. The girls woke up and gave Clark and Abe their Father’s Day goody bags.

My visiting teaching companion told me that her grandkids made these bags for their dads. The girls had fun making them and then stuffing them with some of Clark and Abe's favorite candies.

My visiting teaching companion told me that her grandkids made these bags for their dads. The girls had fun making them and then stuffing them with some of Clark and Abe’s favorite candies.

Then we had breakfast and headed over to Grandma’s before going to church with Mom.

Abe and the girls put on a puppet show at Grandma's house before we went to church.

Abe and the girls put on a puppet show at Grandma’s house before we went to church.

We headed out after sacrament to drive to Chicago. We visited our condo in Hyde Park for the first time in over three years. I think our renter thought we were checking up on her, but we just wanted to take a trip down memory lane. Abe and I were so happy to relive the memories of our time dating and our first year together.

Then we checked into our hotel downtown.

I have always wanted to stay at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, and with our rewards points, our stay was free! I can see the lake from my window, just like when I lived in my little Hyde Park studio. So thrilling.

I have always wanted to stay at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, and with our rewards points, our stay was free! I can see the lake from my window, just like when I lived in my little Hyde Park studio. So thrilling.

My friend Maria came to the hotel and we walked to the fountains. The girls had a blast playing in the fountains. We have two videos here.

My friend Maria came to the hotel and we walked to the fountains. The girls had a blast playing in the fountains. We have two videos here.

IMG_1778After the girls played for almost an hour, we headed back to our hotel for baths and Lou Malnatti’s pizza. Whew. Hopefully we can get up early enough to pack in some fun before our flight home tomorrow afternoon.

a happy birthday

I am basically going to throw up pictures from yesterday and basta cosi.

The girls just love their Uncle Clark.

The girls just love their Uncle Clark.

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We had a picnic near Abe Lincoln's house.

We had a picnic near Abe Lincoln’s house.

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Blowing bubbles to Soren.

Blowing bubbles to Soren.

Blowing bubbles that Nana brought for the girls. Abe liked them too.

Blowing bubbles that Nana brought for the girls. Abe liked them too.

Guess who we met after our tour of Lincoln's home?

Guess who we met after our tour of Lincoln’s home?

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It's an Abe sandwich!!!

It’s an Abe sandwich!!!

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I got a haircut! I have literally been trying to get one since January. It's been a year and a half, and I feel so much better with my three inches of dead ends gone!

I got a haircut! I have literally been trying to get one since January. It’s been a year and a half, and I feel so much better with my three inches of dead ends gone!

IMG_0958 (1) IMG_0945In the evening, the fireflies came out. We don’t have fireflies in Utah (or at least, I never see them). The girls were enthralled.

And that was the end of the happiest start to my thirty second year.