Good-bye to family and Ammon’s baby blessing

Lily told me that before she met me she had never heard of a “recovery day.” Apparently I have enlightened her on the concept, but a “recovery day” is a day where you literally expect nothing from yourself for a day because you are so worn out from the regular grind of life that you need a day to just relax.  Lily and I have had so much fun this past week with Hawaii and Christmas, but we have definitely been in recovery mode recently as we unwind from all the activity.

On a sad note, all of Lily’s family has left. I had so much fun hanging out with them and they are also angelic house-guests, always cooking, cleaning and picking up take-out for everyone.  Lily’s family really went the extra mile taking care of us and they were the guests!  They are all such fine people and really fun to hang out with and we will really miss them.

Before everyone headed out Lily went with her family Saturday evening to see Star Wars. I offered to babysit since I had a virtual gift exchange that night and couldn’t go anyway and they all came back singing the praises of the movie. Apparently it was absolutely incredible.

Sunday morning Clark, Swathi and Soren left, but Georgia was still around which was great since we had Ammon’s baby blessing.  My dad, Jere, Morgan, Mike Moran, Jay Pryzbela and I all performed the blessing.  Among other things, I blessed Ammon to be strong, humble, reliant on God, gentle and a peace-maker.  He cried through the entire blessing, which was odd since he’s usually so mild, but it all worked out fine.

After church, my dad, Suzanne and Jere came over to exchange Christmas gifts and have dinner. It was sooo nice to see them. Here are some pictures and videos from Sunday:

-Mary opens a puzzle

-Mary and Lydia get new towels

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As I alluded to before, Monday was a slow and relaxing day. We just enjoyed our last day with Georgia and played with the kids. Lily and Georgia watched the movie Selma (an all time favorite for me and Lily) and Lily and I finished the day by watching part of Star Wars Episode 1.

Now all our guests have left and it’s a little more quiet around here….although with three kids, its still not all that quiet 🙂 Here are some pictures that we snapped Saturday while everyone was still in town!

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A Holly Jolly Christmas

Lily turned to me (Abe) this evening and said, “I think this is the best Christmas I have ever had.”  It made me so happy to hear that. She put so much work into making it a nice Christmas for everyone after getting basically zero sleep on our red-eye flight from Hawaii. Here is the rundown!

This morning, our children actually slept in. It was great! After they woke up though, they knew the drill.  Here are three videos of them opening presents: Opening Stockings, Lydia gets gum “again”, More opening of presents.

For breakfast we ate Harry and David pears from Georgia, Panatoni bread and other treats.  Lydia and Mary had only unwrapped half of their presents, but they lost interest after they finished opening the presents that were just for them and were not toys “to share.” By 3PM they rallied to open the “sharing” toys which included an easel and magnetic blocks. See easel below:

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For lunch, Georgia made some of her famous eggs and we had delicious pasta that Clark made the day before. We were joined by my buddy Nick who I met in Chicago and now lives in Utah (see below).

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After lunch Nick and I delivered gifts to my neighbors while everyone else in the house slaved away preparing for dinner. Major hats off to Georgia, Clark, Lily and Swathi who all came together to make sure the house was clean and the dinner was ready in time for guests.

For dinner we had my mom (Karin), Jay, Jere, David, Olivia Nick, Georgia, Swathi, Clark, Lydia, Mary, Ammon and Soren. We had a really great time and the Salmon Clark cooked was fantastic. We passed the time chatting and then we exchanged more gifts and opened the stocking treats my mom always gives out every year.  It was a truly wonderful Christmas.

Here are some additional scenes from Christmas:

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Also, here are some photos from Christmas Eve:

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Lastly, here are some more photos from the Hawaii trip that we haven’t posted yet:IMG_4227 IMG_4206 IMG_4196 IMG_4194 IMG_4192 IMG_4190IMG_1911 IMG_1914

 

Aloha!

This week we went from this:

IMG_1906to this:

IMG_4197We are so happy to be in Hawaii! Abe’s extremely generous CEO gave this gift to our family and ten other Qualtrics families. It has been so nice to escape the cold for a while. Here are the pictures we’ve been taking in chronological order.

Saturday

We packed and flew to Hawaii on the BYU basketball team’s charter flight. We had never flown on a charter flight before, but there were lots of extra seats. That meant we could bring Ammon’s carseat so he slept for almost the entire flight. He cried for approximately two minutes out of the entire six hour flight. It was dreamy.

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(The cake pops the girls are eating were given to us by a secret Santa who is playing the twelve days of Christmas on us. My mom, Clark, Swathi and Soren flew into Orem on Monday and are receiving the subsequent gifts. Orem neighbors are the best.)

Then we checked into the Marriott Waikiki resort and went straight to dinner.

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We bought the girls leis and Lydia wore hers like this. Random strangers took pictures of her, and I only hoped they ignored her black eye. She got that from falling out of her bed during a pillow fight the night before we left. Every day her eye changes color. I

We bought the girls leis and Lydia wore hers like this. Random strangers took pictures of her, and I only hoped they ignored her black eye. She got that from falling out of her bed during a pillow fight the night before we left. Every day her eye changes color.

Sunday

We rented a car and went to Pearl Harbor and the Dole Plantation.

The girls liked chasing pigeons at Pearl Harbor.

The girls liked chasing pigeons at Pearl Harbor.

They also liked this tree.

They also liked this tree.

Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor.

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I should have taken a picture of Abe eating the pineapple ice cream from the Dole Plantation. He had a spiritual experience eating his Dole whip.x

I should have taken a picture of Abe eating the pineapple ice cream from the Dole Plantation. He had a spiritual experience eating his Dole whip.x

IMG_4139Tuesday

It took us a while to get going, but we finally had the beach day we’ve been anticipating ever since we found out we were going on this trip.

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Ammon loved the beach and never complained once in the entire time we were there (four hours).

Ammon loved the beach and never complained once in the entire time we were there (four hours).

We held hands most of the time.

We held hands most of the time.

IMG_4176 IMG_4179We ended with an incredible magic show. I am still in disbelief when I think of the amazing feats that were performed.

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Wednesday

We attended the BYU/Harvard basketball game. It was really close and went into  overtime. After that we did more beach, and I went to the spa for two hours.

I am literally falling asleep as I type, so I will post today’s pictures tomorrow.

back to blogging

I took some pictures of Ammon smiling this morning.

IMG_1897 IMG_1896And then I wistfully took this shot of him sleeping. I worked for hours to get him to this point, and then it was time to pack him up to drop Lydia off at preschool. The irony was too much to handle. I withdrew Lydia from preschool today in the hopes that this will never happen again. (Also, I want more time with her at home since she will be starting kindergarten in just a short while!)

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After preschool I played chase with Mary in the snow. That was a lot of fun. I took this video before our chase game. I also took this picture:

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Also, the bedding for the girls’ room came today! Abe took this video and this picture while I was out getting pillow inserts for the rest of the shams. I only have one more thing coming before their bedroom is done. I’ll take a picture of the finished beds tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s what they looked like before I got all of the pillows on:

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Gearing up for Hawaii

Today I promised the girls we would wrap Christmas presents. We are gearing up for our trip to Hawaii on Saturday and are trying to get everything done before we go. Last week Abe found out Qualtrics is sending our whole family to Hawaii with the BYU basketball team. We were on the fence about going for a little bit because my family has already bought tickets to fly out to Utah, but Qualtrics was very accommodating and let us fly home early so we could see my family AND go to Hawaii. We feel fortunate, albeit slightly unprepared.

Abe came home from work to find us busy at work. He promised not to peek when it was time for us to wrap his present, and Lydia “tricked” him into thinking we got him a frog farm with cats, dogs, and jam. He was amazed it could all fit into one small package.

IMG_1870 IMG_1871 IMG_4061Then we took the girls to the mall to meet Santa while I exchanged some stuff. They were very shy and didn’t say a word to him. Afterward Lydia asked Abe if they would still get presents even though they didn’t tell Santa their wish list. Santa did give them suckers which they all ate on a mall bench while I did my errands.

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another catch-up post

Today we went to Salt Lake to have dinner with the Sorensons. Rich made rouladen, a dish he came to love on his mission in Germany. As always, we had a great time and forgot to take pictures.

This morning I rushed to make ischler cookies for dessert. I have been meaning to make these for years but am always missing some ingredient whenever the time to bake arises. Today I had everything on hand! I was really proud of myself for making cookies on no sleep and on top of everything else, but I couldn’t have done it without Abe’s help watching the kids. He deserves credit for making me feel like I could get something done today.

IMG_1869 IMG_4059Yesterday Abe and I worked on the house and hung Christmas lights. We also made gingerbread houses (from Trader Joe’s) with the girls.

IMG_1859 IMG_1865 IMG_1866In the evening Lydia and I went on a mommy-daughter date to do a ton of errands. Those dates have been so wonderful. I want to do them every week because Lydia and I get to talk and enjoy each other. Normally I feel so busy, frazzled and tired that I don’t get those types of interactions very often anymore.

The day before was Lydia’s preschool Christmas program. I took a couple videos, but here’s the one where Lydia was an electric train with her friend, Gunner. I had massaged her whole dry body with coconut oil that morning, and I think she was having some sort of allergic reaction during the program. Her face was quite swollen. It’s better now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwic9mLy5w

the girls get new beds

We have been operating on energy fumes lately, but somehow we managed to set up the girls’ new beds in the middle of the work week. It wasn’t exactly wise because we are now exhausted beyond reason, but the girls like their beds. We haven’t finished the rooms yet, and the bedding I ordered got all mixed up, but here’s a picture of Mary in her new bed.

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live nativity

Today we went to the live nativity in American Fork with Chelsea, Derek, et. al. We went last year right after we moved and had a wonderful time. This time was even better because the weather was lovely. (Last year it was freezing cold.)

One of the American Fork wards puts on a live nativity on someone’s farm. You walk the length of the farm and stop around various fires where the wise men and shepherds greet you. At the first fire a violinist played silent night, and I felt the Spirit so strongly. Eventually the walk culminates in discovering Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus in a stable. It’s beautiful.

Today was a great day. I felt peaceful and happy for the first time in a long while. Abe and my mom fasted for me yesterday, and that’s probably why I felt so fantastic.

Here’s a picture of the choir of angels singing along the walk.

IMG_4047Also, Mary didn’t have a single accident today! We are ecstatic.

Caterpillar, caterpillar…

I really want to start blogging again daily, but things have felt so crazy lately. By the end of the day I am ready to jump off a cliff or go straight to bed. We have been trying to potty train Mary (unsuccessfully), and Lydia has been excessively rude and demanding. I’m pumping and nursing around the clock, and Ammon goes through an entire PACK of diapers every three days. For no good reason I feel guilty for all of the take-out we have been eating and so I’ve been trying to cook actual meals AND bake Christmas cookies with the girls. On top of it all, my Black Friday furniture is coming in every day, and so Abe and I are trying to madly fit in house projects on top of it all. I am slightly stressed out and have sworn off future offspring. Three is more than enough.

Today felt nice though. We had an incredible stake conference, and then after my nap we all watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas as a family. It was fun to be all snuggled up together.

I have pictures dating back to nine days ago, so in chronological order, here they are:

Last Friday after dropping Vince off at the airport we all went out to eat with Auntie Geri, Karin, Jay, Abe's brothers and Olivia.

Last Friday after dropping Vince off at the airport we all went out to eat with Auntie Geri, Karin, Jay, Abe’s brothers and Olivia.

Ammon was imitating Abe...or visa versa. The cute video is here.

Ammon was imitating Abe…or visa versa. The cute video is here.

We baked Christmas cookies. I got it done with the girls just a couple days after Thanksgiving in case things are too crazy to repeat this feat again.

We baked Christmas cookies. I got it done with the girls just a couple days after Thanksgiving in case things are too crazy to repeat this feat again.

Baking was a three day process. We had to make dough (day one), cut out and bake (day two), and decorate (day three). This is day three.

Baking was a three day process. We had to make dough (day one), cut out and bake (day two), and decorate (day three). This is day three.

Ammon in his new crib.

Ammon in his new crib.

Lydia fed Ammon tonight.

Lydia fed Ammon tonight.

Also, Abe took these two cute videos of the girls today. They are singing “Caterpillar, caterpillar, tickle tickle on my arm…” This is one of my all-time favorite videos of the girls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUsiZe2T_W4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Stj4i0X_lk