Ammon learns to stand

Ammon learned to stand today! Actually, Lydia told us yesterday that she saw Ammon standing in his crib, but since I did not see it, I figured maybe she did not quite understand what she was seeing. But I guess she was right.

Here are a LOT of pictures of him standing.

Ammon crawled to the bathtub and pulled himself up to peek in at Mary's fun bath. This was the first time I had ever seen him do that.

Ammon crawled to the bathtub and pulled himself up to peek in at Mary’s fun bath. This was the first time I had ever seen him do that.

And now for various iterations of crib triumph!

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The neighbor girls were over for a couple hours today, and Lydia was so excited to show them Ammon's new trick. He was excited to show them too.

The neighbor girls were over for a couple hours today, and Lydia was so excited to show them Ammon’s new trick. He was excited to show them too.

 

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday evening outside. Our entire neighborhood was outside all evening. We felt like we were part of a ward block party or something.

Lydia with our dinner (before all of the food got covered in ants and flies).

Lydia with our dinner (before all of the food got covered in ants and flies).

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This is what we eat almost every day in the summer: Tofurkey dogs, salad and corn. We'll eat this until I can't bear to look at another Tofurkey dog...which lasts until the next summer.

This is what we eat almost every day in the summer: Tofurkey dogs, salad and corn. We’ll eat this until I can’t bear to look at another Tofurkey dog…which lasts until the next summer.

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Trying out her new scooter. Most of the night Mary was riding around naked with her helmet and her dress hanging from the handlebars. Sometimes we let her be naked in the front of the house, but tonight there were so many people out that we asked her to please don a dress before riding her new scooter out front.

Trying out her new scooter. Most of the night Mary was riding around naked with her helmet and her dress hanging from the handlebars. Sometimes we let her be naked in the front of the house, but tonight there were so many people out that we asked her to please don a dress before riding her new scooter out front.

IMG_6074And here are some pictures from days we have forgotten to blog:

This was on our date two weeks ago.

This was on our date two weeks ago.

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Neighborhood kids tracing Mary and each other with chalk.

Neighborhood kids tracing Mary and each other with chalk.

This was Saturday. The mountains were so green after the rain, and the clouds were AMAZING>

This was Saturday. The mountains were so green after the rain, and the clouds were AMAZING>

Gardening in the rain with Abe

We gardened today. Abe gardened from 9 am until 5 pm, and I just gardened in the afternoon. Abe and I actually gardened for a good hour in the rain. We were gardening under our roof eaves with the rain literally pouring off of the roof onto us as we dug and planted–but we were having so much fun we couldn’t bear to stop! By the end, Abe and I were covered in mud and soaking wet. It was so fun.

Also, I mowed the lawn for the first time ever. Pathetic, I know. But in my defense, I was pregnant last summer and had zero desire to mow in the desert heat. Today was overcast and I mowed before the rain came out. I took a break to plant flowers–and then the rain came. The grass was so wet afterward we couldn’t finish mowing, so now our yard is half mowed. Considering our unmowed grass is at least half a foot tall, it is quite the sight.

Then we all cleaned up and piled in the car to go to Kohinoor for dinner and do errands. We bought the girls scooters as a prize because Mary has been pooping in the potty. I honestly never thought this day would come. I was starting to wonder if she was physically capable of being potty trained.

Lydia and I went to the nursery to buy flowers this morning.

Lydia and I went to the nursery to buy flowers this morning.

Mary’s follow-up appointment

This morning Mary had a follow up appointment with her eye doctor. He said her eyes are not crossing anymore! Yay!

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Sitting demurely. This is abnormal behavior for Mary.

Sitting demurely. This is abnormal behavior for energetic Mary.

Then in the afternoon the girls had swimming lessons. We are still at square one: Putting heads in the water. For the record, this is Lydia’s third year of swimming lessons. My other option is to fork over $500 for a session of thirty swimming lessons from the serious professional teachers, but right now that sounds insane. Plus I love their sweet swim teacher.

IMG_3370Abe and I went on a date to a Hawaiian restaurant tonight. I loved the atmosphere. Then we came home and the kids played with the neighbors for an hour. Hooray for the weekend.

Summer fun

Last Friday I took the girls to the BYU art museum for an arts fair. The museum has an exhibit on about the national parks, so the fair was themed around the parks. There were so many wonderful activities, but unfortunately we only had time to make bird feeders and paint animal tracks before rushing off to Lydia’s group harp lesson. I wanted to go back, but I have to be home to pump four times a day, and so that rather tethers us to the house.

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But today we managed to go to Salt Lake between pumping sessions. We went to the zoo. Mary peed in line while we waited for the train. I did not know how to clean that up, so I pretended not to notice and hoped that the people behind us would think someone spilled lemonade or something. Sadly, the woman behind me tapped my shoulder and helpfully pointed out that Mary had peed in line. I pretended to be aghast and hauled the kiddos outta there and straight to the lion exhibit. We did the train (without peeing in line) an hour later.

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Ever since the news about the kid who fell into the gorilla exhibit aired, the kids have internalized the consequence for not listening to Mommy. When I asked Lydia what happens when she doesn't listen, she promptly responded that she would get beaten up by a gorilla. I am sort of okay with that paradigm.

Ever since the news about the kid who fell into the gorilla exhibit aired, the kids have internalized the consequence for not listening to Mommy. When I asked Lydia what that consequence was, she promptly responded that she would get beaten up by a gorilla. I am sort of okay with that paradigm.

Here are some pictures from days I missed blogging:

Lydia took these two pictures of Ammon. Sometimes I let them play in his (fully baby-proofed) room while I pump. Lydia loves this.

Lydia took these two pictures of Ammon. Sometimes I let them play in his (fully baby-proofed) room while I pump. Lydia loves this.

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I baked a cake for a friend's birthday. Mary put her sticky fingers all over the icing while I pumped. I came down and threw a tantrum. Abe calmly said that my friend would probably still eat the cake. If she knew where those hands had been, I was sure she wouldn't. Abe said not to tell. I listened to him and everything turned out fine (and we all survived!).

I baked a cake for a friend’s birthday. Mary put her sticky fingers all over the icing while I pumped. I came down and threw a tantrum. Abe calmly said that my friend would probably still eat the cake. If she knew where those hands had been, I was sure she wouldn’t. Abe said not to tell. I listened to him and everything turned out fine (and we all survived!).

We went to Shakespeare for Kids at the library on Monday. Lydia had so much fun, and I think we will try to make this a new summer tradition.

We went to Shakespeare for Kids at the library on Monday. Lydia had so much fun, and I think we will try to make this a new summer tradition.

Lydia made her own bed and grabbed the camera to take a picture.

Lydia made her own bed and grabbed the camera to take a picture.

I took Lydia to an art fair yesterday while the other kids napped (and a babysitter watched them at home). She had a blast (in her solemn, Lydia way of having fun.)

I took Lydia to an art fair yesterday while the other kids napped (and a babysitter watched them at home). She had a blast (in her solemn, Lydia way of having fun.)

Mary turns into a cat and anniversary odes

We are potty training Mary for the umpteenth time. I realized that if she could just get potty trained ASAP, she might be able to go to the neighborhood summer camp with Lydia.

An aside that is actually linearly related to the above information: Mary pretends often to be a cat. Lydia likes cats. She treats Mary better when Mary is a cat. Therefore, Mary chooses often to impersonate a cat, crawling around the house and meowing her communications to anyone who will listen. (Lydia listens and happily scatters the floor with food for her sister-kitty.)

Interestingly, potty training has speeded Mary’s full-fledged metamorphosis from child to animal. Today she used the front and back yard to do her business. Good thing I used to have a puppy! I know how to clean poop from the grass–a skill that came in handy today, let me assure you.

On an unrelated note, Abe hoed and planted an entire patch of yard into a cornfield today. He did this while I went out to dinner with my visiting teachers and another friend. We had a great time laughing and chatting while he got down on his hands and knees and farmed away. Our lives are really unbalanced now. Abe has to do all of the hard stuff (like work), and I get all of the fun stuff. It really isn’t fair.

Also, I should post our Facebook Anniversary odes to each other on here (in case posterity doesn’t rifle through our FB accounts).

Abe’s:

At the risk of sharing something too personal, here I go: Before Lily and I started dating, I had a dream about her. In that dream, I was able to see what life would be like if I were to marry her. In my dream, I saw a table with family and friends gathered to eat her amazing food, I heard laughter and jokes and interesting conversation. I saw children and perceived a home life of unspeakable abundance. When I woke up from that dream, I knew that the life that I wanted was the life that Lily would give me.

Today is our sixth anniversary, and I look at my life. I have three beautiful children that she not only carried for me, but that she teaches, bathes, clothes, feeds and nurtures every single day. I have a slight tummy bump from all the thirds I’ve eaten of her food, and our house is often alive with friends and family that she is hosting.

I learn more about Lily every day and I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love. She is so spiritually deep, yet so fun for me to enjoy a good belly laugh with. She is like putty in my cracks, filling in all the areas where I lack. She helps me to care more for others, to learn new things about the world, to have faith, to have an open mind and to appreciate beauty, nature, history, knowledge and culture. She’s so outward looking, always meeting new people and reading books and wanting to travel and I’m so inward looking. She is the source of so much of my culture and knowledge. Every time she reads a book, I feel like I have read it too because of what she shares about it and I so appreciate all the learning that flows from her to me. I’m now watching that learning flow from her to my children as she home-schools them, and I’m in awe of her educational gifts.

Lily has made me happier, richer, wiser and has given me a life so full of color and beauty that I feel speechless.

Lily my love, thank you for being the love of my life, for giving me the life I have and here’s to the great things that await us in year number seven!

Lily’s:

Ever since Abe’s sweet post, I have wondered whether I should use FB as a reciprocal avenue for anniversary affirmation–and risk saturating your unsuspecting feed in the process. Guess I can’t help myself. Just skip to the next post if you can’t stand the mush!

Abraham Darais has so many incredible qualities that I admire and love, but I’ll hone in here on one cause of continual marvel. Abe always, always sees the best in everybody. During our personal conversations, he stays so positive, never even obliquely insulting others through insinuation or read-between-the-lines commentary. Whenever I ask him to describe someone he just met, I know he’ll immediately begin by saying “S/he is awesome! So-and-so is one of the nicest people.”

I, on the other hand, do not possess this capacity to positively evaluate absolutely every acquaintance in my life. I wish I did. Whenever I struggle in any sort of situation, I can count on Abe to listen empathetically, describing afterward the situation back to me in a way that highlights the positive traits of all involved parties and the potential positive outcomes of even the trickiest situations. He is an absolute light, a beacon of authentic kindness.

His rosy glasses have certainly, without a doubt, made our marriage the treasure it is. Even in my worst moments, Abe always sees the good in me and will reach out to me–literally, to hold hands–in forgiveness and love. I have never asked for forgiveness without being immediately embraced and reassured that I am loved, forgiven, and treasured.

When I consider whether God exists, Abe is one of the foremost evidences I have as an answer in the affirmative. There is no way our lives could have intersected so beautifully without a divine, intervening hand. The breath-taking goodness I witness in my husband mirrors an Ultimate Source. I thank God for my marriage, my husband, and our love.

Happy anniversary, Abe!