Capitol Reef field trip

I have not been blogging because I have been glued to Facebook in all of my spare time, reading articles, posting, and trying to wrap my head around what has happened to the country.

On Saturday I woke up and realized I needed a break. I shook Abe awake and asked him if we could do a spontaneous road trip to a national park. He groggily acquiesced, and we spent the next hour racing around tidying the house so that when we came back, it would be already clean for Sunday.

We left the house at 9am and proceeded to have the BEST day. We went to Capitol Reef National Park. We had never been before, and we fell in love. The weather was beautiful and the park was stunning. Here are the pictures and videos.

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We had a picnic outside of the visitor center. Ammon was so happy to play in the sand after sitting in the car for hours.

We had a picnic outside of the visitor center. Ammon was so happy to play in the sand after sitting in the car for hours.

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My favorite stop was the Fruita school house. This was where the Mormon pioneer children attended school. We should have taken a picture of the whole building. It was so quaint! And the setting was spectacular. But we did get some pictures of the girls peeking into the school house (it was locked).

My favorite stop was the Fruita school house. This was where the Mormon pioneer children attended school. We should have taken a picture of the whole building. It was so quaint! And the setting was spectacular. But we did get some pictures of the girls peeking into the school house (it was locked).

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This is the inside of the school house.

This is the inside of the school house.

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I loved the colors of this bush, but the camera couldn't do them justice.

I loved the colors of this bush, but the camera couldn’t do them justice.

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We "hiked" the river wash.

We “hiked” the river wash.

Abe found the heart shaped rock that Lydia is holding, and he gave it to me. I know I shouldn't have kept it...but I did. It's on our mantle.

Abe found the heart shaped rock that Lydia is holding, and he gave it to me. I know I shouldn’t have kept it…but I did. It’s on our mantle.

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Lydia kept spontaneously building cairns along the trail.

Lydia kept spontaneously building cairns along the trail.

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We were about to take a river walk before leaving for home, but the minute we parked, Ammon fell asleep like this.

We were about to take a river walk before leaving for home, but the minute we parked, Ammon fell asleep like this.

Here is a video of Lydia doing a magic trick with the sandstone. I love it because Abe gave me that heart rock made out of sandstone. The dichotomy of sand and rock feels so symbolic of love and time. Yesterday was a perfect moment in time for us and our family. Our love feels solid like a rock. At the same time, life is passing by. Mortality is fleeting. A moment can not last forever. We are passing through moment by precious moment, just like the sand passes through Lydia’s fingers in the video.

Normally, I make a thoroughly premeditated effort to avoid sentimentality and not get attached to material objects. But I LOVE my sandstone heart from Abe.

 

Also, here’s a video that I forgot to post from Friday evening.

Election day

My heart is racing. I honestly never thought Donald Trump had a chance to become president, but the polls are looking like he might just win. I was planning on having a peaceful night feeling secure that Hillary would win by a landslide, but it looks like a nail biter.

I’m having trouble focusing, so I’ll just throw the day’s pictures on here.

Here are the girls water coloring. I set them up with the water colors during Ammon’s nap and retired to bed with my book. Abe and I voted by mail several days ago, so today I felt luxuriously unhurried. (That feeling is over since I checked the polls and saw that Trump is in the lead. If I weren’t in bed already, I might have actually fallen over.)

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After ballet I took the girls to the park by the Orem Library. We had a picnic for dinner and then played for a while afterward. I can’t believe we’ve lived here two years and never visited this park. It is incredible.

img_4215 img_4217 img_4222 img_4226Lest it look like we played all day, I will just add that our new schedule feel grueling. I will give it a couple weeks, but going at the instruments twice a day just eats us alive. Maybe it will feel normal soon–I hope, I hope.

And right now, even more I hope that Hillary Clinton is our next president.

new schedule run-down

This day was so packed that the pictures from this morning feel like they are from an alternate, eons- old reality, but here they are!

They all coordinated so I couldn't help but take a picture.

They all coordinated so I couldn’t help but take a picture.

After morning music and school, we went on an outing. I took the girls to a nearby field and timed them while they ran laps. Then we  read a leaf identification book and went leaf hunting in our neighborhood. Most of the local leaves seem to be yellow or brown. I did miss the Midwest's bright red and orange leaves today.

After morning music and school, we went on an outing. I took the girls to a nearby field and timed them while they ran laps. Then we read a leaf identification book and went leaf hunting in our neighborhood. Most of the local leaves seem to be yellow or brown. I missed the Midwest’s bright red and orange leaves today.

I redid our schedule, and today’s implementation of the new schedule felt like a marathon. I decided that Lydia should be doing an hour of piano and harp each day. She has been forced into the piano by Let’s Play Music, and I have been so frustrated with their method that I finally decided that I just need to bite the bullet and teach her myself. We break that practice up into two one hour segments with half an hour on each instrument twice a day.

On top of our two hours of practice, I helped Lydia: drill flashcards, read four (basic) books, complete her math packet, listen to her Suzuki tapes, get to Let’s Play Music!, and practice her handwriting.

Today I helped Mary: practice the piano, bathe after her accident, and read two (also basic) books. I also read her some books before putting her in front of a sight words video while Lydia was at Let’s Play Music!.

I read a bunch of books to Ammon, fed him for what felt like hours off and on, bathed him, and chased him all around the house.

I read the girls a Highlights magazine, Book of Mormon children’s stories, Book of Mormon chapter 10, and The Jungle Book for forty minutes.

I also held our morning devotional with prayer, scriptures and hymns with all three kids (although Ammon kept crawling off in the direction of the stairs) this morning.

I folded and put away four loads of laundry, including the sheets that Mary wet last night.

I made tomato soup and blue cheese soufflé for dinner, thanks to my mom who watched Ammon while I cooked.

I tidied small messes innumerable, over and over.

I studied my scriptures and learned all about the curse of Coniah. My favorite part of my study led me to the Jews for Jesus article explaining how repentance wiped clean the curse.

Oh, and I ran for twenty five minutes in the morning.

I am really excited to be in bed right now, and to read my book. It’s Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.  I am always imagining all of the ways my perfect life can be blown to smithereens in an instant, and her reflections on how she survived just that feel therapeutic.

Sister hug

I took photos this morning of the girls before church. I caught the girls doing a cute hug, and then I ran for my camera and made them repeat like so:

img_4181-1 img_4183 img_4189 img_0698The highlights of today included watching the broadcast of the church teacher training video. I enjoyed every minute and learned so much. Bonus: One of my mission friends was in the video!

I also had a wonderful conversation with Abe before he left on his work trip.

Then this evening my mom played games with the girls while I watched Ammon. They had so much fun, and I joined them at the end for two suspenseful games of Hoot, Owl, Hoot! We returned the baby owls to their nests just before sunrise both times. Phew.

I also read some riveting chapters in the book, To Learn with Love. It’s a Suzuki companion for parents. I haven’t read Dr. Suzuki’s writing in years, and this was a wonderful refresher. I have to post this quickly so I have some time to stew over our schedules and practice habits.

harp recital and family photo link

This morning Lydia had a harp recital. I tried to weasel her out of it because it was a group recital and it blew up our Saturday, but her teacher really wanted all of her students to participate. I have no spine and acquiesced. But I stayed home with Ammon and rested while Abe did the hard part. He hauled the harp there and back, not mention kept both girls quiet during the rehearsal and recital.

Here are some pictures from today, and also–a link to our recent family photo shoot!!!

Abe took the girls to lunch. We enjoy Lydia's expression here.

Abe took the girls to lunch. We enjoy Lydia’s expression here.

The recital.

The recital.

Dinner in Park City

Today Karin invited us to join her in Park City for the evening. We drove up after Abe got home from work, went out to dinner, and swam in her time share pool. Then we had pie and cake to celebrate her birthday (belatedly) and Ammon’s birthday (also belatedly). It was a great time. We forgot to take pictures, though.

Before our Park City outing, we had homeschool, harp and piano practice, and a lot of reading. I’m anxious to get back to my new book, The Good Earth. I have never read it before. The Hour of Land (which I finished today) was really great. Part of me wishes I just kept in the same vein of reading and had a Wallace Stegner book on hand, but it’s also nice to read a novel.

Person by person recap

Today was a full day for Lydia. She played, practiced her handwriting, attended a half day of school, did harp practice, and spent the evening working on a math packet. I did not mean for her to work for hours on it, but I told her to work on it with the babysitter while I was gone to Abe’s team activity. She worked the entire time I was away, and when I came home, she was in tears because she had not had any time to play all afternoon and evening. I felt bad and spent an hour reading The Jungle Book to her to make up for it.

Mary spent most of this day playing. I read her a couple books and took her on a visiting teaching errand with me after I got back from Qualtrics, but other than that, she just played and colored all day long.

Ammon is transitioning away from the bottle and it has been rough. We are very sleep deprived because he wakes up a lot at night and then lately the girls have been waking up because they have nightmares, colds, and other disturbances.

My mom went to a new doctor, went to the family history center, and worked on a quilt for a humanitarian cause today.

Abe had another crazy day at work, and he finished with a team activity. The activity consisted of watching a movie in the Qualtrics theater. I am going to watch all movies that need a big screen this way in the future! One of his team members chose Tommy Boy as the movie. I told myself to pretend that I was Abe, and then I actually enjoyed the movie. I can’t explain how this happened, but it actually worked. On my own, I would have been appalled by the stupidity and would have spent the whole time wishing I was somewhere else. But I managed to magically shift gears, and then the movie seemed funny.

I spent Ammon’s three hour nap reading The Time of Land by Terry Tempest Williams. It’s one of those life changing, paradigm shift type books. I’m going to throw some pictures up and get back to it.

These two are great friends. This is in the Sprouts parking lot yesterday.

These two are great friends. This is in the Sprouts parking lot yesterday.

This morning Lydia and Ammon goofed around together.

This morning Lydia and Ammon goofed around together.

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Lydia used the scraps from my mom's blanket for a costume. She wanted me to take a picture of her.

Lydia used the scraps from my mom’s blanket for a costume. She wanted me to take a picture of her.

Lydia embroidered this during General Conference, but I forgot to post a picture.

Lydia embroidered this during General Conference, but I forgot to post a picture.

Mary’s uniform

On Wednesdays Lydia has school all day. After we drop her off, I take Ammon and Mary over to the Provo library to read books and participate in story time. Last Wednesday we headed home after story time and I put Ammon down for a nap. Afterward, Mary and I sat on a blanket and read all of our books. We also looked up a clip of Swan Lake because one of the books was about the ballet. I took this photo and forgot to post it:

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I took this picture below of Mary today in the library, and when I found the one above from last Wednesday, I realized Mary has a Wednesday uniform!

img_4152-1I took this picture of Ammon, today, just because I think he’s cute:

img_4150When we got home, I took pictures of our pumpkins because we forgot to do that before Halloween. Oops.

img_4154 img_4155 img_4157-1Maybe I’ll blog tonight if anything interesting happens in the ensuing hours. If not, this will count for today.

Running with Abe

Yesterday was a pretty ordinary day. I didn’t take pictures and went to bed early (without blogging) so that Abe and I could get up early to run today. We have been enjoying our runs so much…Well, if you were to ask me in the middle of a run if I were enjoying it, I’m sure I would wheeze out an emphatic, “NO!”

But I love running with Abe, and he makes funny jokes and calls out encouraging things when I contemplate stopping. It’s nice to have my mom here so that we can actually run together. When I run alone, I last thirty seconds.

Anyway, I thought I’d type in a short entry before everyone wakes up since I didn’t do one yesterday. But now Ammon is awake and crying, so hopefully I remember to take pictures and blog tonight!

Happy Halloween!

The girls were so excited the night before Halloween that they couldn’t fall asleep. Finally, hours after their bedtime, they drifted off.

As a result, on the actual day of Halloween, they were pretty sleepy and subdued. I hope they had fun, though. I let them off of the hook for music and school. We started off by reading every single Halloween book in the house. Thanks to our most recent Scholastic influx, that took an hour. After that, I let the girls paint various Halloween crafts. During Ammon’s nap they watched Room on the Broom and Ichabod and Mr. Toad. We then dipped caramel apples, after which they played outside with the neighborhood kids until dinner.

After dinner Abe and my mom took the kids around the neighborhood. I stayed home and read an Agatha Christie mystery and handed out candy. Normally I love trick or treating with the kids, but Abe and I went on a long run (for us) yesterday morning, and I was tired. In fact, even handing out candy to the throngs of kids got tiring. Eventually I just sat out on the porch with the candy next to me so I wouldn’t have to keep popping up and down–and when that got to be too much, I left the candy outside for the kids to help themselves.

Our neighborhood gets trick or treaters from all over the valley. The streets and nearby church parking lot were full of cars. We think it is because our ward is very serious about Halloween. Our neighbors have cotton candy stations, hot dog stations, s’more stations, homemade root beer stations, and an enormous pirate ship complete with a Jack Sparrow actor and smoke cannons. In contrast, we handed out regular candy.

Abe has more pictures on his phone, but since he’s at early morning basketball, I only have pictures from caramel apples yesterday.

img_4145 img_4147And here are Abe’s pictures:

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