Museum of Natural Curiosity

This afternoon I took the girls to Greek Souvlaki and The Museum of Natural Curiosity while Abe and Suzanne had lunch. My mom was so nice and stayed home so Ammon could nap.

While we were at the museum, the girls climbed the rainforest rope maze. It is a dense, enormous maze that I did not feel physically capable of climbing. I sat and looked up to see Lydia charging ahead on the rope bridges while Mary tentatively followed. Gradually Mary got farther and farther behind, and she appeared to only want to cross the bridges when there were no other kids around to rock the bridges. The museum was mobbed with kids on winter break, so she had to wait a loooooooong time for that to happen.

After she finally crossed the bridges and entered the maze, I waited expectantly for the girls to find their way out. After about ten minutes, Lydia came out and quietly sat on my lap in the midst of the chaotic mob around us. After ten more minutes, I asked Lydia to go back into the maze and find Mary. I could just picture Mary sobbing in a corner somewhere not knowing how to get out.

Sure enough, Lydia found Mary sitting dazed and curled up by one of the inner bridges. Lydia held her hand and led her patiently back out of the maze. I thought it was a miracle that Lydia found Mary so quickly in that enormous, confusing maze, and I was so grateful for that display of sisterly kindness.

Later, after Abe arrived, Lydia held Mary’s hand and kept close to Mary as they demonstrated to us how they did the maze. Mary was much bolder with Lydia near her; she didn’t appear the slightest bit fazed by the rope bridges that had scared her earlier.

I really enjoyed my lunch with the girls. I love Greek Souvlaki, and the girls were so well behaved and sweet. Well, Mary started barking like a puppy at the end, but we hustled out of there before her behavior could spiral downward from there…

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Mary on the rope bridge.

Mary on the rope bridge. I was actually climbing with her until this point. I took one step with my enormous, heavy snow boots on the rope and decided I could accompany her no farther.

Lydia on the rope bridge.

Lydia on the rope bridge.

In the museum "laundry room."

In the museum “laundry room.”

 

Christmas 2016 recap

We had a wonderful time with Clark, Swathi, Soren, and Sruthi this Christmas. I took a break from my computer, and my phone won’t take pictures, so I didn’t blog at all while they were here. Yikes!

We mostly stayed around the house and visited, although on one day we did take a short walk in the canyon. We wanted to walk Bridal Veil Falls, but when we pulled up to the parking lot, it was closed due to avalanche risk and falling rocks. I couldn’t even see any snow, but oh well. I guess we would have been in danger of an avalanche.

Christmas morning is my favorite time of year because I love seeing my kids open gifts. It’s probably the same reason I like Disneyland so much; I just love their excitement and wonder. Plus I spend so much time correcting and parenting that it feels really nice to just let the kids enjoy their lives for a day or two. (That was all over yesterday when we got back to reality. Lydia spent three hours at the harp, and I think we both wished we could just rewind to Christmas again…)

Anyway, we absolutely loved having everyone visit. Sruthi blew us away with her children skills. Swathi and I had fun going to hot yoga a couple times together, and Clark is always a delight to have around. Soren charmed us all, and our favorite moments were when Soren and Ammon walked around with each other. One day I came home and they were both peering out of the front window and smiling at us. Soren had his hands folded and Ammon’s hands were crossed. I can’t even describe the cuteness. Darn my phone for not taking pictures. Abe has promised to fix it soon.

Here are the pictures people have sent me.

On Christmas we made graham cracker nativity sets out of candy. They were ugly and messy, but I think the kids had fun. Eli, the neighbor, joined us.

On Christmas we made graham cracker nativity sets out of candy. They were ugly and messy, but I think the kids had fun. Eli, the neighbor, joined us.

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Mary was Mary in our Christmas play. I was the donkey.

Mary was Mary in our Christmas play. I was the donkey.

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Clark, Swathi, Soren and Sruthi arrive!!

After we went to Lydia’s school to pick up some curriculum, I realized I did not have it in me to deal with the kids at home. Instead we headed to Qualtrics’ playground. I imagined that all I would have to do is lounge on the couch and play, but Ammon took it upon himself to try to climb the slide:

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I had to rouse myself and go monitor the situation.

Abe was also tired. After work he put his laptop on the trunk of his car and drove home. When he was half way home, a car behind him flashed lights and a man jumped out of his car. He retrieved the laptop, handed it to Abe, and said, “I don’t know how you’ve made it this far!” Abe felt blessed to live in a community of honest people, and he also felt watched over by God. His intact laptop is a miracle.

In the evening Clark, Swathi, Soren and Sruthi arrived!! My favorite part of everyone’s arrival occurred when Soren, after seven hours of travel, smiled and lisped the word “tired,” as Swathi buckled him in. He said it with a tired tear trickling down his cheek. It was beyond cute.

I can’t wait to see all of the kids play together tomorrow! Now I am going to bed so I can fully enjoy the scene.

Pregnant!

So I’ve been feeling a little tired and nauseous for the past couple days, so this morning I took a pregnancy test. I’m pregnant!! We are pretty excited. To be honest, we thought we would take a break after Ammon because some stuff happened right after he was born that put our family through the emotional ringer, and in some ways we have not fully recovered from that.

But a couple months ago I was in the temple and had an experience that left me sure we were supposed to have two more kids. So…here’s to following the Spirit in faith. And we are genuinely excited to meet this new, sweet little spirit.

In other news, Abe created a really great shadow puppet show for FHE tonight.

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a laundry basket nest

This morning Abe discovered that the girls spent last night in a nest. Mary slept in the laundry basket and Lydia slept on the floor. Here’s the video he took as they awoke:

I taught a lesson today on following Jesus Christ. Abe had his normal meetings, and afterward we all (except for the kids) watched the Netflix White Helmets documentary. I can’t stop thinking of the people in Aleppo. I pray God will end the conflict soon.

Saturday

I feel bad blogging about our fun day when I think about what is going on across the world. The footage from Syria is beyond words. Please, God, remember your children in Aleppo. Please don’t leave them alone.

Here are the pictures from our day.

Abe had to work today so the kids and I headed to the library while he worked.

img_1462 img_1469-1 img_1461Then we joined Abe at work. It was empty because everyone was at the Qualtrics party. I was personally thrilled to miss it.

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Miner Funeral

Yesterday we attended the funeral of Suzanne’s dad, Louis Miner. He was a man who accomplished a lot and stayed humble and loving in spite of all of his success. One of the speakers quoted him as saying that people won’t remember what you did so much as how you made them feel. He always worked hard to make people feel good, and he was an extremely loving and generous person.

After the funeral in Salt Lake, we drove for three hours in blizzard conditions to his burial in Manti, Utah. I honestly thought we were all going to die, and I took it upon myself to elucidate Abe on the many different car-crash scenarios that could occur at any given moment. He was very, very patient with my backseat driving and we miraculously made it to the burial intact.

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You can see the honor guard folding the flag in the snow.

You can see the honor guard folding the flag in the snow.

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After the graveside prayer, we headed back to Orem. We got home at 6pm, and we had a cookie exchange to attend at 7pm. Mary and I baked those cookies soooo fast, and I was glad I had made the dough in the morning. I have been seeing cookie recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s new book in all the magazines, so I used one that has been calling my name. They’re the dipped, biscoff-stuffed cookies in the small tin. I held them out of the window on the highway so that the chocolate would set before the party.

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We ran into a friend, Jake Chamberlain, from my home ward and his incredible girlfriend, Carlee, at the party. She just finished battling cancer six weeks ago, and she was such a delight to talk to.

We ran into a friend, Jake Chamberlain, from my home ward and his incredible girlfriend, Carlee, at the party. She just finished battling cancer six weeks ago, and she was such a delight to talk to.

Andrea tells us family stories

Tonight Abe’s Aunt Andrea came over for dinner and told us some great family stories.

The first one starts with a couple named Emmet and Ermina Mousley. Emmet had impressions when he was a young boy that he would die early, and he prayed his whole life that he would live to get married and have a family.

In 1918 the Spanish Flu took Emmet’s life, but not before he had met and married Ermina and had four kids. His last was born in 1918, just before his death. They named that son Woodrow, after the President. He was known as “Woody” after that.

Woody himself had many miracles during his life. In a blessing, he was told that he would plant the gospel in the hearts of many. After his father died, newborn Woody stopped eating and wasted away to skin and bones. The bishop came over and told his grieving mother that perhaps her prayers were keeping him on this earth, and that she might need to tell Heavenly Father that it was okay for Woody to return home. His mother tearfully consigned Woody to the care of Heavenly Father, and while she was praying, Woody fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he ate and regained his vitality.

When Woody was eighteen, he got a job at Universal Studios as a busboy. He served famous actors and actresses, and he worked alongside Alexander Darais–also born in 1918. He noticed that Alexander had high standards and was kind. Woody was a musician and eventually made violins of a quality that equalled Stradivarius. Alexander was an artist. They bonded. Right before he left the restaurant, Woody worked up the courage to give Alexander a Book of Mormon.

That was what initially started Alexander on his conversion path. As he was pondering the Book of Mormon, he stepped on a church pamphlet with the name of the mission home on it. He felt that was his answer and joined the church. Andrea still has that pamphlet with her father’s footprint on it.

We all owe a lot to Woody, who only found out that his Book of Mormon had helped Alexander join the Church many years later.img_1336

The Nutcracker with Nana

This morning my mom took the girls to the Nutcracker ballet.

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Mary came out of the ballet marching like a soldier. This is her soldier pose. Lydia had a great time but absolutely refused to smile for the camera.

Mary came out of the ballet marching like a soldier. This is her soldier pose. Lydia had a great time but absolutely refused to smile for the camera. This was the best she would do.

I went to yoga while they were at the ballet. My yoga has childcare, and when I told the child care lady that my girls were with my mom at the ballet, she told me her first memory was of going to the Nutcracker Ballet with her grandmother. I got very excited that she still remembered this. I hope the girls remember this too!

This afternoon the girls had ballet, and it was parents day. Thanks to my mom, who watched Ammon at home, I got to sit in an watch.

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