Saturday breakfast and hike

This morning we got to spend with Liem and Phuong before they had to go to the airport to catch their flight. Abe made his signature Saturday breakfast: waffles, mixed berry compote, and veggie omelettes.

The wildflowers from Liem and Phuong! Currently i am looking at them on top of my dresser as I type. They are so pretty.

Before Liem and Phuong left, they gifted us their bear spray, which thankfully they did not have to use. Abe immediately had use for it! Not for a bear, of course, but to take hiking with the kids in case they ran into a bear, or mountain lion, or whatever. This bear spray must have good vibes, because Abe didn’t have to use it either.

Lydia packed for the hike as if they were going on a road trip.

Abe was really happy to hike, in spite of the fact that he was up until 2am last night working.

Then Abe came home, fed the kids, put Ammon down for a nap (which he refused to take) and took a nap himself. The girls spent the afternoon playing outside with the neighbors.

As I blog, they are all out on errands. And I will get back to the glorious tasks for bedrest: reading, crocheting, and looking up YouTube tutorials.

Liem and Phuong visit

On Friday morning my mom dropped me off near the nail store at the mall, and the babysitter took the kids to the mall play place while my mom and I got matching pedicures. I can’t reach my toes, and since I sit here staring at them all day, I really enjoyed getting them done.

In the evening Liem and Phuong came to stay with us for a night. We had a great time visiting, and they brought us beautiful flowers they had picked in the Tetons earlier that morning. I stole some pictures of their hike from Phuong’s phone to post on the blog.

These are the gorgeous flowers they picked and brought us!

Lydia and I loved scrolling through their pictures and looking at all of the shots with Liem in his bear head.

We also enjoyed this picture of the moose next to their tent.

Also, Friday was my dear brother’s birthday!!! I can’t believe he’s thirty-two. And next week they find out the gender of their baby…I can’t wait!!

I also have pictures from earlier in the week that I am going to put here because I forget which days they match.

The girls on my bed while I read to them. We are reading Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Ammon being cute.

Ammon during scriptures and prayer before bed. He had been holding up his arms because Abe demonstrated how the prophet Abinidi “stretched forth his hand,” and Ammon imitated Abe. I caught the picture just as Ammon’s arms were coming down.

Nana turns 72!!!

Thursday was Nana’s birthday!! It seemed so appropriate that the night before her birthday, my mom let Mary have a “sleepover” on her bedroom floor. She is so kind, compassionate, and loving. When Abe and I are at our wits’ end (especially with Mary these days), my mom works magic, calms Mary down, and gives in to her craziest whims.

My mom embroidered that beautiful pillow she let Mary sleep on.

My mom is the unsung hero of the house. She is constantly serving everyone. She tidies, cleans, bandages ALL of the kids’ boo-boos, never loses her patience, waits on the kids non-stop, plays with Ammon, and provides a sanctuary for the girls, especially when they are bored, sad, or hurt. They know they can always go to her room and do fun activities, talk–and be listened to!!–, get stickers, read kids’ magazines, and play games.

When Mary is sad, she always cries for Nana. And Nana is the only one who can calm her down. Ammon called my mom “Mama” up until a couple weeks ago, and Lydia adores Nana, as evidenced in the pictures at the bottom of this post.

Sometimes people ask Abe if it is hard to live with his mother-in-law. He always responds that if they knew his mother-in-law, they would know it isn’t hard at all. If it weren’t for the kids’ tantrums and my yelling at the kids in response to their tantrums, we would have a perfectly peaceful, harmonious house.

In addition to doing all of that for us, my mom also works every day on her family history, goes to the temple a lot, exercises regularly, reads her scriptures for hours each morning, volunteers at the family history center, and visits one of her mentally ill visiting teachees daily. She has friends innumerable who call her for comfort with their problems, and she always answers the phone and responds with love and kindness. She is currently in charge of emergency prep for our entire ward, and because she is so persistent and thorough, people are actually getting prepared. Oh, and she does all this with some pretty challenging health issues. She’s amazing.

It’s kind of hard living up to her wonderful example. In fact, I have stopped trying. I mean, my mom NEVER loses her temper, NEVER says unkind things, and NEVER is anything less than charitable and kind. It’s too far out of my league to attempt to follow in her footsteps, but I am so, so grateful she is my mom and leads the way for all of us, every day.

Mary slept through Nana’s birthday celebration. Maybe the excitement of the sleepover the night before did her in.

Play date with Pippa and Betsy

This morning my mom drove Lydia and me to Lydia’s harp lesson. I knew it was my only outing for the day, so I snapped a picture:

Thanks to our babysitter, Sophie, I spent the rest of the day in my chair by the window. The girls had a play date with Pippa in the afternoon, and Betsy came and sat visiting with me for a truly lovely hour. I just love her and I also love that I don’t feel any panic after visiting with her. She is just so easy going, funny, authentic (like one thousand percent authentic), and engaging. I am looking forward to our next play date, whenever that happens.

She also brought me homemade pizzelles! They were so yummy.

Abe had a great day at work, and my mom was, as usual, so helpful with everything. It’s her birthday tomorrow!!!

Happy (or rather, the happiest!!) 4th of July!

This 4th of July was one of my favorite of all time. In fact, it was my favorite! Every part of the day was beautiful, happy, fun, peaceful, filled with feelings of gratitude–or all of the above all at once.

I had gone to bed on the third of July feeling grumpy about how much Abe has to shoulder while I am on bed rest, but in the morning we talked about it and completely resolved my issues. He is, what can I say? The BEST. He told me this can either be a really special time in our lives that draws us closer, or it can be a hard time. We can choose. After mulling it over for a while, I decided this is going to be a special time. I am going to try to be humble and not get angry about everything that people are doing for me. I am also not going to let my personal pride debilitate me, literally, for life.

We also started off the day by letting the kids make their own flag toasts. (We helped Ammon with his.)

Then Mary crafted a cut-out of herself. She decided that her friend, Anabelle, probably wanted Mary around full-time, and so she gifted this cut-out of herself to her friend. Mary has a terrific sense of self-esteem.

Then Abe took the girls to the Freedom Festival. It is a very patriotic festival where the community recreates a Revolutionary War camp community, and historical characters tell their stories. Abe’s favorite was George Washington, who told wonderful stories about how he learned to be a better grandfather. He also loved how George Washington had no problem telling the kids they were children of God who had the power to change the world. Sometimes we stop and realize that Orem is has some really special qualities, one being that people talk about God openly at community events.

Ammon thought this army truck was an exciting car. He is yelling, “Car! Car!” at it.

With John Adams. Each of the kids and Abe came home with “passports” filled with speech excerpts from the Founding Fathers.

It was almost 100 degrees, so Abe bought the kids Dippin’ Dots.

Then the kids played outside for the rest of the day.

Karin and Jay joined us for dinner. While they were helping with dinner prep, we all enjoyed Abe’s soundtrack of the best kind of American music–Hawaiian music! We then had tofurkey dogs, brats, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, grilled pineapple, and a trifle I made in the morning.

I got to ask Karin about a crazy idea I had this afternoon. Since I’ve been busy crocheting, I have been wishing there were a way to give the blanket I’m making to a hospital somewhere and let the receiver know that they and their baby have been prayed for. Then I thought, why not start a non profit where people can donate items to prayed-for, albeit anonymous, recipients? That way the recipient can know that someone has prayed for them.

Karin told me that the process for starting such an organization is pretty simple, but the upkeep is a little bit of a headache, especially when it comes to taxes (which is her specialty). I will have to mull it over more–meaning, it will probably never happen. In the meantime, maybe I will just tuck a note into my blanket before donating it to a women’s shelter or something.

In the evening we watched fireworks. I have never lived in a place like Utah Valley before. Everyone shoots off their own fireworks, and some cul-de-sacs go in on shows together, creating spectacular presentations that rival civic displays.

Abe, my mom, and the kids joined the neighbors sitting outside and enjoyed being surrounded by shows. (I stayed mostly inside our cool house listening to Hawaiian music and crocheting the baby blanket.) There was a show going on in the middle of our cul-de-sac, a show at the beginning of our cul-de-sac, a show in several neighboring cul-de-sacs (which were completely visible), shows from behind our house, and to top it off, our musically talented  neighbors across the street stood outside with their enormous family singing Fourth of July anthems.

I have always loved how Halloween helps mingle communities in fun ways, but I think the Fourth of July in Utah Valley achieves that even better. We enjoyed celebrating our country, our community, and our freedom with such deeply good people. I also love that my kids have made treasured memories of incredibly exciting Fourths of July. I hope the fun they had remains as a treasured memory for the rest of their lives.

The 3rd of July

On Monday we spent the whole morning practicing instruments, and then I made lunch for the girls before leaving the kids to the babysitter for an hour.

After she left for her afternoon break during Ammon’s nap, I read to the girls and tried to teach them how to crochet. Then I Googled “how to teach young kids how to crochet,” and I realized that I was not alone in my feeling of frustration. The internet says not to attempt this before the kids are seven. I have since ordered French knitting spools and hope we will have a better experience with those. The internet tells me we will.

After our crochet failure, I spent the rest of the day Googling bento box lunch ideas and crochet patterns. Abby, the babysitter, took the kids outside and had a picnic with them. They played outside until Abe came home.

Abe came home and made us a delicious salmon dinner, after which the kids ran over to the neighbors’ front yard and spent the evening there. The neighbors had their 4th of July fireworks a day early and set off almost an hour’s worth of fireworks in the cul-de-sac. Abe and the kids joined them for s’mores, sparklers, and the fireworks.

Lydia brought her stuffy to the party. She decorated him with one of my practice crocheted flowers.


The girls make a snack

Today I stayed home from church and had an incredibly peaceful morning. I read scriptures, prayed, read my Ensign, crocheted, wrote some overdue cards, and looked out of my window a lot.

Before all of that, I had a great time doing the girls’ nails and hair. I don’t know why I haven’t picked a day to do their nails every week. It saves on the pre-lesson scramble to find nail clippers and cut them short, and I generally enjoy grooming my children. (They hate it when I do their hair, but I have always, always wanted to be better at doing hair, so I enjoy the practice.)

It was fast Sunday, so the day was a little harder on Abe. He and my mom were fasting, and they had to make up for everything I couldn’t do. They fed the girls, cleaned up after the girls, changed all of Ammon’s diapers, and generally did everything that needs doing. I felt so sorry for them! I did help cut up vegetables for our curry dinner, but in light of everything else they had to do, my contribution barely deserves that term.

On the cute side, the girls decided during nap time to bring up snacks for me. They were so cute about what they brought up: A torn piece of red pepper, broken graham crackers, a smattering of dry cereal, a Hershey kiss, a miniature marshmallow, a cup of ice, and a party-favor container of pink play dough.

Super lengthy post about a fantastic Saturday

Saturday was a wonderful day! The upside to my fall is that, in terms of bed rest, “my guilt is swept away.” I had problems before because I felt like if I technically could walk, even with pain, I should be walking and doing everything that I possibly could to be independent.

With the fall, I am no longer physically capable of much, so I have enthusiastically retired to my bed and comfy chair by the window. I have finished five books, taught myself to crochet, planned out the week, and have generally enjoyed resting, praying, thinking, and looking out my window at the incredible view.

Abe had a fantastic Saturday too! He took the kids out for breakfast and then to Jo-Ann’s to get fabric and material for all of the projects I’ve planned this week. I can sit, so the girls and I are going to spend a lot of time embroidering, sewing, and crocheting. (I also intend to knit, but since I only have one pair of knitting needles, that will have to be a solo activity.) I also figure we can spend a whole lot of time reading. We have been so busy that I haven’t read with or to the kids nearly as much as I would like, and bed rest is proving to be such a marvelous opportunity to catch up on that too.

Ack, look at me! I intended to write about Abe’s Saturday and then went on about me. Ick. Basically, Abe had a wonderful Saturday and felt really happy all day long. The stress of last quarter dissipated and he feels very optimistic about the new quarter.

He also had a fun interaction with the girls. They were misbehaving so Abe took away their dessert privileges. The girls then ran inside to compose and choreograph a song to change his mind. Minutes later they ran back to Abe singing and dancing about what a wonderful, fun, strong, funny, awesome dad he is. It worked! He gave in and they were allowed to eat dessert.

My mom had a good Saturday too. She checked out a local festival with one of her visiting teachees, and now she knows all about what to do with Abe and the girls on the 4th of July.

At the end of the day, Abe and I went to Lucas and Kim’s house for a Poldark date. I spent the whole day in bed saving up so I could manage to get myself to the car for our date. I almost cancelled, but we plan these things months in advance, and all I had to do during the evening was sit on their comfy couch. All of us HATED the episode we watched. Ross cheats on Demelza!!! I think Lucas wants to watch something else entirely next time, but Abe is still intrigued by the Poldark plot. I think the series has seriously degenerated, but I enjoy Lucas and Kim, so I’ll watch whatever.


hospital trip and quarter miss

On Friday morning the cleaning crew came, so I got the kids out of their hair and took them to the library for a quick stockpile before the babysitter arrived.

Then we came home and did piano and harp practice. Right when I was about to call Lydia for harp practice, I slipped on the rug because the floors were wet. My legs flew open and I about screamed t from pain. The only thing that stopped me was the poor cleaning lady was looking on in horror, and she felt like it was her fault. I tried to explain to her how it was entirely MY fault for being so stupid and jumping from rug to rug (I was trying to avoid walking on the wet floor), but we had a little language barrier and I think she left feeling bad. I wish, wish, wish I spoke Spanish. After panting on the couch through Lydia’s practice, I retired to bed for hours hoping the pain would ease.

Finally I called the doctor, and they instructed me to go into labor and delivery to make sure my water had not broken. My mom drove me there and, hooray, my water was intact! But after that slip, I really and truly can no longer drive or walk more than a couple minutes at a time. Thank goodness for the babysitters.

This is such an egocentric, self-indulgent blog post. Friday also marked the end of the quarter, and Abe’s deal postponed until the next week, meaning his team not only missed, but missed by a looooooong shot. It was a very stressful day for him too. We went to bed that night exchanging comments of consolation for each other, but truth be told, we were both pretty absorbed in our own troubles. Abe had work eating away at his mind, and I was terrified I would never regain full mobility. Good thing Saturday came and proved to be a wonderful turnaround for both of us.

Second to last day of the quarter

Abe hired a slew of young women from the ward to help out while I attempt bed rest. I think the rest is helping, although the only difference the babysitter made in the morning was that I didn’t have to jump up and down chasing Ammon during the girls’ music practice.

By the time we were done with practice, it was time for lunch. I grilled sandwiches for everyone before retreating to bed for the rest of the day. The afternoon was noticeably more restful than normal. I am so grateful to Abe for being so compassionate in the middle of his own stress and scheduling out these sitters.

Abe came home feeling tired but more confident that his deal will go through by Friday. Most of his deal won’t bill until January, but what will bill (if it bills) will really help get him closer to his quota. Hitting his quota might happen if some last minute deals go through for one of his team members. For Abe’s sake, I keep praying it all works out. He works so hard on all fronts, and I just want him to feel successful and happy.

When Abe came home, I wasn’t feeling like I should eat anything since I have barely moved at all today and probably eaten more than I needed to throughout the day. But Abe came to the bed bearing a beautiful platter of grilled veggie and chicken burgers with toppings. He is so sweet, and so I joined everyone for dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly.

When Abe tried to nap on the grass afterward, the kids decided he was a horse. This happened: