Today I learned that I should have been actually paying attention to my doctor’s advice. Instead of listening to him, we’ve been trying to forge ahead with business-as-much-usual-as-possible.

This morning, for example, I got up early to get the kids all ready for their 8am swimming lessons, and then we came home and got ready for the day. That included doing the girls’ hair (a loud, emotional ordeal every time), wrestling kids into clothes, brushing teeth, and helping them clean their room before breakfast. Because the kids refused to go to bed last night, they were tired. When they are tired, they scream, cry, and protest everything. Every action item listed above was accompanied by a tantrum–sometimes several in tandem!

After breakfast, we headed over to Target. From the moment I stepped out of the car into the Target parking lot, my pelvis or groin or whatever it is that is causing me problems protested,  I ignored it and pushed all three kids (the girls, as I mentioned before, were tired and did not care to walk) in the cart around our enormous super Target to get: two fans for the girls’ room (they don’t have AC in their room), baking chocolate (I had grand plans to bake brownies for the construction workers down the street; I felt very antagonistic toward them for a week and then realized they have the hard job. The brownies were supposed to be part of my repentance…), toilet paper, body wash, diapers, a birthday present fo a party the girls had (in less than an hour), a bag for the present, tissue paper for the bag, and card to go with it all,

By the time I reached the check-out, I was almost in tears from pain. The check-out kid was incredibly kind and asked concernedly about the state of my day. I choked out something and tried to stand upright while he rang me up. By the time I slid in my card, I had broken into a drenching sweat, was gagging back vomit, and using every ounce of energy to not pass out. He kindly allowed me to sit down on the abandoned bagging station nearby and got me a garbage to puke in. Thankfully, I just gagged a lot and held back the actual puke. There were a lot of people present, and I was sooooo thankful they did not have to witness/smell that.

Then I lost my mind and called Abe, who is super busy, to come rescue me. He immediately jumped in his car, but as my brain became clearer I realized my mom is closer and also does not have to hit quota by Friday. I cancelled Abe and asked my mom to pick me up. Then I started feeling slightly better and managed to walk back to the car just as my mom pulled up. She relieved me of some groceries before I drove the girls to Pippa’s birthday party in Provo.

Ammon fell asleep on the way home, so he didn’t nap. That was sad. After his non-nap, we went to pick up the girls and bring them to Mary’s podiatrist to check her wart. It is healed! Lydia enjoyed the model foot pictured below:

After we came home, I lay down on the play room couch for hours until Abe came home. Ammon was locked in with me and played with every toy in the toy room. By the time we were done, you could not see the floor.

And now Abe is home, Ammon is asleep, we have planted the girls in front of a movie, and we are going to watch a movie. I am going to cancel everything tomorrow and try to follow the doctor’s orders so I don’t actually end up in a wheelchair. I used to find the thought kind of a joke, but I can feel now that it’s actually not a joke at all.


Lydia break dances

Today I found out I don’t have diabetes! I am so relieved. This is the third time I have failed the first test and passed the second. I think I am beginning to see a pattern here…

Also, Ammon is teething. He woke up inconsolable from his nap today. I got a picture of him cuddling with my mom to calm down.

Shortly after this we headed out to bring Lydia to a break dancing class. To date Lydia has loved every extra curricular I have ever enrolled her in, but she was not a huge fan of break dancing. Or rather, she did not care for the teacher. Good thing I have a punch pass to that studio–from now on, I am going to use our punches for ballet.

Then we came home, cooked and ate outside. The kids scootered and biked around the table before dinner.

I adore Ammon’s enormously fat feet.

Now I am going to read my book club book while Abe works for another six hours beside me. He is working like crazy to do everything he can to make his quota by Friday.

Swim lesson pic

I snapped a picture of Ammon during his swim lesson this morning.

After that I forgot to take any pictures for the rest of the day. We spent the entire morning at home practicing the harp and piano, after which it was almost 1pm and Ammon’s nap. I read to the girls until it was time to go to my dermatologist to find out what is going on with my belly. Apparently I have some weird auto-immune system thing that manifests as rings of eczema. Gross.

And then I broke myself grocery shopping so I hobbled home, put away as many groceries as I could (not many) and spent the rest of the evening recovering. Since I can’t move, I decided to make chat books of our recent trips. Since my photos are completely disorganized, it is taking a loooong time. Next time I am going to be more organized and have hashtags or some sorting mechanism ready to go so that the process is easier.

holiday letter

This Sunday I came home from church and wrote our holiday letter. In all the years we’ve been married, Abe and I have never sent out a holiday letter. The first year we sent out individual, hand-written cards. Actually, before we started dating, we got to know each other by getting together and writing out holiday cards. So we started out strong! …And then experienced a six year fizzle.

So anyhoo, now our letter is all typed and ready to go, six months early. There is definitely an aspirational quality to its content since half of the year hasn’t actually happened yet. I plan on deleting all of the fiction once I know how the year actually played out.

Abe fasted today and is stressed out of his mind. This next week is the last week of the quarter for him, which means he has to hit quota by Friday. The big deal that he has been chasing all quarter got snagged in legal last week, meaning if there’s no quick resolution (which it’s looking like there won’t be–in fact, it might even die in legal), then he will miss his quota by a long shot. Abe is basically in a state of panic. I wish there were more I could do, but I do pray for him.

Mary fell asleep after church today. Someone, either my mom or Abe, slipped a towel under her so she wouldn’t pee all over her bed while napping. I was amused and took a photo.

Also, Abe rallied from his sorrows and conducted science experiments with the girls this evening. They used ground red cabbage dye to figure out what household liquids were acids and which were bases. The girls were entranced. Mary was convinced he was performing magic tricks.

Also–how could I forget?? Lydia spent most of the afternoon PLAYING WITH OUR NEIGHBOR’S DOG!!!!! If you know Lyida, you know she is scared out of her mind of dogs. She has been bitten (nipped, whatever) twice, and when she sees a dog–any dog–she literally goes screaming in the other direction. We have talked about therapy because we are so afraid she will actually run into a busy street someday without thinking. Her capacity to reason seems to shut off at the sight of a dog and she enters the most atavistic arena of cognition. Which is to say, basically cognition doesn’t happen.

Anyway, we were all shocked when Eli convinced Lydia to not only pet his dog, but to spend hours playing with it. We praised her up and down repeatedly for the rest of the evening when we found out. And we sincerely hope this is the start of a new phase for Lydia–one in which she can still be herself around dogs!!

Abe’s team campfire

Last night Abe had a team activity with his Qualtrics team. They had a campfire up in the mountains, and some members camped the night there. The ones with families, like Abe, only stayed until around midnight or so. He had the greatest time and said it was the best team activity he had ever had. He loves his team and felt so bonded after that experience.

This morning we got up early to say good-bye to Clark and Soren. We had a wonderful week with them, and we are already looking forward to the next time we get together.

I had a bad dream that the carrot cake we got yesterday spoiled without my ever tasting it, so I had some for breakfast while we visited with Clark before they left.

I spent most of the day recovering in bed. I read an absolutely wonderful novel, Gilead. It was very inspiring and, frankly, elevating.

Our friends Jan and Chelsea came by to visit in the afternoon. Jan brought us dinner and Chelsea brought us a lot of her twins’ hand-me-downs for Ammon. It was lovely to see them.

Abe caught the girls having a tea party after our afternoon nap.

After dinner, Abe and I rested until 9pm. When the kids came in from playing, we discovered that they had spent the evening going door-to-door with Eli trying to sell fortunes to the neighbors. Lydia cowered on the sidewalk in case any of the neighbors had dogs, and Mary did the talking. Mary denies this, but since Lydia has never lied to me and Mary lies to me regularly, I believe Lydia. I wish we could have been flies and watched them at work.

3 hour diabetes test/mommy daughter date with Lydia

On Friday morning I had my three hour diabetes test. This is the third time I’ve taken it, so I am used to the drill by now. I have passed the other two times, so I hope I pass this time too!

I took Lydia with me to the test. We had wonderful one-on-one time that felt extremely special and restful. I read a detective book to her, scratched her back, and looked at pictures from my tea garden book with her. We discussed the difference between English tea gardens, Japanese tea gardens, herb gardens, and my very favorite, cottage gardens. Some day I aspire to tending a cottage garden. I have never enjoyed the three hour test so much. Really it was more like four hours because the internet was down when we arrived, so we got an extra hour of waiting in before they could even start the test.

Then we had a lunch date. I let Lydia choose the restaurant, and she chose Noodles and Co. We took a little long so she ended up being slightly late for robotics camp.

After I dropped her off, I came home and picked up Sophie to drop her off at home before coming home again. Just when I was about to read to Mary, she peed on her pouf and had to be bathed. By the time she was bathed, it was time to get Lydia and Eli. Mary wanted to come too, so I brought her along.

Then we dropped Eli off at home before heading to the store and on some errands. When we got home, it was almost time to take the kids to the boys’ haircuts.

Then we had a mussels, watermelon, corn and sourdough bread for dinner. There was also carrot cake, but I haven’t tried any yet because Ammon was so messy that I took him up early to clean him off. Abe has a team activity in the mountains tonight and won’t be home until late.

After I got the kids in their pj’s, we had harp and piano practice, scriptures, prayer and then bed. I was really proud to get all of the kids in bed by 8:15pm!! That meant I had time leftover to sit on the couch and catch up on blogging. Yay!


Qualtrics playground

On Thursday morning we got everyone ready for the day. Abby took these pictures while babysitting:

We then dropped the girls off at summer camp before heading over to Qualtrics for two hours. Abby and I let the boys play there while I sat on the couch. Abby joined me and we enjoyed not having to do much while the boys had a blast.

Then we picked up the girls, dropped Abby and Soren off at the house, and took Lydia to robotics camp.

After that I came home, dropped Abby off at her house, and then came back to read to Mary and take a quick (five minute?) rest before picking up Eli and Lydia from camp.

Then I made corn-stuffed peppers and pasta with pesto for dinner. We sat outside for a long time before coming in for clean-up and the bedtime routine.

stuffed animal pick up, etc.

On Wednesday morning we got up early for swimming lessons. The kids have two sets of lessons for the next three weeks before tapering off to our usual teacher, a sweet high school kid who teaches them in her pool on Tuesday afternoons. The other teacher, pictured below, is an actual professional, and I am crossing my fingers she can get the kids actually swimming. They have had soooooooo many sets of swimming lessons, and none of them can swim. But after three sessions with Mindee (the pro), Ammon is actually practicing his new flipping and floating skills in the bath! I am wowed. I hope the girls progress too…

Then we headed home and got everyone dressed, breakfasted, practiced, and ready for the day. After we were all done with our morning routines, we headed to the library to pick up our stuffed animals and check out the slideshow to see what adventures they had had the night before. Lydia dressed in her dino costume to commemorate the occasion.

Growly, Mary’s tiger, rode a zebra! Flops, Lydia’s dog, made phone calls and dressed up. Minnie, Soren’s choice, had so many adventures I can’t recall them all, and the giraffe, Ammon’s choice, had the most fun of all! I think the photographers thought he was photogenic, so he dressed up in a ton of photos and had a gazillion pictures in the slideshow.

Then we dropped off Soren and Sophie at home before taking Lydia to robotics camp. Ammon fell asleep en route for the second day in a row, meaning that this was the second day in a row he did not nap. That put me in rather a bad mood for the rest of the day.

After I picked up Lydia from robotics camp, we headed to Lydia’s harp lesson with Mary in tow. Mary played puzzles while Lydia had her lesson. Afterward we went to the store to pick up what we needed for dinner that night.

Then I came home and cooked Boston baked cod and corn on the cob for dinner while Abe took Mary to her piano lesson.

Then we ate dinner outside in the roasting heat, after which I came inside an collapsed in bed where I stayed for the rest of the night. It was a full day.

Happy Birthday Lily!!

Happy Birthday Lily!!!

Lily turns 34 today and I just want to post a few birthday wishes and thoughts for this magnificent woman in my life.

I met Lily almost 8 years ago in Hyde Park.  We both felt a divine force (and chemistry) bringing us closer and closer together until that blessed day when we got married May 29, 2010.

In many ways, that is when my life really began. Lily has introduced me to so much and given me so much in our time together. I’d like to share a few thoughts:

Lily LOVES to read: For anyone who knows me, you will know that reading feels like work and it can take me years to get through a simple novel. Yet, Lily can chew through a large volume in an afternoon.  Every time Lily reads a book and tells me about it, I feel I’ve read it too. I often find myself discussing books in social situations that I haven’t read……haha! Lily has enabled me to posture as someone who is well-read, cultured and knowledgeable. Really though, she is the one behind the scenes who brings culture, knowledge, literature, music, art and history into our home.

Lily thinks, feels, loves, and worships DEEPLY: I feel safe in saying that Lily is the most authentic person I have ever met. Her desires are deeply good and her form of worship is detached from wanting praise from others, worldly vanities, or box-checking. She has a deep, thoughtful and personal relationship with God. She is such an individual, marching to the beat of her own beautiful heart. She will go months praying for things unbeknownst to me until it comes out in a conversation.  She’s not showy with her faith. She is always in pursuit of understanding what is God-made and what is man-made, and in that pursuit, she has formed a way of life and a way of worship that is deeply authentic and inspiring.

Lily CARES about the underprivileged: Lily is constantly praying for, talking about and helping the underprivileged. Whether it is donating to the fistula foundation, asking me to watch Half The Sky with her and having her book club read it (remember, I don’t read much 🙂 ), or giving food to the man with a sign at the street intersection, or asking to not receive Christmas presents, but for loved-ones to donate to causes in-stead, I am amazed at how much Lily authentically cares about the unseen, the downtrodden, the underrepresented, the oppressed and the misunderstood. It is a part of her worship that I have been inspired by and completed by.

Lily LOVES God: Lily was raised in a Presbyterian church that always sang enthusiastic songs of praise about Jesus.  Those days made a deep imprint on Lily and she continues to live her life with a deep happiness, and joy about her savior. I love rocking out to K-Love songs about Jesus with Lily. It is a joy beyond measure to walk hand in hand with someone who shares with me a deep love for God.

Lily sacrifices to show love to others: Father’s day was a perfect example of the way Lily sacrifices to show love to others.  Many people don’t know that Lily’s doctor has asked her to refrain from walking (essentially have bed-rest) for six weeks because she has pulled her groin muscles during her pregnancy, and they are not getting any better.  Despite doctor’s orders, Lily got up early on Sunday to make me a Father’s Day breakfast, got me Father’s day gifts, crafted Father’s Day “Super Dad” chocolates with the girls, made an incredible Father’s day dinner, bought me a cheesecake and even offered me a massage at the end of the day (which I turned down because I was too tired and frankly concerned for her).  This has been a theme in my marriage with Lily. On my first Valentines day with her (while we were engaged), she made me steak and shrimp, and it was one of the nicest meals I’d ever had.  She has such a capacity to give gestures of love to people, even if those gestures require personal sacrifice on her end.

Lily sacrifices for our family: As I mentioned, Lily SHOULD be on bed-rest, but she is not. She cares too much about our children’s development, experiences and musical training. So every day, she’s practicing instruments with the children, taking them to fun places like the pool, driving them to their summer camps and activities and making nutritious meals.  She’s so driven by what she wants our children to become.  Sometimes harp practice with Lydia is a 90 minute level of Dante’s Inferno (with Lydia screaming, kicking, protesting, etc), and Lily hates it too because of how on-edge it makes her, but she consistently does it, because she cares about Lydia, and she wants her to be a harpist. Her commitment to our family DEEPLY INSPIRES ME.

Lily gets me, understands me and is patient with me: Sometimes when my mind is lost in space AGAIN, and I’m about to miss the turn RIGHT BY OUR HOUSE again, and Lily has to gently remind me where to turn AGAIN, I become aware that there are things about me she has to put up with. My forgetfulness, or ability to be preoccupied with worry is not the only thing she has to put up with. Like anyone else, I can be self-centered, arrogant, opinionated, and insensitive at times.  Yet, Lily has seen all of that in me, and loves me deeply through it.  She knows exactly who I am, with no secrets, and loves me immensely, and the same is true for my love for her.  I tell Lily all the time that she is my oasis.  My work is incredibly demanding and grueling right now.  Sometimes I feel very oppressed by all the work troubles, but when I think about Lily and the fun, joy and love that I experience with her, I feel a ray of sun in my heart, and it gives me courage to fight through the hard parts of my life.

Lily is FUN!: Just the other night, Lily said something before we went to bed that had me laughing so hard I could barely take it. Because of Lily, I watch cool TV series, like Sherlock, I go on amazing trips to the Pacific Northwest and Disney Land and I wear cool clothes she picked out rather than my old high-school duds (they are good until they have holes right?…..well and even then you can wear them…..or at least I do……).  Lily helps me to focus on the joy and experiences available to me in this life, and worry less about my work and troubles.

Lily is extremely humble: One of my favorite things about Lily is how humble she is. Arguments never last, and peace regularly abounds because of how quickly she is to assume fault, or humbly reflect on her behavior even when it is I that am at fault.  One drawback of this extreme humility is that it has made it difficult for Lily to see how good she is.

Sweetheart, since you never talk about your virtues, since you are too humble to even notice them, I am going to take this chance on your birthday to put in writing how wonderful you are so that friends and family can celebrate you with me, and so our posterity can have this record of what a remarkable Wonder Woman you are. If you could grasp this day how much I love you, how good, loving, kind your heart is, and how beautiful you are, then I would be a happy man today. May you have the most beautiful of birthdays.

I love you!!

34th Birthday

Abe stayed home longer than usual in the morning to make me a delightful acai bowl for my birthday. It was delicious. I was also greeted in the morning by a bouquet of birthday balloons. These proved their value throughout the week. The kiddos loved them!

Then Lydia did her harp practice and completely forgot it was my birthday. It was kind of a terrible one. Mary had a great piano practice, though! We then packed everyone in the car and headed to the Provo Library to drop off stuffed animals for the annual stuffed animal sleepover. Ammon wept when he parted from the giraffe (an animal he has no emotional attachment to whatsoever).

Then we headed upstairs in the library to complete their weekly craft project.

When we finished our crafts, we picked up some Jimmy Johns and headed to the park for a picnic and some play time.

After our picnic, we dropped off Abby and Soren at home and then dropped off Lydia at robotics camp.

I then headed to Rubio’s to meet my visiting teacher and another friend who wanted to meet up on my birthday for lunch. It was such a sweet idea, except that I had forgotten we had the appointment and accidentally had a veggie sandwich from Jimmy Johns at the park. Oops! The restaurant we met at had no air conditioning, so we ended up heading back to my visiting teacher’s house to visit. I enjoyed visiting with my visiting teacher and our other friend (a former visiting teachee of hers) a lot–I even lost track of time and was a wee bit late picking up Lydia and Eli from robotics!

After picking up the kids from robotics, we came back home. Abe had sent me a bouquet of gorgeous flowers and such a sweet note to the house.

I then lay down for twenty minutes, but my mom’s visiting teachers were visiting and our house was waaaay too chaotic for them to have a good visit. I packed up the kids, including Eli and the afternoon babysitter, Katie, and headed to the pool.

Ammon and Soren had a great time at the pool imitating each other. I was so happy when they decided to play with each other. Before that Ammon kept trying to drown himself by walking straight into the deeper parts of the kiddie pool. Even when the water was over his nose, he did not want me to help him turn around or head to shallower parts of the pool. I was scared he was going to dry drown.

It felt like our whole ward was at the pool–it was so crowded, and we kept bumping into church friends! Because of the crowds, I went a little nuts trying to keep track of all five kids at the pool. I could not have done it without Katie, who stuck right with Soren the whole time and made sure he didn’t drown!

Then Abe brought some salads from Cafe Rio for dinner, after which we turned the kids over to babysitter #3 for the day, Liza. My mom helped put Ammon down and Liza took over while we headed to the movie theater to meet up with our friends, the Harmons, and watch Wonder Woman. We enjoyed it a lot.

Blair, my friend, is a dietician who specialized in gestational diabetes, and she gave me wonderful advice. I had been avoiding sugar in anticipation of my three hour test on Friday, but she said that the sugar would clear out of my system before Friday, and also that there was nothing I could do if I actually have gestational diabetes. In light of that good information, we headed to the bakery and I finished the day by eating sugary treats for the first time in over a week and a half.

It was such an action packed birthday, filled with sunshine and all sorts of fun activities. I hope I don’t end up permanently disabled from this pregnancy so that I can continue the pace for year 34!