Today I dragged myself out of bed to run and shower before dashing out with Lydia to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. The minute we got back from our errands, I ran inside for my crock pot and a box for the food drive, loaded the car, and took off for church. Today was “Super Saturday,” which is the day women in the Relief Society get together to do service projects, learn new skills, and eat lunch.
While I was quilting and learning quick-bread tips, Abe was spending quality time with his dad and the girls. Because today was a gorgeous day, they spent hours walking around outside, and when I came home, Abe was just about to take the girls on another walk to one of our neighbor’s play sets. I vacillated between joining them and practicing the piano, but then I thought that if I actually do the May competition, I need to get cracking. So I stayed behind and looked at the pretty day through the window.
Because I am dying to go upstairs and read my scriptures and more of The Paris Wife, here are the pictures from today:
It feels like so much happened in one short day! First I ran on the treadmill and hurried to take a shower before Abe left for work. Then I squeezed in an hour and a half of piano practice, after which we had a wonderful play date with our friends, the Skardas. I was so absorbed in my conversation with Carrie that I completely forgot to take a picture of the kids. That and Lydia declared she was hungry, and her tone implied ominous things to come if we didn’t comply with her wishes and feed her lunch right then and there. So I was a bit distracted trying to cook up lunch, feed the kids, and talk with Carrie…and now all that’s left is this sad little paragraph to document a lovely morning.
After Carrie left, I practiced some more and put the girls down for quiet time and naps. Mary is sleeping for shorter and shorter amounts of time, so I had to work really fast to get through my online class assignments, and I wasn’t even finished before Mary woke up screaming. After the girls woke up, I fed them half a dozen times, made dinner, and then dashed to my first on-campus class when Abe got home.
My class is about purchasing, and even though the math is simple, numbers make me nervous and sweaty, and I sometimes feel like I am having a legitimate allergic reaction in their presence. So that was kind of scary and hard, but the class is small (6 people) and everyone seems friendly. I was the only person who did not know I was supposed to get and wear my chef whites to class, but thankfully no one commented. When I realized I’d neglected this, I felt so discouraged; I’ve always been really spacey about details like that, and if I don’t make a friend in class asap to help me navigate logistics, I am toast.
Then I came home and knocked out the next two weeks of work for my online class. Tomorrow I have to be at church all day because I am on the Relief Society committee, and they’re putting on their bi-annual “Super Saturday” of workshops and quilting for humanitarian aid. I realized half an hour ago that I promised to bring a crock pot of soup, and I am definitely not prepared to do that. So I’ll post these pictures quickly and get to bed so that I can throw some soup together before 10am tomorrow.
The following three pictures are of the girls while I practiced piano. Obviously, I stopped practicing to take these pictures. They were just so cute!
I was up most of last night with excitement. I couldn’t believe that I am living so many dreams simultaneously! I was tossing and turning until it was almost time to get up…and then I spent the rest of the day paying my dues. Currently, I have a throbbing headache (going on hour twelve) and almost skipped blogging because I just want to go to bed.
But Grandma, I am blogging for you! Mom told me that you read this on your iPad every day, and I want you to have new material tomorrow, so here’s how the day went:
I practiced piano for hours while the kids tore up the living room. I finally figured out a barricade for the stairs, so now the kids play next to me while I practice. Half the time they clamber to get on my lap and “play” the piano themselves, so it’s a little inefficient in terms of practice–but super efficient in transmitting a desire to play the piano. (That transmission is one of my chief goals in life, after all.)
Around 2pm I finally decided to change out of my pj’s (into yoga pants–a very big upgrade!)…and climb back into bed. Mary was taking her very short second nap, so I squeezed in some more of The Paris Wife. It’s a novel about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, and it’s been a very fun read. The author uses dialogue to terrific effect; I feel like I’m coming to a new understanding of just how fresh the 1920’s were for those who lived then. The closest comparison I can think of is the 1960’s…it was a time full of innovation, art, creativity, rule-breaking, and slang. But the slang seems to encapsulate it all in a wonderfully revealing way.
I also listened to a TON of piano recordings throughout the day, and read a little bit about Chopin’s opinion on wrist movement: For Chopin, the wrist was a vehicle to communicate respiration at the piano. I’m certainly not going to compete with a nocturne, but I did replay the nocturne op.9 no.1 a ton of times with that direction in mind. It was so fun!
And then, of course, we had to have a go at some of the library books we checked out yesterday. I played with the girls and read to them, and then toted them downstairs for a snack. While they were eating, I busied myself making dinner, and my dull knife slipped and sliced open my middle finger on my left hand! I was so thankful the cut wasn’t worse, and for the rest of the evening I just practiced with my right hand.
Today was the very first day in my life where I forgot to eat a meal. I’ve heard people (like my husband) talk about having forgotten to eat, but I personally have never experienced such a phenomenon…until today! I woke up excited to go to cooking school, and by the time I’d read scriptures, run and showered, it was time to go. I just barely had enough time to hunt down my wallet and run out the door. On the way to school, I realized what a momentous day this was; not only is it the first day of my new program, but it’s also the very first day I’ve forgotten to eat breakfast. Wow.
During orientation, I felt nervous, excited, and anxious to get learning. But since it was just orientation, I mainly got a good talking-to from a variety of directors on the importance of going to class and paying my bills.
I did, however, like the director of the culinary program. She happened to go to Kendell College, which (at the time she attended) was located in Evanston, Illinois–my hometown! I felt a kinship over that.
While I was listening to the financial aid director explain the difference between grants and loans, Abe was home teaching preschool to Lydia’s little co-op. He had a lot of fun, and the house was in surprisingly good shape (considering what had just happened) when I returned.
When I got back, I grabbed a piece of challah and then loaded the girls into the car for Mary’s doctor appointment. Today was her year appointment, so she had to get seven shots. Poor little thing. She charmed everyone by being adorable and easy going…until they jammed her little legs full of needles. After that, she was so sad and tired that she napped at home for the next four hours (she’d skipped her morning nap on account of preschool).
During two of those hours, Lydia played imaginary games with her animals in her room while I practiced the piano. I don’t know if I’ve lost my mind to think I can raise two kids, go to cooking school, and enter a piano competition, but the practicing is soooooo fun. Besides, I am certainly NOT entering the competition to win or even medal; please note previous winners have full-blown international performing careers on the side of their primary occupations. No, I am entering this with the mindset of someone running a marathon; I assume most people consider it a victory simply to finish the race, and I feel the same. If I get my pieces up to a point where I can compete with them, that will be my victory.
With that–and a promise I’d made earlier to Lydia–in mind, after dinner, I drove the girls to the main library. There I checked out a ton of CD’s with various artists playing the pieces I intend to compete with, and then we went down to the children’s section for more books.
By the time we got back home, Lydia was so sound asleep that I just put her straight to bed. Mary was so tired that I skipped her bath too and just read to her until her bedtime. She loves books with textures on the pages, and she can turn pages and feel the different textures for indefinite amounts of time. She snuggled, read, and snuggled some more. What a love.
And then I folded laundry and cleaned the house for the next hour. All that drudgery was eased by the joy of listening to the CD’s I got from the library.
And now I’m going to get a start on The Paris Wife. I didn’t take a single picture today, so I’m done with blogging much earlier than normal. Wow, I have so much time left before bed…maybe I should skip the pictures more often!
This morning, after scriptures and a run on the treadmill (thank-you, daylight savings!!), I knocked out Mary’s birthday thank-you notes. Lydia helped. The evidence of her help can currently be seen across the whole floor, which is covered in stationary and envelopes. I haven’t had time to pick them up, because right after we did the notes, I took Lydia on my lap and we watched a ton of piano performances on youtube. I called up the the PianoForte Foundation and got details on their May 2014 amateur piano competition, and I think I’m going to enter. Lydia and I watched many videos in an attempt to try to figure out times of various piece combinations for different rounds.
Obviously, I’ve gone off the deep end in the self-actualization department. Cooking school, piano competitions…this, I think, is what happens when you finally start getting somewhat consistent sleep at night after almost three straight years of deprivation. All of the sudden, the world is my oyster! I can do whatever I want, because I have ENERGY! And my babies can entertain themselves, so I have TIME!! Wow. I feel like I’m in front of a smorgasbord of possibilities, and I want to do it ALL. Because, you know, eventually I will have more babies, and then it will be back to square one (counting the shower as my major accomplishment of the day…um, ugh.).
Anyway, after watching the videos–and eventually, Lydia got bored and slid off my lap to play with her magnetic doll while I stayed riveted in front of youtube–I decided to get a head start on dinner. Once again, Lydia was happy to help, and we made some delicious challah together. (Of course, there were tantrums along the way, and I spent the rest of the day feeling like The World’s Worst Mom for yelling at her.)
Lydia helped braid that!
Then it was lunch time. After lunch, the girls played upstairs together while I practiced. There was a talk in General Conference a while back where one speaker shared the story of how his infant son died because he aspirated a piece of chalk while the parents were in a different room. This talk plays in my head continually while I practice, and so every couple minutes I call up to make sure everyone is still alive and breathing. I would love for the girls to play in the same room as the piano, but there’s no door between the piano and the stairs, and so when they’re in the room with me, I am constantly running to the stairs to make sure Mary doesn’t take a tumble. It’s pretty annoying. So this is the best I can do, for now.
I let Lydia skip her nap today because I could tell she wasn’t tired, and so instead she entertained herself while I practiced some more.
Then she helped me prep some squash for roasting. After that, I finally took the time to read some books to her; she hasn’t left the house for two days and was begging to go to the library today…sorry, but since it snowed, the closest I wanted to get to accommodating her wish was reading her the books we checked out on Saturday.
Then we traipsed downstairs where I fed her dinner, and then I tried to feed Mary dinner.
Mary refused to eat anything I put in front of her, so finally I just let both kids scream for forty minutes while I finished cleaning the kitchen and prepping the rest of dinner. Abe’s arrival home made all of us feel better, and after we ate dinner (again), I practiced the piano again until bedtime. Then it was clean the kitchen time (which meant I ate the equivalent of dinner #3 while picking up).
Tomorrow Abe is going to teach preschool because…I have my orientation to culinary school!!!! I can’t wait!!!!!
I decided to clean the house today, which is where the title of this post derives most of its meaning.
When the kids finally went down for naps and quiet time, I finished the skirt for Aria’s baby, Enna. That is where the title derives the rest of its meaning.
Let’s see, what else happened. Oh, I made paella (with seitan chorizo–my favorite kind!).
During dinner, Abe told me he had a surprise for me and that he couldn’t wait any longer to show me. He was going to wait until my first day of school (Wednesday!!), but I was lucky and he gave it to me tonight…
Let’s see. What else. Well, I did read a little to the girls, and Lydia “helped” me dust upstairs and disinfect the bathrooms. She even helped me vacuum a bit, too. I also too some cute pictures of the girls.
And I practiced the piano, too. Mary is so cute. She spent a lot of time on my lap trying to play, and she gets really excited about moving the piano lid up and down. When she’s not on my lap, she loves to make a beeline for the stairs. I get my exercise in jumping up from the piano (I always wait until the very last second) and racing to the stairs to make sure she doesn’t fall down them. Today I almost waited too long on one trip and reached Mary just as she started falling down. I tried to play it safe from there on out.
And now, for real, I hope finally to go finish my novel. I start school on Wednesday, and I feel like I might not get another chance to finish!!
Today was fast Sunday (the one Sunday per month when Mormons forgo two meals and donate the money saved to the poor), and during Sunday School, our teacher talked about the importance of sharing our stories with each other. The lesson was supposed to be a theory-meets-practice seminar on family history, but she turned it into more of a “let’s-build-Zion-by-sharing-our-stories” type of lesson.
On fast Sundays, anyone who wants to can bear their testimony in Sacrament meeting. It is a little daunting to get up in front of 400 people (definitely the biggest ward I’ve ever been in) without a pre-written talk, but today I felt inspired by the Sunday School lesson, so I went up and shared a little of my conversion story. I have never borne my testimony in this ward, and it felt really nice to share my feelings about God with a group of people I have come to love so much.
After that, I came home and zeroed in on my family history. I think I found my great-great grandfather, my great-great-great grandfather, and my great-great-great grandmother today! The connection was so plausible I almost plugged it into my family tree, but I am missing my great-grandfather’s birth certificate, which would clarify it all up. I searched 168 Philippine records, but nothing came up. By that point, I was talking out loud to myself and I was tired. So I called it quits and retired to my bed for…hours.
When the girls finally finished their naps/quiet time, I dragged myself out of bed to make that pot of broccoli soup we all so desperately need. Then it was time to break the fast and feed the kids. I was a little snappy during dinner because I hate/loathe/detest/despise/can NOT stand meal time. Mary cries and fusses because she gets pickier and pickier each day, and Lydia wants to sit next to me or on my lap, which is sweet by stressful. I love her hugs and “I love you’s,” but I don’t like fearing she will knock over her soup into my lap at any second. However. her ability to eat anything (today she happily ate the dry rind of last week’s Gorgonzola and pronounced it “good”) gives me some comfort in the wake of Mary’s inability to eat anything that doesn’t contain sugar.
Abe noticed my distress and sweetly offered to give me a massage after dinner, and both Lydia and Mary came over to “help.” It was very sweet, and made better by the fact that after the massage was done, Abe watched the girls for the rest of the evening so I could play piano. With all that luxurious time, I went crazy and played through a ton of old pieces that I haven’t touched in more than a decade. I hope God understands that even if it wasn’t specifically Sabbath oriented, at least I feel like a happier, more loving person when I’m playing.
When that was done, I cleaned the kitchen and went upstairs for Family Home Evening. (Tomorrow night we are going to be in Snowbird with Abe’s mom and step dad, so we had FHE today instead.) Abe taught a lesson on fasting, and then we played parachute because fasting is supposed to help us “rejoice” more deeply. Playing parachute helps Mary and Lydia rejoice; clearly, it was an appropriate follow-up to the lesson.
After going to bed late last night, I dragged myself out of bed before the kids woke up so I could go do Bikram yoga. It was the greatest way to start my day, especially since I have been living primarily on m’n’m’s and apple pie lately.
When I came home, I discovered Abe and Lydia about to play hopscotch in their jammies. Afterwards, they picked the rest of the tomatoes in the garden and ate tomatoes and cheese on the lawn. Of course, I had to get a picture.
I then retired to my bed to read scriptures and hibernate, and by 1pm I finally felt up to going out and doing five hours of errands. In order, they went like this:
Library (no pictures–just a quick potty break for Lydia while I restocked on kid books.)
Whole Foods We got hungry and decided to eat lunch there. I did a comparison on eggs this morning (Smith’s regular vs. Smith’s cage free vs. Whole Foods) and Whole Foods won. So now we have another stop on our Saturday errand route…
Trader Joe’s. Every week this store is stealing more and more of my business away from my other stores. But here’s the thing: I turn out breakfast and dinner most days, and under no circumstances do I care to cook lunch too. For good, quick lunch food, I haven’t found anything comparable. And they give out lollipops. Lydia was really concerned I didn’t procure one for Mary, and she spent the next ten minutes trying to tell us that “Ma-wee reawwwee wants a wowwypop!”
Target. Best diapers in town. And we needed printer paper and Draino.
Tony Caputo’s. All I can say is, my fridge is a cheese cave. We need to have a cheese party this week, because right now in my fridge these cheeses are getting cozy: Teleggio, Gorgonzola Dolce, fresh Mozzarella, Mascarpone, leftover Rochetta–not to mention string cheese, shredded cheddar, grated domestic Parmesan, and some goat cheese. China Study what????!! (Also, while I was in the store, Abe tells me Lydia was frantically trying to open the ginger cookies I bought at Trader Joe’s. In her words: “Daaddyy, how do you open this? Ma-wee reawwy wants a cookie!!”
Smith’s. Because, at the end of the day, my neighborhood Smith’s is my very favorite store. I love the staff so much I even complimented the manager on his hiring ability (only to find out someone else does the hiring), but seriously–the employees there are the friendliest you’ve ever met. On more than one occasion some stranger has initiated a conversation with me that centers around how awesome the people who work at Smith’s are. Also, we were almost out of toilet paper.
And then we went home, raced to feed and bathe the kids, and then left them in the care of our lovely babysitter so we could make it to the last temple session of the day. We made it home around 11pm. And I need to go to bed now (or maybe read more of my novel??)
Before tonight, Abe and I had gone on exactly two movie dates together. That’s a total count. We never went while we were dating (didn’t do that super long), and before we had kids Abe was so depleted from his stressful job that he never had the energy to go. When the Harry Potter movie came out that year, I was so desperate to see it that I finally just took one of the girls I babysat to see it with me.
Since we clearly get out so rarely, you’ll understand why the movie we just saw left me in a state of rapture.
All the more since we weren’t planning on going to a movie tonight. A couple months ago when we were at the temple (which we really should count as a date, although I have mixed feelings about that), Abe bumped into one of his old friends. Ever since, the two of them have been trying to coordinate schedules. We were supposed to have dinner tonight, but we cancelled at the last minute because Lydia and Mary are sick. They’ve been sick for over three weeks, and I honestly don’t anticipate them recovering until May. At least, that’s how last year went. So maybe in May we’ll finally coordinate dinner with Andrew and his family. In the meantime, Abe and I decided at the last minute (while, in fact, we were out on a run up City Creek Canyon–watch out, there was a recent bear sighting there!!) to go on a movie date a mere two hours later.
**Is the sentence structure of that last sentence nearly as hysterical to anyone else as it is to me? Why, oh why am I incapable of clear, linear thought?! I just get so bogged down in tangential asides that real communication must seem awfully obscure to any reader besides myself (for whom parenthetical asides are simply the organic by-products of thinking–and often the most interesting, too…although this one hardly passes muster in the “interesting” category.)**
Anyway, we successfully procured one of the young women in our ward to “babysit” our sleeping children (9:05pm movie, 10 minutes from our house), and off we went. I can not rave enough about The Saratov Approach, although Abe and I are really confused about the title. Why is it the “approach”? I could see The Saratov Event or something a little more catchy-yet-vague, but “approach” left us befuddled. At any rate, the movie is the true story of two Mormon missionaries who got kidnapped in Russia in 1998, and it’s the story of how they endured the terrible crisis and finally returned intact. Lest I spoil it for anyone planning to see it, I won’t say more, other than my insides feel like they have been liquified from two straight hours of suspense.
Which is a nice change of pace, since I spent most of the day in a less-than-palpitated-state.
I lay around reading scriptures and my novel while the children either napped or played next to me…pretty much all day. Actually, I had a lovely time reading in bed this morning while Lydia cuddled with me and played puzzle games on the iPad. Later, while Lydia napped, Mary played contentedly for over an hour while I made a dent in Death Comes to Pemberly. Granted, she came over for hugs and kisses every two and a half minutes, but I looooove dispensing those, so it was a win-win situation/day.
When Abe came home, I popped the dinner I made yesterday in the oven, and then we all went on a run together. After the run we got the girls fed, bathed and ready for bed, brought over the babysitter, and left on our merry way.
I love most holidays, but Halloween is truly one of my favorites. It is the only American holiday where it’s requisite to get out in the community and deepen your friendships with your neighbors…there’s even candy to boot! I am so there.
I also love celebrating with Abe’s family. They get together in one family’s house down in Sugar House, eat chili, and go trick or treating in their incredibly Halloween-friendly neighborhood.
So we trick-or-treated TWICE today, once with Abe’s family in Sugar House and once in our neighborhood with our neighbors.
Who, by the way, are awesome. One of our neighbors is an interior decorator, and she invited us in for a tour of her entire house. Every room looks like it belongs in a magazine. (She then gave us her entire bowl of candy and called it a night.) Since Abe grew up across the street, we spent a lot of time visiting with many more of our neighbors, and before we knew it, it was 9:20pm and the girls had yet to be brought home and bathed. We sure had fun, though. In the words of an enthusiastic Lydia, “I WUV Hawo-ween!!”
Holidays take energy, though. This morning I knew the day was going to be busy, so I procrastinated getting out of bed for as long as I could while the girls giggled and played together. As long as they were having fun, I figured I could lie in bed, get in my scriptures and even spend some time on Death Comes to Pemberly, the perfect Halloween book.
Once Mary started crying, I dragged myself out of bed, tackled potty poop and diaper poop, fed the girls, put Mary down for a nap, and brought in some pumpkins for Lydia to help me carve.
After carving pumpkins, we made pie crust for another slab pie.
Ever since I made the last slab pie, I can not stop thinking about it. Now, I’m no pie crust expert, but I have been making pie crusts since I was eight years old, and I will tell you this: I have never made a better pie crust than the one on last week’s slab pie. Deb (of Smitten Kitchen) was not kidding when she promised that the crust of a slab pie fluffs up differently than the crust of a normal pie. It’s not weighed down by so much filling, and so the result is…perfection? It really just might be.
I had leftover Rochetta (a type of Brie) from Mary’s party, so I slathered it apricot jam and puff pastry. It came out a delectable mess.
We’re going to a dinner party tomorrow, and I promised to bring apple pie. At the time, we were trick-or-treating in Sugar House, and I thought the apple pie I’d made for the family gathering had been left untouched. By the time we returned, people had tried some (thank goodness!), and on the way home, I sneaked a bunch more. So long story short, I may or may not be making another slab apple pie tomorrow. I did, however get carried away baking today; there is an entire pear apricot Gorgonzola tart in my fridge waiting to be baked, so I might take the easy route and just bring that instead. I guess we’ll see.
Anyway, today was a obviously a food-centric, fun filled holiday. I am exhausted, happy, and so thrilled and thankful Abe is home again.