Abe and I didn’t roll out of bed intending to take the day by storm. We had two things on our agenda: The Jewish Community Center (to sign Lydia up for preschool) and the Library (to pay down our fines).

But the day had us in its sights. From morning until evening, it was packed with events, planned and unplanned, delightful and…well, less than delightful.

First off, we fell in love with the JCC again. Thank goodness we have been saving up for it, because with Abe’s new, slimmer salary, we would not be able to pull off tuition otherwise. As it is, I have to figure out how to feed a family of four three meals a day (plus snacks!) on less than a quarter of my former budget. I figure it comes out to about $1.75 a meal–for ALL of us. I’ll post any ingenious, creative meal solutions, but since I am currently stumped, we’ve started eating Ramen. Thank goodness Mary seems to be a huge fan! As long as we don’t all die of sodium and MSG in the next few months, Ramen it will have to be. But, as Abe pointed out, at least Lydia’s education will be stellar, and that trumps fancy (fresh?) food…we think.

And as long as we’re on the topic of budgeting, today we spent two hours at the library reading to our children–and paid down $24.00 in fines! (I had $31.00 in fines to begin with.)  By the time we were done, Abe was glassy-eyed and unresponsive, Mary was sleepy, and Lydia declared herself “fursty (thirsty), hungwee (hungry) and sweepy (sleepy)–every of them!” I felt a little guilty (not to mention dehydrated) for putting us all through that, but there was a smidgen of triumph in there as well. I mean, it’s a brand new year, and my fines are almost entirely paid off!

Then we came home and got everyone fed and rested, right before I got a call from a dear old friend letting me know she and her mother were in town and could drop by. It was an opportunity too good to pass up, so I raced downstairs and took down ALL of the Christmas decorations and vacuumed like crazy before she arrived. Abe had a nightmare during his nap which woke him up, so he came down and helped. By the time my friend and her mom arrived, the house was completely, 100% Christmas-decoration-free.

My friend, Carolina, was my first friend when I transitioned away from my Presbyterian upbringing and started attending the Mormon church at the age of 13. It was a huge cultural shock, and all of the kids at my new church had known each other since infancy. I had been quite solidly integrated into my old church, and entering a new, foreign environment was scary–especially since I was so shy I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to anyone for the first year. Carolina, though, was a familiar face, since her mom and my mom had let us play together a couple times throughout my childhood. She was so kind to me, and she was the only person at church I felt comfortable being around for a loooong time. It was a deep joy to see her and her lovely mom today, and I loved meeting her little daughter, Leah. Carolina now lives in Utah, so I hope to see more of her now that we’ve reconnected.

After our impromptu reunion with Carolina and Derly, Abe and I went through our regular dinner-bath-bedtime-piano practice routine. After I finished practicing (I memorized the Bach today!!), I went upstairs to check on the girls, who had been giggling and squealing ever since we put them to bed. Shortly before I checked on them, their laughs had turned to sobs. I grabbed my camera before entering, since I hadn’t taken a single photo of the day, and since I expected only to find two tired out little girls. When I entered the room, I immediately took the following picture. It wasn’t until after I’d taken the picture that I realized what had happened…

Lydia had poured baby powder all over herself and Mary, and she'd smeared diaper rash cream into her hair and Mary's. Mary was pretty upset.
Lydia had poured baby powder all over herself and Mary, and she’d smeared diaper rash cream into her hair and Mary’s. Mary was pretty upset.

I immediately picked up Mary and took her to the bathroom to bathe her again, and when Abe came up, he took a close-up of Lydia before bringing her to the bathroom, too.

Lydia was hysterical for the next hour. Scrubbing diaper rash cream out of hair is crazy difficult, and both girls were exhausted and very, very sad by the time they were  a little cleaner.
Lydia was hysterical for the next hour. Scrubbing diaper rash cream out of hair is crazy difficult, and both girls were exhausted and very, very sad by the time we finished.

Poor little things. Despite the fact that we heartlessly photographed their pain, we actually felt really bad for them. At the same time, we feel happy because after the cleaning ordeal, we are sure Lydia will never do this again.

I am going to go read my first book of the new year now. Maybe I’ll finally be able to finish one!