Easter Eve

Today was packed, and Abe and I have yet to make Easter baskets and hide eggs, so quickly:

I got up at 5:30am to make it to yoga this morning. By the time I got home, Abe was in an apron making pancakes for all of us. Well, actually, Lydia made them:

IMG_7393 IMG_7392 IMG_7396Then she had an accident, which meant she had to take a shower, which meant that I got to do her hair while it was wet, which meant I got to practice my ladder braid!

IMG_7399 IMG_7401I also did Mary’s hair for the first time. She didn’t like it.

IMG_7402Then I did a couple hours of homework while Abe played legos and other games with the girls. We fed them lunch, put Mary down for a nap, and then I practiced the piano for a couple hours. It felt positively luxurious to play whatever the heck I wanted to play. But it was a gorgeous day, and Abe and Lydia were outside enjoying the day and helping Ron and Shirl, so I finally quit and joined them outside. I found Abe reading his scriptures in the sunshine while Lydia drew chalk pictures next to him. No camera nearby, but it was cute.

Then we packed up the girls for the library, groceries, and the park:

lydiaonbike marywithhelmet marythroughfenceBy the time we got home, it was almost dark, so we hurried to plant our new tomato plants and then scurried inside to get dinner ready. Abe and I taught the girls an FHE lesson on Christ’s death and resurrection, and Lydia grilled us with questions all throughout dinner. She was very concerned about the nails-in-hands-and-feet part, which made me wonder if I should have diluted the story more.

At any rate, the girls didn’t get to bed until almost two hours past their bedtime tonight. We are going to have a tough time being on time for church tomorrow…

Take your family to work day (Egg hunt #3)

Mary locked herself in my mom’s room this morning for several hours. It was very scary, but I was grateful for the assurance of the Spirit. I kept getting the feeling that it would be okay, and it did turn out okay. Our landlord came over and explained that he used to get locked in rooms all the time as a child, and his mom would pop the lock with a crochet needle. I had been trying to pop the lock with all sorts of things, but we tried a key (imagine that!) and it worked great. Mary was contentedly playing with a doll when we got her, and I was SO happy to pick her up and hug her.

Right after that, I loaded the girls in the car and we drove to Abe’s work for their Bring Your Family to Work Day. They had amazing food, a quick presentation, and an Easter egg hunt for the girls. The girls are getting to be pros at finding Easter eggs by now, and even Mary has the drill down.

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Abe and the girls in the parking lot. I wish I'd gotten a closer shot because they looked so cute. Lydia talked the whole way down about how she was going to give her daddy a big hug and kiss because she missed him. After we left, she talked about how happy she was to see her daddy during the day. It was sweet.
Abe and the girls in the parking lot. I wish I’d gotten a closer shot because they looked so cute. Lydia talked the whole way down about how she was going to give her daddy a big hug and kiss because she missed him. After we left, she talked about how happy she was to see her daddy during the day. It was sweet.

I practically fell asleep driving back home, and I guess the girls were as tired as I was. When we got home, all three of us slept for three hours. Okay, okay–I woke up after an hour and a half, but then I lay on the couch reading food blogs until the girls woke up. They woke up right when Abe got home.

After Abe got home, we went on a run in the canyon. It was a lovely Spring evening, and my favorite trees are in bloom. They smell soooooooo good. When we got back, Abe ate dinner outside while the girls and I (who had already eaten) ran around the yard hunting down flowers to smell, mint to pick, and robins to watch.

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I even got some practice in when we went back inside, although today I decided that I am not doing my competition. Maybe I will do one next year, but I really want to prioritize the time I have with my grandma, and there’s no way to know if I’ll be done with my round in time to make it to the reunion dinner. Also, I don’t want to pay $175 just to withdraw after the first round, so I think it makes more sense to postpone competing. When I practiced tonight, I enjoyed it so much; I was bored with my competition pieces, and so now I’m giving myself a chance to play other stuff.

Yay for a great start to the weekend!


I only have a couple pictures today. This one I took this morning while I was doing homework. The girls were angelic today and let me do hours of homework while they entertained themselves:

IMG_7363During Mary’s nap, Ron and Shirl replaced a window in the house. Lydia was curious and at one point left the house to watch. I was upstairs reading when I heard the front door bang, and I knew Lydia had just let herself out to watch them. So I hurried downstairs and ended up reading to Lydia on the lawn. She was really excited because Puss got to come, although she was a little worried he’d blow away in the wind…

IMG_7364 IMG_7366Then I went to cooking school and made a bunch of stuff for my Latin class.

Mexican garlic soup
Mexican garlic soup
A super spicy cactus dish on rice
A super spicy cactus dish on rice
a turkey with two special salsas, fresh cheese (I made it for the first time and couldn't believe how easy it was!), pickled onions, and a bunch of other stuff
a turkey with two special salsas, fresh cheese (I made it for the first time and couldn’t believe how easy it was!), pickled onions, and a bunch of other stuff
Churros and Mexican hot chocolate
Churros and Mexican hot chocolate

Abe had another great day at work. The girls were wonderfully behaved today, and now it’s time for bed. Good night!

Good people

Abe is already in bed, so this will be quick.

The most notable things about today were 1) Ina came over and watched the girls so I could do whatever I wanted for three hours. Ina is a saint. She is a woman in our ward who loves my children, and she’s been telling me for years she will babysit for free. I never want to impose, but I have been rather desperate to get to the temple, so finally I asked for her help. When she got here, I realized I’d misplaced my recommend, so I went swimming and grocery shopping instead. Ina is such a huge blessing. Abe and I have been fretting about getting to the temple more, and she was so genuine in her offer to watch the girls whenever we want that I think we will avail ourselves of her sweet help in the future. I am so touched by how much she loves my children, and I am impressed by her giving heart. I could tell she honestly just enjoyed serving, and I hope to be more like her when I grow up!

2) We had dinner with Jill, Ty, their four kids, Katie, Pat, and their three kids. Jill texted me this morning about getting together, but I have school on the other free night she suggested, so we just did it tonight. It was so fun. We forgot to take pictures, but when Abe went upstairs to gather the children, I asked him to take a quick picture first.

IMG_7361Also, I watched a Youtube video and decided to try a new hairstyle on Lydia:

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Easter egg hunt round two

It was a packed day. First, I took the girls to the store to buy some eggs to stuff for their second Easter egg hunt of the season. Misty arranged a wonderful hunt with her play group at Ensign Peak Park. The day was sunny and clear, and the bright eggs hidden green field nestled right underneath the mountain made for a picture perfect hunt. The only down side was that the sun was so bright, I couldn’t see my phone’s screen at all, so I had to take pictures completely blindly and hope that something would come out.

20140415_103114 20140415_104549 20140415_104544 20140415_104029Then we came home and ate lunch. After lunch, I put Mary down for a nap and then dyed Easter eggs with Lydia.

IMG_7346 IMG_7349Then Mary woke up and had a snack.

IMG_7352 IMG_7351Then I went to school and cooked some salads. They looked a total mess because we were in such a rush to plate them.

Pear salad with so many steps it made my head spin. Roasted pears, fanned out. Sliced raw pears. Blue cheese tart. rehydrated cherries. Port wine reduction. Bacon bits. Pear vinaigrette. Aghhhh!
Pear salad with so many steps it made my head spin. Roasted pears, fanned out. Sliced raw pears. Blue cheese tart. rehydrated cherries. Port wine reduction. Bacon bits. Pear vinaigrette. Aghhhh! And that is why I ended up just throwing it all haphazardly on the plate and saying: Done.
Salads should have a liner and a garnish. My liner made my salad look like a butterfly...
Salads should have a liner and a garnish. My liner made my salad look like a butterfly…

Abe had a great day at work and we feel God’s hand operating in that arena of life. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him at all so I’m going to end this post, shower, and go to bed. Maybe if he’s still awake I can actually talk to him for more than thirty seconds!

The ups and the downs

Today was a good day for both Lily, Lydia, Mary and myself and I believe we all experience a relatively full range of emotions.  Lily and I both got 8 hours of sleep last night which we were so happy about.  My day started off perfect as I kept pace with my daily goals and even scheduled a meeting with a prospect.  When I called Lily to check in, we didn’t really get to talk because of all the screaming and crying in the background so I knew my day had started a little more smoothly than hers.  Lydia has been struggling a bit lately and I guess Lily was having to deal with a lot of her behavior issues.  My day continued to go really well until towards the end of the day when I had two meetings that drastically changed my mood.

First, I had a presentation from Finance that explained our compensation structure, and promotion schedule and it hit me that I need to be a lot more special than I previously thought in order to promote as fast as I would like to.

Then I had a training that got on my nerves a little.  A lot of the training was truly great, but the personality of the trainer was a little extreme.  He says he will only hang out with successful people because he is not willing to let other people’s lack of ambition bring him down.  He said that when his wife wants to hang out with him and another couple, he ensures that couples they are hanging out with are appropriately successful (and push their childrend to be successful) so that he is benefiting from the association.  He took it a step further when he said that at work, he only goes to lunch with people who have hit their quota and he will never in his life go to lunch with anyone who ever uses the Qualtrics Ping Pong Table,  because (I infer) those people are clearly slackers.

If it weren’t for the fact that some of the other parts of his training were really quite good, I would have just felt irritated.  I can’t pick out what rubs me wrong about that kind of talk, but I think it has to do with valuing people only by their level of ambition, and viewing life merely as a vehicle for career acheivement and material success.  On the other hand, I do want to succeed, just like anyone else. I guess that’s what I should expect from a sales-training.  The thing that was scariest was thinking about how much I may have to step things up in order to really excel.  I don’t feel like I need to be the number one salesman.  I do have a goal, however, to keep my family moving in the right direction, and even that will take some pretty hard-core dedication. During the car ride home I felt great assurance from God about two things. 1) I am on track for success and 2) Succeeding will not require me to have the type of extreme personality as the trainer.  I felt calm and assured that God will bring me success if I work hard and look to Him for my support and direction.

By the time my day got tougher, Lily’s had gotten better.  When I called later in the day to check in, she was perky and happy and said things were going better.  I later met her for school, picked up the girls and went home.  At home, both girls cried like crazy for a long time.  Then we all danced in the kitchen, endured more crying by Lydia, had a great bath session, endured more crying by Lydia, and then we all had tons of giggles about Lydia and Mary taking their arms out of their pajamas (see below). I then put them to bed.  In Lydia’s defense about all the crying, she did wake up from a late nap today.


When Lydia woke up this morning, she stumbled into our bedroom and lay on the floor like a zombie for ten minutes. Lily took a picture, and Lydia didn't even blink.
When Lydia woke up this morning, she stumbled into our bedroom and lay on the floor like a zombie for ten minutes. Lily took a picture, and Lydia didn’t even blink.

Sunday Dinner pics

Not much happened today. Mary made it through twenty minutes of nursery unattended, but for the rest of the time Abe and I traded off being there. In Sunday School we talked about the Exodus and the Passover, although the discussion turned into the whys and hows of suffering.

When I was trying to teach Lydia the 23rd Psalm, I looked up a discourse on youtube given by a Jewish rabbi explaining his interpretation of the psalm. He pointed out that the rod and the staff have different meanings; the rod is a correcter and the staff is a comforter, and yet both are said to “comfort me” in the psalm. I had always glossed over that line thinking that the rod and staff were just synonyms and the repetition was poetic. Anyway, ever since I watched that video, I have adopted the verse, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” as a mantra whenever I’m feeling upset by a given situation. It helps a lot, and that line came to mine when we were discussing the hows of suffering.

Abe taught a wonderful lesson on the Sacrament today, although I wasn’t there to witness it. He loves the new teaching style and says the trick is this: the less the teacher talks, the greater everyone seems to think the lesson went. When I passed by his room on my way to Relief Society, Abe was standing at the front silently while the class broke up into pairs to discuss a question he asked them. It sounded like a lot of active discussions were taking place, and that always spurs learning. The only thing I don’t like about Abe being an Elder’s Quorum teacher is that I never get to hear his lessons. I wish I could.

Our new home teachers came over to visit us after church, and it was great getting to know them better. One of them is a professional down tester. He says most of the down he tests is good quality, but he’s found sticks, cigarette butts, beaks, and bird feet in the down before. Yikes! Makes me want to buy synthetic pillows…

Then I made rolls and we went to Tom and Suzanne’s for dinner. I took a lot of pictures while we were there:

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And then these two that Abe took a couple days ago that I didn’t see until just now:

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Grandma Darais’s funeral

The pictures from today are on my phone, and that’s in the car. So sorry, Grandma! We’ll be better tomorrow.

This morning I went to school and helped prepare food for a charity event. I cooked so slowly and messed up the mousse so many times that eventually I had to call it quits because I was going to be late to Grandma Darais’s funeral. It was an exercise in humiliation.

The funeral was absolutely beautiful, though. I couldn’t imagine a single thing about the funeral itself that I would change. Six of her seven children gave talks, and about twelve of her twenty-something grandchildren also spoke. I accompanied one of her daughters-in-law for a musical number, and two professional violinists played a beautiful number as well. If I could do it over, though, I would get a babysitter so I could actually hear the talks. What I heard was wonderful, but the girls were out of their minds with over-stimulation/fatigue, and I had my hands full chasing them all over the church (obviously, I took them out of the chapel, but they had the run of the rest of the church…).  I am glad the funeral was taped and transcribed, and I can not wait to watch and read what I missed. Grandma Darais was incredibly inspiring, and Abe and I sat in the car a long time after getting home (the girls were asleep) and discussed the clarity of perspective Grandma Darais’s life and death have provided for our own lives. Apart from loving her, we also admire her immensely. She’s on my personal hero list.

Also, funeral potatoes and green jello are real, and they actually serve them at funerals. I have eaten funeral potatoes since coming to Utah, but I didn’t realize their nickname was based in any sort of reality. Nor did I imagine that people actually ate green jello at LDS funerals–but they really do! I felt ridiculously Mormon sitting in a chapel in Provo eating funeral potatoes and watching the girls eat green jello.

I’m going to go daydream now. I’m tired from chasing the girls. Abe is going to play video games with his brothers, who are in town for the funeral.

Sunshine, a somber note, and some snores

Today I cleaned the house for two hours, and then practiced a little bit. Paige and her kids came over for a play date, during which the girls colored outside, we got attacked by ants (accidentally sat on an ant hill on the lawn), ate some food and chatted a lot. It was wonderful to be outside in the sunshine. My soul felt so nourished after that. Oh! And we practiced a musical number for church, since Paige plays the violin. We’re not going to perform until mid-summer, but practicing was fun.

Then the girls had a short nap/quiet time while I lay on my bed and finished The Triple Package. As much as I enjoyed the book (and I enjoyed it a lot), the best part of that was having my window open and feeling the spring breeze. Having an open window makes my heart go pitter-patter with delight, and right now the sounds outside my (still) open window are making me so happy.

A more somber part of our day was the viewing for Grandma Darais. We headed to Provo for the evening viewing. I did love all the pictures and momentos from her life everywhere. I thought a lot on the drive back about what makes a meaningful life. Grandma Darais couldn’t have lived a better life, but since I just read The Triple Package, I had to consider that her life was very different from the type described in my book. Obviously, there are many ways to be a successful person, and the authors themselves admit up front that they take a crass, materialistic approach to defining success. “Success” for them means wealth, prestige and power derived from hyperactive achievement-oriented types.

As I drove home, I thought about both my grandma and Abe’s grandma and then concluded that the best way to measure the difference you made in the world is to count how many people love and feel loved by you. I guess there’s not a real way to know how many people your life has changed, but what I’m trying to say is that I prefer a definition of success that takes into account things that are hard to count–like love, compassion, and forgiveness. I also think that creating a home where people love to be makes a big difference in the world. As people remember Grandma Darais, almost everyone mentions her home and how wonderful it felt to be there. I loved being there, and I only visited a couple times. But I visited my grandma’s home many, many times, and that probably made more of an impression on me than any other home I’ve ever visited. The orderliness, the food, and the peaceful flow of activities inspires me daily.

Anyway, Grandma, since Lydia has been dominating the phone conversations of late, just know I’m in the background sending you my love. I love you so much. And, of course, you too Mom! Lydia talked a lot about how much she misses you after she hung up today. You two are the very best. We love you.

Oh, here’s a picture I took of Mary. I was trying to keep her awake so she would sleep through my shopping trip in the afternoon. A Methodist church in Sandy was having a huge consignment sale, and I wanted both girls to sleep in their strollers while I shopped. No such luck. She didn’t even make it through her second lunch. I tried to get a video of her snoring, but I got distracted, so all I have is this:



Latin Cuisine and more sunshine

As usual, after class ends at 11 pm, it is a race to finish the day. Real quickly, I loved my class tonight! This was my first class in my Latin Cuisine course, and it was awesome. (My other class, which meats Mon and Tues, 6-11pm, is Garde Manger. I was actively disgusted by that class, but more on that some other time….) My team tonight made two moles, a soup, a rice dish, a pound of corn tortillas, and flan. I did the last two dishes, and the flan was almost a flop. In desperation, I cranked up the heat to 500 degrees and prayed it would set in time. It did! That was after I forgot to add the milk (to, um, flan) and had to take the little ramekins of custard out of their warm ovens and water baths, pour out the custard, and remix the custard with the milk. It was kind of harrowing.

Rose called this morning and so we took our kids to the park and then story time at the main library. She suggested a picnic afterward, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of my car accruing $1.50 every half hour in its overpriced parking spot (under the library). Moving it was enough of a hassle to make us postpone our picnic–but it really was the most beautiful day, and I doubt we’ll ever have more lovely weather than we did today.

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Tom stopped by in the afternoon and watched the girls so I could practice my accompaniment for the funeral. I have pictures here:

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As usual, Abe had a great day at work. He is overwhelmed by all he has to learn, but he can’t think of a single thing he’d change. His boss pulled him aside and told him the commute was a real concern, but we still don’t feel good about moving, even though we check that feeling pretty regularly.

It was a great day, and we are excited for tomorrow to be Friday!