A bike ride

We did take pictures today, but the camera card was accidentally in the computer. Oops! Better tomorrow.

This morning we had a play date with Jen, Natlalie, Laddie and Spencer. The best part was after we all went to institute, and Lydia and Natalie had so much fun running around the church. They were so cute! I wish I’d had my camera on me, but seeing that the card wasn’t in the camera anyway, it wouldn’t have done much good.

After we all ate and napped, Abe came home and we went on a bike ride up the canyon. It was a gorgeous evening and the recent rain has turned everything green. Everything smelled and looked so fresh. It was a wonderful end to the day. Too bad my Fitbit can’t tell when I bike! Next time I’m going to stick it in my sock and see if it can tell I’m moving.

We made pizza when we came home, Abe bathed the girls, I did homework, and now we’re all ready for bed. Abe has had so little sleep because of his long commute. I feel sorry for him. Right now he’s dying of tiredness, so I better stop blogging so we can turn out the light and he can go to sleep.

Quick Post

Today was a good day for everyone at the Darais house.  We haven’t been sleeping much, but in spite of that, God has given us strength to not only manage, but find great joy.

Lily got a TON of house work done, including accomplishing hours worth of laundrey washing, drying, folding, sorting and putting-away.  For a brief moment in the Darais home there was literally NOTHING that needed to be washed…….I know I wont sleep in the socks I’m currently wearing, so unfortunately the pile starts again tonight……

Lily read to the girls separately, read in her book about the Monart method of teaching your children to draw and she read in a book about how to teach your children to read.  She  said she felt very happy and close to God today.  What a wonderful and productive day!

I had a good day at work.  I was a little tired, but I kept my nose to the grind-stone.  Days usually come for two packages for me, successful days and learning days.  Today was more of a learning day, but I did learn and I believe success will come.  At home I had the most wonderful time with the girls.  They were both in super good moods and we all danced to K-Love together.  We went totally wild when our favorite song “Every Act of Love” by Jason Grey came on.  I was dancing while holding Mary and she screamed to indicate that she wanted to be set down…..when I set her down she proceeded to get her groove on and I thought it was hilarious! Days like this I am reminded why I’m so grateful to not have a job that takes my attention at home as well as at work.  I was completely engaged with the children and drinking from the cup of pure joy.


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Ready for Bed

Mary has been teething and so she cried a lot last night.  Lily claims she wasn’t tired today (even though she did most of the getting up to help Mary last night), but I for one am pooped.  I had a little bit of a compressed day, and there were junctures where I didn’t really have time to eat or go to the bathroom, but( hooray!!!), I made it through! The rigor is very much aided by the fact that I enjoy every moment of what I do.

Lily had a very peaceful day.  She fed the girls, played piano, worked-out on the treadmill, read to the girls and had an overall rounded, fulfilling and peaceful day, even in-spite of Mary being a wreck because of her teething and major diaper-rash.  I think it started when I had to walk her home for an hour in her poopey diaper after dropping the car off at the shop……

Lily just back.  She said school was good and she learned how to de-bone a chicken.

For my part, I stopped by mom’s office to give her some flowers for mother’s day only to find that she needed a ride home because her car was in the shop.  I drove her home and we went inside so Lydia and Mary could play with their new heart-throbs, REAL LIVE ANIMALS.  They love them so much.  In fact, Lydia announced tonight that she likes dogs now, which is a HUGE shift because she is usually so terrified of them.  But Lucy, my mom’s dalmation-border collie mix is so old that it is impossible for her to scare anyone, even someone as dog-phobic as Lydia.  Mary and Lydia pursued casper, the white puffy cat insesantly, until finally Casper had enough and clawed Mary’s arm.  It wasn’t too bad, but Mary did cry.  I guess two cat-crazed toddlers was a little much for one cat to handle! My mom wanted to make us dinner, and it felt like a huge blessing because I was frankly exhausted.  She made Costco chicken from her toaster oven, peas, macaroni and cheese, and boiled potatoes.  Needless to say, the kids ate very well.

At home I exercised FINALLY with my Insanity DVD.  I then planned my week and well, blogged.  PICS!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

This was, hands down, the BEST Mother’s Day I have ever had. Abe did an amazing job making me feel loved and appreciated, and every part of the day felt special and meaningful. He made strawberry pancakes for breakfast, and both the girls and I appreciated the results of his morning effort. Abe hasn’t had a lot of chance to cook in his life, but one thing he does really, really well (waaaaay better than I ever could) is make pancakes and waffles.

He also gave me my favorite cookbook of the moment, Love Soup. I am so excited to have it. I have had it checked out from the library for weeks and have been debating returning it…now I finally can!

Church was wonderful, and Mary made it through nursery all by herself. That left Abe to teach his lesson and me to pay attention to mine. We had some inspiring classes, and the questions that provoked the most reflection in me was: What does it mean to love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength? Are those different types of love? What is a manifestation of loving God with your heart vs. loving God with your strength?

After church, we invited our friends, the Andersons, over to join us for lunch. Abe made veggie sandwiches and I tried out this recipe for strawberry rhubarb bars. I was busy talking and accidentally added the cornstarch to the crumble–oops!–but they came out okay in spite of that.

Ada and Lydia played so nicely together the whole time, and Abe and I basically just love talking to Paige and Mike. They are so interesting and fun.

After they left, we called my mom and grandma, Skyped with Grandma Forsyth, Skyped with Clark and Swathi, and went to the Miner’s for dinner. It felt so meaningful to catch up with our moms, grandmothers, and siblings–perhaps that’s one of the things that made this day feel so special. I just loved connecting with people I love and the mothers who have made so many sacrifices for us. Grandma Forsyth asked me to play a piece for her, and after I played, she told me that the Chopin Scherzo #2 made her imagine a little child stealing cookies from the cookie jar and being continually caught by his mother. It was an incredibly apt image, and I think I will never hear/play that piece the same way.

For the sad news: No pictures today. We were so caught up in each activity and in such a rush to get to the next activity all day long that we never had a chance to take a picture. So sorry! Tomorrow that will change.

To my mom and grandma: I know I say this a lot, but I love you so much. My life is this good only because of your beautiful lives and examples. I draw strength and inspiration from you every day. Happy Mother’s Day!

Sleep and steps on Saturday

Abe and I both slept in while Lydia watched the iPad this morning. By the time we got moving and fed the girls breakfast, it was almost 10am. But boy, did we get moving! I put my Fitbit on at 10am, and in the ensuing two hours got in 10,000 steps. We walked by Anique’s house and visited with Andrew and Fleur, and while we were visiting, our neighbor Ruth Ann joined us. She joined us on our walk up the canyon, and we got to know her story a bit more.

She is a remarkable woman. After starting a business with President Henry B. Eyring, she moved on to become one of the very first female managers AT&T ever hired, and the only one of the first female hires to last more than two months. She worked with them for 26 years, moving all around the country in a variety of roles until she took early retirement. After taking early retirement, she worked for the Church in its Philanthropy department. Recently she served a PR mission in Hong Kong and is about to embark on another mission in September.

I loved chatting with her so much that I kept talking and walking long after I realized I had a female emergency and needed to go back home. Finally, I admitted I had a problem, and Abe, the girls and I turned back and ran home. It was a great morning, aside from that. We look forward to walking more with Ruth Ann in the future.

After that, we ate lunch and took a two-hour nap.

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) I made in class. We ate the leftovers today for lunch. This is my new favorite dish.
Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) I made in class. We ate the leftovers today for lunch. This is my new favorite dish.

When we finally got going again after that, we fed the girls and went to the library. At the library we ran into our friends Fallon, Audrey, and Eli. I got distracted talking to Fallon long after Abe had to take Mary back to the car (she was pulling all the books off the shelves). I felt bad for taking so long, but Abe used that time to work on the lesson he’s teaching tomorrow, and just as I reached the car, who should appear but Ed and Isabella (Abe’s uncle and cousin).

Lydia loooooooves Isabella, and they played together a bit.

20140510_174411 20140510_174537 20140510_174556Then we went on our errands: approximately one million grocery stores and Barnes & Noble. By the time we finished at Smith’s, Lydia was fast asleep in the car.

But the good news is, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother and grandmother I know! Mom and Grandma, I couldn’t imagine better mothers and better examples than both of you. You are my heroes. I love you!!

Hermit day

Today Lydia woke up convinced that today was my birthday and that we needed to bake a green birthday cake. It was a sweet sentiment, but we compromised and just baked these muffins for the second time this week. Lydia got to cover three of the muffins in sprinkles. I should have taken a picture, but they disappeared so fast, there was really hardly a chance.

We were hermits today, so the rest of the day felt kind of blurry. I know we scrubbed the upstairs tub and read some books. I practiced some piano. I ran on the treadmill and watched more of my Mitt Romney documentary while Lydia talked nonstop about making Anna and Elsa cards. Lydia and I made pizza and kale for dinner.

I joined Amazon Prime at the student rate and finally ordered myself some socks. I am always out of them and have been looking forward to getting some more ever since our tax return arrived. (Ha. That makes me sound so restrained. Actually, ever since the tax return arrived, I’ve been so busy ordering stuff that I just now got around to solving my socks problem…)

Speaking of ordering stuff, I finally called some Springfield shops to send my mom and grandma a Mother’s Day gift, but because I was so late, they refused to deliver anything until Monday. Sorry, Mom and Grandma! My love will manifest itself a day late this year.

I found out on Thursday our cooking team is taking tomorrow off, so I am going to have another Saturday at home with my family. I am so excited. I guess I’ll post some pictures and daydream about what to do with my Saturday!

Lydia wore her princess dress on and off all day. It was a little tricky because her nose kept bleeding on and off all day too. The dress stayed clean until the second to last nosebleed...I am afraid that Lydia and I gave higher priority to her dress than to her poor nose.
Lydia wore her princess dress on and off all day. It was a little tricky because her nose kept bleeding on and off all day too. The dress stayed clean until the second to last nosebleed…I am afraid that Lydia and I gave higher priority to her dress than to her poor nose.


For FHE Abe taught a lesson on mothers. His activity was to have the girls take care of me. Lydia used her doctor kit to make me feel better, and Mary made me delicious food. Eventually, being sick looked so fun that Abe fell deathly ill and needed assistance too.
For FHE Abe taught a lesson on mothers. His activity was to have the girls take care of me. Lydia used her doctor kit to make me feel better, and Mary made me delicious food. Eventually, being sick looked so fun that Abe fell deathly ill and needed assistance too.

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Super short

All I did today was laundry, read to the girls, feed the girls, go on a treadmill run, play with the girls and go to cooking school. Oh, and I started watching the Mitt Romney documentary on Netflix (while I ran).

Abe had a good day at work, dropped the car off on the way home and walked the girls all the way from south of downtown to our house. The walk took over an hour (much of it uphill), and Abe said he got to visit with a lot of our neighbors and even make new friends in the neighborhood. Since it is almost midnight and poor Abe needs to sleep, I’m going to post a couple pictures from play time:

The girls cooked me delicious food.
The girls cooked me delicious food.

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Lydia called this her "trick" and wanted me to take pictures.
Lydia called this her “trick” and wanted me to take pictures.

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Our favorite tree has leaves again!
Our favorite tree has leaves again!

The longest blog post ever written (Vacation update)

And we’re back!! Well, we got back Sunday night, but it has been a little hectic trying to get back into the swing of things, so this is the first chance I’ve had to blog. Monday morning I woke up in denial about the mountains of post-trip laundry, so I went to breakfast with Aria and the kids. We went to Gourmandise, where I fell in love with creme brulee oatmeal and their almond croissants.  After that we headed to the park to join Aria’s Monday play group. I started the kids on a rock hunt, and Lydia, who is slightly passionate about rocks, had a meltdown when I announced it was time to be responsible and head home.

But responsible didn’t hit until yesterday. I spent the rest of Monday lying in bed trying to gear up for cooking school. This week was sausage week, and it was absolutely disgusting. Both nights I came home drenched in raw meat juice. Sick. I was in charge of making: chorizo, chicken apple sausage, and Scotch eggs. I have a picture on my phone, which is both a) in my purse and b) dead. Maybe tomorrow.

Yesterday I scrubbed down the fridge and kitchen cabinets/appliances because something had started smelling while we were out of town. Then I took the girls on a massive grocery run since we were also out of food. We came home and I don’t remember anything after that except that I went to school again and dealt with raw sausage meat again. Part of our final includes making a pound of sausage from scratch. I am dreading that part.

Today I took the girls to sign Lydia up for summer ballet lessons. They were mesmerized by the ballerina practicing in the studio, which made filling out the paperwork pretty easy. After that we went grocery shopping again. Then we ran the groceries home and headed right back to church for Institute.

Today Institute was on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and the BYU professor teaching was amazing. I was a little distracted with the girls, so I didn’t get to hear as much as I liked, but I got that the early Christians understood many layers of meaning in that parable. For example, Jericho (where the traveler was going) is the lowest point on earth, and the traveler fell among robbers. Christ descended below all things and was crucified between two robbers (“thieves” is a mistranslation–“robbers” is a better translation and connotes the violence of the original word).  I also caught something about how the Samaritan’s promise to return again is similar to Christ’s promise to return again in the Second Coming. There was also a huge analysis of early Cathedral stain glass murals that communicated the understanding early Christians had of this parable.  I couldn’t see the slides since I was just listening from the nursery. I’m hoping to ask around on Sunday to see what else I missed.

Then we came home, ate lunch, and napped until Misty, Sophia and Max came for a play date. Lydia and Sophia are so cute together. They’ve been having play dates for practically their whole lives, and their interactions have gotten so, so sweet as they’ve gotten older. Misty and I love to watch them. The first thing Lydia did when I told her Sophia was here was run to offer Sophia her cat. Then she asked Sophia to wear her princess dress. I have a picture of the cuteness that ensued.

IMG_7597Then the girls crafted until it was time for Misty to go and time for me to make dinner. After dinner, we all watched Sleeping Beauty while Lydia wore her princess dress.

Which brings me to our California trip! It was the BEST vacation Abe and I have had since we have gotten married–including our pre-kid days (which were, um, few). The girls were, no exaggeration, perfect on the trip there. Not any whining or crying from them for the entire twelve hour trip. We could not believe how smoothly that went, especially since we didn’t even break out any toys until half-way into it.

We stayed with my aunts, Auntie Vee and Auntie Geri:

IMG_7514It was so wonderful to visit with them and see them again. We loved that part of the trip so much.

The next day we took the girls to Disneyland. Abe had to get his license to officiate in the morning, and as soon as he was done, we headed off. We love Disneyland. For me, the trick is to do it in half-day doses, which leaves you wishing you had more time there. We rode the teacups, Dumbo, the fairy-tale boat trip, the Jungle boat, train around the park, the car ride (where Lydia drove and said, “Sorry!” every time we bumped), and the scary Snow White Ride. You would think that the only ride we did was the last one, since Lydia literally talked about that for hours the next day. She was really scared of the witch. We also saw the parade and watched the Beauty and the Beast show. Mary looked like she was about to pass out from the heat, so I revived her with an apple slush drink that tasted really, really good on a hot day. We also took a break in the middle and shared a mint julep and Mickey Mouse beignets while listening to a band. That might have been my favorite part.

The wait to greet Anna and Elsa was four hours long, and since we didn’t have that time, Abe just took Lydia to where she could see the princesses (but not greet them). She practically jumped out of his arms because she wanted to give them hugs, and the only way we could placate her was to assure her that she would see the princesses again during the parade. Well, this was the only part where Disneyland failed us. The parade was magical and the kids were euphoric to see such a spectacle, but as soon as it ended, we realized there was no Frozen float. Bummer. Lydia was really, really sad. Actually, inconsolable. So we tried again: This time, we said, we’d go to the Bippity Boppity Boutique and get her an Elsa dress, since our promise earlier fell through. (Lydia’s shorts had actually fallen completely apart by that point; they were basically four flaps of material hanging on her legs.) But guess what? You have to enter a raffle to be eligible to even buy an Elsa dress, and they disappear five minutes after they hit the shelves. None in stock. Thankfully, Lydia was taken with the pink Sleeping Beauty dress, and although Abe and I were appalled at the price, we couldn’t let her down again. So Sleeping Beauty dress it was.

At that point, Abe made a big deal about how Mary must be feeling. He said that she knew Lydia had gotten something special, and she should get something too. Mary was enamored with the Mickey Mouse balloons, but once I found out they were FOURTEEN DOLLARS EACH (the woman said that with a straight face!!) I was ready to just tell Mary we loved her as much as Lydia and leave it at that. But Abe insisted that Mary get the balloon she pointed too…and five minutes later, pop! She popped it. Oh, well. At least she knows she’s equally as loved.

Anyway, here is the one picture we took that is not on my dead phone at Disneyland. Maybe when my phone is charged, I’ll download some more.

 Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

Oh! I found one more of the girls at the end of the day:


The next day Abe had the dress rehearsal and afterward we went to the beach. Again, the pictures are on my dead phone. I can not even begin to say how amazing it felt to be in the sun and the ocean after our long, cold winter. I could live on the beach, and I am currently jealous of every stay-at-home mom that lives near one. Can you imagine how great it would be to be able to take your kids there all the time? Oh my gosh. I looked up real estate the minute we got home. Ha! I’ll continue to live in my dreams, I guess.

After the beach, we went for Sushi with my aunts and our friends, Batch and Erin. We did this last year and have been planning a repeat for a year. We love catching up with our friends, and we love that Sushi boat.


And then the next day was Jon and Shirley’s wedding. It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. They held it in Descanso Gardens in a clearing near the blooming rose gardens and veranda. I can not actually imagine a more beautiful setting. And I was terrified that the girls would interrupt this perfect wedding, so instead of watching, I took them on a dwarf hunt, which morphed into a princess hunt. When the ceremony was over, we spotted Shirley–the princess!

IMG_7520 IMG_7522 IMG_7527 IMG_7529 IMG_7535 IMG_7534 IMG_7531 IMG_7549 IMG_7550 IMG_7537Abe did an incredible job officiating (so everyone told me, since I was gone hunting princesses with the girls).

After, we found our seats laden with gifts Jon and Shirley bought for the girls.

Lydia loved the magnetic dress-up Minnie Mouse doll they gave her
Lydia loved the magnetic dress-up Minnie Mouse doll they gave her
Mary loved her stuffed Minnie and is still sleeping with it.
Mary loved her stuffed Minnie and is still sleeping with it.
Anthony making a grand entrance as part of the bridal party.
Anthony making a grand entrance as part of the bridal party.

Then the next morning we headed home.

I loved having a fenced in yard for the girls. They spent so much time outside enjoying my aunts' yard.
I loved having a fenced in yard for the girls. They spent so much time outside enjoying my aunts’ yard.
In their yard on Thursday.
In their yard on Thursday.
More yard enjoyment.
More yard enjoyment.
Lavendar trees in my aunts' neighborhood. They were in bloom last year when we visited, and they were blooming again this year!
Lavendar trees in my aunts’ neighborhood. They were in bloom last year when we visited, and they were blooming again this year!
Ready to travel home.
Ready to travel home.

The girls cried a little more on the way back, but seriously, we couldn’t expect perfection twice in a row. We can’t wait to do this again next year.

And now I’m going to go watch a documentary on ballerinas with Abe. I am curious ever since being in the studio.