Surprise visitors!

This morning Mary and I ran errands while Lydia was in preschool.

First we went to Barnes and Noble to read books until all the other stores opened.
First we went to Barnes and Noble to read books until all the other stores opened.
After Barnes and Noble, we explored the Sprague branch of the Salt Lake Library. It was adorable. We went in just to explore, but we left with an armful of books. Inside we bumped into Sarah and Hannah Schulz, which was fun.
After Barnes and Noble, we explored the Sprague branch of the Salt Lake Library. It was adorable. We went in just to explore, but we left with an armful of books. Inside we bumped into Sarah and Hannah Schulz, which was fun.

After preschool, we came home and discovered our neighbor dog in our yard. I didn’t let her inside the house, but the girls loved petting her and then looking at her from inside the door (you can’t see the dog in the photo, but she was there.)

sep9Then I fed them lunch. After lunch, our doorbell rang. It was my friend, Kristin! She and her three kids had to wait for a flight tomorrow morning. They stayed with us the rest of the day, and now they’re sleeping here…until they have to wake up at 2:30 am to catch their super early flight tomorrow. Kristin is an amazing mom.

I had a lot of fun visiting with Kristin, and my girls had a lot of fun with her sweet girls. After my Primary meeting, I came home to discover Kristin had cleaned my kitchen to a degree that it has never been cleaned. It was sparkling clean! I was so delighted and grateful. The girls were all hungry for apples, so we went out and picked a bunch of apples and then ate them together in our clean kitchen.

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Abe and I could technically sneak out on a date since Kristin offered to be the Adult On Duty, but Abe is so exhausted. He had an amazing day at work today, and we feel really blessed, but the fall-out of all that effort is just plain and simple exhaustion. I think tonight we will be boring and stay in. I bet we’ll be happy about that decision in the morning, though!

Piano, errands, cooking, and FHE

Today started out slowly, and that gave me a chance to work in some good hours at the piano. Mary demanded a nap as soon as she finished breakfast; when I pushed back on the idea, she threw herself on the floor, kicked the oven and screamed, “Nap! Binkies! Amiwals! (‘Animals!’).” I caved. 9:30 nap it was, and as the rest of the day progressed, she got grumpier and grumpier. Next time she tries to take a nap four hours early, I will put up more resistance.

After her nap, we took Lalitha on an errand and then ran an errand ourselves. We came back home and I folded laundry for an hour while the girls played “tea party” in the bathroom. It was flooded afterward.

Then I cooked like crazy until the Andersons joined us for dinner.

I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.
I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.
I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than  regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!
I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!
We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to "Once There Was A Snowman."
We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to “Once There Was A Snowman.”
(The snowman melts in the song.)
(The snowman melts in the song.)

Stake conference, apple picking, and the Sonntags

This morning we had stake conference…in the Conference Center! I love living in Salt Lake. To be honest, though, we were busy trying to keep the kids quiet and chasing them around, so we missed most of conference. They looked cute, though!

IMG_9382 IMG_9389 IMG_9390 IMG_9391Then we came home and picked some apples for an apple crumble (so long, diet!)

IMG_9393 IMG_9394 IMG_9398 IMG_9399Then I spent the next five hours cooking. I used an osso bucco recipe/preparation on some lamb shanks I picked up on sale yesterday, made a corn souffle, a tomato salad, and an apple crumble. I tried to make an apple galette, but I messed up the galette dough and had no time to fix it; dessert quickly became a crumble.

While I was cooking, Lydia spent hours playing Imagination by herself. At one point, she played with the 24 ears of corn she and Abe shucked. She pretended they were characters from Frozen, and then she pretended that a lot of the corn were people who got killed. I was, once again, struck with guilt by how often I mention death in front of her.
While I was cooking, Lydia spent hours playing Imagination by herself. At one point, she played with the 24 ears of corn she and Abe shucked. She pretended they were characters from Frozen, and then she pretended that a lot of the corn were people who got killed. I was, once again, struck with guilt by how often I mention death in front of her.
When Candace and I visited Martha Stewart, she served us lamb shanks. I daydream about them, and I tried to recreate them here, but I didn't capture the flavor she served us. The texture, though, I am happy to report, was the same! (Thank-you, pressure cooker!)
When Candace and I visited Martha Stewart, she served us lamb shanks. I daydream about them, and I tried to recreate them here, but I didn’t capture the flavor she served us. The texture, though, I am happy to report, was the same! (Thank-you, pressure cooker!)

We had Bob and Katheryn Sonntag over for dinner. Abe knows Bob from elementary school, and they just moved into our ward recently. We had fun connecting with them.

Then Paige and Michael called us and invited us to the park with them. We headed over, and Tom and Suzanne joined us. It was a gorgeous night with a beautiful, bright full moon. I kept thinking we were standing under a street light because the moon was so bright. The kids played until it was dark, and then we all headed home. I think this week might be a little less crazy than last week, but I am kind of sad the weekend went by so quickly. Here’s to a slower week!

Saturday: done.

This morning was Lydia’s first day of dance at her new studio. We dropped her off and headed straight to Toys ‘R Us to pick up a birthday present for Espen. While we were there, Mary took a ride on the Tigger boat.

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Mary wanted to buy: wrapping paper and an Elmo book.
Mary wanted to buy: wrapping paper and an Elmo book.

Then we picked up Lydia, raced to the farmer’s market, bought produce, and headed to Espen’s party at the Kangaroo Zoo. The girls had a blast bouncing on everything. Honestly, I get anxiety in places and parties like that, but that notwithstanding, we had a great all around time.

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Then we came home for some naps and quiet time. After that, we headed over to Fleur’s house. Anique is a flight attendant and away this weekend, and her dad is watching Fleur. She called and asked if we could go play with Fleur a little bit since she was having a hard day. I don’t think our presence helped Fleur much, but the girls sure had fun!

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Fleur and her grandpa, Tom. He was such a nice man. I can see where Anique gets it from!
Fleur and her grandpa, Tom. He was such a nice man. I can see where Anique gets it from!

Then we raced to the library to pick out some books and raced to church for stake conference. After church, we hurried to pick up Lalitha and Eden to take them grocery shopping…and then Abe, the girls and I came home and all collapsed. I am ready to be done with this day.

juice burn-out

I was pretty energetic from my juice cleanse this morning. I got up at 5:30, spent an hour studying my scriptures, steam cleaned and vacuumed the entire downstairs, dusted, organized, fed the children multiple times, and had a fun (picture-less, sorry Grandma!) play date with Misty and her adorable kids.

Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary's pants fell down. Even though she's about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.
Lydia and Mary played chase while I cleaned the house. During the process, Mary’s pants fell down. Even though she’s about to turn two, these 18 month sized pants are just way too big on her.

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Then I crashed. I proceeded to lie in bed lethargically until I decided I needed to eat something. It had been a day and a half by then, and I was starting to obsess over food in my head. It didn’t feel healthy.

I wasn't the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.
I wasn’t the only one to crash. I came downstairs to discover Lydia passed out on the floor.
She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she's refused to do this for a year.
She proceeded to nap for the next two and a half hours. The child really NEEDS to nap, even though she’s refused to do this for a year.

After Abe came home, we ate dinner and drove to Red Butte Gardens…only to discover they were closed. No matter. We headed over to Sugar House Park so the girls could still see ducks and then play on the play ground. I had a lot of fun chasing Mary around (in spite of my ankle, which didn’t enjoy the chasing as much as Mary or I).

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Abe and I are having a homework party. He has hours and hours of extra work to do for his job, and I have a ton of homework to do. It works! Except for the fact that I am exhausted and slightly nauseous from the juice experiment. Hopefully we can finish soon and get some sleep at the start of this weekend. We had a pow-wow to plan tomorrow hour by hour because it is so packed. I really hate Saturdays that don’t feel free, but it looks like tomorrow will be one of those days…

“We’re not at the circus, not at the pool…we’re at SCHOOL!”

Ever since Lydia started preschool, she has started to sing this song: “We’re not at the circus, not at the pool…we’re at SCHOOL!” I really like the song, and it plays through my mind at random times during the day. This morning I was changing Mary’s diaper and singing the song, and then it occurred to me: “…we’re at school…today is Thursday…OH MY GOSH, LYDIA HAS SCHOOL IN FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!”

Twenty five minutes later, I escorted my late preschooler to her class. Oops. Hopefully I’ll get this new schedule straight sooner or later.

While Lydia was at school, Mary and I went to the library to read down our fines.

Then we picked up Lydia and headed home. After I fed the girls, I proceeded to do nothing for the next three hours.

I took Mary to the bakery for a quiche "muffin" since we didn't have time for breakfast. I am on a three day juice cleanse, so it was kind of painful watching her eat. The only cheating today I did was taking one bite of her quiche and one bite of her chewed-up-and-spit-out bread crust (I didn't want it to mess up our newly cleaned van).
I took Mary to the bakery for a quiche “muffin” since we didn’t have time for breakfast. I am on a three day juice cleanse, so it was kind of painful watching her eat. The only cheating today I did was taking one bite of her quiche and one bite of her chewed-up-and-spit-out bread crust (I didn’t want it to mess up our newly cleaned van).
Running to the library
Running to the library

sep4pic2Then I called Paige. I needed help motivating myself to make dinner and clean the house, and we had parents night for Lydia and Ada’s preschool. Paige came over, did my laundry, and made me feel all around better.

Ada was building a pretend fire, which fascinated the other girls.
Ada was building a pretend fire, which fascinated the other girls.
Dinner
Dinner

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We had dinner after the hubbies got done with work and headed over to parents night. Since Paige and Michael so kindly shared their babysitter, it felt like a double date. Abe and I had so much fun, even if we thought some of the tips the school gave us on parenting were unrealistic. 

I am really not looking forward to another two days without food. Ugh. But this experiment will at least tell me some things I want to know, such as whether I have a hormonal imbalance or food allergies. I am excited for that info, so I suppose I can endure another two days without food…yikes! That feels so bleak.

Take-it-easy Wednesday

I took it easy today because my ankle is pretty swollen from all of Monday’s activities. Lydia and I did go outside and play for a bit during Mary’s nap, though:

IMG_9358 IMG_9357Then Lydia, Mary and I all squeezed into Lydia’s bed and rented 101 Dalmations (the live version) on Amazon. After that, it was practically time for cooking school. While I was at school, Isabella took some great pictures of the girls at her house (after Abe walked the girls and Isabella to her home):

sep3pic3 sep3pic2 sep3pic1 sep3 sep3pic4I did the best plating of my whole life in class tonight, but sadly, I didn’t get a picture! One of my classmates promised to send me his pictures (which, I think, show my plating), but those haven’t come to my inbox yet.

Our guests are staying one more night. Tomorrow will be a massive clean-up day. I better get to bed!

Pictures only

Abe is exhausted and already in bed, so this will be a picture-only post.

Lydia had preschool this morning.
Lydia had preschool this morning.

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Abe brought the girls treats for while I was at my meeting.
Abe brought the girls treats for while I was at my meeting.

IMG_9351 IMG_9346Andrea’s family is still here with us, so it’s been a full house! Currently there are eight kids and four adults in my home. Whew!

Zion trip and Labor Day

We decided to come back last night since we got everything done that we wanted in a shorter time than we anticipated. Sadly, my camera broke! Well, it’s not completely broken, but it won’t let me zoom in or out to take pictures. I will have to call Canon tomorrow and see if I need to send it in to them.

In the meantime, here’s what we did in Zion.

On the way to Zion we stopped at our favorite fast food place of all time--Dairy Queen!
On the way to Zion we stopped at our favorite fast food place of all time–Dairy Queen!

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While Abe and I were setting up the tent, we locked Mary in the van and let her walk around while Lydia slept. When we finished, we discovered she had piled Lydia's lap high with all sorts of presents.
While Abe and I were setting up the tent, we locked Mary in the van and let her walk around while Lydia slept. When we finished, we discovered she had piled Lydia’s lap high with all sorts of presents.
Hiking to the Narrows the next morning.
Hiking to the Narrows the next morning.
We stopped hiking at the part where you have to hike in the river. You should have special shoes and a walking stick for that part, and we only had one baby carrier. Maybe we'll try again when our kids are older.
We stopped hiking at the part where you have to hike in the river. You should have special shoes and a walking stick for that part, and we only had one baby carrier. Maybe we’ll try again when our kids are older.

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Lydia and Mary spent about an hour building a "castle" out of rocks and playing in the mud by the river.
Lydia and Mary spent about an hour building a “castle” out of rocks and playing in the mud by the river.

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I'm pretty sure those pants are ruined...but Lydia sure had fun ruining them!
I’m pretty sure those pants are ruined…but Lydia sure had fun ruining them!

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Abe was trying to fix the camera. I have no idea what I was doing with my arms.
Abe was trying to fix the camera. I have no idea what I was doing with my arms.
Zion is my favorite national park. The pictures don't do it justice, so I didn't really try. I did take a couple though as a futile exercise in trying to capture a bit of the majesty and splendor of the place.
Zion is my favorite national park. The pictures don’t do it justice, so I didn’t really try. I did take a couple though as a futile exercise in trying to capture a bit of the majesty and splendor of the place.

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Someone was tired after playing in the mud.
Someone was tired after playing in the mud.

Then we headed back to our campground, which had a pool. After a quick, cold swim, we packed up an headed home. We arrived just before midnight.

This morning we were so happy to be home and have a full day together. We started off by going for a run around the City Creek Canyon loop.

sep1On the way back home, we visited with Anique, Andrew and Fleur who were out in their beautiful yard.

Then I ran off to yoga while Abe took the girls to the park.

After that, we all had naps and quiet time, and now Abe and Lydia are cleaning out the very dirty van. We have a TON of errands to do, so I’m blogging now in anticipation of not having time tonight. If we do anything else fun or picture worthy, I’ll edit this post and add whatever pictures we take. If not, this is it, I guess! Happy Labor Day!