This evening I attended our ward’s investment club and learned a lot about wills and trusts. I learned that if we don’t make a will and die before our children are 18, they will automatically be placed in foster care–even if we have close relatives who will take them. Thankfully, in Utah hand-written wills still work, so Abe and I are going to go to a notary tomorrow with some hand-written wills to tide us over until we get around to making a trust.
Today was the most productive day I’ve had since I got pregnant! I have been thinking about Stephanie Nielson (I know, I am obsessed), and she wrote recently that the more she moves her body, the better she feels. I thought that if she felt that way, then surely the same should go for me. So I moved today.
Specifically, I moved (almost) every single toy we own into my mom’s room for sorting. Lydia was a fantastic helper, and I couldn’t believe when we finally had all of the toys consolidated in one place. I opened all the windows because I was sweating so much. Woo-hoo for body movement!
After I pulled out all the toys, I stared at the piles and wondered how I could ever arrange them permanently so that the girls would actually play with them. Even after paring down, putting them back in the craft room felt like a waste. The girls just don’t play in there because they’d rather craft. Then it hit me. We need a play room! Good thing we have an extra guest room. I immediately started sketching out a floor plan so that the girls will have access to all of their toys.
Abe and I figure it will take us until Christmas to get the basement play room and craft room exactly the way I envision, but in the meantime, the sorting and organizing continue.
For FHE we talked about the church’s little hands service project, and each of the girls picked a service project to do this week. Mary announced that she would share a toy with Lydia (and immediately ran to get her some), and Lydia decided to write a thank-you letter to her preschool teacher. We will finish the project during next Monday’s FHE.
After FHE, we all sat around while the girls played with the only toys left in the basement: their play kitchen toys. I haven’t seen them play with those since we moved into this house. I felt affirmed in my decision to rearrange. Abe and I also felt delighted at Lydia’s pretend game of waitress. She was so solicitous and sweet, and we just felt lucky to have such a good girl in our home.
Abe taught a lesson on the prodigal son today, and I spent that time playing “dino parade” with some of the nursery kids. It was actually fun, and I got my spiritual uplift after dinner. The girls disappeared upstairs for two hours while Abe and I talked. I love talking with Abe because he always clarifies my thoughts and questions. Before we talked, I had been pondering some questions I have wondered ever since reading Stephanie Nielson’s memoir.
…And I elaborated on those questions before deleting the rest of the post. It was just too boring and long winded. At the end of the day, my conversation with Abe left me determined to be less judgy.
When we finally stopped talking, I headed upstairs to read to the girls and help herd them to bed. I discovered them happily conferring about how to make a window in a little “house” they had just built:
And I also took a picture of dinner. Abe makes all the salads around here because I find them boring, tedious, and too much work. He is more nutritionally motivated than I am, and since we recently got a great salad spinner, he has been making salad almost every night.
Today we drove to the Golden Spike National Monument with Tom, Suzanne, and Isabella. It took two hours to get there, and it poured rain the entire way. Because the Golden Spike is in the middle of absolute nowhere, I was sure we would have the whole monument to ourselves. Not so! There was a small crowd of hardy, determined souls braving the weather to witness the steam locomotive demonstration, and we were definitely not alone. We even ran into one of Abe’s high school friends after the re-enactment of the Golden Spike ceremony.
As I went through the day’s pictures, I beat myself up for not taking pictures of the scenery on the way to the Golden Spike. There were moors that were literally purple and orange, with occasional patches of bright yellow. In the grey, blustery storm, the colors flashed vibrantly against the sky. We were quite close to the Great Salt Lake, so there were also shallow, white pools of water that patterned their way through the moors. Add the very-near mountains to that, and the scenery took my breath away. I pinched myself the whole way there–I get to live in this state! I feel so lucky.
After our trip to the monument, we came home and immediately started our deep-clean-the-house project. I got rid of another garbage bag of children’s clothes, and I organized the clothes I kept into bins by season. I also cheated and threw away several garbage bags of books. I’m pretty sure Marie Kondo has her clients tidy by category, but today tidying by room seemed most motivational. Abe deep cleaned hidden messes in our bedroom, and we both feel so rejuvenated. I keep hearing him mutter, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
This morning Mary shocked me by waking up before Lydia AND before 8 am. Considering she was up until almost midnight the night before, I couldn’t believe my eyes. But there she was, standing by my bed grinning her morning grin that says, “Here I am world! I just know you’re happy to see me!” –which I always am.
So I took her downstairs with me to make waffles. She was so proud of herself.
After that, Lydia woke up and we all ate waffles. While they were playing in their morning bath, I called the chiropractor. I had tried to take a walk this morning before everyone woke up, and the pain in my back was so bad that I couldn’t make it to the end of the block. I have never been to a chiropractor before, but I figured it was time.
Thankfully, I bought pizza yeast while we were doing groceries, so I still had time to make pizza for dinner–even after my three hour nap! After that we headed downstairs to watch Fantasia. Abe surprised me the other day and bought us plane tickets to L.A. for our anniversary weekend so that we can all spend it in Disneyland. I figure watching Disney movies counts as trip preparation.
Then I made lemon ginger cookies. I meant to send a batch to you, Mom and Grandma, but these were the worst cookies ever! I felt so disappointed in Martha Stewart. I turned to her recipe for help because I have been dying to make Tate’s ginger zingers; Abe even bought me a Tate cookbook for Mother’s Day in the hopes it would have the recipe in it, but when it arrived–there was no ginger zinger recipe! I thought surely Martha could help me…but after having made this recipe, I feel truly let down. I am sure she never taste tested these. They have no flavor. Next time I try this flavor combo in a cookie, I am going to add lemon oil or double the ginger or something. Plus, they’re ugly.
Mom, I am going to send you and Grandma cookies, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to ship these. Maybe I’ll try a different recipe later in the week.
Since I was awake naturally by 4:30am (yay, insomnia!), I decided to capitalize on the early hour and go for a swim. While I swam, I prayed a lot to know what to do with these next couple months of life before the baby comes. Specifically, I wanted to know what I could do to be a better mom and homemaker. I don’t want the time to zip by while I bury my nose in books and then realize that my opportunity to create a beautiful childhood for my kids has completely passed.
Ironically, the last two books I read came to mind while I pondered my question. I thought about Stephanie Nielson and realized I wanted to be a great homemaker like she is, and then I thought about Marie Kondo’s Konmari method and realized that would help me get there. I want to apply the Konmari method of tidying up to create a literal structural foundation for peace and beauty in my house. The Konmari method requires that you touch every object you own and determine whether it brings you joy or not. She has you start off with clothes, and then works systematically through the rest of items in your house.
Marie Kondo promises that when you deep clean in this manner, you will never relapse to untidiness again. She estimates it takes about six months to properly tidy your house, but afterward, you’re so traumatized by the experience (my interpretation) that you never, ever allow yourself to accumulate unnecessary clutter again.
I love the idea of a house free of clutter and filled with only meaningful items. Even if my kids don’t notice an obvious difference at first, I feel like this exercise will enhance their experience in this home.
So, ironically (again), I ignored the kids all day and started cleaning my closet. Honestly, I felt that the decision must have been inspired because the kids played together beautifully all day. My faith in their ability to continue without incident wavered after lunch, and I tried to set them on a movie–but to no avail! They loved playing on this rainy day, and during her afternoon snack, Lydia announced, “This is the day I wanted.”
My jaw dropped open because I had literally done nothing for her except feed her. She even had to dress herself, brush her teeth by herself, and bring me a brush to get me to comb her hair. Since Mary had no interest in participating in her outfit change, she got to stay in pj’s all day.
In the evening I drove to Draper to get a massage Karin gifted me almost a year ago, and while I was gone, Abe took up the tidying banner–at which point the kids finally lost steam and settled in front of the TV.
Today I went swimming, and that helped my back (and whole body, actually) feel better. I think I am going to swim more. Abe and I also got to go to the temple tonight, and that helped us both feel more spiritually calibrated. Last Friday when we were on Abe’s work retreat, all of the wives sat around talking about God for hours, and I was so impressed with their spiritual abilities. I was particularly impressed by their capacity to receive and act on frequent revelation; hearing their stories and feeling their spirits and testimony made me want to open myself more to daily revelation. The temple tonight felt like a step in the right direction.
I also felt spiritually motivated by the book I read today. I read Stephanie Nielson’s memoir, Heaven is Here. I bawled through much of it, and after I finished I spent the rest of the day thinking about how I should be a better, more grateful person in general. She is just such an inspiring person. I actually saw her in IKEA a couple months ago, and she probably thought I was one of those rude people who stare at her scarred face, but really I just recognized her because of her blog, and I felt slightly star struck.
I took some pictures of the girls on a short neighborhood walk we did today.
As I was planning the day this morning, I realized two things: 1) It was a gorgeous morning 2) I had time to make my favorite bran muffins 3) I have never been to Bridal Veil Falls, even though it’s only ten minutes away. 1+2+3 = We must have a breakfast hike and picnic to Bridal Veil Falls this morning!
So I hopped out of bed, made muffins, and packed the girls up to go to the falls. It was so pretty! Lydia and Mary are in a stage where they love holding hands with me and with each other, and between holding little happy hands, walking a beautiful path in the sunshine to a dramatic waterfall, and eating our picnic together I felt peaceful and magical and “this-is-everything-good-that-I-ever-anticipated-in-motherhood”esque. Of course, we still had tantrums and messes later in the day, but this morning felt perfect.
Today we took a walk in a beautiful field a block away from our house. You can see our house so clearly from the field–that’s how close it is! I can’t believe we haven’t made it here before. It is very well hidden, but some neighbors told us about it last week, and we decided it would be a great setting for our after-work walk. The weather was perfect, and the grass had just been cut. I love the smell of fresh-cut grass. We all walked laps, and occasionally Abe and the girls played chase. Mom, you would love this field. It feels like you are right underneath the mountains–I should have gotten a picture of what you can see while you walk. I did get some pictures, though.
Even though I already turned in my food portfolio, I’ve decided to keep taking pictures of the food I make. It felt good to go through the blog and see pictures of what my family eats; it helps me on days like today when I feel like I got nothing accomplished to know that at least I fed my family.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom and Grandma! I hope you both know how much we love you. I know today wasn’t great for Grandma, but I hope by tomorrow you are feeling better.
Today was really happy here. Abe worked his little tail off for all the mothers in his life, and I felt celebrated and loved all day. He really outdid himself today, and I feel so grateful and happy.
Here are some pictures from the day: