On Thursday night we found out that Lydia was selected as her school’s “Noble Knight” of the week. We were so proud of her and the great example she is to all of her friends. I went with Mary and Ammon to watch her receive her certificate. It was fun to see her classroom and the friends she tells me about, too.
Then Mary, Ammon and I headed to the library to pick some new books to read for the week. After the library everyone was hungry and so we decided to have a picnic in the park. Mary and Ammon were terrific eaters (because they were hungry), and it was such a peaceful, sweet experience to be outside with these two, sweet, calm children. We had the whole park almost to ourselves, and so the whole experience felt very quiet and restful.
In the evening Abe and I went to the temple and then to Coldstone afterward. We stayed out way too late talking about schooling options for Lydia next year. We talked for hours, and I have to say, I just love talking to Abe. He is so wise and funny. We have completely different perspectives on school and what it means, but I learned so much through our conversation.
Then we came home and he had hours of work ahead of him. While he slaved away, I registered for an April seminar in Seattle with two of my favorite mission friends. I am so excited for a little getaway! But I did feel bad that I got to chat on the phone with my friend and register away while Abe worked his tail off until 2am. I hope someday his job will get a little easier!
On Thursday we headed to the park before ice skating lessons.
Afterward the girls went to their ice skating lessons. They are improving veeeerry slowly, and it occurred to me that if they are going to get better, I should just take them to the rink more often. That is one of my goals for the next couple weeks: Head over to the rink more than just once a week!
Lydia had a wonderful sixth birthday. She woke up early in the morning and opened one of her presents, a book about sewing projects. Abe and I let her peruse it while we went for a swim. Then we came home and Abe, at Lydia’s request, made her one of his special breakfasts. Lydia opened her gifts from Nana, among which was one very special Chinese dress. Lydia LOVES everything about China, and so this made her extremely happy.
After breakfast the girls played. The tree cutters also came and cut down both of our dead cherry trees. That added excitement to the morning, especially for Ammon.
Then the girls and I headed to the Grand America in Salt Lake for high tea. This was the highlight of the day for everyone, and, according to Lydia, it was her favorite thing about her birthday. The girls thought everything was magical. As we were eating, Lydia sighed, “Mom, can we eat like this every day?” I wish we could too, Honey!
Then we headed home and picked up some cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. After that, the girls played at home with a neighbor child while I made Shepherd’s pie for dinner (again at Lydia’s request). At dinner we all said something we loved about Lydia, and afterward she grinningly declared she wanted to say something nice about each one of us. And she did! She has such a tender heart and such loving instincts.
After pie we sang to Lydia and she opened up the rest of her presents. Just before bedtime, her sweet church teacher came by and dropped off a present for Lydia.
It was a wonderful day, and I loved seeing Lydia smile so much. Birthdays and holidays are exhausting, but they are also maybe my favorite part of being a mom. I just love seeing my kids delighted and excited at all of the fun of life.
Happy birthday, sweet Lydia! We love you to the moon and back!
Today I baked a cake for Lydia’s birthday with the girls. It was absolute, utter madness. Ammon wandered around trying to get onto their chairs and footstools so he could join in, and because there was not enough room for him, he kept falling down, bonking his head, and crying. Then Lydia was really anxious about Mary doing anything more than she did, so I kept having to reassure her that she had had more turns than Mary. Occasionally Mary would pipe up and say things just to set Lydia off, and so we baked to the wonderful chorus of Ammon’s crying and the girls’ bickering. Fun times!
To top it all off, the recipe told me to put ALL of the cake batter into one 9 inch baking pan. I questioned the wisdom of this and re-read the instructions at least three times. Now, I actually do know how full to fill a cake pan, but this was a recipe from my Dahlia’s Bakery cookbook, and I trusted it. I figured–hey, maybe these bakers know something I don’t know about batter to cake pan ratios! Maybe I will learn something new from this!! Maybe this is some kind of baker’s secret trick that they didn’t teach me in cooking school!!!
WRONG. I was so mad at the recipe and also at myself for not just doing what I knew was right in the first place and dividing the batter up into two pans. The cake ended up spilling all over the oven, and the burned batter smelled up the house. Hours later, I can still smell it and just took a shower to see if maybe the problem was just me. Nope! The smell is most definitely stuck in the house. Darn.
But the good news is, all I have wanted to do for days is revisit The Sweet Tooth Fairy for cupcakes. After our cake fiasco, I announced to Lydia that we will be buying cupcakes from The Sweet Tooth Fairy tomorrow. She was totally fine with that. We should have just done that in the first place.
Lastly, here is a selfie that we took at Lydia’s request. I did not even know she knew the word, “selfie.” But while we were cuddling on the couch she said, “Mom, take a selfie of us!” And then Mary came running over and joined in.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said that parents should teach their children to define themselves by their growing testimonies. I can say for certain I have done no intentional teaching around this principle. I mean, we try to live the gospel to the best of our ability, but I have never thought of teaching my children that their identities are based on their growing testimonies. I like the idea though!
But it does seem like they have growing testimonies, and I am glad for that. The other day after piano practice (which was admittedly rough), Mary came to us and said, “Can we say a prayer? I am having a tough day.” She then asked God to help her feel better. I was so happy to see that she understood God could do that for her!
We also recently had the electrician come to fix some things. While he was here, the fire alarms were blaring constantly. Mary, who is sensitive to noise, was huddled in the fetal position with her hands over her ears for hours. Lydia, observing Mary’s plight, suggested we have a prayer for the fire alarms to stop. Mary agreed to the idea and participated by bowing her head–with her hands still covering her ears. At the end of the prayer, the fire alarms beeped again and Mary, exasperated, declared, “Lydia, sometimes God says ‘yes,’ sometimes He says, ‘no,’ and sometimes He says ‘yes, later.'” I guess she considered this a time when it was a “yes, later” answer.
I contemplated back-dating a bunch of separate blogs to document the week, but…I can’t. We’re about to watch Moana as a family, and I am just going to hit the highlights of what happened.
My mom went on a trip this past week to Monterey for a mission reunion. She had a wonderful time visiting with her dear friends. She was a little nervous about the travel, but everything went perfectly (most likely due to her prayers).
We all missed her! I think Ammon developed separation anxiety because when we left him with a babysitter Thursday and when I put him in the gym childcare Friday, he cried a lot. That’s new. When my mom got back, she greeted Ammon while he was in the bath, and he freaked out when she tried to leave the room. We are glad she’s back!
On Monday the Marshalls had us over for dinner. We had the best time. I adore Chelsea’s cooking, and even though I had to be rude and duck out in the middle of dinner for Mary’s piano lesson, I still accepted the invite because I couldn’t bear to miss out!
We had so much fun that we repeated the experience on Wednesday. For some reason I had a ton of extra energy, so I cooked a gorgonzola-apple quiche, mussels, cornish hens with roasted grapes and shallots, and I roasted way too many carrots. I also baked two chocolate buckwheat cakes for dessert and made a berry sauce for them. I was SO proud of myself for getting that done on a weekday when my mom was gone AND Abe was in Salt Lake and didn’t get home until minutes before the Marshalls came over. Not only did the stuff get cooked, but Ammon was alive and the house was clean! I can’t even explain how happy I felt about all of that. I felt abnormally functional. It was happy–and very strange.
On Wednesday night I had so much energy that I got up at 3 am to fold laundry, and on Thursday I deep cleaned the whole house. In the evening Abe and I joined his parents to go to the Elton John concert that Qualtrics hosted. It was my first rock concert ever, if Elton John counts as a rock concert. I am told he falls more into the oldies/classic rock genre. At any rate, it was my first and last such event. I found everything much too loud, but I did enjoy watching a whole stadium of people dance and enjoy themselves. Even though I could not personally enjoy it myself, I loved seeing the joy expressed by thousands of people dancing and singing along.
On Friday my mom returned home! Also, my friend Paige and her kids stopped by for a surprise play date. It was so wonderful to see them.
Today we spent the morning getting our practicing in, and then our neighbor came over for a very noisy play date. Thankfully Ammon slept through the noise. After he finally woke up, we took the kids to our amazing Orem park, and then we went to the Sweet Tooth Fairy for treats (and to inquire about a birthday cake for Lydia. I decided I will just do it myself.).
We are currently watching Moana, so I am going to end this post now. I will post pictures later–if I can find any from the week!