On Friday we had a play date with Blair and James. I love talking to Blair, and it was fun to see James and Ammon interact. Ammon hasn’t had many play dates with kids his age, and so it’s really fun for me to see what he is like with others. Ammon loves to share and tried to give James a ton of toys throughout the play date. That made me really happy.

After school I thought Lydia had a group harp lesson, but it turns out the lesson is next week. Her teacher must think I am a total ditz. I am always, always getting dates and times mixed up. In my defense, though, I asked on Thursday what time Lydia’s group harp lesson was because the board said there were group harp lessons on both Nov 10 and Nov 17. Her teacher replied “4:15,” so I assumed she meant the tenth. Oh, well.

After the non existent lesson, we came home, did homework and practiced until dinner and bed.

The kids also had fun building a fort!

Second therapy appiontment

On Thursday I had my second therapy appointment. I called the insurance company before and realized I would be covered if I switch therapists, so Thursday was my last time with this particular therapist. I really liked her and learned a lot in our two sessions.

My mind did wander a little at points and I should have asked her the non-therapy related questions that kept coming through my head. This is what they were: “Where do you buy your jeans? And who cuts your hair?” I wanted to ask her these questions because she had a build larger than mine (although I win for how much body is currently attached to said build) and she looked great. I can never find jeans that fit my large hips and waist, but somehow she had great fitting jeans. Perhaps the reason I can’t find jeans relates to the fact that I don’t even try on jeans when I am my current size…perhaps I should work up the courage and try sometime.

And also, my hair stylist moved and the last person I tried butchered me. Normally I can live with bad haircuts, but this one was truly horrible and I am scared to go to someone else lest I end up with something even worse. Anyway, this therapist was Latina and had hair similar to mine. As I said before, she looked fantastic so I really wanted to figure out who did her hair.

I should have just asked her the questions. I mean, I was paying for her time, so why not? I don’t know why I didn’t ask, but since I didn’t, she filled the time teaching me all sorts of things about behavioral triggers and how to avoid building emotional walls that numb you to pain around the triggers. I wasn’t sure that this lesson actually applied to me and my problems, but I appreciate the information anyway.

Here’s how the board looked at the end:

Visiting teaching

On Wednesday I visit taught in the afternoon during Ammons’ nap. One of the great things about living in Orem is that everyone in my ward lives well within walking distance. I was able to walk with Clarissa in the Solly in the sunshine to and from Camille’s house. That and the visit was a beautiful punctuation to the mid-day cadence, and I just enjoyed it so much.

Smiley Clarissa.


Ammon has discovered the play kitchen in the basement. Since food is his favorite thing in the whole world, the kitchen and its stash of play food has blown his mind. He busies himself toting food all around the house, setting up various tables to eat, excitedly exclaiming over all the different types of play food on the table, and instructing others to partake with him.

Here he set up a place for “Mare,” (Ammon’s nickname for Mary).

Mary accommodatingly played along. She is also proudly displaying her picture, which shows up more clearly below:
This is a picture of a mom trying to get her daughter to wear clothes and the daughter is screaming, “OOON” (backwards for “NOOO!”).

Here is a close up of cute Clarissa. She is a very good fourth baby and lets her brother and sisters take up most of my attention, I am so sorry to say. I wish I spent more time stimulating her with books, pictures, and conversation, but I suppose she gets some stimulation–amusement, even???–from her siblings.

Also, the kids had a dance party in the evening:

Finally, yesterday Mary scraped her foot galloping on her pretend horse from her piano lesson to the car. She asked Nana, the Band-Aid queen, for a band-aid.  It was a hard decision because there were so many choices!



the day after Daylight Savings

Abe and I went to bed at 7:45pm last night. Actually I thought Abe went to bed with me, but it turns out he got back out and read for two more hours before he fell asleep. Anyway, we have been getting up at 5am to do Insanity together, and because of our early bedtime last night, we could give our work-out our all this morning. It was the best part of our day.

Abe had a really hard, busy day. He had a lot of complications arise with certain deals, he got called out for something he did wrong, and Mondays in general are just busybusybusy for him. He also had to break it to me that he has two more work trips this quarter.

I also got called out, sort of. Mary’s piano teacher seemed a little miffed that we never get around to practicing her staff and flash card notes, and I think he thinks I purposely avoid them because I am a Suzuki devotee. That is not the case at all! It’s just that we are finally in a beautiful practice routine that is nevertheless exhausting, and after it’s over I am usually daunted by the idea of yet more music. But I guess we will do them this week.

Here is happy Mary celebrating life after her piano was done. She’s pretending to be a choo-choo train.

In other news, I started the novel, The Sympathizer, dropped pumpkin bread off for a sad friend, got back into the bedtime routine of scratching Lydia’s back (after a five month hiatus), took the car through the car wash, vacuumed the car, and untangled an insane yarn knot today.

getting educated on our upcoming elections

Sunday was a really laid back day–for me, at least. Abe, on the other hand, had to teach a lesson and attend his presidency meeting.

We had chili for dinner and then talked about the upcoming elections during FHE. Abe educated us on our choices for mayor, and then we held a secret vote. We all chose the same person, even though Abe gave us a perfectly even-handed description of both people.

We want the incumbent to keep doing what he’s doing, and I think the girls like that he is into building parks.

polygamy rant

We continued Morgan’s birthday extravaganza on Saturday morning. Jessi had an open house in her garage, and my personal highlight was meeting and conversing with Kathryn M. Daynes, the pre-eminent scholar on Mormon polygamy. She is Jessi’s neighbor, and Jessi knows I have been studying polygamy and grabbed me as soon as Kathryn showed up.

Kathryn said a lot of interesting things. One thing that has bothered me is D&C 132 which refers to women as “virgins” and basically says a man can marry as many virgins as he wants. I really don’t like the fact that women are reduced to their sexual status and don’t believe God views me in this light (not to mention my qualms about the actual revelation on polygamy). Anyway, in my better moments I can now turn to Kathryn’s interpretation of this scripture. She explained it by saying that Joseph Smith was responding to the accusation that the women entering into polygamy were “whores.” Back then, Kathryn explained, you were either a respectable woman or a whore, and polygamist women were considered the latter.

When she said this, I realized that the word “virgin” might be intended to connote polygamist women’s respectability and uprightness before God, rather than just reducing them to their sexual status. That makes the word a bit easier to swallow, I think. (Of course, in my own studies, I have come across Joseph Smith quotes that substantiate my earlier interpretation of this scripture, but I am so, so grateful to have this counter explanation, thanks to Kathryn.)

I also liked Kathryn’s approach as a historian. She said that her intent was to understand polygamy and the people who chose to practice it. She was not simply doing history to prove polygamy was a mistake, but rather to understand it. I think that is a really admirable attitude.

She also explained a lot of ways polygamy worked in a pioneer society. The one that we hear most commonly is that it allowed women to be taken care of who otherwise would have had to fend for themselves. She said this was actually a true attitude among many polygamists. Her own great-grandfather was scorned because he took multiple younger wives. Apparently this did not go over well with his fellow polygamists who thought that the purpose of polygamy to care for older women who otherwise would have to be alone.

I also asked her if she thought the Church would re-institute polygamy. It had never occurred to me that the Church would ever even consider such a thing until I a) studied polygamy this summer and realized it could easily happen again and b) noticed an upsurge in polyamory among my friends and understood that polyamory is going to be the Next Big Thing. Our laws are going to change in my lifetime, and then the Church will be free to re-institute polygamy…so will it or won’t it?

Kathryn said the Church won’t re-institute polygamy because women are a lot more financially independent these days and don’t need a man to survive economically. She also said our society is set up for duets, be it homo or hetero-sexual, and that it will be very hard to change that set-up. I personally disagree that it will be that hard to change the societal set-up, and I also think on of the reasons we hear cited for polygamy was to increase the number of church members. That last reason could be easily, easily cited today in the case of re-institution.

Anyway, the gist of that part of the conversation was that I felt unconvinced that the Church won’t re-institute polygamy, and that was kind of a let-down. I was hoping for some mind-blowing, totally convincing argument for why we will never have to do this again, and I don’t feel like I heard it.

But Abe swears to me that we will never practice polygamy, and he also keeps telling me to cross that bridge if it comes (and he thinks it will never happen). I am trying to keep my anxiety on this point in check. When my daughters are old enough, I am going to teach them that they are not chattel, that they deserve the kind of marriage Abe and I have, and that unless they have a mind-blowing vision from God and actually either hear God’s voice or see an angel telling them to practice polygamy, that they are never, ever to practice it. I am going to give Ammon basically the same talk and tell him that unless he also has a vision and sees angels that he is never, ever to marry more than one woman. I am so thankful Ammon has Abe’s example on how to treat women, and I hope Ammon grows up with a bone-deep understanding of gender equality.

And after all that, here are some cute pictures of Clarissa hanging out on the Boppy.


Morgan’s birthday surprise

On Friday the big event was Morgan’s surprise birthday dinner. Dan flew in from California so that all of Morgan’s Circle of Life Friends, (Dan, Abe, and Kade) could be together and surprise Morgan. Unfortunately, Abe had to work late and we missed being there in time for the surprise. Er, oh well…?

But everything after that was nice. It was my first time eating at Pizzeria 712 since working there, and I was greatly relieved to see that I knew no one there. Maybe Abe and I can do date nights there now.

After dinner, I came home and put the kids down before book club, and Abe went out with his Circle of Life friends. First they went to Comedy Sportz and had a great time laughing there. Then they went to Morgan’s office and got the grand tour. (Morgan is the CEO of Bonsai, a financial literacy company.) After the Bonsai tour they went to In-N-Out before driving Kade home to Draper. They got back around 1am and had lots of fun together. Abe went to bed very tired and very happy.


Dinner with the Jensens

Tonight we had Tori and Nate Jensen over for dinner. They were so nice. Nate wanted to talk to my mom about corporate law, and Tori works at Qualtrics, so she and Abe got to chat about work. Qualtrics really is an amazing company.

The kids were excited for company. Mary drew Tori a picture, and Lydia lent Nate her witch costume.

The kids were so good during dinner, but I got on Lydia’s case for hitting Nate accidentally with a towel and doing a handstand with her boots on the counter. Afterward when Abe told the kids how good they were during dinner, Lydia said sadly, “Well, Mama said I did two things wrong.” That broke my heart. She really tried so hard and I just focused on what she did wrong. She was asleep by the point I heard about that exchange, so first thing tomorrow I am going to tell her how proud I am of how sweet, good, and quiet she was for almost all of dinner.

Also, Mary got her darling kindergarten pictures today!

therapy appointment

On Wednesday I dropped the kids off with Abe at 3:45pm and headed to my new therapist. I got lost and so was pretty late for the appointment, but I felt good talking to her. I am really looking forward to getting my anxiety and wrong thought patterns under control.

At one point, I’ll admit, I did feel kind of weird to be sitting in the office. I almost wished I were more dysfunctional to justify the time and money. I mean, I can take care of my kids, bond with my baby, and I’m not about to hurt anyone or myself. I can even be happy–given certain conditions, e.g. a lot of rest, order in the house, and peace between my kids. And I’m almost always happy if I’m just with Abe.

But I do have dysfunctional thought patterns and assumptions that I work off of, and I am in therapy to get those fixed. I just want to be in a place where I don’t always operate under the assumption that I am totally worthless and everybody hates me. (There’s a song I sing to Abe when I’m making fun of my thoughts and it goes like this: “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms!”)

So, hopefully, this is the start of something good.