Cookie project

On Wednesday we stayed up late because I was baking for Abe’s coworkers. Once the project started, I felt like I had to rush to finish before the cookies went stale.

Abe helping me Wednesday night.

My mom also came with us on a bunch of errands in the afternoon as I rushed to pick up last minute things for the cookies and their tins. I have never seen a longer line at Michael’s! It snaked around the store. Lydia was a doll and entertained Clarissa in the car with my mom and Ammon while Mary and I hunted for things. Mary was a perfect shopping companion. I had told her not to talk to me or ask for things because I had to focus and make decisions. Mary was almost completely silent the whole time and so sweet.

On the couch with my couch buddy. We have spent nine months of gestation and four and a half months of nursing on this couch. It’s starting to get a depression in our sitting spot.

On Wednesday morning Eli and Chloe came over and stayed until almost 2pm, when I left with my mom and the kids to run errands. I was really proud of myself for baking hundreds of cookies while taking care of and feeding six kids! (In reality, it was pretty easy because the television helped me out a lot.)

off the wagon

Today Clarissa woke up at 4:30am, and as soon as I finished feeding her Abe and I did Insanity together. Abe had woken up when I fed Clarissa at 2:30 and had never fallen back asleep. Instead he prayed, meditated, and studied scriptures to stave off a nervous breakdown. We congratulated each other on our mutual survival during this season of life.

Then Abe was off to work and I stayed at home and ran the hamster wheel of feeding, diapering, cleaning, feeding, etc. I also managed to keep Ammon alive! And I made dough for springerle cookies, speculatas cookies, and cream cheese dough for jam filled cookies. I also fully baked a batch of zimmsterne (round #3 is the charm) and a batch of Dorie Greenspan’s incredible brownies. I have been really curious about that last recipe because she uses a crazy method for baking brownies, but wow, the texture of that batter was out of this world.

Did I mention I am trying to lose weight before our January trip? Yeah, today was not great for that. In addition to all of the cookie baking, a sweet neighbor dropped off a batch of homemade rolls straight from the oven, four of which went directly into me. We also got an amazing package from our cousins Louie and Ginny from I was about to type what I ate from that package, but it’s too embarrassing to list how crazy I was about food today. Maybe being up since 4:30am, nursing Clarissa all day, and feeling constantly stressed by various kid-induced factors throughout the day affected my judgment. Whatever the reason, I made really bad decisions all day long. I should probably be doing Insanity two or three times a day at this rate.

Right now my mom is at The Nutcracker Ballet with the girls. It is starting to be their tradition, but since my mom doesn’t drive at night, I am about to leave and get them.

Lydia playing the harp

So that means this blog post is now over. Better luck tomorrow avoiding sugar, self!


burned cookies for RS

On Sunday I taught a Relief Society lesson on the atonement. It kind of fell flat, and to top it off, half of the cookies I baked for people were burnt. Thankfully everyone thought that was funny (at least until they bit into the cookies).

Also, I cried in Sunday school. The lesson was on the Proclamation on the Family, which I am not on board with (or at least I have major issues with parts of it), and on Elder Oaks’ recent talk, which was the only conference talk I have ever flat out disagreed with. The teacher was really nice when I choked through my comment and said it was okay to feel that way.

After church Abe had visits and home teaching, and all I wanted to do was nap. When Abe came home he walked all around with Clarissa so I could take a quick nap before making dinner.

Abe and I both went to bed dreading the week. Abe is frightened because this is the last week of the quarter and he has so much yet to bill. I am frightened because each day feels so hectic and demanding. Ammon alone could keep me fully occupied all day, but Clarissa would also like full attention all day, and she doesn’t ever take real naps. She’ll cat nap for five minutes or twenty minutes maybe three times a day, totaling maybe an hour–or two at most–of sleep between 7am and  8pm.

Abe vows we will sleep train her after Christmas, but I don’t like letting her cry for too long yet. The times I have let her cry for a longer period of time make me feel really bad afterward. She usually is shaking and desperate, and I don’t like to see her in such a state.

Anyway, on top of Clarissa and Ammon there are two other kids who also need attention and help, not to mention food needs to be cooked, messes need tidying, and there’s always, always so much laundry to wash, dry, fold, and put away.  It’s really crazy right now.

End of quarter

On Saturday we drove to Salt Lake and stopped at Orson Gygi for baking supplies, and then we went to Trader Joe’s for some other stuff. I can not wait until we get a Trader Joe’s in Orem next year.

In the evening I baked and burnt a bunch of cookies for Relief Society, and then I hosted book club. Two of the three people who came were practically deathly ill, and so we had a short visit. I do love the people in the book club and enjoyed the time, short as it was.

Abe was extremely stressed about his quota and went to bed early. It’s the end of the quarter and his next promotion is riding on this quarter’s quota, so he is practically crushed from stress. Even in his stressed state, he is incredibly kind and helpful, and I feel so grateful for him. I am not either of those things when I am stressed, and so I learn a lot from Abe. He is just amazing.

Clarissa was crying so Abe gave her a long, comforting bath. I thought it was hilarious because he had candles burning in the room and everything. It was so cute.

Mary’s surgery and Ammon plays with knives

On Friday Mary was absolutely perfect for her surgery. All of the nurses wanted to take her home. Just as last time, she did not cry at all when she woke up, and she was very sweet and polite to everyone at the hospital.

Abe took work off in the morning to accompany her to her surgery because no other children were allowed to come. I stayed home with the other kids and was so thankful when Abe called and said everything had gone perfectly.

The surgeon hypothesized that Mary’s ovary has been in the wrong place since birth. He said her ovary got confused and thought it was a testicle so it dropped down like a testicle does, only there was no space for it to drop so it got caught in a hernia. Interesting.

Meanwhile, at home, I had the scare of my life. I was putting down Clarissa, even though I knew I should have put Ammon down for his nap first. But he is so daunting to put down and Clarissa cries when I leave her, so I made the poor decision to let Ammon play downstairs while I put Clarissa down. He had never to that point played with knives so I didn’t think it would occur to him to do so while I was upstairs.

When I got downstairs, my heart almost stopped beating. I found Ammon sitting on top of the kitchen counter, one leg swinging happily over the edge, while in his hands were my sharp kitchen shears. In front of him was an apple that had been stabbed repeatedly with a very sharp paring knife. The knife was stuck in the apple, and its handle was covered in avocado. Apparently Ammon had smashed a bunch of avocados in between stabbing the apple with a knife.

When he saw me, Ammon immediately got a guilty look on his face. I could barely breathe and immediately grabbed all of the sharp objects, removed them, and stripped Ammon out of his avocado smeared clothes. Then I changed his diaper and examined every inch of his body to see if there were any cuts.

No cuts.

At that point, I started hyperventilating and Ammon’s lip trembled and his eyes filled with tears. He felt remorse or guilt or something abnormal, which was sort of comforting, I guess.

After I put him down for his nap, I crawled into bed and covered my head with the blankets. I felt like the worst mom in the world and I had trouble catching my breath.

Once I got myself under control, I remembered that in the morning I had prayed and asked God to show me His hand today. It occurred to me that the fact that Ammon had not fallen off the counter and stabbed himself was a miracle, and that the fact that he had no cuts whatsoever was even just as miraculous. God showed me twice today that my family is in His protective hands. Mary’s surgery went perfectly and Ammon is unharmed. I feel comforted knowing God is looking after us.

At the same time, I have learned that I can’t take my eyes off of Ammon while he is awake. That is extremely depressing and logistically tricky, especially since Ammon is hyperactive and Clarissa needs me to be still and nurse her so much.

This is a hard stage of motherhood.

Ward Christmas Party

Thursday was the ward Christmas party. I sewed two basic costumes for the girls on Wednesday, and the girls looked so cute! They were Nephites witnessing Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy about Jesus’s birth. On the other end of the gym there were kids acting out the Nativity, and the spotlight changed from end to end.

We were a little late to the party because I had my physical therapy, but we enjoyed it.

Mary lights the world

Mary has been lighting the world all of December. No one asked her to light the world, but we did have an FHE lesson about what the light the world program is, and Mary just decided she was going to light the world herself. So all month she has been quietly picking up messes, bringing things to people, and trying hard to be kind to her brother and sisters. She has gone out of her way to share, to write sweet notes to people, and to control her temper. Piano practices have been so much easier, and I just want it on record that Mary’s best self has been on full display all month long. She is such a treasure, and we are so grateful that she is in our family.

Mary’s ovary needs surgery

Over Thanksgiving before Mary’s bath, Swathi noticed a slight bulge by Mary’s pubic bone. It was so slight that I had never noticed it, but Swathi was confident we should get it checked out.

On Thursday I took Mary to the doctor, and he recommended we have a surgeon look at the lump. The doctor thought it was a hernia, but it was behaving oddly so he wanted the surgeon’s recommendation.

Today the surgeon felt the lump and concluded that Mary’s ovary had slipped up into a hernia behind her pubic bone. He recommended surgery this Friday.

We are so, SO grateful to Swathi, without whom we would never have noticed this. Also, it’s Swathi’s birthday today. We are incredibly glad she’s alive and that we are the lucky family who gets to have her in it!!

Also, as an aside, Ammon destroyed the doctor’s office. We were cooped up in it for an hour, during which Ammon went bananas. The nurses kept bringing us snacks and toys, but when the doctor was actually talking to me, Ammon started tearing stuff off of the walls. The doctor commented that I had a troublemaker on my hands and the nurse whisked Ammon out because she feared he would injure himself. I was half crazed trying to control Ammon but make sure I heard everything the doctor was telling me about Mary. It was a crazy appointment.

Ammon eating a snack the nurses brought. Later in approximately two seconds pulled all of the papers out of their bins on the wall and scattered them all over the floor. I rushed over to try to pick them up and before I knew it even more paper was raining down. At that point, the nurse took Ammon to the hall.

An evening with Ammon and Clarissa

On Monday while the girls were at ballet, I sat down to feed Clarissa. To my surprise, Ammon sat down at the table with one of the tree ornaments. He proceeded to spend twenty minutes hacking it to bits. I figure the ornament is decades old and worth maybe a nickel. Would I pay a nickel to keep Ammon sitting where I can see him for twenty minutes? Yes. Yes, I would.

After this he proceeded to carol to me for another twenty minutes. I should have been cleaning and cooking dinner, but I just enjoyed sitting there watching him so much. He would fold his hands in front of him as they do in Sound of Music, and he would sing a carol to me before climbing onto a chair and clapping for himself. It was adorable.

It was also kind of amazing to discover how few words he actually knows. I feel like I communicate with him all day, but his vocabulary gaps were very apparent during this exercise. He only knows one or two words from each song, and the rest he has to hum.

After caroling, Ammon snuggled on the house and asked (with his limited vocabulary) to hold Clarissa. I held her in his lap while he giggled and pointed out all of the different body parts he knows. She kept grabbing his ear and cheek, and he would laugh before telling her “nooo!”. She, of course, didn’t understand, and so she kept at it until Ammon finally asked me to take her back.

It was such a delightful evening.

A Sunday at home

On Sunday in Relief Society we had a lesson on the temple. It made me think I should go more often, but the logistics at this time are kind of complicated. Clarissa attached herself to me all day long, and it’s hard to be apart from her for longer than an hour. But I suppose if Abe and I can figure out a way to go to Mexico, then I can figure out a way to go to the temple.

After church we had a visit from our home teacher, Josh. After his visit we had spaghetti and a tofurkey roast for dinner. I’ve had it in the freezer since last Thanksgiving, and we decided to finally give it a try. It was delicious! I still like real turkey better, but I also love tofurkey. It was fun to eat it as a roast.

For FHE my mom told us stories about my great grandparents on her father’s side. Then she quizzed the girls about the stories. It was good to learn about them because she has their pictures hanging in her room, and the girls see the pictures all the time. Now they know some stories to go with the pictures.