Arriving in Mexico

On Sunday Abe and I spent the night cuddling tightly on our very narrow couch and then got up at 4:30 am to drive to Salt Lake and catch our 7am flight to Phoenix.

Once we got to the airport, we immediately started seeing Qualtrics people everywhere. I have mixed feelings about Qualtrics people–specifically, sales people. First of all, these people are all so nice that they should not be intimidating. But here’s the thing about sales: All the cool kids go into it. Sales is full of, how to say this…jocks and prom queens. Of course, there are the occasional normal people, such as Abe and myself, although Abe is infinitely cooler than I am, so he actually fits into this culture rather well.

But the people going on Q club trips are all so beautiful, so nice, and so intimidating (to me, at least), that I get really shy and uncomfortable, especially when most of the people are new, as they were on this trip. However, I did make some friends worth keeping over the course of the trip, and so I’m grateful for that.

Anyway, the point is, aside from the fact that I spent much of the time in the airport sinfully wishing I had gotten false eyelashes for the trip, we enjoyed a very peaceful, easy flight to Phoenix, and from there to Puerto Vallarta. In Puerto Vallarta we were met with a Qualtrics bus that drove us to the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita.

It was a very nice resort.

That screen of greens separated us from the “lazy river,” a beautiful river that flowed around our building.
Abe and I wore our matching Pittsburgh shirts from SLC to Mexico.

Believe me, I would be singing a different, much more grateful tune had I actually been able to fully enjoy this trip. Unfortunately, I entered the trip with a sinus infection, threw up nine times the second day, was flat in bed with a fever the third day, hobbled around the fourth day, and flew home with strep the fifth day. I know I’m not a victim (poor me! –would be so ridiculous, I know), but at the same time, when you’re staring at a blank ceiling all day in a room that costs $3000 a day (the trip was free for us, thank goodness), it’s hard not to feel at least a little bit cynical.

But on the first day I actually had a pretty lovely time, and Abe had a wonderful time from start to finish. When we reached the resort we changed and wandered down to the beach and settled on an insanely comfortable four-poster canopy bed right on the beach.

We cuddled listening to the waves roll in in front of us while the sun slowly started to set. After an hour, we noticed some commotion on the beach. People were releasing baby turtles into the ocean!

After we watched the darling little turtles crawl to the ocean, we wandered up to the higher beach where the Qualtrics reception was being held. I had not eaten anything all day except some fruit before our flight to Mexico. At the reception, we gorged ourselves on beef tenderloin, ceviche, and grilled tacos. We helped ourselves to the biggest cheese display I have ever seen in my life, positioned in between two enormous dessert tables.

The food more than made up for the conversation.

Then we went back and celebrated finally having loads of time just to ourselves. That part was a dream come true!

Food prep and packing

On Saturday I spent the morning and early afternoon shopping and cooking. I didn’t want my mom or Jenn to have to cook, so I made: three quiches with leeks, spinach, gruyere, and soprasata, five pounds of turkey chili, and a butternut squash lasagna. I also prepped two cauliflowers for roasting. (I just sprinkle the cut cauliflower with tumeric, curry, garam masala, black pepper, salt, and lots of olive oil.) By the time the food was made and stowed, it was time to pack.

Abe and I didn’t want to check any bags, so we packed pretty light. I tried to figure out a way to bring War and Peace with me because I’m re-reading it for the fifth time, but it is too bulky and looks pretentious. I tried to figure out what would look a little more normal on the beach, but couldn’t find anything that I would rather be reading. I decided I would spend my free time meditating instead.

We had a little drama preparing to leave. Jenn was flying in from Seattle Saturday night, and at one point winter storms rerouted her through Denver. It looked for a minute like she would not be in Salt Lake until Monday. She called and set an unforgettable example of staying calm in crisis. This is what she said: “Ok, it looks like the worst has happened, but don’t worry! We’ll figure it out.” She said that in her signature voice, and with that phrase she made family history. We have been repeating it to each other ever since as a reminder to ourselves to stay calm when things look crazy.

She figured it out and was to our house by 1am. Abe and I left at 4:30am, so it was a short night of sleep. We loved every minute of it though because we were cuddling on our couch and felt so happy and excited to be shortly leaving on vacation together.

Without being asked, the girls drew welcome/ I love you notes to Jenn.

The girls write us love notes

Right now the girls’ favorite activity is writing and drawing love notes to people they love. It is so sweet. Our hearts are all melty from receiving so many evidences of their darling affection.

Abe gave Lydia medicine when she felt sick, and the next morning she wrote a love note thanking him for the medicine. Isn’t she the sweetest?

This is a picture Lydia drew for Abe and me.

This side was for Abe.
This side was for me.

Mary also left us love notes.

visiting teaching

On Thursday I spent the evening visiting teaching. I left the kids, including Clarissa, home with two babysitters just to see if Clarissa would be okay with me gone. She has never been with anybody but Abe and me because we never want my mom to get physically stuck with her (it’s hard for my mom to move when holding Clarissa). Clarissa did not do well. When I came home between visits, I could hear her on the street–through the closed door and closed windows.

I whisked her with me to my second visit. It was sobering thinking that we would have to leave her soon. I worried about how she would do and if she would be emotionally scarred, not to mention if my milk supply would get permanently damaged from the separation.

dinner with the Blosils

Monday was MLK day and, sadly, we missed the opportunity to properly observe it. I resolved that this will be the last year that MLK passes without a family discussion on race relations, a book (picture and/or otherwise) on the subject, some form of media, and, possibly, a cake for Dr. King. Here’s to you, MLK Day 2019! In the meantime, I discovered and have found it very helpful.

We spent MLK Day 2018 doing normal activities and in the evening we had dinner with the Blosils. Jenn Blosil will be nannying our kids while we are in Mexico next week, so we had dinner with her and her family. I have long admired Jenn Blosil and followed her through her American Idol journey, and I also watch the new songs she posts. I love her voice! We are so lucky she was available the week we were gone, especially since she’s so busy with her music career these days. 

We always enjoy the Blosils, and my favorite are their stories of raising their eight kids, six of whom were boys. I find their stories extremely comforting, especially with Ammon at the stage he’s in. They can roll out anecdote after anecdote about children getting lost, children on top of the roof, children throwing potting soil everywhere, children getting lost again, children drawing with permanent marker on the walls the day after a $6000 paint job took place, children running naked around the neighborhood, children getting lost (again and again and again), and even accidentally rolling over a child with a car. All of their children not only survived but thrived, and Abe and I have been constantly impressed by how full of light each member of the Blosil family is. We love them and are so grateful ours get to spend so much time with Jenn next week!

I made bouillebaise for dinner. I should have taken a picture, but I will make it again because it is probably the most delicious thing that’s ever come out of my kitchen. I also made a triple chocolate mousse cake, and I had Abe immediately bring the leftovers to a neighbor because I am still dieting and really can’t hold out long against practically my favorite dessert.

happy Clarissa!

Living Scriptures App

While my mom was at the mall last week she purchased The Living Scriptures App. This is a huge blessing to our family! I loved watching scripture videos on Sundays growing up, and we enjoyed watching some together as family for FHE tonight.

My other favorite part of the evening was Face Timing with Grandma Forsythe, whom I love so much. She told me these family history related facts: She was born in Berlin June 2, 1941. She spent WWII in Eastern Germany. Her paternal grandma was from Poland  and her paternal grandfather from Prussia. Her maternal grandparents are German.

She has some of the most disturbing WWII stories and young childhood stories that I have almost ever heard. Some day I will record them here. 

I was so excited to learn about her Polish and Prussian ancestry though! I collect bloodline discoveries the way some people collect spoons (although do people really still collect spoons??? I can’t imagine this is still a thing, so I should have come up with a different analogy but am way too tired to find a better one).

Anyway, this is what I’ve “collected” for my children’s bloodlines: Filipino, Polynesian, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Danish, Swedish, Scandinavian, German, English, Irish, Scottish, Jewish, Polish!, Prussian!, Native American, and, according to my DNA test, from some of the Caucuses and “baijan” countries. They also have ancestors who came to America on the Mayflower, so they are…early American? Is that a thing? I don’t know if it is, but I think it’s a neat fact.


Meera is born!

This is my favorite picture of Meera so far! Swathi is so gorgeous and Soren is so clearly lit up about his new little sister!

So sweet. Meera cried a polite little bit upon emerging into the world, and then she slept sweetly for most of the rest of the day. What an auspicious start to life!

Ammon spent Friday night puking repeatedly in between Clarissa’s frequent wakings, and that was very convenient because Swathi was being induced at the time. Abe and I got to check our phones almost hourly through the night to see if she was dilating.

At 4am Abe and I decided to just stay up and do Insanity, but after about five minutes I collapsed on the floor and then crawled back to bed. Abe powered through the whole hour-long work-out before likewise coming back to bed. At that point we lost track of Swathi’s progress, which is crazy because I think right as we fell asleep her water was broken, and two hours later little Meera was born!!

We are so, so excited for Clark, Swathi, and Soren–not to mention ourselves! I marveled at how beautifully our families have paralleled in growth. Soren and Ammon are nine months apart (I found out I was pregnant with Ammon the day Swathi gave birth to Soren), and Clarissa and Meera are even closer–a mere five months apart!!! Our children are so lucky to have wonderful cousins their own age. It’s a beautiful thing, and Meera is such a special addition to the family.

In the morning Lydia painted Mary’s face. They ran around with these smeary faces all day long.

Full Friday

The kids had Friday off, and in the morning we went in to Mary’s parent-teacher conference. Mary is doing so well in kindergarten. She is very respectful and sweet, and she plays well with all of the other kids. Her teacher, Ms. Shawntel, said she wishes all the kids were like Mary. This was great to hear because right before the conference Mary and I had a piano practice where Mary was screaming all sorts of crazy things at me, and respectful really is the last word I would use to describe her behavior. It was very reassuring to know that she understands how to behave for her teacher at least.

The girls spent the afternoon playing with each other, Ammon, and Clarissa.

The girls love playing with Clarissa. They thought it was hilarious that Clarissa kept rolling into the couch.

In the evening Abe and I went to a dinner at the Harpers’ house with the Bakers, Lydia went to an Indiana Jones birthday party, and Mary and my mom went to the Lion King Jr., where our friend Olivia Marshall played young Nala. It was a full evening! Ammon stayed home with our sweet babysitter, Eliza Freestone.

Mary and Olivia at The Lion King. Mary was really, really tired by the end, and that made her shy with Olivia.
A very happy Lydia at her friend Atticus’ birthday.
The giant piñata at the birthday party.

Week catch up

I am actually very, very grateful for my amazing life that I don’t deserve at all, but this week I spent a lot of time in my “spot of despair” on the couch. When I am in my spot of despair, I am usually holding, nursing, and changing Clarissa, and the world seems to close in around me. I end up feeling glued to both my baby and the couch, and after a bit I feel incapable of doing much at all. It’s a yucky feeling. The lack of natural light really doesn’t help.

Anyway, I spent a lot of this week in my spot of despair and so am fine that I didn’t religiously blog every single day. It was, in the scheme of my blessed life, a perfectly forgettable week.

These first four pictures are of a get well card from Lydia. I was feeling sick after Ammon puked all night on Tuesday as well! I felt ill myself the whole next day, and Lydia made this sweet card complimenting my cuddles, cooking, and harp practices (this demonstrates her forgiving nature because that day we had two hours of awfulness at the harp), and her desire that I take medicine. (Note the picture of all the pills). She is such a sweet, sweet girl.

children’s play

This morning Mary and Ammon played so well all morning I didn’t have the heart to stop them and enforce piano practice.

They were playing, “cupcake” with the blocks.

I wanted to get Ammon’s penchant for profuse apology on video, but I missed it. As soon as I left he started saying “sorry! sorry!” to Mary on repeat. We love his sweet apologies, and hopefully one of these days I will get them on video.

Here was Clarissa rolling around on the blanket I made her. The doctor said I should let her have more floor time, so we are trying to improve that.