Monday, April 30, 2012

Flying All Around the World (April 23-24)

This year, we totally lucked out on plane tickets to Ghana. In the past few years, they have typically cost $1,500–1,700. However, due to some crazy fire sale Delta was having, BYU was able to book my flight for an incredible $1,200 (which I didn’t have to pay, since I’m the TA… ). If only the price from last year’s trip could have been switched with this year!

This crazy cheap airfare only had one catch—all our flights had to somehow go through JFK in New York. This made for some crazy itinerary wrangling. Salt Lake City to Minneapolis to New York to Atlanta to Accra (and the same in reverse in a few weeks). It’s like a grand tour of the northern border and east coast. Woot.

Our flight from SLC left at the ungodly hour of 6:00 AM, and as a sign of the ungodliness of the hour, we (Aaron, the trip director; Sam, an MBA/engineering student; and me) stood in a completely empty airport from 3:30 until the first Delta employees started to trickle in at 4:45ish. So much for that whole “be at the airport 3 hours before your international flight” thing.

When we got to Minneapolis we rushed to our next gate for our one-hour layover, which turned into a 1.5 hour layover, which turned into 2 hours, which turned into an unknown amount of time. The plane was at the gate, but the crew never showed up. How does that even happen?

Because of our tight layover schedule at JFK and Atlanta, Delta decided to reroute us on a new flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta, completely skipping the extraneous JFK connection (and 4 hours of flying time!). We headed off to another gate to wait for a few more hours, fully assured that our luggage was rerouted with us.

Upon arrival in Atlanta, we discovered that the missing Minneapolis crew decided to show up and take our luggage to New York. It was never rerouted, and because the plane left so late, it wouldn’t make it to Atlanta to get on the trans-Atlantic flight with us. As big of a pain as it is to lose your luggage, it’s kind of nice to be pre warned that your luggage is lost. It wasn’t a surprise to not find it in Accra—we knew that we had to go make a lost luggage claim as soon as we landed (and they actually had started the paperwork and had rerouted our luggage on a KLM flight through Amsterdam, oddly enough).

The flight across the Atlantic rocked. Mostly because Delta had this in every seat:

Yep. A USB plug for iPads/Phones/Pods. Not that I used it much—the plane’s selection of movies was incredible (I finally got to watch Inception and The Dark Knight). Still, go Delta.

The flight was incredibly long and uneventful. Like this post. (Totally recycling the joke I used for last year’s Ghana flight blog post) :)

Things that are good to have and days that are good to spend

A wise old hobbit once said “Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”[1] When things go well and fun, telling about them is boring; things that don’t go well or aren’t pleasant are what we like to hear.

And there’s my excuse for not posting any blog posts for the past week while I’ve been in Ghana. Everything has gone exceptionally well so far and has been incredibly fun. Nothing uncomfortable, palpitating, or even gruesome to report here.

Despite this apparent lack of excitement, I really will start posting pictures and stories in the coming hours. We’re heading off to an expat American family’s house for family home evening later, I’ll be writing like crazy once I get back. Then you can all bore yourselves with my “things that are good to have” and “days that are good to spend.” :)

Update: Apparently some have taken this quote to mean that it's been boring in Ghana. Not at all, my friends. :) It's just that everything has been normal, good, fun, and exciting, but not palpitating or gruesome (nobody's gotten incredibly sick, we haven't been robbed (knock on wood), etc.). All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth…

  1. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Ray, 1937), 51. ↩

Family Funnies, issue 1

It's 9:45 AM and my children are still sleeping. Must be some sort of modern day miracle. And you'd better believe I'm going to let them wake up on their own (probably) because they were both a little grumpy yesterday and didn't go to bed until late.

I've decided to start a little facebook status round-up of what my children say because, frankly, my kids say the darndest things and I don't always write them down on the blog but I need to because that's where we're creating & hoarding our family history (we've yet to actually print it out but definitely need to get on it).

Without further ado, here's April's (and beyond's) edition of our Family Funnies:

Tree Huggers

Last night we went to a wedding reception and danced the night away. Needless to say, the girls did not want to wake up this morning to get ready for church. I knew it would be a tough day for Rachel since she had had a very restless sleep (she growls in her sleep sometimes and it's a bad omen for the following morning) and had to let her lie in bed moaning for a good fifteen minutes before she finally got out of bed. Miriam woke up grinning, as per her usual, but acted very sleepy the entire day.

We had stake conference today, which was nice because it meant that I didn't have to teach Sunbeams by myself (that will be next week) but it was also not nice because it meant two hours of making my children sit still and listen to adults speak instead of the one hour we have on a regular Sunday.

Aside from multiple trips to the bathroom and drinking fountain and spreading their stuff all over the aisle and one terrific Rachel-meltdown, the girls did fairly well. And I even got to listen to what some of the speakers said. It helped that we sat beside my parents...

After church my mom and dad came over to our house for lunch; we ate party leftovers. Then Rachel went to watch Matilda at my parents' house while I put Miriam down for a nap. I took a nap, too, since Rachel was gone and Miriam was sleeping and when I woke up I thought, "That's weird. I woke up before Miriam. Why can't I fall back asleep?" Usually I wake up to her knocking on her bedroom door.

Then I looked at the clock and...two-and-a-half-hours!?

I woke Miriam up and she did not greet me with a smile. She usually wakes up from nap time less happy than she wakes up in the morning but she was quite upset about being woken up today. I picked her up to carry her to the rocking chair (our post-nap ritual) and she asked to be put down, so I did...and she ran back to bed.

"Why are you so sleepy?" I asked.

"'Cuz I didn't have a long, long nap!" she said.

"You did have a long, long nap," I assured her.


She decided that she could stay awake, though, when I told her we were going on a walk to Naanii and Bumpa's house and got herself all prettied up—in pants and a skirt and a shirt and a dress. I had asked her to put a pair of pants on (she had taken hers off before falling asleep) because it was a little chilly today and she said, "'Ow 'bout a skirt? Know what? Skirts are pants, Mom! They are because they are in my pants drawer."

Whatever. So she wore her self-selected outfit and we went to my parents' house and then to the park where Miriam out-swung every child who passed through. I should probably check the Guinness World Record for the amount of time a two-year-old has willingly swung (without fussing or getting bored or asking to get down) because I'm pretty sure Miriam could give that record a go.

At one point, before my mom had joined us, both girls were swinging. Miriam was on one of the baby swings and Rachel had chosen the swing on the farthest end of the swingset. Then they were both yelling at me to push them higher. I was like, "Really? You couldn't have chosen the swing next to the baby swings? You had to choose the swing at the very end?" Apparently she had to choose the swing at the very end. Rachel's getting better at pumping but isn't quite self-sufficient yet.

Near the end of our time at the park Rachel asked me to help her climb into a tree, so I did. So Miriam had to climb a tree, too. And then I had to take pictures. And therefore you get to see the outfit she cobbled together:

That would be pink halloween pants with black bats and orange blobs, a white skirt with blue flowers and green foliage, a long-sleeved ladybug shirt, and a pink dress with blue and purple flowers.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Auntie Sarah's UVU graduation

Auntie Sarah graduated from Utah Valley University yesterday with a BS in History. She's hoping to be a schoolteacher and just finished up her student teaching a couple of weeks ago. Does it date me that when I graduated from UVU it was UVSC?

We didn't go to the actual graduation (I tortured my children with that kind of thing last week) but Grandma hosted a party at our house for her afterwards. Rachel and Miriam were excited to help set up and decorate—Rachel made a couple of signs to post around the house showing off UVU's colours and logo. She was proud that she figured out how to spell UVU all by herself. I'm not sure exactly how much merit I see in spelling an acronym where you pronounce each letter...but it's a start.

Picture Perfect

I have serious issues when it comes to taking pictures—I think I might love it a little too much. The phrase "picture or it didn't happen" is a little too real for my children. Oh, you cut your finger open? Here, let me take a picture. Oh, you can stand on one foot? Here, let me take a picture. Oh, that's a beautiful picture. Here, let me take a picture.

That last example actually saved my bacon today because Miriam scribbled all over one of Rachel's prized drawings. "Don't worry," I said. "I already took a picture of it and you can look at it whenever you want!"

I take pictures of important things and I take pictures of pointless things.

There are only two problems with this. The first is that I am by no means a talented photographer. The second is that because I'm always taking pictures I am rarely in them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bedtime pictures

Before bed the girls drew some pictures. 

Miriam's looks like it was inspired by Picasso. There are people going every which way. 

Rachel's looks like it was inspired by sheet music. And, indeed, it was.


This morning, after a terrific temper-tantrum about who should be allowed to shower first (me or Rachel...guess who won) we had a pretty good time. The girls went out into the backyard to play and it wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold and we didn't even need a light jacket—it must be April 25th or something (the perfect date).

First we drew a bunch of bunnies on the sidewalk. Then Miriam found a roly poly and pointed it out to Rachel, who caught it. She's been determined to catch a roly poly since Friday when I told her that if she ever caught a bug I'd provide a house for it to live in. I thought it would take her a lot longer to catch a bug than it did—she was just so squeamish before and suddenly she's just not.

So I spent a few minutes construction a bug observatory using a margarine container and some packing tape. It's a classy residence.

The Tomato Incident & The Cinnamon Incident

Part 1: The Tomato Incident

Last night we had dinner with the BYU kids in Reid and Karen's ward at a park. Karen spent all day preparing the meal—slicing cheese and tomatoes, ripping lettuce, mixing lemonade—and then we transported it all over to the park. When we arrived the girls were ready to just hop out and zoom over to the playground but I told them that we should help carry things. There was plenty that was both possible and appropriate for them to carry—bags of chips and loaves of bread, for example. Rachel, however, chose to carry a container of tomatoes.

She had picked it up from the backseat and had only carried it as far as the middle seats (in the van) when the lid popped off and tomatoes went flying everywhere. The majority of them ended up in one pile so we scooped up the top layer and put them back in the bowl.

It was a lovely mess.

As it turns out, Rachel had misinterpreted the tab on the lid as a handle. She thought it was to make carrying easier when in fact it is to make pulling the lid off easier. And, boy, did that tab ever do its job!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny

The girls did not want to get up this morning. Miriam at least woke up with a smile on her face (but then all she wanted to do was snuggle). Rachel wouldn't even get out of bed for fifteen minutes but instead thrashed around moaning about how tired she was and how unfair it was that she had to get up. But we all got up and were ready for the day in time for Rachel to go to school—Grandma ended up taking Rachel, which Rachel thought was so cool.

Miriam and I went to the park for playgroup while Rachel was at school. It was so warm today that we lathered on sunscreen and grabbed sunglasses and sun hats before leaving the house. Miriam's sunhat of choice was her pioneer bonnet.

Life without Daddy: Day 1

Miriam wet the bed this morning so we're off to a great start. Rachel let her out of their bedroom rather early in the morning (and then went back to bed) and Miriam wandered into my room, completely naked.

"Where are your clothes?" I asked.

"I don't know. They are wet," she said.

"Did you pee in the bed?" I asked.

"No," she said. "It's just that my clothes are wet. And my blanket is wet. I don't know why."

"Because you wet the bed, that's why."

"I didn't!"

Sure—they're just wet and smell like urine. I can totally see how you're going to convince me that you didn't wet the bed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BYU Convocation 2012

Convocation was definitely long. The girls definitely stayed up late the night before. They definitely got up too early in the morning. And they were definitely grumpy. Or maybe I was the grumpy one.

Either way, convocation was long.

We watched as the graduates filed in, diligently searching for our daddy. Grandma brought her binoculars to help us out (though we had much better seats than we had for commencement).

Friday, April 20, 2012

My grandpa was born at the Awful Waffle

Yesterday Karen treated our little family and Katharine's little family to dinner, in honour of Aunt Linda's presence in the area. Aunt Linda had to work the book buy-back until 6:00, though, and we arrived to pick her up a little early so we went for a little drive-by tour to see the places Reid and Karen lived when they first got married. On the way, Karen said, "Oh, let me show you a fun place to eat—The Awful Waffle! It's in this cute little building tucked around behind the gas station."

She directed Andrew there and I recognized it the minute I saw it.

"That's where my grandpa was born!" I said.

My grandpa, Arnold Muhlestein Conrad, was born in Provo, Utah on September 8th, 1915 in the home of his grandparents, which currently houses The Awful Waffle. So basically my grandpa was born in The Awful Waffle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BYU Commencement 2012

Andrew began graduating today. BYU breaks it up into two days so today was Commencement and tomorrow is Convocation. My mom and Josie volunteered to take the girls—since Commencement exercises are notoriously very boring—to the Bean Museum where they got to go to a live animal show and see all the display animals and run around and be loud. It was nice to get to watch the ceremony without having to worry about whether or not they were bothering anyone else or having to jump up and run them to the bathroom or anything.

We spent the first forty-five minutes standing and watching the processional march of the sea of graduates—over six thousand of them! I gave up standing after a while.

The keynote speaker was Elder Dallin H. Oaks. I didn't take notes, but you can read about his speech on the church's website. He talked about some errors that BYU has made in the past with its diplomas. Once in the 90s, I believe it was, they mailed out all the diplomas with the official university seal on them...but the seal had the wrong date for the founding of the university so they had to reprint and send the diplomas out a second time. That was a story he found while researching for his speech and it reminded him of something that happened during his tenure as president of BYU.

In the 1970s BYU had planned to present Elder LeGrand Richards an honorary doctorate and had decided to call his degree a Doctorate of Christian Service. So they had a lovely diploma printed and President Oaks presented it to him without even bothering to double check it first. They sat down together and Elder Richards opened it up to take a peek. He then quietly passed it over to President Oaks to examine.

Brigham Young University, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had just presented one of the then-current twelve apostles of the church a diploma for a Doctorate of Christian Science (which, in case you didn't know, is a completely different religion).

President Oaks did't give that diploma back to Elder Richards and instead had a new one printed and delivered. This time he was sure to look it over before it was presented to Elder Richards.

It was a story that had never been told or recorded anywhere but, Elder Oaks said, it was one that he felt selfish not sharing since he was the only one privy to it.

Minus the forty-five minute processional, they managed to keep the commencement ceremony to one hour before letting us all spill out onto the lawns to find our families, which is a bit of a trick when you're weeding through six-thousand families! My mom had called to say that they were waiting outside of Portal G, though, so we headed out that way, too, and spotted them right away.

"How did you ever find us?" my mom asked.

It's simple, really—in a sea of six-thousand black (graduates) and blue (baccalaureates) robes, my girls certainly stood out on the grassy hill in their purple and red hoodies!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baking Benjamin: 27 Weeks

I finally had another appointment for Benjamin. It feels like it was so long since the last one because I'm supposed to have them every four weeks but this appointment was scheduled for five weeks so that I'd be far enough along to do the glucose test but then it had to be pushed back a week because my doctor went out of town for spring break last week—so it's only been six weeks between appointments, but that's a long time when you're pregnant.

And then everyone (including me) completely forgot about the glucose test, anyway, so they sent the bottle of "oral glucose tolerance beverage" home with me so that I can drink it before coming in for my next appointment, which won't be until I'm a day shy of being 31 weeks pregnant. Whatever. I'm not keen on glucose tests, anyway, so putting it off doesn't make me feel too sad.

Here I am at 26 weeks & 6 days, which I'll just round up to 27 weeks:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Videos: Luau and Ice Skating

As promised, here are some videos from the luau. First is Rachel mimicking the dancers:

She was so funny—I told her that her cousins Olivia and Sabrina are of Tongan descent (their father is Tongan) and she gushed, "They need to learn how to dance then because this is amazing!"

Here's Miriam doing a bit of a Hawaiian dance (before she stopped dancing to scoot around the floor to get away from that baby—she is terrified of babies that age (about 18 months) because they're all her size or bigger yet don't talk, hardly walk, drool, push, and pull):

Here's Miriam joining in on the singing of I Am a Child of God (the first verse was sung in Tongan and then they asked us to join in singing in (the first verse) in English):

Here's Rachel trying to skate at the beginning of our time on the ice. She fell down every ten seconds or so for the first twenty minutes we were there:

Here's us skating toward the end (when Rachel had gotten good enough to not fall over every five seconds). Do enjoy the part where I almost skate over Miriam (she's fine, don't worry):

Monday, April 16, 2012

Skating (and other stuff)

Today our calendar was blissfully blank—completely uncluttered by class schedules or homework deadlines or appointments of any kind. This hasn't happened in the longest time so when Andrew announced that he was going to head to campus to return a textbook, pick up something from the MPA lounge, and mail a package I completely hijacked his plan, asked him to check the schedule at the skating rink, rounded the girls up, piled into the van and announced we were coming with him and we were going to have some fun (dagnabbit)!

Rachel has been begging to go ice skating for months now but we've been waiting for the rink to accept our Pass of All Passes (which they do now...through May 26th). We weren't quite sure how the girls would take to it but figured they both just scream the whole time so even though we got there only an hour before "public skate" ended we figured an hour would be long enough. We still had to pay to rent skates—I brought my skates but we couldn't find her skates (which are Auntie Josie's old skates which were Uncle Patrick's old skates which were my old skates—though to be fair we only looked for about five minutes before we had to go).

We didn't tell the girls that where we were going only that it was a surprise—and that they had to wear pants and socks.

"A surprise?!" Rachel yelled, running to get her shoes. "I love those!"

She fretted about the what the surprise was the whole way to the rink. And she still had no idea what the surprise was when we got inside (because she's never been in an ice rink) so I helped her stand up on a bench so she could look into the rink—there was a real figure skater dancing around and Rachel just about died of excitement on the spot when she figured out that we'd be going skating as well.

I took a picture of Miriam before we started to skate (which was a very good idea because she really did spend most of the time crying).

The weekend

On Friday the girls and I went to BYU, where I thought I was supposed to have an interview (but didn't; so I had one later that night but didn't get the job) and where Andrew was doing a bunch of things (for the Ghana trip; he also ran a study session). The girls and I first went to the Bean Museum where we filled out a little scavenger hunt and looked at everything possible while spending as little time in the "Africa" wing as possible (since the lion that rotates still scares the girls).

After the museum we headed outside to eat our lunch. We sat at some benches at the bottom of the staircase by the bell tower and visited with the ducks a bit as well. Most of the ducks had taken cover for the brooding storm but there were a few brave mallard drakes swimming around still.

When one of them hopped out of the stream and started quacking his way over to the girls, Miriam flipped out and started running for safety (ie: me).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treading in thin water

Sacrament meeting wasn't terrible today but there were a few moments when I was about ready to lose it. For example, when Rachel threw a fit about not being able to put the hood of her jacket on. Or when she and Miriam were fighting about territory/crayons/paper all at the same time.

So it was that during the intermediate hymn I leaned over and whispered harshly to Rachel, "You are treading in thin water, young lady!"

And then I was like, "I mean...water that has frozen, which is ice. Thin ice. You are skating on thin ice."

I don't know where my brain has gone but I do know that Rachel was thoroughly confused about this reprimand.

Andrew and I had a professor once who couldn't ever keep sayings straight. He has said things such as "I'm just preaching to the congregation here" and "If at first you don't succeed then turn the other cheek."

When Andrew came to join us on our bench after he'd finished playing the organ I whimpered, "I'm turning into Kirk! First I say 'that should be against the wall' and then I just told Rachel she was 'treading in thin water.' What is the world coming to?"

He just laughed at me. Even though neither of us has taken a class from Kirk in six years he is still famous in our house for his memorable mixed-up quotes. And now we'll have a few of my own to add to our repertoire...

Against the wall

We did it—we not only survived the semester; we survived the degree! Shortly before midnight last night, Andrew finished the last of his finals, giving us a whole week to play (and, well, work) before he leaves for Ghana. Besides projects, he only had four finals to take this semester. Yesterday he spent over seven hours on his law final and then several hours more on his marketing final. The law final was a little ridiculous—he was "working" on it for over nine hours but since he made (and ate) dinner he decided it was really more like seven hours. Still...that's like a full day of work (almost).

As we were getting in bed he remarked on how brutal the law final was.

"That should be against the wall," I said. And then, "Wow. I don't even know how that happened."

"Did you mean to say 'against the law?'" Andrew giggled (mannishly, of course).

"Yes—I don't really know what happened. Some sort of disconnect between my brain and mouth, I guess. In my defense, /w/ and /l/ are easily confused because they're both...oh, dear...what's the word?"

"Way to go, Linguistics Girl."

"Hey—I'm pregnant. I just said 'against the wall' instead of 'against the law.' I think I'm allowed to forget a term that applies to a mere handful of sounds, too."

"Fricatives?" Andrew offered.

" And not pl..."


"Not plosives."

We finally came up with the word 'liquid,' which Andrew pointed out are not allowed on airplanes. So then we spent the next five minutes trying to speak without using liquids:

"So--y si-, -ou can't b-ing -iq-ids on the p-ane."

But really what we meant was approximants (since /l/ and /r/ are approximants and liquids, while /w/ and /y/ are approximants and glides). I think we deserve a little slack since Andrew had just spent all day doing finals and I had edited his finals (for things like htat and and other things (not ideas or anything like that)) and a chapter of my mom's dissertation. Our brains had clearly hit their limit.

"Sometimes," I said to Andrew, raising my hand six inches above my head, "Our nerdhood reaches about this level."

"And sometimes it's way up here?" he asked, reaching his hand as far as it could go.

I couldn't agree more. We're so nerdy it should be against the wall.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Luau? Lu-wow!

Leli really outdid herself with this party. It was awesome! Leli is Tongan so she threw a luau for the closing social and she pulled all the strings she could. Her dad is Mr. Fotu (who teaches at the local junior high school; it kind of weirded Andrew out to see him at the party) and he's best friends with this guy whose wife runs a dance school. We had our own private show after a wonderful Polynesian dinner catered by Ken (another Polynesian in the program) and his family.

The party-crew had spent all day decorating the cultural hall with palm trees and sand and shells. It was like walking into a beach.

Job = Money

It's 10:00 and we just put our kids to bed. So hopefully they just stay there and don't keep coming out for the next hour and a half wanting things...

We were at the MPA closing social, which was a rocking luau/dance party and so we didn't get home until "late" although we left when the party was still hoppin' because the definition of what late is somehow changes when you're toting around small children. We needed to get ours in bed because Andrew and I both have to be on campus tomorrow and since Andrew needs to be there at 8:30 then that means the girls and I need to be there at 8:30, too.

"What do you need to go to BYU for, Mommy?" Rachel asked.

"I have a job interview," I said.

"Wait...for a job?" Rachel asked.

"Yes, for a job. Does that make you happy?"

Rachel is constantly asking me what I want to be when I grow up and I am constantly telling her that I am grown up and that I'm her mother. She'll then say, "No—I mean, like, when you can't be a mother anymore because your kids are all grown up. What do you want to be then?"

Frankly, I don't know...because you never stop being a mother, do you? Besides, neither Andrew or I are very good at pinning down what we "want to be." Clearly—we're still in school. And I have yet to meet anyone who has ever sighed contentedly and said, "Ahh, this is exactly what I want to be," because most people I know (probably everyone) is always trying to be better or achieve more in some sphere or another.

Rachel wants to be an astronaut. Just for the record. And she's always encouraging me to name what I "want to be" so I thought the fact that I'd be having a job interview would be exciting for her.

"No, it doesn't," she said (meaning it doesn't make her happy).

Then she paused and I could see the wheels turning in her head.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

MAD library

This morning my mom called to see if I could cover the Music and Dance (MAD) reference desk for her while she (and all her student employees) attended their end-of-semester party. Rachel was at preschool already and Karen agreed to pick her up for me and even offered to keep Miriam but Miriam said, "No! I am going to BYU with Naanii. I has a party to go to!"

So Miriam was Naanii's little buddy while I worked the reference desk.

I had rather unremarkable time at the reference desk—I helped people find things, answered the phone and had a very long conversation about Percy Faith, and very politely tried to help a young man find a CD that was "fun to sing along to." That was seriously the question: Do you have any CDs that are fun to sing along to? I was like, "We have a lot of CDs that are fun to sing along to..."

Miriam had a fun time at the party. She got to eat food—her favourite thing was the lime bars that Bob Maxwell brought—and even participated in the getting-to-know-you game. They had a survey with bizarre questions on it and you had to try to find someone who could answer positively to the question and have them sign your paper. One of the questions was "Do you have any baby teeth left?"

Given that the setting was a university, it should have been difficult to find the person who could answer the question affirmatively (there was one person in the room who could) but since Miriam was there people were apparently just flocking to her for her autograph (since she obviously has a mouthful of baby teeth).

After the party we hung around in Naanii's office for a few minutes while she checked a few things off of her to-do list before taking us home. Miriam got to play on the Ranat Ek (a Thai xylophone) that was sitting on the desk. She thought that was pretty fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Un-Spring Break

Today Rachel woke up bright and early and it was all my fault. I had mentioned last night, you see, that our neighbour's rabbit had had some babies a couple of weeks ago and they had invited us to see a couple of weeks...which would be maybe that was something that we should do "in the morning." I should never mention that we'll be doing anything exciting/different "in the morning." Or ever, for that matter. Rachel wakes up early excited to do things that won't happen until after dinner.

So, using one of Miriam's favourite phrases I said, "What the hiccup are you doing up?"

Too excited to eat breakfast, she headed off to the office to draw some pictures of rabbits. Only after she'd gone through several sheets of paper was she able to settle down long enough to eat breakfast.

Then we got all packed up for the day, including packing a picnic lunch to take to the park, and headed down the street to see if the neighbours were home. They weren't. It's spring break so it's possible they're out of town for a while. Who knows?

We headed to the park instead, and stopping by Naanii and Bumpa's house on the way so that we could pick up the sticks in their backyard. They have a couple of trees and trees do annoying things like drop branches and things over the course of winter. Rachel was a big helper and gathered up several sticks—she wanted to make wands out of all of them.

Then we played at the park for a number of hours. It was 80 degrees today and was as lovely as could be! The girls played with some of their friends who'd met us at the park and we all enjoyed a picnic lunch together. My friend Tracy noticed that Rachel was with us and said, "Oh—did you know that preschool's still in session?"

"It is?!" I said. "I asked Miss Elise about spring break at the end of March because I knew the dates on the school calendar were wrong! She said it wasn't the first week of April but that it would start on April 9th, which was yesterday. So I didn't send Rachel to school today. Obviously."

"Well, I guess they decided to change it to next week. I just found out about it from Michelle this weekend."

So nice of them to inform me.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The end of the semester!

At approximately the same time this afternoon Andrew and I finished up the projects we'd been working on all day long. Technically we'd been working on them for longer than "all day long" because mine was the Hancock Hummer (a family newsletter), which I'd been working on for a number of weeks, and Andrew's was a final project that he'd been stressing out about since January. My project ended up being 14 pages long. Andrew's project ended up being 155 pages long. We were both incredibly happy to be done for the day!

I'm sure my poor girls were happy about it, too. I'd been shooing them away all day long, asking them to play nicely together, to leave Mommy alone and let me work!

We went to the BYU ward's FHE tonight, which was their closing social for the semester. Poor Karen, who'd just put on a huge Easter dinner last night, spent the better part of the day cooking yet another meal for those BYU kids!

This party was at the house of the parents of someone in their ward and they have a huge yard with a volleyball pit, a treehouse, a "playground" and a ton of trees and lawn area. It was beautiful and the girls were in heaven. They played on the swings and slide for a while before we migrated to the sandpit where Rachel ran around screaming about how she'd never had so much fun in her life and Miriam slathered herself with sand and Andrew and I rallied a volleyball for a while.

It was the first evening we've had in a long time where we haven't been stressing about needing to be doing something else (well, except maybe laundry but my laundry is very patient). Andrew was relaxed and happy and we just had fun together. It was awesome.

After dinner there were BYU kids playing everywhere so we decided to leave the party early (good thing our girls didn't hear the part about s'mores) and Andrew suggested that we stop by the park on our way home. I said that I thought that was a good idea but that Rachel had school tomorrow and we should probably get the kids to bed. Then Andrew reminded me that Rachel's on spring break this week and we could party all night long if we wanted to.

Instead we just partied until the sun sunk down behind the mountains. And that was long enough.

I sat back and let the girls show Daddy everything they can do at the playground now—this was his first time joining us at the playground this whole year so they had a lot to show him.

Easter 2012

Here are my cute girls this beautiful Easter morning:

It was such a beautiful day today and we were all ready early enough that we walked to church so that we could enjoy the sunshine—well, the girls and I walked. Daddy had to drive so he could get to church on time to practice the organ before church.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Eve

We've had such a busy weekend so far. Last night Andrew and I went to the Marriott School closing banquet—he had to go because he was nominated for the Bateman award—and we didn't get home until nearly eleven o'clock (after a quick stop on the way home to get some Easter things...because we didn't put that off at all). We were a little tired, then, when the girls ran into our room early in the morning, wondering if the Easter bunny had been here. We didn't tell them when the Easter bunny was coming but I guess Grandma, who had put them to bed for us last night, suggested that he might come on Saturday instead of Sunday because he knows that we're so busy with church on Sunday.

I just realized I used the word "we" up there. What I meant to say is that I was a little tired when the girls ran into our room—Andrew somehow slept through both of them climbing into bed and talking loudly about the Easter bunny and Star Wars (which they had watched last night before bed).

They ran out to the living room to check for baskets as soon as they heard noise in the kitchen (the noise was Grandma getting things ready to head to Manti for a ward temple trip of sorts).

They were thrilled and a little dazed. Miriam kept saying, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" It's her way of expressing disbelief. "Bubbles? Whoa! Candy? Whoa! Barrettes? Whoa!"

Friday, April 06, 2012

School, paper mache, playgrounds

On Thursday I set my alarm for 8:30 thinking that I would have time to shower before waking Rachel up for school. Andrew woke me up to say goodbye before he left for campus and asked me if I had remembered to set my alarm clock. I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." And then he left. And then my alarm went off at 8:30 and I realized that Rachel has school at 9:00.

I had meant to set my alarm for 7:30 not 8:30.

I'm surprised the girls hadn't gotten up and pounced on me because they're usually up by 8:30. They probably slept in only because it was a school day. Tomorrow isn't a school day which means they'll probably join me in bed before 8:00 wanting to get a start to their day.

Getting Rachel off to school wasn't too difficult: we quickly got dressed, packed a snack, did hair, and popped some toast in the toaster—we ate that on our walk to school. Thinking about getting into the routine of getting up and ready for school everyday is kind of giving me anxiety. I have no idea how to prepare Rachel for this but luckily we'll be moving a couple of time zones away so getting her in the habit of waking up early should be relatively easy because her little body will be waking up two hours "early" once we get to North Carolina. I know it's not for months but I'm pregnant and emotional and I can stress out about preparing Rachel for kindergarten (and college) just because I slept in one day if I want to!

Yesterday was chilly and windy. We didn't spend a lot of time outside but we did do some paper mache of sorts. Our projects ended up looking a little disgusting but Grandma says she has paint so we can paint over the mache work we did if we decide to, I guess.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Chalky day

Earlier this week it was warm and lovely outside. It's supposed to be warm and lovely outside tomorrow—we've had a couple of days of cold and windy so I'm looking forward to it being warm enough to go to the park again. Anyway, March 29th...we made little pots out of a toilet paper tube and planted some sunflower seeds from last year's sunflowers. We'll see if they'll grow...

It looks like they're praying but really Rachel was just folding her arms while she watched her pot for signs of growth (oddly enough nothing happened, which she found disappointing) and Miriam was trying to copy her (she does this a lot).

When the girls got sick of watching the dirt just sit there they decided that they would start playing and broke out the sidewalk chalk. 

Pictures from General Conference

I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Saturday morning and timed it so that they'd be ready by the time the girls usually wake up. But then they didn't wake up so we had to go wake them up. They were excited for the cinnamon rolls, though they were even more excited when I gave them permission to visit the neighbour's plum tree, which is covered in pink "popcorn" blossoms.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bike fail

These pictures are actually from last Wednesday (March 28) when we went to the school to try riding our bikes in the parking lot. We live on a hill and that isn't a very good place for a four-year-old to ride a bike. I had initially told Rachel that she would be in charge of pushing her bike because I had Miriam and Miriam wanted to bring her bike but wouldn't be able to push it the whole way.

Turns out Rachel wasn't able to push her bike the whole way, either, though she did give it her best shot, so I ended up carrying two bikes to the school which left only my foot to prod Miriam along. Rachel's good about staying by my side (across busy roads and things) but Miriam's a bit of a wanderer.

We won't be repeating that any time soon (considering I'm growing more pregnant every day) especially because we got to the school and Rachel rode her bike across the parking lot once. And then decided that she needed to run for a while.

Stroller Brigade

This afternoon the girls got out the doll stuff and started playing—get this—together. Miriam was the baby and Rachel was the mommy. Eventually they're going to have to stop using the doll stuff on Miriam because although she's still small she's definitely getting too big to be treated as a doll.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Through the eyes of a toddler: General Conference

This has been a very confusing weekend for Miriam.

The girls are in the habit of watching "Music and the Spoken Word" with Grandma before church on Sundays. I usually take the opportunity to either get dressed without an audience or to eat breakfast without having any stray bits of food flung in my direction—all while listening to the strains of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir drift through the house.

Guess what General Conference looks like to a two-year-old?

If you guessed that it looks a whole lot like "Music and the Spoken Word," you'd be 100% correct.

All day yesterday Miriam was insisting that it was Sunday.