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Talent Show

It’s still the end of the semester, which means I’m still in the thick of paper-writing. So much in the thick of it, really, that we just don’t get much else done around here.

I do have a few more pictures for you, though.

At preschool, the twins continue to play in dirt and read picture books, as usual.

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Last night we got of the house to attend the ward talent show. We have a supremely talented and entertaining ward, as it turns out, and there was lots of good food on top of it. Jared really enjoyed the show portion and clapped enthusiastically after every act.

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Besides feeding us cookies and popcorn, church is really good at indoctrinating our kids through music.

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We’re Back!

HI. WE’RE ALIVE, I PROMISE!

Between General Conference, MSH, and then having my computer crash (during finals–how timely), it has been an entire month since I last blogged! I’m not even going to try to recap all the goings-on, but I will dump a bunch of pictures here, even though you’ve already seen most of them via Facebook.

First, Mike was a gem and flew solo so I could attend MSH. He made sure to take the kids to lots of fun things and got pictures along the way, just for you. He even let them make their own PB&J sandwiches, something this mess-averse mom wasn’t planning on letting them do until they were twelve.

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Rebekah paid him back by helping out with some of the chores.

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I, meanwhile, enjoyed soda socials and Mexican food with the MSH crowd.

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I also spent a significant amount of time helping Jenny run the conference. This photo comes from Walmart at midnight on a Friday. It’s been a long, long time since I was in that Orem Walmart that late, but it’s as busy as ever.

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And this picture is witness to one of my favorite memories to date: walking through a rain/hale downpour to get back to Jenny’s car, before crashing in the Spencers’ living room for several hours.

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Since coming home, I’ve been busy finding a location for MSH in Boston next year (yay!) and doing a lot of legwork for a new community service group we started in Relief Society. We’re adopting the wish list of a homeless shelter every couple months and trying to meet as many items on it as possible. If anyone has ideas of corporations which wouldn’t mind donating a dishwasher to a shelter in East Boston, be sure to let me know.:)

And as of Thursday, spring is officially here! We celebrated with a picnic dinner in Boston Common with some friends.

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Maybe by next week I’ll have my legs under me enough to put together a real blog.

But don’t count on it. Finals are upon us, which means enormous crazy stress and dozens of pages of philosophy papers to write.

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Christos Anesti

Happy Easter! We’ve been making it as liturgical a week as we can manage amid our busy schedules. I re-read Chronicles of Narnia, as usual, and we managed to squeeze in a quick Holy Week lesson every night of the week. With some visual aids, our kids can now narrate (very broadly, mind you) the key points of Jesus’ last week.

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(Right as I cut off Jared’s video, Rebekah said “But mooom! Jared forgot Tuesday!” He didn’t, but I thought her outburst was cute. Sorry I failed to capture it for you.)

We dyed eggs on Thursday, much to the delight of the twins and the annoyance of Mike (like everything toddlers enjoy, it’s too crafty).

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But most of our photogenic Easter festivities began this morning with a final lesson about Easter Sunday, and then Resurrection rolls for breakfast. The kids were legitimately shocked to bite into their rolls and have them be empty. Rebekah expressed her surprise by saying “Come back, marshmallow Jesus!”

While the rolls were in the oven (the “tomb”), Mike pulled out another baking sheet and said, “Well, should I make bacon, now, since we’re released from the Law?” We did, indeed, and I think it might be part of the traditional breakfast going forward.

After breakfast, we brought out Easter baskets, and we’ve been sugaring it up ever since.

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Jared got a Thomas engine to add to his wooden train set, and Rebekah got a toy purse. As soon as she put it on she said “Mom, I wish I had a phone” (to carry inside it). Three going on thirteen, that one. I also made sure to give her a pack of gum, too. It’s half gone already.

It took Jared a while to figure out what jellybeans were called. He kept referring to them as “lilly-pops,” and I was so disappointed when Rebekah corrected him.

We’ve still got a fun dinner with friends planned for after church, though “dinner” might be a bit generous. We’ll only laying out a cheese spread (complete with smoked fish and honeycomb, of course).

Can you tell that we like this holiday? Celebrate accordingly!

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Three Pictures with a Theme

And the theme is: food. (What else?)

This amounted to a fairly boring week, but in a good way. It was my spring break, but of course I did nothing but work all day long every day on papers and assignments. I think I’ve sufficiently cleared my work schedule until …oh, maybe Wednesday? We did have some good food throughout the week, though, and we even got pictures of it.

1.) Somewhere in the murky waters of time immemorial (i.e., sometime in the past couple months) Mike decided that peanut butter would be the perfect dipping sauce for convincing toddlers to eat carrots with their breakfast. It works like a dream.

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2.) Pi Day. On which I made lemon meringue pie from the only recipe I’ve ever known (from Lion House). This is the same pie that won Mike’s office pie contest the week prior. We figured the occasion warranted one of our standard awful selfies.

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3.) Here’s what a selfie should look like. We imported Jenny to take it for us. She came in town a day early for a comp-lit conference at Harvard and then took us out to dinner (at KT&T, one of my favorites) and out for ice cream. We’ve loved this woman for years and intend to keep it up. She’s even more fabulous than she looks.

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Education Updates

Behind the scenes, our family has been involved in all our usual educational enterprises, and it’s high time for an update.

We’ve been teaching the kids to read thanks to this book, and we love it. We had several discussions about whether or not the book was properly Rancierian, because even though I’m the one going to graduate school in philosophy, my husband is thoroughly committed to the pedagogical theory of one particular French communist. In the end, I convinced him to give the book a try, and I think we’ve both been pleased. Jared, at any rate, is a whiz at this reading thing. We’re only 12 lessons in and already he’s sight-reading words before we even start sounding them out. Rebekah is a little less compliant and can’t seem to make the connection between auditory and visual information, so we’ve gone back to review some earlier lessons. In the meantime, we’ve taken this as yet more proof that Jared is a Matheson and Rebekah is a Berkey.

This week was my last week of classes before spring break. I won’t be taking much of a break, of course, because I have three papers to write over the week, but I’m excited to have a class-free schedule in which to work on them.

I’ve also been educating myself in fitness for the past several months by working with a personal trainer. I’m up to deadlifting somewhere in the realm of 40 lbs with no back pain, and as of this month, I can squat with proper form, after all! I’ve got a pretty mean push-up, too, which I never thought would happen, and I’m currently perfecting my kettlebell technique (TGU’s, here I come!). It turns out that spending one’s childhood sitting on a piano bench, then giving birth to twins, and then jumping into an exercise routine without any guidance, is a perfect recipe for back pain. I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how a body is supposed to function.

The twins, of course, continue to attend preschool and love it. As of this week their teachers uploaded a whole bunch of pictures, so here’s what they’ve been up to:

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Jared and Rebekah stood here tonelessly singing at the top of their lungs for a solid five minutes. Eventually they got some of the other kids to join in, too.

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They’ve been talking about underwater animals lately and have been constructing an ocean mural to go along with that theme.

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My work time at home continues to be funded by the kids’ Kindles, and Rebekah has discovered a new favorite show: Angelina Ballerina. We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in her dancing around the living room. Yesterday morning, Rebekah danced for Mike and he got a little teary. “Watching Rebekah dance is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life.” And of course I got a little teary hearing him say that. It turns out that sentimentality is the stuff ballet tuitions are made of. We’ll have to see how long we can hold resolute.

It feels like Spring is officially here. We’ve had weather in the 50’s all week, and then on Wednesday the temperatures peaked at 72 degrees. It was a little piece of heaven and gave us a burst of hope to sustain us for the rain over the next couple days. On Friday the weather was gorgeous, again, and since the kids had a half day, I took them to the park while I read another chapter of Foucault.

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Last night after dinner, we took a walk to Target. We had some basic stuff to buy, but we also made sure to walk through their Easter section, because one of my favorite holiday practices is browsing the holiday section of Target and basking in the rampant commercialism. We’re pretty proud of ourselves for only coming home with some Easter baskets and none of the candy needed to fill them. We’ve been focused on Easter for most of March, actually. FHE all month long is focused on the Easter story. It turns out that teaching preschoolers about death is a little tricky, let alone Jesus’s death. We’re doing our best. At least during Holy Week there will be visual aids made out of construction paper. That should do the trick, right? Anyway. We’re getting totally psyched around here. I think we might prefer Easter to Christmas.

Happy Spring!

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Nights Out

Mike and I got out of the house a number of times this week, although there’s not much to tell about any of them. On Monday we got a babysitter and headed to a birthday get-together for a good friend. We made the evening as date-night-ish as possible by going to a ramen/hot-pot place for dinner before. We learned that ramen is tricky to eat in a dress shirt, and that it’s possible to make noodles out of yams.

On Wednesday I got dinner with Qi (whom I haven’t seen in forever) and some of her friends. On Friday, a ‘gal from the ward volunteered to watch the twins so Mike and I could attend an institute class on the Joseph Smith papyri. That was pretty fun, and we’re certainly not ones to pass up volunteered babysitting!

And then last night we went on our usual post-nap trip to the science museum, followed by dinner at the mall’s food court, where we indulged ourselves in “chicken-inspired” Chinese food. Afterward Mike took the kids home while I attended a ward Relief Society event. It was the annual birthday celebration, complete with cake and mocktails (because Mormons usually never have fun drinks. It turns out I’m a big fan of Nojitos!).

Here’s to busy weeks and especially to catching some extra sleep on weekends.

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Choppy Chips

Mike bought dried pea pod vegetable chips to put in the kids’ lunches, which Jared has somehow correlated with getting chapped lips. Except it doesn’t make his lips chapped, exactly. It’s more like his …chin? Every day after preschool this week he’s come home and given us the same explanation as to why he didn’t eat his chips. It goes something like this: “I didn’t eat my choppy chips because my chin gets chappy.” We’re not really sure why they’re called “choppy” chips, either, but the alliteration has the self-verifying force of truth, so we didn’t question it.

When weren’t busy interpreting Jared’s alliterative justifications, we spent our evenings this week trying to decompress from the day (and failing, because: kids). It’s been a busy week. Last night Mike compared our life to a leaky boat. We’re bailing as fast as we can, but still sitting in a couple inches of water. I think the metaphor means we can make it to shore (two more months until the end of the semester!), so we’re at no risk of drowning, but we’re also not in tip-top seafaring shape. (Again, because: kids. Good thing they’re so adorable!) I mostly shivered at the metaphor because it’s still February. I think it would have sounded more pleasant coming in June!

As you saw via Facebook, Mike enjoyed our shadow puppet FHE on Monday. We’ll probably make it a regular thing. We have this perfect patch of blank wall across from the couch, and now that smart phones come with built-in flashlights, the application seems obvious.

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Today Rebekah is going to share the scripture in primary. We’ve been working with her all week. This was our progress on about Wednesday or so:

Speaking of primary, I got this glowing report from a member of the primary presidency: “Did I tell you that Jared gave the prayer a couple weeks ago in Primary? We asked for a volunteer and he jumped at the chance. I offered to help, but he did not need it! In a clear carrying voice he said a lovely prayer to open our meeting. I was actually so taken aback by his articulate and thoughtful prayer I just sort of stood there in shock and amazement! We are lucky to have your kids in primary- what good examples they are!” (So this is what a parenting win feels like! I like it!)

There’s our week! If you can swing it, cuddle up to someone you love and make a few funny noises just because.

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