A Little of This and That in September

Oct 5, 2016

September was a blur. As I sat down to write this post, I couldn't remember anything we did. Good thing I wrote in my journal and took a (very) few pictures so I knew we did do something. A few of those somethings were:

Teaching . . . piano lessons. I took a break over the summer, and when it was time to come back, I realized that I couldn't manage twelve students again. So I cut down my studio by half, and now I'm just teaching one afternoon a week, and it is heavenly. Definitely the right move for our family. Now if I could just get back on a meal planning schedule . . . 

Starting . . . preschool. Once he got over the disappointment that he couldn't go to kindergarten, Bradley was so excited for preschool. For the first time in the history of our family, I'm paying real money for preschool . . . and I don't regret it in the least. He goes three days a week, loves the kids in his class, and loves his sweet teacher even more. It has been perfect for him (and for me too!). It's been another reminder that it's so important to be flexible. I loved participating in a preschool co-op so much . . . . until I didn't, and I'm glad I recognized that and was okay with finding another solution.
Coming . . . to a standstill on our "simple" fireplace project. Last month, Mike took out the brick wall, re-bricked around the fireplace, framed the rest of the wall, and put up insulation and drywall. Our plan has always been to put up shelves and cabinets on either side of the fireplace with a mantel in between. But if you know anything about old houses, it is that they are not regular or standard in any way, and our fireplace is no exception. The main problem is that the wall on the left side of the fireplace is eight inches longer than the wall on the right. This means that our original plan to put two cabinet doors on each side is not going to work because the left side is too long. So now we have to decide: do we add something to the left side (cubbies? drawers? another door?), and then do we do the same thing to the other side (except narrower) so it sort of looks symmetrical or do we just embrace the fact that they're not symmetrical and make the two sides look completely different? Help!

Finding . . . myself in a total photo-taking slump. I'm blaming my camera. Clark dropped one of the lenses, and now 85% of the pictures it takes are out of focus. The other lens is for portraits, and since a lot of the pictures I take are not portraits, the results are more blurry photos. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's blurry photos (my apologies for the ones that are in this blog post--my pickings were severely limited). I really would love to take a photography class . . . and a new camera wouldn't hurt either.

Cheering . . . on Aaron at his school's blockwalk fundraiser. He ran/walked a total of 29 laps from 4:00--8:00pm. We calculated it afterwards, and that translated to 14.5 miles! I had no idea he had that kind of stamina in him. His friend, Ezra, beat him by one lap, and sadly, there wasn't a prize for second place, but I think he still felt like he'd accomplished something significant.

Feasting . . . on the fall colors. We went up into the canyon a few weeks ago to check out the changing leaves. Sadly, I think we were about a week too early. The leaves had changed on one side of the road but not on the other, so we didn't see as many colors as we would have liked. We haven't had a chance to get back into the mountains. However, just watching the mountain slowly change color from our front window has been gorgeous enough.

Cozying . . . up during some rainy weather. After two months of virtually no rain, September has had quite a few storms, and I've loved it. Everything just looks and smells so good. The rain is melancholy and matches my current mood as I watch summer fade away. One rainy night, Mike and I had our bedroom window open as we went to sleep, and we could hear the steady drizzle coming down. I was reading The Thirteenth Tale, and this was literally the last thing I read before I closed my book for the night: "I left the window ajar so that I could listen to the rain as it continued to fall with an even, muffled softness . . . It accompanied my dreams like a poorly tuned radio left on through the night, broadcasting a fuzzy white noise beneath which were the barely audible whispers of foreign languages and snatches of unfamiliar tunes." I'm not making that up, and it was a little too perfect for me.

Celebrating . . . the sweetest of five-year-olds. Bradley had been planning and anticipating his birthday for months. Every week he came up with new ideas for activities, cakes, presents, and meals. But one thing always stayed the same: he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese's. I was not keen on it but decided if he could be that unwavering for so long, we better go. Luckily, it met all of his expectations and hopefully he'll move onto something else for next year. Later in the day, we had a traditional party with cake and family.

Blazing . . . through the first season of The Great British Baking Show with Mike. Some of our dear friends recommended it to us, and we were hooked from the beginning (we even signed up for Netflix just so we could watch it, and we have never had a Netflix subscription). The season begins with twelve amateur contestants. Each episode focus on a different baking technique (pastries, breads, sponges, etc.). There are three rounds each week: a signature dish (which the contestants have perfected at home ahead of time), a technical challenge (where they each make the exact same recipe without any previous heads up or instructions), and a showstopper (where they create something that both looks and tastes spectacular). It is so different from the similar American shows. The contestants are polite and kind and very good sports. The judges offer positive feedback and constructive criticism. And Mike and I felt like we learned so much and had so many things we wanted to try just by watching and listening. It was so fun. Unfortunately, the first season was the only one on Netflix, so now we don't know how to watch the other two. Any ideas? Also, is anyone else obsessed with this show?

Reading . . . a lot more than listening. I can't seem to get through audiobooks anymore. I guess audiobooks just aren't conducive to my current phase of life, which is frustrating because they're such a great way for me to "read" nonfiction and classics.

Meeting . . . my blogging friend, Linnae. She's been one of my loyal readers for several years and even guest posted here awhile ago. She and her family travel to Utah rather regularly to visit family, but this was the first time we coordinated our schedules so we could meet. It was absolutely delightful. In spite of being no help when trying to offer her directions, she didn't hold it against me and was just as nice as nice can be. She was easy to talk to, and if we'd had more time, we definitely could have filled it with more talk about books and our families and life. Linnae started her own blog at the beginning of this year, and if she was my next door neighbor, I would definitely have her help me landscape my yard. I love it that she's not just a virtual friend anymore, but a real friend, too. 

Realizing . . . that I don't enjoy shopping for baby girls. Weird, right? Two of my sisters-in-law are expecting baby girls, and we had a double shower for them last week. I was looking forward to actually buying something ruffled and pink, but once I was standing in the store, I was overcome with anxiety. I didn't trust myself to know the difference between what was cute and what was hideous. I don't enjoy shopping in general, and both moms-to-be have very particular tastes, so I'm sure those things contributed to my general misery, but I decided it's a good thing I only have boys because I just could not handle that kind of stress on a daily basis.

Spending . . . time with Mike's parents who came home for General Conference. We always pack these two weeks with tons of family time (this time: a birthday party, family Christmas party, baby shower, couples dinner, Sunday dinner, General Conference, a special family home evening, and our very own one-on-one time), and by the end, I think we're all a little sick of each other. But we just can't help but make the most of this time together.

What fun and exciting things did you do in September?


  1. I still am so happy we got to meet up, too! I hope you don't mind that I used your picture on my blog! :) (For some reason on trips I either take a whole bunch of pictures or nothing.)

    The fireplace project...I think I would add in the narrow, extra cubbies or shelves on either side of the fireplace, so that they could be symmetrical and the same width, then let the larger cabinets/shelves fill up whatever space is left. It just seems like it would stand out more to have the smaller pieces be different widths on either end. Good luck figuring it out! With remodeling projects there's ALWAYS something...

  2. Love the Great British Baking Show! Let me know if you figure out how to get more seasons, I've only seen the one on Netflix. No advice on the fireplace front, but I am just coming off a mini-binge of Fixer Upper (also available on Netflix) if you want to feel inspired/overwhelmed by home projects. Good luck!

  3. Looks like the Great British Bake Off, season 3, is on PBS?! I haven't tried it yet but it looks like one can view full episodes online at PBS.org.

    1. So I know they have whatever is the most recent season on PBS, but I thought the first episodes in Season 3 had already been taken down. :-( Am I wrong? Because that would be so awesome if we could watch it there!

    2. Oh, and actually the Great British Bake Off is a different show. The one we've been watching is called The Great British Baking Show.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful month. The picture of Chuck E Cheese reminded me that we did several years of the Mouse for birthdays for all four kids (my two and my sister's). We'd go just with the family, and my favorite part was that the kids started a tradition of giving all the tickets to the birthday person so they could pick out a special treat.

    That was good because 1) it meant fewer useless plastic toys coming home and 2) it reinforced a sense of generosity and giving -- even when a non-birthday kid got lucky and had a huge pile of tickets, they'd be so excited about putting in in the birthday kid's pile instead of plotting out their own reward. And it was something the kids did on their own (although us adults definitely encouraged it). But it left me with a soft spot for The Big Rodent. And the (single, no kids) uncle tended to show up and bankroll the whole token thing, which didn't hurt!


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