A Little of This and That in October
Nov 4, 2016
October was so busy and so fun. I'm not one of those people who thinks October is the best month ever (give me May any day of the year), but even I have to admit this year's October was not too shabby. The weather remained pleasant for most of the month, we continued to harvest vegetables from our garden, and the changing leaves and fall flowers were gorgeous (if only I could stop thinking about it as a prelude to dark and cold, but that's the direction my pessimistic brain always goes . . . ).
Anyway, in October you might have found us:
Watching . . . General Conference. This is a semi-annual event in our church where we get to hear spiritual messages from our leaders. There are four general sessions, plus a session for the men and a session for the women, and it is like a spiritual feast. Mike, Aaron, and I went to the last session at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake, and it was great to be there with Mike's parents and some other family members. In the weeks since it ended, I have loved relistening to many of the talks.
Roasting . . . vegetables. My kids will eat basically any vegetable if it's roasted (and I will, too). This month, we roasted butternut squash, among other things, and it was one of the most scrumptious things I've ever eaten (and I don't really consider myself a squash fan). And just last night, Bradley had a meltdown because I ate the last of the roasted broccoli. I never thought I'd have a child cry because he couldn't have any more vegetables. What are your favorite vegetables to roast?
Breathing . . . a sigh of relief after an activity that I'd stressed about for months went off without a hitch. My current responsibilities at church include helping to plan and carry out activities for the women in our congregation. I really wanted to do an activity that involved the refugees in our community, but it was a daunting and intimidating process for my introverted self to reach out and talk to the right people to make it happen. I was out of my comfort zone a lot with this one, and even fifteen minutes before the activity was supposed to start, I still didn't know if it was all going to work out. But it did, and it was amazing. We invited a small group of Nepalese refugees to our church for dinner followed by a pie-making demonstration. We wanted to share a part of our culture with them, and with Thanksgiving in November, we thought it would be fun to teach them how to make one of our favorite desserts. Mike did the demonstration (and of course he was his usual entertaining, enthusiastic self), and everyone loved it. It was such an enjoyable evening, and I really felt blessed beyond my own natural abilities in ways that still make me emotional to think about.
Buying . . . a new camera lens. Remember how I took very few pictures last month? Well, we bought a new lens, so now I'm back in business. (Plus, October had a lot of photo-worthy moments.)
Knitting . . . rather obsessively. I can't help myself. After more than a year, I finally finished Bradley's vest, and it turned out much better than I ever thought it would. The day after I finished it, I went to the local yarn store and bought more yarn and needles and began work on a hat. It's knitting up much more quickly than the vest, and I already have my next couple of projects lined up. Needless to say, reading took a bit of a back seat in October (although knitting and audio books go very well together).
Enjoying . . . my kids' Primary program at church. All three of them said their parts from memory, and sang all the songs. Bradley even had a small solo. (He has a hard time carrying a tune, but he knew all the words and got up to the microphone with confidence; I was so proud of him.) My one regret was that none of the grandparents were there to see it.
Going . . . to the pumpkin patch. We grew a lot of pumpkins in our garden this year, so we didn't really need to go to a patch to buy a pumpkin, but I still love going to one for the autumnal ambiance. :-) So we found a nice family-owned patch that wasn't expensive and had a hay ride, apple sling shot, corn maze, giant slide, corn bin, animals, and of course, lots of pumpkins. Our friends came with us, and it was super fun.
Getting . . . new glasses. I do not have great eyesight, but for the last few years, I have exclusively worn contact lenses. I definitely prefer contact lenses to glasses and luckily my eyes handle them very well and can easily go sixteen hours in them without getting dried out or tired. However, there are those few instances where I would love the convenience of glasses, but I no longer had a pair with my correct prescription. When I went to the optometrist last year, he gave me a prescription for glasses along with my contacts prescription, and then I promptly lost it. But then, in a recent cleaning spree in my bedroom, I found it and immediately ordered a pair. I almost lost them three days later at my family reunion, but luckily they were found at the last minute. It's been really nice to have glasses again (and I even used them for my Halloween costume--see below).
Caving . . . and buying the second season of The Great British Baking Show. Remember how I talked about this show last month? Mike and I loved it so much, and we couldn't stand not being able to watch the second season, so we bought it on Amazon. It seemed like a frivolous thing to do, but then again, it's only a little over a dollar per episode, so that's still pretty cheap entertainment (or so we rationalized), and oh, it's so good! (And as a little update, when I wrote about it last month, you could get the first season on Netflix, but now they've removed it, which is so sad because I want to recommend it to everyone.)
Painting . . . and carving pumpkins. Last year, I specifically remember putting Clark to bed (on purpose) before we began painting pumpkins, but there wasn't any way to fool him this year. In fact, he enjoyed absolutely everything about the holiday (except for Captain Hook in the Halloween school parade), and painting pumpkins was one of his favorite activities. I was sure his pumpkin was going to be black by the end, but it ended up being a nice shade of blue. I was a little worried about when we were going to find time to squeeze in pumpkin carving, but then they did it at Aaron's cub scout pack meeting. It was awesome. The three older boys each got to carve a pumpkin, and the mess stayed at the church.
Trying . . . to master the soft-boiled egg. All my life I've eaten hard-boiled eggs with dry and chalky yolks in the middle. When we were in Europe over the summer, every hotel we stayed at had soft-boiled eggs that you put in an egg holder and cracked open with a spoon. A couple of months later, I was thinking about that and wondering why I didn't change my egg-boiling method. And so I did. It's taken me several attempts, but I finally have it timed down to the right minute so that I end up with an egg that has a yolk exactly like I want it. It's kind of life changing. (Related: I've been eating a lot of eggs.)
Enjoying . . . family time in St. George. I already wrote up an entire post about the great reunion we had over fall break, but this recap wouldn't be complete without it because it was definitely one of the highlights of the month.
Missing . . . Peter Pan at Tuacahn. Tuacahn is this amazing outdoor theater in St. George, and most of us had purchased tickets to see a performance of Peter Pan on the Friday night of the family reunion. It wasn't until we were there at the theater that we looked at the tickets and noticed that we were there on the wrong day. The play had closed the Friday before, which was the day we were supposed to be there. We had missed it by an entire week! It was the one thing that didn't go our way during the reunion.
Finding . . . the most comfortable pair of pants in the world. All month, I was on the hunt for a comfortable pair of pants that would feel like pajamas but wouldn't look like pajamas. After trying several pairs from various places, I finally bought this pair from Gap, and oh my goodness, they are absolutely perfect. The first day I wore them, I kept thinking, Why do I feel so good right now? Oh yeah, it's these pants! They're lightweight, loose but not baggy, and they have pockets. After wearing them for three straight days, I knew I had to have another pair or I'd be doing laundry way too often just so I didn't have to wear anything else. It just felt so great to find exactly what I was looking for.
Continuing . . . our habit of weekly dates. It was Mike's month to plan, and he totally rocked it. Among other things, we went to see a performance of Jekyll and Hyde. The production itself was fantastic, but the story was so intense. I guess my previous knowledge of the story was only a very basic summary, and it was more violent, sinister, and disturbing than I realized. But our favorite date from the month was seeing the movie adaptation of A Man Called Ove. It's a Swedish film, which meant we had to watch it with subtitles, but it captured the very essence of the book, and I laughed and cried my way through the entire thing. If you have a chance to see it, go (especially if you liked the book).
Dressing . . . up as a family of Waldos for Halloween. At first we were all going to be Waldo (our inspiration came from a page in one of the books that is filled with hundreds of Waldo lookalikes). But then I decided that as the only girl in the family, I needed to go as Wenda. And we also needed a villain, so Mike obliged and went as Odlaw (Waldo's evil twin). I thought these costumes were going to be a piece of cake to put together, but it was surprisingly difficult to find red and white striped shirts. In retrospect, I wish I had just made all the shirts, but we ended up buying several actual Where's Waldo costumes, which was definitely not the most economical, but it got the job done. We've done a family theme every year since Aaron was a baby, but sometimes it's hard for people to tell we go together unless we're all standing in one clump. Not this year. We stood out like sore thumbs (and it was really easy to keep track of all four boys!).
Finding . . . worthy chess opponents. That would be Maxwell. He's loved chess for quite awhile, but he became rather obsessed with it this month. I think it was a combination of chess club at school and getting two new chess sets from Mike's parents and having a lot of people to play with. For a six-year-old, he is surprisingly good, and Mike has remarked on several occasions that some of the matches he's played with him have gotten a little too close for comfort.
Cutting . . . my hair. I was long overdue for a haircut, and it was driving me crazy. My bangs are back (for probably just the next two weeks before they're in my eyes again and I have to sweep them to the side) and all my split ends are gone, so I should be happy, but I'm not loving the look this time, and I can't figure out why.
Watching . . . Clark's dreams come true. Seriously, for a boy who loves candy as much as he does, Halloween was better than Christmas. He talked about "trick-or-treating" all day on Halloween, but I knew he didn't really remember what it was. That night, we went out, and after the first two houses, he caught the vision and kept up with the older boys for the rest of the night. He never once asked to be carried, even when it started getting dark and cold, and we went to a lot of houses. I guess with the right motivation, he has quite a lot of stamina.
Tell me about your October!