A Little of This and That in January

Feb 6, 2017

I did it. I made it through the dreaded month of January, and actually, as far as Januarys go, it really wasn't bad. I think I'm slowly giving myself permission to survive winter the way I want to (which usually means opting for indoor activities, but not always). In January, we were:

Embracing . . . hygge. I've actually been meaning to write a whole post about this because I think my coming to terms with winter is due, in large part, to the concept of hygge. It's a Danish word (pronounced hoo-gah) that entails living in the moment, embracing simple pleasures, and creating a cozy mood or environment. I've realized that during these cold, dark months, I am happiest when I'm in my own home doing the simple, comforting things I take real joy in: reading (alone or with my kids), knitting, writing, baking cookies, or chatting with family or friends. Hygge doesn't necessarily mean staying inside, but for me, for the most part, it does. I know many people survive winter by getting out, and I've had people tell me I just need to try winter sports or get the right gear, but I'm finally realizing that I survive (and thrive) by staying in. And that's okay.

Celebrating . . . my birthday. I don't have the greatest track record with enjoying my birthdays, mainly because I don't like January and getting older depresses me, but I'm working on both of those things, and this year, the whole day was delightful. Mike took me out for breakfast in the morning, which felt super indulgent, especially since I know Mike would prefer going out for dinner instead of breakfast. Then we picked out a new chair for our front room, which looks great with the new wall. And then, my family came over for cake and presents. (Oh, and I got some quiet time in my room, which is basically the equivalent to heaven for me.)

Spending . . . some quality time in the hospital. The day after my birthday was not so much fun. I've been having sharp abdominal pains since the beginning of this pregnancy. I always thought they were related to an umbilical hernia (a souvenir from Clark's birth) because the pain usually starts right at that point. Sometimes it stays localized to that spot and other times it spreads across my abdomen. Anyway, the evening after my birthday, it escalated to something atrocious. I acted like I was in labor (the pain wasn't at all the same, but it was the same kind of intensity, even reaching the point of vomiting because it was so severe). Even though I was sure it would go away eventually, we decided to go to the emergency room to see if we could get some answers, relief, and peace of mind. Everyone at the hospital acted like there was no way an umbilical hernia would be causing that level of pain. To them, it sounded more like kidney stones or gallstones. They did a bunch of tests and an ultrasound but didn't find anything conclusive. I've decided to go with the gallbladder theory (all of the facts match up except for where the pain originates), so I've been treating it as such and haven't had another episode since (fingers crossed).

Experimenting . . . with metal in the microwave. Mike had to bring home his $5 microwave from work because they wouldn't let him take it to their new building, so he decided to let the boys have at it for their science fair projects. Maxwell's project involved testing the effectiveness of the turntable in producing uniform heat. Aaron's project involved metal, and I'm still not sure exactly what his hypothesis was, but there seemed to be a lot of sparks and fire, followed by exuberant cheers. Mike enjoyed himself as much as the boys.

Listening . . . to some truly excellent lectures on the scriptures. A friend pointed them out to me. They're given by three women who live in our neighborhood, and they have changed my personal scripture study. I'm learning so much.

Soaking . . . up the sunshine in Las Vegas. I already wrote details about the trip here. But the short version is: it was one of the best family vacations we've been on. And just yesterday, Clark said, "Remember when we went on the High Roller?" And then today, he asked, "Remember when we went to M&M World?" Those good memories are sustaining us through the rest of winter.

Feeling . . . the baby kick. I've been feeling this baby for months, but it's only been in the last few weeks that the boys have finally been rewarded with some big punches. Clark especially loves all of the movements and likes to put his face right next to my tummy in the hopes that he'll get blasted in the cheek. (Also related: I entered the third trimester, and all of a sudden, my hips hurt, I can't bend over to put on my shoes, and I get heartburn every night. It's almost like this baby knew when I hit 28 weeks and decided to up his game.)

Taking . . . advantage of all the snow. After talking to my friend, Alicia, about the "snow day" they had in Arizona where a bunch of artificial snow was trucked in for the kids to play in, I felt like we should appreciate our real snow a little more. So we (meaning, the kids) are trying. A couple of weeks ago, Aaron built a giant snowman all by himself (almost . . . he just needed a little help lifting the middle ball into place; wet snow is heavy!).

Trying . . . some new recipes. I'm pretty much a failure at meal planning, and if I'm being totally honest, I let Mike take the reigns in the kitchen more often than not. But I actually do enjoy making new things if I've thought about it enough in advance to actually cull together all the necessary ingredients. This past month, I tried Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner, Chicken Apple Sausage Couscous, Chicken and Zucchini Poppers with Citrus Avocado Dip, and Overnight Oats (from the cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food). I would make all of them again.

Walking . . . through the majestic ice castles in Midway, Utah. This is the first year we've gone, and we were kind of awestruck. They were bigger and more intricate than we imagined. It was a beautifully clear day, and the sky was gorgeous. And there were a bunch of ice slides for our kids to go down over and over and over again. We arrived at 4:30 and hoped we'd be able to see them in the light and dark, but as the sun went down, so did the temperature, and we wimped out at 8 degrees.

Setting . . . goals. I still haven't written about any of my goals except for the reading ones, but that doesn't mean I didn't set any others. I have a personal theme for the year (based on a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley), I've set a few project-type goals to be completed during the year, and I've been setting smaller, weekly goals every Sunday (which has actually been very successful so far). I'm still planning on writing about it all in great detail . . . you can still talk about goals in February, right?

Waiting . . . for our 2017 calendar. I made one through Shutterfly and ordered it at the beginning of the month. When it hadn't arrived a couple of weeks later, I contacted the company, and we figured out that I'd had it shipped to an old address. They were nice enough to send a new calendar off right away, but it still didn't get here until the end of the month, so we didn't get to enjoy January's pictures for very long. (Also, I didn't realize how dependent I am on just our good, old-fashioned paper calendar for writing down appointments and such until I didn't have it for almost the entire month. Luckily, I didn't miss anything too important.) 

Going . . . to a Vocal Point concert. My friend, Alicia's, nine-year-old son is obsessed with Vocal Point (BYU's male acapella group), and so she gave him tickets to their concert for Christmas. She asked if Aaron and I wanted to come, too, and of course I said yes, even though, up to that point, Aaron had never heard any of their music. Well, the concert was fantastic, and now we can't get enough of them. In fact, I checked out one of their albums from the library, and Maxwell has been listening to it on repeat ever since, so I'm thinking I should have taken him to the concert, too.

Laughing . . . at all the comments on my last post. Not because they were funny (they were actually very enlightening and helpful), but because you all proved my point that women really can't resist the invitation to talk about birth. Where are all of you on my other posts?! :-)

As I'm writing this, it's 54-degrees and sunny, so I have a pretty good feeling about February. What were the highlights of your January?


  1. I just want you to know how much I enjoy your posts. I think one of the hardest things women do is embrace their own "self". Good for you finding what brings you peace during the winter "blues". I think we get bombarded with - you'd like it if you only would try it. And maybe we would, but maybe we wouldn't. I am pretty sure not everyone finds the delight in the garden soil that I feel. I think your post today helps me to remember to embrace what brings me joy and find joy in letting you embrace what brings you that happiness. Thanks again for your insight and wisdom.

    1. Sorry I'm so late in replying to this comment, but I wanted to thank you for it, Vicki! I really feel like you understood exactly what I was trying to say!

  2. I really appreciate your monthly summaries -- your family seems so lovely. It's a chance to revisit the young years, and to vicariously see the fun of a larger family, which I didn't get to experience.

    1. Thanks, Beth--that's so nice of you to say.


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