A Little of This and That in February

Mar 10, 2017

I was going to begin this post by saying, "February eased us out of winter," but then I thought, Who am I kidding? I don't need to be "eased out of winter." I would be perfectly happy waking up to a permanent sixty or seventy degrees with nary a backwards glance to those winter temps. Still though, February was good to us with lots of decent weather and only a couple of snowstorms, so I'll take it. As far as our family was concerned, February found us . . .

Enjoying . . . some uncharacteristically warm weather. Although February ended with a couple of snowstorms, overall it was a fairly pleasant month. My kids even went without coats on a couple of days (I did not). February made me hopeful that spring is on its way (and I am ecstatic about the light lasting a little longer each day).

Finding . . . a solution for our spice cupboard. Ever since we moved into our home (three years ago), Mike and I have felt disgruntled about the spice cupboard. It seemed like every time we needed a spice, it was at the back of the shelf, and we had to take every other spice out in order to get to it. We finally found some plastic containers at The Container Store that fit those three shelves perfectly. We labeled the tops of the spices, and now all we have to do is pull out the container to find what we need and then push the whole thing back onto the shelf. I'll admit, I felt a little miffed that it took us so long when the solution was so simple, but mostly, I just feel happy that finding a spice jar is no longer a ten-minute endeavor.

Trying . . . to go on a little family hike, only to turn around after ten minutes because the trail was one gigantic sheet of ice. Sorry, winter, I tried.

Listening . . . to Maxwell give a presentation about himself at school. To celebrate his birthday, his teacher sent him home with a power point outline he could fill in about himself and bring back to class. He also got to fill a bag with a bunch of show-and-tell items. Then, for forty-five minutes, his entire class celebrated him. His classmates gave him compliments and pictures and notes and asked him questions, and he got to talk all about the things he loves, which include bugs, math, science podcasts, and facts. I remember when Aaron got to do the same thing a couple of years ago, and he went through his presentation as fast as he possibly could. But not Maxwell. He milked it for all it was worth, and it was so entertaining to watch. 

Building . . . a replica of the Vatican out of pasta. Every February, our friends, James and Kathy, host a fabulous adult-only dinner in celebration of James' birthday. This year, the evening had an Italian flair, and Kathy wowed us all with focaccia, arancini, and tiramisu. Dinner was followed by a pasta building competition where each team had to try to replicate a famous Italian landmark. I can't take any of the credit for our model as I mostly just watched and provided moral support, but we ended up winning. I felt a little like I was a college student again on a group date (except for my ginormous belly).

Refereeing . . . computer time. I have always been very strict about my kids' screen time. We go through periods of no TV, and when we do watch it, I try to keep it to an hour or less (although there are those days when I'm just getting so much done without interruptions . . .). We don't own a video game system (unless you count Mike's vintage atari, which he pulls out about once every two months). We don't own an iPad. And I only have one little boring addition/multiplication game on my phone. These have all been very purposeful decisions on my part because it's easier to just not even have the temptations there rather than have all the begging, bribing, and managing that would naturally come with additional screens. But my kids are sneaky. Aaron has math homework that he has to print off, and one day, he casually asked if he could play a "math game" that he sometimes plays at school. "Sure," I said. Several months later, and this math game (Prodigy) has become something of an addiction for him and Max. So here I am managing screen time against my will. It was bound to happen one way or another, I guess.

Holding . . . a new baby cousin. Clark can't get enough of babies lately, and Mike's sister was nice enough to let Clark hold her brand-new, two-day-old baby girl not just once, but twice. Clark can't wait for our own baby to get here, and I'm inclined to agree with him. A few days ago, I was putting Clark down for a nap, and he kept slipping off my lap. "Sorry," I said, "This baby is just getting too big!" Bradley said, "When the baby comes out, then you'll have room to hold Clark again." "But then I'll be holding the baby," I said. "NO!" Clark yelled. And I thought, Uh-oh. Here comes the jealousy. But I had misread him. "No!" he yelled again. "I will be holding the baby." I guess I'm the one who's going to have some competition.

Watching . . . the third season of The Great British Baking Show. Big new, guys! The first three seasons of The Great British Baking Show are now on Netflix! So take advantage of it while you can. You won't regret it.

Taking . . . my knitting obsession to a whole new level. I've been enjoying knitting for the last almost-two years, but I mainly did it when I was traveling in the car for a long time or watching a show, which meant that sometimes a week or two would go by without me picking it up at all. But something happened in the last month, and now I can't seem to stop. I think it's that I've done several short projects in a row, and, just like reading a fast-paced book can rekindle my love of reading, these shorter projects have spurred me on to want to knit more, more, more. I've been poring over patterns and different yarn types and knitting every spare chance, sometimes at the sacrifice of other things. It's been fun, but I'm wondering if it's going to taper off after awhile or if this is just the beginning of a life-long hobby. (Check out the hat I made for myself! My first project with cables!)

Cleaning . . . on Saturday mornings. I mentioned this in my recent cleaning post, but we're now five weeks into our Saturday morning cleaning routine, and it is going so well. It's not that different from what we were doing before. It's just that the expectations are a little clearer for our kids: they know we will all be cleaning from 8:00-10:00am on Saturday morning, and we will share the jobs and the work load. Even though it still doesn't take our kids long to mess up everything again after we're done, I am noticing that some things really have stayed cleaner, like the microwave or the fridge, because I'm making sure they get cleaned every week rather than waiting until they're so dirty I can't take it anymore. Plus, this last Saturday, and I'm not kidding when I tell you this, I didn't hear one word of complaint from any of my kids for the entire two hours. Miraculous.

Making . . . Valentines. We started a new family tradition last year where we put out a mailbox on February 1st and delivered valentines and love notes (and an occasional treat) to each other during the two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. Maxwell definitely wins the prize for leaving the most notes for everyone. That kid is a valentine-making machine. For the boys' classmates, we went with a very simple homemade Valentine: paper Jedi robes that said, "The Force is Strong With You" or "Be My Jedi" with attached glow sticks (light sabers). I got the idea from Miranda at Live Free Creative, and it was just crafty enough for my kids without being overwhelming or tedious.

Blogging . . . less. You've maybe noticed the decrease in posts. I could blame a variety of things, but I'm pretty sure the biggest culprit is that I'd rather spend my free time knitting than blogging. And yet, I'm always happy when I blog, so I'm not giving up yet.

Skiing . . . for the first time. No, no, not me. But Aaron has been dying to learn. And even though Mike grew up in Utah, he'd never been skiing either, so he decided to take Aaron, and they could both learn together. He picked up some second=hand equipment, and they went to the bunny slopes that had a free tow rope, and he and Aaron skied down over and over again and had a blast. And then they went back three days later and did it again.

Trashing . . . a knitting project. After searching through a bunch of baby hat patterns, I finally settled on one that used seed stitch. I loved the texture, and the whole time I was knitting it, I thought it was going to be so cute. I finished it, washed and blocked it, and then I basically couldn't stand the sight of it. I don't know if my yarn weight was just a little too fine for the size of needles I was using or if my tension was off or what, but every time I looked at it, I thought, That looks like a first knitting project. And I know I'm still an amateur knitter, but I think I'm beyond first projects. Anyway, I unraveled the whole thing, and I'll save the yarn for something else.

Celebrating . . . Valentine's Day. We actually postponed our family's celebration of it by one day because the 14th was extremely packed with other things. Taking Gretchen Rubin's advice, I've tried to make this holiday a little more special for my kids by setting the table with a tablecloth (!), candlesticks and festive (but still plastic and paper) cups and plates. It works. It feels like a holiday for them, and it's hardly any extra work for me. We also gave them a few little gifts: a book, new watercolors (this set is awesome), LEGO mini-figures, and a 1000-piece puzzle for everyone.

Competing . . . in a backgammon tournament. That would be my dad and Maxwell. My dad taught Max how to play a few weeks ago, and now every time they see each other, they have to pull it out and play at least one game. Max won the first few, so he was feeling pretty confident, but now my dad is evening up the score. I love watching them play because it brings back fond memories of my own childhood.

Snoozing . . . at church. At the beginning of the year, our church schedule changed from 9-12 to 11-2. I knew it was going to be rough on Clark, who loves an afternoon nap (and I didn't want to wait until after church for him to take one because that's just too late in the day). So Mike suggested just taking him out to the foyer during the first hour and seeing if he would just fall asleep in his arms. It seemed like a long shot, especially since Clark is almost three, but wonder of wonders, it totally worked. Now Clark just expects it and brings along his blanket. He takes a 45 minute nap, which makes him bright-eyed and happy for nursery during the second and third hours. (Interestingly, Aaron was exactly the same at this age.)

What fun, normal, everyday things were you up to in February?


  1. I am wildly impressed that Clark will nap in the foyer! My twinners are 14 months and 11-2 church is killing us. We have to wake them up from their morning naps and then (so far) they've waited to get home, so they have super truncated afternoon naps. There are many, many tears by 6:00 at our house in Sundays!

    1. Oh I'm so sorry! Believe me, I know we're very, very lucky (because not all of our kids have been like Clark). But you know what I just realized? Tomorrow is daylight savings, and that's going to completely mess up everything. Sad!

  2. On the off chance that you're interested in a recommendation, I love this baby hit by Purl Soho. It covers the ears, stays on and is adorable striped. The pattern is well-written and straightforward. I've made it for multiple friends' kids and babies and they all love it! Perhaps it'll work better for you. :-) http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-ear-flap-hat

    1. I am ALWAYS interested in pattern (or yarn) recommendations, so keep them coming! That hat looks absolutely adorable. I'm putting it in my queue for future knitting! (Incidentally, I did end up making another baby hat after the failure, and it was one that was very simple and basic, but it ended up looking so much better than my first attempt, so I was happy about it.)

  3. I love these posts, Amy. And I adore your green knitted hat; cable knit is one of my very favorite things. (And the little sweater you shared on Instagram today is adorable!)


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