A Little of This and That in December and January

Feb 6, 2018

I was almost going to leave out December in this monthly update post (because really, who needs to hear anymore about Christmas?), but some good things happened in it, so I'm including it for my own memory's sake.

December and January found us . . . 

Listening . . . to my dad play in Tuba Christmas. I think it's so funny that Tuba Christmas is a real thing with real concerts all across the country, but it is, and I love it. My dad attended BYU's Tuba Christmas last year and then practiced all year so he could participate in it this time. Having so many tubas together is really loud, but they create a surprisingly warm and mellow sound. It was so soothing that Ian fell asleep during the second half.

Buying . . . a wet vacuum. Oh yes, we started out the month of December with something suuuuuuper exciting. But after hearing Janssen rave about hers, I was convinced that we needed one. And . . . I've been using it for over a month now, and my feelings are pretty lukewarm about it. I don't think it's as life changing as I was hoping it would be. For one, it's kind of a hassle to use. I don't really mind getting it out on Saturdays because we do a lot of concentrated cleaning on that day, but I probably wouldn't use it on a weekday (I haven't yet). I also don't love it on our kitchen floor (which is fake wood), mostly because I feel like it's a faster, easier job when I just use my little microfiber mop. However, I have loved using it on carpet and in the bathrooms, so it's definitely getting use, just not undying love.

Knocking . . . down a wall. Mike tends to get a little antsy if he doesn't have a home improvement project to work on. And that discontent leads to wanting to do drastic things, like knock down walls. He had been begging me to take out one of the walls in the basement storage room and expand the room by a few feet into an unused hallway. I was skeptical (as I am when any sort of destruction is involved), but it was either that or something more intense, so I relented. I wish you could have heard all the boys as they broke through the wall. They were giggling and laughing and cheering. It appears they might have some of the same genes as their dad. And you know what? I actually love the change. It's a much better use of space.

Playing . . . the piano. I was asked to provide some background music for a dinner on Temple Square that was for religious and educational leaders in the community. Since it was December, I played Christmas music, and I don't think there's anything I love playing more than Christmas music, so to get to do it for an hour and a half was a treat. Plus, in exchange for playing, Mike and I were given tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert (which was immediately following the dinner and was the reason for the dinner in the first place), and the guest performer was Sutton Foster (a longtime favorite of ours), so we loved every minute of it.

Making . . . paper stars. The boys like to make new ornaments every year, and this time we found these fun paper stars that we scaled down to fit on the tree. Aaron, Maxwell, and Bradley could make them almost entirely on their own (with me stepping in to wield the hot glue gun), and I love the way they looked on the tree.

Introducing . . . old movie classics to our kids. We watched Meet Me in St. Louis, Holiday Inn, and White Christmas--all favorites from my own childhood. I thought (worried?) my kids would find them boring or silly, but they loved them. They were curious if Bing was Bing Crosby's real name, so we looked it up. Turns out, it was a childhood nickname. He was born Harry Crosby, Jr., but a 15-year-old neighbor kid started calling him Bingo from Bingville (based on a series he liked to read in the Sunday paper), and the nickname never went away. 

Seeing . . . the lights on Temple Square. I know many Utahns make this an annual tradition, but we tend to only go once every three years or so. Consequently, our kids loved it because they couldn't remember it very well from the past. We went on a Tuesday evening right as it was getting dark, and we beat the crowds, so we were pretty proud of ourselves.

Starting . . . a laundry routine that actually works. Maybe not the most interesting news to most of you, but I feel like I'm finally not drowning anymore, so it's a pretty big deal to me. It's not anything special (I just do all of the laundry on Tuesday and Friday), but for some reason, it clicked this time, and it's so nice to not be tripping over baskets of clean and dirty clothes all the time.

Knitting . . . a whole bunch of Christmas gifts. I had forgotten how fun it is to actually make gifts for others. There's so much more happy anticipation involved when you spend the whole month thinking about them as you work on their presents. I made a hat for Mike, a hat for my sister, and a heart garland and a cowl for my mom (and a hat for Aaron right after Christmas). I managed to keep the hat a complete secret from Mike, and it was so exciting to work on it in little batches and then sneakily hide it away. I finished up the cowl for my mom just two days before Christmas (Mike let me skip out on my Saturday cleaning chores so I could work on it), and a little frenzied knitting added further to the anticipation.

Celebrating . . . Christmas and ringing in 2018. We had a wonderful, low-key holiday break filled with Lego sets, a 1000-piece puzzle, books, knitting, yummy food, and family time. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Setting . . . goals. This year, my guiding quote is by Elder Richard G. Scott, and it is this: "Be wise and don't let good things crowd out those that are essential." As such, my goals have a lot to do with prioritizing those things that are the most important and letting the other things go. Hopefully I'll have a chance to share more about the specifics in a future post.

Turning . . . thirty-three. I honestly feel totally disconnected from that age. Like I say, "I'm thirty-three," and then I think, That can't possibly be true. Thirty-three sounds like you should be fully comfortable as an adult, but most of the time, it just seems like I'm faking it. (For instance, Mike and I went to a financial planner this month, and she was talking about assets and retirement and investments, and I was sitting there nodding my head like I knew what was going on, and all the time, I was thinking, I'm not enough of an adult to be making these decisions!!!)

Traveling . . . to Arizona for our January getaway. We made a stop at the Grand Canyon and then spent the rest of our time with our dear friends, the Langstraats, from our newly-wed days. We did all kinds of fun things in the warm Arizona sun and weren't really ready to come home (although I'm sure the Langstraats were happy to have their house back!).

Finding . . . out that Brian Mathias, my friend from my undergraduate days, is the new Tabernacle organist! The last time a Tabernacle organist was hired was in 2007, and I am so thrilled that he got the spot because it has been a long-time dream of his. I've been telling people for years that he would be the next Tabernacle organist because he is extremely talented and seems to have the perfect skill set for that job. I can't wait to hear him soon and for many years to come.

Building . . . a snowman. After weeks of the tiniest little snowfalls, we finally got a big one on January 20th. It came on a Saturday when we didn't have anything else going on, and the kids (especially Aaron) loved it.

Watching . . . a bunch of knitting-related video podcasts. My very favorite is Kristy Glass Knits because she is so entertaining and has a good mix of interviews, personal updates, and behind the scenes. I also love Little Skein and the Big Stash because I like the conversations between the two hosts and hearing about their micro-businesses and A Wooden Nest because it's very calm and peaceful and I think it's interesting to hear about her hand-dyeing process. I wish both podcasts put up new videos more frequently. And, I've mentioned this one before, but I still love the Fruity Knitting podcast.

Rolling . . . and rolling and rolling. Ian has absolutely no desire to crawl because he has perfected the art of rolling. He can traverse an entire room in a matter of seconds. And, while it's true that sometimes it takes several attempts back and forth before his rolling turns him enough to reach a wanted toy, he gets there eventually. We have never had a baby like this. With the other boys, rolling was simply a stepping stone on the road to crawling and walking. But Ian doesn't seem to be in any hurry to learn a new skill, and I haven't really encouraged him either because the constant rolling is so entertaining to watch.

Reading . . . for a job. I recently began working as a manuscript reviewer for Deseret Book. That means when someone submits a manuscript to consider for publication, I'm one of the first people to set eyes on it and give an opinion as to whether or not it should go on through the process. Because of that, I'm sure I'll see a lot of things that are raw and unpolished, maybe even to the point of being painful, but it hasn't been bad yet.

Finishing . . . a cardigan. This was the first garment that I knit for myself, and I was extremely nervous that I would finish it, and it wouldn't fit the way I wanted it to, but that isn't the case at all. I had a near disaster at the end when I was picking up stitches for the collar and found an open loop (not something you want to be surprised by in your knitting). I spent a couple of days mulling over how to fix and finally found a solution that I'm quite pleased with. And then I immediately bought yarn for another (very different) cardigan.

Playing . . . basketball. Aaron and Maxwell both played basketball on recreation teams for the first time this winter. It wasn't really ideal in that they didn't know most (or any) of the other kids on their teams. That was especially hard on Max. But just last night, Aaron was saying that he wants to be a professional basketball player when he grows up, so I guess it has given him big dreams!

Of course that doesn't cover everything, but I'd say it's enough for this time. What have you been up to the last couple of months?


  1. Coincidentally, my husband also turned 33 in January, and we had the exact same candle set-up on his cake (#3 from the 3-year-old's birthday in the fall, and three other random candles). Thought that was funny. Also, I'm super jealous of all your fabulous knitting skills. Someday, when I'm finished with this PhD thing, we'll move to Utah and be next door neighbors and you can teach me all your skills, and then we'll sit together and knit and talk about books...

    1. Now THAT sounds like a dream!!! I'm going to hold you to it!

  2. Your knitting projects look lovely, especially that cardigan! Wow! And the pictures are lovely, as usual.

    I bet Aaron is about ready to master the hot glue gun, although maybe not while surrounded by his brothers. Your guys seem independent and responsible.

    Thirty three is still very young! In my circle of friends, a son is starting his mission in June. See, we're old.

    1. Thanks so much, Beth.

      Yes, I'm sure Aaron could handle it. He's very careful. I think I was just kind of in assembly line mode or something and didn't want to take the time to coach him. :-)

      Some of my friends already have kids going on missions, so it's not that far away! Aaaaaaahhhh!

  3. I want to be part of your family and get a knitted Christmas gift. They are amazing projects. (or maybe just teach me those skills) Love your update.

    1. I've always considered you family, Vicki, so I would be happy to make you something and/or teach you! Seriously.

  4. I assume a majority of your non-relative readers are serious bookworms too so perhaps you'll share about your new job and how it came to be....sounds interesting even though it may not always be glamorous!

    1. I would be happy to share more details in a future post! It was one of those things that just happened without me really looking for it, but I think it's been really good for me.


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