A Little of This and That in January

Feb 5, 2019

I missed writing about November and December, and I thought about going back and doing a post about what happened during those months, but then I knew I would just get behind on January, and the cycle would continue. It was one of those times where I just needed to let it go so I could start 2019 with a clean slate (you might have noticed some of my last reads of 2018 never made it on here as book reviews either). It is what it is. Here's what we were up to in January:

Ringing . . . in 2019. We ended up going to my parents' house to celebrate until about 9:00 pm, and then we went back to our house to finish out the last few hours until midnight because I didn't want to be driving home at the same time as all the people leaving parties. Plus, Ian and Clark needed to get to bed. Originally, I wasn't planning to go to my parents' at all, but Mike said that when he thinks of New Year's Eve, he actually thinks about my family because that's where all of his New Year's Eve traditions and memories were born since it wasn't a holiday his family really did anything special with when he was growing up. That made me happy, so we went and had a fun time. My dad, brother, and I put a 500-piece puzzle together in record time because my brother is a whiz at puzzles. And of course we pulled out the ukuleles because now that I know how to play, that's just the fun thing to do. When we got back to our house, Maxwell hurried to finish the last ten pages of The Book of Mormon (that was a goal of his before the end of the year). And then we counted down to midnight and threw confetti all over the living room. It was a good time.

Going . . . back to school on January 2nd. No kidding, the 2nd! Who makes these schedules anyway?

Listening . . . to Ian be a little copycat. Anytime we say, "Ian, are you a copycat?," he says, "Copycat" just like a little parrot. The boys love to get him going, asking him to say anything from "chicken" (why is that word so cute in a toddler voice?) to people's names to car brands: "Ian, Ian, say 'Chevrolet!'" Seriously, so cute.

Meeting . . . our new little nephew, Wally! Walter (or Wallace) has always been on my list of potential boy names because I LOVE the nickname, Wally. I'm so glad I finally get to use it! And he is such a little sweetie. So happy for my brother and sister-in-law and their three older kids. (I knitted Wally a little green sweater that hopefully he'll grown into before the weather warms up.)

Receiving . . . a calling in the Young Women organization in my ward (I think this actually happened at the end of December). It came as something of a blow because I have been quite vocal about not wanting a Young Women calling (probably too vocal . . . ). I just feel like I didn't even relate to teenagers when I was a teenager, let alone now as an adult. However, I am slowly, slowly warming up to it. It has been a good teaching opportunity for my kids: I am serving because I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, even though I got a calling I didn't want.

Feeling . . . surprisingly good about turning thirty-four (probably helps that I keep forgetting my actual age!). My birthday was on a Monday, which is maybe not my favorite day for a birthday, but then Mike took me out for breakfast after the boys were all at school, and I'll tell you what, going out for breakfast on a Monday actually feels pretty luxurious. I felt so spoiled, too, with a new silverware set, a repaired wedding ring, and a new knitting bag (I've never been a purse kind of gal, but a bag to hold my knitting? I am totally on board with that). All in all, it was just a really nice day.

Repairing . . . my wedding ring. My ring has one diamond in the middle and a tiny diamond on either side. A few months ago, I looked down and realized that one of the tiny diamonds was missing. The jeweler said all of the little prongs were really worn down, which meant I was at risk of losing the other two diamonds as well. So I took off my ring and have just been wearing my plain wedding band ever since. Mike surprised me by getting it fixed for my birthday, and I love having it back on my finger. It made me realize how much I really love my little ring.

Looking . . . at all of President Henry B. Eyring's watercolors at an art exhibit at the Church History Museum. Mike and I went on a date to see it, and I stopped and looked at every painting and took the time to read every caption. As much as you want to let your kids experience all the good things, sometimes it's nice not to have them along. Also, I had no idea that President Eyring is so talented. I think it's maybe one of those interests he has kept close so that he has something he can do that is just his without an international audience (except now, that's not the case). It also made me really think about the value of giving time and attention to our creativity, and, I'll admit, it made me feel better about all of the time I devote to knitting (not that I was feeling bad about it . . .). I actually ended up seeing the exhibit a second time because I also went there with the young women from my ward.

Spending . . . five days (and a lot of money) at Disneyland. I have a whole post coming about our adventures, so for now I'll just say, we had the BEST time.

Realizing . . . that no matter how many times I see the word "Disney" in the Disney font, I will always see the "D" as a "G" first before my brain turns it into a "D." Anyone else do this?

Deciding . . . to take my sister to California with us. Last month, as we were planning our vacation, we kept coming back to how we were going to manage five kids AND still have a fun time. And then we (actually, I think Mike) landed on the brilliant idea to bring my sister along. My kids all love her, and we knew it would just be so nice to have a third adult around for crowd control purposes. Luckily, she agreed, and it ended up being a very good decision.

Relying . . . way too much on the DVD player in the car. It was just too easy to put in a movie for the crowd in the back while Mike and I listened to our own stuff in the front. Consequently, we completely forgot about a little scavenger hunt card game I bought specifically for our trip, and the boys didn't do nearly as much reading as they said they would. But the time passed quickly.

Savoring . . . a truly magical snow day. Two days after we got home from our trip, Salt Lake City got a dumping of snow. Normally I'd be all sarcastic and say something like, "Yippee, welcome home to us." But this time I meant it. It came on MLK day, which meant no school for the kids and no work for Mike, and we hadn't made any other plans (intending for it to be a recovery day from our trip). It was exactly as a snow day should be. The kids spent most of the morning outside with some of the best packing snow of their lives. With the help of Mike, they built an igloo and then had an epic snowball fight (something that is forbidden at school), followed by a mug or two of hot chocolate. Meanwhile I watched them from the comfort of my chair in the living room with some knitting and a book in my lap.

Enjoying . . . my new silverware. For my birthday, Mike and my kids got me a new silverware set.
For the last almost fourteen years, we have been using the cheapest of cheap utensils--the kind that would bend (or break) if you tried to use them to scoop up some ice cream. We have always meant to get another set, but in the meantime, the cheap stuff kept doing its job, so it wasn't a pressing need. But I can't tell you how much pleasure the new silverware has given me. I actually enjoy washing the dishes just so I can pick up each utensil and feel its subtle weight and shiny smoothness. I didn't know eating a bowl of cereal could bring me so much joy. And then, we came home from our trip, and it was like the silverware was brand new all over again.

Biting . . . my nails as Aaron competed in the school geography bee. It was intense. Every time it was his turn to answer a question, I pressed my face into Mike's shoulder and closed my eyes. I don't know why I thought that would help. The questions were just so random, and I didn't know the answers to half of them. So I was surprised when Aaron got question after question correct. And finally, he and his friend were the only two left. They were each given the same three questions, and Aaron got one right and missed the other two, and the other boy missed all three, so Aaron won! I was so relieved it was over, and then I realized that because he won, I was maybe going to have to sit through another competition all over again. He had to take a qualifying exam for the next level, so we'll see.

Listening . . . to the Brooke Snow podcast. My friend, Sarah, sent me a link to the most recent episode because she knew that my theme for 2019 is to Be Present, and this particular episode was about that exact topic. It was short and powerful (I think I'll be listening to more episodes in the future), but my ears specifically latched onto this thought:  "Presence is the intersection of God's time with our time." Because "all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men," it makes sense that it is in the present moment that everything comes together.

Learning . . . colors. About a month ago, I began really making an effort to point out specific colors to Ian. He quickly learned the names but couldn't identify them with any sort of consistency. Sometimes I would hold up an item and ask, "Ian, what color is this?" and he would rattle off several options ("Yellow! Green!) before landing on the correct one or giving up. But then, just a few days ago, he pulled out the Hoot Owl Hoot game (one of my favorites for little kids, btw), which has a bunch of cards with a different colored circle on each one. He brought them to me one at a time and stated the color of each one: "Orange." "Purple." "Red." And he was right every single time. And I'm telling you, it was no less exciting to see it all click with him than it was when Aaron was a little toddler.

Using . . . a timer. Clark has been struggling. He wants all the things (attention, food, fun) and he wants them all right now. He also has no concept of time. So if I tell him, "You can have a snack in thirty minutes" or "I can help you in ten minutes" or "You need to go to your room for two minutes," it means absolutely nothing to him. One day, a friend recommended using one of those little kitchen timers that counts back the minutes very visually with a shrinking red band. I bought one the very next day and have been using it all month with Clark. It has helped tremendously. He no longer has to ask me every thirty seconds if it is time for a snack because he can see it for himself.

Watching . . . a Walt Disney documentary. I came home from Disneyland obsessed with all things Disney. I promptly checked out the four-hour documentary about Walt Disney's life and have dedicated a few evenings to watching it. The kind of vision and creativity and grit he displayed throughout his life completely fascinates me.

Working . . . on science fair projects. The STEM fair came early this year and coincided right with our vacation. So Mike had to spend all of Christmas break helping to plan and carry out three different projects for Aaron, Maxwell, and Bradley so their posters and notebooks could be turned in during the second week of January. Unfortunately, because we were gone, they didn't actually get to present their research to the judges, so that was a bit of a bummer.

Celebrating . . . the end of January! We made it through my least favorite month of the year, and I actually liked it a lot. But now I'm ready for spring to come, and it's not looking very hopeful yet.

How did you spend your January days? What helped you get through this cold, dark month?


  1. As always I love reading your updates :-) So interesting

  2. I see the G before the D in Disney too.
    My sister's YW leader was an older single sister who didn't feel like she could connect to YW either. But, she was the perfect leader for this group of girls. They all turn 30 this year or last. At least one is still single (And has a law degree!) And another has been trying to conceive for 5 years now. She (And her situation) were perfect for this group of girls. You might be surprised at how you can connect with them, and be a good role model for them.


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