A Little of This and That in February

Mar 7, 2019


February: it was sweet and blessedly short. And I actually didn't take very many photos. I need to remember to pull out the camera even when the light is not ideal. But anyway, here's a little of what we were up to . . .

Canceling . . . school. On the morning of February 6th, when the house was still dark and quiet, I received a phone call from the school district saying that school was canceled for the day. I was shocked. I mean, a ton of snow had fallen during the night and was still falling that morning, but the night before, the school district had sent an email reaffirming the district-wide policy to keep all schools open regardless of the weather. In the five years I've had school-aged children, that has always been the policy, and I have driven my kids in all kinds of inclement weather where I wished I had just kept them home. A "snow day" had become this mythical apparatus in my kids' eyes--something that was tantalizing but never a possibility. So can I just tell you how truly magical it was to have them each wake up, one by one, and stumble, bleary-eyed, into the kitchen where I shared the unbelievable news with them that we were getting an official snow day? They ran and jumped around with giddy, exuberant energy. Bradley had come upstairs fully dressed and ready for the day, and so his first official act was to change back into his athletic shorts. Mike slowly and painstakingly made his way to work (it took over an hour when it's usually less than twenty minutes), only to have them cancel work a few minutes after he arrived. So he turned around and came back home, and none of us complained. It's a day we'll all always remember because I don't anticipate it happening again.


Breaking . . . a lot of phone chargers. Random, right? A few weeks ago, one of our chargers stopped working. And then, a few days later, another one died. A day or so after that, we lost another one to whatever mysterious plague was infecting all of our chargers. We finally narrowed down the culprit to my phone. Somehow, when it was charging, it was pulling from the charger at full capacity until it couldn't take it anymore and bit the dust. I thought, This could get really expensive really fast. But Mike bought a charger that can handle more volts, and I have my fingers crossed that we've fixed the problem.

Baking . . . , eating, and watching the finale of The Great British Bake Off. As has become tradition, we watched the last episode of season 8 with James and Kathy. Although we watch most of the episodes on our own, we text back and forth during the season, sharing our reactions and cravings. We make a list of bakes we want to try, and then for the finale, we come together to eat several recipes from the season and watch the final episode. And when I say "we," I mean I eat the food and watch the contestants, but I don't really do any of the baking. I'm pretty sure I should be thrown out of the Great British Baking Club as an impostor, but thankfully the other three let me keep coming. And it was a good one this time: We had Sophie's butternut squash pie, Liam's hand-raised meat pie, Liam's million dollar bars, Kate's apple cake, and Steven's stuffed smoked paprika bread. And I was so happy with the baker who won this season.


Going . . . to parent-teacher conferences. This is one of my favorite nights of the year--there's just nothing like hearing someone else brag about and praise your child. (I say this realizing that parent-teacher conferences might not always be a pleasant, happy experience if there are real struggles or issues happening with learning or behavior. But right now, things are very good, so I'm going to celebrate it.) I especially loved visiting with Bradley's teacher, who also taught Aaron and Maxwell in first grade. Since I've sat in on a fair number of parent-teacher conferences with her now, I know how they usually go: she always compliments my kids and makes a point to shine a light on their achievements. But this time, she just gushed about Bradley in a way I've never seen her do before. She loves him, and even though he is only seven years old, she sees his potential and encourages it, and I love her for that.

Attending . . . my parents' ward to hear my little sister, Angela, give a talk before she left on her mission later in the month. She is perhaps the only soon-to-be missionary who literally wrote her talk six weeks in advance and practiced and edited it multiple times before giving it. We are already missing her something fierce.


Buying . . . a new chair for Ian's room. One of my goals for 2019 is to decorate Ian's bedroom, which is long overdue. I kicked off the process by trading out the old glider we had in that room for a lovely blue rocker/recliner. The old chair had been with us for a long time. I purchased it when I was pregnant with Aaron, and I remember that it felt like quite a splurge because it was $75 from Kid-to-Kid, but it was replacing a glider that I had literally paid only $15 for in the classifieds (and which wasn't worth a penny more). Anyway, I've rocked and nursed many babies in that chair, so it was a little nostalgic to replace it, but mostly I'm just so glad to have a new chair that is both cuter and roomier to accommodate a growing toddler who still likes to be rocked like a baby.

Reading . . . books. It finally happened! The switch finally flipped, and Ian no longer tries to yank books out of my hands but will now sit still and listen to book after book after book. I knew it would eventually happen, but it was hard to keep patiently trying while he was a wriggling, writhing mess. But now he has turned into a regular little bookworm. He has a couple dozen favorites (which I'll try to share soon), and has them all memorized but still likes to hear them again and again. (And to be a little more accurate, he started liking books back in December, but I just forgot to mention it until now.) Sometimes, he will even sit through one of Clark's longer picture books, and that just thrills me to no end.


Placing . . . aluminum foil under our bed. I never could have predicted that I would have a need to put "aluminum foil" and "bed" in the same sentence. You may or may not know that we have a cat. I don't talk about him much because I actually don't like cats, and so I merely tolerate his existence. He loves to hide under Mike's and my bed, and it drives me crazy because I don't like sharing my room with a cat. Granted, under the bed is better than on the bed, but still . . . Anyway, Mike had the brilliant idea to lay down a sheet of aluminum foil under our bed, and, it sounds crazy, but it worked. The cat no longer hangs out in our room, and that makes me happy.

Handing . . . over all responsibilities for Valentine boxes to my kids. Does anyone else agree with me that Valentine boxes are one of the worst traditions ever invented? This year, both Bradley and Maxwell's teachers said the kids could just decorate a bag in class, but they were allowed to bring a decorated box if they really wanted to. I was so relieved and grateful for those teachers until my kids said, "But we really still want to make one!" And so I said, "Then you're in charge of it." And I absolved myself of all guilt. They came up with their own ideas (Aaron: tank; Max: bug box; Bradley: TV), used copious amount of scotch tape and construction paper, and I've never seen them happier or more pleased with themselves. (And as our friend, James, succinctly put it: "Nothing says Valentine's like a wasp." Ha!)


Celebrating . . . Valentine's Day in lovely, low-key fashion. We had a special breakfast (orange rolls, courtesy of the grocery store), the boys all got new books, Ian walked around snitching candy off the table like it was his best day ever, and Mike wrote me a cute poem accompanied by some framed photos from various trips we've taken over the years. I gave Mike a raved-about lemon sour cream pie that had the most disappointing crust. (But that filling in one of Mike's crusts? Would have been a winner.) Aaron went to the fifth grade Valentine dance at school and told me that he didn't eat any treats the entire time because he was so busy dancing (I almost keeled over in shock!). That night, Mike and I went to Mike's sister's house for a cozy, not crowded Valentine's dinner, and it was the perfect way to end the day.


Brushing . . . up on my Shakespeare with an adaptation of Comedy of Errors at BYU. Actually, "brushing up" implies that there was something already there to brush up on, but sadly, my Shakespeare education is woefully lacking. So the play started, and I was so confused during the first five minutes that I scrambled to read the synopsis of it in the program, and then I enjoyed it so much that I wished I could see it a second time.

Finishing . . . and beginning a sweater. I am so happy with how my latest sweater turned out. It is comfortable and warm. I love the light pink lace yolk against the plain gray body. I also made some modifications (combining two sizes, adding a few extra rows in the back, using a special technique for the stripes) that made me feel like I'm getting to the point where I have enough techniques at my fingertips that I can interchange or add them as needed to make something that looks and fits just the way I want it to. Then, not even a week after finishing it, I purchased yarn for another sweater. I didn't exactly intend to. I told Mike I was going to the yarn store for "research purposes only," but then one of the employees told me that the colorway I had my eye on was being discontinued, and so I threw down my money on the spot. I'm not sorry.


Signing . . . up for junior high classes. Yes, junior high. Aaron is going to be in junior high in the fall. I can't wrap my brain around it. I feel like I'm reliving the months before he went to kindergarten all over again, including the part where I feel completely clueless about all of the deadlines and the requirements and the forms. I'm telling you, all parents need a mentor to help them get through each new phase as it comes along.There are just so many things you don't even know you should be thinking about until it's too late. Luckily for me, I have my sister-in-law, Sonja, who is about six years ahead of me parenting-wise and our kids happen to go to the same schools, so she has been able to keep me in the know about important details and information. Even so, there was still a lot of running back and worth to the junior high and elementary school for papers and signatures and questions, but I think it's all finally taken care of and I can relax again for a few more months (before I really start to freak out).

Narrating . . . all of our daily actions. Not only is Ian the biggest copycat on the planet, he has also taken to informing all of us about what we're doing at that exact moment in time: "Mommy's wearing a blue shirt. Daddy went to work. Aaron's eating cereal, etc." We love it. His little voice is a constant companion throughout the day, and we can't get enough of it.


Cracking . . . the reading code. Not only did Ian start enjoying listening to books, but Clark is reading, actually reading. We've been doing reading lessons for many months now, so he has been sounding out words for quite awhile, but something changed this month. I can always tell when we've broken through the reading barrier, so to speak, because all of a sudden, the new reader wants to read everything in sight . . . not just the comfortable, familiar-looking words in the reading manual. That happened with Clark this month. He checked out simple books from the library. He and I read some Elephant and Piggie books together (one of us reading Gerald's words, the other one reading Piggie's). He has been reading signs. He began reading his verse during family scripture study instead of repeating what Mike or I told him to say. This is the thrilling stage of learning to read where the world is opening up. I love it so much.

Completing . . . a pair of socks! I bought a "How to knit socks" online class a year ago and have been working on the socks off and on ever since. They were a great on-the-go, in-between-other-projects project, and slowly but surely, I made progress on them until I finally finished them this month! Even though I have made dozens of other items (some of them quite a bit more complex than these socks), there's something about knitting a pair of socks that actually fit me that makes me feel like a real knitter. Step aside, Caroline Ingalls! I've got this.


Losing . . . a tooth. One of Max's top front teeth was loose for most of the month, but he wouldn't pull it out until the very last day of February. He had carefully calculated the loss of this tooth so that it coincided with his birthday eve, figuring that maybe, just maybe, the tooth fairy would give him extra money if it happened to be his birthday when she visited him. Even though it was just hanging on by a single root, he still needed his theme song ("Whatever It Takes") and a new issue of Ranger Rick to distract him while Mike pulled it out with a pair of tweezers. And his plan worked . . . the tooth fairy left him double the usual amount.



That's a wrap! What did you spend your February doing? Please share!




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