A Little of This and That in February

Mar 8, 2020

Spring is on the horizon. Although I am so happy to be putting this winter behind us, I have to say that it didn't feel as long or as tedious as I was expecting, and for that I am extremely grateful. February was filled with . . .

Visiting . . . my grandma. I alluded to this trip at the end of my January post, but now I'll share a little bit more about it. My mom and I spent five days in Lincoln, Nebraska with my dear grandma, and it was heavenly. Because of the distance involved, I have only seen my grandma a few times in the fifteen years since I got married, and those visits have all been abruptly cut short because of the short attention spans of little children. But this time, it felt like I had been transported back to my childhood in all of the best ways. I slept in the small guest bedroom and listened to the familiar sounds of the traffic on my grandma's busy street. My grandma shuttled us around in her old Chrysler van (yes, she still drives at 90 years old!). We sat around in the living room and paged through old photo albums. We went out to eat at my grandma's favorite restaurant where she ordered a piece of butterscotch pie (as usual). My Uncle Steve dropped by for a visit and teased me. One night, my mom let me tag along when she got together with two of her best friends from high school and college. They were so cute as they talked and laughed and reminisced. It made me wish that I could have been part of their crowd, too. It was also good to get some alone time with my mom. We watched movies on the plane, walked around my mom's old neighborhood, and commiserated about some of the awkward moments during our trip. It was just a very sweet, very peaceful, very relaxing trip, and I'm just so grateful the weather cooperated so we could have it!

Writing . . . poetry. One of my goals for 2020 is to write a poem every week. It's turning out to be one of my favorite goals ever. I just write the poems in my regular, daily journal. They take the place of an entry, and they're usually about an event or thoughts from something that happened that day or week. My friend, Sarah, asked me if I was going to post those poems anywhere, and the answer was a resounding no. So far, my poems have ranged from tolerable to mediocre to awful, but guess what? I don't care because I know no one is going to read them. It's purely for my own benefit and growth, and I am enjoying the process so much. It is free from any of the pressures I put on myself when I know other people might see my work, and so I'm not experiencing the kind of paralyzation I get with other creative endeavors. I want to keep it that way.

Finishing . . . off the latest season of the Great British Bakeoff with our traditional finale party with the Gardners showcasing recipes from the show. This time, Mike made Steph's Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Cake, Henry's Tomato and New Potato Tarte Tatin with Crab Salad, and Michael's Keralan Star Bread. It was maybe the best food we've ever eaten but the most disappointing end to the show I've ever seen.

Sharing . . . a friendly public service announcement about Maggie Binkley's 15-minute workouts. I mentioned these a few months ago when I first started doing them, but I think they are worth mentioning again as I do one almost every morning before I take the kids to school. I love that they push me, they can be easily modified, there is a wide variety (with or without weights, core, arms, cardio, etc.), and I can be done in under twenty minutes. They look a little amateur since they're just recorded in Maggie's living room, but I haven't found the quality of the workout to suffer because of that at all, and it actually helps me feel more comfortable doing it because it feels like Maggie is the kind of practical, down-to-earth person I could be friends with. I highly recommend them if you're looking for a workout you can easily do at home.

Sitting . . . in the dentist's chair for the first time. The boys all had dentist appointments in February (except Aaron), and it was the first time for Ian. He can be unpredictable and volatile (typical two-year-old), so I didn't know what to expect, but the other boys went first, and when it was his turn, he hopped up in the chair like an old pro.

Being . . . serenaded to on my front porch. On the afternoon of Valentine's Day, there was a knock on the door, and Mike said, "Oh, I think it's for you." I opened the door to four random strangers, dressed in suits and wearing big smiles. They broke out in four-part barbershop. I stood there awkwardly listening and throwing questioning glances at Mike. When they were done, I put on my best enthusiasm and said, "That was so nice. Thank you so much." One of them held up his hand and said, "Oh wait, there's more!" I endured one more love song, they handed me the ugliest artificial rose I've ever seen, and then walked away. Once I'd closed the door, Mike said, "I didn't think you'd like it, but I knew it would be memorable!" (Apparently, a guy from his work is in a barbershop guild, and singing to people on Valentine's Day is their annual fundraiser.) Mike failed to snap a photo, but trust me, it was memorable.

Banging . . . out the knitting projects. I finished four different projects during the month of February: a cowl, two hats, and one toy. There's a certain rush that comes with completing something, so to get it four times in one month felt pretty good. I started the cowl several months ago when Aaron was still in the hospital (I needed a very mindless project to work on), but the others were quick little projects that each took me less than a week to finish. I'll admit, I think it's going to be difficult to settle back down with a longer project that won't give me the same kind of instant gratification.

Caving . . . into Clark. One of those aforementioned knitted projects deserves its own special paragraph. My kids watched the first season of The Mandalorian with Mike and loved Baby Yoda. Personally, I could care less about Star Wars, but when I saw a knitting pattern for Baby Yoda, I knew my kids would love it. I made the mistake of showing it to Clark after which it became his personal mission to get me to knit it. He can be relentless--a trait that could prove to be very useful to him in the future--and he followed up with me constantly about this project: Have you bought the yarn yet? Did the yarn arrive?  Did you start making him yet? Are you working on it? How much do you have left? He even went so far as to negotiate with me, "I'll only do that if you work on my Baby Yoda." Luckily, it was a pretty fast knit (even with making the body twice because I wasn't happy with it the first time), and now I am free from my task master. He loves that little toy and even went so far as to say, "If I have my Baby Yoda with me, then I don't get bad dreams."

Listening . . . to the music from the Broadway version of Little Women. My Little Women game is still going strong. My mom and sister and I couldn't find a weekend in February to continue our marathon, but I revisited the Broadway soundtrack that I fell in love with years ago. I feel like many people don't know about it, but it is so good, and I promise that if you are also obsessed with all things Little Women right now, then you will love it. I especially recommend Jo and Beth's duet "Some Things Are Meant to Be," which brings me to tears every time.

Volunteering . . . in Clark's kindergarten class. There are a couple of women who come to Clark's class every Friday to sing and teach songs to the kids. I believe they started doing it when one of them actually had a kindergartner, but that has been years ago, and they're still doing it. It is such a generous gift to the kindergarten class year after year, and I love them for it. Anyway, I told them that if they ever needed someone to fill in on the piano, I would be more than happy to help. And this month, I finally got a chance! I loved listening to these sweet kids sing their hearts out, but mostly I just sat in awe of Lorraine (the one teaching the songs) who just seems to have a gift for teaching music. The kids adore her.

Going . . . on a hike. On President's Day, we decided to get out and enjoy the sunny (but still very cold) weather with a little hike. We did the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which is beastly in the summer because it doesn't have any shade, but it was quite pleasant in the winter. Unfortunately, some parts of the trail were very muddy, and those places were especially difficult for Ian to navigate. We made it though, and it was worth it for the crystal clear views.

Introducing . . . my kids to an old favorite from my childhood: the PBS Ramona series. This 10-episode series was released in 1988, and most of the stories were taken from the book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8.  I decided to see if I could find it on YouTube, and then I showed it to my kids. The quality is not great, but so far they've loved it. I think we've watched the first five episodes.

Buying . . . a new coffee table. When we first moved into our home, we bought a $40 coffee table from the classifieds. It has served us well, but for the last year or so, it's been looking a little chipped and sad. So when Janssen talked about how much they love their coffee table and how hard wearing it has been, I purchased it immediately without even giving it a second thought. (It helped that it was more than 50% off, so it wasn't a huge investment.) It matches our living room so well, and we immediately broke it in by putting together a 1000-piece puzzle on it (luckily it fit, or I probably would have had to send the table back).

Committing . . . to potty training Ian. I've been thinking about it for a couple of months (ever since he begged for underwear for Christmas) but finally felt like the time was right. Our pediatrician recommends that dads train boys (which is all fine by me), so we found a weekend when Mike had Friday off and blocked off the three days for exclusive teaching and practicing. In the days leading up to it, we talked it up big time to Ian, and the night before, he and Mike went out to fill up the prize basket with treats and toys. Of course, as much as I'd love for Mike to be 100% in charge of this, he has to go to work. So I've had to take over, but overall, it's been pretty successful (although not enough that I will label Ian as "trained" yet), but, more importantly, it has been a positive experience.

Watching . . . Bright Star at Hale Center Theater. Mike gave me tickets for my birthday, and we finally got to go at the end of February. I knew almost nothing about the story going into it, and it blew me away. I was disappointed at first to find out that we were getting the lead's understudy, but she was so good that if I hadn't known otherwise, I wouldn't have believed that she wasn't the normal lead. We always love Hale Center Theater, but this was probably in my top five shows of all time.

Attending . . . concerto night at our local high school. My nephew, Steven, was one of nine soloists who performed a concerto with the high school's orchestra. It was a fantastic night. There was so much talent coming off that stage, and it was exhilarating to be in the same room with it all. Steven played the second movement from Camille Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2. It represented months of time and work on his part, and it all paid off beautifully. I don't have a photo from the night, but I do have this one of Steven playing Connect 4 with Ian, which shows what a well-rounded, nice kid he is in addition to being so talented.

Waiting . . . for his birthday. Although Leap Day forces everyone to wait an extra day for their birthdays, I think it's probably only the March 1st birthdays who really feel it. Max was especially disappointed this time around because Leap Day not only made him wait for his birthday, but it pushed it off of Saturday and onto Sunday.

That's a wrap on February! I'd love to hear about the highlights from your month in the comments below.


  1. Lovely pictures and memories as always.

    As someone with an early March birthday and two siblings with late February birthdays, I definitely noticed Leap Day! And nowadays I always enjoy it because it extends my "twinship" with my sister. We're the same age between her birthday and mine. So I'm a twin for an extra day in Leap Years.

  2. Bonneville Shoreline trail? You were in my neighborhood! We live just down from the mouth of Blacksmith Fork. I'm always trying to get us out on more hikes because I feel like we're so spoiled, living so close to all these trailheads :)


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