A Little of This and That in March

Apr 5, 2020

March was a doozy, am I right? We began the month going to school, church, the library, and work, planning vacations, hanging out with family and friends, playing at the park, and shopping at the store. We ended the month in a very different state, not doing any of those things, which is something I hadn't even considered as a possibility a month ago. Life is strange, and the unpredictability of it sometimes makes me want to curl up and hide my head. But if we've learned anything in the past year, it is that life continues on, and there is still beauty and happiness to be found. We spent the month . . .

Celebrating . . . a decade of Maxwell. On his birthday, he stayed in bed reading before opening presents. He asked for salmon and asparagus for dinner instead of pizza. And he made his own birthday cake. All of these things made me realize that he's growing up before my very eyes. He still has a fiery temper and can give a steely glare like no one else I know, but when he's in a good mood, he's the best of the best.

Weaning . . . tacrolimus. Aaron reached Day +175, which meant it was time to begin weaning him off of the immunosuppressive drug he’s been on for the past six months. His dose will be decreased by half a milligram every two weeks. If all goes well and he doesn’t demonstrate any signs of GVHD, he should be completely off of it by the middle of June.

Loving...naps. At nearly three years old, Ian still loves to take an afternoon nap. He will often tell me, “I’m ready for my nap” after he eats lunch. Sometimes I will give him the choice of going down for his nap before or after I take Clark to school (back when I used to take Clark to school). He almost always chooses to have me put him to bed before, which I find highly unusual since most kids will do anything to prolong nap (or bed) time. He is just as easy to put down at night as he is in the afternoon. He just really seems to love curling up under his blankets with a book or a mountain of toys. He is so easy to put to bed that Aaron, Max, and Bradley can all do it if occasion requires, and even my mom commented on what a dream he is to put down for a nap. I’m not sure how much longer we can count on these amazing sleep habits, but I am soaking them up for all that they’re worth, and I don’t take them for granted in the least. (But potty training? Please don't ask about that.)

Canceling...a scientific trip to San Francisco. Mike’s dad and uncle are both diagnosed short sleepers, and so a group of scientists wanted to study any of their children who were willing to participate. Mike and his brother were planning to go the third week of March. They were going to be gone for five days, and they planned to have a fine time of it together (in between being forced to stay awake for 36 hours). But when Mike mentioned the upcoming trip to Aaron’s doctor, he was quite blunt in telling him that he shouldn’t go because of the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19. I believe his exact words were something like, “A free trip to California is like a free sky diving session into a dump.” So Mike canceled the trip, and then a week later, the entire country shut down in response to the pandemic, including the sleep study. So he wouldn’t have been able to go anyway. 

Going . . . to see our niece perform in her junior high's production of The Wizard of Oz. Clark and Bradley liked it so much, they actually saw it twice. (Look at that auditorium! And all of the people filing in! It feels surreal that such a thing was normal just a few weeks ago.)

Watching . . . our nephew open his mission call to the Baltic, Russian-speaking. It turned out to be the last real event we got to be a part of. Little did we know that in just a few short days, everything would be shutting down, and thousands of missionaries from around the world would be returning home. We didn't even take the time to be grateful for that joyous time with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We didn't realize that those types of gatherings wouldn't be happening again for a long time.

Passing . . . the sacrament for the first time. In January, Aaron received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a deacon. One of the duties of a deacon is to pass the sacrament to members of the congregation. However, Aaron had not been able to serve in this way because of the amount of germs that a tray accumulates as it is passed from hand to hand. But then church meetings were canceled across the world, and suddenly we were holding church in our own home. Our bishop authorized all priesthood holders to bless and administer the sacrament in their own homes, which meant that Aaron was finally able to pass the sacrament. I loved that his first time was in his own home to his own family. He'll always remember it.

Holding . . . church at home. Speaking of church, it has been a joy to worship as a family. I didn't expect to love it so much. But everyone has stepped up to the responsibility of preparing talks and lessons, conducting music, saying prayers, and singing together. Bradley even decided to make a number holder for the hymns, just like we have in the chapel at church. It has been sweet to share testimony and gospel truths with each other. It is one of the silver linings in all of this.

Feeling . . . disappointed about something. This isn't meant to be vague so people will ask me about it. I'm simply mentioning it because these monthly posts are one of the ways I document the life of our family, and this something took up a lot of mental and emotional energy in March, so I want to remember it, even though it didn't work out.

Escaping . . . to the cabin. We decided to take a couple of days and get away to Mike's parents' cabin. The cabin is up in a canyon and has no cell service. It was glorious. The constant barrage of news and everyone's opinions had been taking a toll on all of us, and it was wonderful to shut it all out, even if for just a little bit. We played outside, sat around the fire, went on a hike, played games, and ate doughnuts. (And I spent a lot of time knitting, too.) I didn't want to come home. Now it's up to me to manage my intake of what's going on in the world, and I think I prefer not even having the option.

Waking . . . up to an earthquake. Actually, I was already awake and working in the living room when the house began to rumble and shake. I instantly knew what it was. I've felt one other earthquake before, and this one was similar to that except that it lasted significantly longer. The magnitude was 5.7, and we felt aftershocks throughout the day. There was quite a bit of damage in some parts of the state, but our neighborhood was fine. It was just a little unnerving to have an earthquake thrown on top of a pandemic and economic collapse. I think the only good thing about it was that people stopped talking about the virus for a day. 

Picking . . . up school supplies. Our elementary school closed down and moved to a digital platform mid-March. I had to go to the school to pick up the boys' books and computers. They didn't want anyone in the building, so instead we went to each teacher's window, and they handed the folders and books through it, almost like a drive-through. It was one of those experiences I had never even considered, and then I was doing it like it was the most normal thing in the world. So surreal.

Watching . . . LEGO Masters. Our whole family has been obsessed with this reality series. Each week, the contestants are given a challenge. This can range from building an amusement park ride, a bridge that can actually support weight, or a kid-created fairy tale. The creations that come out of these builders' heads are truly amazing. Although we kind of wish we could binge-watch the whole season, it gives us something to look forward to each week. Even Ian doesn't want to miss out on it. One evening he had a little stomach bug and so was watching a show in his room. The rest of us went downstairs to watch the latest episode, and when he heard it going, he called out, "Hey! I want to watch LEGO Masters!"

Adjusting . . . to doing school at home. Many people are referring to this as "home schooling," but I prefer to use my sister-in-law's term, "crisis schooling," instead because, as someone who was home schooled for ten years, I can tell you that what we're doing is not home schooling. But semantics aside, my kids are learning at home, and it's going really well--not because of anything I'm doing but because their teachers are absolutely amazing. They're extremely quick to respond to emails or messages. Both Bradley and Maxwell's teachers have really embraced the online platform and are putting out a lot of video content to help explain new concepts (Maxwell's teacher even continued with their class readaloud, which pretty much melted my heart). They're also doing virtual group meetings, so they're still getting to interact with their classmates quite a bit (Bradley's teacher has been doing optional bingo nights, which also melts my heart). I'm definitely noticing anew how different my kids are. Max is so much like me. He shuts himself in a room with his list of assignments and stays on task until everything is completely done. Bradley doesn't need much help from me. He likes a break every hour or so, but he gets right back to his work when he is done. Clark needs lots of help, of course, but doesn't complain. And Aaron . . . perhaps surprisingly, Aaron is the one who has the hardest time staying on task--and he should be the most used to this since we've been doing it the whole school year! The hardest part of this "crisis schooling" for me is that I am not the in-house teacher but the in-house problem solver, and I don't like solving problems all day.

Clearing . . . up my acne. A couple of months ago, I started breaking out more than I ever have before in my life. I had no idea what had brought it on since I hadn't made any changes to my diet or skin care, and my life wasn't unusually stressful (this was pre-pandemic, obviously). I asked a few of my friends for tips, as well as my sister. I started using a facial scrub, which made my skin feel nice but didn't actually help with the breakout. I finally decided I better go see a dermatologist. I found a clinic and checked to make sure it was in network for our insurance, but then the world fell apart, and there were more important things to worry about than zits on my face. I have never worn a ton of makeup, but once we were confined to our house and I wasn't seeing anyone, I just stopped wearing it entirely. And wouldn't you know it, but my acne completely cleared up.  I guess when this is all over I'll be looking for a new brand of makeup, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying going au natural.

Learning . . . from Mo Willems. You've probably already seen this, but Mo Willems (author of the Elephant and Piggie series) has been putting out daily Lunch Doodles--short videos where he shows kids around his studio, teaches them how to draw one of his characters, and encourages their creativity. We've watched a couple of them so far and found them quite enjoyable. 

Switching . . . to virtual piano lessons. As with everything else, social distancing put an abrupt end to my piano students coming over to my house. Now we meet over FaceTime. It's not ideal because there's almost always a slight delay or a break in the connection, and I can't easily demonstrate or point to things, but we're making it work. And I'm very grateful to get to keep this part of my weekly routine.

Learning . . . how to fold a fitted sheet. I have long felt frustrated that this supposedly "easy" domestic skill had somehow evaded me. I finally decided to make it a goal for 2020, and I was determined to keep trying for as long as necessary until I mastered it. Turns out . . . it didn't take that long at all. One of my friends offered to show me over Marco Polo, and within thirty seconds I could do it! In my defense, I had tried two other "tutorials" before this, and they both left me feeling so confused and disheartened. But then when my friend showed me, everything suddenly clicked. So now I can check off that goal, which of course makes me really happy.

Meeting . . . with my book club virtually. The pandemic hit Utah the week before my book club was scheduled to meet for the month. At first, we just canceled. But then we decided we might as well hold a virtual meeting over Zoom. It was my first time using (or even hearing about) that platform, but ever since then, we've used it multiple times a week. We discussed the book Nothing to See Here (which I thoroughly enjoyed reading but probably wouldn't recommend because of the excessive swearing). It was so good to see the faces of my fellow bookies even if there weren't yummy treats to go along with it.

Knitting . . . a couple of cute friends. As you might guess, knitting has proven to be a great comfort to me during this unsettling time. I've been spending most of my time on a sweater (it's fingering weight on small needles, so it's taking me a long time), but to break it up a little, I knitted a couple of toys for new babies in the family--a little rabbit and duckling. I enjoyed seeing them sitting together on my dresser for a couple of weeks before I gave them away.

Working . . . from home. Mike has been working exclusively from home since mid-March. I am so grateful that he has a job that allows him this kind of flexibility. It's been a sacrifice for him since the stuff that he can do at home is fairly boring and would probably be the things he would be avoiding if he were actually at work. He has to be closeted away in a little room in our basement most of the day, sitting in an uncomfortable chair. But it gives us all so much peace of mind to not have him in a work space with other people all day, and I realize that it's such a privilege to have this as an option.

Buying . . . six pairs of rollerblades. Yes, six--one for every member of the family except for Ian. Mike decided that as long as we didn't have anywhere to go or anything to do, we might as well learn how to rollerblade. The rollerblades arrived one by one over a period of about a week, and with each new arrival, another person learned to rollerblade until we all had a pair and did it together! It was great fun, and I'm sure it will provide many more hours of entertainment in the coming weeks. It's also probably going to be one of the things my kids remember the most from this scary time.

Managing . . . a busy virtual schedule. The first week of quarantine, our calendar was completely wiped out of all activities and events. But by the second week, it began to fill back up, but with virtual things instead--play dates, class meetings, book club, family hangouts, game nights, etc. It's kind of amazing that our lives can still feel somewhat busy, even while not leaving our house.

I have no expectations for April. We will take it one day at a time. That's all we can do, right? How are all of you doing, friends?


  1. You always do such a good job of documenting your family. What crazy times we are in right now!

  2. Glad you are all safe at home! My boys came back from college and are now distance-learning, which is a bit hard for at least one of them. I'm from King County outside of Seattle, so we've been stressed out for a little bit longer. And my kids joked about leaving their relatively safe college campuses to come back to the headline problem place. I do miss my weekly movie with my friend in a senior living apartment.

    I laughed at your description of the family rollerblading. It sounds like a lot of fun. It's clear what happened, but I decided to interpret your sentence "the rollerblades arrived one by one" as not referring to pairs so I could picture your boys zooming around on one leg.

    I heard a post-tremor joke from my brother in Sandy: "There are a lot of churches in Utah, but today everyone is a quaker."


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