A Little of This and That in February

Mar 10, 2021

I was reading back through one of these monthly update posts from two years ago, and I have to admit, I was kind of longing to go back in time. We just seemed so carefree. 

But time marches on, and these are the activities that occupy our current reality:

Juicing . . . all the things. I impulsively bought a juicer the day after the doctors confirmed Aaron's relapse of aplastic anemia. I felt so helpless and like there wasn't anything I could do to change the situation. I guess one of the ways I coped with those feelings was by purchasing a juicer. I've read about the health benefits of juicing for several years, and I thought it definitely couldn't hurt to give it a try, and it might even help. I was really intimidated when it first arrived and thought I'd made a huge mistake, but I put a few stalks of celery through it, and then I was hooked. It was like magic--it somehow got juice out of something that looked like it shouldn't have any juice in it at all. Not only that, but it churned out the most beautiful, rich, jewel-toned colors I've ever seen. I honestly can't believe it's natural. I had read that red and purple fruits and vegetables were supposed to be especially beneficial to the health of the blood, so I've been doing a lot of beets, black grapes, purple cabbage, apples, and pomegranates. Aaron has been so nice to appease me and dutifully chugs down his glass every day.

Learning . . . to read. Ian was showing all of the signs of being ready to learn how to read, so I pulled out my trusty How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (which is quite battered by this point) and began. So far, he has taken to it quickly. I know from past experience that we'll slow down considerably when we get about halfway through, and that's totally fine. We're just taking it one day at a time and enjoying each step. Watching the process unfold amazes me every time, and it feels like an absolute privilege.

Getting . . . the royal treatment at a BYU basketball game. I already wrote all of the details of our fun evening here, but it's worth a second mention because the memory of it is still giving us life. 

Wishing . . . stake conference would always be virtual. We had stake conference at the beginning of the month, and of course it was virtual due to the pandemic. But as we sat in our family room doing puzzles and Legos while listening to the talks, I thought, Why can't they do it virtually every time? It was so much more pleasant, and I felt like we got a lot more out of it than we usually do. It's one of the things I hope doesn't go away when Covid ends.

Participating . . . in a cool visual activity. Our stake had each teenager write one truth on a sign. Then they stuck those signs on the church lawn. It was really inspiring to walk past it and see all of those truths in one big group. Aaron and Mike did it (Mike is one of the youth leaders in our ward). The signs were due at the church when Aaron was still at the hospital. So I took them over myself. It was the afternoon when I found out his transplant had failed, and I was crying while trying to push the signs down into the frozen ground. Even though that isn't the most pleasant memory, the end result made me happy.

Switching . . . bedrooms. When we moved into this house, Maxwell and Clark shared a room, and Bradley and Ian shared another room. But Bradley was getting a little tired of his roommate who made messes every day, broke his creations, and wouldn't go to sleep at night. So we did a little room switcheroo, and it has turned out to be the best thing ever. Now Bradley and Maxwell are together, and Clark and Ian share the other room. It has been a much better fit. Bradley and Max like to listen to the same thing at night, as do Clark and Ian. And Clark doesn't really pay any attention to Ian's messes (which means their room is pretty much always a mess, even when it was cleaned up just thirty minutes before). Before the room switch, there was a weird rivalry going on between Bradley and Clark over who was Ian's favorite, but now that has pretty much disappeared. All in all, it was a good change.

Enjoying . . . a very lovely Valentine's Day. This year, Valentine's Day coincided with our ward's Fast Sunday (because we had stake conference on the first week of the month). At first I was disappointed because it meant we couldn't do our traditional breakfast. But then we decided to just push it back until lunch when we would be breaking our fast. As so often happens, breaking with tradition somehow made it even more enjoyable. We had sour dough French toast with buttermilk syrup, whipped cream, and berries, as well as sausage, bacon, hash browns, orange juice, and chocolate milk. The boys kept commenting, "This is the best meal I've ever eaten!" As usual, I gave each of the boys a new book, and Mike spoiled us all with filet mignon for dinner.

Sporting . . . some pretty good chipmunk cheeks. Aaron has been on steroids for several weeks. A couple of the side effects are an increased appetite and puffy cheeks. We're seeing both, and even though he is now being weaned off of them, his cheeks are still adorable.

Receiving . . . a good dumping of snow. Along with most of the rest of the country, we had a big snowstorm in the middle of the month that brought with it close to eighteen inches of snow. Up to that point, our winter had been fairly mild with snow coming in brief little bursts that would melt by the afternoon. But finally, we had some snowfall that felt legitimate. The boys pulled out all of their winter gear and suited up for some serious fun. No sledding this year because of Aaron's low platelets, but plenty of snow caves and snow angels. 

Taking . . . lots of unplanned trips to the hospital. That's just our reality right now. As much as we are trying to minimize our time in the hospital, it seems like something is always coming up that warrants some attention. We are so lucky to be so close to the hospital.

Inventing . . . intense face-offs between Battlebots. A few weeks ago, Mike introduced the boys to Battlebots (a competition where teams build their own robots and then have them fight each other). All of them really liked it, but Ian became absolutely obsessed. Every day, he goes into his own world of Battlebots and pits two toys against each other. These battles can last a solid half hour before he grows tired of them. 

Installing . . . a tv in the living room. I can't even believe I'm writing this--I have always been really opposed to having a tv in the main living space because I didn't want it to be a focal point. But when Mike got a pool table for the basement, it made that space less functional for family movie night (but the pool table has been used so often that I think it was probably worth it). So we decided to get a frame tv for upstairs. I like it because it looks like a picture in a frame when it is not being used as a tv, so it serves a dual purpose. At any rate, it has been nice to have it, even if it does go against my principles, haha.

Making . . . a few new items. This month, I sewed a pair of joggers and a blouse. The blouse was quite fun to make as it has a tie in the back, a ruffle across the front, and puffed (!) sleeves. I feel a little bit of Anne Shirley in me when I wear it: "Oh, Marilla! Look at the puffs!" I also knitted a cowl (which I'm a bit disappointed with) and a little dinosaur that Mike gave to one of his coworkers who just had a baby. And I alllllmost finished a sweater. Making continues to be one of the best kinds of therapy for me.

 Researching . . . brick for the fireplace. Our latest home project is the living room. We need to: remove the tile around the fireplace and replace it with brick, build a hearth, take out the spotlights and put in canned lighting, build bookshelves, hang pictures, buy a couple of chairs, and hang curtains. Unfortunately, any sort of construction has been put on hold while Aaron is sick, but that didn't stop Mike and me from going to a store to look at brick samples.

Taking . . . Max out for a little birthday lunch. A couple of days before Maxwell's birthday, Mike and I told him we would take him anywhere for lunch. We knew we could make such an offer because probably the most extravagant place he would want to go would be Chick-fil-a. And sure enough, that's the place he requested, even though we had to eat in the car since they still don't have their dining room open. Max is almost always a joy to be around, but especially when he has you one-on-one (or two-on-one as in this case). He comes up with the most interesting things to talk about, and he relished every bite of chicken sandwich and chicken nuggets (yes, he ordered both because it was for his birthday, and his appetite is hitting adolescence). Afterwards, we went to Handel's for ice cream, and he declared it the best lunch he'd ever had. 

That's a wrap on another month. We're getting the first hints of spring, and I am thrilled to see an end in sight for the cold weather.


  1. Oooh-- Aaron got All Thirteen; I really enjoyed that. I got an ARC for some reason, and then reread it to put it on the Cybils nonfiction finalist list.

    Great pictures and great stories, as usual. I admire your skill in making things! And enjoy your juicer; I had one for a few years but then I got out of the habit so I passed it along.

  2. It's great fun reading your blog Amy. You are a good write and I like getting to know you and your family better. One of these days I would love to talk knitting with you and sewing. Thanks for sharing your successes and honest feelings about family life, and just life in general.


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