A Little of This and That in September

Oct 17, 2021

I often have mixed feelings about the advent of fall. I love the colors and mild weather, but I also feel this sense of impending doom (winter is hard for me). But this year has been different. I don't know if it's because we had such a hot, dry summer, so the cooler, wetter weather feels like a relief. Or if it's because we have a tiny little something to look forward to come winter. Or if it's because we have had an even more gorgeous fall than usual. Whatever the reason, I'm a fan. We spent the month . . . 

Finding . . . out we are expecting our SIXTH boy. It feels crazy to type out those words. I mean, half a dozen boys?!?! Can you even fathom it? We told our kids by launching off a paper rocket that revealed blue streamers. Clark had been absolutely insistent about a sister, but he got over it quickly and is thrilled about another brother. And for those of you who are surprised to hear that I'm pregnant, I mentioned it in a sneaky little post on Instagram and Facebook a couple of weeks ago, but this is the first time I've talked about it on here. I'm due at the end of January, and yes, it was planned. I have much more to say about adding another child to our already large family as well as about continuing our ride on the boy train. I think it will be best to save those for another post though. In short, we are very excited, but to tell you the truth, both Mike and I were very surprised to find out it was a boy. 

Swimming . . . at our neighborhood pool for one time only. Aaron got one chance to swim at our pool this summer. What with having a bone marrow transplant and a central line and the risk of Covid, it just wasn't a possibility until the very end of summer. But he took the opportunity on the very last day the pool was open. We went at the very beginning of the day to beat the Labor Day crowd and only stayed for about 45 minutes, but it was enough. He was so happy to be there.

Being . . . spontaneous. One afternoon, my sister-in-law texted and said she was in the mood for a pedicure and asked if I wanted to go with her. One of the benefits of having Aaron home all the time is that I didn't have to find a babysitter for Ian--I could just say yes and go. It was so fun to think of something on a whim and just do it without any planning or scheduling. 

Taking . . . over a generous brother-in-law's pool. We couldn't let the summer end without one more dip in the pool for Aaron. For this, we asked Mike's brother-in-law if we could come over to their house one evening and swim. They completely spoiled our family and gave the kids the run of their backyard: trampoline, ping pong table, nine-square, pool, and hot tub. They also ordered pizza and cupcakes. And they stayed around and chatted, which was so nice because it had been such a long time since we'd caught up with all of their goings on. It ended up being a very stormy night, with pouring rain and lots of lightning. I thought that would put a quick end to our fun, but the boys were in no hurry to leave. They got out of the water and did other things while it was lightning and then got back in when it was over (notice I didn't say I got in the water--too cold for me!). 

Starting . . . preschool. Ian's turn finally, finally! came. He goes to preschool three afternoons a week, and he loves it (especially once he's there--sometimes he's a bit reluctant to go). He is in the same class as a couple of his friends, which he likes. I love being able to walk him there. (I don't have to drive any of my kids to school this year--it's life changing.) This is our first time at this particular preschool, and I've been especially impressed with the art projects he has been bringing home.  

Enjoying . . . afternoon tea. My dear friend, Kathy, celebrated her 40th birthday this month. As part of the celebrations, her husband planned a month full of fun activities. I was lucky enough to get to join her for one of them. A new yarn shop, Petit Fours and Purls, opened up earlier this year, and besides offering a lovely selection of beautiful yarn, you can also schedule to have a tea party there. There were four mini-courses (scones, cheese, fruit, tarts, cakes, etc.) as well as elegant tea served in the most darling teapots. It was straight out of a storybook. And even though I am not a big herbal tea drinker myself (it's always just a little too bland for me), I had to admit that was probably the best I'd ever had. But the best part was just spending the afternoon with Kathy, just the two of us, and catching up on all of the things.

Memorizing . . . Bluey. Our whole family loves the Australian show, Bluey. During a recent illness, Ian was confined to his room and spent hours watching and re-watching every episode. Now we have a little Aussie living in our house who says things like, "You're not doing it properly," not to mention being able to quote entire scenes from it. One day, I overheard Clark and Ian having an argument. Clark kept saying, "No, Ian, it's 'past'! Aaaaaaaaa. You say it, 'paaaaast.'" And then Ian replied, "No, it's in the paust, dude!" 

Trying . . . out Uncle Ben's skateboards. We stopped by my brother's house for a quick visit on a Saturday afternoon. He loves to skateboard, and he knew Bradley had been wanting to give it a try. So while we were there, he pulled out a couple of his boards, and Bradley was soon racing off down the sidewalk. He was quickly joined by the other boys. Unfortunately, we failed to bring appropriate footwear, not thinking about this being a possible activity. Still, none of them were going very fast, so it seemed fairly harmless. At one point, Ben leaned over to me and said, "Just so you know, I'm not liable for any injuries." I laughed, but not five minutes later, Bradley was on the ground in a great deal of pain. No one saw him fall, and he couldn't remember exactly what had happened, but it led to . . . 

Breaking . . . his foot. We brushed off Bradley's complaints for the rest of the day, thinking he was just being dramatic. But when he still wouldn't put any weight on it the next day, we thought we better get it checked out. First, we had a doctor friend in our neighborhood give it a quick look. When he pressed on the side-base of Bradley's smallest toe and got a grimaced reaction, he said that wasn't a good sign. Mike took Bradley to the emergency room for an X-ray, which clearly showed that his innocent little fall had actually broken four metatarsals. So his foot was given a boot, and he was given crutches, and they told him to expect about four weeks of recovery. The crutches were a huge pain, and luckily he was able to ditch those after the first week. It was certainly inconvenient, but as far as injuries go, it was pretty quick and straightforward. (And note to self: always wear shoes when skateboarding.)

Kicking . . . off the Utah Symphony 2021-2022 season. Back in April, my sister and I decided to get season tickets to the Utah Symphony. It's something I've always wanted to do, so when she suggested it, I needed no convincing. We finally went to our first concert this month: Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Brahms' violin concerto (with guest violinist, Hilary Hahn), and Sibelius' Symphony No. 1. It had been so long since I'd been to a live concert. When the orchestra did their first tuning, a little thrill went through me, and Anna and I both agreed that it made us emotional. The whole evening was pure delight from start to finish. We also both found it terribly amusing that the symphony was sharing downtown Salt Lake with Comic Con attendees, and it was quite the juxtaposition of fashion intermingling and then diverging to go separate ways. One other interesting side note: This was the first event I've been to that required proof of vaccination. I was so worried about remembering my vaccination card that I completely forgot about our tickets; luckily, Anna had me covered.

Catching . . . Ian reading a book on his own. Ian and I have been doing reading lessons for about eight months (using my ever-trusty Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons). We're almost through the book, which means he's at the point where he's stretching his reading wings, so to speak, and realizing he can actually read some of the words in the books around him. One day I was in my room, and I could hear him in his room methodically reading Are You My Mother? He's heard that book many times, but I could tell he was actually reading, and not just reciting, it because of his slower speed. He read the entire book, and I think he surprised himself. This is the stage of learning to read that is just so magical. 

Celebrating . . . a newly-minted 10-year-old. Bradley had two main wishes for his birthday: a Fitbit and a playdate with his friends. We don't really do friend birthday parties, but for their ninth birthdays, I have let each of my kids invite two friends to do something with. Bradley missed doing this last year due to Covid, so I said he could do it this year instead. Rather than going somewhere with his friends, he just wanted them to come over to our house (which goes to show how limited our playdates have been over the last two years). They had a fantastic time playing ping pong, video games, a couple of board games, jumping on the tramp, eating dinner, and finishing off the evening with key lime pie. It was a simple day, but it was exactly what Bradley wanted.

Improving . . . time (and attitude) in cross country. Something rather miraculous happened this month. You might remember in my recap of last month that Max joined the cross country team at his school. He was enduring it at best, hating it at worst. But he experienced a complete cosmic shift about midway through, both physically and mentally. At his first race, he ran 1.5 miles in 18 minutes, coming in 95th place (out of just about 100 kids). What's more, he was absolutely miserable when he finished the race: sick, hot, and exhausted. And yet, there was just a glimmer of pride that he had actually finished. The next week, he ran the same distance in 16 minutes and moved up a few places. The week after that, he ran it in 14 minutes. And the week after that, he ran it in 12 minutes and came in 60th. Seeing that improvement in his time each week was hugely motivating to him. But even more amazing than this has been the way he thinks about running: he actually likes it. He goes out with Mike or Aaron even when he doesn't have to. He's planning on training for a 5K after the season ends. And he chose to run a practice race on the finals course, just for fun. After one race, he gushed, "I love running up hills. Lots of other people start walking, but I just get up on my toes, lean forward, and keep running. You can pass a lot of people that way." As he was talking, Mike and I looked at each other and mouthed, "Is this the same Max from a month ago?" I still don't anticipate him being a world-class runner, but I think it could very well be something that brings him a lot of joy and personal fulfillment in the years to come, and that's definitely enough.

Heading . . . back to church. Aaron is slowly, ever-so-slowly, resuming some sense of normalcy. It would be a lot easier if we weren't contending with Covid at the same time. After many months of watching and participating in church virtually, he finally got to put on a dress shirt and tie and attend in-person. 

Missing . . . dentist appointments. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I completely forget about something I'm supposed to do. This month, it happened to be dentist appointments for Max, Bradley, and Clark. I remembered several hours after the appointment time. And of course, I had just signed a form the week before saying that I agreed to pay $30 if I missed an appointment. Does this mean I have to pay $90 since we actually missed three? Just the worst.

Reading . . . Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This is it. After reading one Harry Potter book every fall for the previous six years, we are finally at the end. Yes, it is very bittersweet.

Checking . . . out the fall colors. We took a drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon one Sunday evening. The colors were breathtaking. I don't know if it's because of the drought or the warmer temps or what, but the colors have just been especially good this year. One of my friends commented that usually the reds and oranges are all done by the time the aspens burst into yellow at the tops of the mountains, but this year, everything happened simultaneously, and it was absolutely jaw-dropping. I love living in a beautiful place.

And now we're already halfway through October, and I'm still enjoying the fall. What things have brought you joy lately?


  1. So exciting! Congratulations!!!!! 6 boys, how fantastic :-) xxxx
    Reminds me of another online friend who has just had her 7th boy https://www.maryhaseltine.com/

  2. I love that photo of your boys at the top of this post. I'm glad Aaron got to enjoy a little pool time at the end of summer. And I'm glad Max is enjoying running. Ben coaches the high school cross country team. Their girls team is headed to State Finals this weekend in Colorado Springs. -Beth Inouye


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