A Little of This and That in October

Nov 13, 2022

Well, October really outdid herself. It was the most gorgeous fall maybe in the history of ever. Perfect weather, and the colors absolutely popped. My biggest regret was that we weren't out in the autumn glory enough, soaking it all in and storing it away to last us through the cold, dark months that are coming. But you'll see from the activities below that we at least made an attempt. Fall festivities included . . . 

Listening . . . to Mike's dad speak in General Conference. Mike's dad spoke during the Saturday afternoon session. If you heard his talk, you probably recognized the story he shared since it was about Aaron's bone marrow transplant. He related this event to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which was a humbling and powerful analogy for our family. We went to the Conference Center with most of Mike's family during the session, and it was really tender to be there all together while such a personal story was being shared. Maxwell never likes attention, so he immediately folded over in his seat as soon as Mike's dad started speaking, even though I assured him that no one knew that he was the Maxwell being spoken of. If you didn't get the chance to hear the talk but would like to, you can read or listen to it here. (Also of note: it was Clark's first time attending General Conference in the Conference Center.)

Passing . . . off sight words. When Ian started kindergarten, his teacher told the class that they would be passing off 100 sight words throughout the year; when they passed off all 100, they'd get a box of candy as a prize. That was all Ian needed for motivation. He passed off groups of ten at every opportunity and got through all 100 during the first month of school. 

Driving . . . through the fall colors. Mike, Clark, Silas, and I drove the Alpine Loop while listening to the Sunday morning session of General Conference. Unbelievably, the other boys didn't want to come. They really missed out because that drive was everything good about fall. Every turn in the road brought another colorful vista. It was too good, and pictures will never do it justice. 

Switching . . . up when I study my scriptures. My personal scripture study had taken a real hit over the last couple of years. I was still reading every day, but it was usually a hurried 5-10 verses at night before I went to sleep. When I was watching General Conference, something that Elder Renlund said caught my attention: "Feasting on the words of Christ, as found in the scriptures, stimulates revelation." I have been prayerfully seeking some peace and direction lately, and I strongly felt the prompting to make real time to study the scriptures. And so I switched my reading to the morning. I make sure to have my notebook with me, and I write phrases, questions, and insights as they come to me. I haven't made it happen every morning (and on those days, I'm back to my drowsy reading at night), but each time I make the effort, I am rewarded with a flood of inspiration. It's been kind of incredible actually and very rewarding. I've found myself looking forward to learning from the scriptures and not just reading to check it off my to-do list.

Finishing . . . a crochet project. Even though I learned to crochet long before I learned how to knit, I hardly do it anymore. But after seeing some cute crochet bags at a couple of stores, I decided to make one myself. So I busted out my old crochet hook and started making granny squares. The first couple were fun, and then I just wanted to go back to knitting. But I forced myself to keep going because I really wanted the finished object. I had to pace myself over the course of a couple of months, giving myself little milestones every week. But I eventually finished it, and even found perfectly matching fabric for the lining, but I realized that I far prefer knitting to crocheting.

Wearing . . . perfume. My mom might disown me for this one. She has always been very sensitive to smells, so when I was growing up, all scents were banned from our house (any scented detergent, soap, lotion, etc.). But I have always loved good scents. And one day, it just dawned on me: I don't have to just enjoy it when other people where perfume. I can wear it myself. I think it had just been such a big no for so much of my life that it took me until I was 37 years old to realize there was no reason for me to keep avoiding it. But this was a completely new world for me, and I had no idea where to start. I knew I didn't want something overpowering that would make me feel sick after a couple of hours. So I asked one of my friends if I could borrow her perfume for a few days just to find out if I even liked wearing it, and she generously obliged. Turns out, I loved it. After the initial testing period, I ended up buying a little sampler two-pack from Versace. This has been such a fun little addition to my life that has brought me a lot of joy. Call it a midlife crisis, but I am fully embracing it. (And don't worry, Mom, I'll leave it off on the days we come to visit.)

Visiting . . . the pumpkin patch. The month zips by so quickly, and I knew if we didn't get our pumpkins before fall break that it would practically be Halloween before we got there. Luckily, we found an evening where we were all available. I had toyed with the idea of going to one of the bigger farms that have multiple activities and attractions, but in the end, we went to our favorite simple, family-owned farm. I don't like crowds, and this one is never ever crowded. It's just perfect, and we had such a nice time together.

Reading . . .  some spooky books. I was able to read a couple of seasonally appropriate books, thanks to book club. I read A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (loved the writing and the way the plot was laid out; didn't love the resolution of the mystery) and also We Have Always Lived in the Castle (a dark and twisted classic by Shirley Jackson). And it didn't feel right to be in October without some Harry Potter. We finished the series last year, but Ian was eager to hear it this year so we started over with the first book, and that made October feel complete. I also added a new picture book to our Halloween collection by one of my favorites, Oliver Jeffers: There's a Ghost in This House.

Traveling . . . to Washington D.C. with Aaron. Mike and I have been wanting to take Aaron on a solo trip for awhile, and it finally happened this month. We had such a fun time, and I'll share more about it in its own post in a week or two. 

Going . . . on a fall hike. We made it up the canyon for one (only one!) fall hike. And it was a short one at that because we went just as the sun was setting. We went with Mike's sister, her husband, and their dog. As soon as we were up there, I deeply regretted not making time in the mountains a priority all season because the colors were just so stunning. 

Enjoying . . . two band concerts. Now that Aaron is in high school and Max is still in junior high, we no longer get to go to one concert for both of them. They had concerts on back-to-back nights, and we were lucky to get grandparents there on both nights. This was Max's first time performing with the jazz band. I thought Aaron loved jazz band, but Maxwell has taken that love to a whole new level. He listens to jazz music almost every night (usually recordings of the songs they're playing in band) and lives for the early morning rehearsals. I knew about this love, but even I was surprised when he took it to the stage. Max has always been somewhat self-conscious around other people, but when they started playing, he was jiving and grooving and totally in the zone. It was so cute. Aaron, on the other hand, has had a lukewarm experience with high school band so far. It's such a shame since he loved it so much in junior high. 

Making . . . time for the temple. Between Covid and Aaron's illness, Mike and I fell out of our regular habit of going to the temple at least once a month. But after General Conference, we recommitted to attending consistently. We had a really nice time in the Jordan River temple on a Saturday afternoon. It felt so good to be there.

Finishing . . . another session of diving. At the end of the summer, Bradley really wanted to continue with another session of diving, but a few weeks into it, he suddenly decided it wasn't for him anymore. I don't know what changed since it was something he loved so much over the summer. So he finished off the last few lessons, and now he's taking a break (maybe permanently). Swimming, on the other hand, has come to the front of activities he loves. He recently said to me, "I just realized that if I kick when I'm swimming freestyle, I go so much faster!" I had to laugh at that. 

Disobeying . . . the pediatrician. We were all shocked when Silas, at only 8.5 months old, took his first steps at the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, he was traversing the whole house on his two feet. But in the middle of the month, he had his nine-month check up with the doctor, who asked, "Is Silas crawling yet?" I replied, "Well, actually, he's walking." I expected the doctor to be surprised but encouraging. Instead, he looked me squarely in the eye and said, "That's got to stop." I chuckled at the impossibility of such a request: stop a baby who has already discovered the world opening up to him? But the doctor was adamant. "Don't encourage him. Put him down on his bottom, not on his feet. Make him crawl." Our pediatrician has eight kids of his own, so I was kind of shocked that he thought this was something I could control (although, of course Silas had been receiving tons of encouragement and praise from all of us--who can resist celebrating those first toddling steps?). I knew that Dr. V. was a firm believer in the value of crawling for strong brain development, and I wasn't discounting that at all, but I still decided to completely disregard his advice, for three reasons: First, Silas had already been crawling for two solid months. I figured he'd put in his time and had already mastered lots of cross lateral movements. Plus, he was still falling down plenty, at which point he always switched to crawling for a bit. Second, it seemed impossible to reverse development. Silas already knew too much. He wasn't going to be okay going back. And third, I firmly believed it would be emotionally damaging if we suddenly stopped celebrating his progress. So yes, I disobeyed the doctor. And yes, Silas is now a little walking machine. 

Hosting . . . a Halloween party. The weekend before Halloween, we decided to invite all of Mike's family over for a Halloween party. Everyone came in costume, and we had a great time eating and chatting and playing. Many thanks to Mike's mom for bringing doughnuts on a string, Mike's sister, Sonja, for demonstrating some mad scientist experiments, and our nieces, Addie and Laura, for face painting. Without them, it probably would have felt more like a get together. With them, it felt like a party. 

Carving . . . pumpkins. I was kind of shocked, but all of our kids carved their pumpkins all on their own. Even Ian. He pulled out all of the pumpkin guts (with a little help from Mike for the final scraping). And then he carved the entire face, free form, by himself. It was my favorite.

Participating . . . in a basketball clinic. Clark has never really played basketball before, so when I found out that a three-week clinic was being held at the high school, I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to try it out. Turns out, it wasn't really his thing.

Dressing . . . up as characters from The Princess Bride. Maybe our favorite family theme to date. You can see more photos in this post

Closing . . . out the month with all the normal Halloween festivities. The elementary kids had parades and class parties (Bradley's class party involved eating live crickets--yuck!). In the evening, we ate hot dogs and soup with our neighbors before taking to the streets and knocking on doors. Max and Bradley went off with friends (much to Clark's disappointment, who wanted the whole family to stay together to play up the Princess Bride theme). Mike and I took the little kids around the neighborhood while Aaron stayed home and passed out candy. The weather cooperated, and it was a really nice night. 

And with that, October is done and finished!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground