A Little of This and That in March

Apr 17, 2023

We are well into April at this point, but back when it was still March, I was pretty much convinced that spring would never come. The snowstorms and cold temperatures were relentless. March came in like a lion, March hung out like a lion, and March left like a lion. It seemed like I couldn't talk about anything except the weather because I found it so depressing, and at least I felt some validation when I knew other people were unhappy about it, too. So forgive me if I mention the weather several times in this monthly recap. I promise I'll mention some other things as well, such as . . . 

Celebrating . . . another teenager in the house. Maxwell turned thirteen at the beginning of the month. He had been warning us of all the bad things that would happen when he reached that magical age, such as becoming surly, grumpy, smelly, lazy, and difficult to be around, but so far, we haven't seen this transformation. Instead, he is still the nice, sensitive, responsible kid we all know and love. Highlights from the day included cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading off to early jazz band, taking him Arby's for lunch, skipping debate after school and bringing a friend home instead, getting lots of fun presents (including wireless headphones, which he loves), having his traditional birthday dinner of salmon, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and broccoli, inviting Mike's parents over (they had just returned from Africa), and eating cake and ice cream (his cake had something to do with a Brandon Sanderson book--don't ask me!). It was a good day.

Taking . . . photos of snow. We will never forget this crazy winter. Just storm after storm after storm. So much snow. The good news was that it definitely melted faster in March than it did in December, January, or February, so we actually got a couple of glimpses that gave us hope for the future. But in the meantime, snow. 

Signing . . . all the time. Silas doesn't say many words, but he is signing a lot. He loves to watch Baby Signing Time, and it has been very effective in teaching him many signs (with lots of demonstrating and implementing from all of us). Off the top of my head, here are the signs I have seen him do: more, thank you, please, water, mom, dad, eat, cracker, milk, stop, wash hands, dog, cat, bird, car, hat, sleep, mom, dad, and cold (probably his favorite one because he signs it when he wants to go outside). It is so fun to see him use these, although many of them look very similar when he does them, so we sometimes have a hard time understanding what he wants. 

Knitting . . . a hat. And this time I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about Clark! He really wanted to learn how to knit. So did one of his friends. So I taught both of them, and they both finished a hat. I was so impressed that he didn't give up through the many mistakes and bumps along the way, and now he wears it proudly. 

Attending . . . Aaron's first choir concert. Aaron has been absolutely loving choir. He has actually been enjoying it much more than band, so we'll see if he decides to keep both next year or just stick with choir. We enjoyed the concert very much, and Mike and I especially got a kick out of Aaron in the last number, which was a combined song with all of the choirs and included lots of dancing, something we don't usually get to see from him. Clark is always up for a concert, so he came too and loved it, and we also had Mike's mom and my parents there. 

Auditioning . . . for Troubadours. Speaking of choir, Aaron decided to audition for Troubadours (the men's auditioned choir at his high school). He wanted to make it so much. As a parent, it's really nerve wracking to watch your child reach for something new but not have any control over the results. Aaron was so nice and let me look at the results with him . . . and his name was on the list! He was so pumped and excited. It was a huge confidence boost for him, and he can't wait to be in this performing group next year. 

Gambling . . . with the weather. As I already mentioned, the weather was . . . rather depressing for most of the month. We wanted to be able to host our annual pie party since we typically try to do it around March 14th, but it just didn't seem like we would get a warm day without any snow on the ground. But then, the forecast looked like we might get something pretty close to that. I mean, "warm" is relative, right? When we saw that it was supposed to be in the upper 40's and sunny on a Saturday in the middle of March, we decided to take a chance and go for it. Mike made his pie spreadsheet, purchased all the ingredients, took work off for a couple of days, and went crazy. He made chocolate mousse, caramel apple, strawberry, triple berry, key lime, chess, pecan, pumpkin custard, lemon sour cream, and coconut macaroon. The pies filled up the fridge and towered in boxes on the counter. And meanwhile, each day the weather mocked us. It was cold and cloudy and so windy. Saturday morning started out with more of the same. But then, angels decided to smile down on our pie party. The sun came out, the wind stilled, and the temperature inched up close to fifty degrees. And almost like emerging from hibernation, the people came!! It was the most perfect afternoon. Unbelievable, really, given the kind of weather we had during the days leading up to it and following it. But somehow, we got the one and only good day to host over 230 people and eat over 60 pies. It was so much fun and exactly what we needed to feel hopeful that spring will eventually come. 

Participating . . . in the state math counts competition. Maxwell was one of four mathletes from his junior high who got to compete at the state level, so he spent a Saturday morning solving math problems, which is his idea of fun.  

Feeling . . . like no matter how much he's outside, it's never enough. Silas wants to be outside all day, every day. No matter the weather or the temperature, he'll take it all. The rest of us? We'd rather stay inside when it's cold and snowy and windy, but Silas acts like this is the greatest injustice and stands at the front door, pulling on the handle and crying. And if anyone dares to go outside and leave him behind? Unforgivable. 

Reading . . . another round of great books. For the third month in a row, I finished six books, which were:

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri (highly recommend the audio of this one, as it's read by the author, and this is his own story)

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (I wonder if I would have liked this one more if I'd listened to it. It seemed long and repetitive and tedious.)

Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (Started this back in October and finally picked it up again to finish it. Really gripping, even while knowing the ending.)

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson (Won the Newbery this year; super fascinating (but also maybe slightly romanticized?) historical fiction about the swamp communities formed by escaped slaves)

One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle (a collection of essays focused on the wonder of everyday life)

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (my favorite book this month; loved the writing and the characters)

Visiting . . . This is the Place. My parents gave us a pass to This is the Place Heritage Park for Christmas. I thought we would begin using it immediately. But it's just been so cold that I couldn't bring myself to go. I finally decided to just pick the nicest day in a week and go. It was still cold but sunny, and we had the place mostly to ourselves. The train was still running, and they were still giving tours of the pioneer homes (which I'd never done before), so it ended up being a fun morning with my two little guys.

Making . . . a couple of playlists. You know this is one of my favorite things. I love curating playlists to go along with the seasons and holidays. This month, I made a new one for spring (check it out here) and another one for Easter (one of my favorites to put together--click here to see it). We listened to both of them all month long, along with the ones from past years.

Writing . . . planning, practicing, and performing a skit for FPS (Future Problem Solvers of America). Bradley was in a group with four of his friends. They had to come up with a skit that demonstrated solutions to a specific problem. They did a great job (especially thanks to some intervention and guidance from Mike and one of the moms). Their skit was both entertaining and informative, and they ended up winning first place in the state competition. Their team also took second place in the packet portion of the competition. Bradley was very pleased.

Taking . . . advantage of any semi-nice day. Silas, Ian, and I got out to the park one morning. There were still some piles of snow to navigate around, but they managed to still have fun. Don't be fooled by the way Ian was dressed. It was actually quite nippy, but he's crazy.

Making . . . cars for a potato derby. What is a potato derby, you ask? It's like a pinewood derby but with potatoes instead. You carve the potato into the shape you want, add some wheels, and you're ready to race. This was an activity at church geared for the 7-11 year-olds (but younger kids were invited to participate as well), and it was so much fun. The cars raced surprisingly well, and the kids loved watching them go down the track. Such a fun night.

Trying . . . to make a break for it. We set up a little outdoor pen for the bunnies so that they can have some more space. They love it, and, surprisingly, even the snow makes them quite happy. Unfortunately, there was a little gap between the fence and the ground, and the bunnies took advantage of it and got out. I probably wouldn't have even thought to check on them in the middle of the day, but Ian did and found them missing. Luckily, they hadn't gone too far (but they had made it to the front yard). I actually made Mike come home from work to help corral them and get them back into their hutch. I'm just so relieved we realized they were out before they roamed the neighborhood or were found by a dog. 

Celebrating . . . the end of a very successful third quarter of school. I've already mentioned a lot of the good news from this quarter, but besides those things, Max also got perfect 4's on his entire report card, and the other boys all received good grades as well. So we took them out to dinner to celebrate. Mike's parents watched Silas and Ian for us, so we really could enjoy the food and each other's company and not be in a rush to leave. 

Looking . . . pretty dapper on a Sunday. Silas fits into a sweater I made for Ian when he was little, and it is so fun to have a child who can wear it again. 

Picking . . . up trash. Bradley has been doing a service project for the Hope of America award. He decided to clean up litter at all of the nearby schools. He has to do 10-12 hours. The hardest part of this project has been finding days when all of the snow has melted enough that he can actually find the trash that is on the ground. 

Exploring . . . Goblin Valley and Canyonlands. We had spring break this month and spent three of those days in southern Utah. Our kids adore Goblin Valley. If they had to list their favorite places on earth, it would for sure be in the top five. There just isn't anywhere else like it. It's God's amusement park, filled with endless rock formations, each one different and unique. But instead of just enjoying it with your eyes, it is a very tactile experience. The boys climbed up to the top of hoodoo after hoodoo, and each one brought a new delight. Silas could not have been happier except for the times when everyone else was ready to move along and he was still stacking little stones on top of of a bigger rock. Besides Goblin Valley, we also hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon, drove through Canyonlands and stopped at various lookout points, went to the Green River museum, played at the park in the sunshine, watched movies and shows, and ate yummy food. Except for Ian asking, "Why do we have to go on so many adventures?" we had a great time, and I have way too many photos to share them all here.  

That's it for March, but I just have to finish this little update by sharing a quote from Emily Belle Freeman that I just heard today (mid-April), but I think it applies to things I was feeling, experiencing, and thinking about in March: "It's like all of a sudden your mind just lights up this trail of illuminated moments. And you didn't even realize they were collecting over time." I'm sharing it out of context (both hers and mine), but it was a good reminder for me. 

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