Pi day preparations

Red Chief's middle school knows how to celebrate pi day the right way! They've requested 250 pies for their math students, and I'll be contributing two of them.

While I was at it, I made peanut butter granola (Tiger Lily's request) and bread (Red Chief's request). I also made another small pie from the scraps of the big ones. Tomorrow I'll make a chickenless pot pie and a fresh strawberry pie for our family.

Pip is having a hard time waiting for pi day. He's been asking about it ever since we bought the pie pans and whipped cream last week. One more day, little man!


Making music

My husband and I brought back a toy instrument–building kit from our trip to Arizona. The kids can't stop playing with it. One morning I looked down to find Tiger Lily and Pip playing a duet.

But my favorite part about the scene is that Pip has his hand in the bell of his "French horn." Why yes, he does pay attention to what his big brother does. He's fortunate to have such a good example, in music playing and in other matters as well.



I played in an orchestra concert last weekend. I have been playing with this group since I moved here about eleven years ago, but the group has evolved beyond recognition. We used to number about fifteen, and we were always struggling to find rehearsal space, performance venues, and cellists (not to mention a conductor).

Several years ago, an amazing musician adopted us. She chooses programs and conducts, and her incredible enthusiasm has attracted a whole stage full of musicians and a whole auditorium full of concertgoers!

Lucky us.


Pink cupcakes

Pip's latest favorite book is Pinkalicious. It brings back good memories for me, since about five years ago, it was Tiger Lily who was obsessed with it.

Today we made pink cupcakes. It was such a simple little thing, but it made Pip's day. Sometimes I think I kind of forgot how to mother littles between Tiger Lily and Pip. Baking together: check! Yes, that's how I used to do it.


Back to it!

Getting back into the swing of things:

  • A new invention to use up what was in the fridge: pasta nachos. Not bad! Night two will be either enchiladas or corn chowder and then it's going to be either a trip to the store or food storage for dinner.
  • Taking Tiger Lily in for x-rays to try to find out about her chronic ankle pain. (The verdict? All bones look good.)
  • Red Chief's first trip to the music store by himself on his bike. He's been waiting for this day ever since he started playing the French horn. 
  • A house fire next door. We have good neighbors who noticed soon and did everything right so the damage was minimal compared to what it could have been. The neighbors whose house caught fire weren't home, so no one was hurt.
  • Pip tried on his daddy's coat. 
  • Snow (meh) and sun to melt it (yay).
  • Flowers, a drawing, and a cake waiting for us when we came home. 
  • Teaching my violin and viola students (one of each). The break gave me time and perspective to come up with a couple of things to help them, so that was good.
  • Randomly pulling down my violin and playing nothing but folk songs even though I should be practicing the insanely hard music for my orchestra concert this Saturday.


A trip

My husband and I did something this month that we haven't done since before Tiger Lily was born: go on a trip alone together. My parents came for an entire week so we could have a nice long trip to Arizona. Everyone there thought it was cold, but we enjoyed the 50–60 degree weather.

It was a true break: long enough and a complete change from everyday life. There was no work to do and nothing to worry about.

Once we got to Arizona, I was unprepared for how much I would like cacti and desert plants. They're so different! I couldn't stop admiring them, so my husband took me to Saguaro National Park and a desert botanical garden. We also visited a musical instrument museum, shopped at a bookstore, saw a play, walked the grounds of four(!) LDS temples, and ate lots of yummy food. I did get food poisoning one day, but I got over it quickly and enjoyed watching the Olympics while I was down.

All in all, I feel that I was thoroughly and completely spoiled! I'm grateful to have had such a thorough break, and I'm happy to be home again, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my regular tasks again.

The Gilbert Arizona LDS Temple

Cactus at Saguaro National Park


January sunshine

  • Yellow chrysanthemums
  • A crossword puzzle
  • New pens
  • Kiwifruit and clementines
  • Preschool activities with Pip
  • A new dishwasher
  • Visits from our parents
  • Earlier sunrises
  • Evening talks with Tiger Lily



This year's amaryllis turned out to be very tall and apple-blossom colored, and it developed three large buds (all of which have bloomed), and one small one (which hasn't yet).

I had to prop it up against the cupboard all morning when it started leaning, and it righted itself nicely.

Our best ever!


The last 10%

I've been thinking about cleaning lately. My house isn't disgusting; in fact it's usually about 20 minutes away from being presentable. I usually keep up on the basics, like dishes and laundry. My problem area is picking up.

My dear three-year-old Pip prefers his toys to be scattered far and wide. He gets more out from the closet before the old ones are put away. Of course he does; he's three. That's what three-year-olds do.

The rest of us (myself included) leave our belongings scattered across the living area of the house too. The big kids leave their backpacks and coats on the couches; there are always shoes and socks on the floor. The kitchen counter is a melange of school papers, mail, jars, and anything people don't want Pip to reach. The computer desk and mantel usually house recently used DVDs, pencils and paper, small electronics, and books.

All the clutter makes me feel a little bit crazy, but it's always around, so I kind of get used to it. Of course that means that normally I am operating at a low level of crazy. I feel so much more peace when things are picked up and caught up. I tell myself I can't always keep the house pristine—which is true! I have a three-year-old—but I'm afraid I currently err on the side of letting it slide a little too much. I look around the main room at night after the kids are in bed and I'm tired and I think, "What's the point? He'll just dump everything out again tomorrow."

But I have come to realize that it's the last 10% of cleaning that gives me 90% of the satisfaction. If my home is mostly caught up and reasonably sanitary underneath, I get very little pleasure out of that if the surface is covered in clutter. I get the pleasure out of putting a vase of flowers on a clear counter, or sitting down to relax in the evening when the toys are all picked up.

I need to remember this. I know I can't keep it all picked up all the time—because we live here!—but I can plan perhaps two times a day when it will be picked up. And then I will get to have the peaceful pleasure of the last 10% being done.


Bright spots

  • Pip peeling and eating orange after orange after orange
  • A thaw
  • Four new-to-me vegan cookbooks at the thrift store
  • Red Chief's progress and pleasure in his French horn playing
  • Rain (I love the sound of rain)
  • Reading a library book all in one day
  • Tiger Lily having friends over
  • Caught-up laundry
  • Pip's imagination
  • New napkins from my mom
  • A surprise evening with my husband when we thought he'd be gone
  • The neighbors' kitten
  • Clean, shiny bathrooms