Hi there! It's been awhile. Life has been good—a little busy—I just haven't felt the itch to share my life in a public forum lately.

But I miss having the record of our quotidian happenings. I enjoy looking back at life five years ago, and it's sad to think that in the future, I wouldn't have the same record of what's happening now.

I'm going to try moving to a longer format and checking in once a month with major happenings and goal updates. So here goes!


January Happenings

Church went from three hours to two at the beginning of the year. It is turning out to be a lot easier for some of us (like me!—but also Pip) to make it through. Going along with that, we started a new home gospel study program. Our goals were to move our study to the kitchen table (instead of the couches, because we were getting a little too casual), and to participate in the program. It has made a big difference in our study, and I love how the lessons at church are synchronized with the home study.

Our stake church group had an arts event this January. Tiger Lily and Red Chief had their paintings displayed, and Red Chief played his French horn in the concert. I'm proud of both of them. Tiger Lily has been taking art classes for the last six months and has produced some very nice paintings under her teacher's supervision. Red Chief has been working hard on his French horn for almost two years, and his performance showed all the hard work and love he's put into it.

Tiger Lily has been participating in a STEM club after school. It has worked out to be a blessing for us, because Red Chief just switched piano teachers and lesson times, and the club allows us to pick Tiger Lily up from her club right after piano lessons, instead of having her come home to an empty house. Luckily she enjoys the club—it's not just the scheduling boon that I'm grateful for.

Red Chief's new piano teacher is an older lady (a great-grandma!) who is very exacting. We're sad that his old teacher had to stop teaching, but we're happy to have found a teacher who is such a perfect fit for him (she only teaches classical music and hymns—just the things that Red Chief is interested in playing). The only spot she had in her schedule requires me to pick Red Chief up right from school (I abhor the traffic in that parking lot!) and take him straight to lessons. It has been going well so far, although I feel for poor Pip spending so much time in the car between both sets of Red Chief's music lessons.

I finally let Tiger Lily quit piano lessons. She has hated it for long enough that it wasn't just a passing struggle, and I just didn't have the energy to make her keep practicing. She is much more interested in theater and art, and although I hoped she would become a competent pianist as well, it looks like it's just not going to be her thing.

All of us but Pip went to see The King and I. It was a good performance and it was fun to take the kids to a musical, although next time Red Chief wants to see a shorter one.

Red Chief was called to be secretary for his age group at church. He is taking his calling to heart and it warms my heart to see him performing his duties with no urging from anyone.

My husband has been busy. He is the scoutmaster for our ward right now, and it's a demanding job that takes up most of his free time. I'm grateful for my husband and all the other adults who spend extra time to teach and help my children at church.

I've been busy too. I'm two-thirds through a plant-based nutrition course. I've been using Pip's computer time to get my classwork done.

The local professional orchestra asked me to sub with them this month. I said yes to one concert and no to another that wouldn't work with my schedule (it's hard to fit it in when they need you every night for a whole week!). It was surreal filling out employment forms after not having a job for twelve years. I have been practicing hard and will perform this week and next. I was excited at first, but the whole thing is turning out to be fairly stressful and nerve-wracking for me, and at this point I'm just excited for it to be over.



Gospel study with the family. As I mentioned above, this has been going really well. I'm so grateful for the new program.

Losing ten pounds this year. Down three. Changing my habits at the grocery store to buy less junk food has helped me a lot. Also, handing over my chocolate stash to my husband. He gives me one a day and it's working great.

Potty training Pip. He has finally decided that it's okay to poop in the potty. This is a huge breakthrough and while we still have farther to go, I'm 100% satisfied with this month's progress.

Teaching Pip to read. Pip has expressed interest in reading lately. He knows his letters and letter sounds, so we're moving on to sounding out short, phonetic words. I've also made him a few flashcards with simple sight words that we'll work on this month.

Reading fifty books. My local library is having a 50-book challenge, and I've signed up. The books have to come from specific categories listed by the library. I'm aiming to finish one a week, and I made a spreadsheet to help myself keep track. In January I read:

  • A book from a library display: Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty
  • A book with an alternative lifestyle: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (I'm not sure what they were getting at with this category, so I hope a book about three responsibility-free, Millennials-of-another-century-who-think-they're-hilarious-type men living on a boat for a couple of weeks counts!)
  • A cozy mystery: Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer (It didn't up being very cozy . . . I thought from the author that it would be, but I was wrong! However, it wasn't gory or hardboiled either, so I'm content.)
  • An autobiography or memoir: Becoming by Michelle Obama (I ended up enjoying all the books this month, but I liked this one best.)
Less screens and more books. The library reading challenge has helped me move away from screens a little, as has my violin practicing. I seem to get more headaches when I get too much screen time, so I will continue to limit my time. 

Go to the temple every month. January: check.

Play more board games as a family. I could do better at this. 

Get rid of 2019 things this year. I have postponed this goal until March when my class and concerts are over, but I still managed to get rid of over 300 things in January! 

Do something with our digital photos. This is another goal I'm postponing until March. However, I have started some preliminary sorting and deleting, and I've decided that I'm going to start with last year (while I still remember it!).


Funny sayings from Pip
  • Looking out the window: "Why is it all froozinated out there?"
  • "Can you cut my pancake into tiny rectangles and put poison syrup on it?" (He meant boysenberry)
  • To the barking dogs on our walk: "Stop it, dogs. I'm not bothering you. Stay in your own habitat!"

That ended up being a lot more than I expected. If you made it through all that, I'm surprised!


Cake day

Today I had more energy than usual and didn't have to be anywhere in the afternoon, so cake happened. Soup and three loaves of bread happened too, while I was at it.

It had occurred to me earlier today that it has been years since I made my husband his favorite spice cake.

Not anymore.


Quick trip

We made a quick trip to visit family over the weekend to see my sister's baby blessed and to visit with everyone. The children had the most fun playing my parents' two organs and two pianos. (Pictured above: Tiger Lily wearing my old dress, which is 20-something years old, at the pump organ, which is 100+ years old.)

We finished off the weekend with a cousins' piano recital (and Red Chief performed a hymn on the pipe organ, the first he's learned). We made an impromptu stop at a historical site on the way home and got back home late and tired, but happy.


Frivolous pleasures

Today Chrissy inspired me to share some of my favorite little pleasures. They may not be good for me and they're completely frivolous, but it's good to know what you need when it's time to unwind sometimes, no?
  • Food: Dairy free ice cream, chocolate cake, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate-covered raisins
  • Shows: Jane Austen movies (or spin-offs like Austenland), Studio C, TwoSet Violin, Antiques Roadshow, Great British Bake Off
  • Reading: Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, Patricia C. Wrede, D.E. Stevenson, L.M. Montgomery, Daisy Ashford, Grace Livingston Hill, James Herriot, J.K. Rowling, Ruth Reichl.
  • Music: Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel, Eric Whitacre, Anonymous 4, or just about any classical music
  • Activities: Journaling, sleeping, playing Design Home, listening to audio books or podcasts, genealogy, library trip, walk, arranging flowers
What do you do to unwind?


Flowers of two sorts

I gleaned my weedy garden yesterday and came out with these flowers. They were just what I needed to brighten up a house made gloomy by wildfire smoke. I haven't seen the sun all week!

And below the bouquet are some paper flowers Tiger Lily made earlier this summer. She learned to make them at an art class this summer, so I put in an order. She is usually happy to fill my requests. Now she's working on birthday cards to send out to relatives so I don't have to buy any.


Quick trip

We made a quick family trip before school started. We saw an ice cave, a volcanic site, and an early nuclear reactor, all of which Red Chief was highly pleased with (the rest of us didn't mind). We also stayed in a tipi and cooked over a fire, which the kids enjoyed very much.

The first night Pip was wandering around in the dark and fell on top of the fire pit (the fire was out). My husband and I just assumed it was still quite hot, and we immediately got the nearby hose and started treating him. But when I went to check the grate, it was almost cool. We feel very blessed that Pip came through with nothing more than a few scratches. However, the whole incident scared him and it took him quite awhile to calm him down.

The next evening a thunderstorm blew in, and it hailed and rained quite violently. Our tipi turned out not to be very waterproof and soon we and our belongings were quite damp. Pip was completely traumatized at the failure of his shelter and wailed all the way to a restaurant where we eventually warmed up. After dinner we packed up and went home a night early rather than sleep in puddles.

All in all, we actually had a great time, and we definitely made some memories. Three-year-olds may be easily upset, but they recover quickly.


Local economy

I've been pleased this summer to do business with my neighbors. One teaches art classes, another piano lessons. We buy garden vegetables from another, who also takes viola lessons from me. Teenagers in the neighborhood run summer workshops and classes for children, and I can't even count the number of times I've had them over to babysit. I love that we can all help each other, and it makes me feel more at home here, more rooted in our community.



Thanks so much to Danielle who let me know this week that comments on my blog weren't being published. I haven't seen any in my email in months and I just assumed no one was reading. I found your comments (thank you!) and I'll work now on figuring out what happened with the email. My apologies for not answering for so long!


Howlers from Pip

I love the stage when my kids start saying funny things unwittingly. Here are some of Pip's latest. He's three and a half.


"Mom, Tiger Lily's touching my property!"

Pip saw a man smoking in a parking lot. He was very impressed. "That man is blowing FIRE bubbles!"

Pip: "See these things in my ears? They're eardrunks. My eardrunks help me hear."
Me: "Oh, you mean eardrums?"
Pip: "No. Drunks help you hear. Not drums. I don't have drums in my ears!"

"Mommy, can you observation a tree and find me a chopped down tree?"

Tiger Lily had a doughnut.
Red Chief: "Could I please have a little bit?"
Pip: "You're allergic to doughnuts. Give it to me!"

Pip: "Mommy, are you happy?"
Me: "Yes."
Pip: "Then why is your mouth straight?"

"I got an owie on the chin of my arm."

Pip: "Can you please get me a drink of water?"
Me: "Sure."
Pip: "This water is too wet for me."