What have I been up to the last few months? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's start with January.
-No, let's start with Christmas. It was a nice one. Except for poor, poor Peter, who got horribly, wretchedly sick. Sick for Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and beyond. Last year it was me who was sick for Christmas, and this year it was him, and his sickness was much worse then what I had. He ended up having to check in to the E.R. the day after Christmas, and not to get too graphic or anything, but he threw up so much and so hard that it burst the blood vessels in his eyes. Hilarity ensued when we went on vacation a few days later and a lot of people did double-takes when they saw his creepy red eyes. It was so funny!
"Doesn't the red of this background bring out the red in my eyes nicely?"
Adding to the fun was where we were at. We rang in the New Year at Kalahari, one of our favorite indoor water parks and theme parks in Wisconsin Dells. As always, it was a good time.
Here was Sam navigating himself through stacks of inner tubes. This is what happens when you get there early in the day. I'm a big believer in getting to parks early before it gets crowded and lines get long. I hope the boys will still cooperate with doing that when they're teenagers! Wishful thinking, I know.
One boy up high...
...and the other playing it safe a little further down.
We went bowling, where Peter got his revenge and whipped all of our butts.
Oh Instagram, I still don't miss you very much and this didn't tempt me to return to you.
It was a cute photo prop though!
Sam is such a happy boy.
-And then it was back to reality. We saw a fox in the field next to our house on a frigid Sunday afternoon. We watched him pounce on something in the field, probably an unfortunate mouse. This was an unusual event as we rarely see foxes around here. My camera wouldn't zoom in on it well and this is the best picture I was able to get.
What does the fox say?
"It's cold out here!"
"It's cold out here!"
-Boo Boo and I enjoyed watching the deer in the yard. I always sympathize with deer in winter. It's cold out, they're hungry and food is hard to find, and they have to watch out for hunters, cars, and crazy dogs who want nothing more than to chase them down (not mentioning any names here).
-In the midst of quarter-end when he was working late nights and Saturdays, Peter had a birthday. I got him a cookie dough ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. I can't believe I'm married to a 37-year-old. We're getting old.
-John had his first band concert. It was really fun to watch (and hear). They played one of my favorite songs, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," and it really did fill me with joy to hear that and to have John be a part of it. I'm so happy with how much he likes playing trombone. He's taken to it much better than he did to piano.
That's him walking to his seat, third one from the right. We couldn't see him for the rest of the concert! But we could hear him!
-My evening mug of hot chocolate tastes especially good in this Downton Abbey mug!
-I got a new church calling. I'm now the Wolf Den leader for Cub Scouts. I'd been wanting to serve in Scouts for awhile, so although it was sad for me to leave Nursery, I'm happy with this new opportunity. I think the Scout program is so important and so good for boys. I feel like boys are being left behind and unfavorably targeted in many ways in today's world, and because of that I'm totally committed to doing my best for them in the Scouting program. Perhaps because I'm a mother of sons, I feel very strongly that we need to do better for our boys and give them a lot of loving support and instruction from the time they're young. The calling certainly has its challenges--we have twelve(!!) active, energetic 8-year-old boys in our den--but the activities are fun and my den co-leader and I work well together.
As for the picture below, I made these M&M cookies (from scratch!) for January's Pack Meeting and I was pleased with how well they turned out!
-The boys met Herky the Hawkeye (the University of Iowa's mascot). He disapproved of John's Patriots shirt (the Pats aren't popular in the Midwest, I have no idea why), but he was kind enough to take a picture with them anyway.
-I went to see Jeb Bush speak! I love being able to see the presidential candidates every four years. One of the things I like best about living here is the Iowa Caucus. It's neat to see the candidates in person and to get a feel for them that way. I was really impressed with Jeb. He was thoughtful, sincere, substantive, and well-spoken. I'm disappointed that he didn't do better in the campaign. I think he would have made a fine president and that he was a much stronger candidate than he was given credit for.
He was looking right at me here. What's up, Jeb?
-I did some cleaning and organizing work in the storage room and came across this box that I started seven or eight years ago when we still lived in Connecticut. I had a dream then of someday owning a house on Cape Cod and so I started this box and over the years I filled it with things for this future dream house. And then in 2013, that house became a reality! I fully believe in the power of doing concrete things like this to help make dreams and goals actually come true, whether it's a vision board or a Pinterest board, a list, or a simple cardboard box. This alone won't make it happen but it puts you on the path to getting there.
-I was reading the paper one day and came across this picture of a Dodge Caravan from the 80s. This was my family's car when I was a kid! This minivan was the coolest! (Not really...obviously.) It was a nice blast from the past to see it again.
And that was some of what was up in January.