Friday, April 12, 2019

March 2018 Randoms

One day there were some unique violins set up in the music store where Sam took piano lessons.

I play the piano and I like being able to do that, but my favorite instrument is the violin. I took one year of it in 7th grade in Utah and then we moved to Massachusetts and my new school didn't have an orchestra, so I didn't take it up again. It's one of my biggest regrets because I really wish I could play the violin. I've been thinking about taking private lessons for years but I feel kind of silly doing it as an adult. But I really do hope to make my dream of becoming a violinist, even a (very) amateur one, happen at some point!

Here's Violet lying in a patch of sun with her ear flipped up. 😄

This was the last Iowa men's gymnastics meet we went to. Our whole family really enjoyed these meets. 
This was a big one, with teams from three different universities (Iowa, Penn State, and Arizona State).

There's John down on the floor in the blue shirt and pants! He volunteered to do a fun relay race during one of the breaks. I took a video of him doing that so this is the only picture I have. He did great and had a fun time! 

Here was another eventful trip to the vet with all three pets (I missed it being four with Brody 💔). 
Bentwood is the most chill cat! Usually cats are more high-strung (Brody was), but Bent was as cool as a cucumber whenever we went to the vet, which made him a favorite there.

Boo Boo is the one who got the most high-strung about vet visits! 

Note how he's lying right by the door--he wanted out of there ASAP! 😄

Sweet relief, time to go home!

I liked this cover of the Lands' End catalog. This model is living my dream leisure life (travel, beach, relaxation) and I thought she was really pretty. By the way, I think Lands' End swimsuits are the best. I have several of their pieces, including a longsleeved swim shirt like this one (but with a different design).

The March Relief Society activity was a Murder Mystery dinner, and it was really fun! At my table I turned out to be the murder victim and so I got to lay in the hallway at one point pretending to be dead. What a spiritual feast it was. 😂

The table centerpieces at the dinner were these amazing homemade chocolate bowls that held a delicious array of fruit. Chocolate and fruit, one of my favorite combinations!

I took pictures of our cluttered bookshelves before their contents were packed away. If we hadn't moved I would have cleaned them out and re-organized because they really had gotten very full, but there was no need to do that since most of this was going into boxes in order to stage the house. In fact, much to my dismay, they ended up taking out this whole wall of bookshelves and putting the piano there. My cozy little book nook was soon to be no more. 😢

 I don't care what the experts say, the site of cluttered bookshelves makes me happy. 😊

The boys' picture wall in the upstairs hallway was going to have to come down too, so I had to take pictures of that before its demise. 
I didn't put these up in our new house even though there's a good hall for it because it's so much work and it takes up more and more space as the years go by!

 And of course my magnet collection on the fridge was going to have to come down. I'd been collecting these since college from all of our trips! 

That wooden magnet with the girl in the pink and green dress--I painted that when I was a kid!
Sadly, the magnets have stayed bagged at our new house (actually, I don't even know where they are right now--they better not have gotten lost in the move!). The fridge in our new kitchen is stainless steel and isn't as magnet-friendly. Plus I can see how they do look a little "busy." But I still love them. 

I spotted this in the HyVee parking lot. Just another reason to love the Midwest!

Check out the pair of fat little birdies sitting on top of the swingset roof! I thought they were so cute, even though they're hard to see because they blend right into the scenery.

Right after the book nook, the jacuzzi tub was my next-favorite spot in the house. I took many relaxing bubble baths here over the years. The tub was ideally situated under these two windows because when the water was too hot (as it often was at first), I'd open the windows and the cool breeze coming in felt really nice in combination with the hot water, and steam would rise up from the water. It was bathtime magic!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Friends, and Snow, and a Very Bad Cold

One of John's best friends for most of our eight years in Iowa was a boy his age named Abe who lived in our neighborhood, which made things very convenient for them (and for me!). Abe's younger brother Ike was a grade above Sam and he and Sam got along well together, so one or both of these brothers would often be over at our house throughout the week. It was good friendships like these that in part made moving away so hard! 

The boys had a lot of fun with our big sandbox over the years. When it was warm enough out they could use the hose and they made all kinds of neat creations with the sand and water.
Sam and Ike 

Here they are on a different day last March doing some more designing and digging. That sandbox and swingset and the backyard in general provided literally hundreds of hours of entertainment for the boys and their friends over the years. 

The boys had a double sleepover with Abe and Ike at our house one Friday night in March. It was fun for them, but I was coming down sick with what turned out to be an awful cold, and a howling winter storm moved in that night, and Peter was away traveling, and I barely slept. But the boys had fun! 


John and Abe figured out a creative way to ride the hoverboard together. 😂

Speaking of that cold and that storm...I was so sick and uncomfortable with a horrible chest cold the rest of that weekend and well into the following week. It was truly one of the worst colds I've ever had. I drank a lot of water and herbal tea with honey but they didn't do the trick the way they usually do. And Zicam's homeopathic tablets were nothing in the face of this beastly cold. Even when I pulled out the big guns (a.k.a. heavier meds like Tylenol Cold Severe) this cold from hell (pun intended) stubbornly resisted! 😷

It snowed quite a bit and covered up all of the pretty spring (and ugly black ash of the field) that had been starting to bud. Crazy March can never seem to make up its mind!

Sorry boys. You can't use the hose. Ha ha!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fire in the Field

Every spring or sometimes every other spring in our neighborhood in Iowa the fire department would do a controlled burn of the prairie grasses in the fields. I thought it was crazy our first few years there (how could they burn such innocent beauty away, leaving ugly black ashes instead?), but once I got used to it and saw how quickly everything grew back I understood it better. Without the burns, the fields would grow out of control, apparently. (Although I remain somewhat skeptical of this because they never burned the field right next to our house and it didn't grow out of control.) In any case, the burns were fun to watch, and there's a lot of meaning and symbolism behind burning and re-growth that you can go in all sorts of directions with if you're feeling philosophical or poetic (which I'm not at the moment). 

Getting ready to burn it all down.

Boo Boo objected strenuously to these strange people and machines in the backyard.

It starts in the distance at the far end of the field...

...and quickly grows closer. Fire moves so fast!

Then it came creeping up our ridge...

...right to the edge of the yard. Thank goodness for controlled burns. I can only imagine the terror of that being an actual wildfire, and my heart goes out to the victims of wildfires who have had to face such devastating horror.  


Nothing but smoke and ashes now. The whole process doesn't take long, not more than 20-30 minutes.

Once it was calm and everyone was gone I let Boo Boo out to explore. (He can't go into the field because of the invisible fence line.) 

A field of gold replaced by flat black ash. 😕 Fortunately, everything really does grow back quickly. This was in March. Wait until you see the pictures I'll post from May! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sam the Man

I took some cute pictures of Sam in March of last year, and I think they deserve their very own blog post.

A moment of sweet repose...

...until Boo Boo decided to get up!

Sam is by far the most artistic person in our family. He loves drawing and designing and making his own art projects.

Another sweet moment of repose! Boo Boo totally surrendered to it this time. I love this photo!  
They're both so soft and cuddly to cozy up with!  

I think he was reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. It warmed my book-loving heart to see Sam reading like this. 

I think he was mad at me about something. I thought it was funny.

I went around the whole house taking pictures and video of everything and every room before the house had to get de-personalized and fixed up and ready to sell. These are some pictures of Sam's room. The art walls around his bed were so fun and I was sad to have to take them down.  

 He'd written and crossed out on his doors over the last few years: Come in! Do not come in. He wasn't supposed to do that but he did it! They got scrubbed off by the team working on our house (I had been unsuccessful in my attempts).

I love my little Sam man, quirks and all!