Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sometimes I Am Too Optimistic

This past week was not very good. I was tired and didn't sleep well most nights--I should have been writing a draft of my paper that is due next Sunday, but I haven't done it yet. There were several nights where I felt exhausted and decided to try going to bed early instead of writing, and instead I didn't fall asleep right away so I was still tired and I have no draft of my paper. I also spent most of the week stressing about our final exam that took place this morning. Spoiler alert: I took the exam and think I did a pretty reasonable job even though it's hard to write seven decent short essays in 75 minutes.

We're all adjusting after the death of our sweet kitty last Saturday. Surprisingly the kids have been mostly fine with the new state of things. My other kitty spent the first few days wandering the house and meowing, which was more heartbreaking than actually saying goodbye to the other cat. She peed on the couch on Monday but has otherwise not changed her behavior too much other than spending more time hanging out with us. I've also felt discombobulated all week because last Saturday night someone in Illinois tried to use my credit card number (I have the card here in my hand), and my card company cancelled it immediately. Thankfully I have excellent fraud protection included with my card. Unfortunately my new card hasn't arrived yet and I've had to use my debit card all week. Normally I put everything on the credit card and pay it off monthly so I can maximize my reward points. This week has also included quite a bit of drama at work, which is unfortunate because we usually don't have drama at work. We're making some changes in our department, and change has a tendency to make people unhappy and scared. I've resolved to do a better job next week of staying out of it, because I have a bad habit of jumping into the middle of everything. Time to be more positive and patient. Oh, and I had applied for a different position at work, one that I thought I might be qualified for (and had several people urged me to apply for), and found out that I didn't even get an interview. That was a bit disappointing too. I really do like where I'm working and look forward to the opportunities I have--especially once our departmental changes actually happen and things settle down a bit. 

By the time yesterday rolled around I was feeling pretty tired and worn out. The perfect time to start a home improvement project, right? Earlier this week, the flusher in the kids' bathroom toilet broke and we've had to flush the toilet by hand. Yesterday morning S-Boogie and Little Dude were busy, so P. Bibby and I went to the hardware store to figure out what we needed to get to fix the toilet. Instead of just buying the one part, I discovered that you can completely re-do the inside of the toilet for not much money. This seemed like a good idea since this toilet is very old and didn't work very well. We came home and I optimistically estimated that it would take an hour or so to swap the parts out. An hour later, when we had to go pick up S-Boogie and Little Dude, I had not yet finished the first step of removing the toilet tank. My toilet was so old and covered in hard water deposits that it was taking forever to get the old nuts off and the old bolts out. My fingers were bruised and aching from the effort, and I wasn't even finished yet.

After picking up the other two kids, we all decided to go see a movie. We saw Home because Little Dude read the book last month--he thought the book was better. I've seen worse movies, but I've also seen better. After the movie we came back to our house and Little Dude started helping me with the toilet. After we finally got the tank off, we realized that our toilet was the kind that has a special gasket that you have to buy separately. Back to Lowe's for the gasket. Then back to the house, where Little Dude noticed that the kit we bought probably wasn't going to work with our toilet (today we realized that it probably would have, but yesterday we weren't quite expert plumbers yet). So we packed up the kit and took it back to Lowes, where we exchanged it for a different one. Back to the house to finish the installation--but by then it was close to dinner time. We took a needed break for food and then Little Dude and I tackled the toilet. Once we had the old parts all taken out, it really was easy to install the new set-up and it was mostly done within a half hour. However, we couldn't figure out how to make the flusher handle we had work with our particular toilet. I was tired and stressed out and decided that it could wait until Monday when we could go back to the store to look at our options. 

Then this morning I woke up to the sound of Little Dude in the bathroom fiddling around with things. He'd figured out how the flusher was supposed to work, hooked it up to the flapper, and was trimming a tube that completed the set-up. We tightened up the last few nuts, hooked up the water, and the toilet worked! Sometimes all you need is a good night's sleep and a new perspective. That's my lesson I learned today, and I hope next week is a better one than last week. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Today Was Strange

While I was making dinner on Thursday night I heard the unmistakable sounds of kitty barf happening in the hallway. I got there too late to move the cat, but realized that she was barfing up a large quantity of white foam and water. As soon as I saw that, my heart sank--that's exactly what has happened the last two times she ate something and got sick. I cleaned up the mess and finished dinner; later I checked the basement (her preferred barfing spot) and found more evidence of a sick cat. Friday morning she was curled up on the downstairs couch, and when I got home last night she was still in the same spot. This morning she made her way upstairs and lay down next to the water dish, looking sadly at it but not drinking. Thankfully the vet's office has Saturday hours, so I decided not to wait until Monday and gave them a call to make an appointment. 

Before taking the cat in to the vet, I had already decided that if she had a foreign object in her stomach I wasn't going to have them operate on her again. I know I wrote in that last post about taking responsibility for choosing to own a cat, but over Thanksgiving last year she ate a dart she found somewhere and had to have surgery again. I've spent about $2000 on this cat, and I've seen evidence in the litter box that she eats other things that do manage to make their way through her body. You can't train a cat, unfortunately, so there's not a good way to keep her from eating foreign objects. The kids were with Mr. Fob today, but I had him stop by the house with them so they could say goodbye to her. Then I took her to the vet. She had a fever and complained when the palpitated her abdomen. The vet took some x-rays and called me back to look at them. The routine was sadly familiar to me. This time there was something large in her intestines and something else in her stomach. Despite the fact that I'd made a decision before going to the vet's office, it was still hard to confirm it and sign the papers for the vet. We talked a while about what the options are in this situation, but the vet agreed with me that the future prognosis was not good for a cat with this bad of an eating habit. It's not just the cost of repeated surgeries or cleaning my carpet--it's the trauma for the cat and the time I have to take to care for her too. So, with a heavy heart, I signed the permission to euthanize her. Actually making the decision was harder than I expected it to be and I've felt bad about it all day. 

The rest of the day was a contrast to such an unfortunate morning. This afternoon I had plans with a friend to go see a play called Pilot Program, which is about a couple who is called to participate in the restoration of polygamy. It was well-written and well-performed, and I'm glad I saw it with someone so we could discuss it together.  We decided to get dinner afterwards and went to a nice restaurant; I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, which was a steak with roasted fingerling potatoes, and it was delicious. Then we went to Trader Joe's since we were in Salt Lake anyway. It was a delightful afternoon and I'm glad I got to spend time hanging out with a friend. I have too many Saturdays that are full of errands and homework and not enough fun. 

Maybe some day I'll get caught up on the blog again. I don't know. March was mostly nice. We celebrated Pi Day with friends and we ate green muffins for breakfast on Saint Patrick's Day. S-Boogie went to the state Geography Bee, Little Dude participated in district Knowledge Bowl, and we all survived S-Boogie's participation in the annual school musical. My parents came up for a quick visit to watch S-Boogie's performance, and once again it was amazing. I got the windows in my house replaced, and bought new blinds for the living room since the other ones didn't fit anymore. S-Boogie got notice that she was accepted to the special advanced learning program at the junior high this fall, so we're all excited about that. Somehow we're halfway through April now and I'm feeling a bit of panic about finishing up my school assignments (hello 20-page paper I still need to write) as well as all the things the kids need to do during the last bit of their school year. Then it's time to figure out our summer schedule and find someone to watch the kids each day. Life just keeps moving--hopefully we'll have more happy days ahead and not so many sad ones like today.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reading Roundup: March 2015

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

If anyone has been keeping track of my reading habits over the years, they will have noticed that I have a weakness for the "literary thriller of the month" (as I like to call it). I don't read a lot of mysteries otherwise, but every now and then I grab something like this book because it sounds fun. I figured out most of the plot twists in this book before they were revealed, but the ending still managed to have a few more that surprised me. Not the best thriller I've read, but certainly not the worst.

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

This is the first time I've read anything by Rebecca Solnit, and I fell in love with her beautiful writing and powerful insights. This book is hard to describe; it's a series of essays that are interconnected, and somewhat chronological. It's not quite a memoir and not quite a simple collection of standalone essays--the chapters describe a period of time in her life, with themes and images that connect them to one another and give the book some forward momentum. She talks about family, memories, and stories, as well as concrete things like apricots and ice (yes, I know that sounds weird). This was a lovely book that immediately made me want to re-read it, just to savor the images. It also inspired me to spend more time pondering and writing about my life, to perhaps find some connections and recurring themes of my own.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This was another lovely book (March was a good month for reading this year)--although "lovely" feels like a strange word to use to describe a book about an unhappy family and the death of a teenage girl. This book has some similarities to The Lovely Bones in its mood and themes, so if you liked that one, you probably would like this one. 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

As I read this book, I kept asking myself, "why didn't I read this book a few years ago?" I also spent a lot of time telling people I know all about how amazing this book and Brown's thoughts are. Even though I wish I had read the book sooner, I also don't know if the impact would have been the same because part of the reason why I liked it so much was the way it fit in with things I discussed with my therapist last fall and other changes I've been trying to make in my life. Even if you think you don't have problems with self-esteem or shame, I'd still recommend reading this. 

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

I read a lot of historical fiction, and particularly historical fiction about World War Two. I always like it when I find a book that either describes an aspect of the war I had not considered before. This book focuses on the British occupation forces in Hamburg in 1946--a time period I had not really read much about previously. The plot did not hold very many surprises and some of the characters are more developed than others, but this was still an engrossing and thought-provoking read.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reading Roundup: February 2015

Will Wonders Never Cease by Douglas Thayer

Thayer's short stories were among some of the first works of Mormon literature that I ever read, and I loved them. I've read almost all of his work during the last decade or so--some I've enjoyed and some I really haven't. I wasn't sure about this book before I read it; the subtitle and the obvious moralizing agenda put me off a bit. However, it turned out to be better than I thought it would be and I actually enjoyed reading it. Some of his books about teenage boys have not felt very realistic too me, but I felt like he got the voice of his protagonist right this time. That was important since this book has a somewhat thin plot and is mostly a character study. I think it would be interesting to hear the same story from the point of view of his mother since she plays such a large role in this book.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I really liked Forman's If I Stay when I read it a few years ago, particularly for the way it portrayed family relationships, so I've read a few of her other books since then but haven't liked them quite as much. This one was pretty good in some ways, but in others it didn't quite work for me. Perhaps it's just that I've read so many other similar YA books in the last five years--this one had a lot of the same plot elements that pop up in YA fiction and it didn't feel very original at all.

Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint by Donald Spoto

This was our bookclub pick for the month and I was glad to read it because I really didn't know much about Joan of Arc before. Obviously I had heard of her and knew a little about her life, but never felt inclined to read much more about her. This is a very thoroughly researched biography that is written in an accessible style. I also liked the fact that Spoto avoids sensationalizing and speculation about the life of Joan, and even finds ways to look at some of the things that have been said about her in a more fact-based light. This was also a great book to read during the last month while I was studying medieval print culture in my class, since it complemented what I was learning about.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

The tricky thing about writing a memoir is that you have to make your readers care about your life without being so obnoxious that you put them off. Harris' memoir about his newfound love for meditation and mindfulness walks a thin line. On the one hand, he does have a fascinating story about how he was able to use meditation to manage his busy, stressful life and to overcome other bad habits like drug use. On the other hand, stress in his life came from being a fairly high-profile reporter who did a lot of cool travel and had other amazing opportunities that I'll never have. He was also able to directly interview many of the more famous writers about meditation that he reads, which is again an experience that I'll never have. I can see why some people would find this book to be pretentious and annoying--however, I was in a generous mood when I read it and I managed to enjoy it. I've tried meditation a few times and found it to be a positive experience and this book did convince me to give it another shot.

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

I was really sick for a few days and discovered this book available for electronic check-out from my library. It's got a fairly standard chick-lit plot with some little twists. The book was fun and was a great distraction from the flu-of-death that I was battling.

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

There was a preview chapter from this book in Arranged and so I decided to read it next (on the second day of my terrible flu). I actually ended up buying this because I couldn't find it available at the library, in print or online. I feel slightly ashamed the the first e-book I've ever bought was basically a literary Twinkie. Thankfully it was cheap. This book had an interesting premise--the protagonist became ill while overseas, and then was stranded after a devastating earthquake in the city where she had been vacationing. By the time she gets home, everyone she knows has decided that she is dead and she has to rebuild her life. I thought that the book didn't really quite live up to its potential--first of all the protagonist was way too shocked that everyone thought she was dead. She was gone for six months and no one heard from her. Weird. There were also way too many plot holes for my taste, and the romance she fell into was a bit too sudden. Obviously I was feeling a lot crankier by the second day of my illness last month--maybe I would have liked this book more if I were in a better mood.


The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

I also thought the premise of this book was interesting, but it also didn't quite live up to it either. The idea was original and I liked the thought of looking at how two boys growing up in similar circumstances could diverge so thoroughly. However, I didn't feel like the author was very introspective and the narrative was also disjointed in too many spots.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

This was my first time reading Sanderson, and more than one friend has poked fun at my new-found enthusiasm. I wrote a (trying to be funny) post over at Segullah about my experience, because I've never been much of a fantasy reader, especially not epic fantasy. My only regret about reading this book is that I should have read The Way of Kings first--I didn't think I wanted to take the time, but I now realize that I really could have. Watch for a review of that book at some point during the next few months.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Februrary in a Flash

The first week of February was a good one and I was optimistic about the rest of the month. I had thought I'd post a little more often on the blog, but I didn't after all. Now I want to catch up on February and can't seem to remember anything significant happening. I got really sick during the second week of February--I went to bed on Tuesday night feeling fine, but at some point during the early morning hours I started feeling hot and restless. Thankfully the kids were at Mr. Fob's, as they usually are on Tuesday nights, because by Wednesday morning I felt like I had been run over by a truck. It's been a while since I have been that sick. I managed to crawl out of bed long enough to send some emails to people letting them know I wasn't coming to work. I also took my temperature, confirming that I had a fever, and went back to bed. I knew that if I could get up and fix myself some food, and take some medicine, I'd feel better. I just couldn't do it. Finally, at about noon, I got out of bed and made some oatmeal. After eating and taking some medicine I started to feel a bit better, and somehow made it through the rest of the afternoon and evening routine with the kids. Then I got them in bed and crashed some more--Thursday I felt slightly better and my fever finally went away. Friday I was well enough to get back to work, but it took a few more days before I really felt recovered. 

That weekend was the long holiday weekend and Valentine's Day. I hate it when I've looked forward to spending time with the kids and then things don't go well and we're all in a bad mood. I think I wasn't entirely recovered from being sick, so that didn't help either. On Saturday we made a last-minute decision to go to Ikea to get a few things, including new sheets for S-Boogie since hers were worn out. I thought it would be fun to get lunch and do some shopping, and that part of the trip was generally pleasant despite the crowds in the store. However, we also needed to go to the grocery store and that part of the trip used up the rest of my patience. I have a hard time grocery shopping with the kids, and I know part of the reason why I have a hard time is because I'm mentally beating myself up for having a hard time. We always have to go on Saturdays when the stores are really crowded, and I don't take the kids very often, so we aren't used to it. I get mentally overloaded really fast by having to make decisions about what to buy while monitoring three kids that are all milling around and grabbing the cart and asking me questions all the time. Next time we all go shopping together I need to have a better plan and deal with it better--this time Little Dude had a crying meltdown in the check-out lane (after I told him, for the tenth or eleventh time, to stop hanging on the cart and tipping it). We survived the grocery store without making too much of a spectacle of ourselves and spent the rest of the day at home. I made some fun heart-shaped jello for dinner, and attempted heart-shaped calzones that didn't quite work. The day ended nicely despite that afternoon's missteps. It was cold on Monday so we went to the movies--the only kid one available was Paddington and it wasn't terrible. The kids enjoyed it. 

Little Dude got sick later that week and then P.Bibby got sick this past week--both apparently had the same virus I'd suffered from. I stayed home from work last Wednesday, and admit that it was kind of relaxing to be home all day when I was well enough to enjoy it. I kept an eye on P.Bibby, who spent the day snuggling on the couch alternating between reading books and watching shows. I also did some laundry, caught up on homework, and made a big batch of banana muffins. 

The kids were here this weekend and we took things easy; yesterday was cold and snowy, so after running errands in the morning we stayed inside. Thankfully I could go to the grocery store with one kid while the other two were at a piano class--and we discovered that Target at 10 o'clock in the morning is pretty empty (good info to have for future reference). Yesterday afternoon we watched a Harry Potter movie and after dinner we played a board game together. Last night we did have a moment that I thought was going to be terrible and turned out great. We were playing the game Sorry!, which is a bit annoying but is one of the only ones that all three kids can play together. Little Dude had been in a bad mood for a while, for reasons that I really could not understand. As per their usual dynamic, S-Boogie was being silly and teasing him a bit, and not noticing that he really was not in the mood. Finally he got sick of it and punched her really hard in the back. That was a surprise since he doesn't usually do that very often. I took his game pieces off the board and sent him to his room to cool off. After a while he came back out and asked to rejoin the game. I suddenly remembered a concept we had talked about, but that I hadn't really tried out much--the better way to apologize outlined in this blog post. I talked both S-Boogie and Little Dude through their apologies and the mood lightened. It really worked! Little Dude joined us in playing and ended up winning the game. After I got P. Bibby in bed, I let the other two stay up a bit so we could play Rummikub together. This was a much better Saturday than we had two weeks ago, and I can see that my attitude played a big part in it.

And, that was February in a nutshell. We've had some cold and snow, though never enough to stick. We've had a few illnesses, but not enough to keep us down for long. February flew by and we're excited for a busy month of March. Next month the kids have Battle of the Books, Knowledge Bowl, and the school play. Plus I have to register S-Boogie for junior high (I know!), which involves choosing electives, deciding on an instrument to play in band or orchestra, and testing for advanced math. And of course we can't forget Pi Day or Saint Patrick's Day. Hopefully we'll survive and actually have some fun.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reading Roundup: January 2015

Wedding Cake by Josi Kilpack

This was a fun and suspenseful end to this mystery series; I have enjoyed reading Kilpack's books and think she is a strong writer. She did a great job wrapping everything up in this conclusion--I like the way that each of the books has had its own plot in addition to the ongoing conflicts that have lasted through the series. Sadie is a great character and I loved watching her grow through all the crazy things she went through in each book. 

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

My reaction to this book was mixed. I think it had a lot of potential but didn't quite come together in the end. First of all, there is a lot of mystery surrounding the house and why it was built, but none of that ever gets resolved or explained in the book. I was expecting some kind of flashback or explanation at some point that would tie together all the hints and answer the questions, but nothing was really resolved. The end matter of the book included a short story about the house's origins, which seemed like an odd choice to me. I also felt that the book was simultaneously too long and too short. On the one hand, the inclusion of three different characters with three separate conflicts felt like overkill. Parts of the book dragged and other parts were confusing. On the other hand, this made the book feel like it wasn't doing enough to give each story a full resolution. I especially felt like the story of Lizzie was confusing--I felt like I missed something at some point, because the end of her story felt rushed and abrupt, and really didn't resolve the conflict much at all. I just felt like this book was trying to do too much and didn't quite get there with any of it.

The Rosefields of Zion by Marilyn Brown

This book is in desperate need of a good editor and a major rewrite. There is a dog that changes breeds from chapter to chapter, characters that change ages between chapters, historical details that felt inaccurate, and a very confusing chronology that really distracted me from enjoying the book at all. Not only that, but the plot of the book is based on an antagonist that is cartoonishly evil and a protagonist that is unrealistically naive. The only thing I enjoyed about the book were the beautiful descriptions of southern Utah and Zion National Park that made me want to go back for a visit.

Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade by Walter Kirn

Most of the negative reviews of this book that I've seen seem to be from readers who were expecting a more thorough discussion of Clark Rockefeller and his crimes. That really isn't what this book is about; in fact, the book really isn't about Rockefeller at all. It's a memoir, written by Kirn, about his relationship with Rockefeller--before and after learning about his true identity. I think it helped that I have read a few other things about Rockefeller so my curiosity about him was satisfied and I could appreciate Kirn's self-searching about why he had such a friend and why he didn't become more suspicious about him over the years. There were many things I loved about this book, but I can also see why some people would not like it.

Fresh Courage Take by Dean Hughes

This was the final book in a trilogy that I have read as they have individually been published, which means that by now I have forgotten some of the details from the first two books. Hughes is a solid writer and his characters are all realistic and engaging. He doesn't shy away from presenting some of the real conflicts of the early days of the Church, while still treating that past with respect and empathy. My only complaint with this series has been that the historical storyline is much more compelling than the contemporary one and I think that it could have been done as a straight historical trilogy without including the contemporary characters at all.

Pale Harvest by Braden Hepner

This book had beautiful, dense writing, but I am tired of books about how stultifying life in rural Utah is. Also, while I hate the concept of "likeability" and think that books can be readable without their characters being particularly reader-friendly, I thought that none of the characters in this book was very pleasant and some were rather disturbing. I can see why this book is well-written and deserving of much of the praise it has received, but it was not one that I enjoyed at all.

A Generation Rising by Gerald Lund

This is apparently the first book in a series, which might explain the lack of conflict and sense of plot. The writing wasn't bad and it wasn't unpleasant to read, but it was a bit boring and I'm not sure I want to read the rest of the series when it comes out. 

The Thieves of Summer by Linda Sillitoe

This book was a delightful surprise, and unique enough that it's hard to describe. I wasn't sure about whether I would like it or not based on the plot summary. Precocious triplets? An elephant? A kidnapper on the loose? It sounds like it might be zany, but it's really not. One of the things I thought Sillitoe did best was balancing some fairly heavy topics with a light tone--she doesn't sensationalize, but she also doesn't gloss over things either. This family feels real and their conflicts are relatable, even though the story takes place nearly eighty years ago. Some parts of the book feel uneven and a bit choppy, and I thought it could have been a bit longer, but the imperfections can be excused with the knowledge that this is a posthumous publication. I think this is a great contribution to the world of Mormon literature.

Movies

You've Got Mail

It's been a long time since I last watched this move, probably at least ten years. I really don't like Sleepless in Seattle for a lot of reasons, but thankfully Hanks and Ryan don't bug me half as much in this movie. It also hasn't aged too much, surprisingly, but that could just be because I'm old and have no idea how romance works in this day and age.

Notting Hill

I was in a rom-com mood during my break from school and decided to re-watch this one since it had also been a very long time since I had seen it. I have a soft spot for Hugh Grant, and he does his schtick quite endearingly in this movie. I actually think my favorite aspect of the movie is his group of friends and his relationship with them, and not so much the romance part of it.

Mao's Last Dancer 

I don't usually write down "kids movies" that I've just watched with them, but I watched this one with S-Boogie since she had read the book for a biography assignment for school. I haven't read the book (she says it's a pretty faithful adaptation), but I enjoyed the movie and thought it was pretty well done.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

First Week of February

This has been a busy, but fun, week for me and the kids. On Tuesday we celebrated P. Bibby's birthday--she is a whopping 5 years old now. A fully potty trained, sitting in a booster in the car, going to preschool, big kid. She has always had a fairly mellow, sweet personality and that is still holding true at five. She has her moments of frustration, especially with 2 older siblings who often like to remind her of their wisdom and power, but generally is a happy kid. P. Bibby loves to color and to read books, and she loves her preschool/daycare and all her little friends there. We celebrated with a party the Saturday before her birthday at an indoor play area that has a bunch of giant inflatable slides and bounce houses. Some of her friends from church and school came as well as her cousins. She had a great time with all her friends and I'm so glad I paid the money to let some other place do the entertainment and clean-up for the party. I actually didn't get to see her on her birthday until that evening since the kids slept over at their dad's house on Monday night. They went to McDonalds for breakfast, then she went to school, and then when I got home we had pizza, chocolate milk, and strawberries for her birthday dinner. 

Mr. Fob was out of town on Wednesday and Thursday, which affects me because he usually handles the after school circus with the kids. My Wednesday ended up being very busy. First thing in the morning I took P. Bibby to the doctor for her annual check-up and kindergarten shots. She did a great job, even with painful shots, and is growing nicely. Then I dropped her at her preschool and went to work for a while before leaving early to get home for after school. Normally Little Dude and S-Boogie would have had piano, but their teacher was sick and had to reschedule. We still had Knowledge Bowl practice for him and Activity Days for her, and then we ran over to the school for parent-teacher conferences (both kids are awesome and their teachers love them), then home for quick dinner, then to drop P. Bibby off at her music class, then a trip to Target during the music class, then picking up P. Bibby again before we came home to rush off to bed. And then I did my homework. I conquered Wednesday!

Thursday wasn't too eventful other than some meetings at work to discuss in more detail the changes in my department. I'm getting some different responsibilities and we're moving office space around--but I did successfully lobby to retain my desk next to the large south-facing windows. I didn't have the kids this weekend so I used Friday and Saturday to catch up on homework and to get some things done around the house. I ran a few errands, including picking up some fun Valentine decorations for this coming Saturday and ingredients to make fun food like heart-shaped jello and heart-shaped calzones. I'm looking forward to having a fun weekend with the kids.

The other big thing happened today at church. For two years I've been serving as the secretary in the Primary, and today the presidency was released. It was a bittersweet feeling and I honestly hadn't been feeling good about the change until today. I loved being the secretary and finally felt like I was good at it, and I liked the ladies I was working with in the presidency. But then today I was released and called as the Primary pianist, which is a pretty awesome calling, and I really felt that the change was all right and that everything was going to be OK. The older kids are singing in sacrament meeting next week so I get to jump into my calling right away.

I survived the first week of February and it was generally good. I didn't get any exercise and I didn't get to bed on time most nights, but I'm trying my best. Tonight we had a lovely evening together as a family; we all enjoyed split pea soup and homemade rolls before we had Family Home Evening. I love it when we have a nice Sunday evening because it feels like we are getting ready to have great week.