Sunday, February 28, 2021

And that was February!

So! It's been a while. Again.

Work has been so busy, life got a little crazy, and too many big things happened that I kept feeling like I didn't have time to write them out and now here we are with too long of a list for one post. But we're going to try anyway. If there's one thing time does add, it's perspective, so here we go- the highlights and lowlights of the second half of February.
Highlight: Our family's sweet Valentine traditions. A decorated table, homemade cards, candy, and a stuffed armadillo for Cora who routinely asks for one at every occasion.
Lowlight: Landon got Covid. He never had any symptoms, but a basketball teammate did, so we had him tested- it was negative the first time and then positive a few days later. The whole team was quarantined immediately and then once Landon was positive, the rest of us were quarantined too- the girls came home, the swim school closed down, and actually nothing about my life changed much at all.
For two weeks, Landon wore a mask in the house and ate at a different table. Everyone schooled from home, James swam alone in our pool with stretch cords tied to a tree, and I continued on with my million video depositions. Everytime you heard Landon's giant feet hit our pier-and-beam flooring you'd hear James yell "PUT ON YOUR MASK" and it was all very relaxing and peaceful.
The first day of virtual school was a little rough- we'd forgotten passwords and were terribly out of practice, but by day 2 everyone hummed along pretty well and James managed it all while I lived in our bedroom. He and I both tested twice- at one week and two week's post Landon's positive test and were both negative each time, proving that both masks and yelling are very effective.
The biggest loss was the girls' missing their school Valentines parties (Claire's last one!) and having to cancel my parents' visit. They were supposed to come celebrate my birthday and see us before they had to quarantine to go to Colorado and see my sister and her new baby. They did drive by our house on their way to Colorado to drop off some items from my Grandma Jo and my birthday gift from them (the beautiful amythest jewelry; below); we waved from behind our glass storm door.
Highlight: Snow! Several days of snow actually sitting and staying on the ground made for lots of snow man building and sledding and let us finish out our quarantine with some excitement and school being closed down for everyone anyway.
Lowlight: SO MUCH SNOW! It overwhelmed our state and all its systems. People were without power for days and water mains and pipes burst absolutely everywhere. It was really pretty terrible for a lot of people and there was a lot of worry for various members of my family, including my grandparents, who were without electricity or water for days. We kept our house very cold to avoid adding strain to the grid, turned of all lights and devices, and basically quarantined for another week, this time with more card games and fuzzy blankets.

Highlight: We never lost power or water.
Lowlight: Except apparently we did lose power for 2 seconds in the middle of the night on February 14th and the surge blew out the control board of our refrigerator. We were able to get a repairman out 4 days later, but he wanted way too much money to fix the problem, so we went with a small local repair team, but the mail is a mess so our part was delayed and when it finally arrived on the 25th and the repairman came out to install it he discovered that TWO different control board things are fried and they have to order the second one. It will be here this Thursday. We've been without a fridge and freezer and ice for 14 days now and shopping for dinner ingredients each day like we live in a small European village with a market down the road has gotten VERY OLD.
Highlight: Pretty sure we'll get the fridge working on Thursday (Day 18) and we have the little beverage fridge we installed in the kitchen remodel to store 24 hours worth of dairy, meat, and produce at a time and if this is our worst side effect from the winter storm, we're obviously pretty lucky.
Lowlight: Despite never leaving the house for 3 weeks I fell off the exercise wagon and feel that the oxen have pulled the wagon far past me. Cheez-its don't have to be refrigerated and I've had MANY of them. Why is it so hard to exercise inside my own house that I never leave?
Highlight: Maggie had her greatest few weeks ever- full family quarantine + snowpocalypse = constant togetherness and fires in the fireplace. We were continually pulling her OUT of the fire and I feel like Moose was pretty judgey about lack of survival skills.
Lowlight: Moose would like us to get out the F out of his house sometimes, FTLOG. How can one hunt squirrels through the window if no one will BE QUIET and let him wind up an epic pounce? He basically walks around looking offended anytime he's awake.
Highlight: The big kids made $400 shoveling every sidewalk and driveway in an 8-street radius during the freeze. They worked all day every day and it was great for them to be out of the house together burning off their ENDLESS energy. One neighbor mentioned that a friend was supposed to get his second Covid shot but his driveway was covered in ice. James drove the kids to the address and they used a shovel to break up the ice and a big metal dust pan to haul it all away and the Covid-shot-getting homeowner gave out chocolate bars and everyone was VERY happy. They're thinking hard about what to spend their earnings on and are leaning towards a giant trampoline.
Lowlight: I think I'm out of these? We did have a pipe break the day before the Great Freeze that cost $500 to fix and we still have a small army of rats living in our attic, but that's old news.

Highlight: My sister had her baby! I'm an aunt for a third time to a third niece. Sweet little Sage Wylder was born just before 11 p.m. on February 23rd, weighing 7 lbs. 9 oz. and we are so excited to welcome Tia and crew to the beautiful, wonderful, love-and-laughter filled life as a family of five! (Even if selfies are a little challenging...)
Highlight: Age 13 is damn delightful.
Landon is a non-stop chatter box who suffered GREATLY while mask wearing and living in his room during his quarantine. Every night when I work he comes and drapes himself across my bed and talks, usually without pausing to breathe, for hours at a time. He is funny and witty and kind and the most fun little pre-adult. The other day he was sitting at my work desk, pretending to be me, and you guys, I was dying. "Okay, let me look into that... I'll consult my calendar and get back to you... [furious typing on the keyboard] Okay, so I can do 4:00 on Tuesday." ... "Now I'm going to review documents and type VERY FAST."
He just learned that "The Goat" means "Greatest of All Time" so now he declares himself the goat 57 times a day. But for my birthday, I got to be the goat and it was quite the honor, though he did let me know that my title was rescinded at bedtime.
Highlight: I turned 38! It wasn't my usual friend-filled day, but my family made it so sweet and special with cards and decorations and flowers. We ordered pizza, ate ALL the Crumbl cookies, and opened presents after dinner.
James got me Air Pod Pros which I'd mentioned months ago might actually work for me due to their changeable tips (I have the tiniest ears; the doctor always has to use the pediatric scope at my annual check-ups) and I could use on work calls and he remembered! Now I can listen to podcasts with curse words while I cook dinner and not get Maggie's leash tangled in the headphone cord on our walks. The big kids pooled together some of their cash to get me a beautiful case and James bought me my very own fuzzy Free Fly fleece like the one I got him for Christmas that I can't stop touching whenever he wears.
Friends dropped by cards and gifts (tea!) and I felt very loved and sugar-filled indeed.
And finally, as always- food! I'm clearly on a salad kick- between Valentine's, quarantine, and my Birthday I feel like every piece of lettuce I eat cancels out one gram of previously consumed sugar. The science checks out.
Sat: Fuji Apple Chicken Salad
Sun: Homemade Pizza, Sunshine Citrus Avocado Salad
Mon: Clean Eating Summer Soup
Tues: Ground Beef Tacos, black refried beans, rice, toppings
Wed: Roasted Tomato Pasta Puttanesca grilled chicken
Thurs: Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry, and Quinoa Salad
**We are supposed to finally have a working fridge!**
Fri: Baked Chicken Meatballs, Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce, Salad

Sat: Honey Mustard Chopped Chicken Salad
Sun: BBQ Salmon with Mango Salsa, brown rice, black beans
Mon: Garlic Herb Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs
Tues: Mexican Quinoa, Taco Ground Beef, Chips
Wed: Sunshine Lentil Bowl
Thurs: Chicken Tortellini Soup
Fri: Cheeseburger Sliders, Oven Baked Fries, Fruit
Sat: Summer Chipotle Chicken Cobb Salad
Sun: Homemade Pasties


  1. As someone said a couple weeks ago, I'm a long-time reader/never commenter (commentator?), and I'm embarrassed to be commenting about rats, but I figure I should use my experience for the greater good! We had rats under our floorboards a few months ago, and I called an exterminator (a woman) who assured me I could handle it, so I was determined to do so. It took me a few tries, but I managed to seal off the hole I could see they were using to get in. It was a hole around a drainpipe under our bathroom, and the trick was using steel wool to seal every tiny crack. Problem that I anticipated but had no idea how bad it would be -- I trapped at least one rat in there and the smell was pretty awful. It's now been two months and I'm so thankful to barely get a whiff every once in a while. I was in great despair for several weeks. So, if you can use traps (peanut butter as bait, I've been told) to catch the rats before you seal the holes, that would be advisable! Good luck!

  2. Glad your highs have been great and the lows manageable. Happy Belated Birthday! I had not heard of Crumbl Cookies before, they look amazing! There is a location kinda near me- not close enough for impulse buying but not too far for special occasions. Probably for the best, if we'd been close enough for delivery I'd be having cookies today!

  3. Had you on my mind during the Texas craziness. Glad you fared okay, although being without a fridge for that long can't have been easy! Also sorry Landon got Covid! It'll be a memory for when his kids learn about this historic period, someday in the future. I'm sure he's already thought of that. ;)

  4. Happy belated birthday!!

  5. Happy belated birthday, LL - hope you have a wonderful and healthy year ahead!

  6. I'm so impressed you were able to keep Landon away and avoided spread! (We utterly failed at that but with all 3 kids positive including a 3 year old it was sort of a lost cause from the start!). HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I remain forever grateful for your menus :)