MIKE IN SURGERY
MARCH 2, 2020
Every once in a while, Mike will send me a photo of him in the OR before he is ready to operate. It always reminds me of how grateful I am for the sacrifice he makes in having a super stressful job. It also reminds me of how amazingly talented he is. He is our superhero!
PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
MARCH 5, 2020
Mike tried a new recipe and it was amazing. Pineapple fried rice is definitely going into our cookbook this year.
MISSIONARIES OVER FOR DINNER
MARCH 8, 2020
It was fun to have the missionaries over for dinner. The kids always love talking to the missionaries and sharing stories of our time living overseas. During their lesson, they asked the kids questions and I think both Mike and I were impressed with Peter’s answers. It was so remarkable to see how grown up he is and what a great missionary he will make in a year.
MARCH 8, 2020
Peter can literally fall asleep anywhere. It is not uncommon for him to fall asleep on Sundays on the floor somewhere still dressed in his suit.
MARCH 11, 2020
Chicken wraps seem to be my go-to for lunch these days. What I love most about my chicken wraps is the garden salsa sun chips crumbled on the top. They give it a crunch and a little flavor. I am completely addicted.
D20 SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN
MARCH 12, 2020
We were all geared up to watch Peter swim at his first swim meet today until we got this on our phones. It was surreal to see that school was actually shutting down temporarily due to COVID19.
ANDREW SKIS GRAND TARGHEE WITH FRIENDS
MARCH 13, 2020
Andrew has been having a great second semester at BYU-Idaho and has made some great friends through the swim team. Some of them headed out to Grand Targhee to go skiing.
SARA’S NEW SHOES
MARCH 13, 2020
After dealing with plantar fasciitis and tight calves due to some really crappy shoes, I was on the hunt for some new fantastic shoes. I stumbled upon TOPO athletics and I have fallen in love with their shoe line.
FACETIME WITH ANDREW
MARCH 13, 2020
We all love Facetiming with Andrew while he is at college. Madeline especially loves to see him on my phone. With all the COVID19 stuff and schools shutting down, we are still unsure of Andrew’s plans.
PETER SPORTING THE SWEATBAND
MARCH 17, 2020
For St. Patrick’s Day I got the girls cute headbands but for Peter I bought him an awesome sweatband. I wasn’t sure if he would wear it but one morning, he came upstairs sporting his new headband. It was truly awesome.
MARCH 21, 2020
Like a boss, Peter helped me to clean the basement in time for Andrew’s arrival. I wasn’t expecting a show when I came downstairs, but he definitely put one on when he started vacuuming. It was quite remarkable.
MARCH 22, 2020
Now that it is hard to find good bread in the stores, I have succumbed to making bread every 4-5 days. My bread is definitely better than store bought bread and I never hear any complaints from the crew. Everyone loves my warm white wheat bread with butter melted on top!
STAINING THE DECK AND CLEANING THE GARAGE
MARCH 26, 2020
One of our projects during spring break was staining the deck. The boys were in charge of helping Mike prep and stain the deck. It was a project that we had been meaning to do for over a year. With the three of them working hard, it didn’t take too long to finish it. During this time, Mike and I also did some spring cleaning in the garage. We went through old shoes and pulled things out to give away and things to sell. It felt good to get some things done.
MARCH 24, 2020
Mike took Andrew and Emma shooting up in Woodland Park and they all had a blast having fun with all the different guns. Emma has gotten pretty good at shooting and had fun with the boys!
ANIMAL CROSSING AND MINECRAFT
MARCH 26, 2020
Since we were stuck staying at home for spring break this year, the kids spent a lot of time playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. Abby also spent a good deal of time playing Minecraft with her friends. It was fun watching them enjoy their down time away from school.
AVOCADO AND EGG TOAST
MARCH 28, 2020
Mike turned us all on to avocado egg toast and this has become one of our favorite breakfast meals.
MADELINE’S FUN LUNCH
MARCH 28, 2020
Mike made Madeline the cutest lunch one day. He cut her sandwich into a flower and then used vegetables as the stem and leaves. It was adorable and she had fun eating it too.
REMOVING NAIL POLISH
MARCH 30, 2020
Now that my nails had grown out and were finally starting to chip, I knew that I needed to try and get the dip polish off of my nails. I got online and researched the best methods and spent an hour trying to get it all off. For the next week my nails were super tender and weak from having that dip polish on regularly for the past year. I was sad to not have nice nails but blessed for the opportunity I had to let my nails heal.
There were lots of changes that happened in March for Madeline. She went from being the only one at home with me during the day to being home with everyone all day every day. She loved the attention and she loved doing her “homework” when the other kids were doing their schoolwork from home. We introduced Madeline to some new learning apps that she now does every day before she gets to watch a cartoon. Her favorite app is Kahn Academy Kids. She is learning so much every day. The older kids usually take breaks throughout the day to play with Madeline. They either play toys or do puzzles with her inside the house or they take her outside for some fun in the backyard. We have even introduced Madeline to some fun games that have been tucked away in the game closet for many years. She loved playing with the Lightbridge and the Hullabaloo game. Since we were all quarantined at home, I spent more time making bread and Madeline loved helping me grind the wheat and mix the dough. She even got to slap the loaf before the rising part. She thought that was fun. I love that I have many helpers to keep Madeline entertained and I know that she just loves having everyone at home.
I have to admit that when they announced home church, I wasn’t sad at all. When I was a kid, and we lived in Beijing, China, we had church in our apartment. There were usually about 40 people there (this was back in the 1980s). After Sacrament meeting, I would go to primary. For about 1 year, I was the only primary kid, so I would just go to my bedroom and play Super Mario Bros. while the adults did Sunday School. So, it was pretty great. Granted, home church now is not quite like that, but it is still pretty great. Sara plays the piano, Abby conducts, the boys bless the sacrament, then we do a lesson from Come Follow Me. It works out pretty well, and then when you’re done, you are already home. I’m glad they have the Come Follow Me curriculum, otherwise, it might be a little more difficult, but it works out pretty well right now and I am grateful that we can be together as a family on Sunday, even if it’s just in our living room.
Written by Mike
It was a crazy month of exercise. The first half of the month was business and usual and I spent most of my time running with Dionne and Caryn and mountain biking with Mike. When I ran with Dionne and Caryn, we tried to follow social distancing as best we could and there were only air hugs when we greeted each other. Although we had several warm days this month, there were still some cold weather days. On those days, I bundled up ran in the snow. After everything started to shut down from COVID19 I knew how much more important it would be to keep exercising and for my kids to keep exercising. I took Emma and Peter to the running store, before it closed, and grabbed them some new running shoes for the season. Peter switched from swimming to running and started training with Emma. Those two spent many of their runs at Fox Run Park or Section 16 in Black Forest. Mike and I even joined them at Section 16 during one of their runs. Mike and I biked while those two fast knuckle heads ran the loop. Abby spent most of her exercise time either running around the neighborhood loop or doing some strength exercises at home. The only way to get through a crazy time is to stay active and healthy!
I used to go out and take photos of flowers all the time with my macro lens when I lived in Japan. Since we don’t get an abundance of flowers in Colorado in the spring, I never really get the chance to do that. Mike brought me home some flowers after a rough day and they reminded me of the lily’s I used to have on my table back in our house in Japan. I immediately grabbed my macro lens and started taking photos of the lily’s. It made me realize that I need to spend more time with my camera taking photos of things like flowers and nature. I really miss doing that.
After just one week of being quarantined with the new stay at home orders, we were all getting a little antsy and decided to head out for a family hike at Spruce Mountain Open Space. To our surprise, the parking lot was completely packed. Luckily, we didn’t feel like there were too many people on the trail. With everyone practicing social distancing, we walked wide on the trail whenever we came to other families. Madeline was so excited to be out hiking and she kept up with everyone surprisingly well. The first part of the trail was all clear and then as we started to enter the shady part of the trail we came upon the snowy section. Since the weather has been warmer the trail was starting to melt and instead of hiking up icy sections it was more of a slushy snow. There were lots of snowball fights as we headed up the trail. The boys were always ahead and so the rest of us got the brunt of random snowballs flying towards us. It’s a good thing they didn’t have good aim. Once we got to the top we rested, took a family photo, enjoyed the view, ate some chocolate, and then headed down an entirely different way. We decided to climb down some big rocks and explore. It was definitely a fun way to go down, albeit it a bit more dangerous. After getting back to our car, we were all craving ice-cream and so we headed straight to Baskin Robbins and got ice-cream cones through the drive through. I couldn’t think of any better way to end our fun family hike.
When I thought about picking my son up from his freshman year of college, I wasn’t expecting it to be under such circumstances. It started out early in the morning in a trendy Uber from Colorado Springs to the Denver airport. It was cold and snowing. The airport was empty, even though it was the middle of a business day. I was the only person in line in security. There was hardly anyone in the airport. The flight from Denver to Salt Lake had about 20 people on it, so we spread out and had multiple rows to ourselves. Interestingly, the Salt Lake airport had quite a few people in it mulling about. I guess Utah got the memo about the Coronavirus a little after the rest of the West. Even so, it was still pretty vacant. The rental car guy was pretty excited when I showed up as I think I was one of the few people renting a car that day. It was a brand-new minivan, which turned out to be perfect. I left the airport and headed to Rexburg. The weather was warmer than in Colorado, so there was no snow on the roads. I got to Rexburg and Andrew was mostly ready to go. We finished packing a few things, and then loaded up the minivan with all his stuff. We cleaned his apartment and then headed out on the town. We went to Gaitor Jacks, which is a really good sandwich shop by his apartment and then he showed me around BYU-I. It was a lot bigger and nicer than I realized when we were there last time. It was fun to see where he would hang out, study, and chill. It was really sad to see it, though, knowing that he was getting shortchanged on his freshman year experience at college. I think that Andrew’s second semester was really good for him. He found his place, found some friends, and was heading in a good direction. It was sad to see it cut short. After that, we headed back down to Provo. We stopped in Ogden to get some food and made it pretty easily down to Orem. Once there, we unpacked some of his stuff into Sara’s parent’s condo, then went to sleep. It was a long day. On Saturday, we got up, washed clothes, bedding, and went to Costco and then Target to get some bins to pack everything neatly in the basement closet. Andrew got his hair cut (way short) and then we cleaned the condo and decided to head out early toward home, so we didn’t have to drive all day on Sunday. We drove to Grand Junction and got Buffalo Wild Wings, checked into the hotel, and watched movies. It was the prototypical guy road trip. Sunday, we got up early and headed toward home. When we got to Vail, it started snowing like crazy. There were people sliding off the highway and I was sure we were going to get stuck. The rental van had two-wheel drive only and it was struggling and overheating all the way up the pass. When we got to Frisco, there was about 1 foot of snow on the ground and it was snowing heavily. I didn’t think we would make it up the pass to the Eisenhower tunnel, so I refiled the radiator fluid, said a prayer, and we headed out. Turns out, when we got to Dillon, there was no snow and the rest of the drive home was easy. It was a whirlwind trip with Andrew, but a lot of fun. We had no idea that the Coronavirus storm was just starting.
Written by Mike
Everything is better fresh. Pasta is no different. Every once in a while, you just have to bite the bullet and spend some time making food. I think one of the greatest weakness of our society, is that we sacrifice time in the kitchen for ease. There is something cathartic about spending time making your food from scratch. Making pasta is one of those things that is just fun to do and super rewarding in the end. Fresh pasta just tastes so much better than store bought pasta. Plus, when you have lots of kids, they can pick up the mess!
Written by Mike