I remember last year February kind of surprised us with its intensity—it used to just be May and December that did us in, but I'm pretty sure February owns its own steamroller outright these days. I joked last year that I would set an alarm on January 21, 2016 to remind me that February was looming but then I didn't do that, and WHOO BOY that was dumb.
When I was digging around in my archives looking for February things I came across a February family update from 2011, in which things seemed awfully busy then, too. [Ed note: I am terrible at foreshadowing. Which of course, is a close cousin to seeing February patterns.] I can't believe how much has changed (and how little has changed, too) since February 2011. So, a little compare and contrast between then and now:
+ Fablehaven still rates up there as one of her favorite series : ) We have another Brandon Mull series book on preorder—it will arrive in March, I noticed. That preorder feature on Amazon is great, because I never ever remember that I've preordered something and then it just shows up. She's been reading scary R.L. Stine young adult books and the Red Queen series; Matt and I were discussing when she should be allowed to scare herself to death with some Stephen King. Maybe next year. Ha.
+ Has been battling injuries this season—first the ankle, then a wrist... she hasn't really had any issues except for that February 2011 when her knees were messed up. The New Mexico state championships are toward the end of March, so she is braced up and doing her best. We're headed to University of Denver next for a meet there, and then state. There are 23 Level 6 optionals on Maddie's and Gracie's team this year. (!!)
+ We missed Georgie's birthday weekend because of a meet but she is awfully excited to at least get to see Georgie during her birthday month on our way home from Denver. Georgie will be FIFTEEN. We have celebrated with her for almost all of her birthdays.
+ I noted in 2011 that no one, including Maddie, was really all that into seeing Star Wars in this house. Some things never change.
+ School is fine, and before long she'll register for HIGH SCHOOL. I will never get over the absurdity that she'll start high school in a place she's already done a year of hard time [in utero] as I taught at Central High School in Cheyenne when I was pregnant with her. HA.
+ Loves her teacher this year, still a rule-follower (even more so since kindergarten if that's possible), and the winner of the cleanest room award at home, usually. Funny how things turn out.
+ She is still happily immersed in the world of big-girl gymnastics, and is holding her own this year, too. She had her highest beam score of the season at the Nadia Comeneci Invitational in Oklahoma City (9.4) and earned a third place medal, which was a pretty big deal at a meet that size—and going against a gym called Dynamo from Oklahoma, which pretty much kicked everyone's rear at every level. Apparently they practice a minimum of 26 hours a week and as much as 30, so we all decided we're good.
+ Just like five years ago, Gracie and Bridget get along famously sometimes and other times... not so much. But mostly famously. They've taken over the living room with Legos, and go to the park on their own a lot. Gracie is very excited for the freedom of roaming F.E. Warren when we head back this summer—she has an ID card now (you get one when you turn 10) which means she can ride her bike to the Shoppette and buy herself a slushie. This has been her dream for years : )
+ As for books... she is never without one.
+ Making things—both arty and science-y—is still very much her thing. She's spending most of her arty time lettering, and most of her science-y time with her Tinker Crate each month.
+ A big new thing: she started trombone lessons this month! Another dream for years... band doesn't start until sixth grade here, sadly, but Maddie's band director agreed to private lessons so she won't be so far behind when she shows up in Wyoming where the new sixth graders will already have a year of band under their belts. Trombone Shorty is still her trombone hero.
+ Bridget is officially a card-carrying member of USA Gymnastics for the first time this year! Her team has four meets (three of which are done, only state left). She has done very well overall—last week she earned second place in the all-around in the 8 year old division. If she can get her best day on each event at the same time for state she'll have a very good meet indeed. She has a good pal on the team and that has made it even more fun.
+ Speaking of the good pal, she is having her very first sleepover that isn't at grandparents' or the Karahalis house over there tonight!
+ Still loves princesses more than anyone I've ever met in my life. Still has a mental catalogue of what she has and what she still needs. Since 2011, we've found Pocahontas and the genie from Aladdin; her newest score was a very clearanced evil stepmother from Cinderella (under $10!) at the Disney store recently. It's a work-release program though, and she has to put in some labor hours before she takes possession.
+ She has the most homework of any of the girls this year, which makes for some ugly late nights sometimes. We are crossing our fingers that the planets align and she will have our beloved Mrs. Dixon next school year in Cheyenne.
+ We're still dealing with shoe-fitting issues. She hasn't worn orthotics for a while but she has outgrown many a shoe this year.
+ She is always up for an adventure.
+ All the grandparents traveled to New Mexico this month to attend Matt's promotion ceremony, which was great fun for all involved. Well, Matt could have done without all the people looking at him as an anti-center of attention type, but it was still fun for everyone else. Still waiting on the official photos.
+ In 2011 I wrote this: "Would very much like a week at the beach; he was even wistfully looking at rental properties recently. As if we'll be able to get away next summer for a vacation between change of command and Frontier Days : ) It's nice to have a dream, though." Substitute change of command with the new job in Cheyenne and we won't be headed to the beach this summer, either. Someday!
+ No dinosaur egg mail lately, but vintage Wyoming postcards show up from time to time. The Ebay King has interests that spread far and wide.
+ Still watching Gold Rush, though I don't really watch that one with him anymore. His favorite show currently is the one hosted by Henry Louis Gates on PBS; it's pretty good. We are anxiously awaiting time to watch 11/22/63, enough to figure out a temporary subscription to Hulu.
+ Not so hobble-kneed now that almost two months have passed since his knee surgery.
+ No mention of Ellie in 2011 because she hadn't joined our family yet. She remains the best and sweetest dog. She has a terrible case of congestive heart failure but is still aggressively interested in the walking schedule, emergency sitting in the sunshine, protecting the neighborhood from evil UPS trucks, avoiding pictures, and using her condition to her advantage to respectfully request chicken or sausage be placed in her bowl from time to time. She is on expensive medicine which seems to be doing its job keeping her comfortable. It's hard to have a terminally ill dog. We can hardly talk about it, we love her so.
+ I just wrapped up a nearly 600 person photo shoot (this is just one very partial screenshot) that I began work on around January 8; it went exactly according to plan in almost every way, and when I clicked send on the last gallery it was all I could do not to run into the street screaming with joy. IT WAS A BIG JOB. But fun. I also squeezed in a maternity shoot with a beautiful family and turned those pictures around, too. My camera has been napping for a few days because I wore it out.
+ I have done more gymnastics hair this month than I ever thought possible... though Matt will point out that he, too, had to do some gymnastics hair when Bridget had a meet in Belen and Maddie and Gracie competed in Oklahoma City. Between both Level 2 and Level 6 teams, we've had a meet every weekend this month (and some in January, too). I have a couple of new tricks: I'm still not the best at gymnastics hair but my new magic wand (no really, a curling wand) seems to be a good disguise for my clumsy hair skills. Everyone has a settled-upon hairstyle for the rest of the season, so that's a huge relief.
+ In 2011 I said my 52 Projects album was way behind. Just substitute 52 Projects with anything else and it's still an accurate statement. Someone pointed out to me recently that we have less than 90 days before we move again and I politely ignored her. Everyone is always incredulous about how we manage when we move so much and the answer is: DENIAL. That's how. Denial.
+ It's been ridiculously long since I've scrapbooked, but I have just the project to get me working with my own photos in a creative way again: my friend J.J.'s Leap Day Project. I'm all in this Monday, and I encourage you to play along, too! After my initial shock that Maddie will be a SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL when we'll open it wore off a little bit, I can't wait to do it.
OK! That's enough of an update that I feel like I've dusted off the cobwebs here : )