Happy first day of March! I don’t know about you, but I am beyond ready to put the official winter months behind me and dive into spring. The weather here in Austin has been all over the place: earlier this week we had highs nearing 80 degrees, and although yesterday we were back down into the 30s and today isn’t much warmer, I can tell that spring is doing its best to make an appearance! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the trees are starting to bud.
As we await the officially blooming of spring, I’m doing my best to stay in the present moment by celebrating some of February’s brighter spots.
// READING LATELY //
I can’t recall a month when I’ve read more 4.5- and 5-star books. Diane Setterfield’s latest was a clear winner for favorite novel, though this historical love story was also quite good, and this romantic comedy was light, magical, and fun.
Every single nonfiction book I read or listened to this month left me with SO much to think about. This book about conversation was fascinating and relevant, this book on suffering was painful but relatable, and these reflections from an Anglican priest are helping me find meaning in my own daily life.
// WATCHING LATELY //
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part: Charleston has been dying to see the Lego Movie sequel. I didn’t particularly enjoy the first one, but promised to take him to see this latest release if he filled his marble jar . . . which he did (in record time!). I don’t even know who I am anymore, having seen so many movies in the theater over the past three months!
The Lego Movie 2 begins with the citizens of Bricksburg facing invasion from Lego Duplo invaders whom they have reason to distrust. In an effort to save their community, Emmett and Lucy are taken to distant worlds where their imaginations, loyalty, and courage are tested.
I wish I had some nice things to say about this movie, but I really don’t. There are some positive messages about prejudice and false perceptions, and the vocal talent is impressive . . . but these bright spots don’t make up for the mediocre plot, annoying soundtrack, and sheer weirdness that is a movie about Legos. The are a few decent jokes, every one of which was in the trailers—in other words, if you’ve watched the trailer a dozen times (like Charleston and I had), you’ve seen the best this film has to offer. I will note that Charleston loved the movie, and since seeing it was a treat for him, I suppose that’s all that matters.
My Rating: 2.5 Stars.
Incredibles 2: We missed seeing this movie in the theaters, so I was excited that it came to Netflix so quickly. The original Incredibles isn’t my favorite Pixar movie, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this one, but I ended up loving it! The premise of Helen being in the spotlight while Bob stays home with the kids is hilarious and timely. I enjoyed the family dynamics, which add a realistic element to the supernatural storyline, and it was fun to see each of the children mature from the start of the film to the end. Jack Jack and his surprising powers were a definite highlight.
I was a little disappointed in some of the less-than-kid-friendly content (excessive violence, mild language) and might not have let Charleston watch this if I’d previewed it ahead of time. It was a good reminder that I really need to read through some Parental Guides (I discovered—too late—that even IMDb has them!) before watching a movie with him, even a movie that comes from a trusted source like Disney or Pixar. Edgy content aside, this is a fun movie that Charleston and I both thoroughly enjoyed.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars.
// LOVING LATELY //
Kindle Reading: I am currently entrenched in a magical and fulfilling love affair with my Kindle Paperwhite! The device isn’t new: I actually bought it for Luke more than five years ago, and when I realized he wasn’t using it, I sort of claimed it as my own. But once I’d made the transition from traditional books to eBooks, it was easy to slip into the habit of simply reading through the Kindle app on my phone. My Kindle device was eventually placed in a drawer and remained neglected for a few years. A couple months ago, I decided to dig out the Kindle and—once we discovered the battery hadn’t permanently died as I’d initially thought—I began using it for all of my reading, and I haven’t looked back!
Though it’s still technically a screen, I find reading on the Kindle far more enjoyable than reading on my phone—partly because of the larger screen, and partly because it looks and feels more like a real book, but mostly because I’m not easily distracted by notifications that regularly cut into my book time when I was reading on my phone. Reading on my Kindle has increased my overall reading time and helped me significantly reduce the amount of time I spend on my phone, which has been a huge goal of mine recently.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I think I like Kindle reading even more than reading a traditional book, because of 1) the highlighting capabilities, 2) the easy Goodreads syncing, and 3) it’s so much easier to hold (or prop up on an exercise machine) than a paperback!
Unique Kids Books: I did a full roundup of some recent Kid Lit faves on Monday, but I saved two books to talk about today because they are especially unique and deserve a little extra attention. The first is this book of mazes that my parents gave Charleston for his birthday. As I mentioned last month, Charleston is obsessed with mazes right now and he LOVES this book. The book comes with an erasable marker and fifteen creative, colorful mazes that can easily be wiped off and done again and again. I’ve lost count of the number of times Charleston has worked his way through all fifteen mazes in a single sitting, only to erase them all and start right back over again. This is such a great twist on the traditional activity book.
Another book we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks is this Look & Find Bible Storybook. We’ve been systematically working our way through our library’s entire collection of Look & Find books, and this one is my favorite by far. Each page features a story from the Bible accompanied by an illustrated scene from the story and a checklist of items to find. Not only do I appreciate the Bible connection, but I also like that this book is more advanced than a lot of the Look & Find books, with more hidden images that are fairly difficult to find. We are enjoying this book so much, we may need to purchase a copy for ourselves once we return our current copy to the library.
// FAVORITE CHARLIE-ISMS //
All month long, Luke and I have been remarking to each other about how old Charleston is seeming. Since turning four last month, he seems to have matured into a full-blown big kid, with an improved attitude, elevated responsibilities, and more eloquent quips and commentaries. Here are some of my favorite things that came out of his mouth this month:
+ “When I’m the number after 5 I’m gonna be in school, and when I’m the number after school I’m gonna be a doctor. And when I’m the number after being a doctor, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Maybe I’ll be a mommy and daddy then?”
+ When I told Charleston we were giving Luke a gift certificate for a massage for his birthday, he asked: “What’s a massage?” Me: “It’s a fancy back rub.” Charleston: “So we’re going to give Daddy a hand for his birthday?”
+ At the dinner table, when Charleston scooted his chair closer to mine (as he often does), Luke asked, “Why do you always move close to mama?” Charleston: “Because I love mama! Even I love you too . . . but she’s soft!” (It’s true; I lure him in with my fuzzy robes!)
+ “Maybe next time Oma and Oma invite us over for a playdate, we can go with them to visit Australia!”
+ Sitting down to watch the Superbowl: “There’s gonna be a football game in this movie. Even there’s gonna be some commercials.”
+ On Charleston’s due date (February 5), I told him how that day was supposed to be his birthday, but he was born early. His response: “Why I comed out of your tummy so early was that I was wondering what you and Daddy would look like.”
+ “Can we pray to God to give us a brother who looks like Maxwell?” (Maxwell is African American.)
+ “I’m always hungry. But sometimes just my tongue is hungry and not my tummy.”
+ “Valentine’s is a hard, hard day for me because sometimes I just don’t get to see red on that day.”
+ “Usually when I yawn my ears get louder.”
+ Taking small bites of a cracker I told him he would really like: “I can’t find out where the tasty part is.”
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
Luke turned thirty-five this month! (I have no problems outing his age because he is only three weeks older than me . . . .) As with all of our family celebrations, we kept it mild but memorable. Luke had to work on his birthday, but Charleston and I FaceTimed with him first thing in the morning and personally delivered In-n-Out to his office at lunchtime. When he got home that evening, Charleston opened Luke’s birthday gifts for him (perks of having a kid) and we went to Mod Pizza for dinner. We ended the evening with birthday fro-yo and realized we don’t have many more years with this tradition—thirty-five candles in one cup of frozen yogurt is just about capacity! The following evening, we went to Chuy’s with Luke’s parents and sister, then came back to our house for ice cream cake. I think Luke enjoyed his birthday festivities, and it was precious to see Charleston get so excited about celebrating his daddy.
Luke and I have never been big Valentine’s Day celebrators. I happen to be a big fan of the holiday, I just wish it came at a different time of the year; it falls right between Luke’s and my birthdays, which isn’t really convenient for us. That said, we usually do try to acknowledge one another in some way on February 14. This year, I came downstairs on Valentine’s Day morning to find two large bouquets of flowers in our kitchen! Luke had gotten up, gone to the store, picked up flowers, brought them home, put the flowers in vases, and headed to work—all before I was even awake! It was such a sweet gesture. And the card he gave me later in the day was just perfection and brought me to tears. I also enjoyed the opportunity to spoil my two boys with some candy, books, and other little goodies. I’d say for non-Valentine’s Day people, we did a pretty good job with the holiday this year!
This month, Charleston and I got to make two visits to The Splash Shack, a small indoor water park that opened up in our town a few months ago. Our first visit was with our friends Salisa, Bennett, and Brooks, and the trip was their birthday gift to Charleston (what a great idea to give an experience gift!). Charleston was at first excited to see the giant water structures, but his enthusiasm waned when he realized how loud the water slides were and how “cold” the water was. (To set the record straight: the park keeps the temperature at around 82 degrees and the water is only two degrees colder, but unfortunately Charleston has my low tolerance for cold water. It didn’t help that it was literally snowing outside that day, so we came in chilled.) Charleston still had a great time, even though he barely left the beach chairs.
Our second Splash Shack visit was with our MOPS friends. This time I convinced (okay, bribed) Charleston to go on one of the slides which he did NOT like one bit. He remained attached to my hip for a good thirty minutes after that traumatic slide experience. But then he discovered a little kiddie splash area at the back of the park, which offered just the right level of splash and excitement for him. Now that we’ve discovered a part of the Splash Shack that he enjoys, I’m looking forward to going back. It was such a treat to be wearing swimsuits on such a chilly day!
This last highlight is one I’ve already talked about here on the blog, but it’s a big one, and worth sharing again. I was so excited to be invited to be a part of the Austin Moms Blog writing team for 2019! I nearly didn’t apply for the position, but felt God nudging me to at least submit my name. I’m so glad that I was obedient to His urging. Writing for someone other than myself is a new experience for me and will be a huge growing opportunity, but I’m already enjoying being part of the AMB writer’s community and have had fun with the first few post I’ve gotten to write. Last week I got to participate in a photo shoot with the other members of AMB team. It was great to get to know some of the other contributors, and I’m looking forward to more AMB events in the future.
That’s a wrap for the brief but bountiful month of February. What was a highlight of your month?