After a January that dragged, February flew right by. We have been BUSY! I have accidentally found myself involved in FOUR separate Bible studies/small groups, in addition to serving on Sunday mornings and mid-week with the children’s ministry at church. This, on top of Charleston’s various activities and gymnastics class with the twins (not to mention homeschooling), means that our weekdays are packed. Surprisingly (because I’m generally allergic to busyness), we have enjoyed every one of these commitments. I’m exhausted by the time Friday afternoon rolls around, but my heart is full. One year ago, depression was keeping me housebound and barely able to get out of bed; I’ve said goodbye to that season of no and embraced this season of yes, and while I don’t know if I will be able to maintain this zippy pace, I am savoring this season and its fullness.
// READING LATELY //
My reading this month wasn’t the best, for reasons I explained in last Thursday’s What I Learned post. I did read some really great nonfiction—I immediately bought myself a print copy of this practical and funny guide after listening to the audio on Hoopla, and did the same with this helpful parenting book. And this memoir was absolutely beautiful. But my fiction this month was largely a bust. I polished off this series that was entertaining, but not necessarily a worthwhile investment of my reading time. I also suffered my way through this novella that was creative but not at all to my taste. I reviewed my monthly “wholehearted” book here; I’ll be sharing reviews of the remaining titles next week.
// LOVING LATELY //
I was a little late to the Wordle bandwagon but am happy to be aboard. I look forward to solving each day’s puzzle and love that it is just one small game (i.e., no getting addicted). I especially delight in knowing that everyone is playing the exact same game alongside me: a word game that I can play by myself “with” others is this nerdy introvert’s dream. I have yet to be stumped by a word, but I’ve come close a couple of times. My strategy of always using the same starter word has worked well for me. Are you playing? Any tips you care to pass on? It has been fun to learn other people’s strategies.
My in-laws got me a digital frame last birthday, but we just got around to setting it up this January. I’m loving it even more than I thought I would! The frame connects to a phone app where I have the option to create numerous playlists; in the future, it might be fun to have playlists for each holiday (past pictures from the current season), but right now I just have it loaded with pictures from the last several months. I’m realizing that although I take pictures ALL the time, the kids rarely get to see them since they generally remain on my phone or in photo albums that sit on our shelf. This frame lets them relive some fun memories, and the kids get so excited to see themselves and our family members roll through the frame. It has been a great family conversation starter and memory booster, and a good way to bring far-away family members (my parents!) into our day-to-day.
We have so many children’s story Bibles, but a couple months ago Charleston began asking for a “real” Bible of his own. This Odyssey Bible was an easy choice. I think Charleston was more excited about this package delivery than any other item we’ve ordered: he literally waited at the window for the delivery truck to come, and could not wait to open his Bible and begin reading as soon as it showed up on our doorstep. It has been awesome to read this Bible with him, helping build his Biblical literacy by showing him the various books and how to locate chapters and verses of the stories he knows well and the verses we are memorizing each week. He wants to read through from the beginning, so we started with Genesis 1 and he’s been choosing to forgo extra playtime each evening to read a chapter together before bedtime. This Bible in particular is a huge hit: Charleston really enjoys the Odyssey tidbits, factoids, and insights that appear on most pages. I am positively giddy over his enthusiasm for God’s Word and it helps that we are able to bring it more to his level through something else (Odyssey) we both love.
Icy weather kept us home for a few days this month, and a search for some activities to help my stir-crazy kiddos release some energy led me to these Exercise Adventure videos from The Good and The Beautiful (a homeschool curriculum we love). I made an exception to our screen-free weekday rule for a few of these videos, and all three kids had a fantastic time dancing and singing along to the adventures. (Though I’m pretty sure I had even more fun, watching them!) The videos are short and weave together imagination, movement, music, playfulness, and even some science. No goofy graphics or gimmicky music, just some wholesome, creative ways for getting out all those wiggles.
// MONTHLY KID-ISMS //
Charleston and I have the deepest conversations these days, with him asking insightful questions and making the most keen observations. Much of it is too extensive to write down, but here are a few of his more memorable quips from the month:
+ “You know the ONE special thing about Jesus? He actually got to watch his mom and dad get married!”
+ “When I’m president, I’m going to make it a law that you can’t put a picture in a book that will give away the mystery.”
+ Explaining an addition strategy that was working well for him: “Math is pretty easy if you have a prepared brain.”
+ When I was teaching him about monasteries and explained the practice of monastic silence: “Well, that’s just taking things a little too far. God wants us to talk to each other so that we can learn from each other and love each other. We need to talk so that we can love our neighbor and love God!”
+ After reading about Cain killing Abe out of jealousy: “That makes no sense. How did that solve the problem? Because killing his brother didn’t mean he got to suck all the happiness out for himself.”
Our sweet Sully is the most polite toddler I have ever met! He always tacks please, thank you (or no thank you), and you’re welcome on to his sentences and thinks to thank me for just about everything: “Thank you, Mama, for changing my diaper! Thank you, Mama, for my clothes. Thank you!” And he’s a great little encourager: after helping me put away his toys or books (even when he’s done most of the work), he always pats me on the back or claps and says, “Good job cleaning up the toys, Mama!” A few other specifically cute things he’s said this month:
+ “I want to talk to Mama.” Me: “Okay, Sully, what do you want to talk about?” Sully, chuckling: “I don’t want to talk about Bruno, no no no!” (My kids are obsessed with Encanto and the Bruno song in particular.)
+ Before naptime or bedtime, he always has to say goodnight to his sailboat and moon paintings. “Good night moon! Good night sailboat! I have to go take a nap now!”
+ Looking out at the snow in the backyard: “You make that, Mama? Daddy make that for me?”
+ Reading a book and pointing to a character, asking if it was a girl. Me: “No, that’s a boy.” Sully, patting Kali’s back and looking at her: “But there’s a pretty girl right here!”
Cutest pronunciation: music is “NEW-sou-ic.”
Kali has become our chatterbox! When she’s not dancing up a storm (usually while singing), she’s talking away—sometimes she uses real words, and sometimes she speaks a language all her own! She does less mimicking than Sully and more naming and commenting. These are some words I thought to write down this month from Miss K:
+ “You have pink eyes, Mama!” (She makes this observation a few times each day. She and Sully are still working on identifying their colors and they consistently mix up blue and pink, and she is adamant that my eyes are pink and not actually blue.
+ Whenever she hears the character of Isabella singing when we’re listening to the Encanto soundtrack: “It’s Bella, Mama, Bella! She’s so preeeeety!”
+ Every time we do her hair: “I go see pigtails in the mirror, okay?”
+ Tipping her plate of strawberries to drink off residual juice, with the strawberries still on the plate beginning to slide down: “‘Scuse me, strawberries, ‘scuse me!”
Cutest pronunciation: over there is “oh-dur DAY-er.”
// HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS //
When we moved to Central Texas in 2016, everyone told us to expect snow once per decade. That statistic has proven wildly inaccurate, as it has snowed at least once every winter since we’ve been here. This year’s snow the first week of February was more of an ice-over—enough to make roads slippery and the trees icicled and lovely, but not really good for playing in. Unlike last year’s snow-pocalypse, we maintained power and water the entire time which made for quite a fun and cozy snowstorm experience.
Luke turned 38 years old on February 7! His birthday was very mellow: on the Saturday before his birthday, we had family over for cake and Mexican take-out. And on the big day itself, Luke was a great sport about coming with me to bring the kids to the dentist. We treated him afterwards to presents and birthday Menchie’s; it’s getting harder and harder to fit all those candles into a single cup of frozen yogurt, but we made it happen.
Per tradition, we did almost nothing to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. BUT the kids looked cute in their red and hearts, and they enjoyed the Valentine’s books I bought them (this, this, and this). Charleston enjoyed exchanging cards with his classmates at his enrichment program, and he spoiled me by hiding little Valentines all around his room and desk for me to find when we were doing our schoolwork. Luke also surprised me with some gorgeous roses and two lovely orchids. For a non-celebratory celebration, it was kind of great!
Tragic world events aside. . . how was your February? What’s ahead for you in March? I’m looking forward to a birthday, a visit from my parents, and the start of bluebonnet season. Eeeeek!!!