If you’ve ever wondered how to make the shortest month of the year stretch on interminably, here is my formula: introduce a series of illnesses to the family that passes slowly from one member to the next, keeping everyone home for weeks on end. Add in an ice storm that makes outdoor play a non-option. Then toss in a double case of the “terrible threes” and some heavy-duty potty training for good measure. Stir and repeat. Needless to say, I’m not exactly sorry to see this February drawing to an end. Here’s to a healthier, cheerier March! But first, a look back.
I read broadly this month, with forays into middle grade adventure and historical fiction, a modern classic that’s been on my TBR for years (I wasn’t missing much), unconventional parenting and political advice, delightful essays and insightful biography. I loved my reread of this book and was blown away by this truly unforgettable novella. I had less success with long-form fiction: this family drama was well-written but the heavy-handed political agenda was not to my taste, and the plot of this one hinged on a lying spouse trope that I almost never enjoy reading. Reviews of these books are coming your way in a couple of weeks.
A few podcasts that informed and inspired me this month:
Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast —553 | Craig Groeschel Breaks Down Being Undisciplined as a Younger Leader, The Current Habits He’s Mastering, How to Improve Your Sleep Habits, and the Three Habits Every Leader Should Focus On
The Megyn Kelly Show — Escaping North Korea, Woke College Students Professors, and American Opportunity, with Yeonmi Park | ep. 496 <—– This is one of the most powerful interviews I have ever heard. PLEASE give it a listen.
In addition to my usual lineup of podcasts and audiobooks, I’ve listened to a lot of music this month (something I talked about in this post). A few favorite listens lately have been this worship album from Davy Flowers that is musically gorgeous and lyrically powerful (particularly the title track) and FAITHFUL, a collection of songs inspired by God’s faithfulness through the stories of women in the Bible. The whole album is wonderful, and Rahab’s Lullaby is especially poignant and beautiful; I could (and have) listen to this song on repeat for hours.
My parents got Charleston a mail order mystery subscription for his birthday, and we had an absolute blast with it this past month! Every few days, Charleston received new correspondence by mail: each letter included new clues and mysteries to solve, as well as secret agent gear such as disguises, a spy handbook, magnifying glass, and even a faux book with a padlocked safe inside. We enjoyed working together to crack codes in his mission to complete spy training, locate the spy who had gone missing, and identify the agency mole. Charleston took these missions very seriously and is bringing all of his new spy-related knowledge to all aspects of his play. There are several different mysteries to choose from; we had the this one but they all look super fun.
+ His thoughts on the Super Bowl: “For some of the best players in the world, they’re not as impressive as you’d think.”
+ Me: “Do you know what a salary is?” Charleston: “Yeah, it’s a kind of vegetable.”
+ Me (frustrated): “You’re not always the best listener.” Charleston: “Well, I am a good listener. I’m just not always a good obeyer.”
+ When asked what celebrity or superhero he had chosen to draw for a game played at church (I guessed Mario). “Good guess but no, I drew the most important celebrity, Jesus. I mean, we wouldn’t even be playing that game, we wouldn’t be in church, there wouldn’t even BE a Mario without Jesus.”
+ While listening to the song Nothing But the Blood of Jesus: “If that was literal, this world would be REALLY bloody.”
+ Me: “I missed you when you were at school today.” Charleston: “I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings. . . but I was having too much fun to miss you.” Me: “That’s okay, you’re the kid, it’s my job to miss you but it’s your job to have fun.” Charleston: “But it’s your job to have fun, too!”
+ When we lost power during our ice storm: “Oh no, we lost our ‘lectricity. Guess we better go to the store to get some.”
+ Me: “Would you like popcorn or animal crackers for your snack? You can choose ONE.” Kali: “I will have popcorn. And then Sully will have animal crackers, and we can mix them all up together. That sound good?” [Especially funny because Sully was not asking for or wanting a snack.]
+ Praying at dinner (he prays this exact prayer, with a few variations, every day—always with Kali, who does not like to pray aloud, whispering her own additions in his ear): “Thank you for my Paw Patrol movies, and for Kalinda and Charlie, and for Christmases, and for loving us, and for to have snow tomorrow. Amen.”
+ After our ice storm, when I was pointing out branches that had frozen and fallen from trees: “Oh no, is our mailbox going to break off and fall down too?” (Our mailboxes had frozen shut, so I can see why he might have assumed this would happen.)
+ “Did the branches fall off because they want to be alone, by themselves?”
+ “My tummy is really frustrated because he wants food.”
+ Kali, before we gave Luke his birthday presents: “Is Santa going to bring Daddy presents? Is Santa in the clouds right now?” Sully: “No, Santa is sitting in his chair at the fish place [Bass Pro Shop]. That’s his job.”
+ “Marshall [Paw Patrol fire pup] is a fireman because he fired bad guys. And makes fires to be warm.”
+ “I’m a big kid. But I’m not a big kid yet, I’ve gotta go learn my letters first. But not right now. Tomorrow. . . after nap time.”
+ Me: “Would you like to try one of these mini yogurts?” Sully: “No, I want one of the Mickey ones.”
HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS
We had a big milestone for the twins at the tail end of January: we FINALLY removed the rail from their crib, turning it into a toddler bed. The transition has gone so much more smoothly than we could have imagined: they are great about getting into bed each night and staying there (even when they’ve been awake for a while) until we come to get them in the morning. I was thankful we were able to make this transition on our own terms, not out of necessity because they were trying to climb out of the crib (we had zero escape attempts in 3 years of crib life). We thought about moving them into separate beds, but they seem happy to continue sharing, so why put an end to a good thing? It saves us on space and the cost of a second bed!
We have had snow at least once each winter since moving to Texas in 2016; this year’s came the first week of February. It began as an ice storm, with only some scattered snowfall during our three days of the freeze. With everything canceled and roads too icy to go out, we were home for the full week but the kids did well with it and we didn’t go *too* stir crazy. We got to have a little fun playing in our ice-scaped yard, and I found the frozen-over trees and fences and icicled rooftops simply breathtaking.
Thankfully we had no damage, though it was sad to see fallen trees all around us (some areas looked like a tornado had come through). Thankful also that we kept power (and heat) for almost the whole week, minus one chilly afternoon when it was out for a few hours—just long enough for Luke to get our generator set up, then it kicked back in. After the traumatic event that was snow-pocalypse of 2021, I have a much greater appreciation for the comforts we enjoy amidst brutal weather. And we are now a little better prepared if such a scenario were to repeat itself.
We never do much to celebrate Valentine’s Day in our home, but I do try to make it somewhat special. This year I started the day with a special breakfast of cinnamon rolls, bananas with nut butter and red sprinkles (served on bright pink plates), with milk dyed red with food coloring. Charleston had his enrichment program that day and enjoyed participating in a Valentine exchange with his friends; while he was gone the twins and I painted Valentine’s pictures and read some books about the holiday. I picked Charleston up from school and we went on an ice cream date, and when we got home the kids opened small gifts from Luke and me (new pajamas and heart-shaped boxes of candy). Luke surprised me with not one but THREE bouquets of flowers and then melted my heart when he gifted Kali a rose of her own (she couldn’t wait to display it on her dresser in her room). The kids got quesadillas cut into the shape of hearts for dinner, then went down early so Luke and I could have an at-home date. For a non-celebration, it ended up being a pretty great day!
ICYMI: FEBRUARY ON THE BLOG
LIFE & FAITH:
Ten Lovely Things Saving My Life This Winter In the past I would never have considered myself a morning person; these days I wake up excited to start my day with the Lord.
What a Friend We Have In Jesus By definition, friendship implies a level of mutuality and companionship for which I know I am not worthy. (And that’s not just false humility, if we’re honest NONE of us is deserving of friendship with Jesus.) Amazingly(!), Jesus knows that I am not worthy of His friendship. And He chose me anyway!
Faithful 02.23: Directionally Correct I am so grateful that my life’s direction is not dependent on my own stamina or performance. Because of sin, I will stumble and fall backwards; but because of God’s grace and mercy, I am equipped to walk faithfully with Him over my lifetime.
Redeemer, God of Truth (February Verse—Psalm 31:1-5) I want my children to know that this same God that rescued King David is the God who hears their cries and offers them rescue and redemption in their moments of fear, and brokenness, and disillusionment. When they hit rock bottom, God is still there—offering to be their steady rock to stand on and their stepping stones out of the darkest pit.
Boredom or Bust! Instead of pitying Charleston in his time of weekly boredom, I am making a concerted effort to find inspiration in his approach. What might it be like for me to build some opportunities for boredom into my own life?
JUST FOR FUN:
“Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.” ~ Anna Quindlen
“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” ~ Robert Fulghum
I hope your February was a little more pleasant than mine. What were some highlights?