If this past month is any indication, 2020 is going to be a good year for our family! Despite a few setbacks (specifically, all of us getting hit with colds—mine lasted more than two weeks, ugh!), it was a fun month that saw my return to regular blogging and to my weekly women’s Bible study; the start of our attending church as a whole family; and a milestone birthday for Charleston. Here’s a look at some of January’s standout memories and moments.
// READING LATELY //
I kicked off the year with a fairly diverse reading month. I enjoyed this romance more than I thought I would, while this popular historical novel and this highly reviewed mystery didn’t quite live up to my expectations. On the nonfiction front, this month’s book list included a book on motherhood, one on marriage, and one on politics.
Favorite novel of the month was this humorous title, while the award for best nonfiction goes to this insightful book about the Enneagram. I had a number of wonderful takeaways from this book, and it has served as a helpful framework for applying my Word of 2020. Expect to see full reviews of each of these books in the coming weeks!
// WATCHING LATELY //
On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, Charleston, Sully and I headed to the theater (Kali stayed home with Daddy) to see Frozen II, and it was SO GOOD! The movie picks up right where Frozen left off, but flashes back to Anna and Elsa’s childhood and even before. I thought the music was spectacular and the story built upon the original in some beautiful ways, without in any way detracting from the stand-alone nature of that first film. The movie is humorous (I LOVED Olaf) and heartfelt, and the visuals are gorgeous. I really appreciated the themes of perseverance, sacrifice, and making amends for past wrongs. I didn’t think a sequel could live up to the original (one of my favorite Disney films), but I’d argue that it is even better than the first!
Oh, and Sully Bear was fantastic through the movie: he was wide awake for the trailers, then got fussy and ended up nursing/sleeping through the whole film. (I think he was happy just to have mom to himself, without having to share with sister, for once!) Unfortunately, Charleston thought the movie was too scary: he cried during the intense bridge scene and spent the next two days worried that giants were out to get him as they had gone after Anna and Elsa. Charleston very rarely gets frightened by movies, but we don’t see many movies in the theater and I’m guessing the sound and intensity of the theater experience frightened him more than the movie itself. I’m hoping I can get him to watch it again once it’s out on DVD because I am eager for a re-watch. Until then, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat!
My Rating: 5 Stars.
// LOVING LATELY //
Playground ~ My parents and grandmother bought the kids a backyard playground as a housewarming gift. It had been sitting in our garage for what felt like ages, but Luke and his parents finally got it put together during Luke’s Christmas break. Charleston is in playground Heaven! I have to admit, it’s a pretty awesome playscape and even I have been having tons of fun swinging on the swings and perched up in the tower, with its view of the whole neighborhood. It’s been so nice for Charleston to have a place to play in our own backyard, as we don’t get out as much as we used to now that we have the twins. Arlo is loving the playground, too, because it means we are in the yard more, so he gets more play time with us!
Leggings ~ I used some of my Christmas money to buy myself a new pair of Zella leggings during Nordstrom’s winter sale. In the past I have steered clear of high-waisted styles, but post-pregnancy I need all the tummy control I can get, and I find these leggings hold everything in without feeling too constricting. I’m really liking the 7/8 length which doesn’t bunch at the ankles like the full-length styles, and I am obsessed with the pocket. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a pocketless pair of leggings again!
Angel ~ Following the miscarriage of my first pregnancy in the fall of 2013, my parents bought us an angel figurine to commemorate the baby we had lost. For some reason, we’ve always kept this angel with our Christmas decorations, and when we pulled it out this past December, I knew that I wanted to buy a second angel in honor of the triplet we lost in this last pregnancy.
I was able to hunt down the same figurine, and now both angels sit on top of my dresser year-round. It’s a small thing, but one that matters to me. That first angel played a key roll in my healing from my miscarriage all those years ago, and now, as I’m still coming to terms with the loss of our triplet, the presence of this second figurine helps me to feel connected to the child I know I’ll one day see in Heaven, while also reminding me of how fortunate we were to have two healthy babies survive the pregnancy.
Pillowcases ~ For Christmas I asked for and received a pair of silk pillowcases, and they are positively divine! Though I don’t know that I’ve noticed any differences to my hair and skin (benefits touted by proponents of silk bedding), they look so luxurious and are a dream to sleep on.
// MONTHLY CHARLIE-ISMS //
Holy moly, I’m the mom of a 5-year-old! Charleston had a great birthday month and made some huge emotional and academic shifts in the last few weeks. (Most notably, he is finally able to write his name and identify each of the letters!) He’s also said some of the most adorable, witty, and insightful things:
+ After Luke said that he is taller than his dad. “That’s because Grandpa hasn’t had his birthday all the way up to how tall adults can get.”
+ Overheard saying to the twins (in his baby talk voice): ”Who doesn’t like the best big brother in the whole house? Actually, let’s make it the best big brother in the solar system.”
+ “Daddy, I have a really big, important question. Is everything true, or are some things true, or is not a lot of stuff true?”
+ “Our house is the best one in the whole neighborhood because we have TWO babies. And that’s the best thing in the whole world!”
+ “Why do we do different stuff on Jesus’s birthday from ours?” Me: “Maybe because Jesus’ birthday is extra special. And maybe because we only celebrate our birthdays with a few people who know us, but the whole world celebrates Christmas.” Charleston: “But what about bad guys? They don’t celebrate Christmas because they don’t like Jesus.”
+ “Look, I drew a picture of a heart with Jesus in it. Because Jesus lives in our hearts.”
+ Me: “I sure love you, Bud.” Charleston: “Maybe a bit TOO much.”
+ “Mom, how come you get up so early?” Me: “So I can get things done in the morning, because our day goes more smoothly that way.” Charleston: “You mean, so there won’t be any earthquakes?”
+ While watching a Bible Project video with me: “Mom, you know Jesus isn’t JUST a king, he’s a son too. ‘Cause he’s God’s son! And he’s also a magic king. He’s super, super, super magic because He can do ANYTHING!”
+ About the twins: “I can’t wait until they get older so it’s not so loud in the house.” Umm…has he heard how loud HE can be at five years old?!?!
+ Talking about how Jesus could have saved himself on the cross if he’d wanted to. “Because there’s nothing God can’t do. I used to think that the word was ‘nothing God CAN do,’ but then I was like, ‘wait, that can’t be right, because God can do ANYthing.’”
+Catching a whiff of exhaust fumes: “mmm, it smells like California. I love it!”
// TWO-YEAR PUP-DATE //
Our Arlo pup turned TWO this week! It feels like just yesterday that we brought him home with us, and while we had a difficult first few months with him, he has turned out to be the very best dog for our family. He’s thriving in our new house, where he has a big yard to run in and is allowed access to all of the common areas in our house. (We don’t let him in our bedrooms, but this is still way more freedom than he had in our last house, where he mostly was kept in the kitchen). He is truly Luke’s shadow: he spends most of his day camped out at the door of our home office where Luke works, and at night he sleeps pressed up against the couch (where Luke has been sleeping, since the babies are in bed with me).
Though he still barks at everything that passes by our house, and he tries to run out the door at every opportunity, he is generally very well-behaved—especially when we remain consistent with his shock collar—although he listens to Luke much better than to me. Arlo has his playful moments (it’s hilarious to watch him play catch by himself with his bone or kong), but for the most part he’s pretty mellow. He’s very gentle with Charleston and fascinated by the twins. Balloons are his kryptonite, and dinnertime is his favorite time of the day. I feel bad that he gets much less of my attention since the twins’ birth, but he is still a very important part of our family and we are so glad to have him in our lives.
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
New Year’s is generally a non-event in our home, and this year was no exception. We wanted Charleston to get to experience some of the NYE festivities without keeping him up too late, so we counted down to 9:00 (an hour past his bedtime) and toasted the “New Year” with sparkling cider in sippy cups. As he drank his cider, I asked Charleston what he was hoping and dreaming for this year and he said he wanted to go to Little Land; we accomplished that to-do item last week, so I guess you might say we made his year, haha! At midnight itself, the rest of the family was in bed (miraculously, even my night owl Kali was asleep!) and I rang in the new decade to the sound of fireworks in the neighborhood while reflecting on the past ten years and pondering what is ahead for me and our family.
After several months in which our lives revolved entirely around the twins, January—Charleston’s birthday month—provided a great opportunity for him to be the center of attention once again. We kicked off his birthday morning with breakfast at Burger King for the second year in a row (I think it’s going to be a new birthday tradition). While I hung out with the twins, Charleston snacked on pancakes and played on the playground. We even got the chance to FaceTime with my parents while we were there.
We arrived home from Burger King to a table filled with birthday presents and a giant balloon that Luke had picked up while the kids and I were out. (Charleston had told me that a balloon was the one thing he wanted for his birthday, so of course we had to make that happen.) Before we could get to opening presents, Arlo (who is terrified of balloons) ended up getting caught in the strings of this one and bolted down the hallway. Luke—terrified that this would be the end to Charleston’s happy day—tossed the baby he was holding into my arms and dashed after Arlo, trying to untangle him before the balloon popped. Charleston and I stood in the living room, him screaming for Arlo to stop, me laughing uncontrollably while trying not to drop the two babies I was holding. Miraculously, the balloon was saved, Arlo learned an important lesson about steering clear from balloon ribbons, and we all have a new favorite moment to add to our family’s memory bank.
Following presents, Charleston and I had a picnic (i.e., lunch in the living room in front of the tv—something usually reserved for Fridays). Then we all headed to Chuck E. Cheese’s where my in-laws met us for an evening of games, pizza, birthday cake, and hanging with Chuck E. We had plenty of leftover token cards from Charleston’s fourth birthday party, so he was able to play to his heart’s content!
This past weekend we capped our birthday festivities with a friends party at Urban Air. We nearly didn’t do a big party for Charleston this year, but then I thought back to my own fifth birthday party and how clearly I remember that day, and I wanted Charleston to have similar memories for his own fifth birthday. He chose Urban Air as his birthday spot, picked out a theme (Mickey Mouse), decided which friends would receive invitations, and helped me assemble the party favors (Disney bags filled with Mickey Mouse coloring packs, Pez Dispensers, and goldfish crackers).
I think it’s safe to say that he has a blast at his party! We had a pretty good turnout and it was great to see some friends we haven’t gotten to hang out with in a while. Unfortunately Urban Air’s tunnels (his favorite part) were closed for maintenance, but Charleston had fun jumping on the trampolines and playing in the balls. He was a huge cheeseball during cake time, and I loved watching him joke around with his friends while they ate their pizza. His favorite parts of the party were the balloons (he asked me to thank Urban Air for these specifically next time we are there) and passing out the party favors to his friends—he was SO proud of those, and couldn’t wait to give one to each guest.
One month down, eleven to go. What was the highlight of your January?