Let’s give a big round of applause to ALL OF US for making it to the end of January, this month that lasted approximately eighty-seven days (give or take a week). Honestly, January ALWAYS feels like it goes on forever, yet somehow I am surprised by this EVERY YEAR! It’s the month that insists on giving and giving.

Our January was a mixed bag: just as we were getting back into our post-Christmas rhythms, our family got sick, each of us falling like dominoes. We were out of commission for over a week, but we are all back in the land of the living and ready to face February head-on. But first, a look back at this first month of the year.


After a nonfiction-heavy December, I changed pace and read a lot of fiction this month. Standouts were this charming story that will have Narnia lovers swooning, this spare but poignant literary novel, this memorable To Kill a Mockingbird read-alike, and this read-aloud that Charleston and I adored. My only book this month that was less than four stars was this quirky family story, which I didn’t hate but didn’t love as much as others seemed to.

My favorite book of the month was, hands-down, this powerful book about the heart of Jesus that I reviewed last week. Reviews of these remaining titles are headed your way in a Quick Lit post next Thursday.

I’m reading through two devotionals this year: this collection of readings from C.S. Lewis and this devotional with daily insights from an assortment of prominent Christian teachers. It’s been so beneficial to tap into the ideas and inspiration from timeless Christian books each morning while I brush my teeth and in evening just before I turn in for the night. If you’re wanting to read through a devotional in 2022 and haven’t chosen one yet, I can highly recommend either of these.


Encanto ~ I didn’t think a Disney movie could come along that would unseat Beauty and the Beast as my favorite. And I still don’t know if I’m quite ready to revoke top billing from that beloved classic . . . so let’s just say I now have TWO favorite Disney movies, because Encanto is AMAZING! This movie about a Columbian family blessed with the miracle of magical gifts is all that I want from a film: catchy music, gorgeous imagery, engaging story, endearing characters, and uplifting themes. I adored the South American setting and powerful messages about tradition, family systems and roles, and recognizing our value beyond the specific talents and skills we can offer. These are great conversation starters for kids AND adults. All five members of our family loved this film and have watched it numerous times this month—and when we aren’t watching it, the soundtrack is playing on our Sonos. Kudos to Disney for making a hit that has captured all of our attention and that we can feel good about enjoying together.

My Rating: 5 Stars!

And to my fellow Enneagram enthusiasts—this movie is an absolute gem of an Enneagram study! Here’s my take: Mirabel—Type 9; Isabela—Type 1; Julieta & Luisa—Type 2; Camilo—Type 3; Pepa—Type 4; Dolores—Type 5; Bruno—We don’t talk about Bruno! (Okay, we will for now; he’s a Type 6); Antonio—Type 7; Abuela—Type 8. Thoughts?


Between Christmas and Charleston’s January birthday, this first month of the year is always filled with plenty of new items in our home, and this year was no exception. These are few new toys that the kids new have been enjoying in the past several weeks.

Polaroid Camera ~ Since Charleston has so much fun using our phones to take pictures, we thought he might enjoy a camera of his own, and he has been having a blast with this kid-friendly polaroid. He’s been impressively judicious with his film usage, planning out each picture before he takes it and using the photos to create a family album with pictures of all of his loved ones. He loves arts and crafts, so it’s no surprise how much he’s enjoyed using the scrapbook-style accessories to showcase his pics. I’ve been happy with the camera’s durability and the quality of the photos it produces.

Lego Make Your Own Movie Kit ~ This fun toy unites Charleston’s love of photo-taking and Legos. He is able to use the set to create short stop-action animations that are REALLY cool. I’ve often mentioned that I’m not a fan of screen time or apps for kids, but this is one screen-based activity I can really get behind.

Picasso Tiles Race Track ~ My kids all love their set of magnetic tiles, so when we were coming up with ideas for what the twins could get Charleston for Christmas, this track that all three could play with together was an easy option. They all enjoyed it so much that we bought Charleston a second set for his birthday so that we could make more elaborate tracks. This is such a great toy for the three of them because Charleston enjoys piecing together the track while the twins like watching the battery operated cars zoom around the finished path.

Spirograph Art Set ~ I had a spirograph when I was Charleston’s age. You know how childhood toys can get glamorized in our minds, and when we encounter them again as adults they just don’t measure up to the memory? Well that was NOT true with the spirograph, which doesn’t just live up to its reputation—it’s even cooler than I remember! This inexpensive birthday present has provided Charleston and me with hours of creative fun as we experiment with the various shapes and patterns we can create.

Double Jogging Stroller ~ This is actually last year’s (as in, 2020’s) Christmas present from my in-laws that Luke just got around to putting together. And of I’d known how much I would love this stroller I would have pushed him to assemble it for me sooner. I’m not using it for jogging, but with its smooth ride and easy navigability, it has made our neighborhood strolls vastly easier. Kali and Sully like sitting side-by-side and being able to easily climb into their seats on their own. The stroller folds up nicely and has a roomy storage basket and a decent-sized cupholder. If you happen to be in the market for a double stroller and don’t mind the wider footprint of a side-by-side model, you’ll love this.



+ On a day when our internet was moving slowly and we couldn’t download an Adventures in Odyssey episode: “This is annoying.” Me: “Well, it’s teaching us to be patient.” Charleston, rolling his eyes: “Patience isn’t my kind of word.”

+ During one of Kali’s meltdowns: “Maybe we shouldn’t be praying for a fourth kid after all.”

+ “God tells people different things in different ways. And I have a feeling that if God doesn’t want me to be president, then He’ll just tell people not to vote for me.”

+ Me: “Would you like to have frozen waffles for breakfast?” Charleston: “Why frozen, is the power out again?”

+ Me, about something we saw in a book: “Hmm, that’s funny.” Charleston: “If it’s funny, then it’s actually normal, because the world is so weird these days. People have gone crazy since COVID!”

+ “Can I play Daddy with you?” Me: “What do you mean by that?” Charleston: “You know, how Daddy is always the boss of the kid. So I want to be the boss of you.”


+ Pointing to the spot on her leg where she had a bug bite that is now healed. “That’s my owie?” Me: “No, your owie is all gone.” Kali: “Owie go in trash?”


+ From the back of the car: “I throw boogers out the window, Mama?” Me: “No, we don’t throw our boogers.” Sully: “I not throw boogers? No! I EAT boogers!”

+ When a bout of constipation came to an end. “Oof, I got it out. I found it! I found the poopoos!”


Our New Year’s was a quiet one, per usual in our household. Charleston planned an adorable little NYE party: after the twins were in bed, the three of us hunted for Easter eggs stuffed with crafts and costumes (gotta love the blending of holiday traditions here); played board games; ate a late dinner; dug into our Christmas Eve gingerbread house; counted down to 9:00; and toasted to the new year with sparkling cider. Charleston thought it was pretty awesome that he got to stay up past 10:00, and we all fell asleep pre-midnight to fireworks going on outside.

Despite my denial that seven years have past since I became a mom, Charleston celebrated a seventh birthday this month! He had a wonderful day that began with a surprise trip to get donuts before church, where he was celebrated by his classmates and received a birthday goody bag. After church we me our family at Chuck E. Cheese’s for pizza and play time, which Charleston and the twins all loved. The twins hadn’t been there since they were just a few months old so their only association with Chuck E. is a sippy cup that Charleston drinks his milk from. We were wondering why Sully kept referring to the Chuck E. logo as “Charlie milk”—it took a bit to put the pieces of that puzzle together! Charleston’s birthday ended at home with presents, balloons, and birthday cake. Our birthday boy was all smiles all day long, and seeing his enthusiasm for his special day was a gift to ME too.

Luke and I had a belated anniversary date that was just perfect. We got a blissful couple’s massage at a hole-in-the-wall massage place that turned out to be amazing! Then we wandered around Old Town Round Rock (which we somehow had never seen before), ate lunch at the quirkiest little cajun restaurant, did some shopping, and ended the day with tea at our favorite Georgetown coffee shop. It was great to get away for the day to celebrate THIRTEEN years of marriage.

I signed the twins up for their first gymnastics class! I’ve wanted to start them in gymnastics for a while, and this class through The Y was the only one I could find for two-year-olds that didn’t require a parent’s participation (tough for me on my own with them). We were excited to start, especially since Charleston had such a great experience in this same class when he was younger. Unfortunately my plans were foiled: a few minutes into their first class, the teacher asked me to pull them out and re-enroll them in the Mommy and Me class instead. I was bummed and a little frustrated, since I think they would have done just fine once they’d warmed up to the new setting. (They weren’t being disruptive, just a little deer-in-the-headlights as they took in the new surroundings.)

But . . . we started the Mommy and Me class last Friday and it went great! The twins had an amazing time and the coach allowed Charleston to help me out; between Charlie and me, we kept the twins corralled and having fun. I was impressed by how much they were able to do—climbing ladders, swinging from rings, walking across a beam, somersaults down a wedge mat, jumping down a tumble track—and was delighted by their smiles. We are all looking forward to next week’s class.

How was YOUR January? Here’s hoping for a warmer, healthier February for us all!

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