Saturday, January 2, 2016

What I'm Into: December

On the Nightstand:
Once again, I had an awful reading month (goal for the new year, for sure). I read a little, but I'm still in the middle of the three books I've been reading for months.

As always:
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris

On Their Nightstand: 
I did a bit better with the kids.

We've had lots of great library books and two really fun read-alouds:
 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
We actually read this really quickly and Annie went to her first book club meeting with the homeschool group we're in. I procrastinated digging it out of the attic and we had to read it all in about three days but we all LOVED The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (I was Gladys in the play in high school so I've read it quite a few times, but it never gets old!).

The Mouse on the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
I have honestly never seen Graves get this interested in a chapter book, but he adored that mouse (and it goes without saying his animal loving sister did, too).

We also used The Jesus Storybook Bible for our Advent readings. I LOVED Ann Voskamp's book but it was a little much to chew on for my two and gauging from our typical Bible study, it still will be. We have so many more years for that and I have no doubt it will be perfect for another year. And this is NOT supposed to be a stressful time. So, I reminded myself that it was okay if we didn't craft a felt Jesse Tree every year- there's grace for that- and that a series of nightly stories that points continually to a Rescuer who is overwhelmingly for them would be be plenty sufficient. As is the Rescuer, praise God!

Lastly, Annie discovered Where's Waldo?

On the Shelf:
I'm not adding anything until I finish those last three.

At the Theater (or from the couch):
This is the story of an aspiring Jazz drummer who desperately wants to be "one of the greats" and how his interactions with his abusive instructor challenge, damage, and inspire him. Peyton and I watched this a few nights ago. Lots of language and angry emotional moments, but the acting was amazing and it was a really interesting, compelling story.

Jurassic World

Actually, just the kids and Peyton watched this. We've been super particular about what the kids watch and the vast majority has consisted of PBS shows and animal docu's. So I think it's sort of hysterical that they watched their first PG-13 this month. They love dinosaurs and they didn't seem to even pick up on any of the language. It was such a win.

On the Small Screen:
 I've got to say that Netflix is knocking it out of the park with their originals. We've picked up two new shows this month and are enjoying both and they are both Netflix originals.

Master of None
We were hoping this would fill our Parks and Rec void and eh, I don't know. In some ways, it's a bit more interesting because there's more of a social commentary on race and gender and that sort of thing which I find very interesting. And it is super funny. But I don't find it as funny as Parks and Rec.

Making a Murderer
So this is a documentary series, sort of like the podcast Serial and it's gotten a lot of hype. We had to check it out. It's the story of a man who was convicted and imprisoned wrongly and it's just so fascinating. I keep forgetting it's true! 

In My Ears:
I so,  so meant to really listen to some of my old Christmas playlists. And I did, but only a little. I wish I had enjoyed them more!

Around the House:
It took/is taking way longer than I had hoped, but we finished purging the attic and now we're tackling my least favorite part (sorting out what to donate and sell and then actually doing those things). 

We are always so late decorating but this year was a record. Good thing I've become more liturgical and now have an excuse for keeping it up roughly two weeks into January. With the attic project and having hardly any energy, I just didn't make it happen. HOWEVER, I was super excited because this is the first year since Graves has been mobile that we've had a full size tree in the living room. In Brooklyn we didn't even get one, the year before we were trying to move and got a tiny one, and the year before that he was one and everyone assured me I could "tell him no" and gently discipline and he'd stay out of it Yeah, no. Guys, THIS year he knocked over two trees in the fifteen minutes we were at the tree stand and there were three adults watching him. We had a few "look me in the eyes and listen" discussions and he knew the rules. Self-control is still not an area he's super strong in, but he did great. I will say that one of the biggest thing he's taught me is about doing things on their time. Wanna nurse past a year? Fine. Want to have a paci until you're three and a half? Sure. Want to potty train when you're almost four? Okay. Need to wait on the full size living room tree until you're four and a half? I'll survive. He's made me a lot more flexible and gentle and kind. Nearly half a decade without a real living room tree? Small price to pay. As far as Annie, holiday decorating is literally one of her favorite things in the world and since we've tried to downplay the consumerist part of Christmas, I love that she takes so much joy from this part of the magic.

I've been scheming about plans for the sunroom since we left Brooklyn. It's one of my favorite rooms in our house and actually, when I helped Peyton pick this house (a couple of years before we got married, haha)  this little room-porch was one of the big draws. I've always wanted our house to feel like a cottage and this room to feel like a little enclosed patio.

I got the $20 red polka dot Ikea duvet cover to use for Christmas/Valentine's next year but I wanted to go ahead get it set up in it's standard dressing. I picked the pink buffalo check because I thought it would coordinate so well with my watermelon festival posters. It feels Summery, but I love it. We still need to finish clean ing out the room, move some other small furniture in, and hang a few things. But I'm so excited how it's turning out! 

In the Kitchen:

I had these for breakfast one morning and then passed out (I think more from dehydration and getting hot than anything else) but they're still on my love list.

 Trying to stay hydrated. The limes would make me twitchy (I'm very compulsive about certain seasona eating and they feel so Summery) but it's literally seventy nine degrees, so I'm going with it.

 Some days you make healthy choices and some days...

Another favorite thing has been these smoothies. I used pineapple and blueberries in this one. Probably becuse it was eighty two degrees in December, I had a craving. And the kids thought I was a really fun mom, which is something they probably haven't thought in ages. Win win.

In My Closet:
This sweater from Anthro is one of my favorites. I love the cords, too, but they are retired for a bit now.

Lots of comfy clothes in the mix.

Pretty sure this is about to be retired, too. I love this t-shirt dress from Target and have it in several colors.

We had a few errands one morning and Peyton wanted to get out before Lakeland got crazy (which, to be fair just meant us leaving before ten and he took Graves to Walmart before that and let me and Annie sleep late, which was SO appreciated). Still, they got home and I had no time to shower or anything. I brushed my teeth and put on a hat, y'all. I'm all about loungewear on the go, but I never really go in public without taking a bath, fixing my hair, and putting on some makeup. Peyton told me he loves this look and thinks it's so cute He wasn't being sweet, he was being weird. It's probably because I don't have a sporty bone in my body and I have to search DEEP for the nature girl, so it's just different and fun. I guess?!?  I'm so grateful for hot baths, blow dryers, and mascara.

 Peyton and I got to go to a pharmacy party and it was fun to dress up and have a little date! 

In Their Closets:

This ensemble. Clearly, they dressed themselves for storytime at the libary.

I paid more this dress last year than I usually do for play clothes- I bought it from a fair trade company in Europe - but she's probably worn it more than anything else she's owned over the years. I will say that it's super well made and doesn't show a single sign of wear. And, while this hasn't always been my absolute favorite style, it just looks like Annie to me. As do the ladybug slip-ons we've been trying to tell her are getting too small.  

Looking so grown up in his Colonel Reb boxers.

Hipster sighting at a Rankin County Walgreens!  

       And this is Graves's new favorite attire after receiving it on Christmas.

So, since Annie always requests her hair cuts based on a princess (we've been Snow White for over a year now), Graves started requesting Mandy to cut his hair like Batman or Superman. However, recently he found a Hercules book at the library and subsequently watch the movie on Netflix. So last time, he walked in and said he either wanted his hair to look like Hercules or Hades. I QUICKLY determined we'd go with Hercules. For a trip to Mickey and Minnie's, Peyton decided to style it like Hades, though.

I'm glad I was able to locate a couple of seasonally appropriate outfits for church this morning that could also be worn when it's in the 70s.
In My Mailbox:
We didn't get as many Christmas cards as usual and I was sort of bummed. I was talking to a friend and I guess with social media more and more people just don't feel the need. I love them so much. It's honestly one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

In My Cart:
With Voluntary Simplicity, I've tried to become a lot more discerning in my spending. Since we moved, I don't think I've gone into Target once and just bought something (or a couple of hundred dollars of somethings) on impulse (which is HUGE for me). I've really tried to decide what I want to prioritize and also not buy things that "work" but that I don't love. That said, I want to be honest- nobody should think we never treat ourselves or buy things we think we'll enjoy and get use out of. I've been saving up my checks from subbing and from selling other stuff (that money comprises all our decorating budget, my own spending money, and any extra for kids' clothes above a certain point) and I did do a good bit of Internet shopping with Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales. I'm pretty excited about my little Christmas to myself- an Ikea duvet cover I'll use for Christmas/Valentine's, this darling retro looking Christmas throw that I wanted last year and went on sale around Thanksgiving, WAY marked down Hunters in a hard to find color I've been wanting for years, a new medicine bag for my purse, some homeschooling materials for next semester (not part of my "fun" budget, but it excites me so I included it), and hymn calendars for the year. And of course our Christmas cards! I had one more big thing, one more house thing that's one its way, and one baby thing I'll share later and then I'm planned to press pause again for a while. I actually think it worked out great with the sales- it's a lot more fun (to me) to save up for months and then narrow down and decide on several things I really like. I wanted to share because it's fun but also because I want people to see what this adventure really looks like and that it's very possible to do it and not act like a martyr about it. For us, a lot of it comes down to having a single car, living in a house below our means, not paying for private school (we live in a great district but so did my parents and bless their hearts, our AMAZING education took a lot of Mick's check each month) and not spending on impulse.
 Around the Town (and At Home):

We made a trip down to Granny's. Even though she's not there (she was recovering from a broken arm), Peyton had a good time helping his dad and the kids and I hung out with his mom and had a really fun day.

We've been doing lots of bike riding- rain or shine!

I had a great check up with Babykins #3. 

And Christmas was a blast.   

At the Schoolhouse:

Annie is starting to develop strategies herself that help her get through math and I told her how proud I was of her for calming down (she was in tears) and figuring out ways to help herself be successful. She gets so overwhelmed. Which is so, so me. I gave her this worksheet and it WAS a lot of problems, but when we were practicing it she was doing them super fast. In fact, she had basically moved herself ahead to the next day's lesson and was doing them in her head after just the first couple. I was super proud because the book had them like putting the first addend on the abacus and mentally doing the second and she was just doing the entire thing in her head. Anyway, then we got to the worksheet and she was like "THIS IS TOO LONG". We finally got through it but it took some discussing. [Sidenote: for those of you who compliment me on my patience and thoughtful parenting, I was telling a friend recently that usually being really gentle and hand holding works best with Annie. And I did okay, but I was super close to LOOSING IT. This is different with Graves, especially now that he's really at the point where we can reason with him and I feel like he understands a lot more that his actions have consequences. Although he loves and REALLY benefits from lots of praise and physical affection and that's a big part of parenting him, I'm also really trying to buckle down with him and be KIND but FIRM. Honestly, if I don't, I end up loosing my temper and just being downright mean to him. Which is unfair to him. With Annie, I certainly think she needs boundaries, but I think a more gentle approach works better for her and sometimes what works with Graves really just exacerbates the situation with her.] Back to math-- after discussing and discussing she finally did the first four in less than two minutes. The very next thing she did was divide the rest of the problems into (manageable) sets of fours. I love seeing her and Graves grow and mature, figuring out what works for each of them, and watching them figure things out themselves.

On the Blog:
Always an Annie to Me- I wrote about how Annie now has a preference about what she likes to be called
You've Got Mail: 2015 Christmas Card and Letter- I love sharing our annual card and letter
Focused Ambitions: 2015 Goals Recap- I revisited my goals from last year and assessed how I did

On My Heart:
- I LOVE this time of year. I'm really excited about thinking and planning and I love that fresh start feeling.
- We had a nice, laid back Christmas and so much of it was near perfect. I was sort of worried this season would be really hard, but it's been mostly the exact opposite. I'm planning to blog about it a bit more. But  I ended 2015 feeling very grateful and having a lot of joy.

In My Prayers:
- I'm thanking God so much for how wonderful Christmas was.
- I'm praying (perhaps selfishly) that one day Cookie and Conrad will wind up in a city a bit closer to Jackson.
- I'm praying for what I want 2016 to look like and how I can live my priorties. 
On the Calendar: 

Mostly, I'm just hoping to get back into more of a routine this month. The last couple have been sort of strange for lots of reasons and now feels like a great time to hit reset.

What I'm Into


Lisa notes... said...

I just finished Daring Greatly last month. Loved it! It inspired me to re-read her “The Gifts of Imperfection” as the foundation for my OneWord 2016 this year (Welcome).

I’m always looking for a good daily devotional. Off to look at Brennan Manning’s now! Thanks for mentioning it.

Your kids are so adorable. Happy New Year to you all and blessings on Babykins #3! Visiting from Leigh’s.

Jennie said...

We love the Storybook Bible! And Making a Murderer is at the top of my list of things to watch... I'm just not sure I'm ready for another addiction quite yet. :)

Found your post on Leigh Kramer's blog - love it!