Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What I'm Into: December


Time to share what all I was into in December!

On the Nightstand:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion- Jonathon Haidt

So book club is this week and I've made some good progress but I'm not going to finish it. There's no way. Fortunately, most of the people in our group are in about that same boat. It's really good and I'm planning on finishing it, of course. It's so interesting and it's not like the hardest thing I've ever read. But I'm really having to/wanting to take my time to digest it all. I mean Haidt says a LOT. I do think he's really good at expressing his points in a clear way, though. Like better than a lot of writers I've read.

On Their Nightstand: 

Annie got this book and activity book (and the little states' capitols wraps) as part of her Christmas from us. They are fantastic books and were a steal on Amazon! She's been pouring over them and on Christmas Eve Cookie even quizzed us with trivia on the states! It worked out really well because she has a states app on the iPad that she loves so we've been meaning to start learning more about them anyway!

On the Shelf:
I'm going to finish up the Haidt book and then I want to pick back up my two old trusty devotionals:
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris
Those are going to be my only reading goals this month. 

At the Theater (or from the couch):
I feel like maybe I watched a movie but I can't remember what it was!

On the Small Screen:

Law and Order: SVU
Y'all. I almost never binge watch shows. It's not my thing. For one thing, there are just other ways I'd rather prioritize my time (and before you think I'm saying I'm good at time management, in part I mean there are other ways I'd rather waste my time- like scrolling through Facebook or IG). Secondly, with a lot of shows, it's not something I feel comfortable doing when the kids are awake and when they are asleep there are DEFINITELY other ways I'd rather use my time. Finally, I just don't seem to enjoy TV as much that way. I prefer to watch slowly and savor shows I really love. All that said, I spent a few nights binge watching the most recent season of SVU that's available on Netflix.

I always say I much prefer character driven stories to plot driven ones and I guess SVU has been the sole exception, really. But lately it's gotten to be SO much more about the characters- specifically the detectives personal lives. Peyton thinks it's really gimmicky and to be honest, I do agree. But I love it anyway. I was really sad when I finished the last one, which I know would not have been the case in previous seasons where the episodes are stand alone style, more plot driven, and don't have the same soundtrack or vibe.

The West Wing
Since I finished up SVU, I've actually been watching more. I've watched quite a bit in December!

In My Ears:

My dad has this mix CD he made (hahahaha!) and he had it playing at their house the other night and I loved it so much and so he gave it to me and told me he'd make himself another copy. It's all great, folksy pop music. These two are my favorites from it:

Let Her Go- Passenger

I mean, it's just so good. It reminds me of the singer-songwriters we used to listen to in his car on the way to the pool!

Ophelia- The Lumineers

Gosh, I love The Lumineers. So pretty and haunting.

I love the Sorta Awesome podcast but I don't listen to it nearly as much as I'd like. This topic peaked my interest, though, and I decided to listen. It was a really good one, full of great insight, and I'm so glad I did.

I've also been listening to Annie practicing piano. She set up these "prizes" (a crayon and a sticker) for her two friends and herself after their piano lesson (a good friend of mine teaches Annie and two of her good friends) the other day. She also has a bird watching box with binoculars, colored pencils, paper, and bird books and a bag of "tools" to do magic tricks with. Age Seven and a Half is absolutely amazing and I'm so glad we get to spend do much of our days together

Around the House: 

Minnie got me these adorable napkin rings and table runnerfor Christmas. Think she knows my style? 

We're kinda backwards and she sleeps in the play pen and plays in her crib but I lovvvvve the bedding I picked for her so much!

And we got out the old school Johnny Jumper! She's so big. She loves this thing. This was at like eleven o'clock one night. Our party girl!

In the Kitchen:

Not a lot. Same old, same old with lots of treats and junk from the holidays mixed in! My mom did make the best meat and potatoes Christmas dinner with Waldorf salad and rolls and stuffed eggs, but I can't claim any of that.

Beer in hand, Christmas music on, baby in the Tula, and he's kicking my tail at Winter Soup Challenge this year.
Second time for her to try baby food and I already passed the task off to this guy. I was doing dishes and I heard him say "Too cold for you, Babes?" And then he blew in it to warm it up (which I guess does have a warming effect as well as a cooling one).

One of the pages in Annie's BrainQuest book recently had her read recipes and make up a name for them. One of them was basically a peanut butter and banana sandwich and she titled it "Graves's Great Dish". One day she came skipping into the room where I was and announced with quite an unusual amount of enthusiasm for her "We did it! We made the dish! We used a not-sharp knife and sliced the banana and spread the peanut butter and put the banana on the bread and (she finally took a breath) TA-DA!!!"

In My Closet: 

Lots of grubby grubs! Ha! It seems like it's been such a rainy, yucky month and when we haven't had holiday stuff, I've been in cozy hoodies and comfy jeans or leggings!

In Their Closets:

Love her in the white corduroy and smocked Christmas trees.  Annie had this dress in a 2T and I ADORED it and I found it on eBay in a 6 mo. The bidding ended literally like two days before we found out Graves was a brother. I went back and forth but finally bought it on the chance we were having another girl (Annie was eighteen months and the 2T was hanging in the "buy ahead closet" so I knew the sizes would line up for them to match). Of course, we found out he was a boy but I had seen several people using too short bishops as tops with jeans. No way I could go there (she got her first pair of jeans- and they're jeggings with an elastic waist THIS Fall) but I found some precious pink Gymboree gingerbread leggings (again, thank you eBay) that matched perfectly and she wore it at twenty months.

I also had fun putting her in matching double seaters with a smocked Christmas tree on her tiny bum. This is so many levels of ridiculous, but eyelet-trimmed, coniferous panties are my jam. 

Love me some polka dots and gingerbread men.

You momma might have a slight Etsy obsession and your grandmother may spend a lot of time at antique malls if you're wearing chenille Christmas trees with chenille booties while sitting on a chenille blanket.

Sallie in another Christmas outfit Annie wore at twenty months (it's a 12 mo.). Peyton dressed her here. This is actually WAY too funky for my sweet little baby and I much prefer this kind of thing on a toddler. At least she's wearing her quintessential Sallie smile!

Love these Christmas jammies that Annie wore at twenty months. Ha!

It feels really, really special to put Sallie in pjs I bought her big brother before he was even born, mostly as a present to their papa- a tangible gift to tell him that his dreams of city life were becoming my dreams at the same time as my dreams of motherhood were becoming a reality. It blows my mind all that's happened since Graves wore these half a decade ago. Even though she won't remember it, I can't wait wait for April when I get to show one of my favorite people in the world one of my favorite places in the world for the first time 

And a few of the big kids! Annie in Bailey Boys top that, despite being from last year's collections, still fits like a dress and creature boots that she wore when she was FOUR in New York, are each missing an eye, and have long been relegated to the dress up bin. And Graves in a too big top passed down from a cousin, 5T jeans that have the waistband elastic cinched to the very last holes and a stuffed caterpillar in the pocket, and Star Wars light up shoes sans socks. Cuties though they're are (and I love that they wear their clothes FOREVER) Momma's really enjoying Sal having no opinions yet.

On the final Sunday in Advent, a frigid and rainy morning,Annie wore these whimsical icy reindeer, panda mittens, and striped velcro sneakers.

 Annie in a reversible jumper we're on our third Winter in and leggings because she lost her solitary pair of church tights playing dress up in them. Nobody but me cares, and certainly nobody at Northside cares, but man, this stretched my creativity. [Also, she and Graves share that turtleneck. White turtlenecks are clearly gender neutral and there are about six billion things I'd rather spend money on, I just have to plan accordingly in Saturday night to make sure only one outfit requires it. If that ain't Voluntary Simplicity, then I don't know what is.]

I probably shouldn't share this publicly. Doesn't bode well for my chances in the never ending thermostat battles. Practicing piano in her swimsuit!

When it's below fifty degrees, Graves pulls out a hat and mittens.
Well, sometimes. Here he is in Annie's old polka dot rainboots with bows on them and 3T pajama shorts he mostly wears in lieu of underwear and calls his "boxers". When you are married to a health care professional and you know sickness doesn't come from not bundling up. It comes from being holed up inside with a bunch of sick people and their germs...you know, like at a pharmacy. 

Minnie got everyone some new accesories. Cutie enjoying his new hat even if it was 75 degrees.
Graves and Annie both got fuzzy reindeer socks with skid proof bottoms.

Baby's first Christmas! How cute is she in this little hat Cookie got her?

In My Mailbox:

 This is outgoing mail, but it still counts, yes? I love sending our Christmas card each year and recieveing them from our friends. It seems like less and less people do them now and I hate that!

In My Cart:

Christmas present to myself arrived. Super excited!

Around the Town (and At Home):  

Look, sometimes you just need to take your very attached five month old to the dressy holiday work party at the fancy restaurant.
Christmas Eve. Wine in the diaper bag. This seems like as good a metaphor as any for the day. It ended up being a good one once we got to my parents' house =)

Christmas Eve at home!

The theme for this Christmas was The Force. The Perrys and the Reynauds nailed it!
Mick snuck a picture of me taking a Christmas afternoon nap with Sallie! What a great present!

We had lots of fun at home this month, too!

One day recently Annie did her math with zero complaints and she asked me if she could do a craft. She got the big craft book and picked out this shoe box aquarium. It seemed a bit ambitious to me, but she gathered her supplies, followed the directions, and worked on different steps- painting the box, cutting and coloring the fish- throughout the day and we assembled it and added the plastic wrap after supper. After this she thought to add pink pipe cleaner for an oxygen pump! She's like me and enjoys a good project but the finished product doesn't always turn out well so I was skeptical. I think it ended up so cute, though!

"Hey guys. If somebody gets me in position, I can sit up by myself. My momma's been predicting I would enjoy this, but I LOVVVVE this new trick. So much so I'm takin' my crazy lady smile to the next level."

Peyton bought the big kids each some candy at Walgreens for their stockings and made these tickets to put in them (for the grocery trip they each get $50 to spend in whatever they want- I can't wait to see the results!).

Sallie's only present from us was this set of periodic table blocks Peyton bought ages ago because he thought they were so neat. We ended up not giving them to either of the big kids and we found them in the present box we keep in the attic this week. I'd say they've been a hit so far!

Graves already cashed  in his movie ticket to see Rogue One (what else?). (Peyton already saw it and decided it was okay so now there's only one he hasn't seen/isn't allowed to see yet.) And Sissy took her first nap not in her momma's arms since Christmas. Annie wanted to play a game and she and I had so much fun with her new candy dominoes (another prized I'd been saving in the attic for years). Super blurry of her little face but she had so much fun!

That same day she was getting so restless spending two hours without her brother (we're a tad co-dependent). When she kept asking me what she could do I told her that a friend of mine is coming over later to talk about our goals for 2017, so it might be fun for her to think of some for herself (I had been meaning to talk to her about doing this). She came up with three big ones and I asked her if she could be more specific with "be more healthy" so she made another list. She also told me "I did the little dots like you do. I think they help to avoid confusion." I love that she loves a list like her momma

Annie has saved up a good amount of money (I used to do the same thing- I wish I was more like her now- and Mickey told us over Christmas about how one time when I was a little older than Annie he snuck into my room and checked my concession stand style money box and there was $500 dollars in it). Anyway, we took them shopping tonight and it was so unpredictable (which was so fun because she's typically anything but) Annie picked this Darth Vader that's a few inches taller than herself.

At the Schoolhouse:

We finished the fourth and final level of the curriculum we've been working on for two and a half years! I HATE phonics but Foundations has been one of the most fun things I've done in my life. I could not love Logic of English more and I don't think Annie could either. A short break to catch up on some other things and then on to Essentials (LoE's older elementary curriculum) in January!

Math has been a joy lately with her which is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. Recently I gave her this challenge problem and prepped her by saying it might be a little tough. She immediately told me the right answer without writing anything down. I asked her how she did it so quickly mentally and she told me that "an abacus just popped up in her head" and she figured it would be forty if she used ten eggs and then halved it. It felt VERY rewarding that I had gone with what I felt was best and used curriculums that encourage higher order thinking rather than worksheet based approaches that I know she would have preferred and would have been a much lighter burden on me. After that I taught her the word "metacognition"- thinking about thinking- one of my favorite things I learned about in the School of Ed. It took me literally an hour to get Sallie to nap that day(she's at least become consistent with her morning naps but it's hard to get her settled some days). Most days I don't mind it but I was losing my patience and feeling like I needed a nap myself. A wonderful morning of school made me feel so much better, though!

I went to a funeral the other day and I left Annie specific instructions on independent work she could complete without me. But I didn't tell Peyton and she forgot about it. So I told her to go do it when I got home. She got to work but she missed my note and just started doing exercises in her textbook. She went through four lessons I hadn't taught and and finished the unit on multiplication and only missed a couple. I really don't want to hear any more about a certain someone not being good at math! And I just love how she wrote "the study" for class and "homeschool" for school.

On the Blog:

What I Learned in 2016- I shared what I learned over the course of the year and it was really good to process a lot.

SD Is Thankful- I posted my thankful list from back in November.

You've Got Mail: 2016 Herrington Christmas Card and Letter- As always, I shared our yearly card and letter.

One Word: 2017- I decided on and wrote about my one word for the new year!

On My Heart and Mind:
- As I mentioned, I love Annie's age right now and I love Graves's, too. It's such a fun time and I want to enjoy it. I'm very aware of savoring Sallie's babyhood, but I want to make sure I savor these years with them, too. Far too often, I rush things with them and don't give them my full attention.
- In some ways, I feel like I'm finally organizing my time so that I can accomplish something. I never, ever get everything I want to do done and it's often just the tip of the iceburg but at least I don't feel like I'm going backward and I can somewhat stay on top of school, the house, things I enjoy, and whatever else. But then, some nights I'm so tired and it feels as overwhelming and exhausting as ever. I used to try to do a bunch of stuff when I felt like that, but usually now I just make a list for the next day and go to bed and assume I'll find the time for the important stuff.

In My Prayers:
- I'm praying that God will give me the strength I need for each day and will help me focus on the things I want to prioritize most.
- I'm praying and thanking God that he brought us to Northside. I truly believe he did go ahead of us, as Jake prayed before we left New York, and the children and I have found a home there. We finally joined this past weekend and it was such a special day.
- I'm praying that God will guide me in more conversations with the big kids. I want topics of faith to be a comfortable for them and I want to be able to discuss it organically and naturally.
On the Calendar: 

We have a pretty low key month, which is always nice after the holidays. We have some routine doctor's appointments scheduled and Peyton's picked up a few extra shifts, but nothing big!

As usual, I'm linking up with Leigh!
What I'm Into

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