Tuesday, February 9, 2016

January 2016 In Our Home

     One word characterizes January in our home- celebration! Not only have we celebrated multiple birthdays but we've also thoroughly enjoyed simple time spent together. Last month was rather challenging and exhausting, and so a month of calm and joy was welcomed. 
Happy Birthday, dear!
      This month brings much celebration for birthdays. Three out of four of us (poor Annelise is all alone in June) have birthdays in January. (We joked when Tennyson arrived in January versus his due date in March that he simply wanted a January birthday like his parents! haha). We keep birthdays pretty simple in our home with a homemade cake, balloons, a card, gift, and favorite meal. 

     David enjoys craft beers, and so I themed his birthday cake and gift around that interest. I made a beer cake with a beer flavored icing and candied bacon garnish (it was just for him to enjoy and so I made a mini cake). I gifted him a set of beer glasses so that he can enjoy the various types of beer in the appropriate glass.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Tennyson!
      For Tennyson's birthday, we started the day with balloons tied to his seat at the dining table and single present. We made him a simple meal of pasta with sauce. His cake was an apple cake with a caramel buttercream. The apple cake wasn't overly sweet and so I was hoping he would eat it. Nope! The child doesn't care for sweets. We've joked since about how we will just stick a candle in a piece of meat next year because we know he'll eat meat. hahaha! For his gift, we purchased another set of play food and some play pots and pans. He really enjoys playing in the kitchen and pretending to cook, and so we thought he'd enjoy a few more pieces of his own. 

Happy Birthday to me! 
     For my birthday, David really went above and beyond. The day started with a bit of a panic. I got out of the shower to find him still in bed, and incredibly late for work. Then, surprise! He informed me that he took the day off so that I could have some time to myself on my birthday. He also had placed a "shot of chocolate" on my nightstand. It was a little cup filled with mini chocolate chips and Reese cups. My husband knows how I like to start the day! Later, he watched the children for me while I went to Panera for a fun coffee drink and to work on my book. When I returned home, he had made my favorite meal from when I was a child. Afterwards, he presented an amazing homemade cake. It was a peanut butter cake with mini chocolate chips with the most amazing chocolate frosting I've ever tasted. The frosting was garnished with caramel peanuts, drizzled with caramel and chocolate, and lined with mini Reese cups. He perfectly captured my favorite flavors of sweet and salty in a cake. Not to mention, it was absolutely beautiful. For my gift, he gave me two new books- On Writing Well and  Bringing Up Bebe. These books have been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and so I'm excited to begin them soon! 

      I think we all had such wonderfully special birthdays, and felt deeply loved afterwards. That's the point, right? I really enjoyed our simple birthday celebrations!

7 months old!
      The fun in the month didn't end there, though. We also had the delight of two feet of snow! It was the perfect snow. It fell on a Friday night through Saturday morning, and so most people were not needing to travel to work or school through it. It was also a dry snow, and as such the roads cleared easily. Tennyson was so excited about the snow. He would go to the backdoor and say, "Snow! Outside! Come on!" We bundled everyone up and went out to play in it every day. I think Tennyson could have stayed out in it all day if he could. He loved it. We got him a little sled for Christmas and were finally able to see it in action. Unfortunately, the snow was too deep! We had to get a good momentum going for him to not sink, which is really hard to create when you're trying to move fast in knee-high snow! We have some hilarious videos of each of us trying to pull him in the sled. Annelise wasn't as much of a fan of the snow. Mostly, she wasn't a fan of being so bundled up and unable to move. We did get a few smiles out of her though. She enjoyed riding in the sled and being pulled along as we walked down the street. I'm so glad the children finally got to experience snow. I'm not sure who had more fun in it each day- them or their Southern Mama! hahaha. 

24 months old!
     This month was such a bright ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds. It hasn't just been the big moments, though. There have also been little moments and little efforts that have made so much difference. As I discussed last month, I've been trying to make a greater effort to take greater care of myself. I've noted a need to pay greater attention to getting sufficient rest, exercising, and taking a moment to pursue my own interests. 

     My New Year Resolution was to write weekly on the blog and monthly on the book. So far, accomplished! Some weeks have been a challenge to break away to write, but I have so enjoyed being able to do so and being able to continue to fulfill my resolution. Thanks to David's gift, I was also able to write another section in my book. Hooray!

       We've also made big strides in regard to getting sufficient sleep and reducing stress. We've finally been able to move Annelise to a bottle. This has made a huge difference for everyone! She sleeps so much better and is much more content when awake. I'm able to more adequately care for Tennyson and our home. 

      Now that things have calmed down a bit, I feel like I need to get a better handle on managing our home and days. I believe the best way to do so is through the use of our daily schedule. However, it's difficult to just jump into a well-planned and well-organized day. The best way to ensure success is to ease in to establishing the tasks as regular parts of the day. Therefore, I've contemplated and decided to take our daily homemaking schedule and create weekly homemaking challenges. It's always exciting and encouraging to me see little successes, and then also step back to see the progress made on the overall goal(s). This Homemaking Challenge is that for me. So, I'm eager to begin next month!


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