2. Santa brought iPod Touches for the kids in my house that didn't have one (Emory and Packy). Now they have all turned into zombies. Minecraft zombies to be exact. I don't really understand this game but I do know that they would play it every hour of the day if I let them. The good thing is that I now have some leverage. Forget to bring home your homework? No iPod. Bad attitude when I tell you it's time to plug your iPod up? No iPod tomorrow. (I bought a powerstrip and put it in my room. I wrote each person's name on a their plug so I could easily see who still has theirs "checked out".) I also have had to make up so many new rules regarding screen time. Rule #1 They stay in my room until after school, no morning play. #2 They go back in my room, for the night, before dinner. After dinner they can play or read. #3 You fight with your sibling(s), it's gone. No questions asked. And we also are having screen free Sundays (Jason not included). (They also have no Internet or YouTube. I have a code on each of their devices and have set all of the filters and restrictions. Scary stuff out there. Not ready to explain things I shouldn't have to at an early age.)
3. Christmas was so much fun. The Norwoods came on Christmas night and stayed until Saturday morning. I have decided that post-Christmas is more fun to be with her family than pre (they did Lee's family pre). There is so much running around before. After the big day, it's just relaxing. The kids all have new toys and entertain themselves. It was basically a typical visit. Men played golf. We ran errands. Everyone talked about going to the movies and then didn't. (It's hard to get a babysitter for 6 kids during Christmas.) I love having Betsy and her family at my house. It makes it so much easier to just be together. We did send Lolly to stay with Mimi and Papa, and this worked out great for everyone. She slept in a crib and Mimi and Papa got to see her during her happiest time of the day, without her Mom. You all know how much I love Lolly but I was totally in support of this arrangement. My sweet Lolly has gotten loud since has she has become a toddler. Really loud.
4. Betsy spent the better part of a morning playing What Not to Wear with my winter wardrobe. She made me try on all of my clothes and then designed outfits. My parents sat on my bed and I modeled each new outfit for them. She made me throw out clothes that were too small, too ratty, or just ugly. The best part is that she can get me out of the rut of wearing the same outfit over and over without making me buy a ton of new things. I did have a list, with rules, to purchase after she left. I texted her a picture of every single item and she either gave me a thumbs up or down. I was seriously looking for the cameras following me as I held my list and tried to find shoes, necklaces (lariats, actually), and shirts that would give my wardrobe that final punch. Thank you Betsy. You are the best!
5. I don't set New Year's resolutions. I don't even try to stay up to see the new year arrive (asleep by 10:30). I do spend the first couple of weeks of the new year evaluating where I am and what I need to change. Most of the time I know what I need to do, I just need to do it. Get up early and have a quiet time. Read the Bible. Plan dinner in the morning so homework time isn't interrupted. Go to meetings. Drink water. Go to the gym. (VERY thankful that I have a group who will text me and tell me what class I WILL be going to. I need this kind of forced accountability.) Limit computer and phone time. Have people into my home. Read books. Read books aloud (we are well into the fifth Harry Potter). Meditate.
6. My grandparents are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this March. Isn't that insane and amazing? I can't really wrap my mind around that number, but I am so blessed to have that kind of example of marriage in my life. Don't give up. A marriage rooted in Christ's love can make it for the long haul. And 65 years is quite a haul.
7. And because I'm a time marker when it comes to seeing my sister and her family, the celebration for this anniversary will be my next date. The third weekend in March. Cherry Blossom time. And for the first time since Hattie started school, we have the same Spring Break. Woo Hoo! Can't wait for us to be back together again.
8. I love awards season. Golden Globes and the Academy Awards are my favorite. I actually like the 5 hours of pre-coverage that E! does. Those dresses. When she was in college, Betsy and her friends would dress up to watch the Oscars. Sounds so fun. (I still toy with this idea every year, but in reality it's too much trouble.)
9. January until it gets warm are the hardest months for me. I don't like cold (I have already been warming my car up in the driveway for about a week). School gets hard and serious. It is just gloomy. I made a pact with my friends to help each other get through the winter. Hold each other up and remind each other how much we have to be thankful for, Anne Voskamp style. I look forward to warm weather but I don't want to waste precious time longing for the future. Be present in the moment. Even if' it's cold and I have to take a couple of hot showers during the day to warm up. (Can you imagine if I lived somewhere that was actually cold? I know I'm a wuss.)
10. Packy got lots of manipulatives (one of Betsy's favorite words) for Christmas that he is playing during his screen free time. (We also have a dangerous zip line in our backyard now too, for extra fun. No brake, just a tire that you slam in to. It's not that bad...as long as you hold on tight at the end.) These are my favorite manipulatives.
Straws and Connectors...He has built all kinds of forts and spaceships, with a little bit of Daddy help.
Domino Race set by Haba...This is fun for kids and adults. It also forces you to watch domino videos on YouTube that really blow you away. People spend way too much time setting up dominoes.
Magna-Tiles...I think we have some form of every magnetic toy made. My boys like magnets. Magnetix, Bucky Balls, and these Magna-Tiles are just fun building toys.
11. So I think that catches us up. Nothing too thrilling. I hope to write more this year, although that is not a promise or a resolution. Thank you to those people who gave me a gentle nudge today. Sometimes I need it in order to finish.