January 2018: Little Pieces of Life

It’s already mid-February, if you can believe that. So here’s what happened around here in January!

I tried out a fun self-portrait:


(I’ve been doing a self-portrait on my birthday the last few years but this last year I totally dropped the ball… only 3+ months late, no big deal! Ha.)

Our kitchen counter tops + backsplash were installed and we finally painted the kitchen/dining area! We are LOVING our new kitchen — especially that sink/faucet combo!


Then I embarked (a little late) on Clean Mama’s January reset Clutter Challenge, and it was awesome. Until I got sick the last week of January. But I got a really great head-start on the year!


Lazy Susans for spices are a game-changer! Here are the ones I got, and it was so nice to go through all our cabinets and make things work better. I also got some of these bins to organize groups of pantry items — like all the baking powder, vanilla extract, cooking salt, etc. They’re a little pricey, but I think I might just order one at a time every so often from now on, because they are awesome and really help consolidate things!

That was a beast of a task though. (Plenty more on Instagram about that whole endeavor. I never did finish the last week though — clothes/bedroom closets — but at this point it’s going to have to wait for spring cleaning. Nothing wrong with giving up when the time isn’t right.) In other home improvement news, Andrew and I put together this cool little coat rack and finally got it up on the wall.


We have a teeny split-level entryway, so every inch of storage space gained is huge.

The kids also “helped” me hack an IKEA shelf for the end of the kitchen peninsula and it’s a perfect little spot for cookbooks, some kids’ books, and other kitchen items — we put bins of bottles/sippy cups.

It was slightly too tall so I had to cut it down a bit, then I had to re-drill holes and bigger holes for those round pieces that you turn to grip screws (if you’re an IKEA regular hopefully you know what I mean, ha!). I’m actually pretty proud that I managed to track down a new drill bit and make it work, because that turned out to be more complicated than I had bargained…

(They made some of their own additions, as you can see.)

And it was a good thing I got so much done early in the month because… then, I got called as Relief Society President in my ward (church congregation). Yup. Holy crap! (Actually, a slightly stronger word went through my mind when the Bishop dropped that bomb on me…) If you don’t know what that means, it’s essentially a volunteer ministry job, usually for 2-3 years, within our congregation. You’re in charge of running women’s meetings & activities, working closely with the Bishop for welfare efforts, etc. It involves a lot of visiting people, quite a few meetings and councils, and other organizational stuff. (The Relief Society motto is “Charity Never Faileth”) This is kind of cool, as I was reading through the description of exactly what was going to be required of me: in parts of the world where it’s needed, it is specifically the RS President’s responsibility to lead literacy efforts in her ward. I love that our church emphasizes lifelong learning and education ❤

And yes, it’s all pretty intimidating, and at times overwhelming. My greatest fear is that people will slip through the cracks and feel forgotten, ignored, or not needed. But I am grateful for the opportunity to do some good, and I feel like I’ve been prepared to take on the task in my last few months of gospel study — with a lot of divine help, which I know is something that is promised when we’re asked to do a lot. And I LOVE Relief Society and this work of ministering to the women of the Church, so here goes — soul, heart, and hand.

Meanwhile, Jonas continues to be his adorable self:


We celebrated Epiphany with some fabulous galette (more on the holiday + a recipe here) and mysteriously, Adelina found the fève 😉


Mmmmm… I might need some more…

Oh here’s a really BIG one: Adelina is officially potty-trained!


Remember how we started trying almost a year ago? And then gave up? It must have been time. Early in the month I decided to give it another go so we talked it up (and, well, this may be helpful to someone else so I’ll include it even though it might be a little TMI… but we gave her Miralax for a few months before that to make sure things were working VERY smoothly. Some mom friends of mine swear by it and I really think it’s what helped push us over the edge this time. That, and timing of course.) and prepared a sticker chart and promised a special gift if she could fill up the chart.


And you guys, she filled up the chart in A DAY. I almost couldn’t believe it and was a little nervous to get her her prize so early, but she legitimately did it and I didn’t want to be making empty promises, so we celebrated the crap out of that achievement! (ha ha sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!)


I love how when I said we’d go to the store to buy a special toy she knew exactly what she wanted — and we hadn’t been to this store in quite a while! But she kept talking about the baby with ice cream, so you better believe we went and found that baby with ice cream. She was so proud, we brought her sticker chart to show the lady at the checkout and she high-fived her and partied along with us, it was really sweet 🙂

Oh the things you do once you have kids… ha ha!

And I was worried that it was all happening too fast, but since then we’ve only had a handful of accidents and at this point I’m not constantly on edge anymore. I am SO PROUD of this queen of the porcelain throne!


And I can’t believe she’s such a big girl… snif. She even refused to wear a pull-up at bedtime the other day! What?! I wasn’t anticipating that for a while!

One day I was holding Jonas (I think he was sick on this day and needed extra cuddles) and Adelina brought her baby over too 🙂

Speaking of growing up: Jonas took his first steps in January, and he hasn’t looked back since. Isn’t that adorable baby waddle the best thing ever?! The first week or so Adelina would yell “JoJo’s walking!!!” and point every time he took a few steps! I think she’s finally gotten over the novelty of it now, but it was sweet to see her cheer him on too.

He also loves to climb, and rough house, and “talk,” and eat. I just love this chubby little bundle of adorable. He gives the sweetest hugs.


And he obviously loves bath time, although two kids in a tub definitely means twice the splashing… ha!

It’s actually been a really mild winter compared to last year — hardly any snow and what we do have is melting! But I’m still wimpy about the freezing wind, so we’ve mostly played indoors. The kids are starting to really play together (or at least around each other) and it’s so fun to peek in on them in Adelina’s room.


(That shot above is from our new Wyze Cam and I HAVE to share because it’s a $20 home/baby cam! Yes, you read that right. TWENTY dollars. And the quality is just as good as a $70 one we used to have that a certain little girl destroyed… The only hitch is it’s stationary — you have to physically rotate it yourself, it hooks up to your phone and has two-way audio and all that but you can’t remotely make it turn, if that makes sense. But honestly it’s not a feature I really used anyway. Once it’s set, it’s set where you want it. And it just completely obliterates all those fancy $200+ babycams on the market because it’s so cheap!)

Jonas is really into books right now, he carries them around the house with him and it’s adorable. He also loves to lounge on beds — preferably his sister’s!

Adelina did some exploring on one warm(er) day, it was so fun to look out the window and follow her traces!

Some more pretty snow and jack frost the other day on our kitchen window:

Of course, I can appreciate the snow and ice much better from inside the comfort of our home rather than on the road trying to get to medical appointments two hours away… ugh. So glad last year is done and we’re not dealing with casts anymore.

Here’s one thing we’ve been doing for lunch lately: I’ll make a sandwich or noodles (Adelina could eat (and frequently requests) noodles for breakfast if I let her…) but I’ll throw together crudités on a plate first so she snacks on this while waiting for the carbs — and I do too! I actually feel really full when we do this for lunch, and often all I even want is half a sandwich to go with it. Radishes have made a big comeback at our house and she made a face the first time or so but I kept offering and now she likes them!


We had a pizza night too, and that’s always fun for this girl 🙂 Plus, they just taste awesome. This is the pizza dough recipe I use — it’s an Italian thin crust and the flavor is perfect.


We went to “enrichment day” at the nursing home — it’s organized by the woman who does story time at the library to get kids and elderly folks spending time together, and it was a blast. January’s theme was mad science, as you can see 🙂

Jonas’ current favorite spot… ha!

What he’s holding is a nebulizer the doctor gave us after he got a nasty cold and cough that lasted forever… again… and my MIL hinted it might be asthma. My husband and his siblings all had it as kids, so we gave it a try and it definitely helped. Jonas took to it pretty well, luckily we only need to use it when he’s sick. It helps a ton to play videos of himself while we do it! (Like this one) So anyway, he doesn’t have an official diagnosis or anything but we’ll see as he grows up. Nothing scary like seizures or asthma attacks, just some rough nights where he’s up all night coughing and hacking because the poor kid is drowning in mucus!

Never affected his appetite though!

This boy is such a ray of sunshine in our home. I mean, those are some seriously kissable cheeks!

Then I got sick near the end of January and all my big re-organization projects came to a screeching halt. But you know what? It was kind of nice to just rest at home with my favorite little people and stay in PJs all day morning for a change. It was a good reminder to slow down sometimes and just take it easy. Adelina asked me to read her plenty of books and Jonas took awesome naps and I was happy to just soak them up. It was a nice moment of calm.

Some pretty light reflecting off Adelina’s mermaid pillow, which her cousin now has her calling a “Larry” — long story…

Jonas had some early mornings, I think the nap schedule is starting to shift and I’m just not ready to be up and at ’em at six am…

And I put a few finishing touches on the guest bedroom — which is also Jonas’ room. I love this beautiful baby quilt we were given for his birth, and I’d love to build off of it for the decor in here but I’m just stuck on neutrals! I guess it’ll be the lone color pop 😉 I should put some covers on those throw pillow inserts though, ha.

Andrew and I opened our first date night box — that was one of my gifts to him for Christmas. We’re trying out Unbox Love for now and just got our February box, so I’m excited to have our Valentine’s night! What I really like about this box so far (there are a lot of different subscription date night services out there) is that it has a game and other items you can actually reuse — January’s had a cool wooden massage roller, for example. So far, so good!

Oh, and we saw The Greatest Showman! It absolutely lived up to the hype, and we loved it. It’s so fun to go to a movie that just transports you to another, magical, song- and dance-filled world. And it was awesome to come home to ice cream and sleeping children. (Hey, we’re starting the year off strong — two date nights in a month?! Go us!)

Speaking of Christmas gifts, my other gift to Andrew was a ukulele. He mentioned once in passing that it would be fun but I completely surprised him with this one! He’s been learning a bunch of songs. It’s so fun to have some sweet music and the kids love to sing along too, I love what it does for the mood in our home — and it’s a nice way for him to relax from what can be a stressful job at times.

And since that book is peeking out from the coffee table, that reminds me that I read 1776 (by David McCullough) and finished Getting Things Done (by David Allen) last month. 1776 was not quite what I expected (I thought it would be an overview of the revolutionary war, but it’s a point-in-time snapshot of only the year 1776) but really interesting, and certainly gave me a better appreciation of the overwhelming odds against the patriots. Frankly, it’s miraculous that we ever won our independence. Some truly extraordinary people and extraordinary events — and extraordinary circumstances. And I’ve talked about GTD before but I reiterate: it is amazing. If you feel like you’re constantly running after your to-do lists and letting things slip, this is life-changing.

Which makes it funny that one book I want to read in February is Hands-Free Mama and has “burning the to-do list” in the subtitle… ha.

And that’s a picture-overloaded wrap — phew! I need 31 days in February!

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