January has been beautiful this year. Lots of days in the 60s and 70s and lots of sunshine. It really is so good for the soul. I think I may be converted to San Antonio's climate. It does start out in the 30s in the mornings, but Jansen and Natalie both refuse coats or jackets most days because they just hate to bother with them when it warms up later.
The older three kids like to treat Leah like royalty. They'll create blanket and pillow nests like the one in this laundry basket and then bring her favorite stuffed animals and get her a drink. She is 20 months old now, and they still just want to be with her and around her.
I looked up one afternoon and saw this hilarious sight. Jansen got this blanket for Christmas, and we love to make each other laugh by creating funny moments like this with it.
Poor Natalie, this is about as close as it gets for her as far as a pet. Natalie continues to leave me notes everywhere about getting a dog. I find "get a dog" on my grocery lists and to do lists all the time.
Like many other people, I was motivated to do some decluttering when January hit. Between a couple books and a podcast I was listening to, I was really feeling it. Our master bedroom closet was in sad shape (and still is), but I made some progress.
For better or for worse, Emmy cares very much about how she looks. We were preparing to leave for church, and she came downstairs with this fantastic butterfly carefully positioned in her hair. I like to let my kids express themselves and choose what they wear for the most part, but I felt like this was...a little much. I did end up letting her wear it, and thankfully she took it out after not too long because it was hurting her.
I thought the trampoline would be a little problematic once Leah was old enough to want to jump, but surprisingly it hasn't been. Jansen and Natalie enjoy having her on the trampoline, and I rarely hear them ask me to get her off.
A favorite January morning moment was Leah placing this blueberry in her ear and then going on with her breakfast.
I wish I could have taken a better picture and captured these models a little better, but this is a collection of some of Jansen's latest origami.
We rented Cinderella and watched it a few weeks ago. Natalie LOVES the song "Lavender's Blue." She often wants me to play it for her when she's going to bed. Emmy got dressed up during the movie and wanted to dance with Nate.
Nate had another quick deployment in January, and he brought back a few sodas from Ascension Island. Talk about gross. Points for daddy for thinking of the kids and knowing they would love it though.
We spent a few hours one Saturday morning at Government Canyon going on a small hike and looking for rocks to put in the rock tumbler. It was a windy day, and Jansen really struggled. I am proud of him for each time he faces his fears, and we are continuing to work through things. I think Emmy won the "most prepared" award as she brought half of her room with her in her backpack.
Jansen still loves football. He has never been on a team, and I don't know that he ever will be, but he could toss the football and run plays all day with anyone who is willing.
At school he plays four square though. He will often come home and tell me how no one could get him out and he "was a boss" today.
We have church at 11:00 now. That helps a little with the morning craziness of getting us all out the door (without Nate's help since he has meetings) and looking somewhat presentable. Leah usually naps at 12:30 though, so waiting till 2:30 to go down can be rough. It's working out though. Leah is very upset when I leave her in nursery, but she is getting better each time.
I knew Leah would love this hat when I pulled it out of the little bit of winter gear we have. She saw herself in the mirror and grinned just like this picture.
Emmy had her 5 year well check. The doctor is not too concerned about Emmy's headaches, and she is working on drinking more water. We have a different pediatrician than the one we started with when we moved here, and I really like her.
Emmy also lost her other front tooth. That's four teeth now that she's lost!
She really wanted me to take a picture of her eyes "all white."
We had a wonderful visit from Steve and Jody in January. Emmy made sure she looked her best before we went and picked them up from the airport.
Four square still rules our afternoons (after homework, piano, and jobs) and Grandpa and Grandma got to see it in action and also played.
Natalie and Emmy loved playing Pet Shops and creating all sorts of things with Jody.
This was one of the creative projects that happened. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but this was a MESSY one.
Nate and Steve took the kids over to the middle school one morning to play on the basketball courts. Emmy LOVES the sand pit for the long jump.
Natalie writes a lot of stories, and sometimes I don't get a chance to read them all. Jody was reading this one and recommended I check out chapter 2 as I may "get an education."
We spent the Saturday afternoon of Steve and Jody's visit at the Sn Antonio Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately it was another really windy day, and Jansen wouldn't leave the building. He wouldn't have stepped outside even if I handed him a $100 as he did it.
I stayed with him, and we made the most of having some time with just me and him. He also had a talk in Primary the next day, so we worked on that.
Leah warmed up very quickly to our visitors and loved having them here.
I took this picture of Steve admiring one of our awesome Texas sunsets.
We went to Castroville Regional Park on Martin Luther King Day to look for more rocks and let the kids run around. It's so fun to see what rocks they pick out and deem beautiful and worthy to bring home.
Leah would find rocks and then tuck them in the sleeve of her shirt.
There's a bakery not far from the park, and we stopped there on our way home. I made Nate stand in front of this mural that was painted on the side of the building. I thought it was so cool!
I'm so mad I didn't take any pictures, but Jody and I had really fun morning together shopping and having Thai food for lunch. It went by way too fast.
For Steve's upcoming birthday, Nate treated him to a guided birding tour at a place called King Ranch. It's the largest ranch in the United States, and they are well known for their conservation efforts. They left at 4am and returned at 9pm and had an epic day.
Emmy's pictures are always covering our refrigerator, and I love seeing what she comes up with. I've loved the extra time with her at home this year, and her reading is coming along great.
Maybe I just don't remember, or maybe the other kids didn't have such ready access, but I swear Leah loves pens and markers more than any of the others. She loves to climb up on the bar stools and scribble on paper (and herself) while Emmy is coloring and drawing.
Some words we have heard Leah say/use lately: Jesus, camera, cold, tub, watch (as in "watch me"), guys, Ice Cube (the name of Emmy's stuffed penguin), socks, Leah, juice, kiwi, cow, and pop.
Another poem Jansen wrote:
Natalie LOVES to play in the vacant lot across the street from our house. She built this little "nest" over there.
Our rock polisher finally completed its last cycle. The rocks turned out really beautiful, although they were not as shiny as we thought they would be.
And then a few final random pictures from last month...