We have this thing we do at the dinner table on most evenings, called "Happy, Sad." Basically, we take turns sharing the highs and lows of the day - what made each of us happy, and what made us sad. Lincoln has fallen in love with this tradition and most evenings, he's the one who initiates it. "It's time for happy, sad!" he exclaims cheerfully. As it is, we're never at a shortage of things to discuss, but the practice of taking time to evaluate the day, celebrate the joys and learn from the challenges is pretty healthy,
When I reflect over the past year, one of my "sads" is that so much of it is lost on me. I have a horrible memory, and unfortunately, motherhood has only made it worse. Most of 2017 is a fog in my mind. (Who am I kidding - most of last week is a fog!) Of course, I remember all the truly difficult things - all the trials and the challenges of the year - but I've forgotten the joys, big and small, and it's impossible to celebrate what you don't remember. So I'm doing something different. I'm going to document a few "joys" each month so that at the end of this year, I have a strong record of all the good things God sent our way. I'm a little late on January (no surprise there), but here's our highlight reel from last month.
The First Snow of the Year!
Having kids is pretty much a permission slip to relive your childhood, and there's nothing more magical than snow. We had a few snow days last month here in Maryland and this kid wanted to be out playing in it literally the moment it hit the ground. If you're wondering why only Lincoln and Musa are pictured in these photos, it's because Ellis and I were warm and cozy inside while these brave souls went exploring in nearly sub-Arctic temperatures. The smile on Lincoln's face pretty much says it all, though. (Thanks for taking one for the team, babe. #realmvp)
Long-Awaited Living Room Paint :-)
By God's grace, Musa purchased our home about two years before we met. When I moved in after we got married in 2012, I quickly learned how "attached" he was to ... well, everything in our house.
The artwork. ("My sister custom made that painting," he retorted when I wanted to replace a picture.)
The furniture. ("I slept on the floor for WEEKS before I found the perfect couches," he told me more than once.)
And of course, the paint. ("I always get compliments on this paint!")
Admittedly, our living area is very thoughtfully put together, but it does scream "man cave." A very well decorated man cave, but a man cave nonetheless. With the help of our good friend who is an amazing decorator, we're finally getting around to making this place ours and paint is the first step! I'm sure you'll be reading about maannny more home projects pretty soon so stay tuned :-)
A First Bike Ride (#icanteven)
Ok, so I'm still not sure how I feel about this. I may or may not have shed one or two tears when Lincoln hopped on his new bike (a Christmas gift from Nana and Pop Pop) and pedaled off down our sidewalk for the first time. Do three-year-olds ride bikes? I'm so not ready. After a quick go, he decided he preferred his scooter, so at least for the time being, I don't have to come to grips with the fact that this is happening. Where does the time go??! (Please also notice the extent of his protective gear: helmet, knee pads AND elbow pads. We're unashamedly "those" parents. LOL)
This was suuuch a joy. I finally sat down to go through Christmas photos and it brought back all the warm fuzzies! Here are a few from Christmas Eve/morning. It was super rewarding to see our kids experience the joy of Christmas and the celebration of Jesus' birth in a new way last year. Who's ready for Easter?! On that note, I'm already looking for an Easter advent calendar. Let me know if you know of a good one!
Sleep Training (Whyyyy??!!!)
Soooo ... let's just call this one a "prophetic" joy (cry face emoji). Last month, we finally started sleep training Ellis who has been co-sleeping for the past 15 months. It has been ... well, quite the experience, as you might imagine. Musa has graciously spent more nights sleeping on the floor beside the crib than he can count, and we still wake up to screams coming from down the hall, but I do think we're making progress, however marginal that progress may be!! (Say a prayer for us!)
Bible Reading Plan
So, I've accepted that I may never make it through the Bible in a year, and I'm OK with that. Musa and I started Robert M'Cheyne's two-year Bible reading plan on the first of the year, and I'm already behind, but ask me if I care!
God's Word has been jumping off the pages and I'm still stuck in Genesis. My only goal is to keep going this year - not to stop. There's nothing that says I have to finish reading all 66 books this year, and if I'm honest, I hate reading the Bible like it's just another book I'm trying to finish because it's actually a LIVING WORD. It's so rich and there's so much I have to learn from it that reading any more than two chapters a day (ideally one in the morning and one at night) is just too much (and since we're being honest here, sometimes I just settle for the one!) So if you're strapped for time and have fallen off your Bible reading plan like me, no need to fret. The joy is in the discipline, not in the achievement ;-)
"O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever! (Psalm 136:15)
Our resident teddybear Ellis had "minor" surgery earlier this month and every time I think back on it, I can't help but be overcome by gratitude for God's continued faithfulness ;-)