Trips/Outings: NONE, and that was absolutely fine by me. After the whirlwind holiday season, the quiet weekends at home have been fantastic.
Oh, wait...I did go on a youth retreat with the kids from church. This was my second time on this trip, and it is my most favorite kind--quiet, relaxing, and no phone service. We don't have to lead anything or be anywhere; we just make sure the kids are doing what they're supposed to be doing. It was like vacation for me!
Books read: 5
The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty--Jeremy and I really got into the show Duck Dynasty late last fall, so I ordered this book for him for Christmas. It was fun to learn a few new things about the family, and their unabashed sharing of their faith is refreshing. (It seems like nearly everyone around here is watching that show...is it just a southern thing?)
The Willpower Instinct--I had doubts about how much I would enjoy this book, but I am so glad I read it. Excellent book for starting a new year. Reviewed here.
These Things Happen--This was okay. I could have liked it quite a bit, but the writing and the dialogue felt very pretentious and ended up being a little confusing at times.
Here I Go Again--Fun, fun, fun book. Perfect light weekend or vacation reading. Reviewed here.
Into the Darkest Corner--Creepy, suspenseful, and chilling. I'd definitely read more from this author. Review here.
The girls received a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible for Christmas, and they (especially Mackenzie) are absolutely loving it. We read 2-3 stories from it most nights, and it's the only book M has chosen to read in bed for the last month. Though I'm sure I will be tired of reading it aloud before too long, it thrills me to see how much they are learning from the stories.
I had a couple of iTunes gift cards from Christmas, so I uncharacteristically bought two albums this month: Fun. and The Lumineers. I'm liking The Lumineers, but I haven't listened to it all that much yet because I am completely in LOVE with the Fun. album. Seriously, I want to listen to it all the time.
(It may sound a little cheesy, but parts of this month were very, very difficult and the words to this song ("Carry On") became something of a mantra for me. I can't get enough of it.)
I didn't start out this year with grand plans to make big changes in our lives. I didn't want to get caught up in the January resolution-making, particularly the kind of dramatic resolutions that disappear by February 1.
Still, the changes seem to be creeping in on us, most noticeably for me in the area of food. I am making big efforts to change my diet (and Jeremy's too, as a result) to a whole-food, plant based way of eating. I am far from an all-or-nothing type of person when it comes to things like this, so I make no sweeping declarations in this area. I'm okay with an 80-90% non-processed diet on a daily basis, and I won't feel bad for indulging or having a lazy moment here and there. It happens, and it will continue to happen.
In the month of January in particular, I probably ate out fewer times than ever before in my adult life. There were a couple of weeks when our Sunday dinner was my only restaurant meal of the week. I feel good about that, and hope to keep that up and continue the new habits we're creating for our family. I have been consistently eating less meat over the last few months, something I want to keep up as well. I tried to keep track of my meatless meals during the month, and I think it was around 11-12 (that's lunches and dinners...my breakfasts almost never include meat anyway).
Finally, I can't really talk the "whole foods" talk with a Diet Coke in my hand, so that's something I'm working on too. Again, no sweeping declarations, but I drank the last Diet Coke in my house a couple of weeks ago, and I don't intend to replace them. I am quite sure I haven't had my last soft drink ever, but it's a start. My water intake increased at least 100% this month, without a doubt.
This wasn't the greatest January on record, mainly due to the tragic events involving our family friends, but it was otherwise a good month. I am still struggling with that situation, and I imagine many of us will be for a long, long time to come. But we are "carrying on" (see? mantra.), and keeping strong in our faith.
How was your January?