Life Lately: January 2016 in Photos...

 January tends to be a quiet month around our house, after a very busy end of the year celebrating Christmas and visiting with family.  My parents headed back to Pennsylvania, Scott's parents headed south and our calendar was wide open for opportunities to see friends, hang at home, and hibernate.  I always enjoy a few down weekends after the hustle and bustle and embrace January pretty well.  By the end of January, I am always itching for spring...

This year our property taxes kicked in (Ouch!) so we instituted no spend January...I like things black and white but this was a "grey" area in which we tried our very best to save, save, save especially knowing we had two trips to see grandparents in the coming months.  We were able to successfully save more than we budgeted so although it wasn't a complete "no spend" January, we called it a success!  It has prompted us to keep our budget up on the computer all the time so we can input our expenditures and see where we are throughout the month.  To stay on budget is a goal for February too :).   Let's let the pictures do the talking...
Solon has become a Seattle Seahawks fan.  He was gifted a Seahawks football at my sister's wedding from my Aunt Lynne (who lives in WA) and now has become a fan -- who knew you could win him over with a ball, my dad blew it (but just wait :).

We made a tradition in January to make homemade pizza and have family room picnics while watching NFL football and trash talk texting Grandpa when his teams were was all in good fun!  The kids loved making their own mini pizzas, and a good budget friendly meal.

The infamous football...

We didn't have as much running to do in January which gave Lucy the opportunity to nap more at home (especially on Monday and Friday when we stayed in all day).  Vera and I got to do some fun things like craft, cook, bake, play games (she especially loved Guess Who? this month) and of course paint our nails :).

Vera is my mother's helper -- she takes good care of Solon and Lucy.  She was so brave helping Lucy get her 6 month shots...such sweet sisters :)

Vera was so excited to finally go with mommy on a date to get her dance things for her class that started in February.  She has been bugging us to do a class and they have a sweet lady who teaches at a local church and so we signed her up for the spring session, after 1 class, she asked if she could go everyday!  I had fun spoiling her with a pink sparkly tutu and watching her eyes glitter as the salesperson tried on the ballet and tap shoes she needed.  Grandma purchased her a dance bag for Christmas so she got it all ready to go and asked everyday if it was time yet :)...

We had some snow in January.  One night we were supposed to get an inch and it turned into more.  We had gone to swimming lessons 30 minutes away and essentially got stuck there as the interstates were bumper to number SO we broke the no spend January rule and ate at Chick Fila.  It was a fun little snow day adventure and we had the place to ourselves...the kids enjoyed playing and Scott and I could chat for a minute before heading home with a bit less traffic.

The bigs were invited to a friends church for AWANA which meant Lucy was the only child for the night.  We didn't know what to do with just her and she didn't know what to do with the silence but Daddy enjoyed some one on one time for sure :).

Lucy continues to struggle in the sleep department.  Given all 3 of my children have struggled and 2 have now successfully outgrown needing mommy at all times in the night -- I know this too shall pass.  Some nights I am just so tired by 4am that she comes and finishes the night in our king bed.  She snuggles right in and then sleeps in...which means I can get a quick shower in some mornings!
I was looking for a switch up in my workout routine and wanted something efficient given Lucy doesn't always love being at the gym nursery for too long (despite sweet workers who have had all my kids since they were babies).  So I started the Couch to 5K again.  It actually worked out well because a little girl in our church, Leilani, who received a heart transplant back in October needed to gain strength so her mom asked workout warriors to work out with her.  She keeps me motivated.  I am going a little slower than the target but I am just about wrapped up with week 5 of 8 weeks!  I hope it warms up sooner than later so I can do my longer runs outside!

We broke the rules again and celebrated an award Solon got at school.  He is on the hall of fame currently and I am all for rewarding hard work and great behavior :)  So we let him choose and surprise of surprises, he chose mexican!  It was Lucy's first time "eating out" with her food in a high chair...she did ok ;).

January also meant food for Lucy.  At 6 months it was time.  She still only eats one meal a day at dinner time.  After our trips coming up we will introduce more but I am not in a big hurry.  She loves her orange veggies best (even over fruit).

I was so excited about my super cheap fill up I took a picture.  Nearly 16 gallons of gas for $18 and change.  I use the HyVee fuel program and gas is cheap -- this definitely doesn't hurt our budget.  I think I was in college the last time gas was this cheap!

We face timed Grandma and Grandpa in Pennsylvania and Ellen was in Seattle condo-hunting for their upcoming move and between 2 iPhones we were all together.  Technology for this kind of stuff makes me very very happy!  I am still pouting that she is moving so far away...we are going to miss her!

We have lots of fun at home and Vera LOVES to match her sister.  Grandma is so good at finding them matching clothes, she just sent another care package with 2 matching spring outfits.  Blessed little fashionistas :).

Lucy spends a lot of time with her basket of toys these days...

One Saturday morning at home, Solon decided to pull ALL of his stuffed animals out and make a zoo.  He made signs and fences and sorted them all over the family room.  We all enjoyed a trip to the exotic Solon zoo.  My favorite was the "Afrcan Green Sheep".  He came up with it all on his own :).

Now remember I said Solon was won over by a football to the Seahawks, well Grandpa is a Steelers and Vikings fan...he mailed the kids a fun care package of a new Vikings dress for Vera, a Seahawks AND vikings jersey for Solon and shortly after that all of our favorite teams were out of the playoffs but they had fun wearing it to our Super Bowl party we hosted for the neighbors!

The last weekend in January, we tallied the numbers and were WAY under budget -- yippee!  Scott and I attended a marriage conference at a local church with Paul Tripp.  It was SO good and we both learned a lot.  To reward the kids for being so good at a new church and celebrating a great budget month, we decided to have a fun family date in Ames!  We told them it was a fun surprise and they were excited when we arrived.  We bowled first (I came in last, I should have used the bumpers), ordered some appetizers, and then played arcade games.  It was a really fun way to spend a cold January Saturday!

Lucy even got to take a spin on the little carousel, Solon was so sweet holding.  They also had a seatbelt so she was safe ;).

We ended the month with unseasonably warm weather so we took full advantage of avoiding the car line (which I have a love-hate relationship with) and walked to pick Solon up!  The kids asked to play for a bit in the sun so we did :).

In addition to all the pictured activities, we enjoyed catching up with our friends the Livingston's in Adel for dinner and fun, as well as dinner at the Porter's and we also invited some friends to our house too for dinner and hanging out.  We all enjoyed a fun, relaxing month of January.

February has already been full of fun visitors, Valentines, and and an upcoming trip to the ocean!  Life with 3 littles keeps me busy and lack of sleep, keeps me away from the blog more than I would like but I love reminiscing about our months.  The days do seem long but then the months zip right by!