If you’re new around these parts, this monthly series is an exercise in brevity as I try (but not very hard) to summarize each day of our month in one sentence. (Also, I’ve been taking a picture of my daughter–and now my son, too–every day since they were born, and this is a GREAT place for me to share several of those photos!). Although I’ve almost always included the photo at the top of its corresponding day, the daily captions of what we did and the photos often do not match. (Just to clarify!)

Thanks to the wonderful Rebecca Jo for the post idea!

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Tuesday 1/1 – We spent the first day of the new year sick, sick, sick.

Wednesday 1/2 – We still didn’t feel great, but Matt managed to drag himself to work, and I managed to get some grocery shopping done so that we actually had some fresh food around.

Thursday 1/3 – My sickness morphed into a bad sinus infection, so I spent the majority of this day down with a severe headache and terrible congestion. (But, bonus! My goal to not eat any sweets this month was made significantly easier by the fact that I could no longer smell anything, which meant that I couldn’t taste anything, either. Kinda took all the pleasure out of eating.)

Friday 1/4 – We had a “meet and greet” activity at the church so that all the Primary kids could meet their new teachers, which meant that we got to meet several members of our new class, and Raven (who was BEYOND excited about moving up from nursery to Primary) got to meet hers. Aaaand, the Primary president, who doesn’t eat refined sugar, had made some cookies that we could actually eat with our no-sugar resolution! Woo hoo!

Saturday 1/5 – Matt went to the temple in the morning, I went to the temple in the evening (both of our sessions were PACKED—I’ve never seen the temple so full, ever!), and we spent the rest of the day getting some stuff done around the house and enjoying family time together.

Sunday 1/6 – Raven had her first day of Primary, Matt and I had our first day of teaching our new Primary class, and we all had the new experience of having only a 2-hour block of church instead of a 3-hour block. All in all, a positive experience on all counts!

Monday 1/7 – The baby did not sleep well the night before (which meant I didn’t, either), so I was dragging a bit on this day. Although we didn’t make it to the library as planned, I at least still got some stuff done around the house and we spent our family night shoveling (well, Matt and Raven shoveled, as my back is still bugging me).

Tuesday 1/8 – Matt started taking a cabinet-making class on this day, which means that he will be gone from 8:45 in the morning until 9:00 at night every Tuesday and Thursday. After tackling the bedtime routine by myself, I took advantage of the solo time to start editing a massive photo session I had done at the end of December.

Raven started playing “School” this month, where she’s the teacher and distributes materials to all her students and makes sure they learn their letters. In later days, she started adding a stuffed animal to each student’s spot. It’s basically the cutest.

Wednesday 1/9 – Since Matt’s class interfered with the time slot I’d been going to the temple before (on Thursday evenings), I started my new weekly routine of going on Wednesday nights on this day.

Thursday 1/10 – Matt had his class again, and I was able to finish up editing that photo session and get it sent off. Because the kids would hardly get to see him otherwise on this day, I made sure we stopped by his work for about 20 minutes after running our errands in the morning, which included a trip to Home Depot to pick up the brackets for our new bathroom shelves (hooray!) and a fun little stop after to Great Harvest to get free slices of bread to help us all warm up.

Friday 1/11 – Since our Friday night grill nights have been put on hold due to the freezing cold weather outside, I decided to make Friday nights in the winter Pizza Night, which would also correspond to my new 101 in 1001 goal of perfecting my homemade pizza skills. On this night we made a mushroom and spinach pizza that turned out DIVINE. Early successes always feel so good when they happen!

Saturday 1/12 – We had dinner in the evening with our friends Brian and Mericar (both of whom Matt works with), which was awesome because 1) she’s one of the best cooks I know IRL, and 2) they had their first son very soon after we had Mathias, so it was delightful watching the two babies interact with each other (and watching Raven dote on both of them).

Sunday 1/13 – After church, we drove down to the monthly get-together with my family (where we enjoyed a game of Guesstures and where the baby was passed round and round), and then we made another pit stop at my in-laws’ house to chat for awhile (and, as luck would have it, we made it just in time for my MIL to pull out some fresh cheesy breadsticks). We always get home late from these family days, and it is always, always worth it.

Monday 1/14 – We were finally able to make it to the library for storytime again for the first time in a month or so (or more). Later, I ended up spending a lot of time redesigning the blog, which was something I’d kind of considered doing for awhile but just hadn’t committed to.

Tuesday 1/15 – Matt’s class ended up being unexpectedly cancelled due to his instructor being sick, so we enjoyed having him around for dinner and playing some games together before we had to get the kids in bed. I also took advantage of the fact that he was home to go out to my exercise class for the first time in several weeks.

So excited we’re getting to the stage where we can actually play “real” games with Raven! Here, we’re playing “Garbage,” which I’ll have to share the rules for sometime.

Wednesday 1/16 – I was not only beyond sore from my exercise class the night before, but I realized–too late–that exercise had probably been a mistake, as my back hurt about 10 times worse when I woke up. I was still able to make it to my book club gathering that night, however, where we had a fun white elephant gift exchange (with books, naturally) and planned out our year. (I’ll be hosting in April with the book Educated, in case you’re curious!)

Thursday 1/17 – I was desperate to get out of the house and do something, so I took the kids to McDonald’s so Raven could play on the PlayPlace. I’d brought a book to read, but when I noticed another mom come in with her kids (with seemingly the exact same purpose as I had in going there), I decided to strike up a conversation. We ended up talking for something like an hour and a half, and it was perfectly lovely. I also learned that she had recently lost her mom unexpectedly (soon after she’d given birth to her fourth), so it was nice to feel like maybe I was a little bit of an answer to her prayers, as well, as she said she was missing her mom a lot that day and was used to being able to go over there anytime she wanted and chat with her about life. The whole encounter just left me with a really good feeling, and I feel like we were supposed to go to McDonald’s that morning, if that makes sense.

Friday 1/18 – I took advantage of Raven being at preschool to head to the grocery store with just the baby, and while there I ended up having a lengthy chat with my mom over the phone about the back problems I was still experiencing. She had been talking about a PT-in-training about some of my symptoms, and the chat with her was just the nudge I needed to start doing something about it (or at least start making calls and ordering a support belt).

Saturday 1/19 – We took an impromptu family trip out to Angie’s for burgers and fries, which provided a welcome dose of energy and fun into a day that had kind of been dragging. After we got back, Matt went and caught the adult session of Stake Conference and took copious notes so he could come back and tell me all about what our church leaders want us to focus on this year.

Sunday 1/20 – We had our Stake Conference in the morning, which meant that we got out of church two hours earlier than normal. Later, after the kids were in bed, Matt and I resurrected our old pastime of putting on the 6-hour Pride and Prejudice on Sunday night as we worked on some personal projects (me in my sketchbook, Matt with his woodworking study).

Monday 1/21 – Our original plans to take advantage a free museum day were foiled by the mounds and mounds of snow that got dumped on us, so we ended up spending the day at home. The baby had been sleeping terribly for several weeks but especially bad lately (which we thought was due to teething), but he finally conked out on this morning and took a super long morning nap of nearly 3 hours, which hadn’t happened in a long, long time.

Tuesday 1/22 – The kids and I were able to get out of the house to run some errands in the morning, and I’m super excited about a new print (of some of my dad’s hand lettering) for our living room. Stay tuned for (eventual) pics!

Wednesday 1/23 – It was my usual night to go to the temple, except for I went a half hour earlier than normal…and ended up hitting the Spanish session on accident. It actually ended up being kind of fun though because it made me realize that I really haven’t forgotten as much of the language as I thought, even though it’s been 10 years this month that I entered the mission field!

Thursday 1/24 – Whew, what a long day! It started early with me finally getting my butt (or rather, my back) into the physical therapist’s office to see what’s going on (short story: it’s complicated #surprisesurprise), then going BACK to the hospital later with the kids to see if Mathias had RSV (which he did, as well as ANOTHER ear infection #surprisesurprise). It was the kind of night where we had to pick up McDonald’s for dinner, the baby needed an emergency bath after the most massive blowout ever, and everyone got to bed way later than they should…and I had to do it all myself, as Matt had his night class. Motherhood, man—never boring!

Friday 1/25 – My new back support belt came in the mail, which did seem to help lessen my lower back pain a decent amount (though it kind of made my mid- and upper-back pain worse). Ah, the joys of aging.

Saturday 1/26 – We hosted our monthly friend get-together, with the menu this time being chicken and dumpling soup, green salad with homemade citrus vinaigrette, breadsticks, and pumpkin cookies with maple frosting (which fit into our no-refined-sugar goal for January! woo hoo!). Other than me stressing Matt out of his mind with various house projects beforehand (which all ended up being put off for one reason or another), it was a great day all around.

She basically refuses to put her head under the tap, so this is what it’s come to when it comes to trying to wash her hair (which is getting quite long, actually).

Sunday 1/27 – I got a much-needed nap after church (since the baby hasn’t been sleeping well at all), and both kids were on one all day. We did get a nice compliment from Raven’s new Primary teachers though, about how smart she is and how she actually comprehends what they’re teaching and participates in the lessons in church. (It all made her epic meltdown right after church a bit easier to deal with.)

Monday 1/28 – The baby’s sleep schedule was way off, so we ended up missing storytime at the library but going a couple hours later, just because Raven had been so excited to go and I felt guilty not following through on taking her.

Tuesday 1/29 – A pretty productive day, mostly because I got the kids both down to bed early and took advantage of Matt being at his night class to work on some projects I had (like listing some of the stuff from my brother on Ebay).

There have been endless games of Candyland over here ever since she got it for Christmas

Wednesday 1/30 – I got a new calling extended to me by my bishop on this night (which I accepted), which meant that I’d change from being a Primary teacher (and just when I’d gotten a super easy class, too!) to being the secretary in the Young Women’s organization. It will be a big change, but I’m excited to branch out and meet some more of the youth in our ward!

Thursday 1/31 – A super busy day! My mom came up in the morning to spend all day helping me with some of our house projects (she managed to put in all the towel hooks in our bathroom, install our bathroom shelves, help me get squared away to change the wall display in the front room, and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom a bunch, to boot). In the middle of the hurricane of productivity, Raven and I went to McDonald’s for a play date with my friend Katie and her son, which was awesome (my mom agreed to stay home with the baby, as he was taking a long morning nap). It felt so great to finally be able to check so many things off our to-do list, and I can’t wait to post pics of our bathroom!

Aaaaand, that’s a wrap of the most eternal month of the year! (And, as an update, the support belt seems to be doing wonders for my back the longer I wear it—I went to physical therapy twice and did some exercises from that, but the thing that’s seemed to make the biggest difference is just wearing the belt whenever I’m home. It’s finally looking like I might be able to start exercising again soon! Woo hoo!)

How did your January go?