I’m not sure I could have asked for a better January.
Books & Blankets.
Girls baking and playing all day.
The year has begun, and we’ve made it a point to seek and share the happiness this world needs and find the strength we once lost. Some changes have been made in our home— for one, our television is finally off more than it’s on. Believe it or not, that minor switch actually opened up an entirely different realm of possibility in our lives. Natasha almost immediately began speaking in significantly longer sentences with more clarity, and now expresses herself and her needs outside of the, ahem, stereotypical “terrible two” way we’ve all grown to accept. (A parents rite of passage? Maybe. But excuse me for not being willing to accept that and saying what we’ve all thought at some point in time: “Get your tush off the floor and tell me what you want!”) Turns out, less Daniel Tiger = more talking, less tantruming. Yes, that’s a word now.
And that’s just Tasha. Without the chatter of the TV, Nadia picked back up on the things she used to do often— drawing pictures and making up stories, in particular. She has created hundreds of adorable illustrations of her dancing ballerina characters, and on the daily, I’ve been gifted a beautiful portrait of myself. Where Nadia goes, Natasha does, too, so I also have many precious scribble drawings that have been given to me by way of pattering little toes racing across our hardwood floors with a big announcement and song: “Mama, a picture! A picture for you. Find you own way to saay, I love ‘ooou.” (Well, gosh, I suppose a little Daniel Tiger ain’t never hurt nobody.) I’m going to bind all of their artwork into a volume or three of books… because our refrigerator is officially out of real estate.
I never thought we had too much screen time going on in our home, but I started to realize that over the past year I had begun to rely on devices more than I had previously. Myself included. At the tail end of January, I decided that enough was enough with my social media use because:
1. I’m under no obligation to share every story I have and every photo I take.
2. I’m absolutely not cool with Zuckerburg and Co. of the social networks taking ownership of my devices, photos, etc. and would much rather put the bulk of them on the website I own vs. the one THEY own. (But I won’t dive into all my feels about that right now. You’re welcome.) 😉
3. Time with family & friends and doing the things I love without the distraction of a screen beckoning me to check, scroll, check, share will ALWAYS feel more fueling and life-giving.
And you know what? My productivity, creativity, energy, happiness, ALL the good things has skyrocketed over the past week or so, just by making that one little change to ditch distracting apps from my phone and not feel the need to “make sure I’m not missing anything.” (Yo, it’s 2021. If there’s something super important you need to know, people will figure out a way to get ahold of you outside of you having to search for the info on Facebook. Seriously.) Also, personalized check-ins and photo shares via text are more special because it shows the people you love that you’re thinking of them individually, not just linking them in with the group of acquaintances you met at a bar in your 20s and have, for whatever reason, kept on your “friends list” for a decade or more. But anyways…
I’ve given myself some grace because, let’s be real, 2020 was bogus. Now that I’m feeling better and more energetic (thanks to the ridiculous amount of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs I take on the daily- ha!) and have
begrudgingly adapted to life as we now know it, I have noticed that my lack of presence has directly affecting all of us. And I’m changing it. If I may toot my own horn for a minute, I’m actually a fairly decent mom that is more entertaining than anything PBS Kids could offer my girls. I’ve got my own set of characters I perform on the daily, and if they want a familiar one, I’ve nailed Super Grover and Ernie. (Or Bernie, as we jokingly call him here at the Hanchers.) So away with you, television. And phone. After one week without turning it on (and later realizing no one even asked for it!), I put on an episode of Daniel. Tasha clapped and Nadia joined her on the couch. They sang along and enjoyed it immensely— it’s cute how Nadia quit watching that show once she hit a certain age but then had no reservations about hopping back on the Daniel train (or Trolley, rather) after her sis came along. Still, after those 30 minutes were over, they were fine going back to drawing, building towers with blocks, dancing ballet, and, well, coloring on walls & scattering puzzle pieces all over the house. Some things never change. 😉
As for Dana and I, we high fived to our health and joined a gym. I’ll repeat that. We WILLINGLY joined a gym. And here’s the real kicker: I 100% LOVE IT. I’ve bought into the convenience factor of the home workout programs for years, but the problem is, they’re only convenient if you don’t have a toddler standing in front of you when you’re trying to do roundhouse kicks. I don’t know if you’ve ever done an ab workout with a jumping body on your belly, but it’s not as much fun as it sounds. And don’t get me started on planking with cats who suddenly decide they need to lay down underneath you at that very moment your arms begin to shake. So, yeah, that gym, huh? Throwing in a good sweat and some heavy lifting is exactly what the doctor ordered for me. (Or acupuncturist, if we’re being exact.) It’s been such a gift to me, and what’s a gift to me somehow translates to being a gift for all of us… because happy moms, right?
We’ve built snowmen, read library books, hit up Starbucks at the bookstore and made hot cocoa and muffins at home. There’s been a lot of ballet dancing in the Great Room and Billie Eilish dancing in the kitchen. And this photo project I’m doing?
Here’s to January. May we continue the year strong with love and laughter just the way we started it.
(Click to scroll through the photos or to view in a larger size.)