So yes, I am going back a bajillion months and throwing together some quick posts. I'm fairly certain that only ten people read my blog now (down from the millions that read it a few years ago) but I'm trying to recap this year so I don't completely forget it. My memory is terrible and if I don't write it down, it won't be there for me to remember.
February brought Valentine's Day. I've been a firm believer in maximizing the wow factor for my kids, but minimizing the money and energy invested. Sometimes it is a tricky balance to achieve when the internet has millions of pictures of mommies posting their perfect creations. I just have to remember that perfection means less time with my kids and they don't care about perfection anyways. Also, saving money is better accomplished when I start planning for upcoming holidays well in advance. This year I went with a heart theme for the lunch I packed the girls for school:
The girls also woke up to a decorated table. Again - not Martha worthy, and I know I could have made it look more finished and complete, but just some fun red and valentine-ish stuff I had on hand. Enough to warrant a wow.
Ryan made the girls pancakes and I wrote them love notes on doilies. I got a pack of four bookmarks at Target for a $1 for them to decorate while they ate.
The girls also went on a scavenger hunt to find their Valentine's presents. They got these Lalaloopsie stuffed dolls with a small blanket that I had found on clearance for $7 at Wally a few months earlier. They liked them - but didn't love them. I feel like I've improved on only giving gifts to my girls that are special to reduce clutter and stress in our home, but this was a purchase I should have done without. Oh well.
Then I did these heart braids that were surprisingly easy.
The day before we did heart hand prints.
Also, holidays are so awesome now that my girls are getting older. My older girls were very sweet to me and made me beautiful cards. Elsa even surprised us with Twix candybars. She snuck quarters she got from Lucy (Lucy is somehow the money bags in the family) to school and bought them without us knowing and then hid them for a week. She was so excited to finally give it to us the night before Valentine's Day. I think that was one of the best presents I have ever received. The best part was knowing that as a mom, my daughters are growing up to be thoughtful.
Our homemade Valentines that are the exact same as the year before. Saved me from going to the store or making the girls sign their name to everything. Busted these out after the girls went to bed on the 13th.
Then that evening we went and ate dinner with my grandma Nichols like we have done for the last few years. Ryan cooked a wonderful meal as usual. It is a fantastic tradition. I love that our Valentine's Day is about family and helping our girls to feel loved - not about flowers and expensive presents and dates at crowded restaurants. (Although, I'm pretty sure I bought myself some $5 flowers at the store that day when I went to buy the roast for dinner. They were just what our table needed. And my visiting teacher brought me flowers.)
On the 20th of February it snowed in Mesa. I think there is a special term for this hail/sleet/snow...but it snowed nonetheless. Ryan was on his way to the church for some activity and alerted us to go outside. Lucy and Elsa loved playing in it and froze themselves. Leta and Annie stood inside screaming that I was outside and not inside, and I tried my best to take pictures and video but I was shaking so hard that everything looked pretty blurry.
The crazy freeze in January and February was fun, but it stressed me out that we would loose our citrus trees. It did freeze many of our plants. Our lemon tree took the biggest brunt. We lost many of our lemons to the freeze and several branches froze. Bushes grew back pretty easily in the next few months.
One day after school I drove all six kids (my four and my extra babysitting kids) out to look at the Superstitions covered in snow. I even stopped by Sonic on the way there to get them a treat, but they didn't really appreciate the 20 minute drive. Lucy said it took up too much of her playtime.
Other cool weather for the month.
And my popcorn popping on the ornamental pear tree.
Leta and her beloved Jaguar that we got at the thrift store. She now has about 5 gray kitties.
Annie and lipstick
My friend from high school gave us this bounce house. One of those moments of, "How did I get so blessed?" My girls love it! And so do all the other kids that come to our house.
A Thursday. I cherished these. Thursdays were my only day to not take care of others. Thursdays were my only day for just my own little family. I enjoyed taking afternoon naps with these two when we didn't have to fill our Thursdays with other things. I'm a fan of the simple life when raising kids and this picture is the simple life.
And our first broken Corelle dish. My aunt gave us these white dishes for our wedding. They are just basic sturdy dishes. Not expensive. Not fancy. After 11 years...a bowl broke. Not too shabby of a record.