Maybe due to my nature, or maybe due to my job, I love January — full stop. You can keep your memes about how it’s 1,000 days long; I’ll keep it rolling as long as possible. And this January seemed like an especially January January for me. John and I laid some foundations for the year ahead (a fresh budget, vacation plans), I dug in deep on a big project and saw some early fruit, and I introduced some tiny new habits that have already made a big difference. How can you not love January, friends?!
But all good things must come to an end – on to February!
On my calendar:
— I was asked to be a mentor in a freshmen women’s leadership program at my alma mater this semester and was matched with a gal who seems just lovely. We have our first monthly call this week!
— The Divine Consign kids consignment sale. I visited in the fall for the first time and – dare I say it – it *may* have had a better selection than my beloved Hayes Barton. Certainly for older kids!
— My birthday! It falls on a Wednesday this year, which is one of my weekdays off. After putting my nose to the grindstone on these days all January, I’m giving myself the gift of a purely fun day during the kids’ school hours. I’ll volunteer in June’s classroom to start things off (my usual weekly slot), then might take myself to a few thrift shops (I’ve been wanting to visit Pigfish Lane), eat lunch out (maybe with friends?!), and who knows what else? I’m excited.
What I’m loving right now (friend edition!):
— My friend Cherith’s incredibly-helpful small business planner, which is like a wise friend to hold your hand as you create a business plan step-by-step. I had the joy of editing it at several steps in the production process, and it’s comprehensive and delightful!
— The Bear’s “Forks”. I was already planning to recommend this standalone episode (it’s the only one of the show I’ve seen!), and then my friend Pressley went and wrote this essay that perfectly encapsulates its perfection. You truly can watch it even if you know nothing about the show, and I recommend you do.
— Bumble Brews Play Cafe in Raleigh. My friend Libby opened this darling space in December with her husband, and the Articles Club gals feel like we’ve been along for the small business ride – not for the faint of heart! Stop by for a delicious warm beverage and a cozy space to play with your little one (they recommend 0-6!).
Okay — one more! (And not exactly a BFF but a gal can dream.)
— The Rifle Paper Co capsule collection at Target! Beautiful! I snagged this set of boxes in Juniper Forest and a planter. Considering stocking several more of the mini planters in different patterns, as I think they’d be great for the base of teacher gifts in the future!
As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!
What you’re loving right now:
This is where I highlight a few items here that have been popular in the last month with fellow readers, based on my analytics. Here’s hoping this will help you find something you’ll love!
— Y’all! The Articles Club Guide was a favorite from January! Thank you for being excited alongside us for our little niche slice of joy :)
— The sticky mini easel pad we use for Team Thomas Tuesdays
— The pink mailbox we use for Valentine’s Day fun — this one is very similar
— Outlive, a book that’s playing a central role in one of my 2024 goals
— The Anxious Generation, a book we’ve preordered x 3 (how happy am I that two of the top five are books?)
Last month on The Connected Family:
Adding a segment to round up the previous month’s posts on TCF! So many of you have subscribed (thank you!), but if you haven’t, and a conversation about kids, technology, and family culture sounds meaningful for you, I’d love for you to join us.
— Welcome to The Connected Family! | Why me, and what I hope we can do together.
— Grown-Up Tech Goals for a New Year | Small changes and an unfortunate truth.
— The 2024 TCF Annual Screen Report | Stats, struggles, and wins for each member of the family.
— All About Team Thomas Tuesday | What it is, why I love it, and all of our topics (and resources used) so far.
What I read in January:
This was an unusual month for reading! I’m stretching several books (The Great Dechurching, Outlive, and Made for People) over a longer span for various reasons, and so only have a few to report on in full. They are:
— The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish | I continue to be wowed and delighted by how Karina Yan Glaser tackles harder topics for elementary kids with warmth, gentleness, and discernment. A favorite series for sure.
— The Armor of Light | Another excellent installment of the epic Kingsbridge series! Made me want to go back and read the original – maybe this summer :)
— Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | June received the illustrated second installment for her eighth birthday and we whizzed through it together.
My reading list for 2024, if you’d like to follow along!
Revisiting my January goals:
Kick off The Connected Family well with four weekly posts (Yes! Exceeded my expectations in every way and I’m super grateful. I was honored to earn a little orange check mark in the last week of the month, which marks a Substack bestselling publication. Thank you, thank you, thank you again!) Write ahead to complete drafts of February’s TCF posts (I did not get quite as far as I was hoping, but I did complete drafts of three (out of five) posts for the month!)
Complete at least 85 hours of deep work (Whew, this one kicked my tail! A learning curve for sure. I chose 85 because it’s roughly 1000 / 12, but I fell decidedly short for various reasons and amassed 35. Adjusting for February!)
Send an inquiry to our top builder candidate (Inquiry sent and we also had an initial meeting. We are waiting to hear back from him on next steps but we have a lot to consider.) Begin the Bible Recap reading plan (Yes, indeed! On track and it has been great so far! We listen together while we’re getting ready for bed.) Read the first three chapters of Outlive (Done! This was greatly helped by a tip from Lara that the audiobook is available on Spotify Premium, which we already pay for.)
Take the Birds and Bees course (We set a date in February!)
Prep for our Valentines mailbox (Underway! It’s been fun to come up with a few new ideas this year, like making wax paper crayon suncatchers, trying out the pasta maker we were gifted and have never used (eep), and a Poppin kit from HMart.)
— Reach out to an upholsterer and/or visit a showroom for goal no. 1
— Rehab and paint June’s new (old) desk, which my parents drove down from their home in Connecticut. She chose Purple Cream for the color :)
— Finalize the secrets + swag for the AC retreat
— Complete at least 60 hours of deep work (which works out to about 3 hours for every weekday in February, with a little grace built in)
— Write one module of the TCF course
— Read chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Outlive
— Take the Birds & Bees course with John
As a reminder, many of these are drawn from my 2024 goals!
Next week’s post is a dear and personal one for me… looking forward to sharing it with you. Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on January — or anything else you’d like to chat about!
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