At the end of each month, I take stock of the previous month. What went well? What did I learn? What brought me a simple joy? These monthly reports are a way to encourage myself to take delight in the littlest of things. I find that Ten Things I Loved allows me to always see the silver lining, even when there are hard moments in a month. And taking joy in the simple things is paramount to how I want to live, making 10 things an invaluable tool for me. Here’s this month’s simple pleasures.
Of note: December is full of traditions that I just love, love, love and it would be so easy to go to old standbys and the traditional stuff so I tried to push myself a little bit to pick out new things from this month.
Things I/ We Did
1. Special time with an international student from Ethiopia. An Ethiopian friend of mine (who is a high school teacher there) let us know that one of her students was coming to college here and asked if we could meet up with her. We did, and it has been a delight for all of us to get to know her. One weekend in December we made a grand sweep and had Ethiopian food in Charlotte on Saturday night and then checked out the lights in McAdenville on Sunday night. She’s a dear new friend that we look forward to enjoying over the next four years.
2. Angel Tree. While we always select an ornament from an angel tree and provide those gifts, this was the first year that Happy could really get it. So we picked a 4 year old girl named Luz and Happy went shopping with me and picked out all her things. I was worried that he’d ask for something for himself but he really seemed to get that our shopping trip was all about Luz. He very much wanted to take Luz her gifts but I explained that we had to take the gifts to someone who would take the gifts to Luz. When we got to the drop off location, Happy very earnestly told the man to get our gifts to Luz. It was so dear.
3. Christmas Eve Eve. While I have all these dreams about Christmas Eve traditions, the reality is that we are so lucky to be able to celebrate the holidays with both of our families which means that Christmas Eve is actually spent with extended family and not available for immediate family traditions. So what we did was make Christmas Eve Eve special. This year’s special special, as Happy calls it, consisted of three darling glass Penguin ornaments (we opened them at dinner, and then each one of us hung one on the tree) and then 2 DVDs: Frosty the Snowman and Charlie Brown and a box of popcorn. We popped corn, put on pjs, and climbed into our bed to watch our 2 shows (this was a huge special, special at our house because we don’t watch TV as a family- other than the news). Very fun night. Not sure how Christmas Eve Eve will look next year but I like the new tradition.
4. The nightly book countdown. So, we honor all of our cultures at the holidays by celebrating Christmas, Three King’s Day (January 6), and Ethiopian Christmas (January 7). As a fun countdown to each one of our special days this year, Happy had a holiday tree in his room that had a wrapped book under it to be unwrapped every night between December 1st and January 7th. Some of the books were holiday themed and a lot of them were winter themed. This could be a very expensive endeavor so I bought a lot of the books through Scholastic Book Club for $1.99 to make it manageable. I am not sure how long this is a repeatable project but Happy was thrilled to choose a book and unwrap it every night and that was so fun for us. It also gave us lots of fun new books.
5. You are Special plate tradition. We started our own You are Special Plate tradition on December 29th as a way to celebrate the 4th anniversary of our adoption court date (the date that our adoption was approved in Ethiopia). I am so excited to use this plate to serve anyone of us who has had a special accomplishment in the years to come. Want your own plate? Here’s the Etsy artist I used.
Gifts and Goods
6. Minted notecards. So one of the things on my 39 things to do before turning 40 list is writing 39 thank you notes to some of the lovely people in my life. To prepare, I wanted to get some stationary and Minted.com had a good special going so I decided to try out their stationary. I loved what I ordered and was really happy with the quality and their service. Now, it’s time to get writing.
7. Live in Love necklace charm. My very favorite gift I gave this month was a birthday gift to a dear friend. This Live in Love charm is adorable.
8. Crown Smartphone Pouch. BF gave me this smartphone case for Christmas and I love it. True confession: Have you ever given someone a gift and then had to have it for yourself? Well, that happened with this case. One of my dear freinds and I got together to get our other dear friend the Live in Love charm. We also got her a pouch similar to this one (you can find hers here) and after I saw hers, I had to ask for one (except I had enough decorum to suggest one that was a little bit different although she wouldn’t have cared). I am loving this thing.
9. A Dana LeBlanc Necklace. Big, chunky, colorful necklace? One of the my favorite things under the tree.
On the Plate
10. Edamame, Corn, Cranberry Salad. Edamame. Corn. Cranberries. What more is there to say? Oh, sunflower seeds.