Things That Brought Me Joy in January
I like the fresh, quiet start of January; the snow days; the light around 4 in the afternoon that always makes me think of Emily Dickinson. Despite the seemingly obligatory feeling of burnout these days, below are more bits of joy from this month.
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➕ This gizmo.
It kind of feels like magic. It’s rechargeable and is one of those things that, once you have it, you wonder why you didn’t before.
➕ This Harry Potter puzzle.
That one is out of stock, but I also love this one and this one and, well, so many of that company’s beautiful puzzles.
Don’t stomp on my joy- I get a thrill every time. Are you playing? This is the best pandemic trend yet.
➕ The books I read this month.
They all felt quite different and were all quite good. I’m tracking my reads with mini reviews here now.
➕ Call Us What We Carry. I’ll put it separately, too, because it blew me away.
I really hope you’ll read it.
➕ New toys.
Namely this (if it’s still sold out or at an unreasonably high price, we also were eyeing this one) and this. I love when I can look forward to playing with the toys rather than the feeling I’m guessing we all have sometimes of, sigh, I guess I’ll play.
➕ Getting outside no matter what.
Even on the most bitter cold of days, we try to get out for a little bit. It makes such a difference.
➕ Some wonderful new picture books.
Jaime Kim’s Ready for the Spotlight!
Two sisters learning that everyone has their own talents and how much better it can be when you cheer each other on. This debut is adorable, relatable, and one we’ve already been reading over and over. From it we’ve evolved a little family moment of saying “so and so in the spotlight” while pretending to shine a light on them and it’s been a wonderful way into conversations with our oldest about attention between siblings.
Suzy Ultman’s Be My Neighbor?
Flap books are a hit for all ages and we have been especially adoring this cute, quirky one. Well, our 6 month old tries to grab and eat the flaps right now, but our 3.5 year old still delights in them and has spent a whole lot of time poring over this book. The story follows some new cats to a neighborhood as they gather ingredients to make and share cookies and it is full of such delightful details.
Jo Knowles’ and Galia Bernstein’s Ear Worm!
I wasn’t expecting us all to love this one as much as we do, which isn’t to say I didn’t think it would be good, but is to say it’s REALLY good. Certain reads are just the silly fun you need. Our baby eagerly listens and our toddler talks about it often, giggling over the songs and singing them later in the day. I highly recommend this one to add some sunshine to your days!
- Serena Gingold Allen’s Teagan White’s Moonlight Prance
- White’s previous board books are some of our very favorites and this one is just as wonderful. Her artwork is some of my favorite and I love Allen’s choice to highlight nocturnal animals. Both of our kids can’t get enough of the interactive parts on each page and I even caught our husband marveling over the quality on his own, hah. This one feels like a future classic, so get on it before everyone knows about it and get it as a happy treat for yourself or someone with littles.
- Edwina Wyatt’s and Tamsin Ainslie’s Sometimes Cake
- If you know us, you know we like a celebration, so this book is very much in our wheelhouse. Lion celebrates the small things: Tuesday, the color yellow, coconuts, and his friend Audrey loves to join in. This book creates such a peaceful, happy feeling, from its sweet illustrations to its message of marking the beauty of the ordinary. I think this would be such a sweet surprise, along with an ordinary day party, for a child you love.
- Claire Alexander’s The Think-Ups
- Two sisters stuck inside on a rainy day begin to play Think-Ups, a game in which you think up any animal of your choice and it will appear. With bubbly, captivating illustrations and a fun, spirited storyline, this book does a lovely job of capturing imagination and siblinghood.
Mac Barnett’s and Carson Ellis’s What Is Love?
Carson Ellis is a favorite artist of ours and I remember going to a signing of hers back when those existed and her talking about how excited she was to work with her friend, Mac Barnett. Excited she should have been, because this book is so lovely. Reading like a classic fable, a young boy goes into the world to find out the answer to the question of what love is. The story feels timeless and tender while somehow also humorous and fresh. A must for your shelves!
➕ Anything parties.
Meaning, asking Maeve what she wants to have a party for (dogs, spring, rainbows, yellow birds), letting her gather up around the house whatever she wants for the “decor” or guests, having her draw and write something for the theme, and baking and sharing something. It’s easy, takes up a lot of time, and joyful.
➕ This interview of Nate Bergatze made me laugh out loud repeatedly.
➕ The “I get to” mindset.
Some of you have seen me write about this before, but it’s been so helpful to me that I’ll mention it again. In both tougher and happier moments, I try to actively think about and say to myself, “I get to [insert whatever]”. It is SUCH a beneficial, easy re-framing and practice of gratitude that continues to turn around or highlight the beauty of my days.
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