Here's the round-up of things I'm grateful for this month.
1. My mum and dad, for all the help, support and unconditional love they've given me. I hope I can be as good a parent as they have been.
2. Not having to take work home - it's a great relief not having that pressure hanging over me.
3. Earlier this month I noticed Emma's top front teeth starting to come through - it made me feel so excited for her.
4. Watching her experiment with trying to stand by herself recently. The other day she was pulling herself up into standing position holding on to her toy castle (with me holding the castle still so it wouldn't tip over), letting go first with one hand, then the other and balancing without any support for about a second before falling back on her bottom. She would then repeat the whole exercise, several times over, determined to try and master this new skill. It was really thrilling to see my little daughter starting to become more independent.
5. Moments of connection in laughter. Emma started making a funny expression - smacking her lips with the lips turned in - for no apparent reason other than to be funny, or that's how it seemed. Or maybe once she noticed that she was making me laugh, it made her laugh. It was cute.
6. Tamales on February 2nd, Candlemas Day (Dia de la Candelaria), when traditionally you have to bring tamales for everyone if you got the little baby Jesus figure in your slice of Rosca de Reyes on January 6th. These tamales were brought for the kids at school by one of the mums and were sweet, filled with pecan nuts and raisins.
7. Running out of bread. On a grey, gloomy Saturday it was a good excuse to take a little walk down the road and round the corner to the shop. The rain was just starting, spitting lightly as I walked, listenng to music in the darkening early evening, feeling the fresh air, no pressure and no need to hurry... a few moments of bliss.
8. The course on urban vegetable gardens that I got to go to during this month's In-Service (teacher training day on the last Friday of every month). It was really interesting and I learnt a lot about growing crops in square metre, making compost, soil and crop rotation. It was also pretty hands-on, mixing soil ingredients and planting seeds. It's something I'd like to continue learning about and put into practice myself - somehow!
9. A notification I received the day before yesterday that something has arrived for me in the post and I have to go and collect it from the post office - could it be, finally, the Christmas present from my sister that we thought must have got lost in the post? I'll find out what it is when I go to pick it up!