Holidays, Observances, and Literary Celebrations: January–April

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Introduction

Champ always gets quite depressed after we take the Christmas Tree (which, I can assure you, we did in a timely matter, at the beginning of January). To cheer him up, I embarked on a calendar project, compiling holidays and observances, national and international celebrations.

I included Christian holidays, and then added some Jewish holidays, and then looked up literary birthdays as well.

As you might have guessed, the project began to take on a life of its own, and I still haven’t finished it. However, I thought there might be some other families out there who’d like a list of holidays that expanded upon the public holidays each month, so I thought I’d share what I’ve got so far.

Many of these national celebrations were taken from an exhaustive list found at Brownielocks.com. The literary holidays were compiled from birthday lists of authors. I never found a complete list, and many of the writers and poets I just looked up individually.

This is a perpetual list of holidays, meaning you can come back to this list each year. I do have downloadable calendars for 2014 at the bottom of this post that you are free to print and use!

How it works

MONTH

Each month has a theme. Some are nationally or internationally recognized, and others are just suggestions (take February for example—”Celebrate the ones you love Month”). Each month also has a list of authors born in that month. The idea is that older children or parents choose from that list and read a book from one or more of the authors during the month.

WEEKS

The holidays listed under the “weeks” are holidays that occur on a particular day each year. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always celebrated the third Monday in January.

DAYS

The holidays listed here are celebrated or observed on the same date each year. New Year’s Day is always January First. I’ve included birthdays of poets on these lists, so that on their birthdays, we can read one of their poems. It’s a gentle reminder to me that I need more poetry in my life, and it’s an excuse to read poetry to my children at least a few times each month.

OTHERS

Some holidays aren’t based on the Gregorian calendar. For example, the Chinese New Year is celebrated in January some years, and February other years. I have 2014 dates for these holidays marked on the printable calendars. For subsequent years, you’ll have to look them up. I’ll include links when I can find them.

January

MONTH

  • Resolution Month (Choose a motto for the new year, make a collage, etc.)
  • Human Trafficking Prevention
  • Authors: Tolkien, A.A. Milne, Poe, Lewis Carroll

WEEKS

DAYS

  • 1/1 New Year’s Day
  • 1/3 Tolkien Day
  • 1/8 Midwife’s Day, Elvis’ Bday
  • 1/18 Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A. Milne’s Birthday)
  • 1/19 Edgar Allan Poe
  • 1/27 US Holocaust Memorial Day (day of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp), Lewis Carroll
  • 1/29 Puzzle Day

OTHER

  • January or February: Chinese New Year
  • Last week in January: Lead up to Super Bowl

February

MONTH

  • Celebrate the ones you love Month (Read some classic love stories, compile stories of how your family members met & fell in love)
  • Winter Olympics Month (every 4 years)
  • Authors: Dickens, Jules Verne, Lemony Snicket, Laura Ingalls Wilder

WEEKS

  • First Sunday—Super Bowl Sunday
  • Second Monday & Tuesday—Westminster Dog Show
  • Third—Engineers Week
  • Third Monday—Presidents’ Day

DAYS

  • 2/1 Langston Hughes
  • 2/2 Groundhog’s Day
  • 2/8 Elizabeth Bishop
  • 2/14 Valentine’s Day
  • 2/15 Susan B Anthony Day
  • 2/27 Longfellow

OTHER

  • February or March: Carnival / Mardi Gras (day before Ash Wednesday)
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Lent
  • Purim (Esther’s Feast)

March

MONTH

WEEKS

DAYS

  • 3/4 National Grammar Day
  • 3/6 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • 3/14 Pi Day
  • 3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
  • 3/21 First Day of Spring
  • 3/26 Robert Frost

OTHER

  • March or April: Easter
  • Passover

April

MONTH

WEEKS

DAYS

OTHER

  • April or May: Yom Hashoa (Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Download the 2014 Calendar

  • Download the plain 2014 calendar (with federal and public holidays) here.
  • Download our family’s calendar for January–April (with various religious, literary, and geeky observed holidays) here. (Subscribe by email or follow me on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when the other months are ready!)

Coloring Pages

Annual List of Holidays, Observances, and Literary Celebrations | Bewildered Mother

Click to Pin!

Newborn Photos by LindseyMarie Photography

A huge huge thanks to LindseyMarie Photography for taking our newborn photos! If you’re in the Twin Cities, I highly recommend her work. Thank you for capturing these moments for us, Lindsey!

A few notes: My friend knitted us a lion cap and a little lion stuffed animal, which you’ll see in some of the photos. We tried to get a photo of all four of us, but we couldn’t get the 2-yr-old to sit still! The photo with Captain, Lion, and me is a sort-of recreation of Champ’s newborn photo. Once I get prints made, that one is going to hang in the living room right next to Champ’s.

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Now I have to figure out something to do with all those wonderful, make-me-melt photos of the Captain and the boys for Father’s Day. Any ideas?

Maternity Photos

The problem with springtime in Minnesota is that it is completely unpredictable (if it even exists at all). So either we were going to take the photos in the snow, in the mud, or in the dead grass.

Oh, it’s still March, I said. Let’s wait until April, I said. Then we can take maternity pictures outside in bright short sleeve T-shirts and rain boots, I said.

I had this grandiose idea of taking our Maternity photos with rain boots and umbrellas against the skyline of the city.

Then the day came.

And it looked like this:

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I had a few ideas, which continually got shot down by weather or fear of overcrowding or traffic. Finally I got the idea of a library.

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Half the time was spent chasing Champ up and down the aisles of books, but we did get some good photos. Thanks to LindseyMarie Photography for capturing the day and being so flexible!

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That blur of Champ’s hand was pointing to where the baby is.

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FYI, Kids can’t run away madly when perched atop daddy’s shoulders.

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Most photos were achieved only with leftover Easter candy, which Champ shoved into his cheeks like a chipmunk.mat4

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Elevator!

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The computers were also a big help in distracting the little wild man.

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Phy Ed at home— exercise and play for kids of all ages

While watching a clip of gymnastics on Sesame Street with Little Champ, I really started to wish I could get him into tumbling, not just at a gymnastics class, but at home, too.

This innocent internet search snowballed into an entire Pinterest board of tumbling, obstacle, and sports equipment.

I don’t know about you, but as a child, I loved playing outside and going to Phy Ed. I was pretty active and played lots of sports and games. In Pre-K through elementary school, I played baseball and football (yes, though I am a girl), soccer and basketball. I loved jump roping, and won ribbons on feild day for football throwing, hula hooping, and the limbo contest.

Then middle school happened—sports became about winning, not about exercising or having fun. The girls on my soccer and basketball teams were EXTREMELY competitive and catty, only passing to the girls who were the fastest or tallest. Being one of the shortest girls in my grade, I didn’t get the ball very often.

I stopped playing sports, and any time I exercised, it felt like a monotonous chore. Even dance parties started to get old. But I’ve always enjoyed playing outdoor games with family and friends. We are still competitive—our family games are known for cheating—but it isn’t about winning, it’s about having fun as a family.

Back to the internet search: I compiled a bunch of equipment for sports, agility, obstacle courses, and toddler tumbling. I’m hoping to use these as ideas for summer activities with the family.

(I just hope my Marine doesn’t get too military with the little ones…or me)

You can preview all of the items I collected, read reviews, and even purchase them through Amazon on this cool little store I created as an Amazon Affiliate. You aren’t buying the items from me; you are buying them from Amazon. But for referring you to Amazon, I get a couple pennies if you purchase anything through the “shop.” That’s the disclaimer. I’m not doing this for profit—I created the shop for your convenience. But yes, it is possible for me to make a dollar or two.

Click on the image below to be taken to the shop in a new window. I love the gymnastics equipment. I’m wondering if there are some DIY tutorials out there. Where I live, foam is REALLY EXPENSIVE, so I’m not sure how much money I’d save doing DIY. I’ll have to check out craigslist or something for used ones!

As for the scooters, I did find a DIY tutorial for you:

Click the adorable child to be taken to the tutorial on crumbbums.com

I’m excited to get out and play with my son, husband, and cousins this summer!

What were your favorite games or activities in Gym or PE? This summer, how are you going to play with your kids or family outdoors or in?

Daily Mom and Toddler Schedule

(Update from 2013: Let me get this out in the open. The following blog post is extremely optimistic. I’m not an organized person, and Life Happens. For a bit of a reality check to compare with the idealism you’ll read below, check out Mom Stress Test and Guilt-Free, Survival Parenting and Confessions of a Sleep-Deprived Mom of Two. And in case you’re wondering, I did make up a Mom and Preschooler schedule in the summer of 2013, but I’ve yet to have a day where something didn’t get in the way of our plan for the day.)

As a mom, I feel like I’m always trying to get my life together. I’ve been a preschool teacher, I’ve been a writer and a designer, and now I’m a mom that writes, designs, and takes care of my little man. Don’t even get me started on housework.

But I feel like I’m not alone. Most mom blogs out there talk about getting a good balance between ME time, KID time, HUSBAND time, and HOUSEWORK time. If you’re a Christian, you know you’ve got to throw some LORD time in there, too.

I’ve learned the hard way that even though I’m pretty free-spirited, I need structure in order to actually get things done. So today I took some time out and looked at child care schedules and adapted it for me and for my little man. I’m not a paid day care provider, and there’s only one of me, so I’m not going to be teaching or playing with my son 100% of the time—I’m the cook and the custodian, too.

Here’s our schedule. Already it’s going to be a bit flexible because we have things going on every night this week, and I’m going out to lunch later this week during his usual nap time, but here it is, ideally:


A few notes, in no particular order:

  • “Husband” is underlined in the chart because my word processor doesn’t like gender-specific words. The image is a screenshot because screenshots are easy.
  • Because we’d like to grow our family, I am starting to get Little Champ used to quiet play in the morning, when a baby might be taking another nap. Our family isn’t growing yet, but when it does, then it won’t be as big of an adjustment when there’s another napper in the house. Until then, it’s nice to get some quiet play, for both our sakes.
  • My time is divided between faith living, time with my son, time with my husband, cleaning, cooking, writing, design, drawing (something I need to work on), and reading.
  • Little Champ spends the day playing. I’d like to start structuring his play so that he has some artistic play, building play, and pretend play. Story time is also educational. I am a firm believer in the effects of imaginative learning—the more of your brain you use daily, the smarter and more creative you become.
  • How you spend your time is a good look at what is important to you. My husband and I are trying to be more intentional about living out our faith with our son, even at such a young age. We are also trying to make a point to eat together at meals. Families that eat together and pray together stay together; children who eat meals with their families are less likely to partake in drugs, underage drinking or sex; and intentional eating (opposed to distracted eating) keeps people from overeating and gaining weight.
  • Little Champ is a bit young to understand responsibility (he’s not yet 2), but he sees my husband and I cleaning, and we try to involve him. I let him help me put the clothes in the dryer, he helps me “sweep” with his own broom, and he helps us put away his toys. If he didn’t eat in a high chair, we’d be teaching him how to bring his plates into the kitchen. Maybe I’ll start looking into a little table for him to sit at, so he can learn to pick up after meals.
  • I’ve seen other moms’ schedules here in the blogosphere, and most of the time is spent watching TV. There’s a reason we don’t have TV. Educational shows or not, TV teaches kids to be absorbers, not performers; consumers, not creators. That’s why I highly value play time, and learning through play. I also want to teach my children to be active and responsible. I may allow my son to watch Shaun the Sheep (purely for fun) or Sesame Street (educational), but I limit it to 1 hour MAXIMUM per day. He probably watches about 2 hours per week.

Your turn. Are there ways you can see that I might improve this schedule? What has worked for you?

(Future me again, from 2013. Champ watches way more TV when I’m exhausted or when Lion is teething or sick. I don’t want to know how many times he’s seen every episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and The Magic Schoolbus. Educational TV has helped his vocabulary and ability to empathize. However, he has far more fits on days I let him watch TV. So don’t feel bad if your child’s been watching a ton of television! Just be sure to get them creating, playing, and socializing in real life, too)