It’s been a busy week. Husband’s brother and his wife and one year old son flew in from across the country and are staying at Husband’s parents’ house (50 miles from our house). Their baby has a hard time napping in unfamiliar places and is, shall we say, not a fan of the car and so in complete understanding of the difficult to sleep/car-hating baby we have driven down to my in-laws several times to see them. I am happy to make the drive: all three of our kids were car seat screamers and two out of the three were total nightmares about sleep. It is worth the drive to see all four kids running around gleefully, getting along instantly; a bond of cousins that I never had growing up. We had planned to visit again last night, New Year’s Eve, but poor Middle had had one too many late nights and had meltdown after meltdown yesterday culminating in her bringing in her beloved toy cars from outside along with a basket of dirt and dumping the whole mess in her bed. After that, we decided to stay home. We have been doing some significant work in our kitchen and have been keeping a minimal amount of food in the house and I wasn’t prepared with any celebratory food for the evening. So I took Middle and Baby out to the grocery store and let them pick out whatever frozen appetizers and mini desserts their hearts desired. We came back and had a New Year’s Eve picnic dinner in the living room of mac and cheese balls, rice balls spinach and kale bites, feta and caramelized onion phyllo cups, mozzarella cheese sticks, and fresh fruit. For dessert we feasted on mini ice cream cones, tiny mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches, and bon bons. Our impromptu party of five ended up being a perfect way to spend the evening. I realized that with three kids and two adults our family feels big enough that we can make anything a party. Older declared it “the best dinner ever”. As we sat on a table cloth on the living room floor I told the kids about New Year’s resolutions. Older and Middle got the concept right away. We went around the “table” sharing our resolutions for the upcoming year. Middle proclaimed that in 2014 she would make a picture every day and that we would have a movie night every Sunday (that one is not going to fly, but I told her I would try to honor her desire for more movie nights). Older vowed to write a book and to avoid all foods with gelatin (the kids and I are vegetarian and he found out earlier this year that some candies and marshmallows have gelatin – an animal product – in them and was horrified). Middle, with a mischievous smile, replied that she would keep on eating candy with gelatin. Husband is going to run a half-marathon. Here’s what I’m going to do:
1) I shall not buy any desserts in 2014. This includes cake, cookies, ice cream, and candy. I can buy ingredients, but if it’s sweet and I want to eat it, I have to make it. Exceptions include birthday requests from the kids (if they want me to buy something special I will) and if we go out to dinner I am allowed to order dessert (something I rarely do, however, because as a pastry chef I am really picky about good desserts and most restaurant desserts are lame). Now, if someone were to buy me some dessert, say some cashew brittle or scotchmallows from See’s Candy, that would be totally acceptable (and delicious). The best part of this resolution so far was the look of incredulous horror that fell over Older’s face when I told the family of my plan. He thought, initially, that it meant that there would be no dessert in 2014. As was stunned into speechlessness I quickly explained that we would have plenty of desserts but that I would be the only one making them. He asked (knowing the answer, but wanting to be certain) if I could make ice cream and I reassured him that I most certainly could and would be making ice cream.
2) I will write, creatively, every day. Creative writing includes this blog and non-technical writing for school (I am taking a critical thinking class that will have some creative writing assignments), as well as writing short stories, working on a novel or two, and children’s stories. In particular, I have several stories that I tell the kids that I want to commit to paper. My inteded career is to become a lactation consultant and later perhaps a nurse-midwife or a physician, but my secret dream is to make a living writing. At this point, a career in writing seems as likely to me as a career in the NFL but I will never be a writer, paid or otherwise, if I don’t actually write. Stories rattle around my brain all day long and settle into long tales as I try to fall asleep at night, but I have been hesitant to commit them to paper. Perhaps it has been easier for me not to write than to try and to fail. I am ready to try now, so that is exactly what I shall do.
3) I will stay in better contact with my far (about 1500 miles) away, but much loved little brother. We haven’t seen each other since before I was pregnant with Baby and I don’t know when we will physically be able to see each other again, but I have no excuse not to avail myself of all the wonderful technological methods we have of staying in contact.
4) I will run an official 5K race. I run with the girls a few times a week and I could probably go out and just run a 5K on my own tomorrow, but I want the feeling of accomplishment from an official race. I to feel accomplished, I want to wear the race T-shirt to bed and remember what I have done. The hardest part of this is not going to be the running, but getting up in the morning. I told husband (an avid runner) that I was going to look for a 5K that starts in the afternoon and he laughed at me; he says such a thing does not exist. Well, then I’m going to look for one where I get a T-shirt and a medal if I have to get up at the ass crack of dawn.
5) We will finish our house – all the little (and big) things that need fixing, all missing molding/trim, all the the repainting, EVERYTHING. I can’t do it alone – this is a joint resolution with Husband.
I already know resolutions two and five will be the hardest to keep. Writing every day is going to be a struggle, but I wanted a specific, measurable goal to motivate and challenge me; writing every single day will do just that. Finishing the house will be challenging with school and kids of course, but will also be challenging because it will force Husband and I to work together to motivate (nag) each other to work on the house even when our inclination is to park our tired asses in front of Netflix. I do think, however, that finishing the house is achievable at this point and I know it will be a huge weight off of my shoulders to know that we could sell the house if need be (if a perfect far away job offer came in for Husband) and that we can actually enjoy our house for however many years we have remaining in it before we do move on. I do not want to be one of those people that gets a house in perfect shape only to sell it (something my parents did throughout my childhood).
Besides the resolutions I’ve got a lot of good plans for 2014. I plan to continue last year’s trend of making, rather than buying, more and more of the gifts that I give friends and family. I want to somehow (on our very limited budget) get a digital SLR camera and learn how to use it. My sister and I are going to throw ourselves a joint birthday party in my backyard with plenty of good food and lots of karaoke. Middle will start kindergarten. I would like to launch another blog focused on the challenges faced by new parents; especially breastfeeding. This spring I will finish all of the prerequisites I need to enter a lactation consultant program and in the fall I will start such a program including clinical rotations in a hospital. I begin 2014 in the same city, in the same house, but in a far better place than I began 2013. My seat belt is fastened and I am ready to go.