I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Eve. As a teen I lived too far away from friends to really get involved in social events. As a twenty something I did the same as all my friends and went to the pub after much deliberation over which one to get tickets for. It normally turned out to be the wrong one (not busy enough/too busy/the bloke my friend fancied was at a different one) and we inevitably ended up depressed and wishing we had stayed at home. In adulthood (i.e. post arrival of children) we have attempted being sociable and have spent the evening with neighbours a couple of times. But it’s not really “us”. We like being at home. We like having a quiet evening with a takeaway and a bottle of plonk. We’re not big drinkers and I get nervous when it gets rowdy. The kids are older now and will try and stay awake. No-one wants to babysit and why pay someone when you are going literally 2 houses away? We’ve had the lovely Miss T to stay a few times which has been great but her life has changed this year beyond all imagination with the arrival of Little Miss J. So this year, it’s a quiet evening with a takeaway. Bliss. We’re going to do a ballot to choose a film or two to watch and just enjoy being together. Before the years of ferrying offspring to parties begins. And it will all come full circle.
No resolutions again this year. Last year I just wanted us to stay happy and make memories. I think I’ve achieved that. I can’t think of any better wish for the coming year. Health and happiness. For all my loved ones.
My highlights of 2015. My world.
I didn’t blog each day over Christmas. I’ve enjoyed being relatively computer free and I am still on my Facebook blackout so I have been relatively “social network” free as well. I say relatively; there is no getting away from technology it seems. I used the laptop on Boxing day to register G&G’s new coffee machine for them. And on Sunday, whilst visiting K’s side of the family, K’s sister in law showed me some photos on Facebook despite my protestations.
We’ve had a good break. We’ve spent time with my brother and his family, which was lovely. The children have been having long lie-ins and K and I have enjoyed some time off. There’s been some nice food thrown in there and some relaxing days doing not much. We’ve also had a long day up to Burton, over half of which was spent in the car. I think it was worth it, although K’s mum was on less than brilliant form and managed to upset at least half of the gathering at some point. Families eh?
I do find it a bit anti-climatic. The kids are thrilled with their new items and we have all genuinely enjoyed the break (does the lady protest too much?) but there always comes a point when the glow fades and the mood shifts. I think the point that killed it all for me was when K announced “well that’s Christmas over” on Monday night. I was sort of holding out for feeling festive-ish until the weekend. But he has a point, and being back at work has pretty much finished off any lingering hopes of lazy days.
One thing I am very proud of is the food side of things. I have eaten well and I thoroughly enjoyed my enormous Christmas lunch. I have had chocolates and nibbles. I have had cheese and wine. But all in moderation. And the scales are showing no gain (or loss, but that would be pushing it!) so I am chuffed to bits. I am determined to carry on into the New Year, and feel that the six week challenge that I set myself has spurred me on to a healthier me.
Highlights of the Christmas period: laughing with P and family and G&G on Christmas day; the children all getting on REALLY well together; knowing that Nan was happy and enjoying her day with Auntie; seeing Miss T and Little Miss J on FaceTime on Christmas morning.
Low points: having to question the plate of meat that was on offer at K’s brother’s house on Sunday. It was pork. Undercooked pork that K’s mum had provided. Increased the tension just a treat. Especially as it was deemed inedible and thrown in the bin; it all having to end and going back to the reality of shopping, cleaning, thank you letters. And not necessarily in that order. Why do children hate writing thank you letters? Oh, because they don’t know half the people and they have to make up stuff that they are going to spend the money on and it makes their hands hurt. That’s why. But still I make them do it. Mwah ha ha.
It has been so lovely not to have to rush up to get children off to school. I am officially working until tomorrow evening but I am still able to enjoy a bit of a lie in. I say “enjoy”. I don’t know that I really enjoy a lie-in. I always feel that I could be doing something more productive, but I do like to read for a bit and get up in my own time rather than at the behest of the clock.
Today, T, A and I popped to Whetstone to see my Nan before Christmas. (Note, this is where the “officially working” bit comes into action – I am able to take the odd hour or two here and there so long as I catch up with everything that needs doing. At least that’s how it works in my head.) Historically, Nan has spent Christmas at mum and dad’s. She would occasionally go to my aunt’s but she preferred Christmas with M&D and then would go to my Auntie L’s for New Year. Two or three years ago it was decided that the journey to M&D’s was a bit much and the fact that they only have a downstairs toilet was a concern. The stairs had also become a bit much to handle and so it was decided that Nan would spend Christmas with Auntie L (who had previously moved into a flat – no stairs or toilet issues there). We were all a bit sad that Nan would not be coming to stay any more but all completely understood her reasons. This year she is going to Auntie L’s again, but has been unsettled about the prospect and has not been feeling 100% her usual self. She’s had some dizzy spells and I’m sure was not relishing the journey (it’s only half hour tops but, at nearly 95 years of age, ten minutes probably would seem a long time).
It was lovely to see her, as it always is. But I was, again, reminded how frail she is looking and how she really does seem to be her age. Nan has always been very young at heart and sprightly. She never looked her age until very recently. This recent spell of feeling a bit off par just brings it home to me how very precious every visit and every phone call is. She was thrilled with her M&S voucher and box of chocolate coated ginger. She gets mum to buy her nice food from M&S through the course of the year with the numerous gift cards that she receives. Today, we had the “counting up of the cards”. When P and I were young children it was always our job to go around her living room counting up the Christmas cards. She once received over 100. Today’s score, totted up by A, was 77. She explained that she has, of course, lost a number of friends over the years. But she has also made new ones I am sure. While we were there she was visited by her neighbour (who has a key and checks on Nan every morning and evening) who clearly thinks the world of her; and another neighbour (a young woman in her pyjamas) who wanted to give her a box of chocolates to thank her for being so nice and taking her parcels in for her. I know I have said it many many times before, but she is a very special lady and we are all very thankful to still have her.
Three weeks since my last blog. That sounds a bit like a confession and I have to admit that I have been feeling guilty about not blogging. My last entry ended up not being published as the app on the iPad decided it didn’t want to play ball and refused to publish – I subsequently lost all the writing and couldn’t face tapping it all out again. (I can’t remember the topic but suspect it was probably one of those rambly, nonsensical ones that no-one will have missed anyway!). Since then I haven’t wanted to risk it again on the iPad and haven’t had the time or the wherewithall to do it on the laptop. Until today. Hurrah!
I feel there should be much to tell as I have been too busy to blog but honestly it’s all been pretty routine life stuff. We’ve decorated the lounge – finally. When I say “we” I obviously mean K, with limited assistance from yours truly. I held some wallpaper for a few minutes and helped move furniture. I made coffee and gave moral support. Which is important. The end result is fab and we are chuffed to bits that we bit the bullet and had the wall put in. Both rooms now feel bigger and yet cosier. And just in time for the festive season. Literally – we had friends round on Saturday night and K finished putting up the last strip of wallpaper at around 3pm. We like to fly by the seat of our pants in this house. (That was meant to sound ironic. I mean really would anyone have cared if one strip of paper was missing?)
The rest of the time we have simply been doing what everyone is doing and just generally getting on with the day to day life of ferrying kids, supporting homework sessions, cooking, eating, getting ready for Christmas.
Christmas feels different this year. It’s the first year that A is a true non-believer – we think. She mentioned the other morning that she is still as bit unsure as to how she got a bell from the sleigh (I left 2 on the patio a few years ago when T was showing signs of not believing) and so did someone else in her class (his mum must have seen the same article that I did) but if Father Christmas doesn’t exist how come they both got bells? I love this phase where your child is growing up (and SO grown up at times) and challenging and questioning; but also plays with Sylvanian Families and still has a bedtime story (albeit a rather spooky ghost story rather than Princess Poppy) and is still not jaded enough to think that it could perhaps have been her parents who left the bell on the patio. So perhaps the magic of Christmas that I have been creating for the last 13 years and have wholeheartedly bought into is a bit less this year. I’ve still loved the process of choosing gifts and wrapping them up but, as the stocking will no longer be the big charade of “how did FC know you wanted that?”, this year I feel a bit less magical.
Then we add in the day itself. We have spent Christmas Day at home for the last 12 years (apart from A’s first Christmas when we went to my brother’s house) with either my parents or K’s or on our own (once, 2 years ago). We expected that this year would be much the same – and quite happily too – until a text arrived from my brother with the big question. Would we like to go to theirs for Christmas Day? This was wholly unexpected. They have three children. We have two. My parents are also invited so that makes eleven people. I know to some stalwarts this sounds like a walk in the park, and I know that my brother (P) and his wife (C) regularly have Christmas with her sister and family but I didn’t think C would want to entertain us all. Hadn’t even thought about it in fact. So the question was a bit of a surprise, and a bit of a dilemma. We had planned to ask K’s parents to us even though we suspected they would not want to make the journey. So K spoke to them and explained we had been invited to P&C’s and they confirmed that they would rather we went up to see them at some point over the holiday season. Dilemma over. Apart from the unsettling feeling about what the day will be like. The control freak in me wants to be the one cooking the dinner and deciding what time we eat. And the slob in me wants to be able to undo the button on my jeans after dinner and watch movies and eat chocolate. I’m sure we will have a lovely time. I am happy that my brother was so pleased when we said we would love to go. I am happy that he gets to spend the day with his whole family for once. I will love spending the day with everyone. But it will be different.
Talking of undoing buttons on jeans. I have now lost 11.5 pounds and am very very pleased. The last time I saw these numbers on the scales was many many moons ago before I was pregnant with T. So, more than 14 years ago. My clothes are looser and I feel better. I feel in control and have a more positive attitude towards food. My reflection isn’t much different. I still hope to see the 24 year old me that I still am in my head. There are more similarities these days but let’s face it, I’m 43. Not 24. And have just been told that I need glasses. Now that really will shatter the illusion!