Sunday, December 30, 2007

Starting anew....

The time is here. I stopped by Barnes and Noble today to find a few books and found myself bombarded by the tables projecting new 'yous' and new life with the help of new diets, new exercise regimes, new lovers, new personal themes, etc. Of course the largest group of books for the new year are those on changing your looks (in one way or another). Savvy store marketing.

Wish I could say that I was above those sort of new year resolutions but the truth is that I love New Years. Like Christmastime New Year's allows me a chance to bond with my family, play random games from our family game closet, and reflect on the themes of the season.

Our family, my mother in particular, has always been drawn to symbolic rituals. My favorite occurs at New Year's. At some point during the celebration, usually after diner, my mom brings out the candles. Each year the candles and their destination differ, but the general practice remains the same. We each get an unlit candle. My Mom lights a candle in the middle of the table. Each person reflects, silently, on the year that has past and then makes a hope/wish for the next year. When they are ready they light the candle from the central one and hold it until all are lit. We then each place our candle in the middle with the original one and it burns through the rest of the party. We can discuss our hope if we want (some do) or we can keep it as a personal desire.

Traditions can be strange and no doubt some of those reading this will find the above ritual a little, uncomfortable. Visually it is one of the most beautiful things I have been a part of. Spiritually it is something I anticipate each year as a way to force myself to take time to look forward. It is always so easy to be caught up with the here and now.

This year will be no different. I can already tell you what I hope for as it has been on my mind for the last month. I hope that the decisions that I make can be made with clarity and with a clear vision of the future. This might sound obtuse but as I look over this past year, and even before, many of my decisions were made out of momentary emotion.

At this moment in our lives we are in a prime spot to change so much about how our future appears. We can, and are taking steps to, change the way we manage money, parent our children, love each other, love ourselves, and relate in the world. For example, Eric and I have decided that it is time for me to go back to work. For many reasons. Honestly I've had my moments with the kids where I long for the day to go back to work, but now that it is is a reality it is one met with much deeper and mixed feelings. And with this I have the chance to really make a difference for our family, for myself, and for the organization I work with.

I hope that my decisions are made on solid foundation so that when I reflect back next year I can see, even if things were hard, the positive change.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In need of....

A fairytale? I did not grow up on fairytales, specifically the Disney Princess ones. Still, I went for the second time to Enchanted (this time with my Grandma) and this scene has had me smiling all day:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hark the Meme Angels Sing!

We are visiting family out-of-state and I have been keeping busy with projects so I have neglected this blog, phone calls, and general keepings-in-touch. Tonight, after working all day going through my Grandfather's stuff (he passed away last month) I really just needed something fun to do while I watch Law and Order.

This fit the bill:

Christmas Tag!!

Thanks to Holly for the idea! And thanks to my boredom for the nauseating (but fun) colors!

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Sorry, anything with the word 'egg' automatically loses my vote!
2) Do you wrap your presents or not? This is such a strange question to me. Are there people who don't wrap their presents...and if so, why the *bleep* not?
3) Colored lights or white? With kids, colored for sure!
4) Do you hang mistletoe? Nope, usually I just eat it.
5) When do you put up your decorations? Personally I like to wait until the 1st of December, but this year it was after Thanksgiving.
6) What is your favorite holiday dish? Funeral potatoes. Yum.
7) Favorite memory as a child? There are so many to choose from. I remember looking out the window, when I was eight or nine, with my brother Alan and seeing a red light flashing in the distance. We were convinced it was Rudolph and we watched that light for a good hour. Alan was the one who told me Santa doesn't exist. I loved that the Christmas elves always rang our doorbell on Christmas Eve and left new pjs on our doorstep. We've already continued that tradition with the boys. I cherish the years that my Grandpa would read the Christmas story - it was so treasured to him. Oh and of course there is the annual family movie night while we watch the Muppet Christmas Carol. It is a must-see movie. The minute the music starts my heart feels light!
8) When and how did you learn about Santa? My younger brother (Alan as mentioned above) and I were snooping in our parents room for presents. We found the 'Santa' stash. I didn't think much of it, but he made sure to explain it all.
9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The Elf present.
10) How do you decorate your tree? One of the best parts of having children at Christmas is that they help decorate and add their 'flair' to the project. Normally I am pretty OCD about my decorating and the tree ends up looking very symmetrical. Now, we have ornaments that have memories attached and that the boys cannot break and they get put on as manically as the boys like.
11) it or dread it? Love it. Never thought I'd say that, but it's true.
12) Can you ice skate? Well enough not to end up with a black & blue butt.
13) Do you remember your favorite gift? I have been fortunate to receive lots of good gifts - but three stick out. The dog (Ty) that I got when I was 11, tickets to Wicked for the first time, and the shredder that Eric gave me last year.
14) What is the most important part of the holidays? My family. Taking time to reflect on the past year. Taking time to give someone something you hope means as much to them as it did for you to pick it out. I love the look a loved one has when they open a gift that really hits them.
15) Favorite holiday dessert? My Mom's Sugar Cookies. We'll have to see if we can make those gluten-free this year!
16) Favorite tradition? One thing that I love in our family is that when Christmas Day rolls around and we are all sitting there waiting to open presents, we take turns in a circular motion, paying attention to whoever is opening it. This allows everyone to have the time to react to their gift and gives respect to the person who bought the gift. I also love that we open a few, then eat breakfast, then come back and open the rest. It helps to keep the focus on Christmas being about family time.
17) Favorite Christmas Carol? I absolutely love 'Carol of the Bells'. With or without words that song moves me.

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically - but if you are reading this, I would love if you do it! If you do play along, let me know so I can see what your answers are!