As for as completing resolutions, 2014 was not a great year. As for facing unexpected challenges and embracing lots of change, 2014 was incredible. The movie-like vision I had for the second half of the year, included me passing the bar exam, finding an incredible job, having a baby, and easily becoming a family of four. Depending on how you view it, the reality is darker and richer than my expectations. I am still figuring out my next move professionally. The baby is hard and wonderful; the transition to a family of four has been tough, but also filled with so many tender moments. 2014 kicked my ass and broke me. I am still figuring out answers to two big questions: What next? Who am I now? As I figure it out, I am learning to be patient and move with kindness.
When I think about what I want to do in 2015, there are a few resolutions I am going to work on all year and then others which will be seasonal. As you look back on 2014 and ahead to 2015, I hope you feel happy about the good things that happened and excited about the great things to come!
Recap of 2014 resolutions:
- Read at least 25 books (gulp!) this is one more than last year, but the number seems intimidating. Once I finish all my reviews, they will be posted here. I believe the total will be 16.
- Complete at least two reading challenges for which I will sign up. I actually completed the chunkster challenge of which I am pretty proud. Once I finish my reviews; they will be linked on that challenge post.
- Post at least (on average) four times a month. I fell short by a few posts. There were a few months when I either did not have energy to write or was just consumed with other things.
- Figure out how to feel more satisfied and fulfilled with my current job or gather courage to take a step toward something new. As hard and awful as it was, I am glad to not be in the toxic environment anymore.
- Create a will and make end of life planning documents with Partner. We kept putting it off and did not finish.
- Merge our finances. Still not done
- Cook together with the Little One. We have had some more cooking adventures together which is really fun and satisfying.
- Complete potty training-- YES!!
- Have the Little One jump with two feet: One of her favorite things and I am so glad.
- Have 2013 greetings created and mailed out before the end of the year: Barely got them out the door; the last ones went out on December 31st!
- Create a first year baby album of the Little One to give as a gift to Partner for either Valentine's day, Father's Day, her birthday, or our wedding anniversary: Negative. Good gift ideas for the future though
- Organize our tupperware drawer/cabinet. Tuppperware has gone rogue in our kitchen. By containing the containers, maybe that will reduce that chaos in the kitchen: Hilarious because I have not thought much about organizing this space since most of our house is consumed in chaos.
- Average of at least twice a month, take the Little One on an adventure. Something outside the house that brings us both joy or at least the promise of joy. I think that we did it, but hard to know for sure
- Go on a date with Partner average of at least once a month. Missed it by a lot
- Have sex with Partner on average at least TWICE a month. Pregnancy, newborn, and toddler. Enough said.
I am going to make a smaller list for all year 2015:
1. Read one more book than I did last year; I believe the number will be 17.
2. I am hooked on signing up for reading challenges. I would like to complete at least one.
3. I want to host a party. More details here.
4. Cooking: I want to get food on the table.
5. Try again to post on average four times a month
For the winter season, I want to do the following:
1. Build a snowman with the Little One.
2. Try a new soup recipe and make a soup recipe I enjoyed before.
3. Get a picture of the Little Mister experiencing snow (weather permitting).
4. Have one hour of alone time with Partner outside the house.
Dear Little One:
I must make a confession that sounds like a cliche: sometimes, I get so caught up in getting through the day to day stuff that I lose the big picture. Since your brother arrived, there have been many moments during our interactions when I am worried because I am trying to get you to eat dinner/brush teeth/take a bath/go to bed/etc. and you are not listening. I am almost constantly brainstorming how to help you through things that seem to be giving you stres, most recently being afraid of the dark and being left alone. I put too much anxiety into the future about how to stay connected to you and help you navigate the craziness that is ahead as your ally and advocate. My heart starts beating really fast when I think about realizations and conversations that we are going to have about race, religion, and multi-cultural identity. No one is perfect and I know that, but I still spend way too much energy trying to improve you.
Getting out of our house and our regular routine helped to shake things up and give me a new perspective. We went to MD for Thanksgiving and got to stay for two weeks. The rhythm of your grandparents' house is so different than our own. There was constant activity and noise; a lot of people were around very often. I needed a time out for at least an hour every day; you seemed to thrive on the interactions. After you got dressed for Thanksgiving, you twirled in your dress and declared, "I am fabulous!" which became the mantra for the whole trip.
I loved watching you socialize with people and get to know new folks. One of your party tricks is to do people's hair; you were deep in concentration as you put on rubber bands. I realized that you actually know how to do ponytails and small buns. You loved being at your grandmother's side, listening in on phone calls, meeting people, and working a room. On our last night in town, she had her big office party which ran late. Your dad and I were trying to get you to sleep. You yelled at us, "I do not want to sleep; I want to party!!"
This was also the longest stretch of days we had all spent together. I was so nervous about the meltdowns and my energy level. While you did have tantrums and I was exhausted, I noticed that there was increased sweetness in your interactions with your brother. Almost every day, you held me and told him stories. He started to respond to you with smiles and giggles. I was so glad for the reminder of one of the best parts of having more than one child.
Even though I felt nervous and it was tough to be out of our comfort zone, I am so happy that I got the chance to see you again from a new perspective. You are indeed fabulous and I hope that the confidence light in you continues to shine bright!
I was catching up on blogs and came across a post on Orangette about everyday cooking. I nodded vigorously as I read and then followed the links. I read three articles that were so different on the topic of home cooking, but I related to all of them. My enthusiasm and energy for cooking varies with what is going on in my life and for whom I am cooking. For instance, the first roommate I had in Atlanta was a good cook; she and I took turns making dinner which helped to increase my confidence in the kitchen. When I lived in Durham, Beth and I were house mates. Beth is an amazing cook; we took turns cooking, but when it was my turn, we would often eat out. However, we hosted a few parties which made it seem feasible to cook for and host a crowd even in our small space. I learned many things from her, but the things related to this post are washing dishes and trying new cooking techniques. One of the unexpected benefits of being in book clubs in both cities is that we hosted meetings with food and I got to practice preparing meals for a group.
When we moved to MA, I was newly married and excited to try out all the cookbooks for which we had registered. We also had many brand new, fancy cooking utensils and dishes. As time went on, my enthusiasm dimmed and while I still prepare food for book clubs and other parties, the everyday cooking game is weak.
While I still enjoy reading food blogs and eating, I am not much of a cook. I aspire for us to have homemade food on the table most nights and want to be a better cook. We are SUPER SUPER SUPER lucky that my mother, aunts, and other relatives so generously cook and freeze food, so that most nights we defrost something that is homemade, pretty nutritious, and delicious.
I felt so much relief and validation when I read this piece by Luisa who is a pretty accomplished food blogger. It made made me feel better about feeling bitter when the Little One would reject the attempts I made at cooking well for her or when a dish that was supposed to take an hour, took me much longer and I cried when she still would not eat it. The first piece she mentioned, To Cook or Not to Cook, made me laugh so hard. I especially related to the daughter's viewpoint of her mother's cooking attempts. I have been trying to engage the Little One in cooking more and vow to try to keep the food preparation part of eating fun for both of us. I am not sure if I will succeed, but at least I have it in mind. The second piece, What if You Just Hate Making Dinner? also had me nodding my head in agreement. I think that I am drawn to the glamour and promise of preparing a good meal, the way it is portrayed on food blogs or in movies. However, the every day grind of daily dinner stresses me out; even with all the yummy food in our freezer, I find myself bored with the options. I want to find a balance between the food bloggers whose work I admire deeply, the writers of these pieces to whom I can relate, and the reality in which I am living.
I have had food resolutions in the past. I am going to try again. In 2015, I would like to prepare a home cooked meal which I define as cooking and serving a meal on the same day at least once a month. I am going to make it slightly easier on myself and say an *average* of once a month.
If you have any advice or things which work well for feeding yourself and your loved ones on a daily basis, I would love to hear.