posts tagged with 'resolutions'
My nebulous New Years resolutions highlight a problem endemic to all aspects of my life. This evening I'm thinking how to prioritize a few different goals: writing; being a respectful participant in the work of the house; sleeping. Is it possible to do all three?! Maybe, but not if I want to write out the Complete Christmas and New Years Report (With Pictures).
Today Leah went back to work, and the boys and I resumed our regularly-scheduled existence. I use "scheduled" loosely, of course, but nothing could be looser than our vague, chocolate-fueled maunderings over the past ten days. The schedule for today included cleaning work, shopping, reading together, and free time outside. That last category means I kicked the boys out the door with instructions to go have fun; the biggest problem we had over the vacation was not spending any more time outside most days than it took to walk to the car.
To be honest, that's a considerable overstatement. In actual fact we took two hikes—or at vigorous walks in the woods—between Christmas and New Years, which is probably more than lots of other people managed. But it did feel generally that our life was very sedentary and inside-oriented. Which is probably fine for midwinter, especially midwinter without snow. Now that the sun is on its way back, though, it was just wonderful to see the boys spend a half-hour exploring in the woods across the street.
The cleaning work went fine too, at least the cleaning work we did together. Sent up to spend some time trying to clear out the "office" (a space that all four Archibald males share culpability for destroying) they allegedly worked hard for an hour, though I couldn't really see a tremendous amount of difference. They did find many previously missing lego pieces—from out of the big box of legos in that room, natch—so I suppose that counts for something. Not much to say about shopping, except that we hit all our marks for time, even with a tight schedule, and didn't forget anything. And the reading together was of course lovely.
Tomorrow is another day, and I don't have the schedule planned yet. That's another thing I'm meant to be doing with these precious moments after the sweet darlings are all abed (Leah is away at a meeting). Resolving is stressful!
It's a new year! As always, we begin it full of hopes and aspirations, and also exhausted and ill from partying the old year away. Today the boys and I tried to pause and take stock, and set some goals for the week (it's good to start at a reasonable scale; years are intimidating). The older two want to work on building better Pokemon decks, which is reasonable considering the amount of time and mental space Pokemon has occupied for us over the past week. I want to do better at scheduling working time and playing time, so we can all play—including Pokemon—without me feeling stressed and guilty and yelling at everyone for not working.
It's hard, as the holiday season hangs on to the bitter end. Today we spent all afternoon playing at at our friends' New Years Day party. But before then I managed to get some important work done, installing a heater for the chickens' water. See, it's been really cold here—never above freezing since Christmas Eve, and well below most of the time. In the past I've just brought the waterer inside overnight when it's cold, and then let the hens drink in the morning until it froze up again for the day... but that happens in less than an hour lately. And when it freezes solid, after three hours or so, it takes like half an hour under the hot water in the sink to thaw out. So, the heater. Which we've actually had for while; Leah bought it a few years ago, when she was the primary chicken caretaker. But we never used it since I was nervous about water and electricity and hot surfaces around the hens. We'll see how it goes, but right now those seem like lesser problems compared to them dying of thirst in this bitter cold desert.
Another result of the bitter cold desert air is that it's keeping us inside. The boys, anyways: Zion's and Lijah's little bodies cool down so fast, and when Lijah wears all the clothes he needs to stay warm he can't even move. But we're staving off cabin fever so far; there's so much to do in the house. So far, at least. Take a look at this seven day forecast!
It might be that having three kids makes time pass differently, or maybe I'm just getting old. Or possibly it's a sublimated reaction to other stresses in my life. Or maybe it's not me at all, but a natural reaction to the strange weather we've seen over the past months. Whatever the reason, Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year, and so did New Years. We're done with 2014 already! Lijah is almost 10 months! How did this happen?!
While I was surprised to run into the end of the year so soon, I didn't let that stop me from celebrating it in style! We hosted brunch this morning with biscuits, doughnuts, eggs, pancakes, and fruit; and kids running around being crazy, as is the custom for events at our house. This afternoon the boys and I headed out to a friend's house to play board games and eat chips, little hot dogs, and cookies. Good times (though Harvey wasn't happy that no one wanted to play a game at his level: the little kids were too crazy and the grown-ups' game had too much reading).
I have some ill-considered new years resolutions, which include spending more time outside (though Leah tells me I'm already outdoors more than she considers rational), and learning to make and fix things more usefully than I can now. My plan is to start big with a bunk bed for the boys; I also hope to learn how to fix my bicycle before I need it to go anywhere. I'm also interested in growing more food and harvesting, storing, and preparing it following a more rational plan; and moving in some way towards being able to offer educational opportunities to kids who aren't related to me. Oh, and learning how to explain my hippy craziness to folks who wonder why I do the things I do.
I also hope to get more sleep. Maybe that's why so many of my days were a blur this last third of 2014. Welcome 2015: show us what you've got!
Contrary to impressions, my New Year's resolution was not to avoid writing on this blog. Although, while I'm actually still working on figuring out what I want to resolve, it might involve going to bed earlier and it might involve doing more non-blog writing. But then again I've never stuck to a resolution before so I'm not too likely to start now. Over at Root Simple Eric and Kelly each had a post about how well they did on their 2012 list, which is pleasantly bracing—both for the reminder about their admiral goals and the forthright way they acknowledge their shortcomings. Not me: I can't remember if I even thought about the issue last January, and if I did I left no record of it in these pages. So we'll assume I did fine.
Christmas ended on Saturday and we had a very nice low-key party to celebrate; yesterday we took down the tree (and the awesome decorations Leah put up on the fence). I think we're all glad for the transition, not least because being rid of the tree frees up a bit more floor space in what we're now calling the playroom. Whether thanks to New Year's aspirations or just in response to Christmas stress, we're working on cleaning and organizing and even a little downsizing of household possessions. We'll never make good minimalists—we need stuff to make stuff!—but immediately after Christmas our little house sure felt crowded. New Year's is a good time to think about fixing that a bit.
Besides being crowded out by our material possessions we've been dealing with some other stressors as well: sickness, avoiding toxic parenting, things like that. Zion hasn't yet become accustomed to this thing we call winter and thus doesn't want to play outside; Harvey's happy to hang out in the yard or the street as long as he doesn't have to go anywhere else (though, in his defense, once we do manage to drag him out somewhere he also doesn't want to come home). And when they play together inside fights are, if not inevitable, then at least distressingly frequent. I'm working on creating a pro-social curriculum for them, once I come up with some vocabulary on the subject that might be grasped by a 20-month-old.
I have plenty of ideas for improvement, both personal and corporate, but the trouble is finding a moment to implement them—the same problems keep getting in the way! Oh well, I suppose that's how life works.