posts tagged with 'resolutions'

finishing strong

It was bizarrely warm today. Which of course was concerning from a global climate perspective, and terrible for the ice. But it did bring one good thing, which was a chance for the kids to spend tons of time outside! December had been pretty tough in that regard: hitting 1,000 hours in November and then dealing with a lot of not-fun rainy damp cold has kept us inside a higher percentage of the time than any other month this year. But today the kids were out for six hours, three of them on a walk with homeschool friends and then the rest playing out in front of the house with kids from the neighborhood. That takes us to 1,106 hours outside for the year, with one day left to pad our total. I'm thinking next year we might try for 1,111. That sounds interesting, and reachable too!

five out of a thousand

Harvey and Elijah looking out at a frozen pond

great outdoors

The best kind of New Years Resolutions to make are ones for other people. This year I resolved that my children—and me too!—would spend 1,000 hours outside over the course of the year. At a minimum. 1,000 Hours Outside is a thing; ironically, I heard about it on Facebook (which I barely ever look at, honest!) but it seems like solid motivation to get out and moving. And sometimes it's fun to do things other people are doing too. Of course, there's an argument to be made that midwinter isn't the best time to kick off this sort of challenge—but on the other hand, now's the time when we need some pressure to keep us from settling into too cozy a hibernation!

We kicked off the hours with a whole-family walk at Fairhaven Bay on Saturday afternoon. It was gray, damp cool, and drizzly: just the weather to make you love being outside. There was some dissension in the ranks as to how far we should try to walk, but in the end the compromise of about an hour and a half out was about right. Elijah really wanted to go farther, though, so he was pretty grumpy after we turned back towards the car. He stayed grumpy all the way home then stomped upstairs without talking to anyone, ran himself a bath, then came downstairs in his bathrobe and fell asleep on the couch for two hours. After that he was the liveliest and cheeriest of all of us!

me and boys pausing for a rest and water in the woods

everybody was having fun, I promise

Yesterday we took a walk with friends up to the center of town, where we played on the playground and skate park. Some of us discovered that it's possible to slide down the halfpipe head first on your back! Thrilling. We also visited the library. Then today I tortuously manipulated our errand route to take us by Mount Misery in Lincoln, where Harvey, Elijah and I—Zion was home with a stomach ache—enjoyed walking up and down the hills, across logs over streams and ditches, and, tentatively, onto the brand-new ice. It's finally gotten cold! It's been a while since we walked at Mount Misery; in fact, we haven't since our first visit back in late summer of '20. It was so dry then that the streams were basically gone, but we saw the bridges and wished we could enjoy the water. We enjoyed it today!

Elijah crossing a log over a stream

but be careful not to experience it too directly

With four days down in the year we're at five hours outside. Well under the two and three-quarters a day needed to hit 1,000, but it's early days. Cold and wet days, too; things'll be different in the summer. And not only are we doing better than some other folks I know doing the challenge, we're having fun too!


prioritizing priorities

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!


new year's musings

the moon over some trees

New Years Eve moon

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!


hi, new year

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!


new year's maundering

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.