Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learned

Time for another change...a new year.  I don't make resolutions because I can never keep them so they seem pretty pointless.  Instead I try to look back and see what I've learned over the past year and try to apply it to the upcoming year.  Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I fail.  I always learn something. This year it was all about embracing my faults. 

Here is my countdown of the top things I learned in 2011...sort of a David Letterman Top 10...except there are only 5 because that's all the learning I can handle for one year.  So I give you:

The Top Five Things I Learned in 2011

#5:  Embrace your limitations: Because I always think I can do more than I can...cut every list in half.

#4:  Embrace who you are:  Anxiety, obsessions, weight issues, all of it.  It took me 53 years to learn this...way too long.

#3:  Embrace others for who they are:  Tattoos, political views, annoying habits, all of it.  Once you look past it...all that's left is real.

#2: Embrace your blog: Stop comparing your blog to other blogs and just write.  Use your own's pretty darn good just the way it is.

And the #1 thing I learned in 2011...

#1:  Embrace change:  The only constant in life is that it constantly changes.  Push outside the comfort zone and embrace the changes.

Favorite Quote from 2011:

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
~Victor Frankl~
Coming up in 2012:

My daughter, Sarah, and I are going to blog together.  That is to say, we are going to pick a topic and both of us will write about it on our blogs.  We'll probably do two a month.  We are working up to participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge coming in April.  Both of us needed a way to kick start our blogs.  Hopefully this will help and you will get some fun reading out of it.  So please stay tuned for some fun mother/daughter blogging coming your way!

I would like to wish each and every one of you the happiest, healthiest and most blessed 2012.

Instead of a quote, I leave you with this video.  A perfect message for any time of year.  Don't be afraid to change.

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Christmas Vacation

I was off work the whole week before Christmas.  My decorating and shopping were done freakishly early, so I was excited at the prospect of  having oodles of time to bake.  I have not done much Christmas baking in the last few years.  I like to blame it on the fact that I lost the help of my junior bakers to that little "growing up" issue that I so despise.  The truth of the matter is more like....I'm lazy.  Anyway, I was excited and made a list, checked it twice....probably should have checked it three times because in the long appears that in my mind, I believed I had the entire staffs of Charm City and Carlo's at my disposal. 

I started out the two days I had allotted myself for baking with high hopes and much excitement.  I dreamed of the array of wonderful goodies I would set before my Christmas dinner guests.  My reality was much more humble.  After two cookie disasters I gave up on the cookie thing.  The baking extravaganza turned nightmare stretched into a third day of peanut brittle only real success of the whole ordeal.  At the end of the week I was left this:                

 Snowballs (Mexican Wedding Cakes)
 and Peanut Brittle:

Those turned out pretty well and my dinner guests were impressed.

I also managed a few shortbread cookies and some weirdly shaped, but none the less tasty, press cookies...those did not grace my table.  In the end I learned a valuable lesson.  When I make a baking list I'm going to cut it in half and then in half again...and then I'm calling Duff.


Tomorrow, being New Years Eve and all...I will be posting about the most valuable lessons I learned in 2011 and some of the fun things coming to my blog in 2012.  I know you're all excited for this but try not to lose sleep, I want you back here tomorrow fresh and ready to read!  Happy Eve of  New Years Eve!  See you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Redefining Mom

I love Christmas.  It's my favorite time of year.  I love everything about it.  Or I used to.  Now, I'm facing the reality I really should have faced several years ago.  My children are adults.  I know, they've been adults for some time now.  You know that, and even I know that.  But denial is a wonderful thing and if you deny long enough, you can convince yourself it isn't so.

This Christmas my husband finally convinced me that we (and by we I mean "I") really needed to pare down the gift giving.  I think his exact words were "How long do you plan on doing this?".  So, we spoke to the kids and informed them that the piles of presents they are used to getting would not be coming their way this year.  Surprisingly they were fine with this. Apparently, I'm the only one who has the present pile issue in our house.  Shocking, huh?  So, we decided to just do stockings this year.  Boring.  But I realize it is a necessary step in the evolution of our family.  Doesn't mean I have to like it.  And, I've tried to convince myself with all the "right" things like:

This is not what the season is about.
They are adults, they've grown up, time for you to do the same.
Someday you will have grandkids and you can spoil them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...whatever.  Didn't help.  Just made me realize how much I really HATE the fact that my kids are grown ups.  And to make matters worse, this will be the first year we will not all be together for Christmas.  While I knew this would happen, and I've already gone through it at Thanksgiving, Christmas is different somehow.  It hurts, but I know it's inevitable and something I am forced to deal with. (Side note to my child who may read this: it is NOT your fault, do not feel guilty, it is my issue).

While I try to put on a good face to the world, a little piece of me dies inside every time I have to face this.  You see, for most of my adult life I've defined myself as a mother.  It's all ever wanted to be.  And yes, I realize that I'm still, and always will be, their mother.  But now it's time to redefine the roll.  Here is the most confounding thing about parenting: You try and raise them to be strong, independent, self sufficient citizens of the world, and then, when that's what happens, you hate it.  You protect them with your very life, only to release them to the perils of the world.  That is the part of being a mom that I do not like.  But I will deal with it.  I will redefine my role and I will be thankful for it.

This Christmas I will buy less and be thankful more.  Thankful for three of the most beautiful creations God put on this earth.  Thankful for a husband who puts up with all my nonsense and loves me in spite of it.  Thankful for a full and wonderful life.  Those are gifts money can't buy and I will try to be deserving of them.

Merry Christmas to all and God Bless us Everyone!

Quote for the Week:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~ Charles Dickens