I had very young parents and grandparents growing up, so on NewYears Eve, I was often left in the hands of my maternal great-grandmother. My parents often hosted a party at the"camp" which my Papa had built just a few hundred yards from our houses and my grandparents always did something fancy. At least it always seemed that way to me.
As I (and she) got up there in age, Grammie Foster was there more for the token adult presence than to actually do any of the babysitting chores. I remember my mom would make us special food so we could have a party ourselves. We'd get to have Doritos, sparkling grape juice and use special "wine" glasses - which my mom gave to me (because they are red and match my decor) and I keep in the china cabinet in my house. I imagine that at one time there must have been more than five of them, but since there were only four of us girls, any more than that didn't register with me.
One of our most favorite things to do was to take all of the cushions off the couches, chairs, etc., and play "Queen." Which meant we would stack up all of those cushions into "thrones" and sit on them.
And Grammie Foster always drank coffee. Taster's Choice instant coffee. Probably a half dozen cups a day. I remember her having the tiniest stove/oven combo I had ever seen. It couldn't have been more than 24" wide - maybe even smaller. I don't know how she cooked anything in that oven. And she had the best refrigerator. It was a really OLD one - the kind that had a latch handle that you pulled open and the freezer had a small metal box for the metal ice trays - which were stuck in the ice compartment because it wasn't a frost free model. I don't know if she ever defrosted it while I was alive. She didn't do much cooking for herself. I know my Grammie would bring her "leftover"meals and Grammie Foster's favorite thing to do was to go to the Super Duper grocery store and buy friend chicken or other prepared items from the deli for her supper.
Funny how once you start thinking about something, the memories just pop up!
Anyway, to my recollection, I never remember spending New Years Eve with my parents. That was the one night a year they really went all out. When I was very young, they often went to a local bar to celebrate. There used to be a place in my hometown called the "SQ" or "The Susquehanna House." It burned down when I was in Junior High, but I know my parents and their friends spent many a New Years celebrating there. That was back when people were allowed to smoke anywhere and many of their friends smoked too, so I remember them coming in to kiss us and tell us "Happy New Year" smelling like the bar. It's funny how smells can envoke memories too because I remember after turning 21 going out for the first time with my college friends - how when I got back to my apartment, I could smell that combination of smoke and alcohol on my clothes and in my hair and thinking, "I smell like my parents on New Years Eve!" Can I tell you how jealous I am that "kids" these days don't have to experience that unpleasantness. I am not and have never been much of a drinker, so I hated the fact that I smelled like the bar even though I was just an observer. I never understood how my sorority sisters just came home from the bar and fell asleep. I always had to shower that smell off me.
Erik and I really aren't the partying type. I think the only year we actually went "out" for New Years Eve was the year we got married. We flew to Punta Cana on December 31 and the resort where we stayed had a huge NYE celebration. Since then we've either stayed home or gone to a friends house - oh and six years ago, we went to NYE wedding. That was pretty cool. (Erik and I actually wanted to have our wedding NYE but were talked out of it by our parents.) This year we decided to host a little get together and we had the best time. We invited over a few couples and their children and laughed and talked and watched the kids play. It was great. We ate way too much food (or at least I did) and the kids had the best time playing. Such an imaginitive group we had. They hunted, played baby dolls, and ended the night playing "Harry Potter." I'm not really sure what that game entailed, but I heard some British accents and saw a lot of wand waving. There was also a lot of trying to explain the "ball drop." We basically got to the point where the kids didn't really get it so we played the "Nevermind, just forget about it" parenting card.
After a minimal amount of clean up, I was lying in bed reflecting on the the previous year and the blessings in my life. Our precious Whitaker was born.
These three continue to grow and show their unique and wonderful personalities.
We have our health and we're happy. What more could we ask for?
A friend posted on her blog, "Life Under a Blue Roof" that she doesn't really like making resolutions so instead, she was going to "envision" things she wanted to accomplish in the New Year. I really like that idea because resolutions are well, kind of resolute. I prefer to go for a more casual approach - that way if I don't achieve my resolution, I don't feel so bad.
My vision for 2011:
1) I will make and stick to a daily meal plan. I did that last year and it was wonderful. You can read about it here: Creating a Meal Calendar.
2) I will organize my photos into files and save those files on my new external hard drive! My mac is awesome and you can barely tell I have over 5000 photos stored on my hard-drive, but I need to get the photos organized, and stored. I'll also load those files to a web-based site like flickr (snapfish, shutterfly, or other photo sharing site will work too) so that if my hard drives ever crash, I can access those photos again.
3) I will commit to getting to the Y five days a week. Even if this means going on Saturday mornings by myself!
4) We will carve out time to do even more fun things as a family that don't involve farm related activities. My children find that stuff fun but it's time to expose them to a few novelties - going to the movies, maybe roller skating or ice skating . . . bowling. We just never did those things before because our kids weren't at the age to enjoy them. Now they are and I think it will be so much fun to expose them to those activities!
5) Plan and actually go on some some sort of family vacation!
6) Realize that these things are all just a small part of life. It would be great to achieve them, but if they don't get done, that's OK too. My kids are not going to be scarred for life if I don't get them to a movie theater. We don't have to go on vacation to have quality family time together and create memories.
Each day is a gift and my biggest goal will be to remember that and appreciate it.
And to thank God each day for it.