We are almost there. I can see it. I can sense it there just over that last pile of already discarded new toys. The holiday finish line is close. I can smell it. The house is infused with the scent of decaying pine, fresh plastic, children’s tears and half eaten candy canes. It smells like the end of December.
Despite that last sentiment, we did enjoy Christmas, the Santa excitement and seeing family and friends, but it’s all starting to take a toll. Cecilia has this weird rash on her arm, Allison is leaving a trail of used tissues behind her, Dash is throwing up more than usual and Michelle’s champagne supply is dangerously low.
I’m just hanging on by my fingertips. Holidays and introverts are a tough mix. Outwardly it can appear that we are Grinches that dislike holidays and company which, of course, isn’t true, but the forced ebullience, small talk and long spells of togetherness can be exhausting. Bring on the cold solitary of January!
We are getting closer but not yet to the point where all four of us eat the same dinner. The girls still have foods that they refuse or simply don’t like to eat. So, in 2017 I favored quick and easy recipes that hit one of three things: the girls can help, the girls will eat, or I can get it on the table quickly.
These are my favorite recipe discoveries in 2017 that I know I will be repeating in 2018.
I’ll end 2017 with 63 books read. Pretty good and higher than the last few years.
I came up short on my goal to read 12 non-fiction books, only reading 7 as the second half the year I started really concentrating on learning more about story, genre, craft and doing more of my own writing again. To learn writing, you need to read and I read a lot in the mystery/crime/thriller genre.
In no particular order, these are the books that stuck with me (when you read as much as I do, if you can remember the plot after a few days, it’s the sign of a good book) and that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to a friend.
If you need a book to read over the holiday break or start the year right, I promise you could do much worse than any on this list.
One reason I write this blog is to time travel. Each Saturday that passes will never be repeated. The girls get a little older and a little farther away from me. One day they won’t want me to take their picture, never mind post it on the Internet. How embarrassing.
So I write it all down. To make myself pay attention. I’m not always great about being present. I’m trying, but some days are hard.
The old saw is the days are long, but the years are short. It’s true, of course. But here’s the thing: grandparents and friends with older kids, they forget.
8-year-olds rule the world. 8-year-olds know best. 8-year-olds don’t need parents other than to drive them places, reach things on high shelves and pay the Netflix tab.
I’ve mentioned this before, but Cecilia does not lack in confidence or self-esteem, sometimes to almost comical levels. I wish I had had some of her chutzpah at that age. We do not want to crush this confidence, but we also want to introduce her to reality, too. We need her to not seek praise for praise’s sake. We want her to seek praise for achievement. Real achievement. For setting a high goal, working hard and achieving it.
This has been harder to communicate in reality (8-year-olds don’t need advice) than in the pep talks I give myself on this blog. We are still having meltdowns when the new piano piece isn’t perfect after one day or the new math doesn’t click after one lesson. I might have found a solution however: baking.
What’s the best way to train for a 5k? Do you still need long runs? Only sprint workouts?
It’s been at least 10 years since I really focused on the 5k as a goal race. Recently, it’s been longer road races and triathlons as the goal and the 5k’s were only there to spice up the training or get in the speed work, but with my knee arthritis and the goal of building back up very slowly, 2018 is looking like the year of the 5k and the sprint triathlons.
For the last six weeks I have slowly been ramping up the running with the goal of starting the new year with a solid race. Here is what I’ve learned and put into practice as my training.
Weeknight pizza is not typically in the cards at our house. Too many other moving parts: piano practice, homework, day care pick up. The pizza making is usually reserved for Friday or Saturday given the number of pies and the amount of time it typically takes me.
However, we are hosting Christmas dinner this year and, before we shop this weekend, we needed to clear out some space in the fridge and freezer. After I pulled out all the half-eaten jars, containers and bags, the only thing I could think of was put it on some dough, cover it all in cheese and bake it till bubbly.
It worked out ok. This pie was quick, easy, unique and relatively healthy. It paired well with the side salads from the crisper drawer clean out.