Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The "one word" for 2013...

One of my favorite things about the new year is participating in Ali Edward's "One Little Word" project.  I've written about it here and here and even here.  But, to be honest, last year's "light" just never struck the chord within me that I needed it to.  I wasn't sure I was going to choose a word this year.  But when hanging out with my sister over vacation,  she asked me what my word was going to be for the year.  And then a few others of you asked.  And as the new year approached, I realized that it was still a project that inspired me and I might miss it a lot if I didn't give it a shot.

So instead of jumping right into a word and announcing it here, I've been sitting with it for a few weeks.  Trying it on.  Making sure it fits.  And it really has. So my little word for 2013 is...

(insert melodramiatic drumroll here...)


1: a state of tranquillity or quiet 
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3: harmony in personal relations

I naively thought that switching to working halftime a couple of years ago would automatically bring peace to my life.  But it hasn't.  While I no longer get paid to work as many hours, the time "off" has allowed me to fill our schedule with activities and other obligations. After all, I'm only working part time, of course I can take on things x, y, and z.  And my children are older, so it's easier for me to do things a, b, and c than it used to be.  And the afternoons and evenings fill.

I also live in a house of two very active boys.  And as anyone who knows them can attest, quiet and tranquility don't often accompany their natural behavior.

So peace has been missing.  This year I'm going to look for it.  
Or at least ways to bring a little of it to my days.

Already, my word has helped me to make some choices that are working for me.  One of the biggest sources of noise and "disquieting or oppressive thoughts" is the media that I take in.  I stopped watching local news a few years ago, and that has helped.  But still, plenty of negative talk and attitude and emotion enters my world through television and social media. This year I am going to work at turning it off.  Not stepping away from Facebook and the like entirely, but consciously deciding if it is bringing joy to my day or just adding noise.

At Luke's school, they talk a lot about being peacemakers.  I absolutely love them for that, because that is how he is coming to view himself.  As someone who actively seeks peace. (Like all of us, he's a work in progress...) I want to be a peacemaker.  With my boys, that sometimes means being more involved in their play.  With my students that means encouraging their kindness and the value of shrugging off the social pressure of coolness.  With my husband that means strengthening our friendship.  And in all of my relationships, I want to work at finding a harmony that supports.

And sometimes, I just want some quiet. 

So, peace it is.  And may peace be with you.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A December recap...

It's been over a month since I visited this space.  Not because life was so quiet and calm that there was nothing to write about - but precisely the opposite.  December is a whirlwind of advent-celebrating, family-visiting, food-eating, gift-goodness that just doesn't stop.  And this year was no exception.

Nearly every morning in December the boys took great delight in opening our advent envelopes.  Inside they would find the activity or event of the day, and usually squeal with delight. From tree cutting to Christmas movie watching, the advent calender guided our fun and brought us a little magic every day.  Favorite activities were visiting Santa (always at the downtown Macy's), reading Christmas stories by the fire, and decorating the house for Christmas.  There were two new hits this year - making gingerbread houses (although we cheated and used graham crackers) and an indoor "snowball" fight with cotton balls.  Our advent celebrations have been a lot of fun, and it has worked really well to switch the focus to activities rather than "stuff".
Our Advent Calendar

Visiting Downtown

Luke asking Santa for a kitten

Max asked for a 3DS

Gingerbread house construction
 Christmas itself brought a great deal of magic as well.  This was our year to celebrate the holiday with my family.  My sister's family came from Ottawa and we all went to my parents' house for the week of Christmas.  While small by some standards, the 11 of us in one house (including kids ages 7, 5, 4, 2, and 6 months) felt busy, but our days were full of laughter and memories made.  Watching the cousins play together is always fun, and it was amazing how well they all got along.  There were ice skating and fort building adventures, baseball in the snow, stories with Mema, and lots of cuddling and wrestling. My sister and I had great fun dressing our families in matching pjs, which made Christmas day seem even a little crazier - red and green and white stripes everywhere.  Santa was kind enough to bring just what each child hoped for, and we all felt very spoiled with the gifts surrounding us.

A snowy baseball game
Listening to stories with Mema
My adorable nephew
The note Santa left for Luke with a gift of cat treats
Such a happy kid!
All five kiddos

Right after Christmas Eve Mass

My Canadian nephew just chillin' in the snow

Bungee cords may have been his favorite gift this year!

Lots of stripes.

Horse rides with Papa

 It was a wonderful month.  Lots of joy and love.  All we could have asked.  

One of my favorites