New Year’s Resolutions

I just re-read my New Year’s resolutions for last year. Very amusing. My favorite is #6: potty train Peter. I think I’ll try that again this year!

Looking ahead, this coming year will be another crazy one with June being a climactic month: Bill graduates, we move, Bill gets promoted, Bill gets deployed. Yes, June is all about Bill.

Keeping this major upheaval in mind, here are this year’s resolutions:

1. The Battle of the Baby Bulge: yes, I know, nine months on…nine months off. I’m going to try to do it in less. I can’t help it. I’m very impatient.

2. Run 500 miles. Get my time down to a 9 minute mile over 5 or 6 miles. I’d like to do the Army Ten Miler, but with Bill gone, I don’t see that happening. It’s hard to find a babysitter for 5 am on a Sunday morning. Thank goodness we now have a treadmill, or I don’t even think I’d get 100 miles run.

3. Sort photos. Really. I’m going to do it this year.

4. Read at least one book per month. Sadly this homeschool mother spends so much time reading to her kids, she’s forgotten that there are books out there for grown ups. Some of them aren’t even about real people, and they are quite entertaining.

5. Pay off the van. I hate having a car payment.

6. Potty train Peter. This time I mean it.

7. Pray the Morning Prayers every morning and the Evening Prayers every evening.

8. Keep up the Saturday night movie dates until Bill leaves. After that, I’ll get tear-jerker chick flicks and a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups instead.

9. Resist the temptation to wash that gray right out of my hair. I’ve been one full year dye-free. The sun did a lovely job highlighting last spring, so I’ll try to spend lots of time in the sun this year.

10. Teach my boys Hearts and Spades. Chinese checkers is fun, Blokus is great, Scrabble is challenging, but nothing beats a card game for portability and cut-throat competitiveness.

And I’ll still do my new month’s resolutions. Those are perfect for the little things I procrastinate about.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Holy Family Day Trip

For the record: from the moment we decide to go somewhere, on a whim, to the time we actually manage to get the eight of us showered, dressed, fed, packed up, shoes tied, gloves and coats on, in the car, belts buckled, and one-more-run-back-into-the-house-for-the-camera, over two hours pass. Embarrassing. Needs improvement.

We don’t normally attend the Saturday vigil, but we did this weekend. This left our Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family, open to celebrate by going somewhere fun.

First, we headed to Union Station and bought a family pass for Science City. We have to go two more times to make it worth the cost, but it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a great place for the kids to work off excess energy on cold winter days. Billy particularly enjoyed the area that looked like a city sewer system and the black sewer tunnel you could crawl through. I think he went through the tunnel 20 or 30 times. Jenny tried four times to go, but, even with siblings, was too scared. I don’t think we saw a third of the things in Science City. We’ll go back.

Next, we used The Link, an elevated glass walkway (too cool), to get to the Crown Center. It has a shopping area, which we didn’t care about, but it also had several seasonal displays including a gingerbread village with a train. The kids loved that. Outside there was a large Christmas tree, a display that kids could climb on (like this train), and a skating terrace. We did not go skating, and the kids were highly disappointed.

We finished our day by eating at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant. How could we not? We ate at the one at the Crown Center, but this link shows the original one, not too far away. You order by using the phone at your table, and your meal is delivered by an overhead train. It was cute. It was fun. The food was greasy, but I happen to like greasy food, and it’s fine in moderation (like once a year).

There was a family with seven kids (gasp!) at the restaurant. I resisted the impulse to ask if they were all theirs. And then we saw another family with about 5 kids. I asked Bill if it was Big Family Field Trip Day or what. Maybe they all had the same idea we did: honor the Holy Family by making our own family memories. It was, all in all, a good day.

Would you care for a (slightly used) nut?

Peter likes M&Ms (who doesn’t?).

Peter likes plain M&Ms.

Peter does not like peanut M&Ms.

We only happen to have peanut M&Ms in the house right now. {My husband, who is addicted to M&Ms, switched to peanut from plain several years ago out of health reasons: nuts being a source of protein.}

If the M&Ms are left within his reach, Peter will eat them. The plain part. The peanut part he’ll put back for someone else to eat.

In my dreams

I’m not in need of any pajamas, but last night, in my dreams, I went shopping for a nightgown.

I do not own any nightgowns. I haven’t owned nightgowns since I was a little girl.

I was specifically looking at the flannel kind with high necks and ruffled trims.

And if that’s not pathetic enough, I opted not to buy any because they weren’t breast-feeding friendly (no easy access).

These are the nightmares dreams of a middle-aged mother of six little kids.

Christmas Everywhere

by Phillips Brooks

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o’er brave men in the thick of the fight;
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all;
No palace too great, no cottage too small.

No hustle and bustle

The forecast called for 1 to 3 inches. I think we got 5 or 6. It’s very pretty.

The temperatures are expected to get a bit above freezing in the afternoons the next two days. I think we’ll still manage to have a white Christmas, but I don’t know how pretty it will be.

Our neighborhood is quiet. Probably half of our neighbors have “gone home” for Christmas.

The shopping is done. The baking is done. The Christmas postcards are in the mail, as are all the gift boxes. The lights are on the tree, and we’ll put the ornaments on tomorrow. We have a good supply of wood for the fireplace. We’ve got all the ingredients for several more batches of eggnog.

We have no plans to travel, and no expected visitors. Although we miss our relatives, we aren’t missing the stress of packing, the nightmare of driving several hours with little children, or the futile attempt to clean the house before guests come.

This is perhaps the quietest, calmest Christmas I’ve ever had.

The Other Woman’s Gift

Service in the military has been compared to loving a mistress. Few soldiers are in it for the money, the benefits, the travel opportunities, or the hours. As a military wife, I often feel I have to fight for family unity and preeminence in my soldier’s life. But no matter how much my husband may love his country and his career, I know, deep down, that he loves me better.

Sure, Mistress Military, you might get to take my husband to Scotland, but he pines for me while he’s gone. Ha!

I know I need not compete with her for my husband’s affection, but it certainly makes my life harder when she keeps trying to impress him with her gifts. And now, just days before Christmas, she gives him a present that I can’t top: she went and put him on the promotion list. Do you think he’ll like that Chia Pet now? Sure, he may like his new socks and underwear, but they won’t put the same smile on his face as a higher rank.

Oh, but wait, it kinda makes me smile too…

Congratulations, sweetheart. I’m glad she recognizes your worth.

And now, the big question is: will I get to see the rank pinned on this summer? I’ve not seen a single promotion yet. And you made the mistake of promising I’d see this next one…

Last minute mailings

Back in November, an email went around suggesting that everyone send a card to Walter Reed Army Medical Center addressed to “Any Wounded Soldier.” Then, we all found out that WRAMC would not deliver those cards for security reasons.

I just found out that Red Cross volunteers will accept, screen and deliver cards (only) to wounded soldiers. Cards must be received by December 27th. If you have leftover cards that you don’t want to save for next year, considering sending them to these troops. You can get the address and guidelines for the program here. If you can’t get it in the mail by today, it’s probably too late.

If you want to do more for wounded troops, considering supporting Operation Undergarment. No deadline.