Tuesday, January 4, 2011
(I'm) Happy (It's a) New Year
So my no-contest, hands-down, absolute-favorite time of year has come and gone again. And you know what? I'm doing alright. I kept a little holiday (so to speak) up on my pot rack, and that's doing pretty well at keeping my spirits up.
Christmas was good. A little bit different than other years, but still wonderful.
As it happens, I was not home for Christmas Eve dinner, but afterward, I felt grateful I had been gone, because my potatoes and stuffing were awful. I felt sorry for my guests. What a let down. I was especially disappointed because I had been so looking forward to sharing with you my new stuffing recipe that I got out of my BH&G magazine. (Have I already talked about this?) The thing is--I've never liked stuffing. Ever. But this Thanksgiving, I had come across the recipe and had been a little intrigued because it had some ingredients that I'd never seen in stuffing before--namely: spinach, feta cheese, and potato bread. And since I always have guests and most often some of them ARE stuffing eaters, I had decided that this year I would make my first stuffing and it would be great. And you know what? It WAS great. So great, that when I asked my guests if they would like to take any leftovers home, they said they would like to take some stuffing. But anyway...I was just so stoked to have prepared stuffing that Brian (he's never liked stuffing either) and I and everyone else had really liked. So when Christmas rolled around, I was excited to prepare the stuffing once again and see if I could convert any additional non-stuffing eaters. It was not to be. I didn't use as much bread as I should have and as a result, a really nasty, soggy, stuffing came out of the oven. And I ended up tossing about 90% of it into the garbage. Really? On Christmas Eve? Bummer. And my potatoes were WAY undercooked, so like I said, I am just glad I wasn't there to see the grimaces on my guests' faces.
Have I already shared with you the discovery I've made about myself this year? I've come to the realization that I do not like to cook. In fact, I very much dislike it. And I like baking even less. Do I still do it (cooking, I mean)? Well, of course I do, because I've got a family to feed and I do care somewhat about healthy eating and I certainly can't afford to eat out very often; but I just do not enjoy it. I would rather clean all day than have to think about and then prepare a meal.
The crazy thing is, I never realized how much I dislike cooking because of how much I've always liked to eat. I love to eat, and I love to entertain and socialize. And for several years, cooking very often went along with entertaining and socializing, so I never realized how much (or how little ) I actually enjoyed the cooking part. As the years have passed, though, and our family has grown, and other families have grown, it has become much less common for us to have company for dinner (minus the missionaries). Instead I usually find myself cooking for three kids who normally do not stroke my ego and tell me how much they enjoyed my meal. And while I'm pretty sure Brian does appreciate it when I actually fix dinner, it is somewhat uncommon for him to be home when the rest of us are eating, so I don't get to enjoy his gratitude and satisfaction until he scoops up the cold leftovers later on. It just seems like lot of work for very little reward. Anyway...I don't mean to complain. It's been interesting for me to make this self discovery. I just wish I did enjoy cooking. Because it's a necessary evil. You know. Oh, and I need to include that a large part of what I dislike about cooking is the deciding-what-in-the-heck to cook part. And the grocery-shopping part. The stress I experience over what on earth to cook for dinner rivals the stress I experience over keeping my carpets clean. Not cool.
ANYWAY, though, despite my nasty potatoes and stuffing, Christmas really was wonderful. It was peaceful, and that it the greatest gift I could have asked for. There has been a lot of fighting in our home this year, and a day of peace was just so welcomed. The kids were delighted with their gifts, we ate junk, and watched movies and played games; I got like a 3-hour nap; and I was able to take a drive by myself and park down by the river to have a phone conversation with my mom. It was just a really good day.
And while I'm still on the subject of Christmas, let me say that I think Camp's believing-in-Santa days are drawing to a close. When Jane opened one of her Santa gifts to find a little CD player that we had picked up at a thrift store a couple months ago, Camp recognized it as the one he had seen up in my closet (where he had been instructed not to look), and called my bluff. Also, he made a quick connection between the fruit-by-the foot things that were in his stocking and the one that was under his pillow when he lost his first tooth a month or so ago. I may have said enough to encourage his belief in Santa for a bit longer, but I was forced to come clean about the Tooth Fairy. Oh well.....
If you live far from me and got my Christmas card, you know (or maybe you don't because you didn't know if I was kidding or not) that 2010 was a bit of a hard year for us--as it seems it was for many of you; also. Again, I'm not telling you this with an attitude of ingratitude. I DO feel truly grateful for the blessings my family continues to enjoy, and still feel completely happy and satisfied with my life. The fact is, though, that some years are just easier than others, and this was just not one of those years. That's Ok, though, because I'm convinced that we're all just that much cooler because of it. And we were cool before, so....you know..... :)
OK. So if I do not have this baby sooner, I'm being induced three weeks from today (I've always been induced, mainly because I live 1 1/2 hours away from where my doctor is.) January 25th. Just two days after Dad's birthday and the day before Charley's. Have I already said that Brian and I are pretty sure this will be our last baby? (Man, you would think I was 90 years old, judging from my memory.) Never say never, but we're pretty sure we'll be done. Because while I'm really excited about this little guy inside me, I never really have been baby hungry since having had Danin. The thing is--Brian always said he wanted 4 kids, and I've always wanted a big family, and three kids just hasn't seemed to make the cut. Four kids barely seems to make the cut in my mind, but I just don't know that I could handle any more and be any bit of a good mom. Anyway....I've realized this year especially how grateful I am to my mom for toughing it through SEVEN kids. Because in doing so, she provided us each with perhaps the second-greatest gift she could have given us(the first, to me, being her choice to stay at home with us)--that of six awesome brothers and sisters. Man, I love my siblings. I am so grateful for each of them. I just feel so lucky.
But here's the thing: I'm hoping (and really planning this time) on doing the whole labor and delivery thing drug free for the first time. And I've got two reasons and only two reasons for this: 1) I'm curious. Like I said--this will likely be my last baby and therefore my last chance to experience things the other way. And I really do want to know what it's like. 2) I'm really trying to save money. And anesthesia isn't cheap. Agreed? So at this point (deep breath) I'm committed to going au naturel. There's just one problem. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I need help! I need advice! What the heck am I supposed to be practicing? I need one of you to give me a crash course in Lamaze. Does anyone have any good music to recommend? Any relaxation techniques? Anything? I realize I'm thinking about this a little late in the game--but better late than never, right? And most likely, I'll be doing this natural thing after having been hit up with Pitocin (0r at least that's what's been the case with my other three babies), so have any of you ever done that? Pleeeaaasse help me......
Here's wishing you a Happy New Year,
P.S. While I wasn't kidding in my Christmas letter, my main objective was to make you laugh. So don't worry too much.
P.S.S. I asked Brian to build me a coffee table for Christmas, so we'd have something to put our feet up on, and he did just what I asked. I think I'll eventually paint it red, but we don't yet have the red paint I want, so for now it is light blue (which I wanted to have under the red anyway.) I'll try and post some pictures soon.