It hasn't been the easiest or best start to the New Year. On top of self worth issues catalysed by my husband's Christmas gifts to me I have had a parenting wobble. Being a mum has always been the most important thing to me so when I get it wrong, it hurts me to my core. There is also the fact that I missed a New Year/40th Birthday Party that I had really been looking forward to because I couldn't justify dragging my little ones along when they were both still struggling with coughs that interfere with their sleep... and my usual babysitters, my older girls, were all at the party. It was a fancy dress party with a "last 40 years of film" theme and Ivy and Charis did look amazing as the most excellent Bill and Ted!
And perhaps in the interest of completeness and to paint the full picture of my bad start to the year I should also mention my catastrophic Sky Lantern episode. We had four sky lanterns that we planned to let drift majestically skyward. One did actually just about make it. Another got tangled dangerously in a tree. My relief as it finally freed itself without setting fire to the branches was short lived. It bounced over the flat roof extension of my kitchen and wedged itself up against our next door neighbour's caravan. My daughter's fireman boyfriend sprang into action, beating out the flames with a child's hallowe'en broomstick and no harm was done that a wipe with a damp cloth couldn't fix. The final two lanterns never quite managed to build up enough warm air to make them rise. Instead, the lantern paper ignited. This is their soggy remains after our friendly fireman stuffed them into the chiminea.
I did see the funny side of the lantern disaster and I am trying to focus on all the wonderfully thoughtful things my husband does for me throughout the year rather than allow his uninspired Xmas gifts to be the definitive measure of my worth. I am also feeling a million times better about my role as a mum and am so grateful for each of my six wonderful children.
With a more positive outlook, I finally feel ready to take stock and think about plans and goals for 2012 and as writing them down gives them weight and demonstrates my commitment to them, here goes:
1. I have definitely put on a few unwanted pounds over the holiday period so my first goal is to shift that. The walk to and from Nursery School twice a day should help.
2. My two little ones have taken a backward step with regard to sleeping through the night. I always feel so much better able to cope with what life throws at me when I've had a decent night's sleep so I am planning to implement some strategies to get things back to where we were.
3. Last summer, our ballroom dance class was cancelled because the teacher basically wanted her Sunday back. We joined a different class but it was at a more advanced level and despite our best efforts to keep up, we struggled. I feel as though I know a lot more about the dances but a lot less about dancing for enjoyment and the exhilaration of flying around the floor. We have made the decision to drop down to a lower level class that will give us the chance to be good at what we are doing again and rebuild some confidence. My goal for this year is to take our dance shoes for a twirl around The Ballroom in Blackpool and feel amazing.
4. I have two knitting projects that I want to complete. One I am doing with my mum is to make patchwork blankets for the cotbeds. The other I am going to attempt completely on my own. I bought myself a book called Gothic Knits. It hasn't been delivered yet but it has patterns for some amazing little vampire dolls. I can't wait to see what else there is to fire my imagination and have me reaching for my needles.
5. I really want to get to grips with my garden this year. I love being outside and working in the garden and my goal is to make my vegetable plot productive and enjoy the benefits of freshly harvested produce.
6. With the best intentions to work my way through an alphabet of imaginative dates with my husband last year, we only got as far as G. This year I want to get all the way to Z.
7. Six years ago when I moved into my current home, there wasn't a single room that wasn't in desperate need of a complete revamp (how I wish I had taken pictures!) It is all pretty good now but my goal this year is to freshen up the paintwork, win my battle against the clutter and add some finishing touches that will make it exactly the sort of living space I dream of.
That should keep me busy!