Archive for December, 2009

are you ready…

Monday, December 28th, 2009

…for a new year?

I realize that a lot of my blog posts have become a soliloquy of ‘what does ____ mean to Anna Kate’.  Just an observation…let the soliloquy begin!

I’m not a big New Year’s resolution maker.  I do take a few moments to consider ways to better myself in the new year but I don’t make a poster and tape it to the fridge.  I don’t feel the need.  Plus, when I’m having one of those days (I’m sure you’ve all had one of those days) I don’t need a written reminder to sink me lower in the funk.  I also take a little mental trip through the soon-to-be-over year to remember both the highs and lows.  It’s my own way of staying grounded.  Whether the year is coming to a close on a high note or one a bit lower, it’s good to be reminded that things always seem to even out.

I have come to think of January 1st as a fresh start.  A chance to do things differently if need be.  A time to let go of any leftover “stuff” from last year…physical or mental.  As an adult, I have gotten to the point where I like to clean out after Christmas.  The devil’s advocate in my brain is asking me if I’ve looked at my sweater stack lately!  Ten years ago I might have shoved more into the drawer or closet but I’ve discovered the satisfaction of clearing out the unnecessary things I accumulate.  Watching Hoarders doesn’t hurt either.  (I’ve never been close to being a hoarder but this show will scare you into minimalism in a heartbeat!)  Other “stuff” is mental and emotional.  That is harder for me.  I am usually able to get over things quickly but my memory is elephantine.  I don’t forget what was said, actions that were taken, feelings that were felt.  Those things tend to stockpile in my mental closet, sometimes without my knowledge.  Luckily, I have recently acquired the ability to brush away those cobwebs and make room for happy thoughts.  I’ll toast to that!

Overall, it’s a good time of year for reflection, hope and happiness.  Whether you choose to make a list of resolutions, eat Hoppin’ John or party like it’s 1999, here’s to a great 2010!

all that work…

Friday, December 25th, 2009

…and it’s over in the blink of an eye.  I’m speaking of Christmas morning, of course!

For whatever reason, I have never been able to sleep on Christmas Eve.  I’m pretty sure I get it from my Dad.  He’s the same way.  It’s especially interesting since both of us can fall asleep at any time under almost any circumstances.  But somehow the excitement of Christmas is enough to keep our weary eyes open.  This year, I discovered that I have passed this trait along to my oldest daughter.  She went to bed and fell asleep with no problem.  At midnight when Hattie (the middle child) woke up, Abigail was roused.  Hattie was able to go back to sleep but Abigail was AWAKE.  She spent the next 5 and a half hours laying next to me in our bed sighing and moaning and asking if it was time yet.  The only one who slept through the night was Laura, the 3 year old.  She NEVER sleeps through the night.

I guess Christmas will do that.  It’s such a wondrous time for everyone.  Just so you know, I’m not talking about presents here.  Those are a bonus.  There is so much more.  The family traditions are my favorite.  The time we spend together as a family not because we have to but because we want to.  I realize that the Christmas traditions are probably similar in many families but it’s spending time with our own families that is the icing on the cake.  We wear pajamas and drive around to see lights one night.  We attend Christmas parties and programs.  We even hosted a party this year.  We pick out and decorate our tree together.  Robert and I watch Christmas Vacation.  We have an Elf on the Shelf and send letters to Santa.  We watch all the Christmas movies and annual specials.  We read The Night Before Christmas and leave out goodies for Santa.

One thing different for us this year is that we are not going to be with our extended families on Christmas day.  We are now 5 hours from them and it’s getting more and more difficult to move Christmas.  Instead we are going to be with them in a few days.  It’s the best decision for our little pod of five but we will miss it all the same.

To me, the best part of all is the wonder.  I don’t know what it is but there is a feeling of magic this time of year.  Maybe it is the belief in something bigger than we are.  Maybe it is being reminded of the love we share for each other.  Whatever it is for you, whether it be the celebration of a baby’s birth long ago or a first Christmas together, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season.

now I’ve done it….

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

After almost 12.5 years, I have finally done it.  I broke one of my china plates.  Ugh.

When this happened, I was washing plates after a successful neighborhood Christmas party.  One plate slipped out of my hand and crashed into the sink, breaking the plate it smashed into.  It was merely a bread and butter plate but it still made me sick to my stomach.

I stood there feeling sorry for myself and then it dawned on me.  I was really upset about the demise of this plate.  Why on earth would it be a loss of any sort?  After all it is ONLY a plate.  A mere object.  In the days since the “incident”, I have wondered and thought about the importance of said plate.

Part of it is a sense of pride.  We have schlepped our china, crystal and silver to three states in the southeast without incident.  We have packed and unpacked and packed and unpacked again.  We have not used them as much as we should have but we have used them some.  Regardless, I was always satisfied after each meal and move that nothing from this precious collection had been damaged.

After more consideration, I realized why these silly things are of such an importance to me.  They symbolize the beginning of my marriage.  Really?

When Robert and I were engaged, we went to Bromberg’s to register for china, silver and crystal.  For those of you who are not familiar with Birmingham, AL, Bromberg’s is a family owned jewelry and china store that has been around for decades.  Many people register there when they get engaged.  For some, it is a rite of passage.  Receiving one of their signature silver boxes with the beautiful ribbon is almost as good as a box in Tiffany blue.  Anyway, Robert and I stood in Bromberg’s facing a wall of china that bordered on intimidating.  After a few minutes of silence, Robert said “there’s only one up there that I like.”  I agreed completely and I would have said the same thing if he hadn’t spoken first.  We had the same experience with the silver and crystal.  It felt like a sign.  The patterns we chose were not the favorites of most couples at the time.  They were not the “in” patterns to choose.  They are simple, elegant and beautiful.  They were perfect for us then and still are.

Once we had signed up for what we had chosen, I started to look around the store at the other brides who were there to register.  Most of them were with their mother.  Only one other groom was there and he looked like he’d rather be having oral surgery.  His fiance had also brought her mother and the two women were picking out everything while the poor groom was counting tiles in the ceiling.  Was I the only one who wanted to experience this with my fiance?  Was he the only one who felt the same?  Did no other couples enjoy doing these things together?  I was astounded and awash with gratitude.  Robert seemed to pick up on all of this.  He gets me.

So, call me what you want.  A sap, overly sentimental, whatever.  It doesn’t matter to me.  The broken plate is not a sign of anything anymore.  We have weathered many storms in our time together and I’m sure there are many more to come.  We have always emerged stronger and surer of our love for each other.  One little bread and butter plate is not even a blip on the screen, nor should it be.  But I’m sure I’ll be more careful washing in the future!

another year gone…

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I haven’t written anything in a while.  Sorry about that.  We were so busy moving and then I realized that I didn’t have anything I wanted to write about.  Guess the muse has returned.  Here goes….

Today is my birthday.  My 34th birthday to be exact.  Some people would rather have a root canal than reveal their real age but I couldn’t care less.  It has never bothered me and I’m guessing that it never will.  Truth is, I don’t feel much different than I did at 24 (except for the 3 little girls in tow of course!).  Maybe a little calmer.  A little more tired.  A tiny bit wiser.  But altogether not that different.  I still get carded buying alcohol.  A few months before we left Auburn I was in the Kroger buying some beer for Robert.  The cashier gave me a look like “I know what fake IDs look like and you’re not getting past me.”  After carefully examining my license she turned red, apologized and called me “Ma’am.”  But I digress…

Among all the birthday wishes, several people have asked if I’m doing anything exciting to celebrate.  I’m really not.  Robert is bringing home some steaks to grill, I made a chocolate souffle for dessert and there is a new episode of The Office coming on TV.  Sounds like the perfect evening to me.  I love getting dressed up and going out for a fancy dinner but in all honesty, that’s not a requirement for me to enjoy my birthday.  I would rather have pictures drawn by my children and extra hugs and kisses.  I have one friend who was determined to have 24 hours away from her children for her birthday.  She was so stressed out and exhausted from planning, packing and organizing that she didn’t get to fully enjoy her 24 hours.  I have another friend who checked into a swanky hotel overnight.  Unfortunately she overindulged at the mini bar and suffered the rest of the weekend.  Guess their plans didn’t turn out exactly right!  Not that I wouldn’t enjoy some time away, it’s just not necessary in order to have a successful birthday.  I’m not one of those people who is going to sit on the sofa and eat bonbons for my birthday or Mother’s Day and refuse to lift a finger.  (I don’t even know anyone who really eats bonbons on the chaise but it is the expression that came to mind!)  Life continues whether you like it or not!

Having just moved to a new state, Robert and I are still finding our way around.  We are on the lookout for a good babysitter so that when we have the chance we can go out to dinner and maybe even a movie.  We’ll sit a little closer and talk a little softer and smile a lot more.  The topic of conversation will wander and dance and eventually return to our children as it always does.  We will come back home feeling reconnected and reminded of our love for each other.  I know that is important to do in a marriage.  I also know that we will have the same result sitting on our sofa in front of the fireplace once the girls are in bed.  It doesn’t take much!

I am very fortunate for the life that I have and am especially aware of that this year.  I am so lucky to have a husband who loves me just the way I am.  I am the mother of 3 smart, sweet and beautiful daughters.  I have a supportive and loving family.  What else could a girl ask for?