I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, and have been pretty vocal in the past about how I think they are dumb. Why rely on a new year to vow to make changes? I’m one who constantly assesses my life and make a commitment for change. After running my first half marathon in September, and reading about someone who runs six miles every day, I committed to upping my running routine. I run three days a week, with the minimum distance being 4 miles. One of those three runs was 6 miles long, and I committed to running six miles for two of those three runs. I told my readers my plan, and that held me accountable to stick to my goal. I’ve been doing that for two months now and I see no signs of it stopping.
Viewing category ‘holidays’
with Angella Dykstra
I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.
Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.
Winter is in full force (Blizzards and ice storms and power outages, oh my!), but it doesn’t mean that your family is relegated to watching television or playing on electronics for the next four months. There are many things you can do outdoors, and have fun together while doing them.
Christmas is only a few days away and while we believe that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, we also buy presents and fill stockings and have a “Santa present” for our kids. We have a chalkboard advent calendar that the kids cross off and a bowl of candy that they can take a piece from each day.
But let’s get back to the presents. It’s my natural inclination to buy my kids so much, because I love them so much, and for many years I thought that they should have a lot of gifts to open on Christmas morning. Then we had a few years where the mix of presents from us and their grandparents (and aunts and uncles) got to be ridiculous. It was a free-for-all and not at all what we want Christmas to be about.
Everyone has Christmas traditions, if they celebrate Christmas. When I married my husband, we discovered that we shared many of the same Christmas traditions, and created a few more of our own that we participate in with our family of five. With the Christmas season in full swing — and our kids at the age where they know what our traditions are, and look forward to them — I thought I’d share our family’s Christmas traditions.
New Year’s Eve is only a few weeks away! I say that with more enthusiasm than I feel, because I’ve never been one to go to big parties and stay up until midnight and blow noisemakers. In fact, I think the last time I stayed up until midnight on New Year’s was December 31, 1999, when (the crazy) people thought the world would end the second it became the year 2000.
That said, I love an excuse to get together with friends and family and celebrate. We usually have an appetizer/movie night with our family of five and have a great time and are in bed long before midnight. This year, both of my husband’s siblings will be here with their families and we’re going to have a bonfire and sled and play games and watch movies and then have a huge sleepover.
There are definitely some fun things to do with your family instead of paying through the nose for a babysitter and staying up past your bedtime:
Every November, I’ll take a peek at my December calendar and feel my shoulders clench. The Holiday fairy throws up all over it and it is quite the mess. Christmas parties, school productions, end end-of-the-year activities. Once December actually hits, even more events start popping up and I feel like I’m playing a whack-a-mole game in my attempts to get everything done. It can get a little stressful, is what I’m saying.
All of the hustle and bustle doesn’t have to bring you down. You can (and you will!) get through it alive, and you may even get through it without a meltdown. Here are a few ways to help you keep your cool.
Growing up, my siblings and I had the $1 advent calendars and thought they were amazing. We got to pop open one of the tiny doors each day and have a tiny bite of chocolate and it was the greatest. I bought my own kids those same plastic calendars filled with plastic chocolate for many years, and they were as excited about them as they should be.
I thought I could do better, and then realized that I could. There are so many fun options out there. Some are out of our budget this year, but they might happen next year. In the meantime, I’ll stick with what we started two years ago.
Thanksgiving dinner is a very good, very awesome thing. The only thing to compare it to is Christmas dinner which is also a very good, very awesome thing. There are copious amounts of food, young cousins running around and adults sipping wine while talking about everything from sports to shopping.
But what do you do if that gaggle of extended family isn’t around to contribute to the happy chaos that is Thanksgiving dinner?
My parents and siblings (I have eight siblings; we all share the same Dad) are far-flung across the country and we rarely see each other face-to-face. The costs are prohibitive and it’s simply not feasible to meet up for Thanksgiving.
My husband’s parents aren’t close by and his sister and her husband live four hours away. Thanksgiving is a hard time for either of us to travel, work-wise, so we make an effort to get together over the Christmas break. My husband’s brother and his wife (My running partner, and one of my best friends) live in the same town we do, but so do her parents. We have to take turns with them on Christmas day, but Thanksgiving weekend usually works out. Usually. This year, they were traveling abroad, so they were not available for Thanksgiving dinner.
I have a confession to make: I am absolutely horrible at coming up with costume ideas for myself. Whenever I have to attend a costume party I flounder about trying to figure out what I could go dressed as. Luckily for me, I have very creative friends who I will turn to and they will rattle off a handful of ideas for me to choose from.
Oh, but there was one Halloween a few years ago where I came up with my own idea after plans to dress up as Betty and Veronica fell through because she couldn’t make it. I’d already bought the wig, with loose black curls and bangs, so I bought a Wonder Woman costume and ran with it. My kids told me that I was embarrassing, which means that I must have carried it off. Or something.
When it comes to my kids, they’ve been pretty stereotypical over the years. My boys would dress as the superheroes who were popular that year, and my daughter would be some kind of princess. Case in point.
Mother’s Day can be a hard day for many women, for many different reasons. It’s an awkward one for me, because I’ve been estranged from my own mother for three years now. She is an alcoholic, though that’s not why we don’t talk anymore. Three years ago, in our weekly phone chat, she tore into me for three hours while I tried to talk through what she was lobbing at me. It all boils down to the fact that she’s not happy with her own life, because she was angry at me for being happily married and about my “perfect fucking children.”
I forgave her immediately, because forgiveness means that you are free from the anger and the hatred. It’s not about the offender; it’s about you. I have reached out a few times via phone and Facebook, but she’s yet to respond. It’s okay, really. Because I’ve forgiven her and let it go, I will go weeks without even thinking about her. That may sound heartless, but it’s exactly the opposite. She made it clear that she hates me for being happy, and I made peace with the fact that she simply doesn’t love me.
Well, maybe she does love me, but her actions make no sense to me. I have three children of my own and I would do anything — ANYTHING — for them. They are beautiful and they are intelligent and they are loving and they are amazing and they are my heart. I would never (ever ever) yell hatred at them or wish them anything but good things.
My experience with my Mom has made me a better Mother, I think. I want my kids to know how much they are loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I tell them that I love them, multiple times a day. I hug them as much as they’ll let me. I tell them that they can do anything that they put their minds to. I schlep them to dance and to youth group and to running races. I do my best to be the best Mom that they could ever have. Not a perfect Mom, no, but the best Mom for them.
Mother’s Day for me was about me a little bit — who doesn’t like the homemade crafts? — but it was also about them. We spent the afternoon enjoying the sunshine in our backyard and then we had an enjoyable (and hilarious) dinner out. I can’t believe that I have these three beautiful beings who I get to be a Mom to.
How was your Mother’s Day? Is it a hard day for you?