I find myself getting more nostalgic as the years go by. Maybe its because I recently spent more than a few hours putting together a slide show for Ian's Bar Mitzvah and it gave me the opportunity to pour over thousands of photos. It's really hard for me to remember the kids at 2 years, 5 years, 6 years of age, even sometimes just last year. I mean, I know I lived it and was here for every single second right next to their side, but it all quickly becomes a blur as one season melts into another.
Each new stage we enter seems like the best one to be in. The kids can now stay home on their own. They can get themselves breakfast, pack lunch for school, put away their laundry and many more milestones. Sometimes Jeff and I are around just to handle logistics and get them from one activity to the next. One of the coolest things is to have conversations with them and hear their ideas and what they are thinking. Seeing life through our kids' eyes is a beautiful thing.
And so we find ourselves, whether we are ready or not, to say good-bye to 2017 and hello to 2018. When I was a little girl, the year 2018 seemed so, so far away. And now, it's just a few hours away. Again, I'm getting nostalgic for a time when life seemed so much simpler and our children's issues were much easier to deal with. (Caveat: Samantha's pooping problems was never easy and caused much angst for years.)
Travel this year:
February: Ian spent a weekend at Capital Camps
April: Kids with Jeff's parents for 2.5 days.
April: Virginia Beach for 2 days
April: Orlando for 4 days (Samantha and me)
May: Ian in Orlando for 4 days
June: Jeff in England and France for 9 days
June: New York City for 3 days
July: Kids go to Orlando for 12 days (Jeff is there for 4 days, Robyn is there for 7 days)
July: Ocean City, NJ week at the beach
July - August: Both kids at Camp Ramah for 27 days
August: Jeff and Robyn in NYC for 2 days
November: Week in Orlando for Thanksgiving
December: New York City for 2 days (me and the kids with Susanne, Anna and their 6 kids)
December: Pennsylvania for 4 days (me and Samantha for 2 days, Ian the whole time)
Two things stand out looking at this list: 1. I didn't take one trip by myself in all of 2017. And, 2. There was no girl's weekend. None, Zip, Zilch. What's up with that???
With that said, I was so pleased that Jeff went to Europe. He very rarely does anything for himself. And this trip was for purely social reasons. He had a great time and it was good for him to go. So if someone was able to get a girl's weekend in, I am glad it was him. :)
I am also so incredibly delighted we managed 3 (yes 3!!) trips to NYC this year. It is truly a favorite city of mine and the kids; maybe even Jeff's too as he more than "tolerates" it and seems to enjoy himself. Or, maybe he is just happy seeing me and the kids enjoy it so much. Either way, each trip is very memorable and unique in its own way. A true highlight this year was making "Hamilton" happen. The love of theatre is a spark that is growing in both kids. I couldn't be prouder. Singing show tunes with the kids in the car always puts a smile on my face. Getting to see the performance come alive on stage is priceless. Ian and I saw "Chicago" and "In the Heights" this year. As a family we saw "Hamilton" and "Kinky Boots". The kids and I saw "School of Rock". Jeff and I saw "On Your Feet", "Avenue Q", "The Great Comet"and "The Book of Mormon". Lastly, I saw "Mean Girls" with friends. All this year. I'd say that's a pretty darn good year seeing musicals.
And, the icing on the cake is making the week at the beach happen again this past Summer. It is a truly wonderful memory we make with the kids and our extended family. There is nothing like it. It's good, old fashioned fun, where we slow down the clock and simply enjoy being at the ocean and all that it involves.
Ian has finally found his groove at Middle School. It was a bigger transition than any of us expected. He has a great group of friends (all good kids..I've made certain) and I am not so worried about him as much anymore with regards to school. Ian stays on top of his assignments and needs very little hand holding getting his homework done. Additionally, he is studying incredibly hard for his Bar Mitzvah (it's in MAY!!), and I know he will do his father and I very proud. I am delighted with how serious he takes his work. Drama is his extracurricular activity of choice. It's always so much fun seeing him on stage and having a blast acting.
Samantha is being very challenged in the 4th grade. Jeff and I spend most of time worrying for her and how hard school is, not to mention how much she hates doing homework. We've got the school making accommodations (paper tests/ not computerized, strategic seating, having a text book at home, and tutoring 2x a week), but its a constant amount of energy expended making sure Samantha is understanding everything and nothing slips through the cracks. The best news is that I don't have to convince the world that 6x7 is 56. We can all continue knowing it is 42. For a few days there I thought it would be easier to get the whole world on board with 6x7 = 56 than Samantha believing 6x7 =42. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief, we are good. Sam's extracurricular activity of choice is horseback riding. She really loves it and I love watching her enjoy something that doesn't make any demands to learn, memorize or read something. There is a very sweet side of Samantha that I absolutely love and adore. Each morning I wake-up and say a little prayer this sweet Samantha will be the one that wakes-up too. My prediction about Samantha's future?: She will run a big company and be very successful at it. Her fierce personality will do her justice later in life. In a bit of surprising news, the other day Samantha dropped in conversation something about her college dorm room. Jeff and I looked at each other and all I could say was, "You know what I got out of that sentence? That Samantha sees herself in college." That was literally the first time ever Sam spoke of her future and have it include another 4 years getting a degree. Obviously Jeff and I were both delighted.
Jeff had a great year at work and continues to enjoy his job. He is always quick to help me when I've scheduled myself in 2 or 3 places at the same time. I really appreciate that more than anything.
Lucy has been with us for more than a year now! It feels like she has always been in our family. All of us (including Jeff) have their special thing with Lucy. Lucy sleeps with Ian in his bed every night. She comes into my bed at 5:00am most mornings to snuggle with me before I have to get up for my day. She helps wake-up Sam each morning before school. And she loves to lay next to Jeff at the end of the day and rest her head on his leg. Lucy is incredibly sweet. Other than being dog aggressive to dogs on leashes, she is perfect!
Last but not least, me. Another year of being on the go. Although I will say, I haven't scheduled us as much as I used to. I did an awesome job continuing to exercise at 5:30am and love the group of women I get to work out with. Another thing I am happy about was taking the time to schedule lunch with my girlfriends throughout the year. I didn't let 'life' get in the way. Spending time with my friends is like chicken soup for the soul. I am still dealing with weight issues...I lose, I gain, I lose, I gain, I lose some more. It is what it is and I am no longer trying to analyze it. I am back on my losing streak...hello! I have Bar Mitzvah pictures to be in in 132 days and I'll be damned if I have 2 chins doing it.
Also, this was the year that I binged watch many awesome shows. Wow! There is some really amazing original programs being created by Netflix and Amazon. Most of it is much better than what's on regular tv. Although, I will always have a place in my heart for "General Hospital" and "This Is Us".
Somehow I also found time to read. Since April 1st, I've read 25 books. I am most impressed with this number. 20 books since July! I think its been years since I read this much in such a short amount of time. Definitely before having kids.
The Year ahead in 2018:
I can't even think beyond Ian's Bar Mitzvah. The very idea that he is going to be 13 and be a Bar Mitzvah is mind blowing to me. I have very little else on the horizon and very much look forward to this one event more than anything else this coming year.
But if I had to take a moment and outline some other things I am looking forward to: My sister Meghan is graduating college!! This is huge and something we've been waiting for quite a long time. She is actually graduating a week before Ian's Bar Mitzvah, so the month of May is very important for our family.
We have both kids registered for a month of camp this Summer. Yay! I am not sure if our week at the beach will happen again this Summer. Money is quite tight and I've had to make some compromises. It would take a lot for Jeff to be ok with us booking a house, but stranger things have happened in the past, so we will see. I never count anything out until the very end.
A New Year's Resolution I have is to say "No". No to shopping, no to eating out, no to being on Amazon, no to going on spontaneous trips, no to planning vacations or weekend getaways, no to multiple trips to Orlando (other than Meghan's graduation of course!). Just no. I feel like if I put it out there in the universe, it could actually happen or come as close as I'll ever get.
I'm also going to try hard to keep my mouth shut more. Most of the time I feel like I talk way too much and half of it is probably not even necessary. I hate walking away from a conversation feeling like a dork because of something I said. No more! I'm going to stay quiet. :)
And, last but not least, I am on a major clean-out of my email inbox. I am saying buh-bye to a countless number of opted-in email newsletters/discounts/promotions/whatever from everyone under the sun (from The Washington Post to Tires.com to Hanes.com to Specialious.com and many, many more). I must instantly delete up to 90 spam emails a day without even looking at them. No more. I am opting out of EVERYTHING!
My New Year's Wish:
I always tell Ian as he heads out the door, "Make good choices." I think this is wise for all of us. Let's make good choices and be kind. Kinder than necessary and make someone's day doing random acts of kindness. It is truly a great feeling to know you've brightened their day. You just never know what that person may be going through and the effect a kind gesture can have. Happy New Year!