Ho Ho Hold ON!

Merry belated Christmas! So…how was it? Did you survive? If you’re reading this, I’m sure you did. I’m barely hanging on. I still have 12 more days left of Christmas Break and already I’m close to snapping. If I thought having 3 tiny little kids was bad, I clearly didn’t understand the pure hell that would happen to me at 8, 6 and 4. Constant bickering. Constant fighting. Constant insanity. Why God? Why do you hate me?

Christmas went by without a glitch, unless of course you think being blamed for a tiny dog’s “head trauma” isn’t all that bad. Yeah, that happened. Of course I’m used to being blamed for things WAY beyond my control. I’ve become accustomed to saying WTF silently to myself. That’s a lie. I say it WAY out loud! But honestly, I love Christmas. I decorated in mid-november (because apparently it’s disrespectful to decorate until after Remembrance Day – I can barely keep up with ¬†proper holiday etiquette and anyone who wants to call me on it…I DARE YOU!), yet now at December 28th I’m ready to throw the christmas tree into a fiery pit of hell. Really. I’m done. I’m done with the constant demands that come with this supposedly cheerful time of year. I’m done pretending to be loving and accepting. I am not. I’m done with cooking for people who tell me it’s not good enough. I’m done buying presents for people who really don’t give a flying fart about the time I put in, fighting and hyperventilating in the mall bathrooms so I can give the “perfect” gift to people who couldn’t possibly care less. I’m done with Christmas. I’m moving on…

That’s not to say that next year, come November 1st, I won’t be all…

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But this is besides the point. The point is… wait, I have no point. I’m just writing this to justify the $$ spent on my automatic webpage renewal. Really though, we did have a great Christmas. 18 for dinner on Christmas Day. Food and presents and my father explaining (in detail) how to cook a salmon in the dishwasher. Really… There is nothing more I could have asked for… Except maybe gift certificates for therapy. Those always come in handy around here.

As for the New Year… I’m back to class…accounting classes. Mathematics of Finance…Financial Accounting… I’m freaking out! But we’ll see how it goes… If this fails I’ll just run away with the circus. Oh shit. I’m already here.

As of right now, it’s just me because Nick has the man flu. This is a whole other blog post…man flu and why men are not nearly as superior as they may thing they are. Honestly. I get the flu and I nap for an hour and get up and get ‘er done. Nick gets the flu and everything is shut down for 7-10 days. True story. I hope he recovers before I get the urge to hold the pillow over his face a little too long. Oh shit… shouldn’t say that! See previous post about why we had to get a king sized bed. It has SAVED our marriage! But man flu…it’s a marriage killer. ūüôā

Wishing you all the best in the New Year! May you all find your people, your place and all that makes you truly happy! Cheers!!

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-My People. Not in a cheesy way. Hell, most of the time they make me want to report to the nearest insane asylum. But they are my family. My home. My everything.

 

 

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3 – Does This Thing Still Work?

This past weekend someone at a party asked me if I was still writing my blog. Earlier this week, I got an automatic website renewal reminding me that I actually had a blog. I kinda forgot I guess. It’s been 7 months since I last posted anything. I don’t know why. It’s not like all of the sudden I have nothing to say (impossible for me). It’s just that I got a little distracted…again.

So, I guess this is just a post to say I’m not done with this blog yet (They charged my visa so I’ll be here for the next year at least ūüôā ). I’m just really shitty at keeping this thing up, and most of the time I’m not witty and clever enough to keep other people entertained. Most of the time the things I really want to say about my life are best kept to my small circle of mom friends who aren’t afraid to hear what a bottle of wine and I think about say, a class field trip to the outdoor education centre with over 20 kindergarteners. Some things are best kept between understanding friends…

But I digress… The last 7 months…right…

Summer came and went. We had lots of parties with friends, I survived camping…we did the usual summer stuff. Fall came and Amelia, my youngest started school. I cried for a week. Now, I only cry when the buses are cancelled.

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We renovated part of our barn into the company’s new shop and our offices. We completed some more renovations at the house as well, which lasted forever and almost drove me over the edge. Nick and I took a trip to Ireland where I found a love for Guinness and sheep, and learned that I am prone to car sickness. Good times…

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Now it’s December and Christmas is in full-swing at our house. Our calendar is full and already I’m looking forward to January so things can slow down again. I can’t complain though, because although it’s so obnoxious to say, we are truly blessed. I know, I just gagged a little as I wrote that. But really, I’m trying to keep myself focused on how much I love Christmas and not on how angry I get by the crowds, the rude shoppers, the greedy sticky candy-cane covered children…oh and that elf. That ELF ON THE FREAKIN’ SHELF! I’m done with him already. At night Nick and I plot ways to get rid of him for good. We’re planning on putting just his hat in our cat’s litter box and telling the kids that Hammer ate him.

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Better start saving for the kids’ therapy bills…

Aside from that, we just keep on keepin’ on… Hopefully it won’t be 7 months until my next post.

Cheers!!

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The Girl…

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Natalie. She was born on Mother’s Day weekend of 2008. With her arrival came a HUGE change for her parents. Not only would they learn how to soothe a screaming baby who cried for days/weeks/months on end, but they’d also learn that there is absolutely nothing in this world as awesome as watching a child grow up…

They¬†watched as she learned to walk, talk, dance and sing. They’ve¬†watched her fall down, and get back up. They’ve seen her cry for no reason, and for very good reasons as well. They’ve¬†seen her yell and storm away from them in anger. They’ve felt her small arms wrapped around their necks to hug them tightly. Each year, the arms getting longer and stronger. They’ve watched her succeed and also fail. They’ve watched her grow for 8 whole years as time flew past at a rate that, looking back seemed far too fast.

At 8 years old, Natalie “The Boss” Baldwin is a strong-willed, somewhat overly opinionated young girl who loves her barn filled with animals, wants to be a vet when she grows up, and couldn’t imagine ever hanging out with her mother. She’s a daddy’s girl through and through. She doesn’t play with dolls, but with barn cats, chickens, bunnies and dirty pigs. She works hard and plays even harder. She has a big heart that she wears proudly on her sleeve. If you ask her for help, she won’t hesitate (unless you’re her mother). She also has a fierce attitude, quick temper and could easily be your worst enemy if you get on her bad side. Trust me, I know this already. Natalie is everything an 8 year old girl should be. Happy, healthy and filled with hope.

Today we celebrate our #1 girl. The girl in a straw hat and purple converse hi-tops. The girl who I watched pile bricks on the lawn tractor seat so she’d be heavy enough to make it run. The girl who doesn’t walk or run, but skips along. The girl who likes her music loud and her clothes brightly coloured. The girl who started it all.

Happy 8th Birthday Ms. Natalie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Real Me” Revealed

There was a time when I believed I would one day return to the person I was before I had my three kids. I believed wholeheartedly that one day I’d wake up, get dressed in real adult clothes again, and shake my mom-ponytail free. That I’d wake up and somehow be the same woman I was prior to having my children. I believed that one day, I’d be the “real me” again. After almost 8 years, I know one thing. The person I once was, will never reappear. For the first time ever… I’m relieved and excited to know that.

These past few months, perhaps even well over a year now, have been insanely busy for me. I haven’t had a chance to write anything about it, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it. Almost everyday I’ve thought about the things I have to say about my life as a mom, how it has changed me. The early years of motherhood were very dark days for me. Exhaustion, isolation and extreme depression made for years of struggle. I made the best of it, did what I had to do, but remember very clearly thinking, “when will I ever be myself again?” The truth is, I wasn’t myself even prior to having kids. I don’t think I ever had a chance to even know who I actually was before popping out 3 kids in 4 years. I was so young. So naive. SO OUT TO LUNCH! So my dreams of one day returning to the person I was at 26, when I had my first child? SO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN… and THANK GOD FOR THAT!!

I turned 30 just before New Years, 2013. I don’t believe in resolutions, but I wrote one anyway. I wrote and posted on my Facebook wall, “My new years resolution is to start making the changes I always chicken-out of making. Time to stop trying to fit in where I don’t, be something I’m not, and follow along instead of leading.” These past few days, as I’ve been driving around on my countless errands I’ve thought about this one sentence. Over and over. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is perhaps the first (and probably last) resolution I’ve ever proclaimed and ACTUALLY kept. Writing those words on my Facebook wall, where, let’s get serious…no one gives a crap, ¬†was the FIRST and BEST step I made for myself. Shortly after I wrote this, I trained and ran a marathon, I gave up on a lot of people I needed to leave behind…I accepted myself for who I was. I didn’t even know I was doing it. It just happened. In the past 3 years I can tell you, I’ve kept that resolution. Through and through. I haven’t wavered for one second.

As a result, I’ve become a better mom, and a better person all around. I’ve let go of so many things that held me back in my younger years. All the caring about people and things that didn’t matter…gone. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I didn’t even recognize any change until just recently. I had spent countless years caring and doing things that didn’t matter. Worrying about what people thought. Trying to control situations I had no right to. If something went wrong, I’d spend an eternity worrying about what I could have/should have done to fix it. After I wrote that one sentence, that resolution, I started to stop doing those things. Instead of worrying about how other people felt, I worried about how it impacted my life. I learned I cannot be in charge of other people’s feelings or actions. That saying no, was something I could and should do on a frequent basis. That trying to be everything to everyone is a massive, time-consuming mistake, and one I wasn’t making time for anymore. Letting go of so much of what I thought I had to be, so many hours trying to fit in where I clearly didn’t… It made my life so much better. It has opened doors to a ton of new friends. New experiences. A much better world. A much better me.

Long ago I cried to my husband about how unhappy I was with where I was in life. I cried about all of my failings, all of the let-downs of my life. I searched for a person or thing to blame. He said one thing to me, a thing that has stuck with me since the day he said it. He said, “If you want something, you have to take it. No one is going to give you what you want in life. You have to take it for yourself.” I thought he was insane, but have come to realize that there is nothing more true in life. As a result, I’ve thought about what I want for myself and for my family, and every choice I’ve made has been entirely about getting to where I want us to be.

I have felt much elation and complete panic about my youngest daughter heading off to school in September. This moment was supposed to be the beginning of getting back to “me.” I told myself I’d have a plan. I thought I had a really good one, and then as it came closer, things changed, I changed. It didn’t fit anymore. I spent nights awake thinking about what my next plan would be. It came, and went just the same. I ended up getting completely sidetracked by a family situation regarding my niece so that has taken up so much of my mind-space in this past year. ¬†As a family we’ve struggled to keep up. To make the right choices. To do what we believe is right in the face of complete insanity. It’s caused stress. It’s caused strain in our marriage and family. It has been hard. Regardless, somehow we’ve managed to keep it together. I’ve learned that sometimes you can only do so much before you have to tap out and take a detour back. That you can’t save the world. That you can’t fight to the bitter end, because you can’t win. ¬†That sometimes you lose, and it’s wrong, and you move on. That sometimes the risk is too great on your own family. That sometimes you just give in, and it’s totally OK to do that. That sometimes your plans are derailed and you just wait until the smoke clears and you can get yourself back on track.

I may never be that carefree 26 year old again and I’m glad for that. These past 8 years have taught me a lot. These 8 years have taught me more than I could ever write in one place.

Simply put, I’ve learned what years of sleep deprivation does to your mind. I’ve learned how to clean up every sort of bodily function without gagging but most importantly… I’ve learned what it feels like to love another person more than you love yourself. I can’t regret my kids, or the havoc they wreaked on my life¬†in their baby years. Without them, I wouldn’t be the “me” I have been searching years for.

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Welcome to the Family, Gonad!

Millie and I spent the morning cleaning through the mountains of toys in the basement. I threw them away, and she pulled them back out and explained a reason for keeping each and every broken toy down there. It was exhausting. The good news is, Millie found a bunch of her big sister’s old dolls. She was super excited. After lunch I joined in playing with Millie. She introduced me to her new babies. When I asked her what their names were she said: “This one is Peachy, and this one is Gonad.” I asked her several times to repeat this ratty looking, coloured on, naked baby doll’s name. I thought maybe I was just misunderstanding her. But no. She was loudly and clearly telling me that her new baby’s name is Gonad. GONAD! I couldn’t stop laughing. Where did she come up with that? Do I want to know?

Just to keep myself entertained, I asked her about his last name. She told me his name is baby Gonad Banana. I couldn’t believe it AGAIN! To make myself laugh even more, I asked if it was just Banana or Banana Hammock. She agreed that Gonad Banana Hammock had a really good ring to it. So, I’ve spent the afternoon listening to my 3 year old talk to a baby named Gonad. It’s Gonad this, and Gonad that… “Shhh…Gonad is sleeping!”

I feel like I’m far too immature to be a parent. Really.

Here’s Millie & Gonad. She’s nuts about him!

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Days Like This

I cried today. It was a long drawn-out, I’m raging mad at the world cry. Filled with anger, sadness and disappointment. I haven’t cried like that in well over a year, and maybe it was a long time coming. I could feel it coming on yesterday when I had a nice long rant via text to my sister. She always knows how to cheer me up with her very dry sense of humour. I ranted and ¬†she made sure I felt better by telling me and sending me very random pictures of things that enrage her. Our conversation went from very serious, to us laughing and cracking jokes about drug smuggling, Mexican jails and finally how somedays we wish we could wear Burkas. She is awesome.¬†Her last text to me:

“Only problem is that you can’t drink as a Muslim. BUT… The Burka is roomy enough to fit a box-o-wine and your mouth is covered so no one will see the straw.”

I was feeling 100% better and grateful to have such an amazing friend and sister who totally gets me. Even reading that now, I smile. My little sister is now funnier than me, and I LOVE it!

But all that aside, today I still feel the same way I felt yesterday. Pissed off at no one and everyone at the same time. About two weeks ago I answered my phone while doing housework. I wasn’t expecting any calls, and especially not that one. In the end, I went to pick a small child up from a place no little human should ever be sitting and waiting. It was a situation I wasn’t prepared for, but I did what I think anyone should and would do if they got the same call. Millie now has a friend who is close in age to play with, and I’m stuck in the middle of a pretty complicated and upsetting situation.

My crying today stemmed from all of this. All of the chaos that comes with “doing the right thing.” That’s what’s making me so mad. Hearing over and over again how I’m doing something so great. How it’s “the right thing to do.” How I “have to do, what I have to do.” It enrages me and in the most selfish way. I cried today because I don’t know if I can do the right thing. I don’t know if I want to. It’s not the child, that’s not it at all. It’s the whole process. It’s the adults in the situation. It’s having to deal with people and things that make no sense. I’m now stuck dealing with people I want nothing to do with, and I’m mad about it. It’s the upheaval¬†of all that¬†I’ve worked so hard to have. Peaceful living. No chaos.

I feel guilty for feeling this way. I really do. I know that I’m doing what I should, but today I felt like I needed to have a child-like hissy-fit about it. As I sat there pouting I remembered one thing that my aunt said to me a few years back. We were at the hospital visiting my mother who was just coming out surgery. I was terrified that my mom was going to die. It was a horrible, horrible feeling. My Aunt and I walked out of the hospital together and I told her that I didn’t think I could do this. Implying that I didn’t want to be brave and strong and deal with how horrible the situation was. She just looked at me, and with the most calm and rational voice, said: “Yes you can. You really don’t have any¬†other choice.” It’s a very simplistic and realistic phrase that I think sums up this situation as well. In fact, I have repeated that phrase to myself in a few other situations I’ve been in. So, I need to suck it up, and get on with it. I know this.

But that’s not happening today.¬†Today I’m going to be really really mad about the situation. About how unfair it is to me and my family. But most importantly, today I’m raging mad for the little kid who has to go through all of this. The little person who can’t understand what’s happening, who doesn’t have a choice or a voice or any way to protect herself. Today I am mad for her.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I’ll be a grown-up again.

3 Cheers For 3 Year-Old Millie!

It’s official. My baby is three! For the past three years I was certain that Millie would be a baby forever. As bad as it is to say, I tried to rush her through the baby stages as fast as I could. I wanted her to grow up and fit in with her brother and sister more. I needed her to be a big girl. And now… she is and I’m just a little sad about it. I can’t lie and say I wish she was a tiny infant again, because I DO NOT. But I can say that I wish that she stays three forever. Millie at three is the most entertaining little being around. She’s completely one of a kind. She’s clever and imaginative and knows exactly what she wants. She’s the little girl who gets what she wants because she’s not afraid to ask for it….over and over and over again. Millie at three is the little girl who talks to herself. Who plays for hours all alone creating food in her toy kitchen. She has parties with her stuffed animals, plays follow the leader with herself and hates being bossed around by her older sister. She’s always on the move, and is quite sneaky about what she’s up to (which is NOT my favourite thing about her). I think her Aunt had the best description of her. “She’s a smart, independent, strong-willed silent type. Screams success to me.”

For her birthday this year she asked for 3 things. 1. A monkey. A real one. 2. A telescope so she “can see EVERYTHING.” 3. A lion. But not a real one. No. It would eat our dog Ty.

Like I said, the girl makes me laugh every single day.

So… Three cheers for my sweet three year old Amelia! Happy Birthday Mills… You have added so much to our family in just three short years. Without you, we wouldn’t be complete!

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The Force Is Strong With This One.

Five years ago, in a galaxy far far away, a baby boy was born. The council named him Jack…

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I can hardly believe it myself, but my little Jedi¬†is five whole years old. How did that happen? In the past year he’s become more and more of a boy, and less and less of a baby. He gets irritated at the “baby” cartoons his sister watches and has started talking back in a way I hoped would never happen. Just the other day he yelled “Where are my clothes, minions?!” Minions? Is he referring to his father and I as his minions? How does he even know that word?

Jack is and always will be the boy who makes me smile ear to ear. He’s kind and sweet, and downright hilarious. His teachers tell me that Jack is always concerned with other people’s feelings. He’s always the mediator and peacekeeper. I’m told that he always listens and is always eager to learn. This is shocking to me, considering his somewhat disruptive behaviour at home. He’s the wild animal who jumps out of the car window instead of opening the door. He’s the kid who refuses to walk down the stairs, but prefers to ride the banister down. He’s the kid who has taken to “hulking out” when he’s frustrated. And yet, he’s the good kid at school? I’m so confused.

Five years went by so fast. I really can’t believe it.

When Jack blows out his birthday cake candles and makes his wishes for the perfect Lego set, Star Wars action figure or other weird toy I don’t quite understand the importance of, I will be thinking of my five wishes. Five wishes for my sweet five year old.

1. May you always be the peacekeeper. Continue to be the person who helps to fix problems instead of creating them. Always think of other people and try to see things from their point of view as well as your own. At the age of 5, you’re doing a great job at this so far.

2. May you always smile and laugh at the simple things in life. I know that as you get older you’ll have to deal with stress and sadness and even anger. But don’t let those negative things cloud your innate blue-sky personality. Your smile and laughter is contagious. Don’t ever stop sharing it.

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3. May you never lose your passion for random knowledge. One of my favourite things about you is how you can recite history and geography facts on a whim. You retain so much of the details and I think that’s important. Life is all in the details. Keep paying attention.

4. May you always be the brother and friend you are today. You’re one of the most loyal little humans I’ve ever met. I’ve watched how you care for both of your sisters and your friends and it makes me so proud. Be true to those few who will always stand with you.

5. May you always dance in the kitchen with your mama. Really, it’s a simple wish of mine. I never ever want you to stop that. You can be embarrassed by me in front of your friends. I get it. I’m old and therefore NOT cool. You don’t need to kiss me before you get on the bus anymore. I can handle that. But the dancing. I’m not letting that go.

Happy birthday to my #1 Jedi… The Force is strong with this one.

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But I was TOLD Things Would Get Easier…

A month ago, this was me…

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I spent each day for a week doing EXACTLY what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I loved every second.

Fast forward to now. When I do NOTHING I want to do, ALL of the time. I do NOT love every second of it. I’m not complaining though. I understand that this is what it’s like this when you have kids. But really? Maybe¬†my Costa Rica trip spoiled me, or maybe I’m right and these kids are really out to get me. I’m in the final stages of a weekend alone with the kids while Nick retaliates with a guys’ ski trip. While it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected, I AM DONE!! Seriously. My throat hurts, and I can tell you, it isn’t because I’m sick. If I have to yell “STOP FIGHTING!” one more time…

Let’s just say it’s been a long weekend without Nick’s back-up.

Yesterday I was at my mother’s house pawning “craft-time” off on her. I played Candy Crush on my phone while she busted out the glitter glue and paint with the kids. I’ve given up on trying to be the crafty mom. Screw crafts. In my opinion, it’s true that good moms do crafts with their kids. But Smart moms take them to grandma’s house. But I digress… My mom looked at me and said, “WOW, you have 3 KIDS now.” What she meant was that now I no longer have 2 kids and a baby. 2 kids and a baby wasn’t nearly as difficult as 3 talking-back, not listening, doing whatever the hell they please KIDS! It made me remember a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago, with a new mom. I promised her it would get easier. HA! I’m so full of shit. What I should have told her was that yes, soon you will master this new baby stage and be totally comfortable. But then you know what, it moves to the next level. A harder level. If you continue to have more babies, yes, you will catch on faster, become immune to sleep deprivation and get into the groove of babies. BUT, once they all start growing up…You’re screwed. Really. I think back on the “baby” days and I think, damn, what the hell was I even complaining about? Now I have to deal with attitude. I have to deal with disciplining them. I have to make sure they don’t turn into homicidal maniacs. Now I get to deal with school, kids at school and the behaviours they pick up from those kids. As an example, Jack came home from school singing about “ball-sacks in your mouth.” What the hell is that all about? Do I even want to know?? Suddenly, I’m having to think about parenting, and not just meeting their base needs. Yes, I still feed them, bathe them, and occasionally wipe a few butts, but now… Now I have to put thought into how I’m going to make sure they grow up to be functioning adults. I have to figure out how to keep them off of the Jerry Springer Show!! It’s crazy overwhelming, and I’d argue completely unfair. As if the first two years of insomnia and ass-wiping wasn’t enough work… Now I have to use the brain that has been turned to mush from too much Treehouse? Uh-oh.

I have heard so many different tricks of the trade when it comes to kids. Most of it has been complete crap. After all, I can recall a few people telling me that it gets easier the more kids you have. Yeah. I call bullshit on that one! I take all of the advice I’ve heard, and I pour myself a glass of wine and laugh. Everyone has different kids, different lives, and way different experiences. No one knows what the hell they are doing, so I’m not going to pretend I do. Instead, I’ll just try my best, and hope that none of my kids turn into crazed lunatics, thieves, or stars of ridiculous reality TV shows. So, to my dear friend with the new baby. Yes, it’s hard but it doesn’t last forever. If you’re ever in a stage where you think you can’t take another day…Just wait a week, and BAM! a whole new level to master. You’ll figure it out, we all do. Hang in there.

As for me… Right now I’ll remind myself to enjoy these kids, while they’re kids…. I’m already getting comments about the hell that the teen years bring. Hooray for parenting!!

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Today the kids and I spent the day preparing a meal for our family. It was a little bit crazy, but a whole lot of fun.

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I am a firm believer in teaching my kids to cook, even if it stresses me out BIG TIME. We decided that spaghetti with homemade bread, bruschetta and caesar salad would be the perfect end to a pretty awesome year.

I made the “biga” (pre-fermented dough) for the ciabatta last night. Today we started mixing and kneading.

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Everything was going pretty well until Jack dumped the bowl and we lost half of the mixture… Yes, I got a picture of the whole mess going down… You can almost see his little heart breaking. ūüė¶

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It was a mess. I’m not going to lie… there were some tears. Jack was upset that he was “the most terrible baker in the universe,” and I was upset that I accidentally freaked out on him. I was able to salvage most of our hard work, and convince Jack that he was in fact, a pretty awesome bread maker…

Our results…

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I made a sauce from the tomatoes I grew this summer, and canned in the fall (I would have blogged about the canning process but I thought I had heat stroke from days spent over the stove). We chopped, cooked, baked and busted out a few dance moves while we spent the day together. It was overall, a very good end to the year.

It got me thinking about resolutions, and New Years in general. I’ve never been one to proclaim resolutions for a healthier year. I know myself better than that. I’ve never resolved to lose weight, quit bad habits, or start giving more to charities. Nothing of the sort. So, when I tried to force myself to make a resolution for this year, I came up empty handed. Until now. If I must make a resolution right now, in this moment, it would be this: To spend as much time as possible teaching my kids about their food. To show them how to grow it, raise it and turn it into the meals we put on our table. To teach them that the best things in life come with hard work, and patience.

It’s still early, and yet, I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to midnight. I’m about to tuck my kids into bed with a strong garlic-scented kiss and hope tomorrow brings as much happiness as today did.

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Happy New Year to you all!