I didn't really feel the Christmas spirit this year and I think it was because there were no surprises for me. Except from my own Mummy. I did aim for stress free, and it was fun but pretty low key, no panic, no over doing it and NO GUILT. That is a major accomplishment for me. To let things go and not lament the lack of them, or think how better of a person I would be if they got done (or done properly). We did a gingerbread house, we did Christmas concerts, we did cards (eventually), and we downscaled the family presents. My mom gave my kids a children's literature collection that was mine from my Grandpa in 1985, and a ring given to her by my late Grandma. All very treasured and meaningful and essentially free. Love that.
The other day at IKEA we saw a lady walking around in a full burqa. I told you this was going to be random! She was wearing a cream coloured floor length outfit and boots with a caramel coloured robe over it- long sleeved and just a bit shorter than her full length dress. And then she had a full head covering with a veil so only the small area around her eyes was showing. I noticed right away and A noticed shortly there after. He just remarked it was unusual to see a lady with her whole face covered around here. And it is. There is a fairly large Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern population around here, I personally know many people who immigrated from Iran. And it is not out of the ordinary to see a lady with her hair covered. But this was surprising.
I also noticed that my kids didn't blink an eye, didn't say what's that or anything. I initially felt bad, wondering if she had any autonomy and if she was respected. Then I watched as she and her husband browsed and held hands, and their body language did not portray any such issues. SO then I felt bad for assuming things based on religious choices. Why was I so ready to judge?
Any way I thought about it quite a bit and decided I am thankful for my own exposure to different ways of doing things and that my kids will see how so many different people live. That is amazing and exciting.
On a completely different note...
I worked a lot this year. A and I only had 3 days off together in October and 4 or 5 in November. Busy for us, for the kids, for everyone. I am going to try and work a bit less this year. I only went back to work in April (maybe the end of March) but I checked my pay stub before Christmas and I grossed more than some entire families that I know. Wow. That means I was up a lot of nights. I am happy that I was able to contribute and happy that despite the major basement renos (we are at the insulation stage in case you are wondering) we have only a few hundred $$ on our line of credit. I think that is great. Really, a bit of an accomplishment. Still since all (or at least most) of the professional stuff is done, it should be less expensive to do this stage. Right? Or do tiles cost more than plumbers? I hope not.
I am making resolutions for 2010, sort of. I am making general goals and moving away from the all-or-nothing 'oh no I failed again' Jessica of years passed.
I am again choosing to seek out exercise that I enjoy. This was a goal last year and I did stay active more than my usual. I liked it. I walk R to school and back (that's 4 trips up my street) 3 days a week and I drive the other 2 only because K's preschool is basically at the same time as Kindergarten so the distance and 2 location issue makes our walk impossible. That's an hour a week of enjoyable exercise built in to my life. Nice!
Then this year I discovered the Kettlebell. Oh I am so hooked, I love that thing. If you don't know what I mean you should type it into you tube and watch for a bit. It is cardio, weights, functional training and intervals all in one little (heavy) package. It makes me feel like a kid, and like an athlete all at once. I am just mastering snatches, which are tricky, but make me feel like an olympic weight lifter, only with 15lbs ;^) I think the mental key for me is to associate myself with the athletic side and not to picture myself as a girlie at the gym just trying to be skinny. The goal is to do better than I have in the past and have fun sweating, not to loose a certain amount of weight.
So I found a bunch of interval style workouts, using the Kbell, stability ball and bodyweight. All workouts 12 minutes long. I am aiming to add this to my life because it seems doable. This week 2 workouts and I will hopefully go up from there.
Also I am resolving to work on my prayer life. I am going to be doing a book on prayer with my beloved homegroup and am much looking forward to that. I even got a second copy for A so he can read it too. But he is becoming a bit of an ebook snob and asked if there was a digital version. You're welcome honey, I know you're glad I thought of you...
Also meal planning to feed my family better and to keep sending in check, not that we are really extravagant, but it is a good idea. I just dislike the whole thing, but I am going to work on it.
As always there are lots of other things floating around this disorganized head, but I think I shall stop right here. The boys are watching a movie and L is sleeping (yeah Naps!) and all that will end sooner or later. The dirty dishes on the counter are calling my name.