Activities for Ringing in the New Year with Your Kids

Holidays take on a different meaning when kids enter the picture. New Year’s Eve is definitely one that changed when G and his brothers came along. Gone are the days when Mr Boots and I would head to a bar or a friend’s house to drink and toast the New Year.

Ringing in the New Year with kids has meant that I’ve spent several New Year’s Eve nights watching the ball drop on TV by myself because everyone else is asleep — and a few watching the back of my eyelids myself.

Last year, we let G and L stay up until midnight and watch the ball drop in Times Square for the first time. Being 6 and 4, I felt like they could at least try, especially since we didn’t have anything to do the next day. I laid out food to snack on through the night. We watched a movie and then flipped between a few of the New Year’s Eve specials. 

It was nice, but the boys complained about being bored several times.

G and L have already begun asking me if they can stay up until midnight again this year. I’m all for it, but I’ve been thinking about adding a special activity or two to help make the time leading to the ball drop a little more fun. I’d like to give a huge thanks to my fellow Kid Blogger Network mamas for these ideas:

When did you start letting your kids stay up to ring in the New Year with you? Do you do anything to make ringing in the New Year with your kids special?

Activities to Ring in the New Year with Your Kids via

Why My New Year’s Resolution is Simply to Survive

I’ve spent the last week reading about the goals, resolutions, and words friends have set for themselves this year. Some of them have even gone on to start accountability groups with like-minded people.

It’s really inspiring, and I’ve found myself wanting to follow suit. I have even found myself coming close to joining the accountability groups.

But time and time again over the last week I stop myself. I can’t join groups or set up big plans this year. If I do I’ll be setting myself up for failure.

I’m pregnant for the fourth time. And every single time I have had a baby I have found myself in the throes of postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

Life as I know it stops abruptly as I try to figure out a new one. Change is hard for me and a new baby is the biggest change I’ve ever had to experience, no matter how many time I’ve done it.

Why My New Years Resolution is Simply To Survive via muddybootsanddiamonds

No Spend months? We’ll probably find ourselves in some debt because eating out will be the only way we avoid a strict Spaghetti Diet.

Lose weight? I’m hoping to lose most of my baby weight but I don’t really put a ton of focus on this until I’m done breastfeeding.

Get up before the kids? Thanks, but I’ll be sleeping that precious hour before they wake up because my mental health depends on it.

More experiences and less stuff? I have had one baby who hated traveling and one who was totally chill about it. Since I have no idea what temperament our new baby will have, I refuse to set a goal where we’ll “Do More” this year. Honestly, you’ll probably find me at home on the couch more often than not.

Run a race? Okay, you might have me here. I want to participate in two later this year. But I won’t make it a goal to train. Life with babies is unpredictable so I’ll fit in training when I can. I’m okay walking — if I participate at all.

Sorting through our stuff and getting rid of what we don’t use or brings us joy? I’m trying, but I’m exhausted now at 24 weeks pregnant and that won’t get any better as the weeks go on.

No. No, I know my pregnant and postpartum self much better now than I did in the past. If I make a list of goals and plans then there is a big chance that I’ll look back on this year and feel like I failed.

But I will pick a word:


Survive each day. Sometimes each hour. Every minute.

Survive each nursing session. Survive the sleepless nights. Survive each wave of anger over small things as I try to reign in my anxiety.

Survive instructive thoughts of harm coming to my children. Survive the moments of resentment because my husband is snoring soundly and I’m up with a baby who is dependent on me for everything. Then survive the guilt of that resentment because he works and I’m home and could take a nap during Quiet Time. Survive the guilt I’ll face for feeling like I’m failing my older children during those hard months.

When I have a baby I go into survival mode. I know this now and I am working on accepting that life will be harder before it gets better. So my goal is to survive the darkness that seems to surround me after I give birth.

Having a baby changes everything and sometimes those changes are hard. It's okay NOT to set goals for the new year and simply survive | Why My New Year's Resolution is Simply To Survive via #survivingthedarkness #muddybootsanddiamonds #maternalmentalhealth #newyears #newyearsresolutions

I’ll remind myself gets better. It always does, even though it feels like the hard days will go on forever. But I don’t need the stress of additional goals and resolutions when I’m struggling to keep my head above water. That’s okay.

And it’s okay if you’re finding yourself in a similar situation this year. It’s okay to forego the resolutions and goals and even a word to live by.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll reflect back on this year and realize we did more than just survive.

But if not, that’s okay too.

December Wrap Up

So much has been going on lately. I can’t not write about it.

I’ve missed blogging. I have been reading blogs, but not commenting much. Not that I have been a great commenter anyway. But I do read! And every time I do, I think about how I need to sit down and either write a complete post or finish one of the many drafts in my post folder.

So, in an effort to get back into the swing of things, I’m going to write about what I was up to last month

Where to start?

December started with Hubby’s work Christmas party. Originally, I wasn’t going to go because we didn’t have anyone to watch G that night. We would have asked my in-laws, but they would be at the party (Hubby, his dad, and his cousin all work for the same company). But I really wanted to go out and “party,” so I asked my parents if they would take care of G. They said yes, and although the party wasn’t all that fun for me, I am grateful they were okay watching him 1) at night when they probably would have been in bed and 2) they had already taken care of him all week.

I complained to the realtors who helped us short sell our condo. After the disappointment at the credit union, Hubby and I were not happy we were told we could buy again only to have our application rejected.

After a few emails and research on their part, one of the realtors put me in contact with a bank Hubby and I talked to before we bought our condo. The manager there asked me some questions, ran some numbers, and said if we could get the sellers to pay 3% in closing costs, he didn’t see any problem getting us a loan.

Happy Dance!

That weekend we went house hunting. We looked at four. I realized at the end of the weekend I was in love with the first one, despite the fact it needs a super good cleaning, painting, and some TLC.

Hubby needed to know if there was an HOA in place that wouldn’t allow him to park his company truck in the driveway. When our realtor got back to us with the answer, he said there wasn’t but an offer was in the process of being submitted. Did we want to put an offer in?

We said yes.

Enter a frantic evening with having to come up with the earnest money deposit, which our realtor did not tell us about until we were waiting for the offer documents to come through. We had the funds, but not write a check right away. There was a lot of transferring of money and a very last minute run to the bank, but we did it.

Two days later we were told our offer was accepted!

And we were told that the sellers would be taking their washer and dryer with them, so we’d have to budget to buy those after closing.

That was a let down, but since the sellers are paying 3% of our closing costs, we should be able to buy a cheapish set.

Then we had to get employment and financial statements together. Our credit report stated Hubby and I resided at previous addresses during the time we lived in the condo, which was incorrect so I had to write a letter explaining that. I had to write a letter explaining why we short sold our condo. I think I had to write another letter as well, but I can’t remember what that was for.

We had to get an inspection and some major problems were a minor gas leak, roof/attic damage from the chimney, an HVAC system that is probably as old as the house (19 years). Hubby and I had to figure out just how much we wanted the house and if so, what we wanted fixed.

Figuring out what to fix can be as tricky as figuring out what kind of offer to put on the table. Ask for too much to be fixed and you may not get it. We asked for the two more major things: fix the gas leak and fix the damage caused by the chimney (and I think we asked for the chimney to be fixed). The sellers agreed.

We were officially approved for the loan by the end of the month. We close next month. I will officially be out of the area the second weekend of March. Yikes.

We still have a second verification of our finances and credit to go trough. And a termite inspection. And a walk through. And finally closing.

I’m doing what I did when I was pregnant with G: being cautiously optimistic, and not letting myself believe that This.Is.Happening. Not until we sign those papers and have the keys in our hands.

During all this, Christmas happened.

Christmas is entirely too long, in my opinion. This is because Hubby wants to spend time with his family, I want to spend time with mine, and Hubby’s family does this big family reunion type party. This wasn’t a big deal when our parents lived five minutes from each other. But now they live 1.5 hours frome each other. There is driving involved. Add a baby to the mix and just the thought of going back and forth to please everyone makes me tired.

This year, it started the Saturday before Christmas. Hubby’s mom decided to have his family over that day to celebrate. I feel this may have been a big deal for her. A couple years ago iIsuggested she do this, as most of hert kids are married and have to share time with their own in-laws. She told me No, Christmas is on Christmas Day.

G, as I guessed, really made out. Hubby told me a few days before we went down that his dad spent 2 hours putting together one of G’s presents. Honestly, this had me freaked out. What kind of toy takes that long to put together for a 9 month old?

It turns out it was pretty cool:

FiL said it took him closer to three hours to put together because it’s not as simple as fitting to pieces of plastic together. The pieces are held together with screws. There’s no taking this thing apart any time soon. And unfortunately too big to bring back home. So we left that and another big toy down there. I still don’t know if we will have room for it at our new place, but we will see. I actually hope so because I liked playing with it!

Overall, this day was extremely overwhelming for me. However, G was a trooper, as he usually (thankfully) is on days such as this. He ate well (tried cheese for the first time and liked it). He tolerated three barkey (and slightly obnoxious) dogs. He seemed to get the hang of opening presets, but as soon as one gift was open it was taken away from him and a new one shoved under his nose. Meanwhile, he wanted to play with the first one.

I have heard that things like opening presents can be more for the parents than the baby. I think this was more for my MiL than anyone. I get bored watching other kids open presents, and G was no exception. He had So.Many. My sister and brother in-laws looked bored. I certainly was.

So I finally said I was going to open the rest. And did. G helped a little, but it was nearing lunch time and I was anxious to see how he’d react to cheese.

Meals during this day were interesting. G eats best when there are a lot of people to watch. Hubby and I just aren’t entertaining enough I guess. But I was trying to get G to eat what I painstakingly chose at the store that morning (because I completely forgot the food I packed at home), MiL was telling me to feed him food she was cutting up for herself. Then she announced she made special little sugar cookies for G. Hubby interjected that G couldn’t have them because of the sugar. I know Hubby doesn’t care about that kind of thing, but I do. And it meant so much to me that he stood with me during this moment. That he took charge and told his family no so I didn’t have to. This also happened at dessert when MiL said G could have the apple turnovers FiL made because they had apples in them. Yes, but also sugar. Hubby stepped up again. It made me so happy. And relieved. I know small amounts of that stuff probably wouldn’t hurt G, but I want him to eat 1) what I am putting in front of him and 2) as healthy as possible while I have control over it.

At lunch, food started being cleared from the table and in a moment of non-clarity-hunger-rage I cried out I hadn’t eaten yet. I think this scared everyone, I’m not known to get so upset I blurt things out before thinking when I sm around my Mil and FiL. But I was hungry and my patience was wearing thin.

After dinner, once again, the dishes started being cleared and I got upset that I hadn’t eaten much because I was concentrating on getting G to eat instead.

This visit was the first time we brought Gs bath things and PJs. Hubby gave G his bath and then put on his PJs and then as I nursed G, he packed up the truck so we could leave. It wasn’t a bad deal and it allowed is to spend a little more time with Hubby’s family. But of course now I worry that his patents will expect that to happen all the time, whereas I would rather stick to a routine that doesn’t involve waking G up once he falls asleep at night.

Christmas Eve was pretty low key. We didn’t intend to go anywhere, but we had family friends invite my parents, brother, sister and I to a late lunch. They hadn’t met Hubby or G, and this was a family who we’d spend Christmas afternoons with growing up, so I wanted to go. Lunch was nice. We ordered G’s first kids meal — grilled cheese and he loved it. It also snowed!

That night Hubby and I wrapped G’s gift from Santa: a bunch of little toys we put in a bigger box that we wrapped. Little toys like his own set of real-looking keys, balls, and board books.

The next morning we opened our gifts. G really liked the keys and balls. Hubby got me a camera lens that attaches to my iPhone — which was an awesome surprise. I mentioned the lens to him once. Once! It was one of the last things I expected to receive. I got Hubby a flying lesson. Hopefully he’ll find the time to go.

My parents came over later Christmas morning. They gave Hubby and I an ornament and $50 each, cloth diapers (I was excited; Hubby wasn’t, but I think he got them so we’d get the same things), and Christmas crackers. They gave G his very own comfy chair (and something else. Yikes! I can’t remember what now…).

The rest of the day was spent like any other day we don’t go out: chasing G around, keeping him out of All.The.Things and resting when he naps. It’s my intention that Christmas morning will always be celebrated in my house with my little family, at least until they are older and the novelty of Santa wears off. I had wanted to have a plan in place for how we’ll spend Christmases to come, but Hubby thought it best to wait until we moved to figure that out. He was probably right. I’m just happy we got to start the Christmas morning at home tradition this year.

The last day of Chriastmas was that Saturday when we went back down to my in-laws for the family party. Since we knew we were getting the house, we got a lot of “Are you excited about moving?” I realized that what I am really excited about is the house. We’re getting a house. With a porch! And a fenced in back yard! But I am in no way excited about moving to the city we decided to live in. And I have mixed emotions about being a SAHM and having no money of my own.

Despite the back and forth for Christmas festivities, December was spent at home. A lot. I had way more PTO to use than I thought I would after having a bunch of OB appointments, being on short-term disability, and therapy appointments this year. So I spent a lot of time with G. And I actually had fun with him. He is turning into quite the curious little guy. And a very entertaining one at that! I have wondered if it’s the meds talking, but I really hope not. I really hope it’s that G can really enteract with us now.

But even with all that fun, it was still a lot of work. I got stir crazy a few times because our apartment isn’t located in the most convenient place that allows us to come and go easily. I actually looked forward to going back to work in January!

December ended with a low-key New Years Eve. I decided I was going to drink. Drink enough to get drunk. Because I had been pregnant the last two New Years Eves and I wanted to celebrate that I wasn’t this year. So I bought a bottle of cheap champagne and shortbread cookies, took them to bed with me and drank an entire bottle of champagne by myself. Hubby pretty much passed out next to me. I poked him awake several times because I was bored and lonely and he had a few good laughs over my being drunk, but it was mostly me, my cookies, my alcohol, and the TV. I fell asleep around 11:30pm and woke up at 12:10am. I missed the ball dropping, but it was a damn good 40 minutes of sleep. And if I remember correctly, G slept through the night, so I didn’t have to freak out over having to nurse him while alcohol was still in my system.

Somehow I started off 2013 amazingly free of a hang over!

Hello 2012…

Goodbye 2011! I will not miss you. You’ll always remind me of the year a piece of my heart was taken away from me.

Sure, we had some good times. I stood about 5 feet away from my favorite Backstreet Boy in one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Hubby and I went to Mexico on one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever been on. I got pregnant again with Little Guy and so far he seems healthy.

But I will not miss the depression I sunk into after my miscarriage and the emotional ups and downs I struggled with afterwards, the physical therapy to get my shoulder back to it’s pre-pregnancy condition right after my miscarriage, or the counseling sessions to try and sort out my feelings.

I’m hoping that 2012 will be the year of new beginnings. I hope that Little Guy will make it into this world successfully, safely and healthy. I hope that Hubby and I can find a bigger place to live in later this year (trying to find space for baby stuff in a one bedroom condo isn’t working out well).

I’m looking forward to meeting Little Guy, making memories, and starting new traditions with my very own family. I’m looking forward to doing the things I couldn’t do in 2011.