(I started writing this on January 3rd, but I didn't publish it until today, January 18th.)
So we took down the Christmas tree today. We had intended to do this yesterday, but we chose to nap instead. In these past few sleep-deprived months, I have to say that it was the best nap ever and I made the right choice to sleep instead of put the Christmas decorations away. Typically, we'd leave the Christmas tree up a few days after New Year's until Epiphany, but the past couple of years, I've recognized a need to get back to normal a little sooner. There's something comforting about packing away all the holiday decorations. They're all tucked away for another year. Don't get me wrong. I love getting the Advent calendar out for the kids and the Fisher Price Nativity play set, but I also love putting these things away too. I did leave out the beautiful red candles we bought this year. They look so cozy on the mantel. My husband loves candles, but I never really put them out, but I discovered that warm glow this season and well, the candles stay. With the new year comes a return to normal life. Again, I'm drawn to simplicity-- everything in its place, winter coziness and slower rhythms. I'm ready to turn out the Christmas lights and settle into Winter.
This time last year, I was so motivated with plans for the new year. Looking back at my blog for January last year, I had so much energy and so much excitement for the new year. Then, we found out we were expecting! I don't mean to sound like I wasn't excited. I was, but that pregnancy knocked me flat early on and we soon discovered the reason--identical twins! Although I was excited about the twins, I felt like I was in some type of fog for the remainder of my pregnancy and thus, I just didn't feel like myself during most of 2010. I hardly blogged at all and when I did, I mostly posted pictures. Without much energy, I let so much go (not willingly nor happily), but I'm happy to say that I'm back! Every day, I feel a little more ready to tackle so many more projects around my house. Each day, I feel my creative juices flowing again and I'm ready for the new year.
I don't typically make New Year's resolutions, but I start making plans--lots and lots of plans (reading plans, homeschool plans, knitting plans, cooking plans, etc). I'm pondering all that planning going on inside my head and I realize that this new year is the year that I should slow down a bit (not like I did when I was pregnant with Liam and James), but slow down in a different way.
I realize that I need to focus on fewer things not more (even if I can). I need to de-clutter my brain as well as the space around me. Simplicity. I need to apply this to our daily meals, to homeschooling, to knitting, to housecleaning, to reading...all of it. I set big goals for myself, but I need to relax and calm down. I don't need to set reading goals. It's not like I'm going to stop reading. I sometimes wake up feeling like life is a race to get everything done, but it doesn't have to feel like a race against the clock. Does it? I want to be a gentle calming presence for my family. I want to discover joy in the calm. So, my word of the new year is....