Tag Archives: New Year

Goodbye wonderful 2012

end of 2012

Despite the past couple of days, this has been the best year of my life.  We’ll start with the obvious – I got to marry my best friend!  I look back at those days of planning a wedding, and all the hair pulling I did over that one day, and I want to laugh.  Some of the things I stressed over were not worthy of that much thought.  And kind friends tried to tell me that very thing.  But I didn’t understand until my own wedding just what they meant. When it’s all said and done, I am now married to the man of my dreams, and that’s the only detail I really care about.

But still, it really was a beautiful wedding.

And a beautiful honeymoon!

But first things first, let’s do the obligatory recap of a year well lived through some of my favorite posts I wrote in the last 12 months.

January – The wicked stepmother It’s amazing how time changes things.  In January I was having issues being a step-parent.  I felt like me and Frizz were never going to see eye-to-eye.  He was so distant and contrary to the rest of the family, I didn’t know how to relate, we mostly just moved around each other.  It’s so different now!  But reading back at this post, I want to wince at how uncomfortable those days were!

February – Don’t FREAK Out: Oh, my little daughter.  DQ told me about a year ago that there was no way she would ever turn into a sullen teenager.  The very next day, she turned into one.  That girl is both my sunshine and my stormy days.  I love her so fiercely, but man she is such a pain in the ass!  At this time, she was hanging out with this boy who was so NOT good news, and who totally freaked me out.  It reminded me of a time when I did the same thing.  My parents reaction was to, naturally, freak out.  My reaction?  To get pregnant.  So when DQ fell into the arms of some bad news boy, my mantra became DON’T FREAK OUT.

March – Defending my no good EX: It isn’t often that I write about the Ex.  Partly because it’s bad form to slam someone in a place on the internet where they can read it.  Partly because he is my kids’ father, and I wouldn’t want them to read something bad that I had said to all my closest strangers.  But mainly because I no longer have anger or animosity about him regarding the past, and I try to have understanding about his shortcomings in the present.  Plus, in the times when I am angry, I want the freedom to say things I wouldn’t regret pasting on the internet.  But in March, the Ex was arrested.  And admittedly, I was pissed.  But I managed to get over it for his mother’s sake in a phone conversation we had way back then in the spring.

HomeRunApril – A full month of blogging: This month was full of blog posts that hold a lot of meaning for me.  First, it was when the son of a friend of ours was murdered by his mother.  This was a shocking turn of events, something we never would have seen coming.  It’s hard to believe that little children can die in such a way, by the hands of the very person they trust the most.  Second, my son became the homerun king at baseball!  The kid hit his very first homerun, and then he was drafted up from the Minors to the Majors.  I couldn’t have been more proud.  Third, we tried out family meetings for the first time, and could claim success.  In fact, I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the turning point for me and Frizz’s difficult relationship. While we have only held a handful of meetings since then, and none as orderly as this one, it was this specific meeting that began to help us blend as a family, and understand each other a little more – something that is so vital when trying to solve relational problems!

aballoon15May – Up, Up, and Away!: My job sent me on assignment to fly in a hot air balloon over Sonoma County.  That’s right.  I was paid to ride up in a balloon over the wine country, and was treated to champagne and brunch afterwards.  How cool is my job?  Plus, I got some pretty awesome photography from way up there in the sky.

June – Wasting Time: Just a little food for thought about the reality of paid writing vs. the every day job.  I especially love this post as we head into the new year, and I have aspirations about where my writing is going to take me.  😀

July – Beautiful nightmares make the best novels: You guys, this is where my novel was born!  This post is a bit cryptic, and doesn’t give away the plot at all.  But it’s where I first dreamed up the storyline that is now my almost completely edited novel that is coming out in 2013.  Eeeee!  If you want more info on the novel, visit my author page at CrissiLangwell.com.

August – Showering the bride: My sister gave me the most beautiful bridal shower ever.  This is my 2nd marriage, but my very first (and last!) bridal shower.  She went over and beyond in every detail, right down to the handmade drink umbrellas to sit in our watermelon margaritas.  The photos were amazing, thanks to how sweet the afternoon was.

September – 10 years ago today: It was 10 years ago that I suffered a loss I never thought possible – the loss of my son just a few months before he was supposed to be born.  In past years, September 23rd has been one of the most difficult days to get through.  But on the 10 year anniversary of his birth to heaven, the kids and I made a day dedicated to family.  It was truly special.

weddingOctober – Did something happen this month?:  I swear I can remember…  Oh yeah.  I got MARRIED!  It seems like just months ago I was lamenting the fact that I was never, ever going to get married to Shawn, my Mr. W.  And then, October 13, 2012 came and he put a ring on my finger and gave me his last name.  The very next day, we left for a week-long honeymoon to Costa Rica, which I blogged about daily with lots of photos to your enjoyment (or total dismay).  What a wonderful month this was!

nano-fireworksNovember – Finishing the novel Besides getting married, the other huge thing this year was finishing my novel!  This is the third novel I have ever written, but the first one I have stuck with to get it fully edited and well on its way to being published.  I’m more than a little excited about it, and I hope each and every one of you (all 3 of you) buy my book and make me a famous author.

December – Letting her go:  This wasn’t exactly my choice for how I wanted the year to end – saying goodbye to my daughter when she moved to live with her father three hours away.  She moved on Friday.  And I was sad, still am.  But the good news is that I’m not falling apart.  I survived.  And it’s all going to be ok.  Who knows how things will turn out – if she decides she loves it and wants to stay forever, or she hates it after two weeks and wants to move home.  All I can do is take it one day at a time, and understand that even though she can’t be here every day, she is still just a phone call away (or a three hour drive).

But of course, this New Year is going to be so, so, so great.  I’ve already started a mental list of the things I want to accomplish – my book being #1.  🙂

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of making 2012 as wonderful as it has been – my friends, my family, YOU.   2012 is one I’ll remember as a really, really great year.  And I’m so excited about the upcoming year, I can hardly stand it!

Happy New Year!

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Setting achievable goals for 2013

This article will print on Friday, December 28, 2012 in the Press Democrat.

You know what I love about the new year? It’s a chance to start over, to create something huge, to make a difference in at least one life, even if that life is merely yours — especially if that life is yours.

It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a time when we can say all those cupcakes we indulged in don’t count because it’s the first day of a new year and better eating habits start today!

The beginning of a new year can mean anything, because there is no baggage tied to it. OK, maybe there is, but for one day you can pretend that nothing stands in your way as you plan out the next 12 months and promise that this is the year to make something happen.

The world is your oyster, and you, my friend, are the pearl.

This might be the year that you write that book you’ve been holding inside you. It could mean that you save that huge sum of money meant for the down payment on a computer, or a car, or even a new house. Perhaps this is the year that you get your grown kids out of your house, or maybe the year that you conceive your first child. This is the year that you can do something so impactful that it changes your life forever. And you know what? I hope you do.

But it takes more than hope to make things happen. You can hope for the things you want as hard as you can, but nothing is going to happen unless you put the work in. Trust me, I’ve been hoping for rock hard abs and buns of steel for years, and well…  A popular saying puts it bluntly by defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If you expect change, you are going to have to change your ways. But how?

First off, no one is perfect. Got that? Now memorize it. You’ve had a lifetime to engrave all your bad habits into your way of life. Erasing those engravings is not going to be an overnight process. It’s going to take a lot of time and dedication to exchange your bad habits for good ones. It may even be a struggle you have to deal with for the rest of your life. But it’s not impossible.

The first step is to become an expert in the goal you have set. Writing a book? Research everything you can about your subject through other books that fall in the same category and through people who have experienced what your characters are going through. Learning a new language? Watch movies, read books, and subscribe to a newspaper that is in the language you are studying. Preparing for your first marathon? Surround yourself with people who have the same goal and can give you tips on how to succeed. Whatever your dream, immerse yourself in it fully, allowing it to become your biggest interest so that failing is not an option.

Next, set reachable, incremental goals for yourself. Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds in 2013. OK, that can definitely be achieved in 12 months’ time. But if you look at that weight as a whole 50 pounds, it becomes a daunting task. Instead, break that number up into steps, like 5 pounds a month, adjusting as time goes on, if necessary, and you’ll feel like “Yes, I can.”

The third step is to create a plan. You’ve set a goal, now how do you plan to achieve it? Most resolutions fail in the first month of a new year because there was never a plan that spelled out how to achieve it.

If you’re writing a book, set aside a specific time every day to sit down and write. If you’re trying to lose weight, start out slow with diet and exercise, increasing your efforts as your stamina and nutritional needs change. If you’re trying to save money, decide on a specific amount from each paycheck and set it aside as soon as you get paid.

When the going gets hard, remind yourself why you set this goal in the first place. Write it down so you can read your reasons whenever you feel it’s an impossible dream to accomplish. Create a cover for the book you’re writing, or set up a “dream board” that includes an image of the object you’re saving money for. Use these objects to visualize the end result of all your hard work so that you can feel what it’s like to actually achieve your goal.

Finally, believe in yourself. You can do this. You deserve this.

Let’s make 2013 the year to realize our dreams!

A resolution to slow down

By the time the new year rolls around, I’m more than ready.  There’s something ceremoniously cleansing to be able to let the past year go, along with all its triumphs and pitfalls, and start over fresh with a clean slate and good intentions.

This year I plan on making resolutions that include more than just myself.  While my resolutions for 2012 will include a few personal goals, I’ve decided to add a few goals that benefit my family.

I resolve to slow down.  Our calendar is full.  It almost always is.  If I see white space on it, I automatically think of all the things I’d love to do to fill that space.   A fully colorful calendar makes me incredibly happy.  But it stresses my family out.  This year I resolve to allow some of that white space to just stay white.

I resolve to create more one-on-one quality time.  It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own personal stuff and forget the importance of staying involved in each other’s lives.  I’d love to make dates with each of the kids as well as Mr. W, spending some uninterrupted time together before going back to our own personal lives.  This means, putting down the iPhone and unplugging the video games, and maybe even getting out of the house to escape distraction or the temptation to plug back in.

I resolve to spend less time with my nose buried in technology.  That might seem like a personal goal, but it’s not.  My iPhone has become my greatest source of procrastination, as well as being an unworthy time-suck.   The result?  I end up more stressed out than ever because I’ve just wasted time I really needed to either do something specific or to just unwind.  Rather than playing games, surfing the web, or getting my news from Facebook, my time would be better spent reading a book, going for a walk, connecting face-to-face with a friend, or playing a boardgame with my family.

I resolve to make getting healthy a family effort.  I can’t say this is a new resolution, or even a failed resolution.  But it is definitely one I can improve on.  In this new year I’d love to discover more lunch and dinner ideas that focus less on starchy foods and more on vegetables and protein.  I plan on taking running back up, but this time inviting my kids in on the training sessions so we can get healthy together.   I resolve to include the kids more in meal making so they can learn how to cook healthy meals for themselves.  And I resolve that lunches or dinners out will be more of a special occasion rather than a matter of convenience.

I resolve to give more praise than commands.  It’s easy to bark orders at the kids.  Did you wash the dishes?  Your room can use a little sprucing up.  Could you please put your dirty clothes in the hamper?  Stop sitting on your brother.  Giving a honey-do list to the kids is easy to remember to do because all that stuff is staring me in the face.  But it’s harder to remember to regularly tell the kids what a great job they are doing, how much their efforts help me out, how proud I am of their work at school, or even noticing their efforts for looking presentable for school.  This year I plan on taking more care to acknowledge the things they are doing great.

I resolve to focus more on growing my child into an adult than falling back on lazy parenting.  This is my guilty downfall.  I allow my son to play too many video games.  I am lax with my daughter when it comes to enforcing rules or consequences.  I clean up after all of them to avoid struggling with them to get it done.  I threaten to toss all their errant socks in the living room only to quietly wash them and put them back in their drawers. What are they learning?  How to expect someone else to do their bidding.  This year I plan on cutting off the unlimited amounts of mindless screen time, enforcing the rules I set, and instilling awareness for ways they can help out so that one day they’ll be a mindful roommate, spouse, and/or employee.

And I plan on being easy on myself if I fail.  No parent is perfect.  We all have our off days.  But each minute of the day presents a moment when you can start over.  No one needs a new year to create new goals.  You just need a new decision.

Have you made any resolutions, family or personal?  I’d love to hear about them!  Email them to me at crissi@santarosamom.com.

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

A brand NEW year

This was a year of many changes. First of all, 2010 was the year that didn’t even have a clear name. Is it twenty-ten? Or two-thousand-ten? How are we supposed to have a clear concept on what the year was supposed to have in store for us if we couldn’t even decide on a name?

It was also the year JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater taught us about taking a job and shoving it. It was the year (after) we saw our first black president. And our baseball team won the World Series. And it was the year that many families struggled to keep afloat in an economy that was promised as getting better by the bigwigs while we little people were left to wonder what economy they were seeing. Paychecks decreased with pay cuts, or disappeared completely with the loss of a job. And while household incomes grew smaller, the cost of living grew larger. And just when things couldn’t become any bleaker, the bigwigs decided that we could no longer afford the programs that kept people off of welfare or supplemented their income while looking for a job that still hadn’t revealed itself. These difficult times we’ve been experiencing brings me to a passage from Ronald Reagan’s 1976 speech declaring his candidacy for the presidency, “To Restore America.”

“No one who lived through the Great Depression can ever look upon an unemployed person with anything but compassion. To me, there is no greater tragedy than a breadwinner willing to work, with a job skill but unable to find a market for that job skill. Back in those dark depression days I saw my father on a Christmas Eve open what he thought was a Christmas greeting from his boss. Instead, it was the blue slip telling him he no longer had a job. The memory of him sitting there holding that slip of paper and then saying in a half whisper, ‘That’s quite a Christmas present,’ it will stay with me as long as I live.”

And now, in the blink of an eye, 2010 is over. And here we are, at the end of another year, breathless from the whirlwind of 365 days that knocked the wind out of us, hoping with everything we have that 2011 really is the beginning of a whole new year – a chance to start over fresh and make something from it that looks nothing like the past several years.

And while this letter to you seems downcast and full of wistfulness, I promise you that it is really a letter to you for hope. Ronald Reagan, like our grandparents, came out of the Great Depression with experiences learned on how to live life, and developed a feeling of gratefulness for all that he had. He took that experience and learned from it, shaping his life in a way that would have been so much different had he not suffered poverty and hardships during a very trying time – a time much like the one we are experiencing now.

What we have now is a chance to start over, to relearn the ways that we live so that it is possible to survive in a world where the economy is tight and resources are slim. And it is a perfect opportunity to look at what we do have, searching out all the gifts in our lives and seeing them for the riches that they are. Our health, our children, our children’s health, friends, a bed to sleep in, a kindness received, a smile from a stranger, the ability to still give to those who have less than we do…

It’s tradition for the new year to bring on new resolutions. Lose that spare tire around the waist by eating better and exercising more. Spend more time with friends or family. Create a better budget to make this the year to get out of debt. Learn a new language, or maybe take that art class you’ve always wanted to sign up for. Write that book that has been swimming around in your head…. These are all wonderful ways towards improvements and to accomplish things that you’ve always wanted to do. Yet they are also resolutions that are often made and then forgotten as the first day of the year passes us by and fades in the rearview mirror.

But what if every day were a chance to start fresh?

Neither I, nor anyone else, can promise you that 2011 is going to be a better year. That depends on you. Times are going to be tight. Hardships are going to happen. But what are you going to do about it? Better, what is your attitude towards these changed times going to be?

This year, I urge your resolution to be about making every day new – a chance to start fresh and welcome all the good that comes with it, with the understanding that all the negative experiences bring chances for learning. Let your attitude be a positive one that your children learn by, that even when times are tough, life is still good. And may this New Year bring you the wealth of a life filled with joy.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, ANYONE can start from not and make a brand new ending.” Carl Sandberg, American writer, editor, and acclaimed poet.

Happy NEW Year, every day of 2011…however you say it.