Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing in the New Year

It is New Years Eve and in our family tradition, we have celebrated and learned about a new country all at the same time.  The kids chose Belgium this year which was solely because they were craving waffles.  We make home made waffles a lot though and by today, meh, waffles.  Luckily Belgium is also the true home of the french fry!  The menu changed but the celebration continued.

I was impressed that the kids went upstairs while I was decorating the dining room and setting the table and emerged dressed to impress.  We had played outside in the snow earlier in the day so everyone was in various states of disarray.  I hadn't asked anyone to change for dinner, but I was pleased that they did.  It showed that our celebration mattered to them and also that they understand that some events should not be attended in pajama pants! :-)

I had a couple of books from the library on Belgium and made them available to them this week.  From these  books I drew a variety of trivia questions. I mix the silly and odd with the more typical.  So yes, there were questions about Peter Paul Rubens, but there was also a question about what the most famous fountain in Belgium called Pis looked like.  (they scored on both questions!)  We played boys against girls as they seem to be doing that these days and the boys beat the girls by 15 points.  However in the interest of fairness, the girls should have been handicapped and spotted some points--it was really only Lissa and K on that team as I had created the game.  But it was close enough that all had fun.

A friend of mine has a family tradition where they put together a 1000 piece puzzle every new years eve.  The deal is that they all work together and it must be done by midnight.  I am horrid at puzzles and the littles are too little for that, but it was still a cool idea.  I used the banner program on my computer and took a montage of pictures of family over the year and put them on a banner made of 12 pieces of letter sized paper.  The way I set up the pictures a tiny bit of each pic overlapped onto the next one to give a clue to the watchful of the order the pictures should be laid out in.  It probably took a good 12 minutes to get the pictures in order and taped down. Then we each wrote a wish for the new year on the back.  From there, we adjourned outside to set off confetti cannons into the snow.  Those were loud enough to impress the kids, not loud enough to bother neighbors and tissue paper is biodegradable.  Back inside the toasty warmth of the  house, we jumped on plastic poppers that  you use for packing breakables. This too sounds fairly impressively like fireworks and is  a great energy burn.  It was rounded out with glowsticks spelling out 2013 in the dark, another collaborative venture as it took a while to figure out how to best use the glow sticks to achieve our goal.

The littles go to bed at their regular time.  Neither is physically capable of handling such a late night and I don't see the point in starting the new year cranky.  K will likely go to bed early as well. Rob and I typically stay up and see the New Year in, either watching some of the music programs, or with a movie marathon.

After our celebration, I was checking my email and saw that one of my friends from church had  just passed away due to complications from a heart attack she suffered 3 weeks ago.  She leaves her wife and  a daughter my Rob's age.  And suddenly, in the midst of celebration, sadness.  Life is like that.  It is the celebrations that sustain us when the sorrows inevitably come.  I wish you all small celebrations and moments of joy to store for darker times of the spirit.

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