Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome 2013!

It was New Year's Eve. The windows gradually began to darken as a far-away sun set on 2012. I took out the bag of balloons, Doug and I separated the serpentine streamers, and the girls began to puff balloons full of air. Slowly, the tree filled with color.


Our New Year's tree has become one of our favorite traditions.

It's a whole lot of hooplah and craziness, but whether we recognize it or not, we are celebrating the freshness of a new year. An open stretch of time yet to be used. 365 clean, white days, undetermined. All waiting to be filled with our choices. 

Randomly listed throughout this post are my hopes for the new year. Choices I'd like to make. 13 Things I need to work on, let go of, replace or develop.

1. less fretting, more faith

We blew streamers, streamers, and more streamers onto the branches.


There's an art to it - making a streamer spiral onto the tree in perfect curls. Place the roll just in front of your lips, pucker, and blow!

2. more patience


We danced through the decorating. The girls stopped for a split second to pose. 

3. more going gently

While editing this post I discovered a new photo effects feature and started tinkering.

4. less staying up late, more sleep


I looked at our photos from last year's celebration and couldn't get over how tall the girls are now, how long and leggy they look.

5. less nagging, more playing


Eliza has a touchdown dance she loves to do. A knee wobble with point and cross that would make John Travolta smile. 

6. less scrambling, more planning = less mac and cheese, more home-cooked meals


Spencer is Mr. Tough Guy lately. I think we need to read Raising Cain - a book about emotional literacy for boys. Have you read it? Would you recommend it? I'm also reading this and remembering where the most reliable answers can be found.

7. less force, more choice


Gordon eats anything in hand. Blowers, balloons, band-aids, paper. I am finding wet wads of chewed up things all over the house. Ick.

8. more chill pills


This photo trick makes it look like our Christmas lights turned neon. Or the will-of-the-wisps are ready to guide us somewhere.

9. less screen-time, more scripture-time

We rallied for a photo, then did our "early" countdown, ringing in 2013 on London time. Works great for kids. Then it was off to my parents for food, games, and fireworks.


My brother Dave and my sister Bec made a fantastic german meal. Becca served an LDS mission in Munich, so she wore her traditional dress, and Dave, being the confident man he is, wasn't about to be shown up. So he packed his lederhosen all the way from Texas, and joined her in full German get-up. 

The food was fabulous. Schnitzel, spaetzle, cucumber-tomato salad, and apple streudel. All from scratch.


I had to get a shot of the beautiful embroidery on the back of Becca's dress. And her fur-lined boots.


Then it was outside for sparks and pops. My Dad loves any excuse to light fireworks. He stores them en masse so they're on hand for every holiday. The grandkids love it.

10. more one-on-one time with my children


It was a whopping 15 degrees that night so the kids were jumping up and down to stay warm and no one wanted their hands out of their pockets for long.

11. less me-time, more Doug-time


We also lit sky lanterns. Thank you Rebecca, for this thoughtful gift. It was a new experience for all of us and a favorite part of our evening.


In ancient times, sky lanterns were lit to request good favor from God. It was believed that as the lanterns floated close to the heavens, God would make the senders' wishes and prayers come true.

12. less hurrying, more hearing

Our family definitely has its hopes and prayers. For jobs, homes, health, sustaining of life, babies yet unborn, a return to faith. While we are happy and so very blessed, our family, like all of yours, has its struggles and heartaches. 


As the lanterns rose into the darkness, I felt the outward expression of our combined prayers. I felt them slip out of our hands and into the sky. Into someone else's purview. Off they floated - all our worries and petitions - leaving us empty-handed and ready to receive whatever may come this new year.

12. more stopping, more seeing


Once home, the kids quickly put their shoes under the tree. No one wants to miss out on a visit from the New Year's Eve elf who fills our shoes with goodies. A dutch tradition from my mother's side.

I'll leave you with this little video of our countdown. Too bad I don't know how to splice footage or I would have included Doug doing the worm. Pretty awesome I tell you. Instead, you get what Doug politely calls our "star performers." I believe the more correct description would be "camera hogs." Sorry about that. But there we are, in our silliness, with Ali whining, me barking that someone will knock the camera over, and a bunch of bopping, and boogie-ing as we welcome in 2013.

Joseph B. Wirthlin's advice seems apt as we enter the new year.

"Come what may, and love it."


  1. What a fun celebration! Love your new goals.

  2. very cool! how do you do a sky lantern?

  3. It sounds great! Have a wonderful new year and may all your wishes come true!

  4. I love your New Years tree! Next year we'll copy you for sure. And I love your resolutions--they're all Christ-centered goals--you'll find him in each and every one of those. (Even, and ESPECIALLY, the chill pill one.) Happy 2013!

  5. Andrea - sure miss you!

    Grandma H - xo

    Erin - super easy. Here are the kind we used - they are biodegradable: Just light the burn platform inside and let it fill with hot air. Eventually it will pull out of your hands.

    Noemi - how fun to hear from you! What a sweet tribute to you on Michelle's blog. Blessings for a joyous new year to you too!

    Liz - You think? Even the no more mac and cheese one? ;) Love you.

  6. We fell in love with sky lanterns in England and brought one home with us. We used it last 4th of July, very fun. H looked over my shoulder when I was reading the post and saw the tree, she was very impressed!

  7. Great post Cath!
    I do, however, have to give the credit to Grandma Dyer for the German dierndle. It belonged to her and I had worn it once before, knew it was now in Dad's possession, and hoped it would still fit. Lucky for me, it did. The boots are mine and a total disgrace to the outfit, but it's all I had with me that evening.
    Such a fun New Year's. Let's make the lanterns a tradition. I loved that. Thanks.


  8. "Off they floated - all our worries and petitions - leaving us empty-handed and ready to receive whatever may come this new year."

    I love this visual. Just what I needed to hear.


  9. We have so many of the same resolutions...especially the chill out one. Beautiful photos and I love your tradition!

  10. Catherine, I adore your tradition of the balloons on the tree. You have so many wonderful traditions for your children! I love the simplicity and wisdom of your goals. I'm with Sarah…the "chill out" one is the one I've been trying to embrace lately….meet each moment with equanimity and acceptance and belief that there is beauty to be found in the world's little things.

    Happy New Year, friend! Raising Cain? Absolutely. I also love Michael Gurian, especially his book "The Minds of Boys". All the best to you. xo

  11. Happy new year ,Catherine. Hope all your wishes come true. I really liked your list and I'll definitely add few points to my new year's resolution. "less staying up late, more sleep" is something I have to work on but I doubt I'll be able to get more sleep with my extremely busy schedule. Thanks for sharing the photos. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas.

    Jeff Rivera
    Bestselling Author

  12. Shells - my brother and sister-in-law were in Malaysia when the locals did their traditional sky lantern celebration. It looked amazing! Loved your Christmas card. Can't get over how quickly your darling kids are growing up!

    Michelle - it was good for me to think of it that way too. Time to let some worries go and move forward with faith.

    Sarah - If I could chill as well as you chill, I'd be a much better mommy. I loved your new year's statements. So beautiful. Here's to 2013 - our year to chill... :)

    Anne Marie - Join us (see above) in our year to chill! :) Beauty to be found in the little things - yes. The spills, the fabric cut in to tiny pieces, the meatloaf ground into the carpet. Just a few from today. Those are the things I have to remember won't always be with us. It's okay, isn't it? To chill... And I had forgotten you recommended the Michael Gurian books. On they go to my list as well. Sure love you Anne Marie. How is life in your new home? I hope you're all settled. Think of you often. xoxo

    Jeff - thanks for commenting. I checked out your kindle book. Congratulations. Is it available for print?


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