Christmas and New Year’s Wishes

Christmas is often a wonderful time of year where you can reconnect with family near and far and you can start to plan New Year’s wishes. Christmas for us is a much needed week of family stay-cation. This week we have plans to hit the Chicago History Museum, Orbit Skate, and GameWorks all courtesy of Groupon. Saving money is what one needs to do when you’ve had the medical spending year we have had. So, one of our New Year’s wishes is no more medical drama and costs for 2018. Christmas was lovely. A slow, carefree day although the kids were up at the crack of dawn- no joke- Meghan was up at 4am and woke her brothers up and they remained up til we woke John up at 6:58am. By the time we sauntered downstairs it was 7:25am and because they’d been up so early they simply wanted to see the tree and the evidence that indeed Santa had come and then they all wanted breakfast. Breakfast on Christmas day is my now famous danish. It was so good, buttery and overly indulgent. It was the perfect way to start the day.

This danish is reminiscent of the Entemann’s Raspberry and Cream Cheese Danishes and in fact that is how I found this great recipe!┬áIt’s easy as all you have to do is toss the ingredients into the bread machine in the dough setting- take it out when it beeps just before the rise, form into 5 logs, slather your cream cheese filling and raspberry jelly and cover in saran wrap- let it rise for 30 min and bake for 40 min and drizzle with icing. It’s a fantastic way to start the day. I make it the night before and put slices into the toaster oven for a warm, buttery, breakfast.

Today is the day after Christmas and lucky for us we have 5 slices of danish left. It’s a day of reflection and beginning to think about fulfilling our Christmas wishes and preparing for the New Year. One of my wishes is to lose the 15 lbs that have found my waistline in the last 3 months. I started today off with just 11 minutes on the exercise bike. I know that if I do too much to start I will never be successful. My goal is to do a minute more each day til I’m up to 30 min and I will continue that daily. It’s a great and fast way to sit and ride while I catch up on email and Facebook. I can distract myself while the minutes pass. What has changed in the past 2 months is no longer walking Snickers far distances. Her cancer/mass is making it harder to go for long walks and the cold is making that impossible today. So I need to replace my 30 minute walk with the bike. I need to add some other things too. I found my old fit bit and I’m going to charge it and see how many steps I am taking. I never did 10,000 (did that on a rare day) but I was about 8-9K and I built up to that from a meager 2700 when I first put the fit bit on over a year ago. I want my 2018 goal to be 10,000 steps a day and I want to start walking on the fitness track at the local Community Center. Hopefully I can find a partner in crime to meet me 1-2 nights a week to add that into my regimen.

Healthy food choices are another item on my to-do list. I have been eating drive-thru goodies that I should not be. Breakfast sandwiches, and donuts from the best donut place around, Spunky Dunkers. Not daily by any means but a change from my no-drive-thru policy. I am excited to start cooking meals more often and to ensure we have foods like baked lasagna ( I make a mean vegetarian healthy version) and chicken casseroles that are not only good for you but taste good. For me it’s not about not eating this or that it’s about portion control. I also think that hitting 45 has done something to my metabolism so I’m going to work on kick-starting it again. Fifteen pounds doesn’t sound like a lot but my pants don’t fit and I just don’t feel like myself. I’ve maintained 145-150 for nearly 15 years with one blip year where I got up to 169 over our first winter here in 2013 and just as fast as it came on it came off. It was the year of the Polar Vortex and I baked a LOT. I am hoping this is another blip year. I have been baking more and the past 2 weeks alone I have eaten more cookies than I normally consume in a year. So 2018- is a less cookie eating, more exercise year for me.

I am looking forward to hearing what the kids’ New Year’s Wishes are. We make a list every single year of things they want to do, either individually or with the family and we accomplish each and every single one of them over the course of the year. In year’s past items like, ride my bike, learn to cook dinner, playing more board games, going to the Science Museum, etc. are all on the list. This year I am putting going to the Aquarium and the Planetarium on the list along with the Discovery Museum in Milwaukee. I’d like to see the Red Sox play again next summer and we plan to go back East to visit family in June and there are a lot of things to add to that week’s to-do-list. I can’t wait to see what the kids want to do.

I wish for a healthy 2018. That is probably one of my biggest wishes. We have been relatively healthy but 2017 was full of doctors, exams, a major jaw surgery for John (double jaw) and he’s still 5 months into recovery still recovering. Cole was in a wheelchair for 6-8 weeks (I’ve lost track of time there) and then had a bout of issues that caused more tests. Last year we had a blood disorder diagnosed and thousands of dollars in medical bills, tens of thousands. Medical bills really put a crimp on our life. We were unable to go back to New England to visit family last summer simply due to all the money we have spent on medical this past year. We hope that 2018 is a low cost year for medical. We have found a new doctor, a great Chiropractor, who I believe will keep our costs reduced simply by checking in with him. I was having neck issues and probably would have landed in PT and more and a few weeks of 100% covered visits (as we’d met our max deductible) and I’m 100% again. He helped Cole get back to walking and gave us some tips on how to reduce his IBS symptoms which are now also 100% gone. I had no idea Chiropractic could truly heal and treat the entire body.

I hope that 2018 brings new opportunities for me. I am working on editing my 1st book and republishing it as well as finishing my 2nd book and getting it published. I want to work on my blog and perfect how to market it more. I want to write daily and find opportunities to make some money. I’d like to pay down all our debt (well all but the mortgage of course) and still find time to put some away for fun. I want 2018 to be filled with family fun and finally a real vacation. We haven’t been away for a real vacation in years. One where you go out to eat and you go to new museums, lay on a beach and swim and watch the kids have the time of their lives. I do not remember the last time we went away where we all had a great time. Last year we went to a water park in Wisconsin and I survived that trip. Although the kids had fun, I did not enjoy it. Sensitivity to chlorine and the noise- the amount of noise drowned out any ability to possibly read a book or enjoy any conversation. I will never do that again. What I will do is a quiet beach, and a week in New England by the ocean. That I can do and will do next June.

I also wish for health and happiness for all my friends and family. I know that each of us are on our own journeys and they look and feel different for everyone but there are some commonalities. We all want to be healthy and we all want to feel good about ourselves and we all want to enjoy time with loved ones. We want less stress, and we want to be financially secure and even have a bit more for some fun money. We want to be good and we want to give. Giving is the best gift we can give ourselves. And we all want something else, something more and that’s not universal. Some of us want to buy a new home in 2018 or we want a new career or a new baby. Some of us want to fall in love and find happiness. Some of us want to read more, and exercise more and enjoy fun times with friends and family. Whatever you wish for- I hope you get your wishes and have a Happy and Healthy 2018!

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