Party planner.

January is birthday month around here, for two small and one big. Shortly after the Christmas decorations get packed away, the sleep countdown begins for the small people, and I switch to birthday party planning mode.

As is often the case though, I soon realise that my usual way is no longer the usual way.

The process starts off easily enough. I vow to keep things simple, and start writing lists. First up is the guest list. But then I find myself torn between adopting the Norwegian invite everyone approach and the Swiss invite one child per year of age rule. I set out not wanting to exclude anyone, before looking around our apartment and musing over inclusion versus practicality.

Kids’ parties seem to be fairly standard in the noise and movement they generate. But I still have to be on the lookout for clues. When we had our first party in Switzerland, we put the gifts to one side, Sydney style, ready to open after everyone had left. But as the designated home time got closer, everyone started glancing at their watches, and then at the presents. We found out just in time that, at Swiss parties, the presents get hidden, and then, when they’ve all been found, the kids play spin the bottle to decide which order to open them. This was a lot of fun, and even though we’ll be living in a different country for the next round of birthdays, we’ll try and take that tradition with us.

I seem to have found my way with the food at least, I wrote about that for Mothering matters: Party time

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A new year.

If ever there is a day where you feel hope and anticipation for the future, it’s on the first day of the year.

It was only as I bid farewell to 2015 that I fully comprehended what a quietly momentous year had come to a close.

A year when you realise that you cannot change your past, and that you are who you are because of it.

One where you have to confront your deepest emotions, and realise that you have the strength to be okay.

When you realise that time is speeding along no matter how much you try to live in the present, and that when the children are grown you’ll look back and realise these were the days.

The year I started writing, and discovered I had a story to tell.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. For now I am grateful for everything that has led to this day, for the lessons learned along the way, and for the people who give it all some meaning.

Wishing you peace, love, and happiness for the coming year.