New Year's Eve used to be the night of the year. It wasn't necessarily a party night, but something had to happen and it needed to be big and interesting and special, well planned and preferably involvoing glow sticks. The year I was pregnant with Fred we went to bed before midnight and thus marked the end of big with glow sticks. Last year we were in bed by 10.30 but we did have a fabulous night, with drinkings and many children still running around a friend's backyard at 10pm - will go into the records as one of our best ever. Perhaps because we were feeling so optimistic about this year - we'd sold our millstone-round-our-necks house in the burbs and were heading back to the inner city and the joy of renting, having got the 'must own a house in order to live a happy and fulfilling life' monkey off our backs. Fred had fallen head over heels in love with her sister (happened when Una was 3 months, around Christmas time) and we'd gotten into the rhythm of two kids, I was no longer pregnant and starting to feel normalish again. Martin had given notice and was waiting for first round offers. Fred had been offered a place at creche. Breathe was out in the world. Life was looking rosy.
And it has been an excellent year. It's been good for writing, for study for both of us (HDs all round, only mine are called H1s now that I'm post-grad, which doesn't have the same ring to it), and for creche for Fred. Una learned where her brain is. Fred learned to sleep through the night; so did Una for that matter. We've reclaimed our evenings and from about 7 onwards the night belongs to us. Una and Fred grow daily and are both interesting and spirited little girls, different from each other but increasingly comaptible, not only learning how to play together but learning how to adapt their games to accommodate their different abilities. Both our families are in good health and as Fred gets older her relationships with her grandparents and other people outside the home are blooming.
Next year promises to be interesting too and I'm looking forward to it. I'm writing a thesis for my Masters - the first thesis I've written as it happens. Drift comes out in April. Another novel is due to be finished soon and I'm really looking forward to writing it, to exploring the intimate interior of another imaginative world. I'm switching over to Allen & Unwin for this novel and as much as I've love being with Random House and value the relationships I've forged over there, I am excited about being with A&U where I know everyone (in the Melbourne office), having more contact. No more conference calls! And it's not really goodbye to Random House, because of course they'll still have the Undine books so we'll still be in contact. I also wrote a short reader (a kind of middle years chapter book) which was heaps of fun and quick; it would be great to do some more of that stuff because then I won't have to ever get a grown up job and I might actually have some super when I retire (not that I can imagine ever wanting to retire from writing). I really want to play around with my writing this year and try some new things. I think finishing the Undine trilogy will be very freeing for that.
I'd love to travel a bit more. There's whisperings of a trip to India for a conference (with a friend and without Martin and the kids, which is a huge deal for me). Plans to go somewhere lovely for a week or two in winter (Palm Cove in July this year was such a boost mentally, physically and emotionally).
Martin will be doing his second year of his B Ed. Maths this year. Eep. But the geeky part of me is looking forward to him bringing maths home. Una is starting creche in January when we get back from Tassie and I'm excited and nervous for her. I think she will love it, but I think it will take her a while to settle in. Frederique is going back into the Octopus's Garden room (we made the decision not to send her to four year old kinder next year because we wanted to score her an extra year of childhood and wildness) hopefully with her beloved Sarah Jane (unless Sarah Jane changes rooms). We also plan to enrol her in a class this year to make up for the fact that she couldn't get a place in 3yo kinder because there's not enough places in our council. So we're thinking a singing or dancing class.
My New Year's Resolution is to ride my bike to uni. Also to write more, read more, dance more and s-t-r-e-t-c-h more (stretching is highly under-rated).