the new year

January 7, 2018 |  Category:   life

We’re settling into a deep winter slumber of cold weather hibernation that’s brought on partly from post-holiday let down and partly from unbearably cold temperatures. No need to bore you with details as I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos and memes of this atypical East Coast cold snap, but it’s been very cold, considering we had such a warm Fall. But I guess we were due for a cold winter after the string of recent mild ones.

De-Christmasing the house (and I do kind of love that word, “de-Christmas”) is always a little bittersweet, but it felt really good to clean up and remove all traces of the holiday this morning. Not without wrangling the brittle tree, of course. Our Christmas trees over the years have gotten bigger and taller, mostly because we don’t bother having the workers at the tree stand unwrap it and shake it out for us to look at before purchase. The unwrapping happens at home and it feels like opening a gift because we’ve always been surprised at how big and full the trees unfold when we untie the twine (last year we had to cut part of the top off because the tree didn’t even fit). But it’s a monster task to get the tree outside when the holidays are over. Angling a huge 7-8 foot tree into the elevator with a constant stream of dry falling needles everywhere is every bit of a tricky job as it sounds. Not to mention rushing back in to sweep and vacuum up all the needles from the elevator and common hallways before neighbors notice. But it gets done, as it always does.

With the cold temperatures, we’ve mostly stayed indoors during the holidays. Nobody complained, but it’s a bit sad how the kids no longer want to go play in the snow as soon as they wake up to the outside world coated in white while asleep. This is just one of small changes I’m noting as I watch the kids grow up. More homebody tendencies. They’d rather stay home and binge watch TV on Netflix now. It’s a lot harder to motivate teenagers to go to a museum or a city outing. All those family activities that we’d do every weekend without fail when they were younger (and documented on this very blog) have gradually become fewer and far between——partly because of homework, but also because you can’t really bribe teenagers anymore with promises of food and fun. I remember being 14 and not really wanting to hang out with my parents either, so I get it, but you never really think that you’ll turn into those kind of parents. No matter how hip or young you think you are, your kids are still your kids and they’ll eventually choose hanging out with friends over hanging out with family.

One highlight of our quiet holidays was a New Year’s Day brunch at a friend’s house in the neighborhood. No matter where we are, we try to make the traditional Korean rice cake soup which all Koreans eat on New Year’s Day for good luck and a prosperous new year. This year we even made our own dumplings——a task that fell on the (not so little) hands of all the kids. It almost felt like a throwback to the big family New Year’s parties I remember when I was a kid.

Happy 2018.

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  • Anne-Marie January 8, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Happy new year!
    A tip for moving the Christmas tree, which I was told by a friend’s mother, and really works – put it in a large duvet cover first. You might need to clip off some branches at the top to get it in, but it reduces the ‘needle fallout’ unbelievably – you won’t need to hoover the elevator or hall afterwards!

    • Jenna January 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Hmmm, that is a good suggestion Anne-Marie. But I wonder if it’s hard to put the duvet cover on the tree! Maybe we’ll find out next year 🙂

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag January 8, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Happy New Year Jenna! Oh wow I’m feeling the loss of our tree more intensely this year than any other year – and we had it up for a month! snow is still a big big deal here because we get it so rarely in the PNW. i struggle in winter like I always do, but i’m very relieved this year that the endurance event of Christmas is now behind me.

    • Jenna January 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      We had our tree for 3 weeks. It’s SO dry in our apt that it was getting very brittle. Couldn’t imagine having it longer than that. Hope you had a wonderful holiday, Melissa.

  • Nora January 9, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Happy New Year Jenna, I love reading your blog. Wishing you and your family the best for 2018.

    • Jenna January 14, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Happy new year nora!

  • Victoria Hargreaves January 10, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Gosh I completely relate to the change of children and what they want to do with parents. Our girls are now 14 and 11. Remember the days when a trip to the park was an adventure – although we still do exhibitions and outings, I lament the innocence of the things we’d do together, when the being together was enough. I’m doing my eldest a little bit of a disservice but often activities that appeal include expense and her friends. I loved those younger days and although in the thick of it at times it’s just getting through, I wish there was a way you could hold onto the preciousness of those times when you’re in them.

    • Jenna January 14, 2018 at 9:07 am

      Yes! Mine are the same age. I feel like those museum going days are kinda over for now – at least as much as we used to go. It was so much easier to pack them up when they were little and take them to places. Now it’s either homework or friends, or to be honest, a little bit of teenage laziness. Which is fine! But it’s an adjustment.

  • Tina January 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    The one thing good thing about vacuuming pine needles is that all that pine needles in the vacuum bag will emit a lovely pine scent when you next vacuum. Someone should create pine scent vacuum bags for Miele vacuums.

    • Jenna January 14, 2018 at 9:07 am

      So so true! And that pine smell from the vacuum lasts quite a few months.

  • Tina January 10, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Oh i forgot, great pictures of your New Year’s Day brunch, especially the pie a la mode. Love the plates!

  • Helle January 12, 2018 at 9:23 am

    I’m impressed with their dumpling folding talents. A Chinese friend has tried teaching me how to do the pleated fold, but mine just always end up looking really messy, so I stick with the plain ones these days. Your tables always look so inviting with all the great food that’s put on them.

    • Jenna January 14, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Of course, the ones that I picked out here were the exceptional ones of the bunch 🙂

  • Jeanette January 14, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Happy New Year! Your posts continue to bring a gentle glow, and I look forward to reading more this year.

    • Jenna January 14, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Thank you Jeanette. Happy new year!

  • Vanessa January 14, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I have a 19-year-old and a 15-year-old and being a parent to teenagers who think I am old and CRAZY has really made me re-think my feelings about my parents (who really are old and crazy!). It’s how new families, new communities and fresh ways of thinking are established, by rejecting the old ways. It’s pretty painful to be rejected though and no-one can prepare you for it, you just have to live through it.

  • chai ling January 15, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    happy 2018 jenna! always like coming in to this site, a nice break from work desk.