1. Last week we went to see the in-laws for a chat about various things; FIL expected us to announce another baby on the way. HA. I get a strange amount of enjoyment out of telling him very very clearly how very very closed the baby shop is. I've said this many times; also how hard I find the baby stage, and how relieved I am to be leaving it behind. And yet, still he hopes, apparently. Thank goodness he has other sons to expand the grandparental brood. (Which they are busily doing.)
2. One of the things we were in fact there to discuss involved the possibility of buying a flat.* And the chat keeps turning to the necessary compromises. Of the three main factors – location, size, condition – we care least about condition; but almost everything on the market is in good shape. As for size, we have a hard limit to how small we can go, because of needing a guest bed as well as two desks (Armin and I both work from home at least sometimes, and it's not the kind of work we can do effectively on laptops). Location is also key – we really want to stay where we are, partly because it gives A a beautiful and speedy cycle route to work (which enhances his well-being enormously; commuting by train would be seriously impractical for his midnight shifts, and would make him miserable) and partly because we've built up a pretty solid support network. Which, for parents of small kids, is invaluable. (And getting to this point was hard work! Having had to start from zero when we first moved here, I'd really rather not do it all over again...) So I'm pretty well convinced of my reasoning. I know that what's important to us really is important. But trying to explain that makes me sound, and feel, greedy. I hate that. Anyway. Good thing we have time to wait for the perfect place.
3. I went for a run in the snow yesterday, which sounds like an exercise in self-discipline but really I couldn't wait to go out there; it was gorgeous and energising. Then we took the kids sledding, which sounds like a delightful excursion but I had to force myself to do it, because it felt like terrifyingly hard work. I've got it backwards, haven't I? Some people do all this stuff with their kids and don't seem to feel the strain at all. And then there's me. (And one of my neighbour friends, incidentally, which is a relief. She's probably much better than me at actually gritting her teeth and doing the stuff anyway, but she certainly doesn't like it.)
4. Right before Christmas I ordered a huge pile of new woolly tights on sale. It felt ridiculous, spending three figures on tights, but it was the best investment ever. Drawerful of tights = whole new wardrobe – suddenly my skirts are getting a lot more use, it's not just jeans every day. I've picked up so much weight in the past few years (especially since quitting breastfeeding and before quitting Mirena). I'm not interested in stressing out over it, but my clothes don't fit, and there's a huge psychological resistance to spending money on new clothes in my new size, which really doesn't feel like my size, at least not for long, right? Right?!... I know, I know. But it's a thing. So: skirts are a lot more forgiving than jeans. New tights and a few flattering new T-shirts make me feel so much more like me. Total style win.
5. I'm also facing up to the fact that it's past time to clear out some old clothes. This means accepting, not only the physical changes, but the lifestyle change that's been obvious for eight years but I couldn't quite admit it: I'm not an office worker any more, I'm a hausfrau. And even if I did get an office job again, it would be part-time, and not require a full business-casual wardrobe, and frankly I may never recover the ability to walk naturally in heels. So it's farewell to the cute shoes. Farewell to the bras that will never ever ever fit again. Farewell to a whole bunch of stuff that's really lovely but just... not needed. Not now. And probably not ever.
Nos 2 and 3 of #52recipes: This week I made these cheesy biscuits and this birthday cake (but in a square pan, no layers, with basic chocolate icing). Both are keepers. It's hard to get excited about a basic yellow cake but then again, I'm excited about anything that comes together easily and reliably and tastes really good. Plus, I believe it would hold up very well to cutting into weird shapes, if I were ever foolish enough to attempt a theme cake.
I also baked three more familiar recipes (smallest's birthday week involves two playgroup parties, plus one for friends and one for family!) – the reliably delicious Queen of Sheba flourless chocolate cake, and Nigella's birthday biscuits and fairy cakes. Those Nigella recipes are not particularly delicious, but they do the job. If I'd been just a tiny bit better organised I could have baked the square cake and the fairy cakes at once with one double batch of the Smitten Kitchen batter, and that's what I'll do next year. (Note to self: buy more buttermilk!)
* It's on the agenda, it's likely to still take a few years, but there have been Things to Discuss.