New Year here in Doha is pretty much like New Year back in the UK - an evening of celebrating and drinking with friends leading up to the chimes of midnight, the singing of Auld Lang Syne, and then the obligatory New Years Day hangover and the promises of how things are going to change/be different in the forthcoming year. 

There may not be the big firework displays to see out of every window here but it is still a good night of celebrating. I must admit I was a little disconcerted this year, however, when Rebecca and Ben announced that they were planning to stay awake until 3am. Apparently it was not really going to be New Year until then, as that was when the clock was going to strike midnight in London! Luckily they didn't make it much past midnight Doha time!

So once again I have made my New Year Resolutions, and this time I am definitely going to adhere to really, I am!! The usual ones of eating more healthily and exercising to lose weight have obviously reared their ugly head again. 6 months have now passed since baby number 4 was born and I can really no longer use that excuse for carrying those extra pounds around my waist, stomach, hips and....well, pretty much everywhere! 

Now, six days into January and my eating habits have not yet changed as we have been busy finishing all the leftover Christmas goodies, but I have signed myself up to do another 10k run  (more of a walk in my case) along the beautiful Corniche at the end of the month, so at least I have the incentive to exercise again. My training has commenced and I have been out running laps of the Compound twice in the last 4 days - completing 2 miles on the first run and 3 miles on my second outing. How I am going to complete 6 miles on the 26th Jan is yet to be seen but I managed it when I completed the Doha College 10k in November, so am sure I will somehow manage again.

The other BIG resolution I have made is to try and be a better Mum to my four children, as when I look around it always feels like everyone else is doing a better job than me! I need to relax more and just enjoy them rather than live in our usual bubble of stress and frustration when things aren't done in a timely manner or how I want them to be done (very difficult when trying to juggle the needs of 4 little people). I also want to give the kids more opportunities to discover what they like and don't like and open up a world of different sporting activities and musical interests to them. 

I actually started the sporting campaign last term, which, in the case of the boys, was particularly successful - between them they enjoyed a mixture of Sailing (Ben loved this, Matthew not so much), Swimming (great progress by both boys - this is a non negotiable activity!), Basketball (Ben), Tennis (Ben twice a week), and Gym club (Matthew). Alongside this, both boys are active members of Beavers and Cubs, which they love. I am still waiting for Rebecca to find a sport she likes as last term consisted of her filling her afternoons with Choir practice, Zoology and Textiles Clubs, but this term she WILL be getting active, whether it is by playing Netball, or joining me in the Gym/walking around the Compound!

 The desire for getting the children interested in Music, lies from the way I felt when we went to see Rebecca perform in the Choir at the school Winter Concert in December. Alongside her contribution as part of the Choir, Simon and I watched children from Doha College Primary, right through to some of the 6th Formers, play a variety of musical instruments and entertain us with really beautiful performances. It reminded me of how my brother and I had learnt to play the clarinet as children and my sister the Flute. At the ages of 12, 9 and 6, none of our children have ever tried playing anything other than a recorder and I want that to change. 

So, over Christmas, I made enquiries regarding music lessons for Rebecca, and thought we had agreed she would give playing the violin a go - she can have weekly lessons arranged through the school and hire a violin from the Music Department. But now of course she has changed her mind and would rather learn to play the piano. The problem is we do not have a piano and she can hardly bring one home with her to practise outside of her lessons can she?!! The dilemma over which instrument to play therefore continues.....

Now that we are well and truly settled here in Doha, and Ethan is getting a little bigger, Simon and I would also like to travel more in 2013 and so I am hopeful that this will include a trip to Sri Lanka in the near future. One of the reasons we moved here was for the opportunities for travel it would open up to us. My pregnancy last year put a halt to those plans in the short term but now we are ready to move forward and start exploring the countries around us.     

So, is New Year a time for new beginnings?...for me it's a time for quiet self reflection as I look into who I am and who I would like to be, and what I have around me that can be tweaked a little to enrich my life and that of my family. Some alterations I want to make will be successful, others are of course bound to fall by the wayside - I wonder which changes I desire will be successfully achieved this year?   

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