The living room looks so much larger without the tree. And yet it doesn’t feel “back to normal.” It feels as if it’s waiting for a new chapter.

My husband’s family has a New Year’s Eve tradition of 1.) Measuring everyone’s height and weight and charting it, 2.) Making a list of the year’s top ten greatest moments, 3.) Writing down our new year’s resolutions, and 4.) Reading aloud last year’s greatest hits along with last year’s resolutions. Boisterous cheering and jeering are encouraged.

I understand charting the children’s growth. They get a kick out of seeing how many inches and pounds they can call theirs. Their graphs each look like a jet liner’s perfect take off, just as they should. Mine? Well, seeing as how I’ve been pregnant every other year of our marriage, my graph looks more like a heart beat monitor.

Despite my grumbling about stepping onto a scale (and demanding I get to do so in private and first thing in the morning at that,) it’s still a fun tradition. I love looking into the future and making predictions even if it’s just for one night.

In 2014 our new baby will take his first steps. Our preschooler will master the bicycle. A child will grow taller than me. 2014 will usher in the start of Junior High, it will hold a first day of kindergarten, a first dance, a baptism, and someone will get her braces off.

In our family, it’s customary to cherry pick a few New Year’s Resolutions so we’ll have something to cheer about at the end of next December: Learn to crawl, graduate from the 4th grade, try a new food, run a mile without stopping.

A handful of our goals are, let’s face it, reaching for the stars, but we like to put them out there anyway. For example, my husband has written down, “learn to play 12 hymns” every year even though he hasn’t had one piano lesson in his life. It’s still his dream to learn to play and he won’t abandon the hope.

But most of our goals are repeats from the year before, either because we didn’t pass muster and want to try again, or we did pass muster so let’s keep it up.

Because the future is foggy by definition and the past is 20/20, the best part about this tradition is looking back. When we recap the past year, it’s wonderful to see how life doesn’t always turn out the way we predicted. Most of the time it’s so much better.

A goal to lose weight was thwarted…by a baby. My husband’s goal to complete a triathlon sparked an extended family racing frenzy across the U.S. Goals to try something new resulted in a backyard production of Treasure Island, a traveling choir ensemble and memorizing Beethoven. Goals to move delightfully derailed so we got to stay in our wonderful neighborhood a little longer.

Maybe I wasn’t able to predict the number of stitches we got or the contagious bouts of pink eye that lasted way too long or the fender bender that totaled the car, but all in all, 2013 was a good year. And if I can hop on that scale still fasting, I can hit 2014 running.