Well, I wrote this days ago, but it took several more to find the time to proof read. Better late than never!
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Well, it’s not a very good sign when the very first question has you stumped, is it? Most recently, I took care of a toddler and a new puppy, which was somewhat challenging at first. Having also cared for twin toddlers, I have to say… twins are harder. But only because I did not have the option of putting one of the twins in a crate for a nap or when I went to the grocery store.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I don’t think so, although I did do monthly “to do” lists for a while that I found useful. Maybe I’ll try that again?
I also like the idea of finding a word to focus on for the upcoming year… but haven’t landed on which word.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
After like a decade of secondary infertility, a dear friend finally gave birth to her second son. They don’t live here anymore, and I miss them terribly. Thank goodness the internet is filled with adorable babies that I get to see photos of every day!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year, but in 2012, my dear Aunt Susie passed away. I miss her.
What countries did you visit? Where did you travel this year?
Every year, our travel will include trips to South Dakota to see my family. Many of my extended family lives in the eastern part of the state (only a 4 hour drive from us), and my parents and siblings all live in the Black Hills (more like a 10 hour drive). Since our kids travel so often, they are excellent in the car. This summer, we also went onto Colorado and stayed for 5 days in the Rocky Mountains. It was absolutely fantastic. I took Kate and Olive to visit East Coast Anne in Maryland last spring (they were such pleasant travel companions!) (Joan and Marin are going with me when I visit her this spring, in case you wondered how that panned out around here.) I also went to Charleston, SC for the Blathering and had a blast. That city charmed the pants off of me, and the company wasn’t bad either. We went camping with friends, as usual. I… think that was all the traveling we did?
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Broken record time, but I still really REALLY want a fence. But! I have an ace in my pocket: WE GOT A DOG! I think the dog will finally tip the scales enough so that I WIN! (David is simply not interested in having a fence… but I DO BELIEVE that after trying to watch the dog while working or playing outside, he’ll come around. I AM A GENIUS. BWA HA HA.)
I’d also like to declutter and get rid of tons of stuff this year. I have a spring garage sale in mind, and after living in this house for almost 9 years, it will feel SO GOOD to pare down the amount of stuff we have inside our four walls. Also, all the baby and toddler stuff is GONE-ZO as soon as Olive outgrows it.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
That day in January when I received a phone call from my aunt, who was crying and saying something about my grandparents, and those terrifying seconds before I figured out what was wrong. They were fine! But their house had burned to the ground over night. Sad day.
Our Colorado vacation in July stands out. It was such a wonderful trip, our kids were troopers, and it felt great to be able to manage a vacation with four kids, including a testy toddler. It all went so well, and we were all so happy. I hope our kids remember our family vacations as fondly as I do.
David’s 40th birthday was pretty fun. He’s so great, and I had fun celebrating him with our friends.
My kids’ birthdays, always. Every year, I watch their little faces, lit by candle light, while we sing to them, and I marvel at the sheer fact of them.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I spent too much time this year feeling like a failure. Olive is a difficult kid to be one on one with all the time, and as a result, I simply CANNOT find time to do so many of the things I want or need to do. Blogging, photography, volunteer work for a board I’m on… it all suffers, and this frustrates me to NO END. In fact, the only reason I’m able to write this right now is that Olive is sleeping in a feverish stupor next to me.
That aside, I feel proud of the life and community we’ve built here. This feels like a productive and beneficial way to spend energy, and I’m so fulfilled by our growing friendships.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being the person, the mother, the friend, that I wanted to be. I think my kids get the worst end of this, as I find myself screaming or being a little mean far too often. I really, really regret that, and yet it continues.
I also was not a very good long-distance friend. Olive not only does not allow me much laptop/writing time, but ALSO really hates it when I’m on the phone. As a result, I talked to my long-distant friendships suffered.
So many of my non-kid tasks suffered. I was not able to work out how to fit doula work (or any birth work) into our schedule. I don’t have an answer for how to fix that, and it sucks.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I think I broke like 2 toes. AM CLUMSY. Both times my foot looked TERRIBLE, and there were certain shoes I couldn’t wear, but other than that it was a fairly easy injury to overcome. Otherwise, besides the migraines that I get, I had a healthy year. We all did, around here.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Oh, we did lots of discretionary spending this year. I think it started with Black Friday 2012, when we bought our first tv as a married couple. It’s a huge flat screen for the family room and we LOVE IT SO. In fact, we loved it so much, that a month or two later, we bought ANOTHER one for our room. We’re not even tv people! I read before bed 90% of the time! And yet, I cannot believe how worth it the flat screens are. Nor how much I love having a tv in our bedroom.
Next, we bought a new, king-sized bed. LOVE.
David got a new car. This was necessary. His old one was OLD and needed repairs that exceeded the car’s value.
We installed a gas fireplace insert in our chimney and this is the best best best best BEST money spent. Ever. EVER. Why did we not do this years ago?
Amazon Prime wore a beaten path to our front door as well. Damn it’s easy to buy stuff when it shows up in two days.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I mentioned above that my grandparents’ house burned down. They are 82 and 83 years old and had left that day for their Arkansas home (where they live from January to May each year). The night after they left, their house in SoDak started on fire and burned to the ground. Not a single thing was salvageable. My grandma is an artist and lost hundreds of her original paintings.
I really thought that this was it; this was the event that would really age them. However, they absolutely triumphed. They built a new house that was ready for them by spring. Grandma spent the winter shopping for furniture, dishes, household supplies. By the end of summer they were happily living in their new (very different) home, happy as ever. If you need a lesson in rising above, I’d love to invite you to sit down with my Grandma. Her attitude and outlook is simply outstanding and refreshing and… it’s just amazing.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My own, at times. The Tea Party. Sarah Palin. Michele Bachmann.
14. Where did most of your money go?
The usual: house, kids, kids’ activities, fresh fruit, AMAZON, blah blah blah.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our puppy. Getting a dog in general took up lots of brain-space for a while there. We meant to adopt an adult dog, but ended up with the perfect baby pup.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
For a long time, Olive was OneD’s biggest fan. I’ll always think of toddler Olive dancing and singing in our kitchen to “What Makes You Beautiful.”
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same, though better rested, which I firmly believe makes everything better.
b) thinner or fatter? Same.ss
c) richer or poorer? Same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More enjoying the moment. More talking to EC Anne. More exercise. More family walks after dinner. More from-scratch cooking. More vegetables. More protein for breakfast. More dates with David.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being crabby to the kids and David.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We drove to Rapid City. It was ok.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Not with anyone new, unless Nina counts. But I’m constantly re-falling for my girls and for David. I’m really quite sappy in that way.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Orange is the New Black, Downton Abbey, Veronica Mars,
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I wrote this two years ago:
No, but I do have a… situation that has far too much power over me. I’d really like to come to a place of peace about it.
This situation still has some power over me, but upon reflection, I DO think I’ve made just a little progress. I wish I’d made a TON of progress- I wish, in fact, that I was OVER IT- but I think this is going to be a slow-to-heal situation, so I’m trying to have grace about it and give it even more time.
24. What was the best book you read?
I can’t pick just one, but here’s some favorites:
Tiny, Beautiful Things
All of Curtis Sittenfeld
All of Rainbow Rowell
Me Before You, The Snow Child, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, These Is My Words, Dog Stars
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sitting in a crowded auditorium watching both of my big girls perform a solo with confidence. It’s not so much that I didn’t know they could sing (they sing all the live-long day), but more that I got to watch them discover something about themselves, got to watch a little bit of them unfold and blossom.
26. What did you want and get?
A new fireplace, more sleep, a puppy, a fitbit, a heated blanket, lots of balmy summer evenings spent with friends, to see EC Anne (but it’s never long enough), many nights reading in bed with my girls, David’s brother to recover from a life-threatening illness (he’s doing great!), to go to the Blathering, a few visits with my grandma (also never enough), a new bed, absolute peace about the size of our family and leaving the baby years behind.
27. What did you want and not get?
A motherthumping fence (you saw that one coming, didn’t you?), new windows (working on it!), more time for doing things not related to the kids or our household, a house cleaner, finding that balance between getting chores and projects done and having quality family time.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I did actually see a few in the theater this year. I liked both Gravity and Catching Fire.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38 this year and got to wake up in the Rockies. It was a perfect day. It started with Starbucks and pastries delivered by David and consumed on our cabin’s deck overlooking the mountains, included some (solo!) shopping, hiking, a gondola ride to spectacular heights and views, and ended with Boston cream pie on the beach with all of my loves surrounding me. I redo that birthday anytime.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time with my grandma. A house cleaner. Fewer migraines. Fewer loved ones struggling with addictions or health issues.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
“I’m still trying to find clothes that actually fit my body and I think I’m getting a little better at it.”
32. What kept you sane?
My husband, my village, Seester, EC Anne, my girls for their well-timed comic relief, reading, social media.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The girls and I watched our first season of The Voice… and I fell absolutely, irretrievably, in love with Adam Levine.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
35. Who did you miss?
I miss my aunt Susie. There is no one on the planet who can tell a story and make me laugh like she could. Luckily my sister is a close second.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Probably Marin’s teacher. I was very concerned when we received her assignment as I didn’t think I like her teacher. Boy was I wrong. I’m so glad that I am, and also I can be a jerk sometimes.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
I learned that when friendships reach a certain point, people “stop being nice and start being real,” so to speak, and that it’s in fact a beautiful thing. It’s messier, the better we know each other, but so much more satisfying too.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“You were born into a strange world.
Like a candle, you were meant to share the fire.
I don’t know where we come from, and I don’t know where we go.
But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.
Cuz you were born to change this life.
You were born to chase the light.
You were born…”
-You Were Born by Cloud Cult
I know this would be more apropos for a year that we actually added a baby to our family, but I think about these lyrics all the time as my girls get older. The four of them are all here, under our roof, in our arms, and as time continues to slip by, that won’t always be true.