For as long as I can remember I have, intermittently, kept a journal. People do it for lots of reason: stress relief, insight, writing practice. Although these reasons have at various time been important to me, the biggest reason I have kept one is so as not to forget. In recent years my journal has become this blog. The downside to a blog, over a journal, is that sometimes I can't/don't write the things that are truly stressing me out. If I've had a fight with the hubs, I'm not going to write about it here, because that's just tacky. I find writing out my frustrations to be therapeutic, but not airing dirty laundry. But the upside, and a huge one, is that family and friends can keep up on our goings on. And sometimes, when I do share my frustrations and stresses, I gain some really valuable insight from the internets. So the pluses outweigh the minuses.
In case it's not already apparent, this is going to be a very rambling post.
This is a long way of saying that it should come as no surprise that I like year-in-review posts. Because I have a crappy memory, and this blog serves as my memory. Should probably back up that memory sometime.
This year has been a big one for me. So much so that I forget everything that's happened during it.
I started the year with a new job. It quickly became apparent that I really disliked said job, and I feel like I wasted much of the year at a desk. Spending time at a desk isn't necessarily a waste, but me at a desk was a waste. Even just sitting for that long I found to be very taxing, on top of the fact that I didn't like what I was doing.
I also started the year fairly newly pregnant. I spent much of the year pregnant. Despite vowing to keep my weight down so that I could stay active and enjoy pregnancy, I did not. I've decided I'm just not a glowing pregnant woman. I love babies, but pregnancy is for the birds. So that's decided.
We squeezed in a lot of trips in preparation for the baby, because I was convinced that once she was born I'd never go anywhere again. We started with a trip to Austin in February for a friends wedding. Then Chicago for a conference. A trip to Madeline Island with some dear friends (some of whom have since moved). An annual return to our old neighbors cabin, where every year we marvel at how much bigger the girls have gotten. I also squeezed in a work trip to Ottawa, and the first time I've left MJ and hubs alone together, and the longest I've been away from her.
And then Greta arrived. The transition has been far easier than I expected. There were some frenzied initial weeks as I figured out how to juggle the addition, but it has not been the dire outcome I feared. We see friends just about as much as we did before. We still managed a trip back to Oregon in October, which went really superbly. Despite sleeping in the same room with both girls, and staying at 4 different houses in a week, we all stayed pretty sane and rested.
MJ has been a stellar big sister. She's helpful, engaged, loving, gentle and just about everything I could ask of a 3-year-old (far more than I would have thought to ask, actually). She's excited every morning to see Greta and gives her big hugs and smooches. If she accidentally causes Greta any harm, or even if she's not responsible but Greta is upset, she often starts bawling in sympathy. She shows no signs of jealousy whatsoever.
MJ turned three this year. Almost immediately after turning 3, her tantrums took on a new level of intensity. It was a rough couple months, but the past month or two has returned to a more reasonable level. I've also started putting her to bed half-an-hour earlier, which I don't think is unrelated (does that count as a double negative?) I've started to fall-in-love with my 3 year old. We have conversations. We talk about deep things, like getting old. We sing in the car at the top of our lungs. We eat too much cake together. I informed her today that she would someday move out of our house, and go to college. She freaked! She wailed! She informed me that no, Dad would be coming to college with her. For that matter, this is the year that she became a daddy's girl. I couldn't be more happy about it. He adores her, and she adores him. They are similar people, and I think their new found attachment has made the addition of Greta much easier on her. I wonder if she will become jealous when, someday, DH also falls in love with Greta. He likes/loves her now, but not in the deep way he does MJ. I know it's just age, because he was the same way with MJ at this age, and now that Greta has started to interact with him I see the beginning of their relationship. My suspicion is that MJ is much more like DH and Greta is much more like me, but only time will tell. I think my biggest hope for them, other than the obvious "I want them to be happy and healthy, etc." is that they can form a deep and lasting friendship. It's not so much my job to be friends with them, it's their job to plot against me. And I think a friendship between the girls would serve them so well in life. I hope to do whatever I can to make that happen.
After a while with Greta, and the realization of how miserable I would be back at a job I didn't like while missing one of my favorite ages, I decided to quit my job. I felt like a flake. But I have zero regrets, and so far I love being home. I'm not sure this is the forever situation, but it's the right thing for right now. With Greta going to sleep at 6 o'clock, I have no interest in missing 90% of her awake time. Our family's in a really good place right now.
Some other milestones:
Biggest achievement: Two kids. Both having and parenting.
Biggest failure: That the job didn't really work. Starting and quitting a job so soon is not my style.
Illnesses: Thankfully, no. After spending her first two years on earth constantly sick, MJ is now healthy as a horse (which means, so are we).
Biggest thing you bought: A mini-van. Which we all love. It fits so well with our lifestyle.
Regardless of whether we want to be in the mini-van phase of life, we most certainly are. Accepting that fact has made life a little easier.
What did you get really excited about: All our travel. After MJ was born we really didn't travel much (still a lot by some people's metric, but not much for us). She was a crazy child, and very hard to take anywhere. Greta is proving to be much more mellow, and hopefully much more amenable to travel. Because now that we've started again, it's in my system and I want to do more!
Song: Gangnam Style and Call me Maybe. Both of which MJ ADORES! She got an MP3 player for Christmas, and listens to those two songs constantly. And dances every time. And MUST have a stage to dance on. So not just the songs remind me of 2012, but MJ's love of those songs. I can't help but wonder which teen pop song will be next. As for my personal song, it would be Gotye "Somebody that I used to know". The first time I heard that song I was pulling onto the freeway on the way to work. It made me want to stop the car. I was instantly addicted. It's been a long time since a song has been that instantly amazing to me.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. I'm still up about 7 pounds from pre-pregnancy, and the scale hasn't really budged in 4 months.
c) richer or poorer? Pretty much the same, I think.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hmm, not really sure. Not stressing. Being patient.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Watching TV. I'm making a conscious effort to tone that down. But Downton Abbey is starting soon... and Mad Men....
How did you spend Christmas?
At home, with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, as well as hubs and the girls. It was awesome, actually. This is the first year MJ really "got" Christmas, and it was fun to make it magical for her. It was also great not to travel, as we have the past two years, and to have hubs off work for so many days.
Did you fall in love in 2012?Yes. With Greta. And with big sister MJ. Watching the two of them lights up my life.
What was your favorite TV program?I don't know. Probably The Borgias. And Downton Abbey. I'm inexplicably excited for the new season.
What was the best book you read?
Ugh. I didn't do much reading, least not of books. But I finally finished The Disappearing Spoon, which was stellar.
What was your favorite film of this year?I don't watch many movies. But I watched Sabrina the other day (the old one) and loved it.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?I did next to nothing. Hubs was working. MJ had swim lessons. It was a bit of a let down, but by now I've started to accept that they always are. And at least this year he remembered my birthday, and actually listened and got me something I needed. So that was a step up.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Absolutely nothing. My years was very satisfying. Stressful, busy, tiring, but definitely satisfying.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?Pregnant. Followed by post-partem. So non-existent, basically. And now that I'm not at work, considerably less thought out than before. I'd like to change that, now that I'm not pregnant and the post-Christmas sales are on.
What kept you sane?Starbucks. Date nights. Ladies nights. Creeping into MJ's room after she's asleep to give the blissful little girl hugs. A bigger house. Accepting that breast feeding doesn't really make much difference in the end.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?I have no idea. Jon Hamm, maybe?
What political issue stirred you the most?The Connecticut shooting. If this country doesn't do something about gun control, we are dumb.
Who was the best new person you met?Tough one. I'm not really sure, as I haven't expanded my friend circle this year. It's probably cheating to say Greta.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
I need to be a more patient person. As part of that, I need to go to bed earlier. I love that post-kid time, but then I'm a mean person the next day. I also need to take less on, because then I run out of patience and am not nice to MJ. I'm not nice far too much of the time, and I don't want that to be the childhood she remembers. Working on it, sometimes better than others.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.I got nothing.
Resolutions: My resolution started a bit early. When I got back from Oregon in October I resolved to lose the baby weight, I was still about 10 pounds up from pre-baby. I was tired of clothes not fitting, etc. I started eating better and lost about 2 pounds, but have continued to hover in that +8 to +10 pound range. A blog I read, Growing With the Gilmores, inspired me to not have any more excuses. She has chronicled her post-baby weight loss and exercise, and it's been really inspiring to see the whole thing. She started the Couch-to-5K shortly after Greta was born (her daughter is a little older than mine).
So I also started the Couch-to-5K a few weeks ago (I just started week 4). I don't consider myself a couch potato, so it never really appealed to me, but I instantly loved it. It started in just the right place for me. After a work-out I felt like I had exercised but also felt like I wanted to do it again. I used to dislike programs that prescribed a certain regimen, I liked determining what felt right for me. However, I find now that I'm tired of making decisions all the time, and thinking "I should really be running faster now. Now I can walk, but only for 1 minute and then I should run again". I have enjoyed that it tells me exactly when to run, when to walk, how long, etc. I make decisions all day long, I want someone else to make decisions for me.
I am a bit frustrated by the lack of weight loss. I guess I'm probably down about a pound, and with all the holiday eating that's better than gaining, but I was hoping for a bit more. Right now, though, my goal is simply to keep at it. I've been running/walking three times a week for half-an-hour. Sometimes I'm tempted to add another day, and the fact that I actually want to exercise more makes me happy. I've been feeling strong and active and I like it. I like that it's not every day, because some days I simply can't get it together. I'm tired, or the girls refuse to nap, or something. So specifically, I resolve to run three times a week for a half-an-hour. More than that would be great, but I resolve to at least do that much. And I'm hoping the weight loss just comes with time.
My other resolution is to become a more patient person and nicer to MJ. If that means I do less, then so be it. I simply must be more patient.