I know everyone else posted these weeks ago, but I like to keep you all on your toes. Surprise! 2012 is over! Had you heard?
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Kept four children alive (and mostly thriving). Had a non-newborn-aged child hospitalized.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In 2012 (according to this post from last year) I wanted to:
- feed my family more vegetables,
- give my big kids more attention and affection, and
- try to be gentler with myself.
- Um, nah. This was a big failure. Maybe in 2013!
- Surprisingly, I exceeded my own expectations on this. I definitely do a lot more cuddling and attention-giving with Camilla and Blaise than I was doing this time last year. When I wrote the resolution it felt almost impossible that I'd be able to come up with the required emotional energy to pull it off well, but I did. I think it's possible that Linus's and Ambrose's (comparatively) decreased physical needs made it possible.
- You know what? Yes. I am noticeably gentler with myself these days. Chalk one up to habits learned in cognitive therapy, plus lots of pep talks from people who love me.
- Really, this time, with the vegetables. I'm serious.
- Give my marriage a lot of time and attention. Bryan and I are a strong team now, but we need to have, y'know, LEISURE together instead of just work work working all the time. Even if I have to give up some of my reading or solo relaxation time to do it.
- Try to volunteer and give a little bit more, now that my own life is not as crazy as it used to be. I think I'll shoot for one good work for another person/family per month.
- Relax and enjoy life as much as possible. It's been a grueling couple of years, and we deserve to breathe a little.
My sister Branwen had a baby on August 30th! Little Leah Clare, who's an incredibly sweet baby and exactly the person our whole family needed this year. I got to be there for the birth, too, which was wonderful.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandfather, my dad's father, died in August at the age of 86. Sadly, I hadn't seen him in several years, but he was a huge presence in my life. I think of him and pray for him every day.
5. What countries did you visit? What states did you visit? What counties did you visit?
I am proud, because in 2012 I actually managed to visit a few other states. I drove (through Indiana) to Peoria, Illinois in March for the Behold Conference, and flew to New Orleans, Lousiana in November for The Blathering. I also drove around Michigan a bit, so I probably topped my 2011 county count. Score!
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Time. Time to rest, time to read, time to breathe and eat an entire meal in peace. Not, like, TONS of time - I am a mother of four young children after all - just an hour here or there to recharge.
Also, writing work that helps me grow and (hopefully) brings a little money in as well.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 21st, Linus was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, and March 1st, we brought him home.
May 12th was our twins' first birthday. A big achievement for us!
August 28th, Camilla started first grade. Since we don't do preschool and we homeschooled her for kindergarten, this was our first day ever sending a kid to school. And - relief - it went well.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It sounds mundane, but honestly: managing my life day to day feels like a huge achievement to me. I'm proud of myself every day I pull through without wanting to give up by bedtime.
Oh, and I entered a weight loss contest and won. That was pretty cool.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Ergh. I dislike this question. My particular brand of bad habit mind-bending means that I could list about thirty things as big failures of mine without even having to dig deep. But I try not to do that anymore, so. Pass.
Oh, wait! I'll go with the thing about the vegetables. Not enough of those! Yes! Big FAIL there!
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than my physical, I went to the doctor only once, for this weird stomachache thing I was having (it kept me up all night once) whenever I drank alcohol. The doctor decided I didn't have gallbladder issues or an ulcer, and recommended PPIs (Prilosec, etc) which I took one course of, but then I decided to give up drinking rather than stay on meds forever. Fortunately, four months later I was able to start drinking again, in moderation, and I seem to tolerate it okay. Thank goodness! Having to give up alcohol forever would be a serious injury to my happiness.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
This is such a boring parent-y answer, but we bought an IP camera that allows us to have a video monitor in the bedroom where the twins are sleeping. I can't believe I lived without video-monitoring my kids before! It's awesome.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My answers from last year are still true: Bryan (most helpful supportive spouse ever) and Lauren (the friend I'd given up dreaming I'd find - can't believe I've only known her five years) and my family (BEST. FAMILY. EVER. full stop.)
But also, when Linus was hospitalized a bunch of my online friends got together and sent us an incredibly generous token of support that made me flat-out BAWL when I got it, I was so touched.
A month or two later, a anonymous person sent us a gift by mail to help with our expenses from Linus's hospitalization. It was huge and completely unexpected and completely wonderful.
And a couple other times, when I had my own opportunities to organize help for some who needed it, the way that people reached out and GAVE, gave generously, to friends and to strangers, blew me away. I've always believed people are good, but this year I saw it in action many times. It was lovely.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Do we have to talk about this? Anyone who hurts anyone else, period, but especially anyone who hurts children. Whether they make the news or not.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Taxes, mortgage, etc, with the added bonus of Catholic school tuition for Camilla. That one is actually a pleasure to pay, though (as long as I don't think about how much tax money we're paying into a school system we don't use). Also, more medical bills than we were hoping for, due to Linus's hospitalization and a load of sick visits (mostly for the twins - co-pays times two!).
Being parents is expensive, but there's nothing I'd rather be spending money on than the privilege of raising our kids.
15. What did you get really excited about?
Meeting a bunch of my favorite Catholic-blogger friends at Behold.
Ambrose and Linus turning one.
Taking Camilla and Blaise to Cedar Point, sans babies (thanks to the generosity of my sisters, who watched them for us).
A night away with Bryan, sans all children (this was our twins'-birthday present from my parents and sisters, and they could not have come up with a better one.
My trip to the Blathering and all the people I met there.
My sister getting engaged! (see more below)
And Christmas, because I love Christmas.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Ha! "Call Me Maybe" I think, because that song was EVERYWHERE.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier! Yes. Instead of having two babies, I have two toddlers, which is way more fun. I'm sleeping much more than I was last year, and am generally stronger and better able to care for myself and my family. All good. It's good. And I expect 2013 to be even better.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner. Which wasn't true until this fall - the last bit of baby weight stuck around for a while - but I did a weight loss contest called Biggest Blogging Loser (see more here), and it turns out that money is the motivator I need for weight loss. Cut back on my eating, and 11.5% of my body weight later, I brought home the $410 pot. It was awesome! I feel lucky that weight loss is so relatively easy for me, and REALLY lucky that I got to both (a) fit into my pants again, and (b) win money doing it.
– richer or poorer? Poorer. Yikes. Medical bills, tuition, our car died, etc... and thanks to new taxes and health care changes, next year's answer looks to be even worse. Bah.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Like, in my dream world? Reading in the bath.
In the real world? Being generous and patient toward the people around me. Always.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Um, being impatient and selfish. Also, picking up toys off the floor.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, just the six of us, on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. 4:30pm Christmas Eve Mass, appetizers for dinner, reading The Grinch, A Visit from St. Nicholas, and the account of the nativity from the Gospel of Luke, hanging stockings. Opening stockings with the kids at 7:00am, eating cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast, opening family presents one by one around the tree.
Later in the day my parents and sisters came to town and we had family dinner at my in-town sister's house. It was a pretty great day.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
We're supposed to fall in love EVERY YEAR, aren't we? Shoot, I knew I missed something.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Probably The Big Bang Theory, which Bryan and I discovered newly this year and watched the entirety of.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone.
24. What was the best book you read?
I started the year with a re-read of The Lord of the Rings, and of course I didn't read anything the rest of the year that topped it. That story gives me so much truth every time I revisit it.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Did you manage to get your carpets professionally steam-cleaned, as planned?
Dang it, no. We didn't, because once the twins got over their babyhood reflux, it turned out they're pukers like their sister, and (seriously) not a single fortnight went by without someone in the house vomiting. (Gross!)
The carpets... suffered. It seemed like a waste to get them cleaned. But this year, we're cleaning them anyway! I declare it!
26. What did you want and get?
Babies who sleep through the night! Not that they do it with any consistency, but they have both managed it on a handful of occasions. I think they have even coordinated it once or twice.
Also, a Kindle Paperwhite. (Christmas gift from Bryan.) I treasure that thing.
27. What did you want and not get?
I can never get enough time to myself. But I sort of think if I got all the time I WANTED, it wouldn't be good for me.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I wrote Crazy, Stupid, Love but apparently that came out in 2011. Hmm. Well, it was still *my* favorite film this year, and I lived under a rock most of 2011, so.
I wish Steve Carell were my uncle. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 on August 23rd. To celebrate that and our ten-year wedding anniversary, Bryan booked us a hot air balloon ride in early August. That was quite a way to celebrate. Pretty cool.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Immeasurably? I suppose if all my children cared for their own physical needs and - why not? - kept the house clean too, so I could just enjoy hanging with them instead of being stressed by the endless to-do list of running this household.
This IS supposed to be a fantasy-type question, yes?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Have you showered today? Good for you!
Well... yesterday. That's close enough, right?
32. What kept you sane?
Bryan, Lauren, my family, my Twitter pals, reading, kid-free outings, and indulgent bedtime snacks.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Can you sing the theme song from Thomas & Friends? Do you hate it?
Still can, still do.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Religious freedom. Worrying about that is new, and not welcome.
35. Who did you miss?
My sister Miriel and my brother Brandon and my brother Kelson, hundreds of miles away. Lauren, ditto. The year I learn to apparate is going to be the year my life finally improves immeasurably.
(Same answer as last year, because it's still true.)
36. Who was the best new person you met?
This is a fun one this year:
My sister Miriel's now-fiance John, and my brother Brandon's now-fiancee Heather. Both of them started dating in 2012 and are due to get married in June and October of 2013.
I am ridiculously excited about this. New and awesome people in the family! What could be better?
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Weirdly, this one came to me all blinding-flash-like at the end of the year:
I can be who I am, and some of them will like me and some of them won't, and that's okay. And also life is better if I try not to care at all whether people admire me.
Still working on assimilating it, but I think I really believe it now.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Do you like ice cream?
You know, I've never been a huge fan, but in 2012 I developed quite a fondness for turtle sundaes. I ate LOTS of them. Ice cream is definitely on my YES list now.