Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Year in Review

It can be tough to find the inspiration/motivation to post on this blog when my full-time job is to write, write, write—plus I've been so dang tired lately with the boys waking up anywhere from two to five times a night (now Ben also gets out of his bed — my sleep is so interrupted I feel like we have a newborn again!) that if I wait for inspiration to strike, I might not feel like blogging on here until April ... so here goes.  

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Tried a peanut butter burger at the Blue Door with my buddy Julie (it was good), enjoyed a fancy anniversary dinner at the Saint Paul Hotel with my better half, went to the Kalahari, traveled to Crivitz, Wis. for a rowdy college get-together, experienced the magic of the Pizza Farm for Jeremy’s birthday, sent Adam to preschool (oh, the anxiety and the heartache!), saw Madonna in concert, ran 10 miles with Aaron faithfully by my side, watched Adam play t-ball and soccer, watched Ben go down waterslides, fearlessly jump off docks, leap from swimming pool ledges, and become obsessed with all things Star Wars and Batman. Oh, and brought Ben to urgent care for stitches in his foot. 

Left Foot Lake, Crivitz, Wis.
Pizza Farm

Training partners for the 10 mile.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
You’d think that one year the whole “move more, eat less” thing would stick and I could finally be at peace with my body.  Maybe this will be my lucky year! (On the plus side, I replaced my daily Diet Sunkist Lemonade habit with good ol’ water, cut down drastically on carbs and red meat, and continue taking the stairs every morning up to the sixth floor.) I know my lifestyle could be a lot better, but it could also be a lot worse. 

3. Did anyone close to you have a child?
Lots of beautiful baby girls! My good friend Remme had twin girls Reese and Sofia March 7, my sister-in-law April had little Lucy July 19, and my dear friend Amy had Kaitlyn Oct. 16 (same birthday as my friend Emily!). More babies to arrive in 2013 (Katie D., Amanda, Katie S., Julie, and Jessica Simpson). Bring on the bambinos!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, dodged another bullet on that one. 

5. Where did you travel?
March: We stayed overnight at a hotel in Rochester for our friend Shane's 40th birthday bash. We had a dance party in a garage (and hangovers the next day). Who says 40-year-olds don't know how to party?!
We met good friends at the Kalahari indoor waterpark (Wis. Dells) for three action-packed days. Highly, highly, highly recommend, esp in the "off-peak." (We went from a Tuesday to Thursday or something like that.)

May: I flew solo to Washington to meet Baby Evan and spend quality time with my girl T. While I was on the West Coast, I had the opportunity to hang out with friends Jessica and Terri (dinner at Serafina, drinks at Bathtub Gin Co. and the Upstairs), Morgan and her darling son Easton (who drove up from Portland! Love spending time with Mo, we always pick up where we last left off. She took me under her wings when T and I moved to Portland and I will forever be grateful to her for that. During her visit, we went shopping at Pike Place, then ate at Purple in downtown Seattle. I had the best risotto I've ever had in my whole life there), and then T and I drove to her in-laws house in Gig Harbor where we met up with Beth, who hired a sitter to spend a fun evening with us (dinner/beer at the Tides Tavern and lots and lots of girl talk). I also spent a night in Coeur d'Alene, where I was able to try the infamous pizza at Fire and say hello to T's hubby Sam. Now I know why Megan and Karla rave about Fire. That is some seriously good pizza. 
June: My mom, Aaron, the boys and I spent a weekend at Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort near Spicer. The boys loved it.
July: We traveled to Crivitz, Wis. to camp/party with the college gang. (Crivitz is north of Green Bay). Lots of beer, lots of kids, lots of laughing.
August: My immediate family (all 11 of us) spent a long weekend at Sugar Lake Lodge in Grand Rapids, Minn. (and had an awesome time!), and at the end of August a group of close friends traveled down to Lake Pepin for another memorable Hok-Si-La camping weekend. 
October: We spent a fun weekend in Madison with my parents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. I hadn't been to Madison in eight years! Why did it take me so long to return? 

I wanna go - to - the KALAHARI!

Dinner at Serafina, Seattle, Wash.
Love that I've kept in touch with "Portland" Morgan over the years.
Chillin' pool-side at Sugar Lake
My side of the fam at Ruttger's Sugar Lake Lodge
Adam fishing at Dickerson's
Evan and T at Fire, CDA, Idaho.
On the steps of Wisconsin's capitol
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?  
A night of blissful uninterrupted sleep! Also, a tear-free first day of school for Adam. 

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory?
Nov. 7, when I woke up feeling hopeful and optimistic after hearing the election results — esp the fantastic outcome of the anti-marriage amendment (we voted no!)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Watching Adam slowly come out of his shell and have fun at t-ball, preschool, soccer, and any new experience outside of his comfort zone. (I know that's not really my achievement, but it sort of felt that way.) Feeling (mostly) proud of my writing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Over-plucking my eyebrows.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major (knock on wood). I don’t even know if I had the flu last year (knock on a forest).

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Ben’s $20 Batman costume. He could LIVE in that thing. 

Did someone request a Superhero? How about two?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Everyone who voted no on the hateful/hurtful anti-marriage amendment. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Adam Lanza, the guy who shot and killed 27 innocent souls—many of them only a year or two older than my Adam—in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. We live in a scary world and definitely need more support and resources to help the mentally ill in this country, and we need to start having some honest discussions about gun control. I'm not talking about taking away our right to bear arms, I just don't understand why a civilian would need to buy a gun that loads bullets through a 30-round magazine. If you want to buy or carry a military gun, join the freakin' military. Or maybe that's not the right argument. Maybe the argument is—instead of banning certain firearms—we start regulating who and on what conditions people can get a gun license. (Pass a more rigorous background check, start keeping databases of the mentally ill, outlaw certain psychiatric drugs that cause violent behavior.)
I don't know. I'm not pretending to have all the answers ... but something has to happen if we want to prevent these horrific crimes from happening in the future. Remember when there was a time when this kind of "attack" was unimaginable? (The only drills we ever practiced were tornado drills when I was in school.) Now lockdowns and security guards and metal detectors are a depressing reality for our kids.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare, mortgage, bills, car repairs, a very fun vacation out in Seattle. I wish I could make that an annual trip. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
So many things! It’s hard to narrow it down. You know me, I think any kind of party is fun. 
Annual summer get-together with Aaron's high school crew.
Ben is two!
Adam's fifth birthday party
My big brother Shawn turned 40! How did that happen?!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Both Adam and Ben like to sing “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers, so probably that one. Adam used to sing it "I be lovin' you, you be lovin' me, you're my sweetHEART!" (I told him it was "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart" and he argued with me, but then finally started singing the lyrics the right way. I kind of wish I had never corrected him.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) About the same
b) About the same (my weight fluctuates depending on whether I’m going on vacation, training for a run, or taking the time to log/count my calories).
c) Richer (thanks to Aaron’s job, not mine!)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercised!! I really have to make this a priority again. When Aaron and I were running two to three times a week this summer (training for the 10 Mile), I actually looked forward to our training runs. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complain. I need to be more positive! 

 20. How did you spend Christmas break?
Lots of parties. Lots of laughter. Lots of delicious food and drinks. Surrounded by love.  
We were able to visit with out-of-state friends Brian, Jen, and Zinnia (Colo.), Sara and Lily (Calif.), and Emily, Ben and Clare (Wis.), and Katie who is on bed rest (which is kind of like another state — state of boredom? State of patience?), in addition to celebrating with daycare (Dec. 21), family (Dec. 16, Dec. 23, Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 30), close friends (annual girls' Christmas party at Mego's house! annual bowling party with the crew! swimming party down in Austin, Minn.! annual NYE steak dinner with my parents!), so it was ridiculously busy, but fun, fun, fun. 
The most wonderful time of the year ...
*Notice how Adam snuck into this one
Aaron's mom and siblings

Aaron's Christmas gift to me = a new snowboarding coat!
Rumblers! Just what I always wanted!!!
A fire truck! Cool!!
Godmother Auntie Trish with Adam.
The amazing Spiderman.
Batman JAMAS!

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory. I keep hearing about Downton Abbey and totally plan on jumping on that bandwagon as soon as I borrow the first two seasons from my mom. (I may not get caught up until 2015, but I have good intentions!)

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hey now! We don't say "hate" in this house! (If I had a dollar for every time I've said that this year, I'd be able to take a nice vacation in Hawaii.)

23. What was the best book you read?
How can I choose just one? I liked Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the Hunger Game series, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I thought Fifty Shades was TOTALLY overrated.  

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Lumineers

25. What did you want and get?
Another year of good health for my family and friends! Oh! And a “fancy” phone. 

26. What did you want and not get?
More sleep!

27. What was your favorite film of this year?  
The Hunger Games. I also really liked Wreck It Ralph.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 37. It’s become tradition to gather together a group of family and friends to go snowtubing at Green Acres the weekend before my birthday. On my birthday, Aaron made me a nice dinner, bought a delicious cake, and the boys sang to me. I felt very loved. 

29. What one [or three] thing[s] would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Immeasurably, huh? A personal chef?  An in-home fitness center? Unlimited credit at Macy’s? How do you answer this question? 

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Personal fashion concept. Ha ha! That’s a good joke!
Ok, well ... I never thought I could wear skinny jeans and tall boots or leggings, but I did! And no one laughed at me (at least not to my face). I also wore a lot of 80s-style off-the-shoulder sweaters. It’s weird how showing a little shoulder can make you feel sexy. It's also one of the few fashion trends from the 80s that I can support. 

31. What kept you sane?
They kept me sane at work! (Not pictured = Kirsten, Alex, Jeremy, Sara)
Aaron, family, friends near and far (esp those who listen and let me vent — I can't thank you enough), regular visits to my parents’ house in Forest Lake. 
It's so fun watching my friends become parents
Playdate fun in the sun 
My string sistersfriends since elementary school or junior high.
We had dinner while T was in town. Just like old times, only with more
discussions about pregnancy, babies, toddlers, and peeing when you sneeze.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Kluwe

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
The amendment to ban gay marriage. 

34. Who did you miss?
My friends and family who live in different time zones. My grandma.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
We met a pretty amazing couple while camping this summer — Kyle and Rachel (from Boston). I’ll be bummed when they move back East some day.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
The brain of an introvert really is wired differently than an extrovert.  

Happy 2013 everyone! 

You want me to what? Smile? Riiight. 
Tough guy pose
The secret to his smile? A piece of gum
Sweet boy
The fam
Hey, Aaron! Pretend you're Santa Claus!
Money shot
My heart, my soul, my pride and joy ... my boys.