Better Late than Never

A look back at 2013, using RA’s new-and-improved questions.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 30 and celebrated being in the best shape I’ve been in since Alexander was born by running a 5k. To make it even more fun, I did a mud run with my good friend and college roommate, Lauren, and we celebrated our success at the end with breakfast burritos. I don’t remember what exactly I did on the actual day of my birthday (I’m sure burritos were involved), but the mud run was my main personal birthday celebration.

Mud Run

What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?

(1) The conversation in which we decided to have another baby. (2) The Black Forest Fire in early June. Watching the beautiful forest where Tim grew up burn, wondering whether we’d have to evacuate since we live only a couple miles from the forest’s edge, wondering if Tim’s childhood home, our church, and other memory-filled places would still be standing when all was said and done. A lot of things burned — over 500 homes were lost — but Tim’s childhood home and our church both survived. (3) Our month-late Anniversary celebration in which we visited a local brewery’s new location in a 100-year-old building that used to be an elementary school, tried a delicious new-to-us Mexican restaurant, and celebrated both eight wonderful years of marriage and the new baby that we’d just found out was on its way. (4) Alexander’s 2nd birthday. (5) Experiencing Christmas through Alexander’s eyes.

The view of the Black Forest Fire from our neighborhood.

The view of the Black Forest Fire from our neighborhood.

What did you do this year that you’d never done before?

Started running regularly (at least for the first half of the year), with the help of the Couch-to-5k Program and a handful of good audiobooks to keep me distracted from how boring running can be.

What did you want and get?

To get back in shape and reclaim my body after holding on to post-pregnancy weight for way too long. To get pregnant again. Lots of quality time with my favorite boys.

What did you want and not get?

2013 was a pretty great year and didn’t leave me wanting much. I did ask Santa to bring me a professional cleaning service, just for one day, to clean my house top-to-bottom and do all the things I’m too lazy to do (clean the baseboards, top of the fridge, etc.), and, alas, there was no cleaning service under the Christmas tree this year. Oh, I also wanted my dance studio not to move to a ghetto location that I’m not comfortable going to after dark for classes, but they went ahead and moved anyway. Luckily my tap teacher is awesome and has a tap floor in her basement, and she’s been holding class there for those of us unwilling to go to the ghetto. However, the studio’s move did mean that I had to give up my jazz class, and I really miss it sometimes. I know I could just find a different studio, and that’d be great if all the women I used to dance with would also go to a different studio with me, but that seems unlikely to happen. It’s not that I miss taking as many classes as I used to (though I do miss that); I miss dancing in those specific classes with that specific group of women. We had so much fun, and I’m still holding out hope that the studio’s ghetto location is temporary, and eventually it’ll move to a better place and we’ll all get to dance together again.

What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?

A daughter. Good news — I’ve got one scheduled to arrive in a few months.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I resolved to finally get off my ass and lose the baby weight I’d been holding onto for over a year, and I was very successful, thanks in large part to Biggest Blogging Loser. And then I promptly got pregnant and gained it all back, but I’m okay with that. In retrospect, I think losing that extra weight really helped pushed me over the edge to finally being ready to go down the pregnancy/childbirth/recovery road again. I’ve lost the baby weight once; I know I can do it again.

I spent New Year’s Eve and Day this year in a haze thanks to the Sinus Infection from Hell and couldn’t be bothered to come up with any new resolutions. My main priorities for this year are to stay healthy through the final trimester of this pregnancy and try to adjust gracefully to all the changes that will come with adding a second kid to our family.

What was your biggest achievement of this year?

On a large scale, I feel like I did a pretty kickass job at finding a work/home balance and being a good wife and mother to my boys. On a smaller scale, I finally organized several years’ worth of digital photos, successfully implemented a system to continue to keep our photos organized as we take them, and worked with Tim to print, frame, and hang several family photos in our previously bare front hallway. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.


What was your biggest failure?

I let myself get way to stressed out about prepping for the holidays, which happens every year, and this year the anxiety was magnified by pregnancy hormones. I have this mental block that I can’t start relaxing and enjoying the holidays until all my shopping and prep work is done, which turns me into a messy ball of anxiety during the first couple weeks of December. I really need to work at being better at going with the flow and allowing myself to enjoy the holiday season even before I’ve checked everything off my to-do list.

What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?

Tim, as always, saved me from my crazy emotions on several occasions, and he did so more often than usual thanks to the aforementioned pregnancy hormones. I can always count on him to listen to me cry about everything that’s making me crazy and then help me put a plan in place to deal with it all; having a solid plan of attack usually calms me down quite a bit.

What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year? 

Oh, man, I read some really great books this year, including The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys, The Book Thief, The Fault in Our Stars, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. (Wait, technically I read Penumbra in 2014, but I read it before writing this, so I’m still going to count it.) We watched and loved the final season of Breaking Bad, and I’ve finally gotten into The Walking Dead this season. I’d like to go back to the first season and get caught up, but I’m still enjoying the current season. Luckily Tim is nice enough to fill me in on any important back story that I’ve missed up to this point. I think the only movie we saw in the theater this year was Gravity, and it was excellent. We do most of our movie watching at home via Netflix, and nothing really sticks out as being super memorable, except maybe Cabin in the Woods. I’m pretty sure we first watched that one in 2012, but we re-watched it this year, and it was just as fantastic. It was nothing like I expected, and I really, really enjoyed it.

What song will remind you of this year?

I don’t pay much attention to music. I heard a lot about a song called “Blurred Lines,” but I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I’ve ever heard it. If I have heard it, I didn’t realize what I was hearing was “Blurred Lines,” so I may as well have not heard it. I know I heard “Wrecking Ball,” but that’s only because Tim showed me a funny parody video about it. Keeping up with music’s not really a priority for me, is what I’m saying. So I’m going to interpret this one pretty loosely and say that 2013 was the Year of the Audiobook for me. I discovered the joy of a well-produced audio book this year, and the best ones I listened to were The Raven Boys, The Scorpio Races, and The Book Thief.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (not necessarily from the song that reminds you of the year).

Music not really being something I pay attention to, I was tempted to slap a “not relevant to my interests” answer here and move on. But the more I thought about it, the more I kept being reminded of Tim’s and my unofficial song, “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. (I say unofficial, since it wasn’t our first dance song at our wedding, but it’s probably more meaningful to us than our first dance song, and it’s one that Tim requests whenever we go to friends’ weddings. The DJs usually don’t have it, unfortunately.) The whole song is great, but the title lyrics, “I am the luckiest” really hit home for me this year. I know it’s cheesy, but I look around at my life and can hardly believe how lucky I am to have the amazing family, extended family, and friends that I have. I really am the luckiest.

What was your most enjoyable purchase?

We put together a playroom for Alexander in our loft this year, which has really been fantastic. We lined one wall with cubby shelves for his toys, Tim worked his handyman magic to mount our old flatscreen TV with wires running through the ceiling so the DVD player and other connected devices could be in the closet across the room, and we had a talented friend paint big, fun alphabet letters on one wall. We spend a lot of Alexander’s waking hours up there these days, which is great, and then we put him to bed and come downstairs to a living room that’s not cluttered with trucks and Legos and plastic tools, and that’s even greater. For myself, I scored a pretty amazing deal with an online sale corresponding with stackable coupons that allowed me to get a $90 pair of boots for $30, and that was pretty awesome.

Playroom 1Playroom 2

Did you travel? If so, where?

We flew to Virginia to meet our new nephew at the end of June. In October, we took a road trip to San Antonio to visit Tim’s parents in their new home. Fourteen hours in the car over 2 days (each way) with a 2-year-old wasn’t as challenging as I expected it to be — Alexander did remarkably well, all things considered — but I’m not in a hurry to take another long road trip anytime soon. Once we arrived, we had a great time with Tim’s parents. Hopefully next time we visit the in-laws, we’ll be able to find cheap flights.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I know it makes me sound like a lush, but I’ve really missed wine since I got pregnant. Just one cold glass of Chardonnay in the evening, that’s all I want. It sounds so good. Come April, you can bet my now-empty wine rack will be fully stocked again. (I know that’s probably not the proper spirit of the question, but I’m running out of steam here. Cut me some slack.)

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing about the holidays, definitely.

Compared to this time last year, how are you different?

Well, I’m 6 months pregnant, which is the most obvious difference. I also feel, overall, more confident as a parent and (usually) more prepared to take on the challenge of adding a new baby to our lives than I did at this time last year.

Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?

I’m still the same-old me, overall. Still quiet in social situations, still a sucker for a cheesy romance book or movie. Still loving being married to a man who makes me laugh every day.

What’s a life lesson you learned this year?

Naps are amazing. No, seriously, they’re amazing. I’ve always known it on some level, but I really came to appreciate it when faced with first-trimester exhaustion coupled with chasing a toddler around and not having the luxury to nap at will. Now, Saturday afternoon naps with a toddler snuggled up next to you because that’s the only way either of you is going to get a solid 2 hours of sleep? Probably one of the best things ever.


2011 In Review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Got pregnant. Gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Last year I resolved to try a new vegetable recipe every month. I did this for about 5 months before getting distracted and stopping. But I did end up working more vegetables into my diet throughout the whole year, which was the overall goal of the resolution, so I’m going to go ahead and chalk this one up as a win.

My primary resolution for this year is simply to be the best mom I can be.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My best friend Amy had a gorgeous little girl 5 days before Alexander was born.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? We stayed in the states all year. But in 2010 we visited 5 countries on our Mediterranean cruise. In 2011 we were too focused on selling the old house, moving into the new house, and growing a baby to do a ton of traveling.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? I’d like a calmer year this year. Last year we sold a house, bought a house, moved, and had a baby. That’s a lot of major life changes for one year. This year, I’d like to just sit back and enjoy all the wonderful things we have.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 2, the day Alexander was born. And, although the calender dates aren’t etched upon my memory, I’ll always remember the moment we found out we were having a baby, and then the moment we found out he was a boy. I always thought I wanted a girl, and when Tim and I talked about how many kids we wanted, I’d say “2, unless we have 2 boys, in which case I might want to try one more time for a girl.” I never knew how much I wanted a son until I found out I was having one. Now, having lived with my baby boy for over three months, I feel like I could have a house full of sons and be immeasurably happy.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Giving birth, no question.

9. What was your biggest failure? I wasn’t as focused on my dance classes as I could have been and, as a result, had a couple of performances in which I made several mistakes and didn’t perform as well as I could have.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing major, though I was completely caught off guard by how difficult it was to recover after Alexander was born. I assumed that since I was in good shape, the physical recovery would be a breeze, but boy was I ever wrong. Exhaustion and hormones aside, it was a full six weeks before I had all my energy back and could return to any sort of normal workout routine.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Tim, hands down. He has been my rock through all the craziness and emotional instability that comes along with pregnancy, childbirth, and new parenthood. I couldn’t have done it without him, and no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to adequately express to him how much I appreciate everything he does for me. I’d be completely lost without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The Realtors who sold our old house. They were mostly useless and unethical, and working with them was a nightmare.

14. Where did most of your money go? The new house. Worth every penny, though!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My amazing baby boy.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier. So much happier. Not that I was unhappy last year, but I was stressed about selling the old house, and I hadn’t yet experienced the life-changing happiness that comes with having a baby.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter, but I’m only about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, so I don’t mind it so much.
(c) Richer or Poorer? Probably about the same financially (I think? I got a raise last year, but I’m also just coming off the un-paid portion of my maternity leave, and our mortgage payment is bigger, so I don’t really know.) Definitely richer in the non-material sense.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Slept, especially toward the end of the year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Cried. Pregnancy and post-partum hormones made me cry so much more than I normally do. I’m not a big crier, so this really bothered me. And then I cried about how much I was crying all the time. It was no good.

19. How did you spend Christmas in 2011? We went to Virginia to see Tim’s parents, then flew home Christmas Eve and spent Christmas with my parents. It was a busy couple of weeks, but lots of fun!

20. Did you fall in love in 2011? I fell head over heels in love with my son. And I fall more in love with my husband every single day.

21. How many one-night stands? What a married man and woman do in the privacy of their home is none of your business.

22. What was your favorite TV program? How I Met Your Mother. We finally discovered how hilarious this show is and watched all six seasons on Netflix before getting caught up with the current season.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not even a little bit.

24. What was the best book you read? I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Night Circus. The Best Birth was great for preparing for labor and delivery.

25. What did you want and get? A new house. The most perfect baby boy.

26. What did you want and not get? A quick sale of our old house at a good price. But it eventually sold in the end, so I can’t complain too much.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28, and went to Ft. Collins and did a tour of my favorite Mexican restaurants. It was a delicious, burrito-filled weekend!

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Elastic. Maternity clothing is a study in uncomfortable layers of elastic, and I’m so glad to be done with it.

29. What kept you sane? Tim. Also, being able to eat all the cheese and burritos my heart desired. But mostly Tim.

30. Who was the best new person you met? Alexander, obviously.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Nothing in the world can prepare you for the incredible joy that comes with being a parent.

On Being a Good Husband

Did I mention that the day Twilight came out Tim suggested we go to the store and buy it on Blu-ray? And then he watched it with me without complaint? And then I caught him downloading the audio book of New Moon because he was trying to share in something that he knew I really enjoyed? (He didn’t make it very far into the audio book before getting bored and giving up, but still. It was a very nice gesture.)

I wonder if he’s been trying to make up for that day I had the stomach flu and was laying on the couch, trying not to die, when, on his way out the door, he very cleverly slipped the following into our morning good-byes: “By the way, I might have accidentally bought a PlayStation 3 on e-Bay last night. See you tonight!”

Loving It Lately

Dancing. My first (ever) dance competition is in just under two weeks, which means we’ve been having extra practices to perfect every last step. Not only is our competition piece fantastic (if I do say so), but I’m also loving getting to dance more than once a week. Gets me thinking about whether I might be able to make another class or two fit into my schedule and budget next year.

Big Love. Even if there is excessive nudity on the part of Bill Paxton.

Hunger (and not being afraid to satisfy that hunger). After more than 48 hours of stomach flu-induced starvation, few things are more exciting than feeling hungry and not having to shy away from foods that have never been marketed by Bill Cosby.

My job. Seven months in, and I still can’t get over how much I love my career. There are a lot of really good things happening at my office, and I’m very excited to be a part of it all.

Jury duty dismissal. I know it’s my civic duty, and I should be happy to trade a minor inconvenience for the freedom of democracy. And I am happy to make that trade, really. But after missing work Thursday and Friday (see above), I was anxious to get back into the office on Monday (see above again). So when the Jury Commissioner turned off Apollo 13 mid-way through the morning and told those of us still waiting for our numbers to be called that we were excused, I was relieved not to have to miss another full day of work…even if it meant I didn’t get to find out whether Tom Hanks ever got to walk on the moon.

My husband. Any man who caters to every whim of his pukey and unshowered wife — going to the store for ginger ale, going back to the store for jell-o, making chicken noodle soup and straining out the broth because he knows the chiken and noodles will never be eaten — is a definite keeper.

Love It/Hate It Monday

Love It: When my house is clean.

Hate It: When I have to clean it myself because the cleaning fairy is too lazy to pay a visit.

Hate It: When the dogs track mud through the house just hours after I vacumed.

Love It: HBO’s Big Love.

Hate It: The fact that I’m just now discovering how good it is and have a lot of catching up to do.

Love It: The promise of Big Love DVD marathons in our future.

Love It: When Tim finds a way for us to save $300 per year by upgrading to an HDTV package with a different satellite company.

Hate It: When I have to argue with the representative of our current satellite company to get her to cancel my service even after I gave them a chance to match the better offer and they refused.

Love It: Stimulating the economy and getting a High Def. TV to go with our new, less expensive package.

Love It: Tim’s pay bump for having a Master’s Degree kicks in next month, which helps justify the new tv.

Love It: When I finally start to see some results from a month of eating healthy and working out every single day.

Hate It: When I have to throw away my favorite lounge-around-the-house pants because they’ve developed a hole in the butt too giant to be appropriate even for lounging around the house.

Love It: That Janet surely won’t mind that I stole this post idea from her, right down to asking you all to leave your loves and hates in the comments.

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