Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review.

Happy New Year, friends!!  Happy 2013!

I occasionally read a blog where the author asks herself the same questions every year...as a way of tracking key happenings throughout the year.  I thought it was a great idea, and so I borrowed some of her questions and added a few of my own.  I'm thinking that I'd love to make this an annual tradition of sorts.  I will likely be adding to the answers below as I ponder the questions a little more, but here's my starting point!

1.  What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
- This year was full of firsts, having two children who joined our family mid-way through 2011.  In some ways Seth and Lizzie are such old souls, having gone through more in their short lives than most adults; and in some ways they are still so utterly naive and without knowledge.  Sometimes it hits me that, unlike when you raise a child from birth, every single thing that they know has to be taught to them explicitly, and mostly by Geoff, Matthew and me.  It's a huge job.

- the other thing that was newish for me was going on several 24-hour silent retreats.  These were awesome experiences that provided me with time to relax, to pray, to prep/research for h/school, and time to just think and remember who I am.

2.  Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
- I didn't make any last year.  I'm still wondering if I'm going to make any this year.  I've mostly given up on them because I never manage to stick to them.  :(    If I do decide to make some, they'll mostly likely revolve around the I-need-to-exercise-more and I-want-to-organize-the-house-more varieties of resolutions!

3.  Did anyone close to you die?
- thankfully, no.

4.  Did you travel?  Did you visit other countries?  Where did you go?
- we started out the year with a bang in Los Angeles, with my family of origin.  It was awesome!

- I took a road trip with the kids in late May/early June; we travelled to Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, and met with old friends and new.  We have incredible memories from that experience.

- at the end of June I flew by myself to Vancouver for three days to attend my nephew's high school graduation.  I stayed with my brother and spent some good time with him, and the highlight was spending some great quality time with my awesome nephew, Jon.  I also got to spend some time with an old friend and a new friend - it was a lovely time!

- we ended the year on Silver Star Mountain, in British Columbia, where the kids got to experience downhill skiing for the first time.  Most of us weren't even awake at midnight at the year's end, but we really loved being there for that week.

5.  What would you like to have in the coming year that you lacked in the year past?
- more discipline to get done everything that needs doing.  

- more patience.

- a docking station for my ipad.  (Lyne, I've still got my eye on yours!)

6.  What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
- June 10.  Family Day.  On this day in 2012, we celebrated our one year anniversary of the day we became a family of five.  I'd/we'd waited a long time for that day, and it was a good one.  We went on a train ride with a picnic lunch, saw a magic show, played with animals at a small petting zoo, and ate celebratory cake for breakfast.

7.  What was your biggest achievement of the year and why?
- simply getting through the year decently and feeling like I/we made some progress on a number of fronts:  I got a bit better at balancing life; learned so much about how to parent our two 'new' children; and regained some personal emotional health after it took a nose-dive in 2011.

8.  What was your biggest failure of the year and why?
- without a doubt, this would have to be home organization.  There is so much to do and I completely gave up on my plans for 2012.  

9.  Did you suffer illness or injury?
- nothing major, thankfully:  I had a two-day stomach thing in March; a mild cold in September; and I ended the year with a three-day headache that was, frankly, no fun.

10.  What was the best/biggest/most novel thing you bought?
- we bought a new-to-us car for Geoff early in spring - it's a 2011 Hyundai Elantra.

- I also bought my Apple iPad, on which I write this blog post.  It actually took me quite a long time to get into my iPad, but with the right wireless keyboard, it's really working for me now.

11.  Whose behaviour merited celebration?
- I'm still thinking about this one!

12.  Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
- I won't go into detail on this one at this point, but I'll just say that two people that I've been close to for many years really let me down...I'm working on the forgiveness aspect.

13.  Where did most of your money go?
- Wow, good question!  We're fortunate that Geoff has a good income and yet it still seems to disappear all too quickly.  The first things that come to mind when thinking about where our money has been spent are:  Vacations (those skiing lessons were really rather expensive, and driving trips are more expensive than they'd seem!); groceries (I still can't believe how much food three little kids can consume!); church/charitable contributions; homeschool expenses (man, I wish we'd get a break on some of this stuff).

14.  What did you get really, really excited about?
- lots of things got me excited this year:  Our travel experiences (and my bravery in taking the kids on a road trip by myself!); spending time with a group of good friends at my parents' cottage; seeing Seth and Lizzie both undergo some significant transformation in their adaptation to life in Canada as part of this family; observing Matthew come through a really difficult first year with siblings to a point where it seems like he is now mostly adjusted to life as a family of five; feeling like I'm getting better at this h/school journey we're on; knowing that Geoff and I are in a good place (despite all of the adjustments of the past 19 months); feeling increasingly comfortable in my own skin; having great friends to go through life with; etc etc.  There's no one 'big' thing that got me excited this year, but it feels like lots of little steps have been taken in the right direction.

15.  What song(s) did you enjoy in 2012?
- Rascall Flatts: "Nothing Like This"
- Brandie Carlisle: "The Story"

There are lots of songs that I enjoyed this year, and I'm a big music fan in general; but for sure these two songs hit a spot in my heart.

16.  Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?  I was pretty depressed last Christmas, so I'd definitely say I'm happier this year than last year at this time.

ii. thinner or fatter?  Sadly, about the same.

iii. richer or poorer?  Poorer by a little...those ski lessons for the kids were expensive!

17.  What do you wish you'd done more of?
- exercise.

- more living in the moment.  I'm getting better at this, but still...

- more reading of my bible...it's just such a good start to the day.

- more reading of fiction.  There's just such good literature out there waiting for my attention and I just haven't been into it as much as in the past.  I miss it.

18.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
- snapping at the kids.  I'm better in this area than in 2011, but it's still too much for my comfort level.

19.  How did you spend Christmas 2012?
- at home with family.  We were downstairs opening stockings and gifts by 7:00am.  My parents came over for brunch at 10:00; my sister/family were supposed to come, too, but they were sick.

20.  What was your favourite tv program?
- I'm not a live tv watcher but I do watch things on Netflix.  This year, the program highlight for me was "Modern Family" - I watched the first two seasons, mostly while I was on my 24-hour retreats in spring and summer.  It was hilarious.

21.  What's the best book you read in 2012?
20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge.

22.  What did you want and get?
- a pizza stone.  Does this sound pathetic or what??!

23.  What did you want and not get?
- an elliptical machine.  This is the only form of exercise that I've historically enjoyed (relatively speaking) and it is also the form of exercise that is the least aggravating of my achilles tendon issues.  I wish I had one.

24.  What was your favourite film?
- North and South, with Richard Armitage.  Absolutely.  I watched it early in the year (twice), again in mid year, a third time well into the year, and a final time at year's end!  And I may just start 2013 by watching it again!!

- on another note, I'm also really glad that the Twilight movies are finally complete; I've enjoyed this series a lot but it was time to bring it to an end.

25.  What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
- I turned 46.  It was a relaxing Sunday and I didn't have to cook meals.  I read in our library, and Geoff cooked the family a great dinner...with a spectacular multi-layer chocolate cake for dessert.

26.  What one thing would have made your year immeasurably satisfying?
- weight loss.  Oh long-awaited and elusive goal, will I ever be able to accomplish you?  I get so tired of being large sometimes.  I wish there were a magic pill, oh yes I do.

27.  How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
- comfortable...maybe a little too comfortable.

- lots of capri pants, from spring through to end of fall.

- sandals until first snowfall.

- one thing I've noticed this year is that I care less about my appearance than I have in the past; my hair hasn't been cut since about April 2012 (a record) and rather than washing it every day, I've occasionally let it go without a wash, and just pushed it into a ponytail.  In some ways I'm glad that I've stopped caring so much what other people think of me; but in other ways I'm a little uncomfortable with this change and feel a little embarrassed by it.  Next week I'm booking a hair cut appointment!

28.  What kept you sane?
- my Thursday evenings off - whether hanging out with friends or spending precious time by myself, I have come to rely on the constancy of these evenings and I love them!

- my 24-hour silent retreats.  I think I spent seven nights at the monastery this year and they were awesome:  For rest and relaxation; for h/school research and prep; and for thinking.

- feeling the love and support of numerous good friends and family members.

29.  Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
- I really don't have a good answer on this front, though I may in the future, because for Christmas Geoff gave me a subscription to Hello magazine...I'm going to be a little more 'up' on the who's who this year, I suspect!  lol

30.  Who was the best new person you met?  Who did you meet for the first time?
- Sharla.  She and I had communicated for a few years via email and phone, but only met for the first time when the kids and I stayed with her during our spring road trip to Alberta.  We really connected and I was/am so very glad to have finally met her.

31.  Who did you miss?
- Sharla gets the nod on this front too.  I wasn't in the market for another long distance friendship, but during the week we spent together, I became very attached to her; email and phone calls no longer seem sufficient to grow our friendship.

- I miss other people too, pretty constantly.  I miss my oldest three nephews, who live in Vancouver and whom I only get to see face-to-face two or three times/year; I miss talking with them and being a regular part of their lives, and the older they get the more I seem to miss and love them.  I miss my brother, who's in Vancouver with his boys; he and I hit a few rough patches this year, but I love him and wish he lived closer and value the support he gave me last year when things were a little tough on the home front here.  I miss my friends-at-a-distance, like those in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, London, Mesa (Arizona), and Uganda.  And, perhaps interestingly given the circumstances, I so miss Seth's and Lizzie's birth father, whom we came to love and honour and respect during the time we spent with him in 2011; I often wish we could be spending time with him.

32.  What valuable lesson(s) did you learn in 2012?

that being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama is ok.  This was a biggie for me to come to terms with but I think I'm there.  For me, this is the hardest job in the world and I can say now that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be for this season in my life.

- I am stronger than I thought I was!

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