Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year: Reminiscing about 2013

Happy New Year!

Here are Greg and I right after midnight last night, at an actual party. We had so much fun!

I haven't done a meme lately, but I found this one from a few years back and thought I'd like to update it for the year that was 2013. To make it less boring, I've interspersed it with random pictures of my kids and family. 

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

I started taking graduate school classes for my LBS1 Endorsement (Special Education). I already have a Master's Degree, but I love to learn and I have enjoying being a graduate student instead of a graduate instructor. We also took our first family vacation in July. We went to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Henry and I at the mouth of Mammoth Cave.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't publish any for 2013, but my personal (unpublished) resolutions were:

1. Set aside specific, structured times to spend with the boys. I definitely did this, especially over the summer when I read up on techniques to help with speech development (for Henry) and Sensory Processing Disorder (for Nick). I feel like it got harder to have those structured times once school started up again.

2. Try to work on reducing my anxiety. Though I learned some strategies for reducing anxiety and panic attacks, I don't know that I was very successful at implementing them. This will definitely be an ongoing personal goal.

3. Keep up with my blogging. I love to write, and blogging has become really important to me because it helps me frame my life and experiences in a positive way. In 2013 I published 160 blog posts, which is more than 2012 but fewer than previous years. For me, blogging is a journal as well as a way to share my experiences with the world. I write for an audience because my writing is better that way, but I really write for myself. I'm not the type of writer who thinks much about what my readers want me to write about. I just express myself, and I will continue to do so.

4. Stay organized. This is my goal every year, and, with the exception of the very few times I had a cleaning lady out, I did not meet this goal. Ah, well. The older I get, the more I accept myself as a person and realize the same part of my brain that makes me fairly creative and great at multitasking also makes me leave my keys in the refrigerator and leave my clean laundry piled up on our rocking chair for months on end.

I will make more resolutions, perhaps later this week. Not sure if I'll publish them yet.

The bubble wrap made a way better toy than anything Santa brought.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! One of my closest friends from college had a beautiful baby boy last January. He is adorable and I'm so happy for her family.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What places did you visit?

During my spring break, Greg and I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a little getaway. We liked it so much we brought the boys and Grandma Toni back in July. On the way, we visited Mammoth Cave and Louisville, KY. Not as sophisticated as some vacations, but we sure enjoyed ourselves!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2014?

Inner peace. Internally, I tend to blame myself for everything that happens. I also apologize too much. In fact, whenever there's any type of conflict, regardless of whether or not I did anything wrong, I automatically apologize and take on the guilt, blame, and anxiety. I want to work on that, so that I can get some inner peace. (Not the same kind of peace that comes from a nice glass of wine. This would be better, I think.)

Nick looks at peace. He wasn't even cold today, out there making snow angels. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

For sure I'll remember my 35th birthday. Some friends from work took me out to my favorite tapas place and then to the movies, and I felt honored by the trouble they went to in making my day special. I have some wonderful and caring friends.

I will remember the anniversary trip Greg and I took in June at the Lincolnshire Marriot. A live comedic play, a delicious dinner, and a bathwater-warm pool. . . it was delightful.

I'll also remember the day Henry had his surgery. I felt terror, relief, and so very much love. My sons might drive me crazy, but I would do anything for them.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'm really proud of the work I did with my ELL students this year. I spend hours trying to come up with inspiring and interesting lessons that correlate to our increasingly complex standards. No matter how incredibly stressful my job can be, the kids I work with are amazing and they inspire me every day. I feel like the hard work I put into their lessons paid off with excellent results.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Well, I failed to send out my Christmas cards on time. They'll be New Year's Cards this year. I also have done very little formal exercise, though, I weigh less than I did this time last year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had influenza type b in March, along with my entire family. It was pretty bad, and a strain not covered by the flu shot. Yes, I got the flu shot again this year. I'm hoping they guessed the strains better. I also had some stomach issues that still haven't been figured out. They have this awesome side effect of making me lose weight and have no appetite.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Inadvertently, we bought two ipad minis. The first one was a gift to myself using a speaker's fee I received for speaking about ELL students on a panel at North Central. Then, after repairing two cracked screens (one due to my own stupidity, one due to Henry's anger), I wasn't sure it could be fixed. It was days before Henry's surgery, so we bought another one. Once the first one was finally fixed, we ended up with two ipads. Temper tantrums averted!

Oh, and I'm also pretty partial to my iphone 5. I am an apple convert now, though my laptop is still PC.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Though I can never ignore the behavior of my husband, who does dishes, cleaning, and taking care of the children, I think Nick and Henry both deserve kudos. Henry has worked so hard on his speech and play skills this year, and was a trooper with the whole surgery experience. Nicholas has had a great year at preschool and his teacher says he's making great progress, both academically and behaviorally. He can read many words now and his counting skills are growing by leaps and bounds.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I am deeply appalled by those who feel the need to criticize others to deal with their own insecurities. Enough said about that.  :)

14. Where did most of your money go?

Diapers. Also, student loans, medical copays, and groceries enough to feed two extremely hungry little boys.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going to the spa with my friend Lynn. It was an extremely relaxing day when we both needed one badly.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

"What Does the Fox Say?" Oh, my, this song will never leave my head.

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

a. happier or sadder?  Probably sadder.

b. thinner or fatter?  Thinner, definitely.

c. richer or poorer?  Poorer, for sure. The cost of diapers, you know.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I wish I'd spent more time outside with the kids this summer, and signed them up for swim lessons. I want to make sure to do that this summer.  
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying. Also, looking for things I lost. I spent 40 minutes this afternoon looking for my new insurance cards.  

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Which one? My family has many Christmases. See previous posts for more details. 

Nicholas and Henry, sadly contemplating the fact that Christmas must end at some point.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Yes. With my iphone.

21. What was your favorite TV program?

The Big Bang Theory. Nick wants to create his own show with all the characters as kids his age. I think it's actually quite a good idea.  

22. What was the best book you read?

The two books by Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches and its sequel, Shadow of Night.

23. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013

I took more risks this year. After losing a few pounds, I braved both skinny jeans, knee-length dresses, and leggings with long tunics.

24. What kept you sane?

Coffee. In fact, caffeine in general.

Greg and I rang in the new year at a party this year. It was awesome.

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