Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Year in Review: Yoga, Jamaica, and Balance

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Saw U2, Mega 80's, and Sara Barielles in concert. Took the girls to Great 
Wolf Lodge and Chicago overnight, the Nutcracker, and Jamaica.
Learned to make homemade marshmallows and dinner rolls. Published
two poems. Celebrated my dad's 65th birthday, our twelfth wedding
anniversary, the tenth girls' weekend, Annie's 7th birthday and Jemma's
5th birthday. Ran the Grand Rapids half marathon and became obsessed
with hot yoga. Sold a house. WatchedAnnie get her ears pierced. Spent
a weekend on Mackinac Island. Wore my wedding dress to
a party that was not my own wedding. Started getting allergy shots, 
and started some new Christmas traditions with our family.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here's what I resolved a year ago:
1.  Kick the year off with a January detox - no alcohol, no red meat, very little "white" anything, lots of water and fresh fruits and vegetables for one month.  Did it! Loved it! Going to do it again this year!

2.  Find a meaningful way to "give back" and start doing it. Sadly, nope.
3.  Establish good systems to organize the things in my life that consistently 
overwhelm me:  photos, recipes, books, and kids' art.  Mostly yes: I started using Goodreads to track my books, have been much better about uploading and printing photos, and took a weekend to organize my recipes and make bins for the best kids' art.
4.  Complete and make public my Life List.  Check.
For 2012, I'm personally resolving to write daily, and possibly 
to work on a larger and more ambitious project than 
this blog. Our family is resolving to find some type of 
community service we can do together.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Andrea had a new babe, and Chris and Sarah added a 
fourth child to their family, but I am having a hard time remembering
 many other birth announcements on our fridge this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, Jason's uncle John.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I'm wishing lately for more clarity about what the next stage of my life 
is going to look like and I'm always wishing for more time to write.
I'd like more patience every year.
As far as material possessions, though? I'm crazy lucky.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I just wrote a few of them down here.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

For the first time since I've been doing this year-end review, I really 
feel like 2011 was the year where I found a good and healthy balance
between self, family, friends, work, play, and all the elements that
make up my life. 
9. What was your biggest failure?
I lost my temper with the kids more that I'd like to admit, and while 
there are days and moments when I feel great about the way I'm raising
my kids, there are also days and
moments when I feel sure I'm making one mistake after another. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, thankfully.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
New fancy eye cream and lipgloss, a cool Eames walnut stool, piano 
lessons for Annie. the book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, babysitting,
a week in paradise.
12. Where did most of your money go?
All the usual places, plus some extra to sell the old house, refinance 
this one, and pay off both cars.
13. What did you get really excited about?
I excitedly anticipated my annual girls' weekend, all the live music events 
we got to see this year, and a more meaningful and low-key holiday
season. I fell in love with yoga even more this year but still appreciate a 
good, hard run. I loved Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, and got sucked 
into Mad Men, too. It's embarrassing to admit, but I was awfully excited
about the new Anthropologie store opening just minutes from our house.
Going there with a cup of coffee feels like a little getaway.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Well, 2011 was the year our family got sucked into the Bieber Fever, 
but if I have to choose a specific song, it'd probably be Dog Days Are 
Over by Florence + The Machine, simply because I heard it performed
live the first time I encountered this strange and lovely artist
and because we've since danced to it in the kitchen many a time.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? You know, I think I'm a little happier.
– thinner or fatter? Same, same - but I can do more push-ups!
– richer or poorer? Richer.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More silly play with my kids while they still want to do it with me, more
 writing, more generous reactions to difficult situations.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Less yelling, less procrastinating, less getting worked up about things 
that aren't really important.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
We went up north to celebrate with Jason's family the weekend before, 
had a cozy Christmas Eve just the four of us, and went to my parents'
house in the afternoon on Christmas Day.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Still loving Modern Family, and I'll note that the girls would probably 
say Wild Kratts.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Bossypants, Room, State of Wonder, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 
Olive Kitteridge, Let the Great World Spin, The History of Love, 
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, The Price of Motherhood, The Art of 
Fielding, Bittersweet, Salvage the Bones.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?

A friend made me a fun CD that brought me up to speed a little, full 
of Mumford and Sons, The Decemberists, and other assorted current
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I really liked Crazy, Stupid, Love. I . . . barely can remember any other 
movies I saw this year.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34, Annie turned 7, and we went to brunch at Rose's after church.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ahhh, if I'm really reaching, perhaps children who listen on the first try?
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Trying to pull it together just the tiniest bit more than in years past.
26. What kept you sane?
These answers seem to be the same every year: friends, running, yoga, 
Jason, coffee, alcohol, writing, reading, an hour or so a day not speaking
to anyone. 
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

I'm not feeling particularly wise right now, but I do think I got better
 about having honest (if difficult) conversations rather than avoiding
confrontations, and the honest approach turns out better every time.

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