Monday, December 28, 2015

A year of personal growth

(Previous years: 20142013201220112010200920082007 

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Traveled internationally with two children. Biked in a race. Sent a child to public schoolCommissioned a painting. Took two kids on a beach vacation (pretty sure that trip single-handedly ensured the success of the sunscreen industry this year). Hosted my French host family at our home. Flew by myself with two kids. Visited Isla Mujeres. Started a five-year diary, and wrote in it every day.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I said that I wanted "to do some more organizing (nursery and basement closets: I'm looking at you), blog about something real from time to time, get the kids' college funds in order, and take more photos with our real camera." I did get the nursery and basement closets organized, as well as Torsten's whole office, which was our catch-all room, so that's a yes. I did return to blogging, which has been great, though it's petered out a bit toward the end of the year. The college funds remain an ongoing thing to resolve. The camera photos... eh. Some, but not enough. So, two out of four. Next year I think we may buy a smaller "real" camera that isn't quite so unwieldy and will be easier to carry around with us and grab to shoot with, so hopefully the photo thing will improve, and I want to keep blogging at least as much as I blogged from May through October of this year. We are going to try to potty train Annika. And I want to work with Torsten to find a balance that works for us now that we've hit a routine... the kids are getting older, there are no more babies in the house, we have school and daycare more or less figured out, work is reasonably stable... so now is the time to figure out some stuff about how our family life works best and how we can establish a division of labor and routine that make us both feel supported and not overwhelmed.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Jonna, as well as two of my college friends, Jill and Jen.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

Mexico and Germany. I also took both kids to Maryland and Pennsylvania as a surprise for my mom's 60th birthday, went to Albuquerque for PJs at TJ's, went to Boston and Chicago for girls' weekends, attended a wedding (with bonus Susie and Miranda time) in the Bay Area, and went to DC for work.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A skincare routine that consistently keeps my skin in good condition. A bit more balance in our home life.

7. What moments from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Watching Callum transition to a new and very different preschool, and seeing how he has thrived and built friendships there. Seeing Annika develop into this incredible little PERSON with opinions and verbal skills and a sense of humor and, yes, curly hair. Spending time with Torsten in Mexico and having some really important state of the union conversations about our future goals for our family. Going on a family trip to the North Sea with great trepidation, only to discover that it's completely amazing and we want to go back as often as we can. Surprising my mom with a visit to Hershey with all her grandkids for her birthday, and spending a week in Pennsylvania during an incredible cold snap. Getting to a deeper plane of friendship with my closest friends, and seeing how we all collectively love and support each other through all kinds of shit.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I spoke up for myself, on a couple different fronts, and got the results I wanted. I have learned that I tend to be a problem-solver not just for myself but for everyone around me, and a person who always wants to accommodate other people, and sometimes that means I don't do what I need for myself, and that is something I've been working on, and I think it's actually starting to take.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not always stepping back and seeing the broader perspective. Failing to understand underlying reasons for things, and reacting with frustration and snippiness as a result.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A FitBit. The aforementioned commissioned painting (a watercolor of the cottage in Maine that we always stay at). Skincare products. Earrings (after I finally got my messed-up left ear piercing fixed). A rowing machine.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Torsten's, like every year. He has watched me go through my own little set of epiphanies and adjustments, and they haven't always been easy on him, and he hasn't always known how to handle them, but he has been right there, in it with me, wanting to help, wanting to know what he can do, and trying really hard to support me. And all while dealing with his own stuff--a challenging job, his own figuring out of work-life balance, his fitness.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
People who are incapable of friendship on a deep level, but pretend otherwise and thus make a mockery of what it means to truly love and support and trust your friends.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same answer for the fifth straight year: our mortgage and childcare.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our family. I am loving this phase and feeling really good about how our lives will look as a family of four moving forward. The prospect of years of all of us together laying out in front of us makes me feel really happy.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

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

a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier
b) Thinner - all baby weight is finally gone
c) About the same - maybe a little richer in the boring ways like retirement accounts and home equity

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping. Working out.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Waiting for problems to get fixed without me contributing.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
My parents came to visit (they're still here, actually). We had a very nice, l0w-key Christmas with happy kids, lovely gifts for everyone, and a delicious dinner in our pajamas. Both kids are completely in love with their grandparents, and we've been enjoying a really nice, pleasant visit.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?


22. What was your favorite TV program?

House of Cards. Cheers. Veep.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?

I read a lot of books this year, which I'm pleased about, AND I tracked them all, so I was able to look at my list to pick a favorite, and I think it was I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Like pretty much every year: I'm not sure I made any.

26. What did you want and get?
A happy family. Work-life balance for myself. A really lovely Christmas present from Torsten (and another from a dear friend).

27. What did you want and not get?

A magic bullet. A foolproof eyebrow shape.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I think we only saw one movie in the theater this year, Inside Out, which I liked, though it was by far not my favorite Pixar movie.

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

Torsten gave me my gifts (a gorgeous watch and earrings) in the morning before work, then we took a lunch break together and grabbed Chipotle and birthday cake. After work, Torsten and I went out on our own for dinner at my favorite restaurant. I turned 31.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I've said this for the last couple of years, but I really mean it: truly, nothing. Not to say that it was a perfect year or that everything in my life is ideal, but it was deeply satisfying even in the hard parts, because I am winding up the year feeling like a team and a family, and knowing that we're all on the same side, and happy about our lives together. The satisfaction of that feeling papers over a lot of cracks.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Pants that fit correctly. Colored jeans when possible. Venturing into the world of booties and earrings. 

32. What kept you sane?
Same as last year: My little family. My group of best friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm bad at this.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Like last year: Pretty much all of them. The refugee crisis is a big one at the moment, of course, though I find it depressing that it even qualifies as a political issue.

35. Who did you miss?
I'm slightly tweaking my answer from the past six years: Most of my friends and family, since many of them live far away (this previously said pretty much all of them lived far away, but by now I have several very dear local friends who are lovely and sanity-saving, so I'm amending a smidge).

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, I didn't meet them this year, but there are two moms of classmates at Callum's old school who I've known for a couple years now but who have truly become close friends this year, and I love them both and am so grateful to have them. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
There are people who seem like fun and who can be enjoyable to spend time with, but not all of them are people who truly care about you and love you and will see you through any shit. Sometimes the people in the latter group mess up, and that's OK, because they will still be there after they mess up, trying to fix it. And, as always, follow your instincts. Sometimes there's a reason someone hasn't moved from the first category to the second. Sometimes people will say things that don't make sense, and that's when you need to look closer, because that's when you can discern who is really your person and who isn't.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
As last year: I don't think there is one. There pretty much never is.

Happy New Year, everybody!


  1. COLORED JEANS. Love it. Happy New Year!!

  2. "A foolproof eyebrow shape" - HA! I feel you. I have started shaping my eyebrows (I should say... having someone else shape my eyebrows for me) for the first time ever this year, and I still have no idea what shape they should be or I want them to be. Which is why I pay other people to do it for me, basically.