Thanks, 2013!

I came across this idea for a yearly recap while reading Kristen Howerton’s awesome blog, “Rage Against the Minivan.” And SHE got the idea from this equally awesome blog, “All & Sundry.”

So much stuff happened this year. In the world and within our family, I’m hoping a bunch of questions will help me organize my thoughts better than just a random data dump. Let’s hit it.

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

Shared my story of being a birthmother in a national documentary and with practically everyone I know on social media. It was overwhelming at first but once it was out there? Bam. All kinds of good stuff.

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


I had a few resolutions last year, although I failed to write any of them in a place where I might be held accountable for them. Deliberate attempt at self-sabotage? Perhaps. Here’s what I remember from last year. And what my results were:

  • Lose 25 pounds for my 25th high school reunion. Oy. Moving on.
  • Run 2nd half marathon and beat my previous time. YES! I’ll never come in first, but I sure as hell wasn’t last.
  • Go to BlogHer convention. Didn’t make it this year, but I’d love to shoot for this year 🙂
  • Grow my blog. YES! And still growing. Thanks for reading!
  • Grow my business. YES! Love working from home. Love writing. Love helping people grow their business. 
  • Get Bridget potty-trained for the Disney cruise in December. Nope. But this has been moved to a 1st quarter goal for 2014. TOP PRIORITY.
  • Read 25 books. YES! And more..(come join me on Goodreads!)
  • Get caught up on all my photos and scrapbooks. Um…I’m so far behind it’s pitiful.

For 2014, I have just five words that describe my intentions.
I hope to be more:

PATIENT – with my kids, with my husband, with myself. New mantra: Nobody and nothing is perfect. Let it go.

ENGAGING – specifically with my kids and my husband. Technology is lovely, but I fear it’s creeping too far into my brain that it leaves with me much less to give. I want to change that.

CONSISTENT – With my writing, my fitness goals, family meal planning, and in how I work with my husband to raise our girls.

BRAVE – In both my personal & professional life. I want to try new things, put myself out there. Second new mantra: No regrets.

KIND – I’m a fairly nice person, but I’d prefer to be kind. Nice is for sissies. Kind is being a good human being. Plus it’s a good example for my kiddos. Also, if I’m alone in my car and someone cuts me off, I’d prefer to kindly flip them off rather than nicely shout obscenities that only I can hear. Sweet of me, huh?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


My niece gave birth to a little girl. And some good friends of mine adopted their second son in as many years. They are gorgeous, they are biological brothers and they are all involved in an open adoption. Which makes my heart happy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A great-uncle on my husband’s side, but thankfully, no one else.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Bahamas during our Disney Cruise. But that doesn’t really count because I didn’t get off the ship. Nassau is all kinds of icky.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A million dollars. OK fine. I have to go with more balance and organization. I am really happy to be working from home doing what I love. But it’s a challenge to prioritize my time and make sure I don’t shortchange my girls and my husband. That, and more wine.

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

May 3 – My oldest daughter’s ninth birthday and the day I shared publicly that I am a birthmom.

May 16 – Our 14th wedding anniversary. Fourteen years! Seems like yesterday 🙂

The whole month of December – Disney cruise with my husband’s side of the family and a special family wedding in Salem, Massachusetts where I got to see my son and his family.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


Launching and growing my own business as a freelance writer and social media manager.
Also, dropping a jean size. It wasn’t quite the 25 pounds mentioned earlier, but I’ll take it.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m trying to no longer dwell on the past or on failures, but if I had to point to something it’s losing my temper more often than I would have liked. Which is also why “being more patient” is one of my top goals for this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Disney Cruise (technically, the husband paid for it, but I don’t think he reads my blog…so…).

12. Where did most of your money go?

Groceries, diapers (omg can’t wait for her to be potty trained), and books for my Kindle Fire

13. What did you get really excited about?

The Taylor Swift concert back in March. We surprised my 9 year old with tickets. I think I enjoyed it as much as she did.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

The “Let It Go” song from Disney’s Frozen movie. The movie was way better than I expected. It must be noted that I didn’t like “Brave” at all. Like not even a little bit. So my expectations were low. But this movie was really spectacular. And the soundtrack is delicious. This song, in particular, is like an anthem for me. Don’t mean to be all drama, but don’t we all kind of struggle with the perfect girl / perfect daughter / perfect mom / perfect wife thing? Or is it just me. Either way, I totally dig this song.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl
You always had to be
Conceal, don’t feel
Don’t let them know
Well, now they know…
Let it go…let it go…can’t hold it back anymore.

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


– happier or sadder? Happier – definitely.
– thinner or fatter? Eeesh. ’bout the same.
– richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Written more.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?


I’m totally copying this answer from All & Sundry – my temper was rather short this year. But I’m working on it…

18. How did you spend Christmas?

I feel like we had a two-week long Christmas this year. How lucky were we? First a week-long Disney cruise where the ship and the characters were all decked in their holiday finest. Time with family and friends in Texas. Rushing to get our Christmas tree on the 23rd and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with my husband and girls. Then a whirlwind trip to Massachusetts for a family wedding, a family Christmas party, and the chance to see my folks and my son. Best. Christmas. Ever.

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19. What was your favorite TV program?

Modern Family, The Amazing Race, Elementary, Who Do You Think You Are, and The Goldberg’s. 

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Wild, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, The Husband’s Secret, and Carry On, Warrior.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?


I’ve been listening to classic and new Alanis Morrisette, Kenny Chesney, Goo Goo Dolls, and Justin Timberlake this year.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Saving Mr. Banks and Argo. Note: I’m sure Argo came out last year or even the year before, but we’re Netflix people so I’m still playing catch-up.

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

I was 43 (holy shit) and my wonderful husband took me to see the fabulous Broadway show “Once.” It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And just for fun, I got yelled at by the crabby ushers not once – but twice. (no pun intended). The first time was for snapping a photo of the theater guests miling around the on-stage bar. The show hadn’t yet started but I didn’t realize there were copyrights on stuff that happens prior to showtime. The second time was for putting my program on the ledge in front of me. Where it could very well have fallen to the lower level and KILLED SOMEONE. A note to the ushers in the center balcony: calm the frick down.

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

The whole losing weight in time for the reunion thing. But honestly, there’s no one to blame but me.

Me, and wine. And chocolate. And bagels. And all carbs.

25. What kept you sane?

Reading and writing. To loosely quote one of my personal heroes, Glennon Doyle, “reading and writing is like inhaling and exhaling.”

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.


Letting go is not only important, it’s essential. Meditation is good for me, but not if I’m thinking about Andrew Shue. Kids don’t want much – just your undivided attention and your unending love forever and ever. Being a parent is tough and hard and totally worth it.

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A Sign (But You Don’t Believe in Signs)

(Points if you know what movie the title of this blog post is from…it’s my favorite movie of all time.)

This was the fortune I discovered in a cookie following a particularly yummy dinner at PF Chang’s.

SAMSUNG

I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a book for years. And I’ve decided it’s finally time. I have pages and pages of notes on my computer, in a notebook, in my head.

Now I just need the space – both physical and mental – to purge.

I’ve decided to just write. To hell with perfection and endlessly obsessing about the perfect time to write, the perfect book title, the perfect layout, the perfect “voice.”

I can’t handle the pressure. So I’m just going to write. Let’s see where that takes me.

Finally Getting the Picture(s)

The closet in my daughter’s room is busting at the seams. I wish I could blame it on her incessant need for the latest fashions and accessories, but alas, she’s only two.

True, half of her closet is devoted to her petite fashions from the toddler section of Gap Kids, Kohl’s and the like.

But the other half is all mine, and quite frankly it’s consuming me.

I’m talking about photos, here. Photos and mementos and scrapbook-y stuff that I always meant to get to, but somehow didn’t find the time.

photos

Oh sure, back in the day I was an avid scrapbooker. And by “the day” I mean 2007. Up until 2004, I had PLENTY of free time to document all the goings-on in my little life. And then my daughter was born in 2004 and suddenly I was taking at least one picture a day. Think about that for a second. At least one photo a day means I have a minimum of 365 photos, PER YEAR, stashed in cardboard boxes and envelopes. I tried diligently to keep up. I joined a scrapbooking group that met about once per month. I tried to get my pages done, but I got sucked into idle chitchat and before I knew it, two hours had come and gone and I had pasted four photos into my book. Barely a dent in my “stash.”

But I’ve since resolved to ditch the actual paper scrapbooks (for now) and see if I can’t produce some photo books from Shutterfly.

I picked a year at random – 2008 – and started going through my digital collection on my computer. The hard copies of pictures that are in the closet are from 2006 and earlier, before we had a digital camera. So, scary as it may seem, I took my daily photo(s) and then rushed to the local drugstore and spent money that we didn’t have back then to print out my copies.

And that is what undiagnosed postpartum depression can do. Cloud your mind and make you live in a fairytale world.

Aaaanyway, I scanned through my year of photos. I deleted duplicates and bad pictures and was ready to go. Out of 620 pictures taken that year (not bad, if I do say so), I narrowed it down to about 250 for my photo book.

It’s nice to look back and relive some fun memories back when it was just the three of us (my husband and my now 9yo and me). And it’s kind of strange, because I look at the pictures and I wonder where my 2yo is. But of course, she’s not even a glimmer in my uterus yet…

I have set three goals for myself. And since they say that once you write them down (or type them on the computer), and share them with someone (or post them on the Internet), then you’re more likely to stick with them. So here are my 3 goals:

  1. BY THE TIME SCHOOL STARTS UPI will download all the photos from my phone (good glory – I have nearly 1500 on my phone) and organize or delete them.
  2. BY HALLOWEEN – I will create, order and display on a bookshelf, photo books for the years 2007 – 2012. The photos are all online, so this task isn’t as monumental as it might seem. Also, I don’t know why I chose Halloween. Maybe because I’m a little scared.
  3. BY THANKSGIVING (I’m on a roll with my deadlines/holidays), I will scan the photos and mementos from at least one of the boxes in my daughter’s room onto my computer. And then give the hard copy photos to grandparents, aunts, cousins, random people on the street.  And then burn the box. And then do a happy dance.

You know that feeling when all the laundry is done? Or your kitchen sink is clean and empty? Yeah. That’s the feeling I’m going for. Peace of mind. Less clutter. More memories on the bookshelf than in a dark closet.