Archive for the ‘The Nonsense’ Category

Housing Update: The (Maybe) Final Installment

Since the last housing update things got easier, then tougher and then easier again.

On Wednesday? Thursday? I’m not even sure anymore, I finally came to a decision. I had spent hours talking and thinking about whether the apartment or condo was right for us, and ultimately I realized that I was picturing our family in the apartment every time. The difference in space is really significant and it just had several features that were really appealing (the washer/driers, the hard wood flooring in the dining room, the massive patio, etc). I was completely content with the decision and was excited to get home to tell my husband.

And better yet, my husband came to the same conclusion that same day. All was well in apartment/condo decision making land. So, naturally we got an email that evening letting us know that the condo price had dropped 50 bucks a month and was now 120 dollars less per month than the apartment. Cue drama.

I felt like someone took the wind out of my sails. We didn’t know what to do and the apartment had given us through the weekend to decide or we’d lose the deposit and the unit (which we had secured at a lower than normal cost for several fortuitous reasons).

We went back and looked over the floor plans and tried to figure out what was best. We realized that if we went with the condo, we would absolutely have to rent a storage unit because there just wasn’t room for all our furniture, which doesn’t entirely negate the cost difference, but it narrows it significantly.

We also briefly considered looking closer to my husband’s work and upping our budget a bit, basically, taking traffic/gas costs and storage unit costs from the apartment/condo that are further away and adding them to our rent budget. We looked at precisely 2 places and I was just done. I couldn’t imagine more weekends of ruining Eli’s nap to look at apartments that check some but not all boxes, or are too expensive. Or apartments that will leave me trying to get 2 kids and myself ready and out the door by 7am. It was just not happening.

So, we’re going with the apartment. We don’t need a storage unit and though my husband’s commute will suck, he will survive and we’ll find ways to make it more bearable for him. And also, we’re done. We’re done. We’re going to live somewhere. And it’s somewhere I really like, somewhere my kid(s) will really like and somewhere we’ll be comfortable for the next year.

And then we get to do this ALL OVER AGAIN OMG.

Housing Update #10000: The Condo/Apartment Showdown

Siiiiiigh.

So, the latest installment of the housing hunt is at least promising in terms of progress. We have found two options that we really like and are completely stuck when it comes to choosing which one we want. I am not actually expecting you guys to choose where we’re going to live next, but I’m hoping that input from people who aren’t my husband and I might help us see some other perspectives.

Before I get into things, a little background. We cannot afford to live right near my husband’s new work because we’re not wealthy (and you have to be seriously wealthy to live around there). We limited our searches to a budget of X and required a minimum of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We looked in several neighborhoods and finally settled on this one. It is a pretty significant drive to my husband’s work, but there are several toll road/options that will get him there quicker (though for a cost) and there is a train that will get him there much more quickly that he can also get a monthly discount for through his job. It’s closer to my job and I’ll get into specifics with distances in a second.

The Apartment
So, the apartment is 1000 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It is a first floor unit (of a 2 story building) and the rent is X+20 dollars a month, which is because of the 30 dollar a month pet rent, and is not ideal cost-wise.
It has a HUGE kitchen (I mean HUGE. I could lay down on the counter and not touch anything.), separate dining and living rooms and a spacious patio (with a sliding glass door from the living room and another door from the master bedroom) that we are allowed to keep a BBQ on, not that we own one, but fun fact. There’s also a small storage closet on the patio.
The bedrooms are good sized, the master has a big closet with sliding doors, the kids room has a walk in closet. And the bedrooms are separated by the living room between them.
The bathrooms each have a tub/shower and a single sink, though the counter space is meh.
There are full size, side-by-side washer driers in the unit with a shelf above to store detergent stuff on.
There is plenty of grass and a nice sidewalk path for bike riding outside the unit and it is in a relatively quiet and secluded area of the complex, but also near enough to some nice BBQs and picnic benches.
It comes with one covered parking spot, the other car will have to park in first come, first serve guest parking.
It is 22 miles from my husband’s work, 3 miles from the train station and 7 miles from my work.
There is a huuuuuuuge park 3 blocks away (3 uphill blocks, but still) that Eli will love.
My favorite parts of this unit are the size- it feels big, the kitchen is ENORMOUS and it has new full sized washer and driers.
My least favorite parts are the cost and the fact that I’m tired of living in apartment complexes where people move in and out and don’t take care of stuff and the fact that it’s 20 dollars over our budget.

The Condo
So, the condo is 915 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It is a first floor unit (of a 3 story building) and the rent is X-50 dollars a month.
It has a small kitchen with a super fancy enormous refrigerator, separate dining and living rooms and a small patio that overlooks great outdoor space and some gorgeous mountains. There’s also a decent sized storage closet on the patio.
The bedrooms are good sized, the master has a walk in closet, the kids room has small sliding door closet. The bedrooms share a wall and the kids room is against the living room. The hallway is pretty narrow.
The bathrooms each have a tub/shower and a single sink with awesome counter space. The master has a separate dressing area/sink and toilet/shower room, which is nice.
There are stacked washer and driers, which they say are full sized, but I’m not completely sure.
There is a nice grass area and a big sand volleyball court that Eli can play in and it was very quiet while we were there. There are a few tables with benches nearby and the view is unreal.
It comes with one covered parking spot and one uncovered parking spot.
It is 20 miles from my husband’s work and close to the ideal freeway onramp that will spare him some traffic, and is 3 miles to the train station and 9 miles from my work.
There is a nice park about half a mile away, which Eli will love.
My favorite parts of the condo are the stability of the complex- people own and live here and so the turnover rate is small and people care for the space. There is an HOA we don’t have to pay for. The fridge is also pretty amazing and the price is within our budget.
My least favorite part is really the size. It feels small inside. The kitchen is more cramped than the one we already have and the patio is small, though the grassy spaces outside help make up for that.

So. There you have it. Two very comparable units with pros and cons that basically completely equal each other. If it was you, knowing only what’s above, what would you do?

There is a secret third option, because my husband got a job offer that will include a monthly stipend all year next year in the amount of exactly X, which would allow us to move closer to my husband’s work, however, it means more money on the place we live and significantly more money for daycare/preschool because it’s just a more costly area in general. Plus, it forces my husband to work at his current hospital for 3 years, which isn’t inherently bad, he’s just not sure he wants to commit to that yet.

Help?

This is a (Long) Catch Up Post

So, I realized I have left several things hanging and others completely unmentioned. Things have been indescribably busy for us lately, but I finally have an evening without an agenda, so I’m going to do a little catch up.

First, the New York/So Cal thing finally got handled, but it took weeks. Weeks and ignored emails and a lot of stress. New York was able to get the other candidate to sign a contract and released my husband. Obnoxiously, they made him send an email requesting to be released from his contract (that didn’t exist) before they would formally let him off the hook. Like, they called him and said, we have our fellow, you’re good to go elsewhere, but you need to email us and ask to be released. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. But whatever, we get to stay in California, so the email was not a big deal. We are very happy.

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After Thanksgiving, we came home from my hometown and had like 2.5 normal days before packing up and flying across the country to Washington D.C. It wasn’t Eli’s first flight, but it was his first since he was 4 months old and more than a little cuddle bug that I could put to sleep by stroking his eyebrows like a kitten. We intentionally did not get direct flights for 2 reasons: they’re way too expensive and we wanted Eli to have time between flights to get out of his car seat and burn some energy.

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So, the way there, our first flight ended up having to circle the airport and then sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes of the 45 minute layover we had. So we had to run, with our carry-ons and Eli’s car seat, and Eli, who just wanted to pull his little penguin bag, to the next gate, bump someone out of their window seat, rapidly install the car seat and the child who didn’t want to get back in it so quickly, so that everyone else could get to DC on time. I ended up sitting between Eli and a 4 year old the whole way, while my husband sat 17 rows ahead. To his credit, Eli was an absolute champ and we made it to DC without any significant drama.

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The hotel was lovely, and DC was everything I hoped it would be. I haven’t been since I was 7 and I only have very vague memories of the bureau of printing and engraving (I got a 2 dollar bill!) and of the national zoo (I got stung by a wasp!) and of it being really, really hot. So it was nice to go back as an adult, and an American history lover, and get to see all the things there are to offer. And it snowed, which was just icing on the cake. We went to all the Smithsonians (well, maybe not all, but a lot), the Zoo, the national mall, walked by the White House, saw the Christmas tree and had a great time. It was unbelievably cold for a big part of our trip and rained for another big part, but it didn’t dampen the fun.

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The flight home was…less fun. We were flying into a headwind, so our nearly hour layover was cut to 15 minutes, the guy sitting in front of Eli kept slamming his back into his seat, which then jiggled Eli’s car seat and so instead of a good solid nap, Eli napped for like an hour and 45 minutes and then the second flight took us waaaaay past bedtime and he basically came unraveled at the end. It was ugly. But we’re home.

And sick. Again. Eli came down with a horrible ear infection (the pediatrician referred to it as “raging”) the day before Thanksgiving and was put on very, very strong antibiotics, which even a week after finishing are still wrecking his little insides. On Friday, he was suddenly all snotty again. And more so on Saturday. Sunday he woke up with his eyes glued shut. And today, when we went to the pediatrician, it was discovered that in addition pink eye, he also has a double ear infection. And since the antibiotics he was just on were the strongest oral ones available, the only treatment option for now is a shot in each thigh once a day for 3 days. And they are big honking needles and oh it was sad. I do not want to take him back tomorrow, but I know it’s what’s best.

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So, that’s about everything. Eli took a nearly 5 hour nap today and seems on the mend. My husband and I have both come down with the cold and as I type this I have tissue stuffed up my nose because I can’t blow or wipe it anymore and I’ll be sleeping on the couch to prevent my face from exploding. I’m really hopeful that this is the end of our winter illness dog pile, mostly because I’m in denial, but also because we’re all running out of sick days pretty rapidly.

Also, we visited Santa. It was the best $15 anyone has ever spent.

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I think we’re caught up now.

Homecoming and Going

On Saturday morning I got a call from my sister that in the course of a few hours her dog, husband and baby had all thrown up. She didn’t just call to gross me out, but rather to say that suddenly their plans to attend the USC homecoming game were up in the air. She asked if we wanted their tickets since I also went to USC and though we had a nice quiet weekend planned, we jumped at the chance.

We piled in the car and drove across town, knowing that the place was going to be a mess since not only was it a night game (meaning there were hooooours of tailgating happening), but it was homecoming, so there would be a higher than average attendance level. And it was every bit as busy as we had expected.

We asked a security guard where the best place to park was and he said that all the lots were full and that unless we wanted to pay 80-100 dollars, we should drive a few blocks away and park in the neighborhood. It sounded kind of sketchy (the neighborhood around USC is…interesting), but we didn’t really have any other option. So we drove down and settled on parking at an apartment complex for 20 dollars. We were assured that we wouldn’t be blocked in (we double checked this since we were planning to leave the game a little early) and we were assured that was the case.

So we set off to the game. Which was really a lot of fun. Eli liked watching parts of the game, especially from his own seat (that the people next to us generously donated).

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He did not care for the (Stanford) band very much.

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And we all had a good time cheering on our Trojans.

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At the start of the 4th quarter (around 7:45) we decided to head to our car. We got there and found that despite all the reassurances, there was a car blocking the driveway and that there was not a single light on in the apartment that was busy and bustling just a few hours earlier. So, we got in the car and pulled forward, hoping that the person who drove the car was inside and would take the hint. And then we waited. And waited. And waited.

After about 20 minutes, a guy came over and said he was a neighbor from across the street. He had seen the car park there not too long ago and the driver had appeared to be very drunk and headed off towards the sorority houses. Um. What?

So now we’re sitting in the car, trapped in a small alley with 2 cars parked behind us (so we can’t just abandon our car and take the metro home), listening to the football game that we left early (which got SO good after we left aaaaaarg) for the entire hour that we thought it would take us to get home. I seriously didn’t know what to do. A tow truck couldn’t help us since it was a private driveway. Parking enforcement couldn’t help us unless the building manager or owner was present. So we were just stuck in someone’s drive way, in downtown LA at 8:45pm. With a very tired baby and several drunk, rowdy, pissed off people who were stuck behind us.

I have to say, it was one of those moments where I really had no idea what to do. I actually almost called my dad because I felt that confused. Like I needed to consult a real adult because clearly I was not one. I didn’t want to leave our car, Eli was melting down and I just had no idea how to proceed.

Just as a group of 12 really drunk guys decided they would try to pick up the car and move it into the street, which truthfully I’m pretty sad I didn’t get to see because I can only imagine how entertaining it would’ve been, the jackasses who parked there (who did not even live there and just decided that a random driveway was a great place to park during the USC homecoming game) came back and moved out of the way.

And then, at 9:15 we finally got to leave and delightfully got to sit in aaaaaaaaall the traffic we were trying to avoid by leaving the game early.

We learned a really important lesson on Saturday. If we’re going to go to a USC game, we should never skip the tailgating. I mean, for the parking part only, obviously…

Change Day

8 years ago today, Katrina roared into New Orleans. My husband had moved there just 3 weeks prior and had just finished building all his furniture and unpacking all his earthly possessions the day before. And in just a matter of hours, his home was underwater. His school, and his entire future was uncertain. Ultimately, he was lucky because what he lost was easily recovered, unlike the majority of those in New Orleans.

A year later, I moved to New Orleans and realized the magnitude of the loss on August 29, 2005. The school I later worked at had been flooded and on the brink of destruction from the storm. Many of the students I taught had lost everything- their homes, their possessions and even their family members in Katrina. Their losses were greater than I can even, to this day, begin to imagine.

August 29, 2005 changed our future. It changed my husband’s medical school career, it changed our hearts and it rerouted big parts of our future. I am who I am, in part because of that day.

2 years ago today, I found out that I was pregnant. I woke up before my husband and on a whim, took a pregnancy test. And the second line showed up almost immediately. Everything changed that day. I am now the mother of the most incredible little person I have ever met. We are now a family, a group of people who love each other more than I knew was even possible.

I have a fondness for August 29th, not because I don’t remember the terrible things that happened for many of my friends that day, but because I remember the good things also happened.

The city of New Orleans suffered a horrible blow that day, but seeing the city rise up, as I was privileged to do, and rebuild in the face of a tragedy that most would people never even try to recover from, was nothing short of amazing. I was proud to call myself a New Orleanian, even if only for a short while, and I am a better person for it. I will always have a fondness for that place, where I truly became an adult, where I got engaged and got my first real job. A city that never gave up and who rebuilt after losses I can barely imagine, even having seen some of the carnage with my own eyes.

August 29th, for me, is a day of change. It’s a day of new beginnings, of leaving the past and plans behind. This year there is no big announcement, no big change. Mostly, I feel that we are already on our way. That the events in our past, those August 29ths, have set us on this path and that we are in motion now.

Who knows what next August 29th might have in store. Or where we might spend it.

Vacation

On Friday we leave for a week long vacation. We’re not going anywhere fancy, but we’re going somewhere special.

Every summer of my childhood, my mom’s whole family- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone, would drive the 2 hours to the beach. We stayed at my great-aunt and uncle’s house, sometimes cramming 20+ people in. We slept in bunk beds and on couches, we showered outside and sometimes in pairs (water restrictions during a long drought…), we went to the marina and ate at the same restaurants year after year. It was as much a part of my life as going to school was. Every summer, without fail, there was the beach.

Some of my clearest and fondest childhood memories reside there. Getting up early and going for walks with my grandma to find those sand dollars. And cleaning tar off my feet with baby oil afterwards. The time I accidentally put all my shells back in my aunt’s full glass of milk instead of in the identical, empty solo cup I had taken them out of. Major water fights with cousins. Boogy boarding until our eyes and skin were red.

When we were in junior high/high school, the beach house was no longer available to us because my great aunt and uncle moved into it full time, so we rented other houses in the same neighborhoods and continued our tradition for many more summers. The last time we went was 2 years ago, just a week or so before we found out that I was pregnant. It was one of the first times my youngest cousins (11, 9 and 4) had ever gone and while it’s not the same without my grandma, it’s still my favorite place.

This year it’ll be a slightly smaller scale than when I was a kid, but so many of us are grown and have jobs now that it’s hard to coordinate. Not to mention that with the next generation of kids, the amount of space we need is harder and harder to find and since we’re renting for real instead of from family, it’s harder to sneak extra family members in. There will still be bunches of cousins, siblings, grandparents and most importantly, love. That’s what I remember most about the weeks at the beach. It was time with my family, happiness, relaxation, and just feeling connected. Since moving away from home 10 years ago, that feeling has been slowly fading, but this is a week where I get to find it again, feel it and let my son get a taste of it as well.

Getting to carry this tradition on for Eli is something I have long dreamed about. I always hoped that someday my son would have cousins to play in the water with, to teach to boogy board. Even though the short cut to the donut shop is closed, I hope he’ll still get to take special walks with his grandma and maybe even find a sand dollar or two.

I think we all need this vacation and I can’t even begin to say how much I’m looking forward to it. It’s my happiest place, with all the people that I love. What could possibly be better?

(Not) With Haste

I’ve had a number of things bouncing around in my head that I’ve wanted to post, but every time I have the time, I forget what I was going to write and when I remember I don’t have the time. And so basically my blog has been dormant for a while. I’m working on another sponsored post/giveaway for this week, but I thought perhaps I should write something real first because I feel bad when things get clouded with sponsored stuff.

Things are going fairly well for the most part. Before I continue, let me just say that I’m not really looking for fixes because I get that much of this is normal, I just want to talk about it because I’m tired of not. This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to comment or anything, I just mean, I’m not looking for solutions with this post, just airing things.

Eli is rapidly approaching 14 months and is still not walking. And before you tell me that this is normal, I know, I really do. I know that up to 15 months is normal and I’ve consulted with my boss who I trust implicitly and even though I know it’s fine, I’m still concerned. And if he was almost 14 months and hadn’t had a brain injury, I wouldn’t be concerned at all, I would chalk it up to him being a cautious kid and let him figure it out. But he did have a brain injury and that changes absolutely everything.

The issue right now is that though Eli has much improved motivation to walk, he’s still just not able. Like, not he needs more practice or encouragement, he just can’t. He has taken individual steps and is able to take one step with his right foot, but is having issues with the left leg. When he walks while holding our hands he’s using some really unusual mechanics and after a minute or two, his left foot begins to drag and he trips. This has even caused him to get little scrapes on the tops of his toes from walking on a pool deck barefooted. This too may be normal and I’m letting it play itself out, but it’s causing me concern. It’s really hard, given my background, to not worry about it.

Interestingly, we had set Eli’s walking goal (where by I mean, we said, surely he’ll be walking by this point) at a camp (for medically fragile kids) my husband and I were going to work at in 2 weeks. After my husband worked there last summer they asked if I would also come help this year and told us we could even bring Eli, and we jumped at the opportunity. I got the week off work, we’ve been doing some planning and then Friday night we got a message saying that Eli could no longer come, oops, their bad. And now instead of planning for a fun week with my family, volunteering with an awesome group of kids, I’m planning for another week of solo parenting.

And look a week of solo parenting is not the end of the world, I know this but the last time I solo parented I fell into a horrible spiral of anxiety and I’m just…I can’t. I mean, I can, I logically and realistically know that I can, I just don’t want to. Somewhat thankfully, I’m doing a special therapy session next week where this head honcho guy is going to teach my deep breathing and hopefully that will help me cope with the insomnia that took over the last time my husband was gone. And hey, let’s be honest, I could totally benefit from two therapy sessions in one day. I mean really.

So, that’s where things are right now. One of those times where everything feels kind of urgent when the reality is that nothing is actually urgent at all. In other words, fun times up in here.

Thirty

At 12:35am tonight, I turn thirty.

As I understand it, this is a pretty big deal, and yet it feels very much the opposite. I don’t mean it in the hum drum I don’t want to age way. Or in the, don’t make a big deal about it humble mention way. I mean, thirty just seems like another year. I can’t see how it’s different than twenty-nine.

This past year has been the very best year of my life.

My health has been fantastic. I have gotten to stay home part time and raise the most incredible little person on this earth (it’s true). My marriage is the best it has ever been. My family is incredible and closer than ever. I literally could not ask for life to be better than it is right now. I can’t imagine how it would even be possible.

So the whole charade of thirty just seems…underwhelming.

The only real change is that I’ll have to put a new number or pick a new age range on forms. Everything else remains the same.

And as excited as I am for another birthday, what I’m most excited about is the future. I’m excited about this life I get to lead. I’m excited for all the tremendous blessings in my life. For more time with my family. For more days with my son. For more adventures ahead. I’m excited for the future, no matter what number year it may be.

Thirty itself means very little to me, but starting another year of this incredible life? That means the world. I can’t wait.

A Different Sort of Sleep Situation

We can file this blog post into the, I need a laugh because I’ve been stuck at home with a very sad, sick baby for the past 3 days.

My husband and I have a queen sized bed. I am not particularly fond of king beds because it just feels so giant in a room and I actually like cuddling. Sometimes. It seems like in order to cuddle in a king sized bed, you have to make a great migration across the vast desert of sheets and yea, I just said that. Anyway, we like our bed. But lately, I’m reconsidering my queen sized stance.

This is how we begin in bed each night, but obviously with a comforter on top of us.

(We’re spooning. And that’s Jacques-Imo, totally drawn to scale.)

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This is 5 minutes later, when I start itching and we both go to the way we really want to be sleeping and drop the cuddling charade. Please note my husband’s arm under my pillow, which is one of my lifetime pet peeves and somehow, also, a requirement for him sleeping.

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Then the baby wakes up and I get up to feed him and sometimes to pump. This provides my husband and cat the opportunity to make a move. And oh, they do.

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My second greatest pet peeve is husband head on my pillow because dude, heads smell. Especially heads with short hair and then I put my face on it and gaaaaaaaag.

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My husband is only 5’10″ but I swear when he has the whole bed to himself, he manages to be about 7 feet tall. And who doesn’t love a little cat ass on their pillow? I mean really.

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Last night, after putting the crying baby back to bed and pumping (and falling asleep pumping, and then pumping again, because my problem solving skills at night are not good), this is how I slept. And I am seriously, not even exaggerating. PLEASE NOTE THE HUSBAND ARM.

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And then when the baby got up again, this is how I spent the rest of the night. Not pictured, wet cat nose, all over my face. Also, my rage.

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My husband insists that this is exaggeration, but given that on multiple occasions he has awakened in the morning and excitedly proclaimed how awesome it was that the baby, who was up FOUR TIMES that night, slept through the night, he does not get a say.

I think I might get a sleep coach for my husband and cat. Or maybe I’ll just go sleep in the baby’s crib since he’s never going to.

2012 in Review

If you’re here to help Peter and Megan, click here for more information

I did a yearly review last year that I found at All and Sundry and even though Linda has decided not to do it this year, I wanted to do the survey again this year because I’m lazy and it makes it so easy to compare to last year. In the past I’ve pulled up my favorite posts from the year and shared them, but it feels sort of self-promotion-y and honestly, I’m not all that proud of the writing I’ve done this year. This list feels like a better way to encase this year and to see how thing have changed these past 366 days.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I gave birth. I promise this won’t be the answer to every question, but that was the big one. I also graduated for the last time (even though I didn’t get to walk) and started my first job in my chosen field.

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

Well, upon looking back, it turns out my resolution last year was to worry less, so, no, I think we can all safely agree that I did not keep that resolution. In my defense (as if someone besides me even cares), I did try and I did manage a lot of my worries better than I have before. But when it comes to the safety of my child, my worrying was nothing short of completely out of control. I’ve been in therapy for a few months now and we have made some progress.

My resolutions for this year are to get rid of the word should, both out loud and mentally. I’m tired of fighting against someone else’s idea of what is right instead of what is actually right for us. So this year is about doing what is right for us, unapologetically, 100% of the time.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My big sister. Also my uterus.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. I am unbelievably lucky to have all my loved ones alive and well.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the United States. We did travel to Arizona in September and San Diego in November, but that was the extent of our travels this past year. We have a few exciting (domestic) trips coming up in 2013.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Financial security. We are doing fine, but we are also beginning to pay off some sizable debts (debts that we got into knowingly, so please don’t mistake this for feeling like a victim, it just sucks), both to our schools and to our family and it would be nice to feel like we had a little breathing room in covering costs and paying down debts. I don’t expect 2013 will be the year we get that, but we dare to dream.

I just looked back at last years and holy crap I wrote the same thing. Well then.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 10th, our last day as a family of two, my last day as a grad student.
May 11th, the day we became parents, the day I graduated and our whole world changed.
August 27th, my first day of work.
October 25th, the day my niece joined our family.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Graduating and passing my board exams. Those were 3 of the hardest years of my life and I finished them, got my diploma and passed my board exam on the first try, after studying with a newborn. I’d say also going back to work and leaving my child, which was probably also the hardest achievement of the year.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Breastfeeding. As much as I have tried to let this one go, it will always nag at me. I know it seems silly, but something so tied to my role as a woman and mother isn’t so easy to just let go, even if it wasn’t really my fault.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope! You have no idea how crazy that is, after having (or perhaps letting) my life be completely intertwined with my health, this was the first year in a long time that I’ve been healthy. I didn’t see a neurologist the entire year, nor a neurosurgeon. I was not on any medications except over the counter ones. My child has been a bit of a health train wreck the last month, but he’s getting through.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Honestly, we were given so much from people this year that we didn’t buy all that much ourselves. If I had to pin down one thing I’d say my breast pump, which is both boring and a little awkward, but it allowed me to continue providing my child with the nutrition I wanted, despite our breastfeeding woes. I’m done talking about my boobs now, I promise.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Diapers, rent, food (this was the year of eating), baby clothes, baby toys, food. No major purchases this year per se, just making payments on the things we already have (car, rent, credit cards, student loans).

13. What did you get really excited about?
Passing my boards, getting a job, getting a second job, the baby napping his own room (as of this week!), really adorable diapers (judge me, I’m cool with it), how incredible this child is and all the really unbelievably cool things he does. What? backwards crawling is cool, I defy you to prove otherwise.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Some Nights by fun.

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

– happier or sadder? Happier. Embarrassingly happy.
– thinner or fatter? Fatter. I weigh one whole pound less than I did the day we came home from the hospital.
– richer or poorer? Richer, though using the word rich here makes me laugh.

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

Exercise, sleeping, reading.

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

Eating, worrying.

18. How did you spend Chanukah/Christmas?
We celebrated the first night of Chanukah with my in-laws, and lit the candles at home and opened gifts each night by ourselves. Christmas was with my family, in my hometown. And truly, it was one of the best Christmases I can remember.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Modern Family, New Girl, Criminal Minds

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I am embarrassed to admit that I read zero books this year, well, that’s not true. I’ve read Goodnight Moon and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom many times, but adult books, none. Honestly, every time I sat down to read, I felt like I should’ve been doing a hundred other things and so I did them. I have loaded the Hunger Games onto my Kindle and will be starting that during Eli’s afternoon nap today.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I am particularly obsessed with fun. right now, but as usual, I listen to a lot of the Glee soundtrack, even though the show has jumped about 8 sharks already.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
The Avengers (which we saw on my due date!), Pitch Perfect, The 5 Year Engagement (they are my favorites because they are pretty much the only movies I saw this year.)

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 and I did absolutely nothing (well fine, I went to Babies R Us and Five Guys). I was offered the chance to go to San Diego to hang out with some of my husband’s friends, but I was 8 days postpartum, an emotional wreck, and had almost no bladder control (yay more TMI), so I stayed in my apartment and wallowed a bit.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The easiest answer is to say worrying less, which I also said last year. But the truth of it is, I cannot imagine this year being immeasurably more satisfying. I wish breastfeeding would’ve worked. I wish I’d have stayed awake fewer nights worrying about something happening to my child. I wish Eli hadn’t been so sick these past few weeks. But none of those things would’ve made this year immeasurably more satisfying, hell, not even measurably so. This year was incredible and satisfying in just about every way.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Lazy. Until the baby was born, I was wearing fairly cute maternity wear, because when you’re pregnant, it’s cool to have shirts that are snug. Since the baby has been born I’ve been wearing any and everything that is unsnug. I have some feelings about my postpartum body and wardrobe, but now is not the time to go through them. Safe to say, there is room for improvement on both. And a handful of gift cards that will be used to address at least one part of that situation.

26. What kept you sane?
My sister, my husband (though he also enjoys making me insane, so), the internet

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I learned this year how incredibly fortunate I am. I have lived as a victim for a long time. A victim of my brain stuff, a victim of pain, a victim of anxiety. And in that victim mode I couldn’t see the things before me that were so incredible, that many people would’ve killed to have. I couldn’t see that the bad things were so insignificant compared to all the great that surrounded me. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever get to feel frustrated or disappointed or complain, but it does mean I pause when I start to get into that mode and work to get out of it faster. My life lesson was to stop focusing on the bad and appreciate the tremendous amount of good.

A lot of you have expressed a desire for 2012 to end, as evidence by the high number of “good riddances” I see on various social media sites. And as much as I understand those sentiments since that was me in 2009 and 2010, and to an extent in 2011, this has been, hands down, the best year of my life. This year I became a mother. I became an aunt again. I became myself again. I feel better than I have in years. I am struggling with anxiety, but I am truly, genuinely happy very much of the time. Though I am looking forward to 2013, I am sad to part with 2012 because it was so, so good to me. I’m genuinely sorry for all my friends who have struggled this year and I hope that 2013 is what you are hoping it to be and more.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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