A year in my life: 2011

My yearly tradition: A silly online quiz that sums up my year. I can’t believe that I’ve been doing these since 2005!

To sum 2011 in a nutshell: This was the year where all the pieces fell into place.  Jason and I really settled into our new roles as parents, I returned to work by launching my business and taking on new challenges such as operating a farmers market. Jason spent some time connecting with Samuel as a stay at home dad before starting his career in financial management. Samuel is a busy, busy  climbing, running, tumbling, laughing, teasing, hugging, loving machine. He is amazing

I solidified some friendships, sadly neglected others, met tons of new people, got exposed to many different views and ways of life, and truly got a sense of who I am from a values and belief standpoint.

For better of for worse, it was one of the most eventful years of my life, with the highest ups and some of the lowest downs.  What 2011 brought to us in experiences, it definitely lacked in balance- and I look forward to making that a huge priority in 2012.

1) What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? 
Started a business.

2) Did you keep your New Years resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
 Yes, and no.  My resolution was to get healthier, which I definitely did.  I lost fourty pounds and was really rock-starring my work out regime.   However, an injury in the summer stunted me and I definitely fell off track.  Now it’s time to pick myself back up and get back to my hitting my goals.

3) Did someone close to you give birth? 
No one particularly close to me gave birth, but I did meet MANY new moms, several of whom I have gotten particularly close to as the year progressed.  That being said, seven (YES, SEVEN!) of my close friends are pregnant as we close of 2011- which is downright amazing!



4) Did anyone close to you die? 
While she wasn’t close to me in geography and despite not knowing her well, the passing of my grandmother’s friend Rita marked me this year.  She was someone I had known all my life and it was truly sad.  I was also very sad for a friend of mine who lost her mother.



5) What countries did you visit? 
 We didn’t leave Canada, but I did make it out to Ottawa twice to visit my family.  Sadly, I didn’t make it to Vancouver…but that is high on the agenda for 2012.

6) What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? 
As I said earlier, this year was FULL of excitement, but definitely lacked balance.  It is only in December that our family is settling into a “groove” with our new schedules and responsibilities.  2012 will be a year where I focus on prioritizing, downsizing my commitments, and reevaluating my relationships to make sure that I am treating those closest to me with the respect they deserve.

7) What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?  More so than any other, I expect that December 21st will now occupy a very dear place in my heart., for several reasons. Also, September 10th, when we celebrated my brother Andre’s 40th birthday with his family out in Gatineau.

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Building a successful business would definitely rank up there.  Making the difficult choice to walk away from one goal (of buying into a franchise chain that I had been working on) in order to be consistent with my beliefs and values was also a first for me.  I was glad to know that when push came to shove, my family is unquestionably my first priority.

9) What was your biggest failure? 
I am not sure anything could really qualify as “failure”, but I did struggle a lot with adjusting my worldview to better align with my new parenting, marital and personal philosophies.  Jason and I have grown as people through parenthood and adopted practices that conflict with the beliefs of some of our friends and families. I spent a LOT of time defending these practices and beliefs in 2011.  My goal for 2012 is to stop defending myself. My beliefs and opinions are not on trial, and I simply can’t control how others react to them.  I anticipate some friendships ending because of these choices, but must believe in my heart that those who respect us as people will also respect the choices that we are making as parents and as a couple. I have faith in our friendships.

10) Did you suffer illness or injury? I got the chickenpox.  That sucked. Seriously, it was NO FUN.  I am also fighting my ongoing battle with infertility (now referred to as secondary infertility because we already have one (beautiful) child).  But it’s a very different battle this time round, and I am truthfully much more at peace with knowing that I simply can’t control my body beyond living as healthy a life as I can. This is the best that I can do for myself and for my family.



11) What was the best thing you bought? Can’t tell you yet…it’s a Christmas gift for my brother and his wife to be.

12) Whose behavior merited celebration? There are so many that I could choose from, but I am going to single out one special person.   My “bestie” Erie truly came into her own this year, from a professional and personal level.  I am beyond proud to call her my friend and my life is sunnier place for having her in it.

13) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? While I can’t highlight anyone in particular, I did find that this year was marked by a genuine lack of empathy and compassion in several political movements.  When we care more about being “right” or forwarding our “cause” then we do about the people we claim to be lobbying for, everyone loses.  There were several times where I found myself wrapped up in this type of behaviour as well, and that is simply not consistent with who I am and who I want to be.  So, the honest answer is that often I was most appalled by my own behaviour.

14) Where did most of your money go? Christmas and Ottawa trips.

15) What did you get really, really, really excited about?  My brother’s engagement (Dec 21, 2011)

 16) What song will always remind you of 2011?  Walking In A Winter Wonderland

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

  •  Happier or hardened? I still think this question is poorly worded. I don’t know if you can get much “happier” than I am, but I do think that I am also a little more hardened and a little more jaded.  I think that parenting does that to you…maybe it’s the sleep deprivation.
  • Thinner or fatter? Thinner, but not as much as I should have been.  I really wish that I hadn’t completely given up when I injured my knee, but I’m getting myself back on track and feeling good about that.  Health is a lifelong journey, not a one year, all or nothing deal.
  • Richer or poorer? On any other week, I’d say richer. But I seriously spent a fortune on Christmas, and I don’t regret it one bit.

18) What do you wish you’d done more of?  Picked my battles more carefully. And scrapbooked. I’m so desperately behind.



19) What do you wish you’d done less of?  Okay, so this question is the important one.

I definitely allowed myself to feel insecure by other people’s opinion/judgments far, far too often.  This wasn’t done by one “group” in particular- I think the “mainstream” people are every bit as guilty as the “advocates”, “crunchy”, “political”, etc. groups are. Parenting is a battlefield, and everyone seems to have a judgment (cleverly disguised as an opinion) on everything you do.

To be honest, I don’t care what you think about our decision to breastfeed, our belief in cosleeping and opposition to “crying it out”, use of gentle discipline or our opposition to spanking, our choice to cloth diape, or any other “crunchy” behaviour.

I ALSO don’t care how you feel about our decision to vaccinate, to integrate Sammie into maintstream, group play settings, to buy him plastic toys or non-organic food and to feed him McDonald’s fries.

I am proud of the way that I am raising my son, and of the values that I bring to parenthood and early childhood education.  These speak a lot about me as a human being, and if you can’t respect my choices than you probably don’t respect me all that much either.  Either way, one thing is for sure- you can expect me to be a less “defensive” about these things because anyone who makes me feel like an inferior parent will quickly find that our friendship will become non-existent. If you don’t want to be judged for your decisions, stop judging mine. End of story.

20) How did you spend Christmas? We have a ridiculously busy Christmas ahead of us, which is why I am doing this early this year.  Christmas will be spent with friends and family: the 24th I am hosting Christmas dinner, followed by singing at midnight mass, followed by Reveillon and gift opening.  The next morning, I am hosting Christmas brunch and then jetting off to Stettler for Christmas with the Lockharts.  It’s going to be a crazy week!

21) Did you fall in love in 2011? I fall in love more and more with my husband every day.

22) Any one-night stands? Ha. Nope.

23) What was your favorite TV program? There will never be a show like Lost. But I did enjoy House and Dexter a lot, along with my stupid reality tv stuff. J

24) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. It takes too much energy…but occasionally I have to remind myself of this fact.

25) What was the best book you read? The Philosophical Baby by Allison Gopnik (http://www.alisongopnik.com/ThePhilosophicalBaby.htm) and Raising Your Spirted Child by Mary Sheedy Kucinka (http://www.amazon.ca/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288) These are two must reads for any parent.



26) What was your greatest musical discovery? Caillou. God my kid loves that CD.

27) What did you want and get? A year of happiness and joy. I really am a very blessed person.

28) What did you want and not get? Nothing that will matter ten years from now.

29) Favorite film of this year? Tough call- I really loved the last installment of Harry Potter. Black Swan was beautiful.  Breakind Dawn was sinfully awful. All in all, it was a good year for film. J

30) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 30 on April 21st and had an amazing birthday. The theme was “Hot/Cold” and we went to the WEM Waterpark, followed by a bbq at our place.  Jason had tons of theme foods (like Turkey Hot Dogs with stuffing and cranberry sauce: surprisingly tasty!)

31) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?  Less “battles”- there was a lot of tension in my world, on numerous fronts and most simply weren’t worth the energy.

32)How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? “Business Careless”

33)What kept you sane? My husband, my child, my family, my friends, and my faith.

34) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? This wasn’t really a year that I spent any attention on celebrities/public figures.

35) What political issue stirred you the most? Too many. Way too many.

36) Who do you miss? My friends and family who are far away.

37) Who was the best new person you met? Wow, I can’t even begin to answer this question. I met SO MANY amazing people this year! I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it.  In fact, I might need to dedicate an entire post just to this question.

38) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:  I think Dr. Seuss sums this one well:

“It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot,for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not.”

A close second was this verse, also from Dr. Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

39) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: Thank you, Billy Joel, for always having exactly the right words. These lyrics are from I Go To Extremes, one of my very favourite songs.

Call me a joker, call me a fool

Right at this moment I’m totally cool

Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife

I feel like I’m in the prime of my life

Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast

I don’t know how long this feeling will last

Maybe it’s only tonight

Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens

And if I stand or I fall

It’s all or nothing at all

Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

(…)

Out of the darkness, into the light

Leaving the scene of the crime

Either I’m wrong or I’m perfectly right every time

Sometimes I lie awake, night after night

Coming apart at the seams

Eager to please, ready to fight

Why do I go to extremes?

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