I only have a few more of these, I promise.
Here are a few things I managed to do in 2011:
After Westen was born, we made the decision for me to leave my full-time employment and be more of a stay-at-home mom. While that was always kind of the plan, sometimes you make decisions you have to live with (such as buying a house at the peak of the housing boom…not that I’m complaining, since we love our home and our neighborhood, but it is what it is). So while we decided that our kids were more important than anything, and sending Addie to daycare was probably one of the hardest things I ever did (but having done so, I will NEVER judge parents who decide to use childcare), I also knew that spending 10+ years developing a career wasn’t going to be something I could easily walk away from. Also, turns out I hadn’t been working for the same company most of that time for nothing: they were happy to let me not only go part-time, but do part of that at home. And let me tell you, it’s been nothing short of my saving grace. I know, I know…raising children is reward in and of itself. But the few hours I get to spend at my office every week, and the time I spend performing tasks and writing at home, have helped me stay mentally awake in the middle of poopy diapers, endless Mickey Mouse and princess shows, tea parties, and rounds of peek-a-boo. And the fact that I get that time makes me so much more patient with those adorable little people in my charge. (Just ask Jesse – he can always tell when I’ve been able to go to work for a few hours. I’m calmer, more patient, and less frazzled at the end of the day. Who knew?) I know working moms vs. stay-at-home moms both think they have it the hardest, or the best, but I kinda think my in-between world is awesome. And it works for me.
I have delusions of grandeur. We all do. I know a lot of people have half-finished novel ideas in their heads, and as a writer, I have several. I like to bag on poorly written books, or be overly critical of certain genres of so-called literature, but I always have to remind myself that, no matter the quality of a certain book, at least that book is finished. Which is more than I can say for anything I’ve done. Yet. But I did spend some time working on my writing in 2011.
I lost weight.
You know those people who complain about being so sick during pregnancy that they lose weight rather than gain it at first? Or who, near the end, look like they have a basketball shoved up their shirt? Or, within a few days to a few weeks after giving birth, look fairly normal again? Yeah, I’m NONE of those. I neither wear pregnancy well, nor do I recover from it well. (Granted, I don’t really get sick, either, and my doctor calls me low-maintenance, so I suppose it’s a trade-off.) But after giving birth, I tend to fall into a hole, and my coping mechanisms are not healthy. And after Westen, it took me more than six months to claw out of that hole, given how hard of a baby he was. I didn’t take many pictures from that time, but this is basically what I looked at the beginning of 2011:
(This was our Christmas picture/card – if you didn’t get one, and you usually do, please don’t be offended. I didn’t send many.)
I needed to lose 60 pounds. So I didn’t lose all 60, but I managed to lose 40 by the time we got to our annual camping-at-the-beach trip. I dunno, but I think the difference was pretty obvious.
On a side-note, does anyone else feel like there has to be a better way to live than to always be on a diet? A better way than being obsessed with calories and carbs? Than using diet pills, hormone injections, or the latest diet concept? (Yes, I did the HCG diet twice during the year – but only successfully completed it once. I HATE that diet. It’s effective, but I HATE it.) I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about the link between what we eat and our health, and not just in terms of weight. Someday I’ll blog about it, especially if I’m successful at making some of the principles stick.
There’s something about running that makes me feel like me. I can’t really define why, but anyone who runs knows what I mean. I’ll never be great at it, and I may never run a marathon, but I love hitting the pavement in my running shoes. Last summer, Jesse signed up to run the 24th of July 10k. He pulled a muscle a few weeks before the race, so I took his spot. I trained to run the 10k in just a few weeks, but it was kind of like riding a bike: my muscles remembered what they could do. It was awesome.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Traveling nourishes my soul. It wakes me up. It makes me feel alive to the world around me. In 2011 I not only got to do some shorter trips with my little family, but I did the Florida trip with Jesse, traveled to Yorkshire, England, on a free trip (that I won – more on that later!) with Jesse, and spent a few days exploring historic Virginia with my sister Kate.
All in all, it was a good year!