Year in Review: 2017

I have a couple of posts backlogged, but I just realized I hadn’t done my year in review questionnaire yet! Most of you reading know what this is and have done it yourself (or at least read others’ posts), as it’s gone around this corner of the internet for over a decade. You know the drill.

Previous years’ answers are available here: (200720082009201020112012201320142015, 2016). Over time I have modified and  deleted some of the original questions, but here’s what I’m working with this year:

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Placed (second) in the overall women’s rankings of a 5K, won a named award at work, watched my children see the ocean for the first time.

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

Last year, I wrote:

“For the coming year, I would like to focus on making more gains in terms of health and fitness. I made some progress toward that in the last few months of 2016, and, after taking a bit of a break for the holidays, I’m getting moving again now. Healthier, smarter eating and lots of activity, mainly running, yoga, and barre3 for right now.”

Hey, I did pretty well on those!

This year, I’d like to: Get a general practitioner so I can stop going to urgent care, spend less on frivolous purchases. Keep up my yoga practice. Race in another 5K and a 10K, as I’m now in a new age group!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A lot of ladies on the internet and a couple of work friends, too.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not this year.

5. What places did you visit?

Atlanta and Birmingham (mainly for shopping), the Gulf Coast (friend visit), Iowa (family visit), and St. Louis (quick friend visit on the way home from Iowa). Was that really it? I’ll have to do better next year. Good thing I already have plans for a ladies’ weekend with my BFFs in May.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

A sane president, mainly. I would also appreciate more time alone and a more organized house.

7. What days from 2017 will you always remember?

January 20. December 12.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I credit the voters and hard-working Democrats in Alabama for this: electing a Democratic senator for the first time in 25 years.

I also got officially promoted and won a named, college-level teaching award, which is pretty sweet.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I have really struggled with healthy eating this year, although I don’t consider it a failure. Just a struggle.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My entire family was sick for the first half of the year after the kids started daycare, thanks to them spending each day in a petrie dish of viruses (and “building their immune systems”). I personally had at least 3-4 stomach bugs, two sinus infections, two ear infections, and pneumonia. Plus my usual persistent hacking cough that lasts 3-6 weeks every time I get a respiratory virus. It was the sickest year of my life.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Does daycare count?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The kids’ did, often. My husband’s. The aforementioned Alabama voters.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Daycare. It’s more than our mortgage.

14. What did you get really excited about?

The Senate election and turning 40, both of which happened on the same day.

15. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Anything from Moana, and yes I blame the children.

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

a) happier or sadder? Angrier.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, technically. More income but less of it leftover.

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

Reading fiction. Spending time outside.

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

Reading the comments. Retail therapy.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

My dad and brother visited a few days prior to Christmas, but for the actual holiday, it was just the four of us (which I like). We went to a Christmas Eve service at a new-to-us church and then CW and I made ourselves a fancy dinner after the kids went to bed. On Christmas morning, we had cinnamon rolls and mimosas and opened gifts. It was really great. Two year olds are fantastic at Christmas. Not so much in church, though.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

I rewatched Gilmore Girls so I could enjoy it alongside the Gilmore Guys podcast, which was great. As for newer stuff, I fell in love with The Good Place and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

21. What was the best book you read?

I barely read anything this year, y’all. I started a comfort re-read of Harry Potter, which went by very slowly and took up my reading time for months, but I petered out somewhere in book 5, and then I haven’t read anything too special other than that. Just at the end of December, though, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was nice, and Dark Matter, which was fine I suppose. Meh.

22. What music did you get excited about?

I really liked new things by Sylvan Esso and St. Vincent this year.

23. What did you want and get?

A new MacBook Pro for Christmas, an unlimited yoga studio membership, and a Democratic senator.

24. What did you want and not get?

Impeachment.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I barely saw any movies that stick out in my memory, so I’m going to go with The Last Jedi and Wonder Woman as my top two I saw in the theater.

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

I voted, ate donuts for breakfast, and then went to yoga. In the afternoon, my husband took me out for a nice lunch date and then I took a nap. He made me fish tacos for dinner (one of my favorites) and we had a lemon merengue pie. That night, we celebrated the election results. That weekend, we had people over for a small party with lots of prosecco and baked goods. I turned 40.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

A mix of some pre-pregnancy clothing and some bigger pants from Old Navy / leggings on days I don’t go to campus. Still not quite ready for most of my old pants.

28. What kept you sane?

Coffee, running, and Twitter.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I can’t think of anyone. I do miss Barack Obama, though.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

What didn’t?! I have outrage exhaustion. I suppose the Alabama Senate race.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I met a couple of new people through CW’s work connection who seem like they could become good new friends.

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

I need to get my own doctor and stop going to urgent care every time I catch something from the kids.

And, as I say every year, qui patitur vincit.

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“I said, early to bed, bitches, early to rise
They make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

— Lin Manuel Miranda / The Decemberists

The End of November

It’s the last day of November, which means I’ve successfully made it through NaBloPoMo, publishing a post every day this month. I was hoping to get back in the habit of blogging (and personal writing in general), and I suppose I did that.

Most posts I cranked out were not that great though, for me. A lot of the time I just sat down with my phone app and typed some stuff into the WordPress text box without much thought. Some posts were dumps of photos I’d already posted on Instagram; others could just as easily been a series of tweets. (Although, to look at it another way: long Twitter threads really ought to be blog posts, so I think I’m in the right on this one.)

I’m not sure whether this exercise will get me back to regular blogging again, though: most of those posts typed right before bed only exist because I am a completer and couldn’t let myself get away with skipping out on my 30-day commitment. Now that the month is over, what’s to stop me from just whiling away that time on other social media? Nothing! Nothing’s to stop me!

But maybe this list of things I intended to blog about this month, but never got around to, will encourage me to come back and say some more things:

  • Yoga and the om
  • Favorite milestones and memories of the last 10 years (because I’m about to turn 40)
  • Morning people
  • Weight and body stuff
  • Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 hats tutorial

We’ll see.

 

 

 

 

Things That Are Currently Making Me Tired, a List

The carby dinner and glass of wine I just had

The long day at work, which includes a lot of unbloggable-yet-exhausting things at this time in the semester

My twin almost-two-year-olds

The one twin who keeps trying to find the most dangerous thing in the room to climb up, dangle off of, and jump down from

The other twin who vastly prefers the other parent and starts a raging tantrum every time I try to do any everyday task like getting out of the crib, changing a diaper, getting dressed, combing hair, putting on shoes, putting in chair for dinner, etc., but who is perfectly fine for the other parent

The sweet, lazy, affectionate, paraplegic old dog who whines and whines and whines every evening after dinner until I position him up on the couch beside me in the precisely correct fashion

My email inbox

My email outbox

My bank account

My diet

The people in the elevator with me

The people I see from a distance waiting for the elevator, whom I don’t want to ride with and therefore have to avoid

Textbook sales reps

Textbook buying reps

The leftover Halloween candy I ate

The leftover Halloween candy I didn’t eat

The fact that my children have been waking up at 4:30 (as opposed to their usual time of 6:30) ever since the end of DST, and no, I know that math does not check out

My body

My mind

 

Tidy

I got carried away tidying and doing random neglected chores this morning. Do you ever do that? I tend to start by just doing one discrete task and then spiral out from there. Today, it was the kids’ humidifier that got me. I was cleaning it out, which I’d meant to do for ages (how do those things get so gross?!) and when I went in their room to get it I noticed a bunch of things that needed to be put away in other places. Once that starts — taking things from one room to another — I’m done for. You won’t see me again for hours.

I take one thing into another room and while I’m in the second room I see something else that needs to be put away in a third location so I go there and find a small chore that needs to be done, which leads to yet another location with more shit to do. This is how I managed to do like four dozen little stupid things today that aren’t even worth listing out but took me half the day and now I’m exhausted.

You know what made it so easy for me to keep on keeping on with all that domestic nonsense? The fact that I have 25 essays and 8 group projects awaiting my attention and feedback. Well, that and Gilmore Guys/Bunhead Bros. Procrastination + enjoyable 3-hour podcasts = a very neat house.

2017 So Far: Constant Family Illnesses and Political Shitstorms

Oh, hi. Hello there. I am out of practice with blogging, but let’s see what happens here:

I was laboring under the illusion that I would suddenly have all kinds of freedom and autonomy when the twins started daycare in January and I don’t know whether to laugh or weep at how wrong I was. Parents, I know y’all know what I am taking about.

So far, the babies have experienced: norovirus (twice), RSV, Hand Foot and Mouth, and various respiratory viruses resulting in several hard-to-treat ear infections. (They now have ear tubes, so fingers crossed that pattern is over.) From the twins, I myself have caught the noro, RSV, and various colds, resulting in sinus infections, bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia. My husband has been similarly affected. It has not been pretty.

So basically, this is how daycare works: we pay daycare as much money as we pay to our mortgage every month, but much of the time the kids are too sick from GERMS THEY PICKED UP AT DAYCARE for them to actually GO TO DAYCARE.

ANYWAY.

We’ve had at least one child home sick every day this week. Fine. Not like we have jobs to go to or anything.

GOD.

So in addition to being sick and caring for sick people and barely — just barely — managing to perform my full-time job at a proficient and productive level, I have had time for … approximately nothing. It’s fine. Whatever.

I don’t even want to get into it, but also politics lately are sapping any emotional energy I may otherwise have had leftover. I’m sad and disappointed and anxious and suspcious and bubbling over with pure, white-hot, brain-melting RAGE.

I’M FINE.

In other news that has happened since the last time I posted:

I have been officially promoted at work to the highest rank possible for my position (to take effect when fall semester starts) and received a college-level teaching award. Not to brag, but I guess I’m pretty all right at my job.

I joined Biggest Blogging Loser, a friendly weight loss/good choices competition among my online lady friends and it helped me stay motivated to lose about 15 pounds from January-March. We just started a new round this week and I’m hoping to lose about 15 more, which will put me back at my pre-pregnancy weight. (The only problem being, of course, the constant family illnesses and political shitstorm are both driving me to comsume too much comfort food and wine.)

I’m back to hitting pretty decent paces on the run, which has me feeling good about my fitness and is a nice reminder that fitness and weight are not necessarily the same.

I have about 150 final exams to grade and then I will be done with spring semester. Deep breaths.

We are planning some summer travel, hopefully to include a visit to my friend on the gulf coast, a visit to in-laws in Iowa, and maybe a stop in St. Louis to see another friend on the way back.

Had to run an errand on campus, so these little bunnies got to run around on the grass for a while. 🐰🐰 Lew + Ella. 💙💗

My children are gorgeous, amazing little maniacs who keep it dialed up to eleven at all times and I love them so much.

 

I’m With Her

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you reading this that I’ll be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton in today’s election. I’ve voted Democratic in every presidential election so far — Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, Obama, and now another Clinton. The Democratic Party is my party. I tend to think I’m a little bit to their left, in the big picture, but I’ve always been proud to stand up and have my vote be counted in the blue column.

clinton-convention

This election has been a real shitshow, though, hasn’t it? While I’m deeply, deeply horrified by Donald Trump’s very candidacy (let alone by the possibility of him winning, holy crap), there’s a small part of me still in denial, still thinking this must be some kind of terrible joke. How could this be real?

First, we have the festering boil that is Donald J. Trump, who is not merely ignorant about both national and global issues, but is also a liar, misogynist, racist, homophobe, islamophobe, admitted perpetrator of sexual assault, and alleged child rapist. Then, to really deepen my disgust, we have the laying bare of our culture’s institutionalized hatred of women, as evidenced by the public’s responses to Hillary’s campaign. Seriously, just ask your Trump-loving racist uncle, or the Bernie Bro you went to college with. Republicans and Democrats are equally capable of barely-disguised sexism.  The election is stressful enough as it is, but between Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault and Hillary Clinton having to maintain her composure during the debates while being interrupted, shouted at, and actually loomed over by her opponent, this mess can be downright triggering. I know we’ll all be glad when it’s over.

But there’s something I don’t want to get lost in the midst of all our rush to get through this day: this is a huge deal. I want to really savor the moment when I fill in that ballot for Hillary Clinton — I’ll be casting my vote for the first woman president of the United States. And I’ll be able to tell my daughter and my son in a few years that they were there with us when their father and I filled in those bubbles. I want to do it in honor of all the women who fought for our right to vote and who aren’t here anymore to see this day. I want to do it in honor of all our daughters, a gesture of hope for their world. I want to do it in honor of (myself and) every other woman who has had to maintain her composure while being interrupted, shouted at, or actually loomed over while she is just trying to do her goddamned job (or groped or flirted with or mansplained to or ignored or …or …or…).

For all of us.

Because electing a Black man as president isn’t enough. Electing a woman as president isn’t enough. But those things are something. We have to keep pushing the needle, and this is a nudge in the right direction. I am proud to be part of that.

I also hate that, in the midst of so many people grumbling about having to choose between “the lesser of two evils,” or about how they “wish it were another woman,” we can too easily lose sight of what a great candidate Hillary Clinton is, and how great she could be as president. She’s qualified and experienced and knows how to work together with the opposition. She’ll champion rights for women, LGBTQ Americans, people of color, immigrants, and laborers. She knows that Black Lives Matter and says so, out loud and without qualification. She supports gun control and criminal justice reform. She supports a woman’s right to choose. She cares about combatting climate change. She uses big words; she does her homework; she believes in science.

I am not (just) voting against Donald Trump; I am voting, unreservedly, for Hillary Clinton. I am super fucking excited to do so.

Pantsuit up!

Pumpkin Patch and Halloween

We have been enjoying the fall lately. Here in Alabama, the weather is still regularly in the mid-to-upper eighties, but I think we’ve had two or three cooler days so far. See evidence below: I actually wore a jacket to the pumpkin patch!

Four of Us

This was my first time visiting an actual pumpkin patch on an actual farm (as opposed to buying my pumpkin from a giant bin in front of the grocery store). It was a really pleasant day to stroll around and enjoy the fresh air and take pictures. I’m sure we’ll do it again — the babies were still too little this year to enjoy some of the kid stuff they had available (pens of baby goats & pigs, a big slide, hay bales to climb on, etc.), but they’ll have a blast next time.

Mom & Eleanor & Linus
Dad & Eleanor & Linus

We came home with a couple of pumpkins for the front porch (which we didn’t carve — I’m just not that into carving, plus they last longer if you don’t) and the strong desire for some pumpkin muffins, which I made. Successful outing.

Halloween was really fun, too. I mean, can you EVEN?!

file-nov-04-1-07-50-pm

I can’t. Can’t even.

I’d been feeling all this pressure to come up with some really cute thematic twin costume and I kept coming up empty. Some year we’re going to do Luke & Leia for them and Darth Vader & Padmé for us, but we figured that’s a better idea for when they’re older. This year, we just didn’t come up with any ideas we really liked. Ideas that were suggested and then vetoed: lobster and chef, shark and surfer, bee and flower, etc.

At one point, we had nearly decided on ordering a matching pair of pumpkin costumes from Amazon, but we decided to sleep on it. The next day, the pumpkin costumes we liked had sold out and every other pumpkin costume was either not available via Prime (and wouldn’t ship until November) or was not in their size. THWARTED! Everything else we thought was cute on Amazon was crazily overpriced (like, $40 or more PER COSTUME, which is insane).

In desperation, I checked the Halloween aisle at Target and happened upon the elephant and the giraffe. Guess what Wubbanubs they happen to have and love? An elephant and a giraffe.

THEY COULD DRESS AS THEIR BINKIES, YOU GUYS. And so they did.

Trying the costumes on them for the first time was one of my best parenting moments so far. Each of them was absolutely DELIGHTED by the sight of the other twin in costume. They just looked at each other in amazement, grinning and giggling and eventually trying to grab each other’s faces. It was hilarious and adorable and so, so sweet. They’re the best babies.

On Halloween evening, it was 88º and I was wondering if we would regret the warm, plush costumes, but the kiddos did great and didn’t seem to mind at all. We went out for pizza and then explored the downtown trick-or-treat, checking out people in their costumes and hanging out with a few friends who’d also brought their kids. There were tons of adorable costumed babies being pushed around in their strollers and the whole thing was fairly delightful.

Next year, I suppose we’ll do the neighborhood trick-or-treat. Our neighborhood is really perfect for it (sidewalks, lots of families, pretty safe), but it didn’t seem like a good fit this year. Honestly, I just didn’t feel comfortable knocking on doors to basically just ask people to admire my kids and not actually collect any candy. E&L are still too little for candy and it would have felt like collecting candy for ourselves. Well, it would have ACTUALLY BEEN collecting candy for ourselves. Which, yeah, I like candy. But I have a job. I can buy my own candy.