Revisting 2016 Goals

At the beginning of this wretched year, I, in my naivete, set some goals for 2016. They weren’t necessarily resolutions, just things I wanted to get better at. Well, 2016 had other ideas. Let’s take a look, shall we?

My first goal was to finish school. In this, I succeeded. Not only did I finish school, I also passed my CPC exam and became a Certified Medical Coder. So, not so shabby so far.

Goal the second was to eat better and exercise more. I have just one note on this one: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. That didn’t happen.

My third goal was to audition for Listen To Your Mother. In January, I auditioned and I allllllmost made the show but in the end did not. When I saw the show in May, it was clear why I wasn’t cast; my piece just didn’t fit the rest of the show.  But the ladies who WERE cast were AMAZING. 2017 will be the last year for Listen To Your Mother and I will be sad to see it go.

Goal #4: Get better are balancing my responsibilities. Well. Ain’t this one a bitch? I suppose you could say that I did accomplish this – it took divorce lawyers and separation but I certainly know where my responsibilities lay now. Looking back, I meant this goal to reflect my need to somehow organize myself better and prioritize my responsibilities better. What it turned out to mean was that I needed to reevaluate just exactly what my responsibilities are. It gets a lot easier to balance things when you start shoving undue burdens off your plate and refusing to accept more. Funny how that works.

Goal the fifth: Blog more. Oh hell, that didn’t happen at all. I think I blogged less than a dozen times all year. I had so much to say and so many terrible things to scream into the void of the internet. I wanted to do that. But the divorce meant that I couldn’t. I still can’t. If I had blogged like I wanted to, there would have been a new post up every other day. As it is, I have to hold those things in, as much as I don’t want to.

This year has been brutal in so many ways. From the loss of so many icons of my youth to the election of an admitted sexual predator as president. It wasn’t any better on the personal front; every time I thought I’d caught my breath, another blow landed.

I can’t wait to see the back of this terrible year. I have only a small nugget of hope that 2017 will be any better. But I still hope. Don’t let me down, 2017. Don’t let me down.

Hey, 2014, You Kinda Didn’t Suck

You guys. There is so much going on around here and I am a terrible blogger who has said NOTHING about it. Black belt test! Band and Chorus Concert! Christmas! I am going to make a real effort to blog about all of those thing SOON.

But for now? For now, it’s New Year’s Eve, 2014 has whisked past in a blur, and 2015 is almost upon me. There were certainly low spots in the year but there were a lot of good things, too. It was certainly no repeat of 2012. (THANK. GOD.)

The Bad

  • Scot had two surgeries and 4 hospitalizations in the space of 8 weeks this spring. It was unpleasant for all involved and left us with medical bills we’re still paying.
  • Jamie broke his left arm – both the ulna and radius – on Memorial Day weekend and spent the beginning of the summer in a cast. He healed up just fine, though, and we leveled up to Broken Bone Parenting.
  • Jamie’s transition to kindergarten and Liam’s transition to fourth grade weren’t the smoothest in all the land.
  • I got fat(ter).

The Good

  • I’m in school for medical coding and nearing completion of my certificate program. I’m hoping to job search in the fall of 2015 and I’m really looking forward to a new stage in my adult life.
  • Scot recovered from all the medical stuff in the spring and wasn’t penalized at work for his absences. In fact, his company was incredibly understanding. Given our recent history with this issue, it was a nice surprise.
  • We finally got approval for Scot to try Botox treatment for his migraines. He got his first treatment a couple of weeks ago and signs look promising for improvements in this area.
  • I wrote a bullet journal post that the internet seems to love. It hit Pinterest and it is consistently the most popular post on my blog. Seeing as there are only about 6 of you that consistently read this thing, that’s really weird to me. I didn’t write the post to get the traffic but Hi, Everyone! You’re all busily setting up your bullet journals for the new year if my stat page is any way to judge.
  • We and the kids had summer adventures galore and it was good fun.
  • We finally repainted Liam’s room to give him an older theme. He chose Star Wars (of course) and it looks fantastic. Now if only he would CLEAN it.
  • Jamie started kindergarten! School! Five days a week!
  • Liam kicked ass in third grade as an all-A student and is now in the groove with fourth grade.
  • I got to enjoy a real, honest-to-god, adult social life on a fairly regular basis. I have friends! And you like me! You really like me! (© Sally Field). I am so grateful to know and be friends with all of you.

I’m sure that 2015 will throw challenges our way – life always does – but I am hoping the “Good” list next year will be twice as long and the “Bad” list twice as short.

Goodbye 2013, Welcome 2014

Last year, as I said goodbye to 2012, I was desperate for 2013 to be a better year. I couldn’t wait to see 2012 hit the history books and I was looking forward to a fresh start. I can’t say that 2013 was perfection but as I look back, things really were a lot better.

The Cons

  • We went through job loss again.  The job that Scot took in 2012 turned out to be a terrible fit.
  • We spent much of the beginning of the year dealing with depression issues and mental health crises.
  • Our budget was blown to smithereens.

The Pros

  • I started on Zoloft and it made an enormous difference to my overall quality of life.
  • Scot switched mental health professionals and got his meds and his moods stabilized.
  • He found a job he really likes working with people he really likes. He’s part of a real team again and he’s so much happier.
  • I organized my house, started to exercise on a regular basis, and went back to school.
  • The kids both excelled in school.  Liam got a gem of a third grade teacher and Jamie is going to be SO ready for Kindergarten in the fall.
  • We welcomed Molly to our family and she fit in perfectly.
  • We managed to get some long-needed home improvements done (with more to follow in 2014).

As you can see, the pros far outweighed the cons of this year.  It was a rough start but about half-way through things started to turn around and they’ve been steadily better ever since.  So, I greet 2014 with anticipation. There are big changes on the horizon; I hope they’re all as good I think they will be.

Goodbye 2012

You’ve been a real bastard and I am not sorry to see you go.

Look, I know these end of the year posts are supposed to be looking back at the year in some kind of positive, nostalgic way. I just can’t. Not with 2012. This year was BRUTAL. We kept getting hit with bad news and just when we thought we were picking ourselves back up, we’d get smacked down again.

In no particular order, 2012 brought us:

  • Job loss. Scot lost his job in March and as our only source of income this was the year’s defining moment.
  • Not one but TWO cases of breast cancer in family members close to us.
  • Our air conditioning crapped out requiring a $3,800 outlay to replace it.
  • The daycare we had Jamie in was so neglectful I had to report them to the state.
  • Scot got pneumonia and was flat on his back for 6 weeks. This happened mere weeks after finding full time, permanent work.
  • We lost our dear beagle, Maggie, to cancer.
  • Ridiculous issues with getting Jamie proper help with speech therapy, necessitating a private therapist.
  • Finances getting wicked tight with tears and anxiety every time I had to pay bills.
  • The complete and utter undoing of all weight loss progress I had achieved prior to March.

In other words, 2012 was nothing but a year-long country song cliche.

It’s not that there weren’t bright spots among the shit heap. There were and I’ve tried to hold them close to my heart as an antidote to everything else. But the honest truth is that when someone mentions this year, my first reaction is always going to be that this year was terrible in the extreme.

I need 2013 to be better. I need a year of good, wonderful things. I need health for my family (all of it, extended and nuclear) and prosperity for everyone I care for  – friends and family alike.  I would like to salute 2013 as a year I could not forget for all the right reasons instead of all the wrong ones.

Here’s to a new year and a new start. May they be everything 2012 was not!

The Decade In Review

As the year comes to a close, I was going to write a Year in Review sort of post about all that had happened to us as a family this year. I got started writing it and got about two-thirds of the way through when I realized that it sounded remarkably like one of those cheesy Christmas letters you get once a year from your long lost Aunt Agnes.

And then I realized that not only is the year turning but so is the decade. It’s been 10 years since the big millennium celebrations and the hype of over the Y2K virus (remember that?!). I got to thinking about how much has changed over the last 10 years and how my life took some really surprising turns in that time. In honor of that, I give you my decade in review.

I began the year 2000 in a new relationship after dumping my ex-fiance two months before our wedding. That new relationship just happened to be with Scot – who I would go on to marry in 2001. In 2000, we were still living in separate states but were dating seriously.

At the time I was living in Columbus, OH with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece and working full time for a law firm. My sister and her family picked up and went to England in March of that year and stayed for three months as my sister finished her dissertation research. I stayed in Ohio caring for their house, finances, and cat.

In November of 2000 the country elected George Bush. I will refrain from comment on the next 8 years of politics.

By the time my sister returned Scot and I were engaged so I moved out to Pittsburgh and we moved in together. I got a job at Carnegie Mellon and we began to plan our wedding scheduled for October of 2001.

In August of 2000, three days after I began my job at CMU, I lost my beloved grandmother, Mormor. I still miss her but I see her every now and then in the faces of my sons.

In October of 2000, I lost my Grandpa. That fall was tough for my parents – they’d both lost a parent and were both grieving.

Scot and I bought a house together in early 2001 and then spent the much of the rest of the year planning our wedding.

In April, I lost my Grandma.

Scot and I married on October 6, 2001 and took a short honeymoon to Baltimore. Our wedding was 3 short weeks after 9/11 and we were on our honeymoon the day that the US invaded Afghanistan. It seems wrong to me that I can measure the length of that war by the length of my marriage.

We settled in to married bliss. In early 2002 Scot was laid off from his job at IBM. We were blindsided and had no idea it was coming. The good news is that Scot ultimately landed at a company that eventually led to the job he has now so all’s well that ends well.

For the next couple of years we worked our respective jobs and lived the the married-with-no-kids life. We traveled to various places – New Orleans, San Francisco – and in February of 2003 Maggie the Wonder Beagle joined our family.

In April of 2004 my mother and I went on a 9 day trip to Ireland. We had a blast, saw so many gorgeous and wonderful things, and made memories together that I will never forget.

In late May of that same year we found out I was pregnant with Liam. Six short weeks later I lost my job in a lay off. It was not easy to take and even harder to find work as a pregnant woman. In the end I stayed home for most of my pregnancy and on February 2, 2005 we welcomed our son Liam. Liam and his great-grandmother were 100 years apart. We were so ecstatic to introduce Grandma to her first great-grandchild.

Adjustment to motherhood was huge. I’d always wanted children but having a baby was a real challenge for me. I felt out of my depth much of the time and leaned heavily on the friends and family around me for support and advice. I eventually got my sea legs as a parent and we settled in to raising Liam.

In early 2006 I tried to return to work with disastrous results for Liam’s health. Daycare germs caused a spate of illness so bad that Liam lost several pounds and we spent many sleepless night caring for him. My decision to return to work was reevaluated and I remained home with Liam.

In April of 2006 I turned 30. Somehow, even though I was a parent, a homeowner, and a responsible bill-paying adult I didn’t feel like I was 30. I’ve gotten over that.

In May of 2006 we lost Scot’s beloved Grandma. It was a hard spring.

By late 2006 we were seriously outgrowing our house. Scot was working 45 minutes from where we were living and the commute was killing him. We knew we would eventually want a second child and there was no room for it at the house. We also had reservations about the school district we were living in. So, we made the decision that it was time to sell the house and move.

We started Liam back to part-time daycare to facilitate our search for a house and entered a year of illness. He picked up everything that came down the pike. In January of 2007 he had ear tubes put in and things got miraculously better. His speech delay disappeared and he stopped being so ill so often. Now he has an immune system of iron.

We finally closed on a new house in the suburbs in late April of 2007 and moved in mid-May. We now have a big yard (and all the yard care that implies! ) and neighbors and kids in the neighborhood for Liam to play with. We sometimes miss our old stomping grounds (Hi Jenn and John!) but in all I love our house and where we live. Liam will start kindergarten here next year and I have no doubts that he will excel.

We spent the rest of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 settling into life in the ‘burbs. Scot grew increasingly frustrated with his job. I continued to stay home with Liam who survived the Terrible Twos and entered the Terrifically Terrible Threes. He excelled in pre-school and drove me up the wall on a regular basis.

Shortly after July 4th of 2008 we found out I was pregnant with Jamie. Immediately upon peeing on the home pregnancy test I descended into the depths of morning sickness. Actually, it was more like ALL DAY sickness.

Liam survived the summer he was three by the skin of his teeth and with the help of my in-laws who cared for him when I was too sick to.

By the fall things were progressing with my pregnancy and Scot was nearly at the end of his rope with his job. The presidential race was heating up and the political infighting was tremendous.

And then the bottom fell out of the economy.

In November of 2008 the country elected its first biracial president, Barack Obama. I stayed up late watching the returns.

In December of that year, Scot took a tumble down the stairs injuring his wrist pretty severely.

Which brings us to 2009 – a year with high highs and some low lows. Scot had surgery to repair his wrist in late January. I struggled to survive the end of my pregnancy while being the only mostly functional adult in the house.

In January, Barack Obama was sworn in as President. I watched the Inauguration with such pride and hope. I cried when he took the oath of office.

Jamie joined our family on March 4, 2009. He made his entrance two weeks early and had a rough first three months. Between reflux and colic I nearly didn’t survive those months and much of it is a blur of frustration, stress, worry, and exhaustion. Somehow we all made it through – I know the help of our family made that possible.

Scot took a new job in the beginning of 2009 – a job he is still at and still loves.

The rest of the year was spent settling in to being a family of four with a neurotic beagle. Our family is complete now.

To sum up, a lot has happened to me in the last decade. I started out the decade as a 20-something woman fresh out of college and fresh out of a nasty relationship. I didn’t know where I was going to end up or how I was going to get there. Now I’m a married mother of two little boys living in suburbia. Oh how life changes!

2010 promises to be a big year. Liam turns 5. Jamie turns 1. Liam will start kindergarten. I’m sure there will be many surprises along the way. There always are!