I saw this survey on Jolie's blog and thought it was such a great way to reflect on my year...
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Had a baby, bought a house. Two very "grown up" things this year, also, two very EXPENSIVE things.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't make New Year resolutions mainly because I think it's a good idea to push yourself with goals throughout the year. But going into the new year I will say that I'm hoping to get back on track with diet and exercise, and to be a better friend and wife. When you have a baby, so much of your normal life falls by the wayside that I'm hoping to find all of that again.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Does it count that I did? Other than me, several friends of mine had babies this year so it's been fun to have other new moms to commiserate with.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully not this year. *knocks on wood*
5. What countries did you visit? None. Now I'm sad about it.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? Balance. And a better budget for our money. B and I lived this first year with Henry as we always tend to- we spent money wherever we felt like. But since Henry is only going to get more expensive, I want to make sure that we're prepared for the future.
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February 9, 2014. The day that our twosome forever became a threesome. November 5, 2014. The day we closed on our first house.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I mean, I hate to sound like a broken record, but having a baby was my biggest achievement. As someone who initially didn't want children, and who was convinced they'd be a terrible parent, the moment I became a mother was monumental.
9. What was your biggest failure? I don't spend time dwelling on failures. I look at them as experiences to learn, to find a different route, and to move on.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I went into preterm labor at the beginning of the year which was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I was afraid I was going to lose our baby, I was afraid that I had done something wrong. Going to a Pittsburgh hospital in an ambulance without my husband was so scary and I'm so thankful that we were able to stop my labor and that Henry stayed in for a bit longer to get bigger and stronger. It should also be noted how incredible B was during that experience. You can read more about that here.
>11. What was the best thing you bought? Does the house count? I also bought a Macbook Pro that I LOVE. We purchased a ton of new furniture for the house- the couch is my favorite.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband. Not only did he have to deal with a very miserable pregnant wife, but then he had to deal with a wife who had just given birth and was in pain while also dealing with a newborn and going to work. But he never failed to come home from work, immediately take Henry from me and let me have a breather for a bit. And since I've been back to work, he always, ALWAYS puts Henry and I first. He is a fantastic father and a fantastic husband and I couldn't have done any of this without him.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Unpeaceful protesters. I understand that the world is totally f-ed up. But to make it worse with violence just makes me sad.
14. Where did most of your money go? (Aside from the house) New furniture for the house. We got a new sofa, new coffee and end tables, new bed, dining room chairs and a new chandelier. Plus lots of miscellaneous home decorations.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? There has been so much this year- my son being born, the day we closed on our house, the day we moved into our house, a promotion at work, getting two of our projects from work in a magazine for Outstanding Design (with me listed as photographer), watching my son grow and learn, spending time in Pittsburgh with my husband and brother and sister in law, so much more....
16. What songs will always remind you of 2014? Any songs by Jack White, plus "Small Bump" by Ed Sheeran.
17. Did you make any new friendships? I've made some great online friendships, but no other "real life" ones.
18. Did you go on vacation? Not this year. Between being on bed rest and then maternity leave plus having several days off for staying home with a sick baby, I didn't have any other time off available for work.
19. What do you wish you had done (more and less) of? I wish I had learned to shut down more often and just be with my boys.
20. How did you spend the holidays? We spent Thanksgiving Day with my family first, then Brandon's family later in the day. Then we spent the rest of the weekend seeing great friends that we don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like. Christmas Eve will be spent with Brandon's family (as is tradition), Christmas Day will be spent with my family, and then a couple days later I'll get to spend time with my brothers and sisters.
21. What new food did you discover? I discovered I like ranch dressing. No, seriously- it's taken me 31 years to discover I like it.
22. What was your favorite TV program? The Walking Dead! Or Parenthood. I'm so sad that Parenthood is ending.
23. What was one of your favorite experiences of the year? Okay fine, it's another baby related one, but one of my favorite experiences was one I wasn't really even a part of. It was the day we had Henry. After he was out in the world, it was just B, Henry and I together for about 45 minutes in the hospital room while I breastfed for the first time and we just soaked up the time of it being the three of us for the first time. Because my mom, brother and sister in law, sister, and Brandon's parents were all in the waiting room, I told him to finally go and put them out of their misery (since they still didn't know if we had a boy or girl). Listening to their screams from all the way down the hall was such an incredible experience that even now I get teary thinking about it and picturing what it was like when B finally got to go and tell them.
And on that note, the moment the doctor pulled Henry out and she said "It's a boy" is a feeling I'll NEVER forget and it made me so glad that we waited to find out. The amount of emotions I felt at that exact moment is something I don't think I'll ever feel again. Plus the first moment that he was laid on my chest and he found my eyes and stopped crying- like he recognized that I was his mommy and I was who had protected him for the past nine months.
24. What was the best book you read? I love reading (so much so that I started a book club- you should join it!). A few of the books I read this year and really liked are: Yes, Please, The Fault in Our Stars, Wild, Reconstructing Amelia.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I don't think I've had any big discovery's this year. I've found some new music that I really love (like Vance Joy), but nothing that has been revolutionary.
26. What did you want and get? A promotion at work.
27. What did you want and not get? The first house that we looked at. Sadly, I'm still missing it even though we're in one that we love. But that just means it wasn't the house for us.
28. What was your favorite film of this year? I didn't have a favorite film and can't remember what movies I've seen this year to save my life, but honorable mentions go to: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (for making me think) and Neighbors (for making me laugh).
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 31 and since I had just had a baby a month before, we had a very low key night where Brandon made my favorite dinner and I cuddled my boys.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? My year was so satisfying that I wouldn't even begin to ask for anything more. I was lucky enough to have a healthy baby, I have a supportive husband, I have a fantastic job, and now we have a new house. This year was incredible, no matter how difficult some days may have been.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? "Does this have too much spit up on it?" My fashion completely changed this year and I went to a place of comfort and got used to spit up stains. I still try to look put together, but I certainly don't care as often. Also: flats.
32. What kept you sane? My husband. He knows my breaking point and knows exactly how to take over to keep me from getting there.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I still have a Ryan Gosling obsession- and with his becoming a parent this year too? Well, let's just say he's moved to the top of my "list".
34. What political issue stirred you the most? All of the racial tension that has been going on. It's just so sad and it makes me sad that I feel we've almost regressed as a nation. I was also very interested in the controversy around Brittany Maynard and her decision to "die with dignity".
35. Who did you miss? My friends. With this being such a monumental year for me, it's been hard having them be so far away and for me to not be able to share all of Henry's milestones with them (in person).
36. Who was the best new person you met? My son. Is that obvious? He's definitely the coolest, weirdest, funnest, sweetest, most handsome person I've ever met.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. It's okay to ask for help. I am stubbornly independent and thought that I wouldn't need outside help with a new baby. I was wrong. So wrong. I am so glad that my friends and family kept asking and kept pushing so that I could accept their help even if I didn't want to admit that I needed it.
I also learned to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Life isn't all about those huge milestones. It's about the moments where you're sitting on the floor of your house with your husband across from you and your son takes his first steps using his walker, and in that moment your heart is so incredibly full and happy. And even if that won't make the following year's review, it's those little moment that make life what it is. (Yes, this happened today.)