Saturday, January 03, 2015

2014: Year in Review

My last post was in April of 2013.  That seems both super long ago and at the same time like yesterday.  I remember when I was little, time seemed to move so slowly!  Summer vacation was unimaginably long, and an hour in the car was torture.  But time moves faster and faster the older I get.  Here's my 2014 in review so I don't forget it - it was a crazy year!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you've never done before?
So many things! The biggest?  I had a baby!  Now I really wish I had posted throughout the year so I wouldn't forget what it felt like, but this post will have to do.

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
This was a year of babies.  I gave birth, two of my cousins did, and one of my college roommates, too.  Another college roommate is now pregnant!

3. Did anyone close to you die?

4. What countries did you visit?
I stayed put in the good ol' US of A.

5. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
I would love to travel a little more. I would also like to (finally) complete my second master's (it has now officially taken me longer to complete this M.A. than it did to finish my B.A.).

6. What were the highlights of 2014?
Of course the biggest highlight was giving birth to my daughter, but I did a ton of stuff.  

First off, I started a new job.  This was both stressful and a relief.  I was offered the job at the end of 2013, when I had just confirmed that I was pregnant.  So accepting the new position was dependent on a lot of negotiations.  Luckily for me they wanted to take a chance, and they guaranteed me at least 6 weeks off for maternity leave (it ended up being 8, happily!).  I didn't read Lean In when it came out, but I did read a "highlights" section one day in Cosmopolitan while I was in the library, and they specifically said that women shouldn't be afraid of looking for or accepting a new job just because of the possibility that they might be pregnant or have kids in the near future.  I took it to heart, I guess, and I didn't even feel guilty about my requests.  So, it was super stressful at first when negotiating the new position, but once it was wrapped up it was such a relief!  I liked my old job, but I had a 60-90 minute commute each way, and I don't think I could have continued that after having a child.

So, not long (well, about 7 months) after starting the new job, I gave birth.  I am not going to go into great detail about labor and delivery, but I can say that it was a lot less awful than I imagined it would be :)  Jube and my mom were both there, and it was great for me to be able to share the experience with them.

Although we didn't leave the US this year, we were able to take a couple of long weekends to some different places:

For the MLK holiday weekend, my parents went out of town and we stayed at their house to dogsit.  Normally The Plains, Virginia is not the most happening of places, but we decided to treat our time there like we were on vacation.  We went out to eat, watched cable (lots of the Australian Open on the Tennis Channel), and relaxed.

We had a "baby moon" (ridiculous name, but what else to call it?  The Last Hurrah?) at Cunningham Falls State Park (we stayed in a nearby "luxury cabin" at the Ole Mink Farm and can highly recommend it) - this was in June, when I was 8 months pregnant.  We did some light hiking (to see Cunningham Falls, of course!), visited Antietam National Battlefield, and ate an awesome dinner at Volt in Frederick.  

For our 8th anniversary, we went to Poplar Springs, where we were married.  We ate at their Manor House Restaurant, sat in the hot tub, watched a lot of cable (we don't have it at home) and I got a facial at the spa.  My mother and stepfather watched the baby - it has been our only night separate from her since she was born.  

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting a new job when I was 14 weeks pregnant.

8. What was your biggest failure?
I still haven't completed my master's degree.  I have hope, but really I should be doing that right now instead of blogging.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, I didn't even have a cold!

10. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a MacBook Air.  We have been able to do a lot of FaceTime with Jube's family.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jube has been a really wonderful father and supportive partner.  It is hard to believe that we met when I was only 18!

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I wasn't appalled or depressed last year.

13. Where did most of your money go?
Childcare has been the biggest financial change for us.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting my new job, having a baby (all the same answers, really).

15. What song(s) will always remind you of 2014?
The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens. Actually, this will always remind me of being young and acting out all of the different parts in my father's apartment, but it was also remind me of the last days of 2014 when Jube and I introduced La Petite to this wonderful suite.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
No difference. Still basically happy with my life!

ii. thinner or fatter?
A little thinner.  Somehow after having the baby I lost the weight almost immediately and it continued dropping.  I think part of it was that I developed gestational diabetes and had to change my diet.  I haven't adopted the strict dietary restrictions for good, but it has helped me with an idea of what I should be eating.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer :)

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Working on my master's.

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

19. What was the hardest thing you did this year?
Caring for a newborn.

20. What was the best thing you did this year?
Have a baby.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I am still in love with Jube.  It is a cliche, but it was love at first sight when my daughter was born,

22. How many one night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, and an oldie but a goodie - the Bachelorette.

24. What was the best book you read?
I reread To Say Nothing of the Dog which inspired me to read Dorothy Sayers's novels.  It is not a new book, but I think that the best one I read in 2014 was Gaudy Night.

25. What were your greatest musical discoveries?
My father bought a couple of Putomayo Kids albums for us before La Petite was born, and they are really great - good quality, not awful for adults, great for kids.  I highly recommend them!

26. What did you want and get?
A healthy, beautiful daughter.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
Belle. I watched it the day I went into labor.

 28. What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?
I turned 32.  My pregnant cousin was in town from California.  Jube, my mom, my cousin, my brother, sister-in-law, and I went out to eat Jackie's in Silver Spring.  Great restaurant, great company!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
No gestational diabetes!  While I think it was good for my health (and very good for my daughter's), it made the final three months of pregnancy really difficult.

30. What kept you sane?
Jube. My new, shorter commute. A great new boss.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2014?
First half of the year: pregnancy chic.  I got some really cute clothes from Target and the thrift store nearby.  

Second half of the year: postpartum fashion.  This has actually been more difficult.  I can fit into all of my old clothes but since I am breastfeeding, I need tops with easy access, and I just didn't have many.  So I have been wearing fewer dresses than I usually do and have had to invest in nursing tanks and button-down or henley tops.  

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration reform.  I have strong feelings about it, due to my personal experiences and situation as well as my job.  

33. Who did you miss?
I especially missed BB - for the first time in years, he didn't come to visit us and we didn't go to visit him!  But I was able to see my brother living in Puerto Rico (he came to visit around July 4), my California cousin, and even old work friends who came to my baby shower.

34. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a good new-mom friend in my prenatal yoga classes.  Our daughters were due 3 days apart! 

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Don't be scared to do new things!  


BB said...

This reminded me, have you been getting a series of strange Christmas presents at all?

Blondering Girl said...

I feel you on the dresses thing. I wore mostly dresses during pregnancy, so it's really weird to not have worn any at work since I've been back almost 3 months! Skirts are just not the same, sigh.