2016 Year in Review

Time for the annual year-in-review post. Last year is here and the year before here  and, as always, I’d love to read yours if you do one (so leave me a link in the comments!).

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I wrote a dissertation! That was a pretty massive accomplishment and I am thrilled to be done with grad school.

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

While I didn’t make formal resolutions, this is how I answered for last year:

In terms of 2016, I’d like to see us make some progress towards a big financial goal we have and I want to be done with the dissertation. I’d also like to buy my last box of diapers ever (so get on it, darling daughter).

Happily, I can say that we are a diaper free home, I’ve finished my dissertation, and I think we’ve made some good financial progress this year. I’ll call that a success!

For 2017, I’d like to compete in some sort of athletic event- maybe a 5K or a sprint tri or the open water swim I’ve done before. I’m probably as un-fit as I’ve ever been in my life at this point and I know I do better when I’m goal orientated, so I should sign up for something as motivation.

I’d also like to really learn how to use my sewing machine this year. We have a cute little one from IKEA and I’d like to master some basic stuff and maybe work my way up to an outfit for Ev.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

I’ll be at home, as per usual. I was invited to a wedding this year on NYE but it was out of state and kids weren’t invited and my husband has to work so the logistics aren’t in our favor as far as that is concerned. It would have been lovely to see some friends who are going and of course to wish the bride, whom I adore, well but I’m also okay with being home and cozy.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Did anyone give birth?

Nobody close to me died, thankfully. I’m still sad about Alan Rickman though. Several people I know had babies. Now that Ev is potty trained, I am really, really confident in our decision to be done with babies at our house.

5. What countries did you visit ? Did I travel this year?

Given that I have young children, a husband who hates to fly and a lack of excess cash (see: young children), I am unlikely to visit any other countries anytime soon. We did some travel this year to exciting places like Kansas and Iowa. We didn’t take any major trips, though we did have a lovely long weekend in a cabin in Wisconsin.

I’d love for 2017 to include a family vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina and/or a week on a lake somewhere this summer.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

More money in savings, I suppose. I find that I worry more about money since the election as I have zero amount of confidence that a Trump presidency will be good for the economy. I’d also like for everyone in our family to have a passport. I want the world to be open to us.*

*this is what I say instead of “I want to be able to escape if shit goes sideways with Orange Voldemort in office”

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 28, the day I defended my dissertation is a pretty big one. June 15th was also memorable as the first day of my new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Have I mentioned I finished my dissertation this year?

9. What was your biggest failure?

Perhaps self-care? I worked A LOT this year on both my freelance stuff, my actual job, and grad school. I feel like I’ve not been great at getting enough sleep, exercise, and time with friends/family this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Good gravy, yes. I started off 2016 with a massive kidney stone that required surgery and an overnight stay in the hospital. Then I had almost three weeks of recovery that was MUCH harder than I expected due to a stent that had to be inserted and caused lots of problems. All told, I missed weeks of work and was on heavy duty pain meds for longer than I’ve ever been before. The recovery from the stone was worse than recovering from childbirth. It was awful.

On the plus side, our friends were amazing and I felt really cared for by the lovely folks who brought meals, helped with the kids, and didn’t mind when I called them at 10pm to tell them that I thought they had pretty hair (Wendy on pain meds is very loving).

11. What was the best thing you bought?

No one purchase really stands out, though I do feel good about the charitable donations to causes that feel important to me. These were made the day after the election in an “f*ck you” to the new administration because I am petty.

We also bought a summer pass to the local pool and that was money well spent. I’ll happily do that again next year.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Our top three expenses were mortgage, preschool, and my student loans. This is our last year of pre-school tuition and I am so excited about that expense going away. Ev’s preschool is a fabulous little place but childcare in our area is more expensive than public college tuition. The combo of student loans + childcare is a killer for so many of my friends and it feels daunting to think about how to balance those with also trying to save for retirement. I’m hopeful to be done with my student loans before Miles starts college in 10 years. Sigh.

13. What song will always remind you of 2016?

This was the year of Beyonce and I’m obsessed with Sorry and Freedom from the amazing Lemonade album. I got to see her live with one of my dearest friends and it was a highlight of the year.

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

I wish I had spent more time outside in the nice weather months and more time in the pool the rest of the year.

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

Feeling like I’m living in a surreal nightmare in which we go from having an intelligent, engaged, and likable President to a racist blowhard who couldn’t find his own ass with two hands. I spent a lot of this year watching the news and thinking “are you kidding me? Who would vote for this asshole” and knowing that the answer includes many members of my family. I am still so angry.

16. What was your favorite new TV program?

This was the year we got Netflix so I finally started Call the Midwife, which I love, and my husband and I both enjoyed Grace and Frankie.

17. Do you love anyone now that you didn’t love this time last year?

Not really, but I feel like I have some deeper friendships this year, which is nice.

18. What was the best book you read?

In the non-fiction category, I enjoyed Real Artists Have Day Jobs and Big Magic. In the fiction category, I was into escapism this year and enjoyed A Discovery of Witches and listening to Harry Potter on audiobook on longer car rides.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery? Let’s change this question to something that doesn’t assume I am trying to stay abreast of the latest in pop culture. How about what item of clothing did I wear the most?

I wore a lot of dresses this year. I started a new job this summer and needed to up my game in terms of professional attire and dresses were an easy way to do it. I think I now have more dresses than pants, which is a definite shift.

For non-work days, I’m still all about the leggings. Long live the stretchy pants.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t know what the best movie I saw this year was, but I know for sure that my favorite movie experience was going to see Bad Moms. My friend rented the theatre out and invited about 100 of us to watch. Watching that movie in a theatre of friends was so fun. The fact that everyone watching was a mom AND that the theatre sold booze probably helped. I can’t remember ever laughing that hard in a movie, but I’m not sure if it would have seemed so funny to be in another setting. It was a fun night though.

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

I turn 38 and it was basically just a regular day plus some presents from the family. 38 is a boring age to turn.

22. What kept you sane?

Good friends, my little family, and finishing grad school. Taking one big thing off my mental plate was amazing.

23. Who did you miss?

My step-sons, always, and several friends. (Same answer as last year, same answer as next year, I suspect).

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned.

Never underestimate the power of large numbers of people to make terrible decisions.

25. What pictures best represent 2015?

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