Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Goals Recap

Another year is coming to a close. So, here's a final check-in with how I did on my 2012 goals:

1. 20 books + review
I missed the mark on this one and only finished 15 books - and just under the wire too (I finished book 15 this morning). To see the list and reviews (review of last book to come in the new year), check out my books page.

2. Finish afghan
Didn't do well on this one either. I have a total of four completed sections out of eight. So, at this rate, it will take another two years to finish it.

3. Re-evaluate financial portfolio
We did well on this one. We moved some smaller investments into RRSPs, increased our mortgage payment and opened an RESP for Evan. We were able keep our "rainy day fund" at a very comfortable level even though we did a few projects around the house and traveled out west in the summer. We've decided we'll re-evaluate our portfolio and budget every January.

4. Be more thankful, stop complaining
Hard to measure this one - I do think I complain less (though DH might disagree), but that might be for lack of time than anything else. I certainly didn't do anything proactive about it.

5. Work on "big plan"
There are a couple of "plans" that are running around in my head, but nothing concrete yet. I have been updating notes and ideas on both throughout the year, but they will be years in the making - if they don't fall off the radar completely. 

6. Try two new recipes per month, and take a baking or cooking class
I tried 19 new recipes this year and took a cake decorating class. Not too bad, but didn't reach the initial goal.

7. Incorporate strength training
As usual, exercise was on and off this year. I started the year with doing 10 push-ups a day. By March it fizzled out, so I started a daily weight circuit, which I kept up for a couple months. In September I got some new exercises for my back, and in October I started Gillian's 30-day shred, a yoga DVD, and the couch-2-5K play - all of which died when I got pregnant.

8. Monthly date nights
We ended up doing a date night about every two months which, honestly, worked pretty well for us. Anything spaced closer than that seemed right on top of each other!

9. Be more assertive/take-charge at work
Another hard one to measure, but I think I did well with this one. I'm being more straight forward, asking for what I want/need, and have tried to stop worrying about if others at work "like" me.

10. Keep up with deep cleaning
Did pretty well on this - at least to our standards. We're thinking of getting a steam cleaner so we can stay ahead on that one a bit more. I'm also going to put a cleaning schedule together for next year.

11. Fix up front patio and do landscaping in front yard
This was done! We also got to a couple other projects, like the roof, fence, and fireplace.

12. Less TV and internet
Nope, but I'm okay with this. I've come to the realization that these are things I enjoy doing to unwind, and it's not the end of the world. I enjoy keeping up with Facebook and my blogs, and I began to use Twitter - which has actually streamlined a lot of my web surfing. I plan on starting to use Pinterest to organize some of my ideas/to-dos. With TV, I generally only watch shows I want, but need to try and stick to that rule a little better.

Overall I think I did okay on my 2012 goals. Some were harder than others - either to do or to measure - but having the list at least brought them to the front of my mind. I made some attempt at all of them, and some will continue into next year even if they're not on my goals list.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rules and Routine...

...apparently go to hell over the holidays. Evan's regular routine is so screwed up that we just let so much stuff go in order to keep some sort of peace around here. He eats on the living room floor, watches way too many cartoons, barely goes outside, and has dessert before dinner.

I assume - hope - we're not the only house going through this?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ready for Christmas

I'm really happy with our decorations this year. We amped it up a bit by adding garland with lights on the mantel and it makes quite the statement, especially with the new fireplace.

Our tree also looks fantastic. Now that we've been together for 6 years, we have amassed a nice collection of decorations that are full of meaning and memories. We both have decorations from our parents and grandparents as well, so the tree is a wonderful focal point for our living room.

We are hosting both sets of parents over the holidays - DH's arrive first and stay about a week, and mine arrive on Boxing Day and also stay about a week. They will overlap for a couple of days, so it will be a full house! We're ready though:

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Things I Miss

I've been thinking a lot lately of things I used to do and was really good at - either in my childhood or later on - that I really miss now. 

1. Dance - I've always been a dancer at heart, but I took jazz dance lessons from the ages of 8-16, and then ballroom dance lessons in my mid-20s. I'd like to find some adult jazz and/or hip-hop dance classes.

2. Music - I played concert clarinet from grade 7-12, and jazz tenor/baritone saxaphone in grades 10-12. I adored music so much, and was pretty damn good if I say so myself, that I even auditioning for a university music program before deciding to go into astronomy/physics. After high school, I still played in an adult band for a couple years, and joined a university ensemble during my MSc. I'd like to get back into music, but not sure if I want to pull my clarinet out of the closet and join an ensemble here, or take up a new instrument like piano.

3. Golf - My dad started me golfing when I was about 6 and I played on a pretty regular basis until I was about 15. I took lessons, played in tournaments, and was pretty decent. In my adult years, I've played from time to time - usually a few times per year - but it would be nice to get back into it in a more meaningful way. 

I'm hoping 2013 will allow me to get back to some of these things that brought me so much joy at one point or another during my life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm still shocked and heartbroken about yesterday's events in Connecticut. I just weep for those children who were so scared, for the families who lost young innocent children - either to the gunman or because they had to witness something so frightening - and for the entire community who will never live life the same way again.

I think about the parents who had to go home last night to half-opened advent calendars, to Christmas presents unopened, to the cereal bowl left on the counter, to the toys left on the floor in the living room. How can they move anything, change anything, and get on with their lives?

It's unimaginable, what those families are going through. It was a senseless act that will terrorize hundreds or thousands of people for the rest of their lives. I feel like I can hear the screams of the children and the sobbing of the friends and families every time I think about it. I just don't understand how our world can be so horrible.

I feel strange about going back to normal life - like it's minimizing the tragedy and the grief of the families. No wonder we all put our heads in the sand when something like this happens. We can't internalize the grief of everything bad in the world, or we would just be paralyzed.

One thing I'll be doing is sending a sympathy card to the school. It may sound trite, but I figure the least I can do is let them know I'm thinking of them, as millions of us are. I urge you to do the same.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The M/C Saga Continues

Thank you to everyone for all your kind words and thoughts. 

This miscarriage has been far worse physically than the last one. It started on its own on Thursday, which I was relieved about. However, come Saturday morning, the bleeding got out of control and I ended up in an ambulance to the ER.

I spent 9 hours in the ER. My hemoglobin levels dropped about 30 points in that time (125 to 96), and it was decided I needed to undergo a D&C. At least that meant I got to go to a more private ward, but I had to wait another 5 hours before being called to surgery at about midnight.

Thankfully, the surgery went well, the bleeding has pretty much stopped, and my hemoglobin levels were rising again. I'm still feeling pretty awful today, but mostly because I have a brutal cold and my muscles are really stiff (from all the IV fluids going in and out quickly, or maybe from my blood levels?).

Here's hoping I'm finally on the mend.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

History Repeats Itself

About three years ago, I had a miscarriage. It was devastating, and something I would never wish on my worst enemy. 

So, here we are, three years later, going through it again. 

We found out we were pregnant about a week after Evan's 2nd birthday. The timing weirded me out a bit because it was so close to when we had our first miscarriage (I know it shouldn't matter, but all logic flies out the window after you have a miscarriage), but I was having strong symptoms and my beta levels were doubling on schedule. Everything was pointing toward a healthy pregnancy.

That is, until last week, when I had an ultrasound. I scheduled one early - at about 8 weeks - because that's what we did with Evan to make sure things were going okay after the first miscarriage. When we got the results (baby measuring a week behind, low heart rate of 86), we were saddened, but still weren't counting ourselves out. After all, u/s dating at such young fetal ages can have large errors. We could explain things away.

Then we had a follow-up ultrasound this week, and the results were conclusive: the baby had stopped growing at about 7 weeks and the heartbeat was gone. 

Then the world crashes down. Again. The worst thing this time around is I still have pregnancy symptoms, my temperatures are still high, and I have had no bleeding or cramping yet. I'm experiencing a missed miscarriage, where your body doesn't realize the baby has died. If I didn't have my ultrasound, I would be thinking that everything was perfectly fine right now. I might have to either take medication or have a procedure done to "assist"the miscarriage along.

With this, all the worries crop back up, along with some new ones: this is two miscarriages now, what does that mean?  Did I wait too long to have children? Will I be able to get pregnant again? Will I be able to stay pregnant again?

I'm thankful that we have Evan this time around - to keep our minds off things, to force us to keep some sort of normalcy in our lives, and to know that we have at least one amazing, healthy, crazy child to love.

Please send any positive thoughts you can spare along to us - we're in need of them right now.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Embrace the Cold

This winter, I really want our family to embrace the season instead of hiding out and waiting for it to pass. After all, it does last about 4-5 months out of the year - we shouldn't be wasting that time!

One thing we need to do is make sure we're all prepared to spend time outside. We have everything Evan could ever need - two different winter jackets, splash pants, full-on snow pants, snow boots, and a variety of hats and mitts - but not so much for ourselves. 

Last year, I invested in a decent pair of snow boots (and actually never wore them because it was unseasonably warm last year and we barely got any snow!), but I definitely need another layer for my legs (not sure if to do under- or outer-wear) and a good pair of heavy ski-type gloves. DH also needs some winter clothing.

So, any tips on what we need to stay warm out there? Any secrets (besides a thermos full of coffee and Bailey's)?

Our first winter outing: feeding the ducks by the river.