1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Alex giving me an impromptu kiss. ? We've had a blessed year: I was able to declare myself an editor and work from home in my field; Matthieu has been successful in school and work because he's working his a## off; Alexandra keeps growing and learning in every part of life, blossoming and filling our days with delight. And next year we'll be getting two nieces/nephews (don't know which yet).
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? Matthieu's dad's health problems and near-death experience
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? We've (especially me) have been able to foster new and meaningful friendships.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle? Hmmm, I don't know that any obstacles caught us off guard. I think we did expect to have more energy and more patience and more romance (wink) than we actually had.
5. Pick three words to describe 2011. volatile, sunny, full
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you). fun, learning, mom-ish
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking). hard, busy, "Dad!" :)
[Matthieu's response when I asked him to choose words: "I don't believe in using single words to describe a whole year." Of course he doesn't.]
8. What were the best books you read this year? Grown-up books? The Help. I read most of the first of The Hunger Games until I lost it on a plane, but I like it so far. YA: Jade; Forbidden Sea. Early reader chapter book: the first of Ivy + Bean. Picture books: I have over 80 and I looove them, but off the top of my head: The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Click, Clack, Moo; Paiva Muumilaaksossa; Pat the Bunny; Gossie, The Thingamabob; Press Here; Seven Hungry Babies; My Personal Penguin; Goodnight Moon; Pikkuveikko; Christmas in Noisy Village.
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? Alexandra and Matthieu, my parents and sister and brothers and extended family on my and Matthieu's side, old and new friends, new colleagues
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? I am pretty slow to learn from mistakes if that's what this question is getting at... but it was a big change for me to be home all the time, working from home, neglecting housework, and enjoying/teaching/caring for Alexandra.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? I think I am a tiny bit more patient.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? I reconciled, or at least soothed, some troubled feelings pertaining to doctrine and culture.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? Well, the pants I bought six months ago don't fit. And my hair was longer, shorter, and longer again. Alex is definitely the winner in this category: she grew several inches and three clothing sizes and two shoe sizes, grew legitimate pigtails, and learned to walk, run, climb, wrestle, twirl, kick-walk, push a stroller, feed herself, throw, "swim", go up and down stairs, put things in/out of other things, shape-sort, stack blocks, play ball, put pants on, etc. all in the last twelve months!
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? This year has included lots of good conversation with friends, and I bond over that. I also feel more connected to close family members.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)? Learning new things; having a sense of flexibility (both apply in my profession and at home) and at home, I love to see how Alexandra soaks up the world around her, and finds ways to be happy and have fun. And I love to see Matthieu laughing with her and teaching her. I also have enjoyed our relaxed time together, as a couple, and as a family, more than any other "social" time in my life.
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)? Professionally, it has been challenging to visualize concrete goals and it has also been challenging to find child care that meets Alexandra's and my needs ideally. At home, I won't be sad when my diapering days are over, and it is challenging when a certain toddler does not walk in the direction I want her to, like up the stairs when I'm carrying seven grocery bags. At home, it is also hard that Matthieu is gone for such long days most of the time.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? Hello, internet.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? I make time for those I love, so that's good. And sometimes I fold laundry while I watch TV, or work while Alex sleeps, so I get points for those, too.
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year? Most of the time, people are asking for your love and acceptance, even if they don't articulate that well.
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you. "We'll figure it out."
If you read or even scrolled through that beast, Alex would probably say thanks, or more likely, "Dikadikadika peitto. Syödä välipala ," which is Finnish for "Dikadikadika blanket. Eat snack."
|December 24, 2010|
|May 21, 2011|
|December 14, 2011 [4th wedding anniversary] (Alex is wearing the same shirt, but it went from a little too big to a little too small.)|