2013 End of the Year Survey

January 8

I did this last year after seeing it on Jolie’s blog and I’m going to try and do it every year. This year it could also be called “My Life in Instagrams”. So be it.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

  • Regular running! I’ve always hated running, but gave the Ease Into 5K app a try on a friend’s recommendation and didn’t loathe it as much as I thought I would. I’ve done more exercising in general this year and honestly feel better.
  • Took an extended trip sans kids. Drew’s and my parents watched the girls for almost 2 weeks while we jet setted off to Southern California for a visit to family, the Storyline Conference and a week in LA.

  • Got to be on TV. The most nerve-wracking, adrenaline pumping thing I’ve ever done. Ever. (The morning I was on TV solidified Renata’s position as the-perfect-person-to-have-around-when-your-emotions-are-a-wreck. She was a superhero.)

  • Had family pictures taken in our house. This doesn’t sound like a big deal I guess, but I cried when Maria sent me the gallery of images. It’s the first year we’ve done it and I’ll never take posed family pictures ever again.

  • Potty trained a child successfully. In retrospect, it really wasn’t that bad, but let’s be honest: I’m not looking forward to doing it again.

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


I didn’t make any resolutions last year because I never keep them. I’ve thought a lot about “lifestyle” choices this year and it’s been so helpful in not feeling like I’m failing all the time! I ran across this article somewhere and am embracing the idea of systems and lifestyle changes instead of resolutions and goals on their own.

More and more I’m really wanting to allow myself to be the person I’m becoming. More like a life resolution I guess. That being said, I’m also looking forward to knocking out some of these this year!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


My first nephew was born this year, little Desmond, to Drew’s sister Allison and her husband Rich. Des looks a whole lot like Drew, which is fun! Many a friend had a sweet little this year, too…just that time of life and I like it!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.

5. What places did you visit?

I ventured to Coronado, San Diego, LA, Dallas, OBX, Massanutten & Manhattan this year. (Parents with little babies: this is proof that yes, you will be able to travel again very soon.)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Stuff wise, not a lot. Maybe a film camera. But self wise? Well, I’d like to have a better sense of myself in 2014. A lot of this year has felt like survival and I’m hoping to have a more solid vision to strive towards next year.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

  • February 23 (and surrouding 9 days): Storyline Conference while in California without our kids. Really motivating (we recommend it!) and we talked about life and dreams over Denny’s fries late at night and the sun setting over the Pacific. (Also during this trip, I pumped breast milk for Rowen 3 times a day, stored it flat in a cooler with dry ice we continually had to buy and brought it all home on the plane for my girl. Rowen continued to nurse for 4 more months, boo yah.)

  • July 17: Drew’s 30th birthday! I worked on a year-long gift that he’s still enjoying (a gift each month!) and Drew officially became old. :)
  • Labor Day: a trip to the beach with my whole family. Jolie could swim by herself (and handy floaty), Rowen napped on me at the windy beach, Dad and I almost got in trouble for swimming in the too-rough ocean.

  • September 13: Jolie’s first day of “school”. She began attending “Mom’s Morning Out” at a local church and we both love it! She also started ballet this month, which has been great.

  • Christmas: We got to spend most of the holidays with my family and it was so fun! Rachel & Harry came from Texas with Madison and the kids were all over each other. We ate and ate and ate, played Wii, played cards and just hung out. It was thoroughly enjoyable for everyone (plus Drew had off work for 10 days!).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


It feels like a long time ago, but Jolie was potty trained this year and if that doesn’t make you feel good, nothing will. Also, the breast milk thing (see previous question). And managing to exercise regularly throughout the year. Go me!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Lack of patience, compassion, selflessness and on and on and on. Just as you truly realize how much you don’t know by learning more, the more you let things change you in your life, the uglier you realize your inside self can be.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

This summer I was visited by the disease from hell: hand, foot & mouth disease (thanks, Rowen!). Rowen had it mildly and while most adults don’t get it at all or get mild symptoms, I got the full blown beast. Blistery rashes on my hands & feet, high fever, body aches, chills, throat sores. I couldn’t walk or pick up anything. Drew had to stay home from work to take care of the girls while I literally slept all day. It was terrible.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

We splurged on a Pottery Barn headboard after we moved upstairs (switched floors in our co-owned house with the Janes family) and we both love it so much.

Oh, and my Aerie yoga pants. I literally live in them and am always disappointed when it’s time to launder them because I don’t have another pair. I guess I should just get another pair (2014 best thing I bought!).

12. Where did most of your money go?

Boring ol’ bills. We did, however, get to travel a little this year and revamp our bedroom.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Beach day! I got to actually get TAN this year on 2 separate beach days with my friends (and no kids, holla!).

My 10-year high school reunion was this summer and I looked forward to it for months! My friends and I opted to skip the official reunion and have our own relaxed version. Most of us got together for a cookout and I had a blast seeing them all.

14. What songs will always remind you of 2013?

There are too many! “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson: Rowen discovered it this year and it’s quickly become her favorite song. Jolie joins in on the dancing every time it plays. “Roar” by Katy Perry: perfectly motivating song for running. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus: because it is everyyywheeeeere. I don’t own the song, but hear it enough that Jolie knows most of the words. “So Close” by Bethany Dillon: my belt-it song in the car…and apparently Jolie’s, too. She sang the whole song with me this year which was a dream come true. :)

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? About the same. I love my little family and life, though I’m feeling a little more discontent with some circumstances, in a good, itchy way. I’m ready to move forward and leave some things behind.

– thinner or fatter? Thinner! Thanks, running & Jillian Michaels!

– richer or poorer? Probably about the same.

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


  • Cooked at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating out and we do it a loooot, but I think almost two years after having a baby is enough time to get dinner plans together.
  • Written. I still love having this blog and always find myself wanting to get my ish together and write more.
  • Cleaned. Maybe that sounds weird, but while I do love a clean place, I like sitting on my butt a whole lot more. I should probably fix this.

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

  • Spent time on my phone. As much as I love that daggon thing, Drew and I eventually came to the point where we put some limits on phone time. Also, my children pretend to take selfies with an old iPod we have. Um, wake up call.
  • Worked. I am grateful for my job, really I am, but it always ALWAYS wins when there’s any kind of battle for my time.
  • Randomly spent money. Trying to actually stick to a budget sucks, but is always good in the long run.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Eating. We spent Christmas eating. Drew had off work for almost 2 full weeks and it was glorious. We spent most of the time with my family since my sister Rachel was here with her husband and daughter. And we all ate and ate and ate. And THAT was glorious, too. The rest of the time we just vegged out, visited Zoo Lights together, played cards & Wii and just hung. So good.

Drew’s family Christmas wasn’t until this past weekend since his youngest sisters Adrienne & Abby travelled from afar (California and Australia, respectively). We spent two days playing a lot of games (Drew is quite the Charades master) and catching up. Also so, so good.

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Drew and I gifted each other a trip to New York the weekend before Christmas which was so fun (more eating). Jolie received so many gifts this year, the best of which was a Pottery Barn Kids kitchen set found in an alleyway and restored to glory by my parents. I know we’ll have it forever and it’s really special since my parents put so much work into it.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Breaking Bad. Nothing else compared or ever will. It’s the only show all four housemates have ever agreed upon and when it was over, I felt like I was going through withdrawal. After one particularly intense episode (Ozymandias, OMG), my face felt sore and I realized that I had watched the entire episode with my hand clamped over my mouth tightly. We’re trying to find another show to get into this year and nothing is happening. The other day, Drew said he wished he could erase his memory so he could watch BB all over again. I agree.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Half the Sky (you MUST read this and watch the documentary!), Bossy Pants, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, What It Is Is Beautiful

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Justin Timberlake, The Civil Wars, Adele, Brooke Fraser and, for Drew, Jay Z (because oh yeah, one time Jolie clearly rapped the first line from this song on her own…sorry grandparents).

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Catching Fire (saw it twice, unashamed), American Hustle (love me some J. Law), Half the Sky

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

Apparently I turned 28 this year and forgot because my sister had to remind me over the holidays. I got to have lunch with Drew on a weekday without the girls, which was really nice. No big party. Just simple, good quality time.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Living in a city. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and our house, but Drew’s city-bug has caught me and I’m so ready.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

“Wear what you want and don’t feel weird about it.” I’ve always had this weird thing about not being too trendy or too plain or too vain or too careless. This year, I’ve embraced just wearing what I want and taking some time to like the way I look. While most days I still end up in a tunic and leggings, it’s been freeing to stop being so self conscious and just buy the trendy boots or put on some makeup and actually use a curling wand in my hair with some hairspray. If it’s in style, great. If not, who cares? I like it and that’s what matters.

26. What kept you sane?

Always always Drew. I’m pretty sure this will be my answer every single year. Nothing can compare to this guy.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

It’s okay to be who you are. I’ve always felt pressure from different directions in my life to be a certain way, believe a certain thing or becoming a certain person. This year, I let go of a lot of those expectations, both by choice and by necessity. It’s been…different. Different and hard. But I’m finding a lot of freedom in trusting my instincts, the people closest to me and God to figure out who I’m becoming. In the end, it’s just going to be me who has to live with my choices and the person I am, so I better like her.

28. Song lyric that sums up the year:

It’s the best of times
It’s the worst of times
Might not change the world
But I’ll change it in mine

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