1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Wrote freelance articles for a magazine. Took a trip with Ben without kids. Flew to England with Clare and my mom.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My 40 x 40 goals are some of my resolutions, and I accomplished seven of those. I am planning to keep working on them, with a few modifications. I also resolved to create a budget (nope, but we do have a new financial adviser who has helped with some long-term things) and set stricter screen time limits. I did fairly well with that one overall. Some days go better than others, of course.
3. Did anyone close to you die?
We weren't particularly close, but Ben's aunt Rita died on Christmas Eve. I'll always remember how welcome she made me feel when I first started going to family events.
I am also grieving for a dear friend who lost her sweet baby shortly after her birth a few months ago. I am devastated for her.
My brother and sister-in-law had my cutie pie nephew Bambos. Alex and Beth had Sebastian. Sara had Naomi and Eve. (Identical twin girls!)
5. Where did you travel?
Florida, England, Lake City (girls weekend), Whitewater State Park (friends' camping) Chicago, Lake Itasca, Bemidji, Grand Marais (fall camping), Duluth (girls' weekend), and many trips to Evansville.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I think I say this every year, but more date nights with Ben would be really great.
7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
Sadly, November 8.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This is boring, but probably fairly successfully handling the transitions from school to summer to full day school. It was a challenge. Also, I am proud of the work I've done on the Parent Advisory Council that I co-chair.
9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I have a mysterious problem with my foot (only mysterious because I have yet to see a doctor) that is making it hard to exercise. Other than that, it was just the usual colds.
10. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably carpet and a few clearance rack toys for our new basement playroom. I also bought Ben a hand drawn picture of Campus Pizza, our favorite pizza place in our college days. The building has since been torn down and replaced with condos.
11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Ben, who has talked me off of countless ledges, has done the dishes every night, and never bats an eye when I tell him I want to go out for drinks with friends.
12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Do I need to say it? I think I am more appalled and depressed than I have ever been.
13. Where did most of your money go?
Same as last year: Things for House and Children.
14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting my nephew for the first time. Taking a trip to England with Clare and my mom. The Gilmore Girls revival.
15. What song will always remind you of 2016?
"A Whiter Shade of Pale." Any song from our music class CD. The Magic Flute.
16. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Sadder, probably fatter and same.
17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I'd done more self-care. Gone to bed at a decent hour, exercised, washed my face every night.
18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasted time on Facebook. Eaten my feelings. (Curse you, cheese!)
And, because I think I need to repeat this every year, what I wrote last year and the year before:
Worried about things that are out of my control. I think I'll wish that every year. Also: obsessed about things that have already happened. (And are therefore out of my control.)
19. How did you spend Christmas?
We had several celebrations. The first was a weekend in Evansville when Rob, Andri and Bambos were here. We did all of our usual Christmas traditions, including eating too much and drinking martinis. The only thing we couldn't do was turn on "A Christmas Story" and watch whatever scene was currently airing. (I made Ben watch it with me on Christmas Eve, which was a huge sacrifice for him because he hates that movie.) We had Ben's extended family party on the 23rd. Christmas Eve day was spent at home, with dinner at Ben's parents' house. Christmas Day we opened presents just the four of us, and then hosted Ben's family for dinner. The kids had a great time and were spoiled rotten. It was a nice Christmas.
20. What was your favorite TV program?
Veep, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place, Jane the Virgin. (I am on a comedy kick.)
22. What was the best book you read?
My top five:
1. "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah
2. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
3. "Eligible" by Curtis Sittenfeld
4. "The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton
5. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by J.K. Rowling
23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This isn't a musical discovery, but I really enjoyed MPR's holiday choral stream this month. It was very soothing.
24. What did you want and get?
My girls' weekends and my trip to England.
25. What did you want and not get?
I said it last year and I'll say it again: more time to myself. I'd love a day or even a few hours at home alone.
26. What was your favorite film of this year?
"Room" was really intense, but really well done. And I loved "Bad Moms." I haven't laughed that I hard at a movie in a long time.
27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ben and I went out for dinner at The Commodore. They have very strong drinks. On my actual birthday, we went to an apple orchard with the kids. We got pizza for dinner because no one wanted to cook. I turned 37.
28. What one [or three] thing[s] would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time with Ben and more time alone. There's no time! There's never any time!
30. What kept you sane?
The thread on Google hangouts that I have with a group of mom friends. We send messages many times a day. Also, our girls' nights out and weekends away (two this year)! I don't know what I would do without them.
31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I've admired Dan Rather's writing and reporting since the election.
32. What political issue stirred you the most?
UGH. UGH. UGH. Just. Everything. AACK! (Am I eloquent or what?)
33. Who did you miss?
Christina. My grandpa. Robby and Andri.
34. Who was the best new person you met?
Bambos, of course!
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
On a small, personal scale, I've been really stressed about many things. I realized I have been taking that stress out on the kids. Not all the time, but enough to make me pause and think. I need to stop doing that. It is not fair to them.
I've also been doing a lot of thinking about how to stand up for what I believe in, and I am ready to fight for good. We cannot be silent during the next however many years. I am going to keep our family rule close to my heart: Be safe, be kind, be responsible.
And that's 2016, damn it!