Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 Year in Review

You didn't think I'd forget about my annual Year in Review, did you? Not. A. Chance.

Especially after this year, because, holy wow, what a year!


2012: The Year of the Houses


January

  • I ran a 5K race on January 1!
  • As you might recall, we started looking for a new house in December 2011. On New Year's Eve 2011, exactly one year ago as of this writing, we toured four homes, loved one, and put in an offer on it on January 2, 2012.
  • The offer was accepted, with some down to the wire last minute drama (after some bidding drama), which foreshadowed the drama to come.
  • We learned that you have to have a lot of nerve when applying for a mortgage if you own one or more small businesses because you have to turn in about eleventy-thousand more pieces of paper than otherwise.
  • We also learned that January is the suckiest time to apply for a mortgage because the mortgage company somehow wants you to have completed your tax returns for the past year, even though this is actually impossible. But they don't care that it's impossible, and should you suggest to them that this is impossible and/or that they are being somewhat unreasonable, they will pretend not to hear you in a fingers-in-the-ears-"la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you" kind of way.
  • I started The Outlaw Way programming at CrossFit. While I'm no longer following this programming, I found it very beneficial and loved it. I learned two important things thanks to Outlaw: the value of mobility work (and the MobilityWOD website), and I improved my Olympic weightlifting technique by leaps and bounds. Seriously.
  • Morgan was invited to a special gymnastics class for girls who wanted to improve their form and technique, and started going to gymnastics twice a week.


February

  • Right. So the mortgage stuff finally got settled and we were on track to close at the end of the month.
  • But about 10 days before close, we learned that there was a Surprise Lien on the house because the seller had been suckered in by some scam artists who had convinced him, for some reason, somehow, to create a trust with them (there were three bad guys), and unbeknownst to him, they helped themselves to about $75,000 of equity on the house. All of our plans were put on hold for nearly three weeks while lawyers and asshole bad guy scam artists and realtors and mortgage companies and title companies and everyone else involved in the deal had a collective freak-out. 
  • In the end, the bad guys walked away with $10,000 of that man's money, and screwed up all of our timetables for everything, and made it so I could hardly sleep at night.
  • Oh yeah, and the main bad guy actually wanted to attend our closing. I think in his twisted evasive mind he'd convinced himself that he had actually helped this man sell the house to us. The real estate attorney prevented that. I'm not sure what I or Brendan might have said to him if he'd shown up.
  • I kept thinking, Oh, this will be funny one day, right? Somehow, nearly a year later, this whole thing just doesn't seem funny at all. 
  • Here's the thing: we love the house. It's great for our family.
  • I channeled my frustration about the Surprise Lien into CrossFit and managed to transform my rage into kipping pull ups, realizing a goal I'd had since I started CF. So there was that.
  • I signed up for the CrossFit Open and started that competition. 



March

  • We closed on March 9, and because the absurdity didn't stop with the bad guy scam artists, we learned that the seller hadn't bothered to move out of the house before closing as agreed. Later that day, when we went to the house to look at it, as the owners, it was apparent that he hadn't even bothered to hardly pack, and his adult son laid on his bed watching television the whole time and did nothing to help his dad. Somehow he managed to get his stuff out of the house in two days (for which we received some recompense), but nevertheless, that meant we had less than one week before our moving date, when we were supposed to have had well over two weeks in order to get things ready.
  • My wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law came down to help with the kids during the move on March 17, and they took care of kids, us, lined shelving and cleaned windows and swept and soothed sad children who were traumatized that we were moving. We can never repay them.
  • Oh yeah, this entire time we were dealing with small people who were very, very VERY sad about leaving the only home they'd ever lived in. I've found that I am called upon to parent at the most inconvenient times, don't you? 
  • I kept doing Outlaw and competed in the Open, coming in 700-something-th in my region, which wasn't too bad, considering. I needed to do CF so that I didn't kill people, see.
  • Also, the kids kept going to homeschool co-op, and gymnastics, and other activities. Our lives didn't completely stop while all this was going on.
  • Morgan celebrated her 7th birthday at her gymnastics gym with puppy dog cupcakes. 
  • We had lots of ATLOS stuff going on the whole time, too, such as our monthly Happy Hour, and a hike, and at least one other social thing that escapes my memory. Also, planning and preparation for the conference in May was well underway by this point.




April

  • Now that all of our crap was out of the old house and into the new, it was time to figure out what to do with the old house. We'd intended to put it up on the market after doing a bit of work on it, and hired a friend to get some of that work done. And we still had a good bit of crap at the old house, so I was still running back and forth from the old to the new a few times a week.
  • On April 4th, I had a septic tank peopleguy out to inspect the septic tank, and let's just say I'm still not over the sticker shock, nor the OMGWTF-ed-ness of what happened that day. It wasn't that bad, but I know more about the personal lives of the people who owned this house before us than I ever needed to know.
  • Also, the previous owner came by once or twice for a couple of things he'd left behind (like a pool table) and told me things about the house, and specifically the state of the carpets, that I wish like anything I could un-know.
  • In related news, we had new carpets put in the new house.
  • Ryan celebrated his 10th--TENTH--birthday with a laser tag party that was super awesome fun. I'm still getting over the fact that my baby is TEN. Sigh.
  • Brendan and I celebrated 20 years together (dating, not marriage), which sounds like a lot of years for people as young as we are.
  • Sean finally weaned (he'd have done so sooner, but our move required a bit of a relapse), and for the first time in nearly 11 years, I wasn't pregnant or nursing anyone. It's a joyous feeling!
  • We went to the Renaissance Festival and I'm so glad we did. I knew if we didn't get to it early in the season, we'd miss it.
  • Morgan was invited to try out for her gymnastics gym's team program.
  • We made the decision to get a puppy this month (I wrote about what all went into the decision later, here.) There were pups on the way, due in June, and we had the first pick of the females. Because, you know, I figured I had nothing else going on, so why not get a dog? 



May

  • Another busy month. We started working out a deal with former neighbors of ours to lease-purchase our old home and I have to say, it was a very pleasant process to work out the details and get things settled all around. Amazing how that works when everyone is trying to be fair and make sure the agreement is good for each party.
  • My parents came for a visit in early May, ostensibly to celebrate their birthdays, and I'm convinced that if they hadn't come, all of our books would still be on boxes and not on shelves (thanks!).
  • I announced the end of the Objectivist Round Up, a project I really enjoyed working on, but it was time to end it. It would end in July after exactly 5 years of weekly editions.
  • Brendan and I LEFT THE KIDS AT HOME with our friends and flew up to Chicago over Mother's Day weekend for a family wedding. It was so much fun, and the kids had a good time, too.
  • Brendan had his birthday, but for the life of me, I can't remember what we did. :/
  • Morgan was accepted into the team program! And she had a mini-meet (her first) and did very well.
  • Most of the month was filled up with ATLOSCon stuff, and I have to say, this year's conference was the smoothest to date in terms of how the classes and events flowed. As always, we learned a lot about what works, what doesn't, and will be making improvements for 2013.
  • I actually sang and danced at ATLOSCon, and I actually even had fun doing it.
  • Met lots of new people at the conference, and I hope they all come back next year. 
  • Oh, and our conference surpassed our expectations, and it was generally totally awesome, and you should really come to ATLOSCon 2013!



June

  • About two minutes after the conference was over, the kids and I packed up the minivan for a road trip to DC. My lovely grandmother, who lives in California, would be on the East Coast for a few days preparing for her Mediterranean Cruise (ahem...I want to be just like her when I grow up!). So the kids and I drove up to see her and visit. My brother and sister-in-law would be there, too, and they actually drove back down to Georgia after the DC visit and came to stay at our house for a couple of days.
  • While in DC, we went to the Spy Museum, which was super lots of fun. We also saw the Archives, where Sean staged a sit-in style protest over the line length, to the amusement of all.
  • We gave audiobooks a real try on this trip, and to my surprise, we became obsessed. We started at the third Harry Potter book, and ended up getting through all of them over the next few months. We're going to start LOTR next.
  • I did the CrossFit Total for the first time and got 550, hitting a deadlift PR of 255#. 
  • I ran a local 5K at kind of the last minute, and PR'd that at 31:45 (which, trust me, is BOOKING IT for me).
  • Sean turned FOUR on the 20th, and requested geysers for his birthday. So we had a party for him here, and did Diet Coke/Mentos geysers, to the delight of all.
  • A consequence of turning 4 years old, though, is booster shots. I don't think either one of us has recovered from that appointment yet. I still say they need to have margarita machines available in the doctor's office for moms who have had to hold their kids down for shots.
  • A litter of puppies -- 3 females and 4 males -- was born on the 25th. Our dog plan seemed more concrete somehow, with weekly updates and pictures from the breeders.
  • We took a trip to the beach with our friends Kelly, Aaron, and Livy. We had a good time, even though a tropical storm coming in made it impossible to swim in the ocean past the first day.
  • Kelly and I were interviewed on Philosophy in Action about parenting. It was fun!



July

  • We went to our town's 4th of July festival. I'd never been before (Brendan took the older kids when Sean was a brand new baby), and it was a fun way to spend the holiday.
  • Somewhere in this general timeframe, I learned that I'm going to be an aunt next February! WOOHOO!
  • On July 6th (yes, I remember the date), at Kelly's house, I accidentally did a strict pull up on her pull up bar. So I've got those now, too (you know, assuming that I am properly warmed up and all).
  • I'd planned to use the downtime in July--we had nothing on the schedule apart from Morgan's gymnastics classes--to unpack and settle in. Because really, we hadn't done much on the new house, having handled a couple of emergency-type things early on, but then spending most of our time and energy on getting out of the old house and getting the lease-purchase agreement settled (which we did and July was the first month we had tenants). 
  • So for a couple of weeks, I did some unpacking and settling.
  • And then the air conditioning started flaking out and it looked like we were in for some big repairs there (thank goodness for the home warranty policy that the seller had transferred to us). It really didn't get too hot, believe it or not, because we are nestled in among lots of shady trees, but it was still sticky and uncomfortable.
  • And then Brendan's appendix decided to end their lifelong relationship on the 17th. And we learned some things about extended hospital stays and Type 1 diabetes (spoiler: even medical professionals get confused between T1 and T2 diabetes).
  • So suddenly, I was stuck in a house without working A/C and running back and forth to the hospital or pharmacy or doctor's offices with three worried kids. 
  • The rest of July was a blur.
  • I know we watched some of the Olympics.
  • I also know I pulled a calf muscle about a week before a CrossFit competition. I mean I pulled it so badly I couldn't actually walk on it for a couple of days. So the kids had two parents in convalescent-mode there for a while.
  • July. Not our best effort.



August

  • By the time the Festivus Games rolled around, I had recovered enough to participate, though I had to not complete one of the events because I didn't want to risk re-injuring myself. It was the sensible thing to do, but I still hate that I didn't finish that event. Still, I got 4th place in the rowing event (Intermediate Division)--I rowed 2K in 8:30, which was REALLY HARD. So I'm really proud of that.
  • During this same period, Brendan developed a secondary infection as a result of the surgery and probably the blood sugar screwups, so he was spending a lot of time and energy resting and healing and trying to avoid another hospital stay. And he did manage that, so things were looking up!
  • On the 9th, we went and picked out our puppy. We got Miss Purple, who is now known throughout the land as Penny Lane.
  • The kids and I went to the Tennessee Aquarium one day, to spend one of our final whole days out of the house before the puppy came home with us. LOVE the TN Aquarium.
  • What else? Oh, yes. This was fun. One day, pre-puppy, the kids and I were sitting around the family room and one of the kids noticed a mouse in the fireplace. To make a long story short, we caught some mice, in and out of the house, and had to decontaminate the entire pantry and most of the kitchen cabinets from all the mouse poop everywhere. We had to revamp our entire food storage operation, and to be honest, we still haven't put everything back where it belongs, partly because I'VE BEEN BUSY, OKAY? and partly because I have this (probably irrational) fear that the second we put everything back the mice will return and I'll have to do it all over again.
  • In related news, I learned that I really really hate mice. Like a lot. Before this, I was merely neutral. Now, notsomuch.
  • On the 18th, we brought Penny home to join our family, and that has been a whole blog-worthy adventure in itself. She's a lot lot lot like a toddler, only bigger, and more likely to eat boxes of Kleenex (only slightly more likely to eat bugs, as it happens).
  • We made the decision to put our mountain cabin up for sale this month, and it's still up for sale. It's a cute little cabin, so let me know if you're interested.
  • Two of our friends got married (to each other) and Morgan was a flower girl. An adorable flower girl.
  • I also announced, took, and have been on a blogging break since August. I miss blogging so much. But I needed to let some projects go and I realized that the stress I was putting on myself for not blogging to my standards and plans was no good. And I cut back on other non-essential stressors, too, and started spending more time with people in real life. Highly recommended. I do not intend to give up the blog, I will be back, but for now, I'm still mostly on hiatus. I'm a little nervous that I won't remember what we did, how our lives went, without the blog record, so I might just resume by doing a monthly update, for my own memory.



September

  • We had a few friends over for Labor Day, and that was loads of fun.
  • I spent a ton of time running the puppy back and forth to the vet for shots and a couple episodes of diarrhea and other fun puppy stuff. And I spent even more time potty training the puppy (she was well and truly trained within the first month of coming home) and doing other training with her, too. We hired someone to come and give us family training lessons in our home, and while that was pricey, I'm glad we did it. And then we signed her up for puppy classes mostly so she could get a chance to visit and play with other dogs.
  • In September, I stopped following The Outlaw Way, which was fun but took up a lot of time, and went back to our regular CrossFit programming. Spending fewer hours at the gym freed up my time for puppy training.
  • I was supposed to do a mud run, but I got sick and couldn't go. :( Next year!
  • Homeschool co-op started back up and Morgan was still continuing with gymnastics.
  • Brendan finally got a completely clean bill of health after about two months of the whole appendix fiasco.
  • We some fun adventures with our friends, including a visit to Hillcrest Orchards, which is fun in a Tim Burton kind of way.
  • Brendan and I celebrated 17 years of marriage on the 16th, but didn't get to go out to celebrate it due to a sick kid (Sean, maybe?). And as of this writing, we still haven't gone out to dinner for our anniversary. Sigh.
  • On the weekend of the 22nd/23rd, I took the Level 1 CrossFit Trainer class and passed the test (only missed one question)! So I am now a CF L-1 Trainer, how about that?
  • Brendan's family came for a visit near the end of the month and we went roller skating! And watched Xanadu!
  • I started the Whole 30 for the first time and learned that even though dairy doesn't bother my stomach, I am probably better off without it. I also discovered the joys of Scotch eggs. And I also did a zillion dishes, because cooking all the time is a big pain in the butt.
  • Things started getting back to normal a bit, and calming down. They calmed down so much that Brendan started refocusing on getting another job, which he had begun to do right about the time his appendix asploded.




October

  • Really, one of our better months, maybe the best month. 
  • The puppy was coming along nicely and sleeping mostly through the night. She finished up all her puppy shots so I wasn't at the vet every five seconds, and she finished up her obedience classes. Probably I need to sign her up for more, because there are still a few areas that could be improved upon, but after the initial housetraining and how to teach the kids to be around her (think meta-training), I just didn't have the energy (or money) (or time). She's a pretty good dog, and we've been doing okay on our own, I think.
  • I feel like things settled down a bit. Our routine was fairly unimpeded--co-op, gymnastics, CrossFit, puppy management, etc.
  • We had our annual ATLOS Fall Picnic, and it is always lots of fun.
  • And then, Brendan landed a new job! A fantabulous job with a shorter commute, better benefits, a good fit for his skills. He'd really only been looking hard for a few weeks; maybe a month. 
  • His old job was soul-sucking and he was SO HAPPY to leave it. Only he hasn't completely left it--they never bothered to have anyone learn his (unique) job during the three years he was there (during which he only ever received one raise), so they have retained his services via Red Top Software (his freelance company) at quite a high rate per hour. :D (Though the downside is that he is spending all of that time he's saving with the new commute doing work for the other company.)
  • During the lull in between jobs, we were going to stay here and work on house projects. And probably that might have been the sensible thing to have done in most respects.
  • But instead, I asked one of my lovely friends to keep Penny for a few days, arranged to have the kitty boarded, and we took ourselves down to Orlando for a very very quick Disney World trip. Because that's how we roll.
  • I finally got a leather jacket and yes, leather jacket ownership is really all it's cracked up to be!
  • On the weekend of the 27th/28th, I took the CrossFit Kids course and I'm now a CrossFit Kids trainer, too!
  • Also on the 27th, Kelly and I took Morgan and Livy to see the US Olympics gymnastics team perform. It was amazing. Really lots of fun, especially because I did something just like that when I was a kid (saw Nadia Comaneci!).
  • We had a Halloween bash here, kind of. Actually the kids went to a neighborhood down the road, because our new neighborhood is so spread out that it's a lot for the little ones to walk. We had some of our new neighbors here, too, and it was nice to get to know them a bit better.
  • This was the month Brendan became obsessed with stilts, having acquired a set for his Halloween costume (Hagrid). Who knew it would become a Thing?




November

  • This was one of my most consistent months for going to CrossFit, and it was kind of awesome. I love when I can get there as often as I want to, and I try not to beat myself up when life interferes with those plans.
  • I learned about CrossFit Endurance and started adding interval training to my weekly routine. It made a difference, quickly, but I dropped it in December due to illness and schedule conflicts. Hoping to pick it back up again soon.
  • Brendan took the older kids on a camping trip with friends nearby. Sean, Penny, and I went up there for the s'mores and campfire, but returned home to our warm house and soft beds.
  • We had a party here for my 42nd birthday. I'm now the Answer.
  • My sister came for Thanksgiving, and it was one of the most relaxed fun Thanksgivings I've ever had. And I learned how to make dates stuffed with almonds wrapped in bacon (actually, that's the recipe, heh).
  • My sister, Morgan, and I ran/walked the Gobble Jog in Marietta on Thanksgiving morning. Morgan was super proud of finishing!
  • We discovered a park nearby that is wild and open and full of trails. It's super awesome.
  • I feel like there was more to November, but really, all I remember is a lot of running.




December


  • On December 1, we had our annual ATLOS Reason's Greetings Holiday Party. I dressed up fancy (not normally my thing), the first of 5 (FIVE) formal holiday gatherings for us. 
  • Other holiday parties: CrossFit Kennesaw, Brendan's new company (AMAZING, truly), some friends of ours, and then just last week, Kelly and Miranda and Livy hosted a Geek Christmas party, which was my favorite, I think. I actually wore a costume, if you can believe it (REALLY not normally my thing). I was Zoe Washburne (currently my profile pic on FB).
  • I also organized a mom's night out with some of my friends from homeschooling world. We really need to do that kind of thing more often.
  • I started doing practice classes for our new CrossFit Kids program (not all of the details have been formally announced yet, but email me if you want some information). SO MUCH FUN. It's going to be awesome. Really. :D Both Morgan and Ryan have enjoyed it a lot.
  • I attended a class about good running form at the gym and learned that, generally, I have pretty good running form. And I got some individual coaching to make it even better.
  • And I was sick for a lot of this month. :(
  • Morgan had her first official meet as part of the team program and did really well.
  • I discovered that I really miss writing about and talking about parenting (blog hiatus, sigh), so I started a Facebook group for Positive Discipline Objectivists. It's really taken off.
  • Our homeschooling routine is changing, too. We are doing more regularly scheduled activities here at home, and it should be interesting to see how this evolves in the future. 
  • Christmas was here, our first at the new house, and with lots of family! My parents drove from DC, and Brendan's mom, stepdad, and both brothers flew here. We did lots of family activities like watching movies (Uncle Tim introduced the kids to Men In Black) and baking cookies and, of course, running to the grocery store every two hours. 
  • Red Top Software has been doing well (see October) and we were able to get the kids an iPad Mini each for Christmas. It's been bliss, not having anyone ask to borrow my devices. This will play into some of our homeschooling routine, too.
  • Our year ended on a sad note. Ryan and Morgan and I had been out at CrossFit and the grocery store on New Year's Eve. When we got home, Ryan noticed our cat, Rhombus, was not acting well. We all gathered around her in the hallway and patted her some, and she did look awful. She jumped over Brendan's legs and ran downstairs. Things seemed semi-okay, so I popped in the shower for a bit. But by the time I got back out, she was gone. It was almost as if she was waiting for us all to be home and to visit with us for a bit before it happened. I guess she climbed up on her favorite box, and died. So it was quick. Needless to say, the last couple of days have been rough around here. It wasn't unexpected--she was nearly 17 years old, a pretty good run for a kitty. But still. Sigh.




What a year. One of my goals for 2013 is to reduce and eliminate unnecessary stress. I think not having to get a mortgage, deal with crazy people, or move to a new house will really help with that. See? Making progress already!

Also, can I tell you a secret (assuming anyone has actually made it this far)? I generally go through life feeling that I am unproductive. I know that this is not true--it's all here, the stuff I did, and I couldn't have done this stuff if I was a big old slacker. But this feeling of unproductiveness doesn't match reality, and so I'm going to work on that, too. And give myself a break--and time to relax, too. I'm generally pretty happy when I'm doing stuff and producing things, but I am going to work on being happy in those other times, too. :D

I hope your 2012 was a good one--maybe a bit less roller-coaster-y than mine, perhaps. And I wish you and yours a wonderful 2013. Can't wait to see what happens next!

PS. I was going to add lots of pictures, but I find I lack the motivation to do so just now. I might add some later. Otherwise, you can see a lot of them on the Facebooks.


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