Tuesday, January 3, 2012

STELLAme: A Look Back on 2011

Everyone is blogging about their New Year's resolution for 2012. Well, like most things—dinner dates, doctor's appointments, puberty—I'm a tad late. But there's a really good reason for that. I'm still basking in the glory of hitting many of my 2011 resolutions.

As the clock struck midnight last year, I felt defeated. Without going into a rant about how exhausting I thought my life was (negative rants in the blogosphere really annoy me), the best word to describe it was unbalanced. Ok, ok, life was not really that bad. My boys were growing like weeds and absorbing the world right on schedule according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Mister's career was taking off, my floral business was doing okay despite decreased spending on weddings, and we were surrounded by the most loving and giving community of friends and family.

So, duh, what was there to complain about? It was quite simple. I felt like I was living behind a veil of to-do lists and chores. So much so, I didn't have time to enjoy this snazzy life. Last year I resolved to live a more balanced life. I wanted time with The Mister and, more importantly, I wanted time to myself. This wasn't just more time, folks, I needed any time. I craved order and predictability. Lastly, spending hours a day with my toddlers/"lunatics"/"the littles"/"Thing 1 & Thing 2" was driving me to seek out intellectual stimulation beyond Thomas the Tank Engine.

Fast forward to now, I'm coming to terms with the fact that life is NOT predictable and tied up with a pretty little bow. I can't control everything. Life is chaotic...especially with kids.

When I did weddings, I'd always have a bucket (or several, if I over-ordered) of extra flowers just in case I needed them at the last minute. I referred to it with my staff as the "Oh Shit Bucket". Oh shit, the bride wants a last minute corsage for her ex-sister-in-law who didn't RSVP. Oh shit, that hydrangea is wilting. Oh shit, the intimidating eastern-European pastry chef needs more flowers for his precious cake. The "Oh Shit Bucket" came in handy every.single.time.

The impossibility to obtain perfection leads me to conclude that life needs an "Oh Shit Bucket". Whether that includes money set aside for a rainy day, wipes and the extra diaper in the car in case of an emergency blow-out, or the energy to get through mile 23 at the end of the day that includes bath, clean-up, reading stories, and stall tactics of being thirsty, having to go the potty, or one more back/tummy rub. The ability to laugh at mistakes, instead of dwelling on how imperfect you are, is a nice reserve to have in the "Oh Shit Bucket." So is that one hug left at the end of a bad day to offer up to a deserving spouse.

Back to balance. I'd like to think in the passage of family life, I rounded a big corner this year. My baby is 2, which means I'm giving away baby items, I'm sleeping through the night (well, mostly), and I can leave my kids for a date with my hubby without hearing blood-curdling screams of "Moooommmyyy!" as I walk out the door. Alone time for me now is being able to confidently drop the kids into day care to work-out or reading a great book before I go to bed every night. It's not much, but I'll take it.

Oh, I also said, "No," to a number of things last year, which has helped tremendously in the free time category. And with great restraint, the hubs and I took two measly trips this year to save some dough.

With just a teeny, tiny, eensy-weensy bit of freedom, I had more date nights, more nights to myself, read more books, and went after a job I am crazy about. Mission accomplished.

What's to come this year? Well, I'm still thinking. Like getting my driver's license at 16 1/2, I'm taking my time. For now, here are some noteworthy events from 2011:

Our holiday card this year. Traveling with toddlers is really only fun if you end up here.
I crush on this photo of my man on the beach.

Thing 1, just before his 3rd birthday. First chair lift ride at Solitude.

Worth it's weight in gold: the Double Bob. I suppose the 2 kids + a friend is one too many passengers, but oh well.

Thing 2 just before getting tubes put in his ears. In retrospect, it wasn't that big of a deal. At the time, it was heart-wrenching and overwhelming to see all the little kids in the waiting room at Primary Children's Hospital. He was such a chunky monkey.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the floral cooler.

Yea, we go out. Sometimes. Ok, really not that much.

Behind the scenes of my new job as editor for Utah Bride & Groom magazine. Imagine shopping for wedding gowns without a budget. So.much.fun.

The first true interactions between the boys began this summer joking with each other beside the pool.

Ten-year-old Bailey Belle, our "first child", passed away this July. To this point, the decision to put her down was one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make as a couple. Hands down, the worst day of the 2011.
We let Bailey eat Banbury Cross donuts the morning we put her down.
Hiking around Park City 4th of July weekend.
Another somber moment. Grandma Cece, age 98, passed away this year. Her flowers were cheerful in all her favorite colors.
I love to dance. Spearhead at Red Butte Garden did not disappoint.
View of the Grand Tetons from Driggs, ID.

Love this shot. Boys wrestle like puppies. You think they are going to kill each other, but they somehow know their boundaries.

Just because.

My main squeeze at a friend's wedding at St. Regis Deer Valley.

Behind the scenes of another photo shoot for the magazine.

My last wedding at Empire Canyon Lodge was beautiful.
Enjoying lunch on a fall hike to Secret Lake, Alta.
First costume change.
Second costume change.
Said goodbye to the baby books. Yippee!

Oh yea, I'm 2 (with a sweet booger in my nose).

T takes to the lanes at Jupiter Bowl in Park City.

Our first Thanksgiving at our house.
Booyah. Turkey's done.

We called this The Great Toddler Christmas Adventure. Dinner and treasure hunt at The Grand America with a train ride to see the lights at Temple Square. By golly, a three-hour tour with two happy toddlers was a Christmas miracle.

Baby, this cupcakes is dewishous. Uh-huh.

Thing 2 gets up on skis for the first time at PCMR. After all my years of teaching other parents' kids, I finally get to teach mine to ski. A very proud mama moment, indeed.

Ta-da! My first issue is out on newsstands now. Cover photo by the lovely Sparkle Photography.

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