End of the Year Survey 2016

I found this year-in-review interview from Jolie's blog who says she originally got it from another blog and I thought it was just the way to sum up 2016. I haven't been good at making resolutions or thinking much about the coming of 2017 with the fog of newborn haze but I really love resolution-type things so I thought I'd do this first and then eventually my brain will catch up to the reality that it's 2017. 

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Whew, a lot of things. Most importantly moved to a new city - I had previously lived in Lincoln my entire life (even for college) and now we're in Omaha. Even though it's like, 45 minutes away it feels like a significant change!

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

Ohhhh yeah I did. Here's my post on them from last year if you want to peruse. I'll sum it up for you quick.

Go to Confession once a month? I didn't quite make it every month, but I made it lots more times than I did in 2015. The whole moving-to-a-new-city thing kind of backburner-ed it for a few months there as we adjusted to a new place, but I give myself a solid B- on this one.
Do 12 weeks of BBG and THM? I didn't make it through BBG but I did THM for a full month, aaaaand then we got pregnant. Solid B.
Read 35 books? Again, the moving and pregnancy thing kind of trainwrecked this but I read 23 books so not bad. Technically a fail but I give myself a D because I read some long books.
Craft more? I made a baby quilt and did some knitting but not a ton. B+.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Heck yes - I did! That counts, right? Cora's birth was definitely the highlight and the hardest part of 2016, no question about it. Cora Jane was born on December 13 and she's great. Lots of other friends also had babies but too many to list out here, so I'll just blanket statement say lots of them!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My uncle Dick died, and David's great-uncle who was a priest died as well. 

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

More peace of mind and more hours in the day, please. I know those are impossible desires but that's truly what I want out of life. I want to be more patient and more easy-going in this land of small children and diapers and monotonous days, and I really want more hours in the day to get things done and read more books, watch more TV, etc. etc.

7. What dates from 2016 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

May 30: Kate's 2nd birthday. I have to say, I think two years old is my favorite stage so far. She is so curious and her birthday was finally something she kind of understood, so it was fun to celebrate together.

July 22: the day we closed on our old house in Lincoln and our new house in Omaha. (Yes, both on the same day.) We didn't really live at the new house til about a week later but I still count that as our move date.

July 29: David's sister's wedding which was a great party and Kate made a million friends.

December 6: my due date, which came and passed uneventfully. No surprises there.

December 13: is the biggest one as that's Cora's birthday. 12/13/16 is close to a very symmetrical birthday so that (hopefully) will make it easy to remember. (For some reason I can never remember the year Kate was born until I think the timeline through, horrible I know.) 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Having a baby definitely tops the list. I am not quite sure how you beat that, but I also qualify another year working from home with a crazy toddler and a puppy as a feat worthy of mentioning. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

I probably spent too much time on the Internet. Aaaand spent too much time feeling sorry for myself for silly reasons, too many and too personal to detail publicly on the blog. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope! I mean, I had a few colds and that was about it. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our new house by far tops that list, although having a second car is also super nice. Our new place is a lot nicer than our old one, and much easier to live in (number of bathrooms, space to spend time in, etc.) but being able to transport all of our children (plural, still weird) and dog and stuff when we travel is also very nice. And having two cars in general is nice, so I don't have to drive David to work whenever we have a doctor's appointment or I need to run an errand.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Our resident two-year-old deserves recognition for how well she's handled not being the complete center of attention since the arrival of her baby sister. Admittedly it was a bit of a learning curve the first two weeks, but she has seriously done a great job of both helping with the baby and being able to step back from the spotlight a little bit when Cora's needs are more pressing. She still gets plenty of attention from all her relatives, which definitely helps, but she has done a great job with all the changes and I'm super proud of her for it.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Is it rude to say anyone who posted about the election on Facebook? That blanket statement isn't true because I did encounter and participate in a few actually decent discussions on FB about the election but most of the ones I saw were horrible and made me sad for our country and our future. And that's as political as I am going to get.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Truthfully the new house and new car got the biggest chunks of our incomes, but David has been reworking a budget for us in the past couple days and saw the total dollar amount we spent at Target last year and had a little bit of a heart attack about it, so I'll throw Target in the mix as well. Also Amazon Prime for Christmas gifts. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The prospect of a new baby joining the family! When we originally talked about trying to get pregnant with number 2, I wasn't sure what my emotions would be like if it actually happened. We spent a few months trying before succeeding, and those were rough for many reasons but whenever I saw the "negative" result on the pregnancy test, I had a weird mixture of emotions of both great sadness that we weren't pregnant, and relief that our lives were going to stay the same for a little bit longer. When we finally did get pregnant, and after the initial shock and adjustment period wore off, I was glad to realize how excited I was for baby 2, even through all the ups and downs of pregnancy. 

16. What songs will always remind you of 2016?

Ophelia by the Lumineers, because it was one of the first songs Kate learned to sing along to without any prompting from me or David. Three Thirty by Eighty Ninety, because multiple pregnancy mood swings made me cry listening to it. Our House by Crosby, Stills, & Nash because it was on an episode of the Blacklist and was so distinctive that I started to listen to it constantly. (Thank you, Spotify, for helping me remember!)

17. Did you make any new friendships?

To be honest not any new friendships in real life, but I made a bunch of new internet friends and tried to deepen the real-life friendships I already had. Moving to a different city has made that difficult but I'm hoping to work on this in 2017.

18. Did you go on vacation?

Yes! We went on our first kid-free vacation since having Kate to Colorado in May with a group of friends. It was right after we found out we were pregnant so we had to tell everyone in the group since it was pretty obvious I wouldn't be drinking (not that our friends are crazy drinkers, but you know) and the morning sickness wasn't the greatest. But it was really fun! Pictures below. Vail in May is deserted - we had multiple shop owners say we were the only group of tourists in the entire town. I mean, it was also cold and snowy but the feeling of being the only ones there was pretty fun.

19. What do you wish you had done more (and less) of?

I wish I had appreciated my free time more when we only had Kate -- I can already feel the hours of free time slipping out of my hands. Don't get me wrong, all for a good reason! But with the hours of child care adding up as well as starting back to work, I'm seeing less and less time for just-me-activities. 

20. How did you spend the holidays?

Christmas was split between the two sides of the family like it usually is. Christmas Eve was just our little family, going to an evening Mass at a parish unfamiliar to us where we had to stand in the back (David's first experience with a full Christmas Eve Mass, which apparently doesn't happen where he went to Mass growing up on Christmas) and then exchanging presents and eating Chick-Fil-A as celebration. Christmas Day we spent with my family, and then over New Year's Eve we celebrated with David's family in Columbus since his brother was back from Philadelphia. It was a tiring two weeks (as it usually is) but we did less than normal due to Cora so it was nice.

21. What new food did you discover?

Umm...I don't know if this qualifies, but I tried the spicy salsa at Chipotle for the first time and holy cow that is SPICY. I'm not sure I tried anything else new this year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Ohhh, hard to answer. We started watching The West Wing together (my second time through) and that will always be one of my favorite shows. Amount of time spent watching would 100% be The Office, because we are always rewatching that. (I'm pretty sure we're on our 20+ rewatch of the entire 9 seasons. No joke.) I think the beginning of the year was spent watching House and Arrow, but I'm not entirely sure. 

23. What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?

Going to a Husker football game for the first time since before we had Kate was really fun, thanks to David's sister and brother-in-law, who have seasons tickets. I'm hoping we can convince them to give us a chance at tickets somewhat regularly now. ;) And even being pretty pregnant and sitting on bleacher seats it was still super enjoyable! 

24. What was the best book you read?

How are you supposed to answer that?? I only read 23 books this year even though my goal was 35 (you can see my year in books here) so I am a little disappointed in myself for that. My two favorites were In the Woods by Tana French and The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. I also loved the Cormoran Strike novels I read (JK Rowling's mystery books) and the Game of Thrones ones I finished at the beginning of the year. I liked pretty much all of them, I'm not super picky.

25. What was your greatest musical or artist discovery?

Hmm. San Fermin was a good band to discover, but I probably had heard them before. I got re-obsessed with Gregory Alan Isakov, too - it comes and goes in waves. 

26. What did you want and get?

A new house with pretty much everything on our wishlist (minus a fireplace) and a new (used) car. 

27. What did you want and not get?

A fireplace in our new house (lol previous answer) and way more clothes than I didn't buy but really wanted to. I have much too expensive taste for my budget.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?

We actually didn't watch many movies this year, in comparison to previous years, it feels like. I wish I could see all the movies we've watched on Netflix this year to maybe jog my memory? Hmm. I'm not even sure we saw a movie in the theater this year.

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

We spent my birthday in Omaha. David had to work in the morning at his new job back when he was commuting, and in the afternoon we were going to look at houses. I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time...maybe ever? that morning, and spent the rest of it reading, BY MYSELF, in a coffee shop. It was glorious. 

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

Maybe a device to make it so you don't have to pee every 2 hours at night when you're pregnant. That would have made the third trimester a ton better.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2016?

Umm...maternity clothing that doesn't break the budget, and then sweats. Classy. Also bridesmaid dresses.

32. What kept you sane?

A set bedtime for Kate and plenty of Diet Coke.

33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

The only interactions I have with celebrities is following them on Instagram or Twitter. Mindy Kaling is by far my favorite Instagram personality (especially her interactions with BJ Novak) and Ben Sasse is pretty funny on Twitter.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I still can't talk about political things so I'm gonna skip this one.

35. Who did you miss?

Once we moved to Omaha, I missed living in the same city as a bunch of free babysitters (aka my family). I miss my college friends who mostly live in different places now. I also miss the old me who didn't color her hair, but that's a different story.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn't meet a ton of new people, but our new neighbors have all been so friendly and helpful so I'm going to put them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Life lesson? Gosh. I learned that it's okay to let go of your own timeline and just go with the flow. I never anticipated moving out of Lincoln before David got his new job, and although I still miss Lincoln the reality of living in Omaha has been really fun and a great adventure. If I would have written out a life plan I never would have envisioned moving, but here we are - and everything is fine! There are lots of ways our lives have improved and even though I was pretty stubborn about the idea originally, I've come around. So yeah, life lesson is go with the flow and don't worry too much about deviating from what you think is going to happen, because it might turn out better than you envision anyway!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

They say the work is gonna come again, boy -
The work is gonna make you old.
I think I'd rather be poor than cold.
So be careful what you've gone and wished for.
They say the money makes a man grow mean,
And I don't care if it's gold or green.

So bless my soul and take me back to Fort Worth.
I've packed my things, I've got my lady too.
Here I stand, until the Lord is gonna call me -
So I guess I'll get up,
I guess I got things to do.

- Things to Do by Grady Spencer and the Work


Thanks for a great year, 2016. Bring it on, 2017!


  1. This is such a cool interview and so interesting!! What a year for you guys!!!! I am glad the move turned out to be such a good thing, you never know with a new city! I hope 2017 brings lots of new friends and free babysitters!

  2. Wow, what a year! LOVE #37. It's so true!!

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