Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 was the year

As 2012 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year that was. Almost more so than usual. And since I was terrible at blogging consistently this year, here is my 2012, in a nutshell.

2012 was a year for physical accomplishments
In October, I ran my first half marathon which was a goal I had set for myself way back at the beginning of the year. Austin and Ryan completed their first triathlons and Austin and Alex both completed their first duathlons. In other words, we certainly became a very physically active family this year.

2012 was the year for personal accomplishments
This year, I took my little part-time business and turned it into a full-time, successful business venture. Now, that's not to say that I wasn't successful as a part-timer because in my eyes I was. Let's face it, in 2010 and 2011, I made a respectable salary (the amount that would've been leftover from my old job after taxes and daycare) all without having any kind of regular childcare. In hindsight, I look back and realize why I was so tired all the time! But this year, I'm patting myself on the back again. The kids started school in September and I successfully transitioned from part-time to full-time. Actually, the transition started before September, but I finally started having full-time daytime hours to work starting September. And as such, compared to last year, my income grew by over 50%. In fact, my income was greater than it was in the first few years I worked as a reporter. So in all, a good year and I'm excited as to what 2013 will bring.

2012 was the year for loss and sadness
In February, we lost Ryan's grandmother Nana. Now, she wasn't my grandmother, but for the last 15 years, Nana treated me as if she was. I was a granddaughter to her just as much as her other grandchildren. And she had many grandchildren -- and a handful of great-grandchildren.

Just six weeks later, we lost my aunt Joan. Now, technically she was my great-aunt Joan. She was my grandmother's sister yet she always treated me like one of her grandchildren and she was like another grandmother to me.

So in a way, I lost two grandmothers this year, and I miss them both terribly.

2012 was the year for a reality check
In June, my mom was hospitalized for bleeding on the brain. Doctors don't know exactly how it happened (she did not have a stroke) but the most likely reason is that she bumped her head and didn't remember. She spent five days in hospital and several weeks after recovering. She was otherwise very healthy and this scared all of us. She is fine now and was given a clean bill of health by the end of July.

In October, my dad had a heart attack. He too was otherwise very healthy and this seemingly came out of the blue. He spent four days in the hospital and is still recovering.

These two health scares brought to stark reality that, no matter how youthful my parents act, they are getting older.

2012 was the year for big changes
In September, life changed in a very big way as both Austin and Alex started full-time school. This was (obviously) a big change for both of them, but it was also a big change for me. I have been home with children full-time since Alex was born in 2008 -- suddenly not being a full-time stay-at-home mom was a scary, unknown thought. About as scary a thought as it was to make the decision to leave my job in 2009 and become a stay-at-home mom. The only difference was that this time I had no control over the decision. The kids were growing up and going to school whether I wanted them to or not.

Four months later, I'm happy to report that we've all weathered the big change well.

So that for me was 2012 in a nutshell. I'm excited for what 2013 will bring!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

From my house to yours, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy (and healthy -- since two out of four of us are sick right now) New Year 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The craziness that is Christmas

1) Christmas this year will span four days, with four celebrations in four houses in three cities. Now, to be fair, that includes Christmas morning at my house. But here's my schedule for the next few days. Christmas morning: my house. Christmas dinner: my parents house in Brampton. Boxing Day: my mother-in-law's house in London. 27th: my father-in-law's house in London. 28th: Come home and pass out.

2) We will travel 516 kilometres between Christmas Day and December 28th.

3) Christmas celebrations in three houses means three Christmas dinners. Three days in a row.

4) With all the craziness to come, my favourite thing to do on Christmas Eve is to be alone with my family, tuck the kids into bed and watch Miracle on 34th Street with Ryan. The original 1940s version of the movie, not the remake from about 10 years ago.

5) I like to watch the movie with a glass of Bailey's on ice. And then maybe another.

6) Before tucking the kids into bed, we'll likely watch a favourite kids Christmas movie over dinner. We've already watched our faves -- Muppets Family Christmas and Rudolph, so maybe tonight it'll be Frosty the Snowman.

7) Christmas is a crazy whirlwind time but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Although maybe one year I'll have it at my house again so that I won't have to travel.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Goodbye to my first car

Today I say goodbye to my very first car -- a 2000 Honda Civic that I bought in November 1999. At that time, 13 years ago, I had just taken my first job out of university at the Peterborough Examiner and, as a requirement of the job, I needed my own vehicle. 

And although I ended up only staying at the job for six months (yes, I hated it that much), I managed to put 30,000 kilometres on my little car in its first year. It was pretty easy to do considering I drove it every day on assignment and my then-boyfriend (now-husband) lived an hour and a half away (and didn't have a car). So needless to say, I spent a lot of my days off driving back and forth to Toronto.

I was super excited to get my car back in 1999 -- and my dad snapped this picture of me on the day I picked it up at my parents house (my dad actually picked it up at the dealership for me and brought it back to their house for me to collect).

Look how young I look with my shiny new car!

Over the years, my little Honda Civic has been a damn good car. It took us on trips to Montreal and New York City; it took us to visit family and it took us to the hospital when I was in labour. It's what we drove Austin home from the hospital in. 

But in the last few years, it most definitely entered its senior years. Some of the widows started sticking, the doors squeaked when opened, and the locks only worked when they wanted to. But hey, we figured, who needs locks -- because who's going to want to steal an old car like this!

And, to be perfectly honest, I haven't even driven it much in the last five years. Ryan had the 'joy' of seeing that car through to its retirement as I drove the kids around in our newer SUV. He got to experience all of its aches and aging pains.

But I still loved that car. And on the days I did drive it, it was still a good car to drive (Although a pain to cart kids around in because the power locks didn't work anymore).

This afternoon, I will drive it once last time to the dealership where I will sign it over in exchange for the keys of a brand new 2013 Hyundai Elantra hatchback. It too is a cute little car, and although technically it'll be in my name, it'll be Ryan's car -- he deserves to drive a new car after putting up with my little car for all these years. I almost feel like the dealership is getting the short-end of the deal by giving us $500 for it.

And so, just for the sake of bookending -- since my dad snapped a picture of me with my car on the day I got it, Austin snapped a picture of me with it on the day I give it away. Really, from a purely 2D point of view, the only thing that looks likes it's aged in the last 13 years is me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Running log: counting kilometres

If you've been following my blog this year, you know that my big personal accomplishment was running my first half marathon in October. Running the 21.1-kilometre distance was something I’d been thinking about doing for a while. But I actually committed to that thought around this time last year.

As such, right from the beginning of January, every run I went on was with that goal in mind. And, just for the fun of it, I kept a log of every kilometre I ran.

As 2012 draws to a close, I added up all those kilometres and discovered that I ran 732 kilometres this year. That’s 732 kilometres covered simply by lacing up my running shoes and putting one foot in front of the other day after day.

And because I like to put things in perspective to truly understand it, I wondered how far that really was. And so, here are a few interesting stats (with the help of Google Maps).

From my house in Toronto, it’s:

  • 529 kilometres to the house I grew up in Montreal
  • 277 kilometres to the cottage we vacation at every summer in Sundridge
  • 320 kilometres to where my sister-in-law lives in Brockville
  • 371 kilometres to where my other sister-in-law lives in Windsor
The kids complain about being in the car for too long when we drive to any of those destinations and yet, those places are only half (or less) to three-quarters of the way there.

So where would I have to go to travel 732 kilometres, I wondered? Here are a few other interesting stats (again with the help of Google maps).

From my house in Toronto, it’s:

  • 819 kilometres to Philadelphia
  • 807 kilometres to New York City
  • 798 kilometres to Cincinnati
  • 706 kilometres to Columbus, Ohio
  • 689 kilometres to Sault Ste. Marie

For me, someone who only started running four years ago and who never accomplished a race of such distance before, 732 kilometres is a fantastic distance to have covered. I can only imagine what my grand total will be if I ever decide to train for a marathon.