Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Review

For some reason I can't really explain, I feel the need to do a "year in review" post, even though anyone who is interested in reviewing my year could just as easily use the archives in the right hand column. But it is my blog, so I get to do the post, even if it is not at all necessary.

I've decided to pick two or three posts from each month, and link to them here with a little bit of commentary. My criteria for inclusion in this list are arbitrary in the extreme- some posts are here because a lot of people read them and/or commented on them, some posts are here because they cover things that seem important to include in a year in review post, and some posts are here just because I like them.

Without further ado...

January opened with me weeding in my garden, and thinking of it as a metaphor for making self-improving changes. I failed utterly at starting a meaningful yoga practice, but I do still enjoy chocolate. So its a wash, right? Then a mentally ill young man shot a bunch of people in my home state, and the events leading up to the event and the reactions to it reduced me to feeling glad that at least we're no longer flinging live children at castle walls, which is obviously a rather low bar. But, on the bright side, the book I read about Genghis Khan (which included the story about people flinging live children at castle walls- and note, Khan was not the one doing the flinging) was really interesting. I truly am a history major who has wandered far, far afield. And, um, only took a few history classes in college, and knows nothing about doing real history research. I enjoy reading history, though! The month ended with a post that could be viewed as the first Weekend Reading post, but I called it Friday Links. It was about the Tiger Mom furor (remember that?) and included a hilarious beat poem (no, that is not an oxymoron) about "alternative medicine". If you missed that the first time around, you should go watch it now. Unless you're into homeopathy, in which case you are likely to be offended.

In February, I wrote a post that I really liked but no one else really noticed called Obscurity and Success. The seeds of that post were planted way back in 2003, when I came across a statue honoring the men who made sure that Shakespeare's works were published after his death. Later in the month,  I was surprised to find myself agreeing with an article about parenting and food in the New York Times. Usually, food articles in the New York Times seem to be written primarily for serious gourmands who take food far, far more seriously than I do, and the parenting articles seem to be written about a different species altogether.

March saw me musing about the transitions in my kids' lives and what they mean for my own identity. It was quite a lot of navel-gazing considering that it was sparked by the sight of a crayon from The Olive Garden (don't tell the NYT food people, but I really like The Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana). I am happy to report, though, that Petunia still lets me kiss her on the head, and it is still very sweet. March also saw my first real Weekend Reading post, which you should go look at if only to follow the link to Bad Mom, Good Mom's post about the life lessons of calculus. And I posted about an argument Hubby and I had about chores, which really resonated with some people, proving that I have no idea which posts will be interesting to anyone else- I thought that one was pretty dull.

In April, Pumpkin turned four and had some really good cupcakes at her party. I posted about how I buy time and compared the tension of balancing time with kids, time for other things, and money with the time-honored project management adage about how a project cannot be done cheaply, well, and fast- you have to choose two of the three. Finally, I had a weekend reading post that was really more rant about race, privilege, and education, which may (or may not) make the slew of posts I will undoubtedly write about choosing a kindergarten for Pumpkin make more sense. I will emphasize again, though, that I don't think there is anything wrong with people choosing private schools for their kids- I just want us all to remember how important public schools are.

May might have been the peak of our worries about Petunia's health. She still gets sick a lot, but it feels a lot more like normal day care stuff now. I also suspect that she's going to end up diagnosed with allergies eventually, but given my history with allergies, that won't be a big surprise. I also wrote a post about the conflict between our society's (and our own) parenting ideals and reality. I rather liked that one, because it bugs me how parents, and mothers in particular, get caught in a bit of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" bind in terms of how society judges them.

I turned 39 in May, but I wrote about it in June. I also posted my "Don't Lean Back Ahead of Time" rant,one of my most popular posts of all time, which was actually a series of comments on other people's posts, stitched together. I ended the month with a post about my "work limit"- i.e., how sometimes, trying to do more work is counter-productive. I like that one because it is a topic I really care about. I think we're a bit nutso about work hours in this country. Why in the world do people brag about working really long hours?

I followed up in July with my Work-Life Balance for Everyone Manifesto. I also reconstructed my first ever rant post, which was actually written in a paper journal. It makes me more happy than it should that even now, with two kids in my house, I still think my former coworker was a bit of a prat. I was also forced to admit that we were turning into "those parents" as we started Pumpkin on soccer lessons. Pumpkin loved those lessons, though, and has been asking to start them up again. So maybe "those parents" aren't so bad, after all.

I started August with a post that summarizes my parenting philosophy, and also explains why I can't talk about parenting with a lot of people in real life- namely, that I inhabit a different parenting universe than many of the people I know, because my kids don't sleep anywhere near as much as many of their peers. I also gazed deep into my linty navel and wrote about why I blog. You all wrote some really nice comments on that post, which is why I really like that post now. And just to prove that I still do sometimes post "mommyblog" things, I wrote a post about a walk with my daughters and their baby dolls. It was the first of many double stroller walks which I never really got tired of taking.

September brought the Great San Diego Blackout, which prompted me to write about emergency preparedness. We also went on a California road trip, which prompted me to write about how I travel with a toddler and a preschooler and enjoy it. That last post brought me a little good-natured flak from a commenter who thought that our brand of travel is unrealistic. I see her point, but stand by my post, and point out that we have made the road trip between San Diego and Phoenix enough times to have some experience with long days driving through scenery that bores the adults, let alone the kids.

In October, Petunia turned two. She had yummy cupcakes, too- not that she cared. I wrote a post about the phrase "working mom guilt" in which I think I offended Liz at Mom101, although that definitely wasn't my intent.  And a twitter conversation with Fishscientist prompted me to draw a graph showing my post-partum productivity curve.

In November, I argued that I am not married to a unicorn, which is another one of my top posts if you judge by the number of hits it got. The follow up to that post eventually led me to post about being a feminist mother, which is a post that I thought sucked when I wrote it but that I now rather like, proving that not only do I not know what my readers will like, I don't even know what I'll like the next day. I also wrote the first post about our impending school decision. I'm sure there are more of those coming in January- we visit the two magnet schools we are considering on January 9.  

Given how much I had to do in December, it would have been smart to be relatively quiet on the internet. I was not, however. I got in a prolonged discussion on someone else's blog that ended poorly, but made me think about why I get involved in online discussion in the first place. Despite what the other person on that other blog probably thinks, I don't set out to antagonize people! I held my first ever giveaway, as part of a review of the Secret Agent Josephine eBooks (and my new Kindle Fire). Pumpkin and I just read the Colors book tonight, so I wasn't lying just to get myself some free eBooks. My opinion cannot be bought that cheaply. I ended the month with a multi-part discussion about gendered toys, princesses, and how we handle the issue in our house. (Yes, I just broke my rule and linked to five posts in December. My blog, my rules, my exceptions, I guess.) I think the last post is the best, but also think that I probably beat that topic to death.

So... on to 2012. I enjoyed going through all my posts for this year and picking out the ones to include here. Who knows? This may become a tradition.


  1. It was a great year of reading. Thank you so much! Looking forward to next year.

  2. Toria2:30 PM

    I've really enjoyed reading your blog this year too. Even if I usually chicken out of commenting ;)

  3. Thanks, guys! I'm glad you enjoy reading. @Toria, comment or not- its up to you!


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