Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: a turd of a year

Another year where we had to tighten our belts so it wasn't very adventurous and then we found out I was pregnant so that affected how I felt which kept us at home a lot. Next year doesn't promise we'll be rolling in it either since I'll be taking three months off work so we're just at a we have no much money phase in our life. The Lord always provides and we've always made ends meet at least but the past few years haven't had much extra for fun times. I'm not complaining, just a fact of life.

Last year I recapped by category and I liked that so here it is again.

ALICE: She has been the best part of our lives and the best part of our day every day no matter what. She went from being a serious quiet toddler to a way more outgoing and chatty one. The biggest change for her was the pacifier thing and the adding of language. Her naptime companion the paci was replaced by her all day companion Buddy the plush monkey. This photo was when she got a stomach bug in January. After her 2nd birthday we cut her off and while it was a rough transition in the beginning, it got better and then the words began to flow like honey.
She's gone from this little baby face:
To this adorable little kid face:
She's still super laid back and easy to deal with and can almost sit through an entire movie. She naps once a day unless she fights it but she definitely needs it. If she doesn't get one, it's a very crabby kid. She's gotten way more social and you should have seen her when my family was here Christmas Eve, she was so hyped up and chatty and excited. Not sure if it was having her family around or having eaten three cookies. Everyone remarked about how much more social she was and I think it was due to language. It gave her some confidence or something. She has learned to count and loves counting to herself as well as counting money. Still a terribly picky eater. Obsessed with Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear in particular. Loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. Likes playing with her toys and making a mess. Much better at being left at daycare at church. Loves lolipops and has a preference for either blue or pink or red ones. She thanks us by saying "sees Mama" or daddy and it's so freaking cute. And she loves her plush monkey Buddy.
BABY (and pregnancy): We always knew we wanted Alice to be at least 2 before we had another baby and right around her 2nd birthday we found out I was pregnant again. And you know how that's gone: terrible! Although... my all day nausea is mostly gone and I just have to be diligent about eating on time and not eating things that would fall into acid reflux category. And of course finding out in October that it was going to be a boy was both exciting and unknown.
The odd thing that's happening right now is that she caught some viral something last month and we all caught it and Matt and her are fine but I'm still hawking up mucus. Sometimes I get these coughing fits about hacking up mucus and then that makes me throw up. I am about the weight I was with her when I was 9 months pregnant and though I feel like this belly is much bigger I have been sleeping much better than when I was pregnant with her. Maybe I just go to sleep much more tired than last time. Oh and looks like I might not be diabetic this time around! My blood sugar levels have been normal but I'm still following the diet overall and trying to take it easy on sweets and carbs.
DISNEYLAND (and other places): Aside from Disneyland annual passes which we used about once or twice a month we got Universal Studios passes and that made for a lot of character pictures. 
Disneyland expired but we got Knott's ones now we hope to make good use of next year. They were well worth the investment since we'd pack lunches sometimes and would make a day out of it. So even if we couldn't travel much, the Disneyland distraction helped ease the pain.
We also had zoo and La Habra Children's Museum memberships. Thinking of renewing the zoo one.

FAMILY (extended, my side): Maybe the funnest thing to happen this year was the blossoming of Alice and Jarah's friendship. They really like each other. Alice recognizes her and gets excited when I say we're gonna see her or she's coming over so we don't tell her until she arrives. Toddlers don't get the concept of "in an hour" or "tomorrow".
They don't actually play together but they're in the vicinity of each other and share and take each other's toys and hug and say each other's names a lot. Though Alice calls her "Ya-ya" which is pretty dang cute to be honest.
My sister Mari became the last of us to have a baby when she and her husband welcomed Eli Joseph on April 3.
He is... so cute. He seems pretty squirmy but laid back as far as babies are concerned and we are all in love with him and keep stealing him to hold him. I think we all know how rare it is when kids let you hold them and how quickly they just wanna be on their own.
We had a few outings with most of the family except Liz in Arizona involved and boy does it get crowded and fun with all the kids around. I never imagined we'd be at this point in our life with kids and spouses and houses but here we are, grown-ups. Yet still... we're such goofballs when we're together and we laugh a lot and take few things too seriously. I've realized so much that my siblings are my best friends and I am so glad that I have them close by and that we're so close.
FAMILY (extended, matt's side): We utilized the Fredrich/Carrs as babysitters a lot this year and everyone is happy with the arrangement especially Alice.

She's the only small child in the family right now but we are getting a few babies next year so she's about to be de-throned. I know she enjoyed her two years as center of the Plank-verse. We think grandma is particularly fond of her and impressed by her smarts.
FASHION: Ha! I was way over my ideal weight and then I got pregnant so... basically just surviving on what I already own and what my sisters owned when they were pregnant. Lot of black.

FITNESS: Ha! I was way over my ideal weight and then I got pregnant so... next year.

FOOD: This was tough since I was so sick for so long. Matt would do what he could to keep me fed but we relied on mostly things that were easy for me to make after work. We would eat out a bit to whatever local joints we frequent and I ate meat a bit this year. I think the most memorable thing will be the fact that due to their simplicity, I could actually handle Cup O'Noodles which I ate a lot.
FRIENDS (new): We hosted a small group from our church and a lot of gatherings surrounded these wonderful people. Lots and lots of movie nights in. We went through the Harry Potter movies AND The Lord of the Rings ones. We would venture outside of the house sometimes.
We had a young woman named Aimee living with us for about 6 months this year and she and Alice got along very well and since we didn't charge her rent she has been giving us free baby-sitting for life. And since she works at Starbucks, we got a lot of free coffee. Win-win.
FRIENDS (old): I didn't get to see my HUODlums much this year but we were all on text and phone call and I'm waiting for Ambre to be in town. We wanted to go see Ambre again this fall but couldn't afford it. I saw a handful of our old pals a lot but one friendship that helped me survive the year was my pal Dana. We were film students together and we're both obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton and that led to adventures in sing-alongs and musicals. I dunno how we got rekindled but being in the same business and living near each other didn't hurt. She loves babies and Alice so I am sure I'll be seeing a lot of her next year once I have a new baby with cute little baby toes to cuddle.
Any year I get to see this one is a good one. She helped me survive the election madness. 
GOODBYES: We all mourn the heavy losses the world over of icons, princes, and princesses.

HOME: We made baby steps towards some home improvements that were more in line with the 'modern farmhouse' look we're trying to emulate from the Gaines. We replaced all the hardware in the kitchen which made a big difference I thought.
And we replaced a few of the light fixtures around the house including in the laundry room and a new chandelier in the dining area that I'm a big fan of and installed a dimmer and fan in the office that I'm also a big fan of. 
A crappy thing we had to spend money on was the fact that our AC unit busted and we learned to our chagrin that the entire thing will have to be replaced eventually to the tune of 8k which we don't have. They were able to repair just the cooling part which is more dire in the Burbank summer but the heater is a goner and we can't use it. It's been a chilly winter and we have been using space heaters for now but we're trying to figure out a longer term fix. Not a thing I wanted to accomplish from my 2016 to do list got done. No rooms were painted. Sigh.

MARRIAGE: This was actually great this year due to the fact that we did have a lot more time just the two of us. We celebrated nine years of marriage and posed in front of the place where we got married with a few extra additions to our family. 
But a big treat was that thanks to my in-laws we left the toddler at home and spent three nights in Big Bear in a little rental cabin celebrating nine years of liking each other. It was unseasonably warm in So Cal that time but up the mountain it was so very nice and cool. 
We had a fancy dinner, we went bowling, we shopped for books, we napped, we stayed up late, we slept in, we went to a rock concert. We hardly missed the kid. 
And like I mentioned earlier, thanks to free babysitting we went to a lot more movies and dinners this year than last year. I don't think we'll be doing too much of that this year with a newborn but once in awhile I'm sure we'll make the effort since we know how important just the two of us time is.

MEDIA: I made a resolution this year to read more books and I kept it. Read some self-help type ones about love and my crazy mom and I'm up to the 5th Harry Potter book and really want to keep it up next year. I feel smarter when I read and I'm pretty sick of the internet right now. I miss magazine subscriptions too but I won't have much time next year. We did see a lot of movies and we watched some good TV shows including The Crown which you all need to see. Tonight. Go. And I started listening to Podcasts. One is about Jesus and one is about the Baby-Sitters Club books. Obviously.

MONEY: We had little to none. We trimmed back on everything. We used gift cards and any sly Plank-ings to coupon and not pay full price for anything. Can't say I feel deprived.

PARTIES: A lot of them were just casual movie nights since they're the cheapest to throw but I made more of an effort for a few big events like my sister's baby shower in February:
Alice's 2nd birthday tea party:
A Tony's Party:
And our annual Oscar party:
I don't think next year will have too many parties other than the annual Oscar party since it'll be the last one before this kid is born and I dunno what we'll do for Alice but I think I'm more in the mood for a group outing than a gathering at home especially at her age where exploring is so much fun. It really all depends on what kind of baby we get. If he's easy, I might be inclined to host a summer outdoor movie night. If he's not, we'll just have people over for popcorn and movies. 

PETS: Poor neglected dogs. We need to give them more attention than they get.

SPIRIT: Still attending Radius and still enjoying the community we are surrounded by. Listening to Podcasts about Jesus and spirituality has really made me just think about God and my relationship with Him and I want to improve that next year.

TRAVEL: Other than our anniversary trip I got to go to a city I've been wanting to go to forever: Austin, TX! Unfortunately it was for work but hey... I went.
We took our gringa child to Mexicali to meet the family and we had a great visit.
And I went to Big Bear in the summer with Michelle and her girls. 
I really want to make it to somewhere in America for July 4th in 2017 since we've skipped it for three years already but with a 4 month old and an almost 3 year old will we actually do it?

WORK: Managing full time for the 2nd year was pretty slow in addition to the fact that it was a pretty weird year in production I heard. Something about an election year and all the ad space having been bought out which led to less work for people? I dunno but I had a lot of time off not by choice due to just no work being available. I take every job I can and hope to work for two more months at least before I gotta stop to prepare for this kid. I have felt like I'm really getting the hang of my job and way more confident in it and I really like it.

Whew. You know for a year that felt pretty crummy, there was some definite highlights. That's why it's good to do these recaps, hindsight and all that. The difficult pregnancy really marred my ability to do much and you know when your body is just not cooperating you can't focus outside of yourself too much. Even so, it's nice to see that somehow we managed to squeeze in a pretty good life and it doesn't look like Alice is missing out on a darn thing, lack of money and all.

Goodbye 2016. I'm so glad to see you go and so looking forward to starting anew in 2017.

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