But, I wished for presence this holiday season, and I got it. I was present on a 12 day trip back to Wisconsin for an early Christmas with my family; present in a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in our house for the first time at home in Arizona, just the two of us! Can you tell I thought it lovely? Then I was present playing hostess to Jeremiah's family right after that for our Christmas with them.
So now that the cookies are gone (mercifully), the guest beds are empty, and the world is returning to normal...I am left to linger in 2012 for one last day and reflect. It can be all too easy when the tree needles are falling and the house is quiet again to jump into resolutions, and what you need to get done or be better at. While I love the opportunity for a fresh start and improvement after cleaning up the tinsel (Does anyone still decorate with tinsel?), I don't want to miss the chance to ponder all that has happened this year. Resolutions without reflection on where you are and how you got there seem kind of pointless to me.
So, I have dubbed this past year, 2012, the Year Of New for the following reasons...
This was by far the biggest of the new things that happened this year. After a very difficult 2011-2012 school year, I needed a change, not just a job change or school change, but a chance to work at something new; a chance to pour all that energy into other pursuits, myself, and my family. So we decided that I would not sign a contract for the following year and that I would take an indefinite break from teaching to pursue writing full time. It was not an easy decision, and it has been an adjustment, but I can honestly say I have not regretted that decision once, and feel so incredibly lucky to do what I do every day.
With the career change, came major changes in my health. I started seeing a chiropractor back around the time I decided to quit teaching. She helped me realize that I needed adjustments in more areas than one, and just how much stress was contributing to very poor habits and poor overall health. I now have very few migraines, get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, and literally have not been sick one time since I started going to the chiropractor back in March. While there is much room for improvement and other health goals, I am happy about taking control of my stress and finding some peace and balance in 2012.
We invested in our new favorite hobby, modifying our Jeep to turn it into a bit of an off-road beast. So, we hit the Rubicon Trail in California for our summer vacation this year. We got really dirty, climbed huge boulders, almost got eaten by a bear, and it was awesome.
I went to my first blogging conference, BlogHer '12, in New York City for the first time by myself. Still processing everything I learned about blogging and myself on that trip.
I got my first tattoo with my sister on her visit out to AZ in February.
We are getting to the point where we are really getting to know the many acquaintances we first met when we moved here, and growing some friendships. I'm looking at you bloggy buddy and next door neighbor :-)
New House Stuff
With extra time for creativity, the interior of our house that we've now lived in for 3 years is finally starting to shape up. What was a glorified hallway of a front room is now full and inviting, and finishing touches like rugs and curtains are falling into place in the rest of the house.
New Niece News
Aidee Asuncion Luis was born on November 6th this year and I got to spend some snuggly newborn time with her.
Also, 3 of our other nieces started kindergarten this fall, and this former kindergarten teacher of an aunt can't get enough of their first day of school pictures and school stories. I know full well how magical that year is for learning.
We have begun really focusing on starting a family this year. We're not sure exactly what that will look like just yet, but we know we both want a loud holiday table of our own someday filled with kids and grandkids, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow I'll be back with some goals for 2013, but tonight we are celebrating the end of a great year with great friends. There will be homemade pizza, pajamas, and champagne.
Happy New Year everyone!