2011: The Year That Was

Another year, another blog, another way of seeing just how crazy life was.

To follow tradition, it's time to get busy re-capping, just like in years gone by: 2006200720082009 & 2010.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Got married. Travelled to Vanuatu. Worked in a brand new school. Built a house. Took out my first mortgage. Began fertility treatments. Adopted a second (!) cat.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made no resolutions last year. I think for 2012, I'd like to focus on getting healthier - physically and emotionally. This year has drained me & I really haven't been looking after myself as well as I should have.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? An old friend gave birth to twin girls, but that's that. It feels like everyone around me managed to get pregnant this year... except me.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Just Vanuatu, for our honeymoon.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? Successful ovulation, that would turn into a successful pregnancy, that would turn into a successful baby. Also, a little less stress.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 11, our wedding day. December 21, the day we received the keys to our new home. December 22, when we brought Evie home with us.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I taught some really challenging children this year, and I came out the other side alive. This is huge for me, since I'd been away from teaching for a few years prior to this, and I wasn't sure how I'd cope being back in the classroom.

9. What was your biggest failure? Weight. It's on, and it's worse, and it's becoming even more difficult to get off. I hate this.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I had an ER visit in April thanks to a bout of gastroenteritis and colitis, and just the usual stack of colds.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Adopting Evie was such a highlight of this year. She chose me, she was the only kitten at the RSCPA who wasn't meowing, or climbing the cages, or shrieking like a banshee, and she just loved all over me through her cage. Seeing her and Oscar together melts my heart.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Jason. Again. I was in charge of looking after the wedding; he's been in charge of looking after the house build. He's done such a great job, putting up with me and my impatience, dealing with some tough situations, and keeping calm throughout this whole year. We're a good team, but man, he takes the cake. And also, Kirby. Again. Because being home this year and having weekly {mostly!} best friend visits has been something I've missed so much.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Certain parents at school.

14. Where did most of your money go? Wedding & House - we picked 2011 to cross two majorly expensive things off our life-list. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Finally getting married! Our wedding was all sorts of fabulous, even with the dodgy weather. We're also thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to getting into our new home - but that might go on next year's list!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Party Rock Anthem. Everyday we're shuffling.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier in some ways. Sadder in others. But mostly pretty blessed.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter. I hope to remedy this next year.
(c) Richer or Poorer? Poorer. But happier.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Worked out.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I'd spent less money on ovulation kits and monitors. They don't work, and I would've saved myself the money and the agony.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2011? Christmas Eve was at my family's place, Christmas Day at J's family's place. We then came home and spent Christmas night at home with the kitties.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? I stayed in love -- with my husband!

22. How many one-night stands? Just a few. ;)

23. What was your favorite TV program? Ringer. American Horror Story. Once Upon a Time. Grimm. Sister Wives. Big Love. Grey's Anatomy.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don't hate anyone. Disappointed in a few people, but I don't hate.
25. What was the best book you read? The Hunger Games trilogy.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? This year I sort of stayed with the classics. I can't think of a single new album that I fell in love with this year, off the top of my head.

27. What did you want and get? I wanted a kitten. We got Evie. Love!

28. What did you want and not get? Pregnant.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 27, and enjoyed it as a newlywed. Jase bought me a GPS for my car.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Ovulating. And also, managing to get pregnant.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Same as always: jeans, skirts, flats.

33. What kept you sane? Jason, Kirby, the Weddingbee boards.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Didn't really fancy anyone.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Australia still hasn't legalised same-sex marriage.

36. Who did you miss? I didn't miss too many folks this year. I have my husband, my family, my bestie & a beautiful little group of friends from the interwebs to keep me smiling.
37. Who was the best new person you met? The staff at my school - they are absolutely lovely, a little group in particular, and it makes going to work every day a real pleasure. I also have a great little group of lady-friends on the WB boards that are absolutely gorgeous.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Patience is a virtue... that I'm still working on.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “It's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do, nothing to prove & it's you and me and all of the people, and I don't know why I can't keep my eyes off of you."

40. What are your resolutions for 2012? Look after myself, look after my family, and do everything I can to be a mum.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Merry Christmas!

Evie

You guys, I am in love.

This is Evie. We adopted her from the RSCPA today and she is, by far, the best Christmas present ever. Oscar is coping well with his baby sister, and they've been doing okay so far. They'll be BFFs soon. I know it.

Oh....

And then there's the fact that WE OWN OUR HOUSE NOW.
Yes! Keys were handed over yesterday. We are looking at moving January 12th. Nearly everything is done perfectly, with the exception of the driveway, which {thanks to rain} will have to wait until next year.

2012 is going to be wonderful!

The Gift

School's out! School's out!

This time last year, I was a little worried about what work I'd find myself in for 2011. I prepared myself for the uncertainty of casual supply teaching, and was more than a little unhappy with doing it - especially after having a break from teaching while we lived overseas.

I came. I casual taught. I cried. And then, the universe threw me a bone.

I started off my year at this new little school, with a beautiful class of kiddies. I didn't know how long I'd be there at first, but I got lucky & with the help of an amazing principal who fought to keep me there, I ended up with a year long job. I'm so lucky to be heading back there next year.

Somehow, the fates wanted me to get back into teaching. I was out of sorts, out of my comfort zone, and I am now so happy to be a staff member of such a wonderful place of work. Yes, teaching sucks sometimes - the parental drama, the lousy pay, the overwhelming demand for paperwork, the programs and guidelines that change every ten seconds... but I'm officially happy to declare myself a teacher again.


As I said goodbye to my children today, the kind words they (& their parents) gave to me really hit close to home. They thanked me for looking after their children. They told me how much their children enjoyed our classroom. They commented on how glad they were that I would be staying on next year.

The parent of the very-new child on the Autistic Spectrum (who only arrived at the school two weeks ago) gave me a hug, and told me that he was so happy that I welcomed them into the school - and that our Christmas concert/singing item that happened last night was the FIRST TIME his son had ever gotten up on stage to perform in an item.

I also received a note and a gift from another parent. This particular boy has been quite a handful all year, being lively, cheeky and witty all at the same time. He and his family are also Jehovah's Witnesses. The gift was a fancy pen that his parents had engraved with my name. The note reads:

To Mrs. D,
Firstly, I would like to thank you for all the hard work, time and effort you have put into our son's education and growth as a 'little' person.
S has absolutely loved having 'Miss' as his teacher. We have certainly seen that in his work and in his day to day conversation. Please accept this small gift as our way of saying thank you.

Also, as a family, we would especially like to thank you for the respect you have shown in regards to our beliefs and way of life. This has had such a positive effect on our son. We are truly grateful.
May 2012 prove to be just as challenging (in a good way!) and exciting for you and your new students.

That, my friends, is what teaching is all about.

On Giving Up Control

Ugh, guys, I am so sorry I've dropped off the face of the earth lately.

Life is busy. Good, stressful, nerve-wracking, busy. We have so much going on and time is flying and my head/heart are being torn in a million different directions... but it's all okay. I'm trying to take one day at a time. It's so hard when things are out of your control. I don't cope well with not being responsible for making things happen when I want them to. Waiting around has never been a strong point of mine.

I feel like I've been in limbo on three main things: house, work, baby.

All of them will hopefully sort themselves out in time, but that's the thing: I'm sick of the whole 'time' thing. I feel like I've been waiting around for what feels like eons, for each of these things to be resolved - only time keeps on ticking, and we keep on waiting. The waiting, the uncertainty.. it's doing my head in.

On the house front, we're putting all of our good karma into a box and sending it off, hoping against hope that things work out. We are so close, literally, THIS CLOSE, to having the house finished and ready to hand over; in fact, we were promised that it'd all be sorted out by Christmas. Well, that was before the weather gods decided that they'd like this summer to be the coldest and wettest December we've had in FIFTY YEARS in Sydney. Seriously. It has rained constantly this month - meaning our home hasn't been finished. Our final inspection was supposed to have been yesterday, but because of the weather delaying the exterior painting, it's been pushed back to next Wednesday. As in, three days before Christmas. And guess what the forecast is meant to be early next week? PLEASE DON'T RUIN THIS FOR US, WEATHER GODS. If you're so inclined, we would love for a little positive juju and crossed fingers. If the house isn't completed and handed over prior to Christmas, we will end up waiting until the END of January before we can hand over.

On the work front, I'm lucky enough to be going back on class next year. Unfortunately, our school numbers have dropped, which means that we lose a class AND the rest of our classes will be really large. Instead of 24 year 1/2 kiddies, I'll be on 29 next year. That extra group of children will make a massive difference to the way the classroom will run, so I'm mentally preparing myself for it now. I also really feel for a colleague of mine who desperately needs a full-time job, but is waiting around to find out if our numbers will rise - I've been in that limbo myself, so I'm praying it works out for her.

On the baby front, sweet nothing is happening. This one is the hardest of all. It is so, so difficult to watch people around you fall pregnant with what seems like very little effort at all, and to be constantly wishing for what other people have. TTC is all about emotions. You start off with excitement, then uncertainty, then nerves, then anger, then frustration, then hopefulness, then boredom, and so on and so forth. Last cycle, I was back on the 'excitement' train, hopeful that Clomid would do the trick. That didn't work, so this time around I'm sort of numb. If it didn't work last time, why should this time be any different? If the Clomid does do it's job, I'm supposed to ovulate around Christmas time - and I can't think of a more perfect gift than that.

I know that none of these things are ones I can change, but I will keep on keeping on.

Numbers. And Rain. Stupid Rain. GO AWAY RAIN.

2 days left of stupid progesterone tablets.

I am sick of feeling sick on them. Let's hope that they do the trick and induce my lady-biznas as soon as possible. I'm done with this cycle, and I want to get back on the Clomid bandwagon to at least attempt to ovulate before 2011 is out.

7 days until our Practical Completion Inspection at the house.

That all sounds fine and dandy, except for the fact that we're waiting on a) the outside of the house to be painted and rendered, and b) a driveway to be poured and stencilled.... AND IT'S PISSING WITH RAIN. It's the coldest and wettest December we've had in a long time, and we're basically going to be screwed because of it. Please do your best sunny-weather-heat-heat-heat dance for us? I promise I won't even complain about it getting hot again. I'm so, so worried that things won't be done in time - and the early hand-over we were promised will end up being pushed back again. :(

9 days until the kids are done with school this year.

They are off like rockets right now, thanks to the crappy weather & the fact that the year is almost over. I'm planning on doing a whole stack of Christmas crafting activities over the next week just to keep them busy. Also, to keep me sane. 

13 days until the teachers are done with school this year.

The kids break up next Friday, but for some reason, the teachers have to come back on the week of Christmas for two staff development days. Seriously? Who's the brainiac that thought that up? Brain-dead teachers who are exhausted after teaching for the year, and you're expecting us to be functioning for professional development days FOUR DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS? Right.

15 days until we can potentially bring home my early Christmas present.

If you follow me on twitter, you might already know what my gift is going to be? Now to just hope and pray that everything goes okay for the house stuff, so this date doesn't have to change. 

18 days until Christmas is here.

It seems both so far away and so close at the same time. Get here already...

Holy Building Progress, Batman.

Wowsers. Have I got some news for you, or what?

J had a meeting today {while I was slaving away at work} at our block of land, where he & our building supervisor were inspecting everything ready for pre-painting. And, well, we got some awesome news. They are going to speed through and get the house ready for a Practical Completion Inspection {or PCI} before Christmas.

In fact, it's happening soon. TWO WEEKS TIME soon.

Wa-hey!

The PCI is basically the final check-list/inspection that happens before we are given the keys and the house becomes 'ours'. It will be us, the builder, and likely a private inspector that we're going to hire to go over everything that should be done and/or needs correcting. It's pre-appliances, as most builders don't install electrical appliances until hand-over is complete, to ensure goods aren't stolen from new homes before they're inhabited.

Can I get an 'OMGWTFHUZZAHSQUEE!?!'

Of course, our house won't be a picture perfect brand new display home when we're given the keys pre-Christmas. We're doing our own flooring independently, so at hand-over, our home is still going to look unfinished in some aspects. We have our flooring happening in early January. We have appliances being installed in early January. And we'll be finalising the driveway and some electrical additions ourselves, before we actually move in. That will take some time.

BUT.

It means that instead of the home being finished after the summer holiday break and then moving in, arranging flooring, getting fencing, etc etc, we'll be getting a head start. And it may mean that we move in sometime in mid-January. MOVE IN. Whoa nelly!

Most importantly, it means that we can use that summer break to actually get things sorted. I want to start getting our backyard fenced off and turfed, so that we can get it puppy-ready. I want to make sure any building problems that need to be sorted {that we'll find out about at the PCI} are sorted while we're there. And... we can potentially start furniture shopping & arrange deliveries for things while I'm on a break from school.

It's all happening!

I'll keep you posted over the next two weeks but wow. I am so! flipping! happy! right now. How's about a picture of our almost completed spa bath to tide you over?





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