Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review

Last year, I started doing an annual recap of the year - and here's the one for 2012!


I started the year by making 12 resolutions. We closed on our house on a day so warm we didn't need coats, and moved in a week later in a snowstorm. Oh, Minnesota. (Related house posts: details about the house and what our house cost.) I finally got my hands on my domain. I talked about things that make me feel smart vs. things that make me feel broke. I debated saving for retirement vs. saving for kids' college funds. Peanut romanced me with life and disability insurance.


I evaluated how much of my spending is related to keeping up appearances. I read The Behavior Gap, which I loved. I complained about companies trying to scam new homeowners (and mail addressed only to the mail half of our jointly-held mortgage). I talked about finding good enough. Peanut and I fell into the new homeowner trap and spent a ton of money on a ton of stuff (nearly a year later, I just want to point out that I don't regret ANY of the money we spent - we have a great set of reliable cookware now. Oh, and we paid cash, which is the only way to go overboard like that!). I discovered that I like a new expensive hobby.


I participated in Women's Money Week and I was a jerk to a neighbor kid. We bought Peanut's dream car! I read and loved Words to Eat By. Behind the scenes, I was diagnosed with PCOS and told I could not get pregnant unassisted. As I struggled to accept this reality, I debated the sometimes unfair standards I set for myself and how that leads to general unhappiness.


I had some hefty medical bills for an ultrasound and started wondering if I'd made the right decision by going with our high deductible medical plan. I got all homemaker-y (by the way - we never used those firestarters!) and got an itch for superfrugal ideas. In real life, I hosted my mother in my own home (a first!), and took a road trip with her and my sister. I took up quilting as a hobby. Oh, and I got pregnant, but I wouldn't learn that for another four months!


That ultrasound turned into a full mammogram, which I had right when pregnant breasts are the most sensitive (I just thought that everyone had been understating how truly painful mammograms are!). I hosted the Carnival of Money Pros and told 1800Flowers that we are never, ever, ever getting back together. I explained why we left New York. I read and was inspired by The Complete Idiot's Guide to Couponing, and started the #couponchallenge. I was awkward to my hairdresser (I followed your advice!) and was amazed by a 9-year-old blogger. My mind was boggled by women who give up any participation in their household finances under the excuse of sharing finances with their spouses.


I started keeping a price book and learned some very interesting things about my assumptions. I spent a week in New York and a week in LA for work, so I didn't get a lot of blogging done!


I went to Aldi for the first time. Peanut and I got big raises on the same day! We added a four-legged friend to the Moneybags household. Offline, I enjoyed some seriously unseasonal weather for Minnesota, and I sat in my backyard and soaked it up.


I got the itch to spend some money! I went public with our infertility struggles and almost immediately found out that I was very pregnant! (Perhaps this blog is my vision board? If so, note to the universe: I don't have a million dollars in my bank! It would be a great thing to have a million dollars in the bank! I will keep you guys posted if this works!)


Only a few weeks after learning of my pregnancy, I gave birth to our daughter Baby M. We became NICU parents and pretty much everything else was put on hold. I struggled with learning to appreciate the generosity of others.


I discovered the true meaning of financial peace. I joined Dimespring as a regular blogger. I debated selling breast milk vs. donating it (I've since donated over a thousand ounces to local preemie and adoptive moms). I discovered kids consignment sales and tricked out Baby M's room and wardrobe on the cheap.


I waxed poetic about my trip to the kids consignment sale. I wrote about maternity leave over at Dimespring, and in real life I went back to work and struggled with balancing those responsibilities with my new job as a parent - and therefore I didn't blog much!


I read and reviewed The Money Code, which gave me some interesting insight into my money personality. I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS! I detailed life in the NICU, which remains the overwhelming focus of my life.

In summary, 2012 will go down as probably the most unforgettable year of my life. From where I stand now, what could have been the most horrible experience I can imagine will have a happy ending - Baby M is healthy (all things considered), happy, and will be coming home sometime in the new year. Peanut and I remain ridiculously in love with each other, we are delighted with our home and the decisions we made last year to change our lives, and the furry cat-shaped hole in my life has been filled purrfectly.

For 2013, I hope for strength. I will take on the hardest job I have ever had - parenthood. I will spend six months at home (or hospital) with our daughter, and while that job is hard for everyone, I have been warned that the job of parenting a preemie can be tougher than average. In addition to managing a baby's need for food, sleep, and entertainment, I will learn to dose medications, handle oxygen tanks and possibly feeding tubes, and (please no) administer infant CPR. I will be her advocate with medical professionals and anyone who  might carelessly get her sick. And I will be thankful daily for the opportunity to do so.

How was your 2012? Do you have any big hopes for 2013?

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