Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best of In the Warm Hold: 2011

Again, this is another post I did last year and really enjoyed it.  So much so that I made a link below my header for it.  Last year I made the observation that I felt like my blog was a big smorgasbord with the variety of different posts.  At points that's really bothered me.  I've felt like it needed to be more cohesive- a blog about our daily life or a place for deeper, more meaningful ponderings.  I made it a  goal last year that I would try to write more creative, literary type posts.  Those posts stretch me but I so enjoy writing them and pouring my heart into them.  I feel like I probably accomplished that goal to a greater extent than any other.  Of course, I have chosen to still use this blog as a virtual scrapbook, as well, primarily in my Weekly Happenings posts and in the "Picture Posts" I do.  I've come to accept that I want both and at this point, I have no desire to set up two separate blogs and isolate the two because so often they overlap.  I feel like for the most part I covered the latter in my Synopsis post as it was basically a summary of our year.  These, however, are my favorite posts and the ones I consider my "best" from this year. It's a pretty extensive list because there are so many that are really important to me.

I didn't write much super deep stuff in January, but there were a few posts worth the mention.
Letter to (Twenty One Month Old) Ann Peyton-  I reflected on the year with my girl and all the beauty she brought to it.
The Great Santa Debate- I did my best to articulate mine and Peyton's feelings on Santa and our reasons for celebrating the way we do. It's interesting because of all the things we do differently from most people, this has BY FAR gotten me the most flack.  And we aren't even that extreme about it!
A Portrait of Humility- I wrote this post about my sweet sister in law.  She's shown a lot of grace in never making me feel like I'm a bad parent because I mother differently than her.
Invasion of a Toddlerkins- Just a fun post showing my living room that also functions as a playroom.

I was a bit more introspective in February, focusing on discipline and love-- two things that were (and I hope will continue to be) of great significance in my life and the life of our family.
Herrington Toddler Discipline Philosophy [Part 1]- I shared our framework for discipline and my overall philosophy on what all discipline actually entails.
Herrington Toddler Discipline Philosophy [Part 2]- This post was less theoretical and more about the practicality of discipline. I shared a lot about mine and Peyton's opinions on spanking, as well.
Like Any Other Day: In Love with My Loves- It was Valentine's Day and I wrote a little about Peyton and our relationship.
Beautiful. Blissful. Chaos.- This might be one of my favorite posts to date. I used my feelings about something I absolutely adored (Ann Peyton's nursery) as a metaphor for something else- the end of an era where it was just her.

I posted a lot of truly significant things (as well as some silly, fun things that I enjoyed, too) in March.  I think it had a lot to do with being on bedrest and with the state my mind of was in.  I was just very pensive and reflective as I awaited Graves's birth.
Letter to (Twenty Three Month Old) Ann Peyton- This was the last letter to her as our only child, so it was pretty special.
Name Significance- This post was about how we chose Graves's name. Naming a child is such a wonderful, neat experience.
Lemonade and Coco and Raindrops and the Validation That I Needed to Hear This Week-  As we got closer and closer to Graves's arrival, I really relished the time, and the moments, with my Annie girl.
A Different Kind of Birth: Final Decision- I wanted to share my reasons behind our final decision to have a natural birth.
I Pray That She'll Be Ordinary- I had read a post that inspired me to write this about Ann Peyton.  It's another all time favorite.
Five Minute Friday Prompt: On Waiting- I love these prompts.  I wrote this one about waiting for Baby Graves.
More Fashion Rules- Age Appropriate Dressing of the Babykins- This was one of those silly posts, but it was a fun one.
Flashback Friday/Annie Banani Fashionista: Bubblicious- Several people responded to the above post saying they didn't know what a bubble was, so I preceded to do some educating.

April was a life changing, life giving, and life affirming month because it was the month we welcomed Graves into our family.
Letter to (Two Year Old) Ann Peyton- For the first time Peyton wrote Annie's letter. It makes me teary.
The Amazingly Different Story of Graves's Birth- This is a birth story that I am quite proud of.
Amazingly Different.  Amazingly Beautiful.- A comparison of births. They were both just that. Beautiful. And different.

I was a wee bit busy in May, but I did find time to write a couple of worthwhile things.
We've Got the World and All Its Charms- One hundred family pictures.
In Which Infection Overtakes My Body (Okay, I'm Being Slightly Melodramatic)- This post makes me laugh. Now. It wasn't funny at the time.
Teeth Grinding. Stomach Churning. Heart Breaking.- This post is filled with passion.  And I'm kind of proud of it.

It seems June was rather busy, too. I really only had one post I feel like is worth mentioning.
Terms of Endearment- Not a deep post by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought it was an interesting topic.

July was a rough month emotionally, in a lot of ways.  I wrote the first post through tears and I shed them now reading the second.
Weekends Are....hard.  Birthdays Are....hard. Motherhood Is....Hard.-Just an honest post about a new reality.
Sister-As my sister got close to moving, I poured out a few memories onto the page.

In August, I experienced a strong sense of conviction and I tried to articulate some of my feelings on parenting decisions.
Letter to (Twenty Eight Month Old) Ann Peyton- In the last paragraph I described my feelings about our life at that point.
Convicted- After counting Ann Peyton's Summer outfits, I nearly vomited.  I was so appalled by our (read: my) excess. I will never forget that feeling.
The "Versus" Strikes Again: Opinionated vs. Judgmental and Good vs. Best- I have been criticized (always tastefully) on my blog multiple times for being too judgmental and polarizing in my statements about parenting decisions and I wanted to try to convey my general philosophy on these things.  I still fully believe that being opinionated and being judgmental are two entirely different things and that sometimes it's okay to choose "good" over "best" if it's in the best interest of your entire family or if the difference between the two is marginal.

In September, I wrote some about my weight issues and about Graves growing.
Letter to (Twenty Nine Month Old) Ann Peyton- The last paragraph just brings tears because it's so, so true.
Letter to (Five Month Old) Graves- I wrote Graves a short sermon as part of his letter, ha! But seriously, parenting is so tied to my faith and I love writing about that.
Five Minute Friday Prompt: Growing- I take a lot of pride in my role in Graves's growing big and strong.
[Too] Skinny Minnie- This was another really honest, transparent post about something I was struggling with.

There wasn't a whole lot truly stirring in October, really.
Strong Willed?- Again, nothing especially meaningful, but I thought it was an interesting topic to address.

November featured a diverse collection of posts.
Election Day- I posted about our feelings regarding a very important vote in our state.
Five Minute Friday Prompt: Unexpected- This was the last Five Minute Friday I did this year and it was such an important one all about the sweetest unexpected gift ever.
What I Wore Wednesday- Nothing important, but a fun post nonetheless.
Multitudes on Monday- I'm linking to all of them, because they were all really special.


December was kind of full of mundane things, but I did write one post I'm really proud of.
Because I Said So...- I wrote this after a conversation with a group of friends got me thinking about how my mom intentionally avoided this phrase and how I hope to do likewise.

Whew! I want to thank you guys for hanging around here and reading all the crazy thoughts that come in my head and out my fingertips.  And for the encouragement and understanding you are so quick to offer. I've said often that if no one read this thing, I'd still keep it up because it's my outlet, but you guys make it even more worthwhile!

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