Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 year in Review

Happy New Year!

It's time to reflect back on 2013 to see what we did and how we've grown...


Nothing exciting this month except my birthday, of course. It was a bit of a funky winter for me - so while most things were ok, I just wasn't loving life (or work) at the time. Even so, I had a wonderful birthday (even if I was sick). I also got to see some of my birth family at my birth sister-in-law's baby shower this month.

My birth sister, Lindsey, Riley, and me


Riley turned three. This seems soooo long ago, and I guess it was. But what it really feels like is that my now almost 4 year old often acts like she is 6 or even 13, so 3 really seems so far away. She's acting so grown up it's crazy. Anyhoo, we had a super small gathering with just the grandparents and then Riley and I stayed overnight at a hotel/waterpark with my friend and her girls.

My dad also turned 84 and we spent his birthday in the hospital. Boo. I went to pick him up for lunch and instead we went to the emergency room as he was concerned about some pain he was having. They thought it might be his pacemaker, but sent him home the next day determining that he was ok.


Whoo hooo! Girls weekend! One of my most looked forward times of the year. Joanna, Susannah and I spent the weekend in Duluth, ate all sorts of nummy food, talked and talked and talked, and I did yoga nidra for the first time (but certainly not the last). I can't wait for the next time we get together.

Oh, and this was the month that we learned we were horrible parents. Well, not really, but it felt that way when we discovered that our kid has a bunch of cavities. Guess kiddo takes after my side of the family.


In April, I had one of the most horrific moments of my life. As the result of a communication snafu, and my husband's eagerness to update my computer, he pretty much lost ALL my pictures. I have to admit I totally thought I was going to puke and was ready to shell out $750 to get them back. Luckily, my husband found 'do it yourself 'a program for $25. It was time consuming and a huge lesson, but I got most of my pictures back and am more diligent about backing up my pictures.

This was also a very special month since we celebrated four years of marriage (7.5 years together). We were able to spend a night, sans kid, in Red Wing and it was absolutely wonderful. In fact, I think this little weekend played a huge part in both Jesse and I getting over our winter funk, remembering we are more than just Riley's parents, and that we really enjoy each other's company. Plus, this seemed like the never ending winter and the weather was a little nicer than we'd been experiencing.

And then the weather also sucked: this is the month I got stuck on a double long, jack knifed bus in a snow storm. This is the kind of stuff I'll be telling my grand kids and they'll be appalled that we didn't have hover buses back in the day or something like that.


Ha, maybe I shouldn't be doing this as a month by month wrap up because we didn't do anything of note this month, but if I had to come up with something it would be that we went back to Red Wing for part of a day to pick up the dresser we purchased when we were there for our anniversary. This was quite momentous because we finally agreed on a dresser for our bedroom. This was no small feat.

I also discovered I wrote a post on how we were updating our bedroom and that I was going to post pictures once done... and never did. Guess I should work on that once we actually finish all those remaining little details. Here's a current picture for now.


We started this month out with a plan to go camping, but the weather did not cooperate so we rented a hotel  room in Grand Marais. These long weekend getaways work well for us now that Riley is old enough to tolerate the car, but we aren't quite ready to brave a longer, more complicated vacation (that will be changing soon). We might have been cold during this trip, but still had a great time and ate some darn good food.

I also hosted Father's Day at my house this year and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't rain again, but it did. Nothing like cramming a big family into my house. What are the chances that it will happen again in 2014?

And sadly, one of my besties moved to Colorado this month. On the upside, I totally plan to go visit her one of these days.


I tortured my kid by bringing her to a parade that had at least 6 very loud firetrucks, after avoiding the 4th of July fireworks because I know she hates loud noises. Yup, proud mom moment. She cried pretty hard about it, but then told me she loved the parade. Oh, three year olds.

We went raspberry picking, I started a photo a day project that I had previously abandoned the year before (still going strong this year), finally ate at one of those frozen yogurt places (Yogurt Lab, etc), and chopped Riley's hair off.

Oh! And Jesse's brother and his family were in town the end of July through early August. They live in Luxembourg so this was a big trip for their whole family (and we hope to visit them in the spring).


We had family photos professionally taken for Jesse's mom (it was her birthday gift) since the whole family was in town. Love that the day ended up to be nice (it was supposed to rain) so that we could get these wonderful pictures of us all together.

We got Riley on a boat which she refused to do previously. It's amazing what she'll do when her cousins are around.

Riley and I also went to a big family picnic for Jesse's side of the family. Jesse was out of town, but I still wanted to go as I love seeing his family. I could have done without the epic meltdown when we left though. Seriously, the worst.

Picture credit Ryan Doheny


We were going to go to Luxembourg this month, but since Jesse's brother and his family came to the states over the summer we decided to postpone our trip. Plus, Riley started preschool. It was a really hard decision to move her from her daycare because it was a place we loved, but she was definitely ready to be in a structured learning environment.

We also went camping and to an apple orchard, but it was rainy and cold so it wasn't the experience we were hoping for. It's starting to seem that anytime we go out of town or try to camp it rains... and is cold. Bah.

One of the most exciting things for me this year happened this month and that is I started working from home (I swear I have a post on this coming). It took a long time to get in place and wasn't even something I requested in the first place. I am loving this - it turns out that this is a really good fit for me.

I ended the month by completing my first official senior photo shoot for my niece. It really kicked me into gear to learn more about my camera and photography... and made it clear that I have so much yet to learn, but it was a great experience and my niece was happy with her pictures.


In October, we started a new tradition by going to a pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, it was raining (story of our lives) so we couldn't pick our own, but we still had fun. Maybe next year!

I actually did two Day in the Life posts this month to document working from home and a weekend (which included checking out a corn maze). Yeah, that was exhausting so I probably won't do that again, but am grateful to be able to read back on it.

This month we also went to Madeline Island. And guess what? It was rainy and cold. I know, you are totally surprised. Me too <insert sarcasm>. Actually, it was October so we should have just expected this would happen. It's like we set ourselves up for this. Anyhoo, it was nice to experience someplace I'd never been before. It was still a pleasant get away and I look forward to going back in the future.

And of course, we wrapped up the month with Halloween.


We celebrated Jesse's birthday, went to the zoo, made snow globes out of canning jars we got from my dad, and celebrated Thanksgiving at my in laws house. Overall, it was a low key month as the cold weather settled in.


This month was filled with all sorts of holiday stuff from cutting down our Christmas tree to making all sorts of crafts and treats, to family celebrations.

If I had to rate this year I would say it was a rather good one. But if I really think back to earlier in the year I know I wasn't as happy as I am now. I know I actively made some changes to get back into that 'good' spot in life and while it wasn't always an easy path I would say it was certainly well worth it. I can only hope that 2014 continues to be a good, if not great, year.

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