I’ve been off blogging this year. I don’t have much to say that I am not telling my loved ones in person or through other social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I don’t live the secret-thought life anymore that requires an anonymous blog to shout in, and we’re past the drudgery-udgery-udgery of staying home with an infant whose main functions are eat, sleep, and poop. What was once a daily habit for me is now a fairly inconsequential hobby that I can pick up and put down as the whim takes me. But every year I write some sort of annual “this is what we did” type of post, and while there aren’t nearly enough entries in 2013 to even bother with the year in review I’ve done before – there are only 9!!! posts to read through in 2013 – I felt compelled to log in this morning and tell you the story of my 2013, assisted through embedded Instagram pictures, my favourite from each month.
I only posted one picture, my blue shoes. My friend Wes likes to poke me about the amount of shoe pictures I post on Instagram, and it’s true. Where my feet are is important to me – it makes me feel more grounded. This year, I felt pretty grounded and a lot more confident in myself. In 2013, I let go of a few relationships when I couldn’t identify why I was holding on to them, and I feel good about the people I surround myself with now.
This year I made friends with my hair. While I still got it coloured and cut and experimented with bangs (ugh, fail), this year I stopped caring what it did and focused on working with it. I also bought some makeup with a friend’s help to wear to meetings and on date nights, that is flattering and stuff I’m capable of actually applying well. Gone are the days when I will buy stuff that I think I will like or have seen advertised, and I resolve to stick to this. The one thing I really stepped up is my nail polish application. I love spending an evening watching a great show on Netflix (current obsession: Doctor Who), with a glass or three of wine, and just farting around with glitter, stripes, gemstones and whatever.
Kale asked to host an Easter party for his friends this year. It was pretty adorable, because Ross and I are really social and love inviting friends over, and it was no surprise that Kale has picked up this joy from us. He asked to invite them over, have an egg hunt, and play games and dance in the basement. We invited over 5 or 6 friends, fed them lunch, had an egg hunt and a dance party downstairs. And we sent their parents away. It was really fun, and I hope Kale continues to see our home as a place to invite friends over and enjoy.
We started reading chapter books with Kale at bedtime, and I got to pick up an old favourite. Mom tells me I read early, and I have memories of being a total reader as a kid, devouring whole series of books over a weekend. I have one memory of participating in a summer reading program, and spent all summer logging my books, and at the end of the summer my mom had to go in and talk to the librarian because she refused to believe I actually read everything on my list. Truthfully, I wish I made more time for reading things for myself this year, and I’m hoping to spend more time with books now that I’m not continually putting in late night working shifts because Kale is in school most of the day.
May kicked off camping for us, and the weekend we went, we had the campground more or less to ourselves. Kale is a great traveller – he is good in the car for long stretches at a time, and he likes going on adventures. May was also the month we tried to get into the garden, planting hops down at River Market for a brewing collective Ross belongs to, and generally trying to be outside.
If May was getting outside, June was all about picking berries. We went picking more than once, and we were harvesting berries and rhubarb from our own garden quite a bit. It marked the start of preservation season for me, and I find it interesting how much more tuned into seasonal changes I am (rather than financial quarters or even monthly plans). June also marked the end of preschool for Kale.
Oh July, what a month you are. It was Kale’s fifth birthday and our sixth wedding anniversary. I took a lot of Instagram pictures in July – long nights and gorgeous weather, slow, relaxed outings, and camping trips… there was lots to capture. I think my favourite moment in July was something super innocuous, though – one day Kale and I went to the grocery store and they gave him stickers at the checkout, and when we arrived for a lunch date with Marcy, he couldn’t find his stickers. We all died laughing.
August was my most favourite month this year. We took a huge family camping trip around BC, and got to visit my brother and his family, a friend we never see up in Prince George, and we hiked a part of Mt Robson – something really challenging for me. But in the despair of a dark moment on the hike up, there was moment upon which I decided I couldn’t remain inactive anymore and needed to try running. Truthfully, I haven’t felt good about any particular exercising since I left soccer, and even then, the last few years of soccer were awful – full of childish lady-drama and mean-spirited play. I’ve always hated running but I decided to download a Couch to 5K app and when Kale started school full time in September, I started the program, consistently building up skills but mostly learning that “Hey, actually, I kind of like running!” and then I felt empowered to try karate and holy crap, you guys, karate is the last piece of awesome I needed to add in. I have fallen off running a little bit as the cold came, and I don’t like running in the dark, but I’m taking steps now and hunting for a used treadmill to start running downstairs. There are so many fabulous pictures from August, but I’m choosing this one in particular, because it was the picture I took as we crossed over the Port Mann Bridge on our way home. Home has become a beacon for me – our house is so warm and full of love.
Kale started kindergarten this year, and while I’m tempted to select my picture of him Rocky-style with his hands thrown up in the air, conquering the steps on the first day of school, I didn’t actually post that picture on Instagram. Kale starting school is a big moment for me as a stay at home parent / self employed person. I totally cried happy tears when I dropped him off and he filed in with his class. His teacher is so wonderful. I feel totally lucky to have such a great experience in our school district despite it having a huge financial crisis on its hands with a poorly managed budget. But in September, with its glorious, beautiful, long summery nights Ross told me that this past summer was the best summer he could ever remember. That right there was a gold star moment for me.
One of the less awesome parts of 2013 is that Mooki has suddenly aged a whole lot – while she is still pretty spry and still manages to get in her requisite 18 hours of beauty sleep a day, her eyes are cloudy, she can hardly hear a thing, and I’m starting to see the early signs of canine dementia. Last week I told Mooki it was okay for her to go if she was ready, and I feel like my little fuzzy sidekick for more than a decade may be preparing to shuffle off this mortal coil this coming year. I don’t believe in prolonging the life of a dog who has lived a full and long life already, and so when it is time, despite feeling the pressure of her future weighing on my heart, I will help her go with grace and peace.
The harvest and preservation season seemed to last forever this year. I made so many batches of jam and this year expanded to do some mustards, pickles, and started experimenting with making up my own recipes. I was fortunate to receive a giant box of found fruit – leftover pears from an event – and whipped up one of the recipes I am most proud of this year. This year I was also asked to do a workshop on canning, and give a step by step on how to make pickled beets, and really enjoyed it. My love of canning is spawning a potential business idea I am exploring for next season, and I am thrilled beyond belief to be able to preserve as much as I do. I love it, and it is lovely having your son beg for “your” blackberry raspberry jam.
In 2013, I really stepped up my volunteering game in the city. I’m currently the Registrar for KidSport New West, an organization that provides funding for kids to play organized sports; a committee member for the Intelligent City Advisory Committee (and two of its sub-committees) and the Community Grant Committee for the City of New Westminster; and I helped organize Quest New West, an amazing race style of race around the city, and the Next Up Gala, a celebration of 25 people contributing to their community in a really positive way. The Gala was November 9 and we got very fancied up and had a superb evening with great food, drinks, and company. I was a recipient of a Next Up Award in 2012, and wanted to help with the gala for this year’s recipients. I really want to keep volunteering in 2014, and am actually going to join the board of the Royal City Farmers Market at the AGM (if I’m elected!) in February. I love this community, and while Ross and I occasionally think about moving away for a new opportunity, every time I leave the city I am made aware how much I love it here.
The cold and snow came this month, and was gone as fast as it came and as I type this it is mild and damp again. We celebrated Christmas in two parts – once on the island for a quick overnighter, and then here at home on our own. Kale is now at an age when Christmas has become quite wonderful and merry to experience with him. He was adorable when he sat on Santa’s knee and informed him he didn’t know what he wanted for Christmas. An hour later, I guess he had thought on it, and asked to go back to speak with Santa, where he quietly and politely asked for police Lego. Done, kid. I’ve spent this year hanging on to everything by the coat tails, and yet trying to avoid telling people I’m “super busy” – I hate sounding like being busy is a badge of honour because it’s not. Truthfully, I am busy these days – my business partner has been unable to return to working due to family commitments, and so I’m running all components of the company – from winning business to facilitating sessions to writing proposals, and it was lovely to have some time actually off this Christmas.
Resolutions for 2014:
As we head into 2014 I have a few ideas of what I’d like my life to be like this year. I have a few things cooking I’m keeping to myself for now, but here are my resolutions for 2014:
- We do okay, our family, and our bills are paid on time, but I would like to see a healthier savings account.
- I’d like to stop buying uncomfortable shoes. Seriously, enough with shoes that don’t fit perfectly.
- I’m renewing (for the 10th year) my resolution to be done my Christmas shopping by November 30 and then take myself to the spa in December. This year I also want to try and make a few more gifts than I did this year.
- I’d like to stay committed to fitness, in whatever form that is.
Don’t take yourselves too seriously, friends. I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you.