Year End Recap for 2014

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Left all four kids at home while David and I jetted off for a vacation to Vegas. They did great without us, and we didn’t even miss them (much). Got rid of all our baby stuff (and felt ok about it). Watched all four of my kids on the same stage.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

In typical resolution fashion, if I did, I don’t remember them now.

My resolutions for this coming year involve photography: take more photos with my camera, print and frame more photos, make a 2014 photo book (and work on making past years photo books too), and just basically get organized in the photography department.

I also want to continue to declutter and organize our home, keep working on our home improvement list, plant a bunch of raspberry bushes this spring, and hang some paintings that the girls have done at school but I’ve never figured out how to display.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, countless internet babies, but also a dear friend here in town welcomed her 3rd child, at home, and I had the privilege of being there. It was amazing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. Right before Easter, while my dad and grandma were on their way to our house to watch our kids so we could go to Vegas with friends, my grandpa died in a fatal car accident. We got the word when my dad and grandma were only about 10 minutes from my house. It was awful. We miss him terribly.

5. What countries did you visit? Where did you travel this year?

Grant and I traveled with friends to Vegas and had a wonderful time. I had a girls’ weekend in the city. We took a family vacation to Duluth and Lutsen MN with my dad and grandma and had a blast. We also made several trips to SoDak to visit family.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

We need to make home improvements a priority this year. We did a few small things last year, but it’s time to get serious. Paint the trim! Get rid of the rest of the wallpaper! Pull up the carpet (for sure in the living room, maybe all of it).

7. What dates moments from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

There were many days at the pool that were just perfect. Happy kids, margaritas for the parents, hot enough to jump in and swim a little, talking to a friend in the deep end about her recent dating adventures, actually playing in the water like kids. At the time, I was taking snapshots of those moments to savor on cold winter days (like today!).

Certain memories from our family vacation. We laughed so hard, so often.

The call that my grandpa had died. And having my grandma and dad pull up in my driveway a few minutes later and ugggg it was terrible. But then that moment at his visitation when Grandma stood up to speak and said the most eloquent, wise, funny, and sincere things. She’s truly amazing.

Listening to my girls sing at the funeral. Again at a wedding. They amaze me.

Watching the youngest two cuddled up together, being sisters. I’m so glad that Marin isn’t the lone child left out of the twins’ inner circle anymore.

The girls’ dance recital this winter, where they were all up there on the same stage, and my grandma and my dad were there to watch, and neither of those things have ever happened before.

Certain moments during and after our yoga class, where my closest friends and I were all there, together, and how lucky I am to have them.

Watching the sun set on the beach in Lutsen with all my people.

Lunch with East Coast Anne, on her brief visit here (all visits are too brief).

Seeing the kids with our dog. I often freeze-frame when they drop to their knees to greet her, or when I find them cuddled up with her. I really didn’t know when we got Nina if we had just made the biggest mistake ever or WHAT, but she’s proven to be such a good dog, and the reason I wanted a dog was so that my children could experience that unique unconditional love that only dogs can give.

The times when the kids say or do something funny and I glance at my husband and he’s glancing at me, and we’re both trying not to laugh, but I know that he knows and he loves them like I do and no one else in the world loves them like we do, and it’s just the best to have a partner in life.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I really really decluttered our house. There’s so much more to do, but last year I made a huge dent. It feels wonderful. I know that sounds like a lame achievement, but it was a lot of work that had been nagging on me for a long time and I worked on it constantly, donating heaps of stuff monthly. DOWN WITH STUFF.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not asking for help or even admitting to anyone when I’m struggling. I had a pretty hard year, emotionally, yet I’m pretty sure almost no one knows that. Or, I mean, they probably KNOW, but not because I was forthcoming or very open about it. Being stoic and carrying on as normal and not asking for attention for myself can be good… but they can also be detrimental.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope. Had a pretty healthy year. Lots of migraines though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Probably wood for the FENCE that David built. (FUCK YES  A FENCE.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

For the 2nd year in a row, I have to say my Grandma. Last year I wrote about how her house burned to the ground and how she rose above and started over. This year her husband died and once again she shining in the face of extremely difficult times. She wrote in her Christmas letter “…My health is good and somewhere deep in my being a feel a joy that can carry me along.” I have so much to learn from her still, even though I’ve been studying under her tutelage for nearly 40 years.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

There is someone, but it’s un-bloggable.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Same as every year: house, kids’ activities (AHEM GYMNASTICS I’M LOOKING AT YOU), Target, saving/retirement, Amazon Prime, etc.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our trip to Vegas (we had weekly planning meeting for months ahead of time with the friends we were traveling with, watching Vegas movies and learning how to play Black Jack, so that was really fun), finding a gym that offers daycare here in town, a few of the books I read.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Taylor Swift’s 1989 album

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  maybe sadder; hard year

b) thinner or fatter? same

c) richer or poorer? financially, the same, but always richer in all the non-monetary ways than before

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Yoga, being honest about what I was going through, being a better friend

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being crabby to the kids and David, speaking negative thoughts out loud

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We stayed home and had NOROVIRUS YAY. But it really was ok. We also went to Rapid City the week after and had a nice time. And our Christmas with David’s family was also fun.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Over and over with my kids and husband, but not with anyone new.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Season 2 of Orange is the New Black was awesome.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope.

24. What was the best book you read?

I need to do an entire post of my top books this year, but Jandy Nelson’s books come to mind. (She’s only written two books so far, both excellent.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I used Pandora regularly for the first time this year and um, DUH, it’s great.

26. What did you want and get?

A summer at the pool with all my kids, while they are still children, laughing and playing. I wonder how many more summers we’ll have like that? Soon the oldest two will be more interested in looking cute in their swim suit than making up synchronized diving routines with their friends.

I got a fence this year! I’ve mentioned wanting one in every year-end recap for the last 40 years, and this year it happened!

Also, after a long search, we finally hired a cleaning person. Best money I spend every month.

A blue front door.

Peace that our family is complete. Four healthy children and a really kind husband and a boatload of truly supportive friends is much more than anyone could ask for, and yet here I am living this life.

27. What did you want and not get?

Both David and I found it hard to come up with ideas for each other for what we wanted for Christmas, so in all the ways that really matter, I have all I really want. I do have a long list of home improvement type stuff that we didn’t get done this year, but we did make some progress, and besides owning a home will always include a long list of stuff to do.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I did see a few movies (both child and adult) in the theater, but nothing sticks out as a new favorite. I recently enjoyed taking the family to see the new Annie movie, but I wouldn’t say that’s my favorite film of the year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 39 in July, and I had a special birthday this year. We were on vacation in northern MN with my dad and grandma, and I cannot remember the last time I got to spend my birthday with both my dad and my grandma. It was such a great day. My grandma made me a cake and traveled all those many hours in the car with it (and she also made dinner in our cabin that evening), we laughed all day long. My favorite was: right after lunch when my dad and I were reading on the deck while watching the incredible Lake Superior and everyone else was swimming (in the resort pool). All of a sudden, my 83 year old grandma comes teetering up this long stairway to where we were sitting, balancing a tray with 3 beers on it. Birthday beers on a gorgeous deck overlooking Lake Superior in the middle of the day with your dad and your grandma is the actual best. We sat there, sipping beers, and getting bit by these terrible flies, which only made us laugh and laugh because here we were, in this beautiful place, trying to have a celebratory beer together, and these damn flies kept biting us and it HURT and whenever one of us got bit we’d YELP so we were trying to wrap our legs in towels we stole from the pool area and it was so terrible it was hilarious.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I had a hard time with migraines this year, so if anything, getting a better handle on those would be GREAT.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

“My twitter friends told me I don’t need to wear pants! Leggings count as long as my derriere is covered!” In this respect, 2014 is an excellent time to be alive.

32. What kept you sane?

I’m not claiming I stayed sane this year. But friends, long walks with the dog, and great books are my go-to sanity savers.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I…don’t think I had any?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

While my liberal politics remain in tact, I had a quiet year as far as being truly riled by much. Well, except Fergerson. But does anyone even have the energy to talk about that anymore?

35. Who did you miss?

My grandpa. My far-flung friends.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn’t meet very many new people this year, but my dad has a new girlfriend-turned-fiance this year, and she’s really nice. They are getting married in April.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

That I really suck at asking for help or admitting that I need anything. And that it’s silly and not healthy to be that way.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“May god bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every run
May you stay, forever young”

-Bob Dylan, Forever Young