The end of another year! In that last week of December I found myself thinking of all the end of year posts I like to do: top 10 books, a look back at the year, project 365 and the best pictures of the year, and a look ahead. I’ve managed to do my book post and have been contemplating the others. We’re in the midst of snow and bitter cold and I’m finally ready to nostalgically look back.
2013 seems like a very long year-things that happened one year ago seem impossibly long in the past now. Last January Paul still hadn’t found a job, but now it seems like he’s been at his new job forever. So, that was one big change. In the spring Paul began working at Princeton University in library tech services. He’s been very happy there, reveling in the beautiful setting and academic environment. Clark finished second grade, which he loved, and began third grade, which he does not. It’s been a difficult transition to a year of school that is much harder, more work, less fun and play. As for Tabby she finished up at her beloved preschool and eagerly began kindergarten. I’m happy we have half day kindergarten, but she could probably happily be there all day long. She adores her teacher and all her new friends, and has begun reading. In the fall we said good-bye to our very dear friends, the Park family, when they moved to Michigan. We miss you guys! Clark and Paul continued along in Cub Scouts, with Paul taking on the role of Cubmaster (which is, at least in our pack, is totally just a figurehead role).
Tabby joined Girl Scouts, which thrilled me, and I took on the role of troop leader. My good friend is my co-leader and we’ve found it somewhat challenging to the leaders for 11 little girls with varying abilities, skills, and interest in being there. And, as I’ve always known, the leader’s kid is not the best behaved, so that’s been challenging. Still, I’m super happy she’s doing it and hope she sticks with it for many years. She ended the year getting a dramatic new haircut-going from very long to an adorable short bob.
There were no hurricanes or ice storms and we had a proper, super, Halloween, which we were all very happy for.
As for sewing, I did a couple of paid projects, but mostly just things for myself. I only made three aprons this year! My best sewing accomplishment this year was finally buckling down and completing Clark’s robot quilt.
I was so proud of how the design worked out and also how happy he was with it. It’s actually in the drier right now after having its first washing, so I’m eager to see how well it’s fluffed up. Finishing that got me very inspired to begin a scrap rainbow quilt, which I’m looking forward to finishing this winter. I also learned how to make little samosa purses, regular purses, doll clothes, and made myself a nice dress. You can see at a glance all the sewing I did this year in my 2013 Sewing Projects set. I love to look at the whole sets of things. Here’s a mouth-watering look at all the special things I cooked or baked in the 2013 Food set. For birthdays we had a lovely chocolate raspberry cake, a Minecraft creeper cake, and a flower windowbox cake.
It was a year of ups and down and the cycle of life in the chicken coop. It all started in January, with a hen going broody and hatching out a single chick. In January! Then there were other broody hens, eggs everywhere, chicks hatching, chicks getting stepped on or falling, and chicks getting pecked. There was hand raising, imprinting, and finally, a fox in the henhouse. Our flock was cut in half. At this point we have 8 roosters (yes, all the chicks that survived were boys) and 8 girls, and not a single hen is laying (short days and molting.) But we love them. We will probably get some chicks again in the spring if our own girls don’t produce, and the kids have been begging to get a Silkie ever since poor Little Silk drowned. The good outweighed the bad-it was wonderful to see chicks hatch and bird motherhood in action.
Also in the beginning of the year we watched the baby guinea pigs grow and found new homes for two of them. We kept one, bringing our total to three. In the spring we added to our menagerie by spontaneously getting a rabbit, whom we named Gordon. He’s adorable and we love him, though we wish he could spend more time inside with us without pooping and peeing everywhere (litter training didn’t go well.)
Paul began his beekeeping adventure, which also had some tremendous ups and down. It’s been really exciting to see the bees in action, but one of the two hives swarmed away, which then involved a daring retrieval. Unfortunately the retrieved hive was not able to get sufficiently large enough in time for the first very cold snap and that hive perished. We’re really hoping things go well next year. It’s been so scientifically interesting for us to see these amazing complex insects up close.
We really hope to have honey in 2014!
We were able to bookend the summer with two fantastic vacations. We started off with a trip to Cape May with my whole family-mother and two brothers and their families. We were in one of those beautiful Cape May Victorian houses, close to the beach and it was wonderful. So nice for the cousins to spend time together, so nice to be able to go to the beach every day, and a real highlight of the year-seeing dolphins!! It was my first time ever seeing dolphins in the wild, so it was especially awesome.
Near the end of the summer we took a short vacation to Niagara Falls. You’ve heard about it, read about it, seen it in movies, but have you been? Because it is FANTASTIC. We had such a good time. I suspect we had a lot of good luck in terms of weather, lack of crowds, serendipitous timing, and where we stayed (slightly outside Niagara Falls) that all conspired to make it a great trip. The falls were just so spectacular it was truly breathtaking.
We did every touristy thing (behind the falls, interactive movie, Maid of the Mist, etc.) and enjoyed them all. We also enjoyed visiting other nearby beautiful areas.