One of my favorite posts of the year! Yesterday I reread the ones from previous years and it was really nice to be able to look back at everything-a virtual scrapbook, if you will. I think it makes for good family history. In 2014..
We took some awesome family vacations. In the summer we did a quick getaway to Hope Lake Lodge in New York. It was just an opportunity to stay a couple nights in a hotel with a wave pool and indoor water park, but it was really fun. Even better, on the way there we went to Watkins Glen State Park and were blown away by the natural beauty of the gorge.
A big rainstorm didn’t dampen our fun, and provided me with my proudest preparedness moment of the year when I pulled out ponchos.(and consequently have bragged about all year.)
Our big trip this summer was a fantastic old-fashioned road trip that took us to Pittsburgh and Michigan, where we stayed with and visited our dear friends the Park family. It was a lot of hours of togetherness and many audiobooks, but we had a great time, saw some really neat things, got great souvenirs, and it was a definite highlight of the year.
In November we took a long awaited trip to Disneyworld and Universal Studios. We loved Disney and had been there all together once before, but we were blown away by Universal Studios, specifically the world of Harry Potter. This was the year we started watching the movies together, I started rereading the series, and we all felt so transported into that magical world when we were in the park. We got a lot of special memories and experiences out of our two days there.
Paul and I were also super excited about the recreated Simpsons’ Springfield. It was fun, fun, FUN.
We also had lots of fun excursions to places like the American Museum of Natural History, Ringing Rocks, Grounds for Sculpture, Point Pleasant boardwalk (unbelievably, my first time), a Polish festival, Scanfest, a Cub Scout trip to a mine, Chinatown, and Syracuse to attend my friend’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. (I didn’t realize how many excursions until I started looking through pictures!!)
One big change this year was that in the fall both kids went to school full time. This meant that for the first time nine years I had all day to myself. I certainly wasn’t bored and enjoyed the change, but probably like a lot of stay at home moms it’s led to an urgent feeling of needing to get a job and feeling guilty for the time I have been enjoying at home. We’ll see what this year brings. And as for school, Tabby finished her beloved kindergarten and started first grade which she loves even more. She has turned out to be a very proficient reader and amazes us with her skills. Clark finished 3rd grade and left the only elementary school he’s gone to, beginning 4th grade at a different school in town (it’s K-3, 4-5, 6-8.) He has really enjoyed the change. He continued to be a great reader in 2014, too.
We all were active in scouting this past year, too. Tabby and I finished our first Daisy year and in the fall began the second year, with me and my friend Jen continuing to be leaders. In the spring Tabby and I joined Paul and Clark on a scout family camping trip, which again made me think we really should be camping a lot and yet we never did.
It was a big year for us in geocaching. Last January we finally made our first find and figured out how it worked. The spring and early summer saw us finding many more, exploring both local and not so local places.
Sadly, Clark’s enthusiasm for it
quickly went away and now he complains when we want to do it. Still, the rest of still like it; we’ve hidden two of our own caches and found 159. I had a few fun outings with some new geocaching friends and it’s definitely a hobby I want us to keep enjoying in 2015.
The garden and chickens were good this year. We had some cycles of life with the chickens and the big change was getting rid of some pesky roosters and also fencing them in. They have not minded the change. The highlight of the garden was watching monarch butterflies successfully metamorphose on our milkweed plants.
All our bees died but we still got their honey, as well as maple syrup from our tapped trees.
Paul and I began 2014 by celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary with a trip for the two of us to Mohonk Mountain House, which was amazing and indulgent and snowy and beautiful.
We went to several great concerts and shows this year, but the real standout for me was getting to see Neil Young at the Academy of Music. It was a dream come true and hearing his music in person was all I’d hoped it to be. Another musical standout was the Beck/Band of Horses concert. I think one of my happiest moments this year was dancing with Paul to super loud Beck. It was a fantastic show and we had so much fun.
I’ll stick this in the middle here so we don’t end on a depressing note. 2014 was the year we said good-bye to our beloved Pippin. It’s hard to look back on the year and not think about it because honestly I’ve missed him all year long. He was a wonderful special part of our family and saying goodbye to him was almost unbearable.
Other random highlights? We saw in real life both Alaska and Hawaii license plates (a quest to see these began when we were on our road trip), but even more amazing we parked next to one from Panama! (and were able to talk to the owner and then, bizarrely, happened to also park next to him again the next day at a different park!) Tabby got roller skates and became a great skater. Clark got new brighter blue rec specs which he wears all the time. After Clark’s class finished their unit on animals we took home a bunch of fiddler crabs, millipedes, and frogs. The crabs have proven to be fascinating!
I also almost finished Tabby’s quilt, but sadly the year ended with my death of my sewing machine. So I’ll be starting 2014 by shopping for a new one (though I have plenty of hand sewing to keep me busy until then.) You can see everything I sewed in 2014 here. And because I love sets, categories, tags, and organization, if you feel so inclined you can see all the foods I made (well, that I photographed) in 2014 here. There were some delicious birthday cakes, including an oreo cake for Clark and a chocolate and peanut butter cake for Paul.
All in all, it was a pretty good year. Sometimes when it’s happening you don’t realize how lucky you are, but when you look back on it all together, it’s pretty easy to see that we are fortunate and blessed. (Of course, it helps that this is the rosy side of life type of journal and not a listing of any of the days where we all fought, felt like bad parents and children, were worried or anxious, etc. Because who wants to a. read about that and b. remember that? No one!)