Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Review of 2013

2013 was a good year for me. Remarkably good. So much so, that on New Year's Eve when I went to bed (early, before midnight--I was tired and I wasn't eager to say goodbye to 2013), for the first time in my life I had the sense that a year, an actual year, had been a friend to me, and that I would miss its companionship. Weird but true!

2013 was good for many reasons. After a nasty cold and killer canker sore at the beginning of January, I didn't get sick with anything for the rest of the year. Not even a cold. I didn't throw up once in 2013--one of my benchmarks for a successful year! So it was a very good year health-wise. I got a lot of things done and overall I was able to stay organized in a way that makes me happy and makes my life run better. I now think of 2013 as "The Year That I Conquered My To-Do List." I gave some long-standing issues in my life some much-needed attention, and now those issues are much improved. We had no big crises in 2013 and in fact enjoyed many blessings, both big and small. It was just a really good year. I miss it! It was my friend, after all.

This is a fun little list that I made up at the end of the year as I thought about why it had been such a good (and sometimes not-so-good) year. I'm amazed by how quickly it all went by! 


Best things
  • John turned 8 and was baptized by Peter, who I introduced to the gospel in the first place when we were in college. It was a special full-circle experience. I never posted any pictures of the baptism, so here are a few now. 

  • We went on our first cruise and it was a fantastic experience!
  • We bought a summer house on Cape Cod. That was the accomplishment of a major goal and something that we will enjoy for many years to come.

Worst things
  • A family that was our closest friends moved away. Their son was John's best friend, and our kids played really well together, and we got along really well with them. I don't make close friends easily, so their moving away was (and still is) difficult for me. I've shed some tears over that one.
  • Matthew Crawley being killed off on Downton Abbey. It scarred me!
Best TV Shows
  • The Paradise
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Downton Abbey (even though it turned out to be a bummer of a season) 
Best movies I saw
  • On the first day of the year, Peter and I went to see The Hobbit. Then on the last day of the year, we saw the second Hobbit movie, so we unintentionally started and ended the year with them! They were both good, but I liked the second one better.
  • Iron Man 3
  • Catching Fire
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Host
  • Gravity
  • Wuthering Heights (on PBS Masterpiece Classic)
  • Great Expectations (ditto)
Best books I read
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James
  • The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer
The worst book I read
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I hated it!

Most helpful book I read
Parenting With Love and Logic

Best discoveries
  • Mexico
  • The Piano Guys
  • Instagram (I finally joined it!)
  • Amazon Prime (I finally joined it too!)
  • This amazing deer forest at Southwick's Zoo, which is tucked back in the woods of Massachusetts near my mom's house. I hadn't been there in many years and was pleasantly surprised by how great this zoo was, especially the deer forest. I love deer and so it was really neat to be up close to them and touch their velvety-soft antlers! I plan on taking the kids there every summer from now on.
(We went to the zoo with one of my best friends from high-school, Jen, and her two kids.)

  • On Cape Cod: the Old Yarmouth Inn and Gray's Ferry
  • York Peppermint Ice Cream Patties
  • Deep-fried Milky Ways at the Iowa State Fair
  • Cover Girl Lip Perfection Gloss Balm
  • This cocoa pot and frother. They've brought my hot cocoa experience to a whole new level!

  • The fact that Bed Bath & Beyond will let you use expired coupons and as many coupons as you want in a single visit. How did I never know that?! (Incidentally, I got the above-mentioned cocoa set at BB&B, as long as many of the things for our Cape house. I love that store!)
  • Wonderful classical music apps for my iPad that make it easy to bring beautiful music into the house.
Rite of passage
  • Hosting Thanksgiving dinner
  • I realized that after over eight years of subscribing, I've outgrown Parents magazine. I won't be renewing when my subscription runs out this year. Kind of sad!

Most embarrassing moment
I was asked to teach the young women in my ward about organization and time management in August. I reluctantly said yes. I wish I hadn't. I was well-prepared, but once I was up in front of everyone and they were all silently staring at me I got really nervous and self-conscious and a rash developed on my neck and chest and the youngest (and probably most bored) young woman called me out on it. I wanted to die! I hate teaching in front of groups, especially when there are adults present, and I refuse to do it again for a long time. How I admire people who can teach easily and dynamically, or at least who can teach without a tell-tale rash appearing on their body. So I learned my lesson. From now on I'm only teaching kids with no adults allowed!

Skill I Developed the Most
(obviously not teaching!)

Biggest accomplishments
  • Buying a house on Cape Cod.
  • Conquering my to do list and achieving high levels of organizational nirvana. Seriously! 
  • Taking the kids to a movie by myself for the first time. We saw Monsters University and it was really fun.
Most unique thing
I got to meet some of the General Authorities at a luncheon that I was asked to help serve at for them in May. I met Elder Neil L. Andersen (an Apostle), Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy (who was super-nice; I really enjoyed chatting with him), and Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy. It was really neat!

Most painful experience
Gum surgery. And teaching the young women. :-)