So far, in our blogging DUEL, I think Lynsey is winning. I had the first slash, but she parried with an awesomely long and awesomely awesome post about her year in review.
I'm going to pretend I know stuff about DUELing and say that I'm now going to use the mirror technique. (Does that sound official) But my mirror will be hazy. She was much more eloquent and verbose in her review. Mine will be short and picture-free. Sorry. Beyond my capacity at this moment. (Short and short... that's kinda like Lynsey. I heard she's four-foot somethin'.)
I liked you.
Here are the highlights:
In January, I had a dinner party AT MY HOUSE for 12 people. This is a big deal if you know about my issues with people coming into my physical space. It scares me. But I did it and felt very successful and happy with the way it all went. And I made Beef Barely soup, which is my favorite. AND Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, which was everyone else's favorite.
On this same day in January, I was a goober and ran my battery dead in my car and discovered this about 25 minutes before I was supposed to get my kids from the bus stop. I put the jumper cables on the other car (van), started it and hooked it up (but not until I managed to turn my car around in my driveway... no small feat) and then went inside to let it charge for the next 20 minutes while I made soup for the party.
When I got out to un-jumper the cars, I tried the dead car first and discovered that it did not charge after all. I was annoyed but was just going to drive my van and wait to jump the other car. I got in my van and discovered, to my horror, that the van was dead too. I didn't know why at the time, but it turned out that the alternator decided to die right then and so it ended up just sucking the battery all the way down.
I was supposed to get my kids in 5 minutes. I cried. I cursed. My friends saved the day. The End.
February brought the loss of my beautiful maternal grandmother. I already wrote once-upon-a-time about the wild adventures of driving to Texas with my dad to attend her funeral and to be with my beloved family. If you recall, there was another alternator escapade on the drive home. Not my favorite part of the trip.
Miss you, Grandma.
In March, Dustin and I went to Provo, UT for a week-long karate course. We were instructed on kicking for days on end and, if you can imagine, this makes one's legs rather sore. The instructor was a man by the name of Mark Hallum from the United Kingdom. It was a good week.
This month also brought us a celebration in the form of Miss Brynja's 2nd birthday. I got her a toy that she's played with 2.5 times in the past year. It was a good investment.
But seriously, Brynja is the delight of the household. She's affectionate and darling and she's doted upon by all members of the family. It's hard to fathom my reluctance to bring her into this world. But I didn't know her then, so I'll forgive myself that.
March also brought the tenancy-termination of the Tenants From Hell. And there was much rejoicing. Until I told them that there was no way they were getting their deposit back because of the disasterous state they left the apartment. There was much weeping (on my part because of their nastiness), wailing (on their part... biggest whiners EVER) and gnashing of teeth (on both our parts, I would imagine). We then spent the next several weeks cleaning and repairing their damages. Many books were listened to through the magic of audiobook-online-checkout from my local libray. ♥
April found me driving cross-country, or more accurately, across two state lines with one of my best friends, Maria, and an almost-perfect stranger named Alex (female) to see the amazing Gotye in concert in Denver, CO. We stayed overnight at my aunt's house and ate gluten-free amazingness cooked by said aunt. The concert was mind-blowing and we returned home the next day, making the total trip time 39 hours, 24 of which were spent in the car. A good time was had by all.
This was also the month that I got my apartment re-rented and my sister's house (that I've been managing for the past two years) was vacated by the best tenant in rental history. Or close too it, anyway.
April also brought my brother and his wife their first baby... cutest little squirt EVER! (almost as cute as my kids...) This was an exciting event and my bro. and his wife are still recovering their equilibrium. ;-) Adventures in Parenthood!
May is always a welcome month. We celebrated the birth of two of our adorable offspring, Rohan (7) and Ella, (10) and I am ashamed to say that I can't recall what we did nor the gifts we gave them. Oh, wait.... it's coming. A watch for Ella. No friend party this year... nor for Rohan. Rohan's gift... was... ..... ........................... ................................................... nope. I got nothin'. Sorry Rohboy.
I spent a lot of May showing my sister's house and seeking after tenants of excellence. They were found.
May also brought the conclusion of school, which is always a thrill.
I got sick this month and when I was coughing very hard, I threw out my back and became next-to-useless for about three weeks. It really sucked.
I almost forgot. In May, I was privileged to attend the wedding of my incredible aunt Devan in Houston, TX. This time we sucked it up and flew there. It was much more... palatable.. than driving for 28 hours.. The wedding was amazing... on a bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Great company, beautiful bride, delish food. Awesomeness.
In June, we had ANOTHER tenant move out and had to spend some time fixing things and redoing things on the other side of the duplex. It was good.
Other than that, I have no idea. I didn't write stuff down for the month of June and apparently did not do anything that impacted my memory-brain-cells significantly.
In July, we traveled to Salt Lake City to my cousin, Britney's, wedding reception. Also, Mac had a week of Ballroom Dance Camp and week of Scout Camp. I'm also showing a dentist appt. on my calendar. Isn't that a thrill?! (no cavities!)
Our darling eldest child, Mac, turned 12(!) in the lovely month of July. He's growing so tall (taller than me as of November!) it's freaking me right out. He's got shadows above the corners of his upper lip. Shadows, as in darkening, lengthening hair... as in WHISKERS. How am I this old? I don't understand.
August is my birthday month and I planned my own party this year. A party for two. My friend Maria and I went to Salt Lake City to see the musical Wicked. I've wanted to see this forever so I was so thrilled to go. It was a great weekend of shopping, musicals and Parading through Homes.
August also found Mac at another dance camp. All of my children went camping to Yellowstone National Park with my in-laws. This left Dustin, Brynja and I together for a couple days in the Bear Lake area where Dustin was working out of town. We hiked and waded in sand on the beaches of Bear Lake. Dreamy.
On August 7th, I wrote down the following Rohanism on the calendar. It would appear that we were having a conversation about my Grandma Carol because Rohan said, "Ella... Gramma Carol is with Christ and all those other dead people." I ♥ Roh.
And August was the end of piano lessons for Ella and Rohan because their adorable teacher got married and moved to Utah. Ella was brokenhearted. Rohan, not so much. We have yet to find a new teacher. Any locals know one?
SEPTEMBER. That's all capsy-boldy because September was a big deal in my life.
September was, first of all, the month my son shed his elementary school skin and officially became a Jr. High Schooler. That was exciting. I can't believe how big and grown-up he is looking. It seems like, when you're in the midst of the day to day raising of your children, this day will never come. Your child will never become a man, grow whiskers, broaden shoulders, or bass-up his voice. Well, I realize I'm not quite there on all counts, but I'm watching it happen before my eyes. It's like he changes daily. It's marvelous and frightening all at the same time. He's a great kid.
Ella started 5th grade at the third school of her career (and no, we've never moved in the school years, I just have school A.D.D. Mac is on his 5th school...) and Rohan, 2nd grade. (Rohan has actually never changed schools. Yet.) They're all doing great and changing and growing so beautifully.
I got my vacant apartment rented this month too. Happydance.
For Dustin and I, September marked the biggest adventure of our lives, thus far. (aside from the whole raising kids thing.) On the 11th of September we flew over the big blue ocean, Dustin air-sick the whole way, and landed in Vaasa, Finland. We did karate there for five days, saw some awesome things and got to know some AMAZING people. Then we flew to Stockholm, Sweden and stayed for three days playing tourist and marveling at the coolness of another culture (and marveling at how expensive food was over there!)
I've talked a little about this trip, but as I've had more time to process, I think traveling to Europe changed me in more ways than I realized. I'll have to dedicate a post to this subject, but I'll just say that I feel like my capacity and awareness was expanded from this trip. Amazing.
October was the month of rentals. Again. And dipping pretzels. I had ANOTHER tenant move out of my duplex at the very first of this month (the ones who had just moved in the previous April...) and then one more move out from my little house at the end of this month. Crapcakes.
We also re-roofed half of the duplex which was a HUGE job and took weeks. We did it ourselves (of course... we like to do things the hard way. READ: the cheap way) and it turned out great, but, boyohboy, it was a lot of work.
Halloween was a blur. I kinda forget what my kids even were. Oh yes. Ella-pirate. Mac-80s punk rocker. Rohan-Scream ghost thing (NOT the normal kind of costume for me, but it was the dream of his heart for two years and so, I acquiesced and he was SO thrilled), Brynja-Monarch Butterfly Fairy... darling.
November was more pretzel-dipping and a trip to see my sister and her family in the beautiful Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. My little nephew, William, got baptized and the kids, my parents and I drove up to witness and celebrate. It was a lovely, if quick, trip and I miss my Wheeler's like crazy. We got a bonus on the trip and got to see my friend Rachel and her family too! They drove down from Sandpoint, ID where they've lived for the last 18 months(?) and we had a great time visiting, walking down misty lake shore paths, acting like 6 year olds on playground equipment and eating great pizza with 73 children talking loudly around us.
Of course, November was also Thanksgiving and a touch of Black Friday shopping for me, as well as a release from my 7.5 year position as Choir Director at church. Wow.
December was probably the most relaxed December I've had in years. I've always, for the last many years, had the choir Christmas program to do and this year, I didn't. It was also a slower pretzel year. And a slower Clancy year. I let go of many things that I used to think were important. It was more low-key... still busy, but not a "KILL ME NOW" kind of busy. ♥
So, that was not so short as I expected, but still no pics. Pics just aren't my thing. But we all know that already, right? Right.
I'll hit the PUBLISH button now and I say again, Lynsey.... EN GARDE! (I just learned that we've been spelling this wrong as I looked up fencing terms... doh!)