Thursday, January 2, 2014

The year: 2013 - a look back

What a terrific year this has been! Much has been accomplished and fun has been had! Here is a look at the highlights, for those who are interested. :)

In January: I turned 30 and my husband surprised me with a trip to my favorite place on earth: Disneyland!! He came up with the greatest idea ever for surprising me too - for a few weeks leading up to my birthday, he was giving me coupon books. There was a deadline at the back of each coupon book for yet another coupon book that I had to ask for by the deadline. I almost forgot to ask for the biggest and best coupon book because I wasn't feeling well - but I remembered! Here's what I got as I blurry-eyed looked at my voucher as I was waking up:

It was AMAZING!! Huge surprise. I don't think he'll ever be able to top that. :)

While we were there, we did a "Walk In Walt's Footsteps" tour of Disneyland and we got to see his private apartment. That was pretty fantastic.

In February, we dedicated Cade to the Lord. Basically, what that means is we have made a commitment to raise our son according to God's will and ask for God's blessing and guidance and whatever God will's for our son, that's what we want. There's more to it then that, but I'll just leave it there.

In March we went skiing with some friends. Cade really enjoyed playing in the snow and sledding was a blast!

Also in March, my mom, my sister (Becca) and I all went to the coast for a night and watched The Beach Boys perform at the casino. It was so great! We may have been the only non-blue-haired gals there, but we had a blast. Surprisingly, they didn't sing "Little Old Lady From Pasadena," which I think would've suited the crowd much better than "Surfer Girl" :). We were grooving to the tunes and loving it.

Right around March,  Thumper decided to meet one of his lifelong goals of running a marathon and began training with a few friends. I made them all shirts to commemorate their efforts. You can't see the back, but they say all of the races they were hoping to complete before the marathon (5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, Marathon) with a check box for each of them to mark once they had completed each one. (Which, by the way, they did do!) 

In April, Cade turned 2 and we had a party with just family at Creative Studios for Kids. What a fun place! If you are ever in Salem, I'd highly recommend checking it out. Here's a picture of my little two year old. High energy, full of empathy and love. I adore him.

Also in April came our big announcement: we are having another baby! It was nice to finally officially get the word out since I had been feeling pretty sick for the weeks leading up to the announcement.

In June, we went on a Disney cruise to Alaska with my mom and my nephew, Gabriel. What a blast that was! The ship left from Vancouver, BC and we went to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway (not necessarily in that order). Because Vancouver isn't too far from us, we drove there. We stopped at Pike's Place Market and then went on to a hotel a little past Seattle.

The following day, we went to the Vancouver Aquarium, which I'd highly recommend. It was way fun. 

Finally, we boarded the ship and had a fabulous week. (And, just to show how amazing and dedicated my husband is, he continued to train for his marathon while on-board. He ran almost every day, if not every day! He's a rockstar!) I have a bazillion pictures, so I'll just show you this one. The cast members took it of us before we boarded the ship. This, my friends, is the look of excitement (and possibly exhaustion) from all of us. 

Once we got home from our cruise, it was time for the big gender reveal (the day after we got back we had our ultrasound! At least we had something to look forward to when we got home) :)

Our backyard continued to be constructed by Thumper (with the help from some terrific friends once in a while). And by early-summer, we were able to put out our lawn chairs, set up our fire pit and enjoy a movie in the backyard.

Cade and I spent many days during the summer at the local park, cooling down in the water features before nap time. That was definitely a highlight for both of us most days. 

And, as usual, we spent as many weekends as possible at the drive-in. We love our local drive-in and seeing two movies with a toddler is easy when you can do it from the car. So fun. If you've never gone and have the ability to do so, you totally should. 

This is us at the drive-in before the movie started, obviously
At some point during the summer, we had a few days where we watched my niece and nephews. We had a great time crafting, berry picking, swimming and playing in the newly landscaped backyard. Cade totally enjoys spending time with his cousins and I love having them around, so it was a win for everyone!

One of the days that Thumper was doing a long run as part of his training, he left the house extra early in order to run up in Portland. He and his friends ran there and then he was dropped off at the zoo where he met Cade and me for a day of animal-watching. Notice the fierceness of this lion that Cade so bravely rode on. ;)

Also in June, Thumper and I celebrated our 7th year of marriage. It's hard to believe it's been that long (we've been together for 11 years). I am more in love with him every day and I thank God for him. As an anniversary gift, Thumper took me to see Jim Gaffigan in Eugene. Hooooot pockets!

This year, I became the coordinator for Court Street Christian Church's MOPS group and (with the help of my amazing co-coordinator) planned a retreat for all the ladies on our leadership team. We spent a lovely night at Canyonview Christian Camp and prepared for the upcoming year as well as did some swimming, eating, laughing and camp-firing. :) 

Right around 24 weeks

In August, Thumper took a trip to Pittsburgh to go see family and attend his friend, Isaac's,  annual Scott Family Camp-Out. He had a blast zip lining, slip n sliding, firing potato guns and who knows what else. I could not wait for him to get back home, but I'm so glad he was able to go and had such a good time. 

I didn't get any pics from the actual camp-out, but this is the one Thumper sent me of him with his bro and mom
Also during the summer, we were able to get over to my father-in-law's house to cool down from the hot days we were having for some swimming. It was delightful! Thankfully, we had some friends join us which made it all the more enjoyable. And ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better. 

Thumper completed his first half-marathon in August with all of his training buddies. I was so very proud of him. I'm not sure what his time was, but I know he got what he was hoping for. 

After the run. A team of warriors, if you ask me!

This picture just makes me smile, so I thought I'd share. :)
One of my big accomplishments of the year was learning how to can! I had done peaches before, but that was pretty much it. This year, I canned green beans, tomatoes, pickles (sweet and bread & butter), and peaches. I was really proud of myself for that. I'm hoping to do even more next year.

Thumper's dad got season tickets for the OSU Beavers game (Go Beavs!) and I was able to go to a few games before our daughter was born. It was a lot of fun. Cade REALLY enjoyed it too. He now knows the motion to make for a first down and he loved seeing the fireworks whenever the Beavs scored. 
My father-in-law was there too, but he's not pictured.
We didn't get to use our trailer much this year, but we had a great time a few weekends before Thumper's marathon at Detroit lake in our trailer. It was a fickle-weather day, but we had a blast eating chili, playing outside when it was dry and enjoying just being together and relaxing. 

In October, Thumper had his big race! He stayed with some friends and my mom, Cade and I stayed at a hotel in Portland so we could see him crossing the finish line. Don (Thumper's dad) met up with us the morning of the big race and we walked to the spot closest to the finish line. We saw him just a block or two before it and were excitedly cheering him on.  From what I saw, he looked euphoric and pleased, but he says what was really happening was he was trying to keep from dry-heaving. Poor guy. Either way, he completed it and did it just under his goal which is phenomenal! I don't know that I've ever been so excited for him (except when he graduated from nursing school). I got all choked up and was so proud!

The hard-working crew!
The rest of October was mainly spent just in limbo - waiting for our little baby girl to arrive. We thought for sure she was going to be early as all signs were pointing to early labor and delivery. She was due on the 28th, but - no such luck was to be had. Instead, my sister, my mom and my dear friend threw me a baby "sprinkle" (I told them I didn't want a shower because I had already had a baby and didn't think it was necessary...they insisted but kept it small by throwing me a sprinkle instead - which, by the way, was an amazing, sweet little tea party. I sure do love to froo-froo it up!)

My sister made this by herself! She designed it and everything. She rocks.
 At the end of October, as we were still waiting to meet our little girl, we did things to occupy our time. I cleaned...pretty much non-stop (I wanted the house to be clean when she arrived!) and we tried to take Cade out and about frequently. One of the out and abouts was to Fordyce Farms - to the pumpkin patch. We went through the corn maze, picked out pumpkins and just enjoyed each other. Thumper learned, though, that a corn maze with a 9-month pregnant lady and a toddler is a bit rough as one will most certainly need a rest-stop and probably some water as well. Oh well! We made it through and had a great time.

When we got back from the pumpkin patch, we took the opportunity to do a maternity photo shoot with my mom. This was some of our favorite shots.

On Halloween, much to our surprise (and impatience on my part) there was still no baby, so we put Cade in a costume and paraded around the neighborhood and at my husband's work, my mom's work and my sister's work. He was adorable and had an amazing time. If you ask him to talk on the phone with you today, he will tell you every time "Hello? I had fun and I said 'happy hayoween and I got canny and suckas." Every. Time. It's adorable and it never gets old to him. :)

On Halloween, as we traipsed around our neighborhood, I was feeling contractions off and on, which was nothing uncommon - in fact, the weekend before I had been to the hospital thinking it was time. But, this time it was real. I was to be induced on November 2nd, but baby girl decided she was done waiting...finally! So, at about midnight on November 1st we made our way to the hospital. My contractions were a little stronger now and I was ready. We got to the hospital and found out I still wasn't yet dilated enough. AAAHHH! So, they had me walk the halls. We walked for all of 15 minutes and I jumped 2 cm in that time. Our beautiful Elsie Dawn was born at 5:48. It was quick and easy (I mean, easy because of the epidural and in relation to Cade) :) 

Cade came later that morning to the hospital to meet beautiful Elsie and wasn't all that interested. The following day when he saw her, though, he ran to her and said "Daddy! Look at her little, tiny ears!" He kissed her and gently hugged her and has been semi-enamored with her since. 

Within a few weeks of coming home, we were on an airplane, heading to Texas for Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah) with Thumper's mom and family. A toddler, an infant, all the luggage that goes along with that and us; it was quite the adventure. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious and all went well. 

Elsie's first flight!

We had a terrific time and were sad to leave, but happy to be done with the traveling for a bit. 

Not much happened in December other than the normal holiday gatherings and picture-taking of my new baby and my now older son. Oh! I guess something did happen - Thumper ran another half-marathon with his running pals, again meeting his personal goal that he had set for himself as far as time goes. 

Before Christmas, I started training for the Disneyland Half-Marathon of 2015 - it's a long ways away, but I need to start training now or I'll never make it. :) 3 days into my training, I fell down the stairs and broke BOTH of my feet. AAAHHH! So, now I'm hobbling along, caring for my two kids and just making it through. I'm already looking forward to having the walking boot off and be back to normal. The holidays were still great, despite that. :) 

We had a great Christmas - Cade got an authentic Buzz Lightyear that he thinks might just be the coolest thing ever and it was just a fun day with my loves. 

Right before New Years, we stayed the night at the beach and had a wonderful time just relaxing. It was much needed and I'm blessed that we were able to get it. Thumper and Cade went down to the beach and to the pool - because of my injury, I wasn't able to join them, but I did take some great pictures while my mom watched Elsie in the room. 

The end of the year festivities were wonderful with a game night at my mom's and enjoying some family and friends. 

A few other accomplishments for 2013: 
I completed my year-long goal to do a Pinterest Test and blog about it a few times a week. To check it out, go here. I'm not that great at sticking with things like this, so I was very impressed with myself. I'm hoping to do it again in 2014. 

Thumper read through the Bible in just under a year. 

Cade knows his alphabet and the sounds they make. 

Elsie can smile and lift her head. :) 

I'd say we've had a very good year and I'm looking forward to what is to come in 2014!

Happy New Year!