As usual, I can hardly believe another year has passed. Wednesday will mark two weeks until the calendar turns to 2014 and it seems impossible. Blogging this year has taken a back seat to just about everything else in our lives (as you can see from the scarcity of posts below). I have released myself any guilt I have had over it, knowing I would do this one big year-in-review post that somehow makes up for it all.
Going through all of our personal photos from the past year (about 7500) was really fun and brought back so many good stories and memories. As much as this blog is a way for us to share our lives with others, it’s just as much for us to remember things from year to year. What started more than 5 years ago (holy cow!) as place to log our around-the-world travel has truly evolved, as have our lives! Here’s our 2013 walk-through…
2013 started out at the end of our pregnancy with “Tiny,” who we would later meet and name, but in January we knew neither the gender or name of our baby. The month was filled with lots of doctors appointments, particularly at the end when Tiny decided to wait an extra 15 days before making her way out. Thankfully she was strong and healthy and came in her own timing, which was perfect!
Although I thought there was no way this baby could be born in February, she stretched things out just about as long as possible. I went into labor in the middle of the night on February 2 and she was born around 2:30pm. We were able to labor and deliver at home again as we had hoped. It was difficult but significantly quicker than the first time around. The two things I recall saying just after delivery were, “Thank God it’s over!” and “I never want to do that again!” We named our daughter Brynn and you can read more of the story here, if you’d like.
We spent a good deal of time at the beach in February and March, driving out for an afternoon every couple weeks. Sage and John would play and climb the dune while Brynn and I stayed cozied in the back of our van with the back door open and a view that looked something like this, above.
With Brynn just barely a month old, we celebrated Sage’s 2nd birthday at one of her favorite places, the Oregon Zoo! She enjoyed two firsts while there–a ride on the zoo train and an elephant ear. She wasn’t real sure about the zoo train at first, but ended up enjoying it. She was also uncertain about the elephant ear, but now asks for one every time we go =).
This was the low point of the month–after a trip to the ER late in February we learned my “dormant” umbilical hernia was now active, causing a significant amount of pain, and in need of repair. About a week after the ER visit I went under for an outpatient procedure to fix the hernia. This put me on the couch for several days which is not exactly the ideal place to be when you have a one-month old and a two year old, but with help from John, a few friends, and my mom I was able to rest and be back rolling along by the end of the week.
This was definitely a highlight of the year–having my entire family together for a few days here in Oregon. It’s been about three years since the last time we were all in the same place at the same time so it was fun to share time together.
After a busy start to the year, April was a little more low key. As the weather began to improve I started the hunt for a play structure. We have a really great park down the street, but with a sleeping baby it was becoming harder to get Sage to the park during the day. We found this gem on Craiglist and aptly named it “Macy Park”. We have already put lots of miles on these swings and slide…even yesterday in the cold and wet we ventured out to play for a few minutes before it got dark. Purchase of the year?!
The month started out with unseasonably warm weather so John and I made an impromptu date (so, so grateful that both of our parents live near and enjoy being grandparents!) and went out on our SUPs for an afternoon on the Tualatin River. John has spending more and more time SUP-ing and has found his newest board-sport interest. He actually SUP’ed more than he surfed this summer and found he could jet over to the Willamette River (the boat launch is about 2 miles from our house), paddle around an island and be back home in just over one hour for a great workout.
This photo represents my low of the year. In mid-May my big toe caught on a backpack strap lying on the ground in our home office. This was the beginning of about 6 months of big toe issues that were finally resolved in November after 3 weeks of physical therapy and an infected, ingrown toenail that had to be partially removed. Ugh. It was dumb, long, painful, and just plain annoying and I am so, so thankful it’s behind me!
I would say the above and below photos represent the other thing I feel like my life was consumed with the past year: Potty Training. We started in May and are getting close after many ups and downs (been more on a down stretch lately, but things are starting to look up). Hopeful we’re near the end! June
Started the month out with a “Mommy and Me” gymnastics class taught by our good friend, Christine. It was very, very fun–Sage learned about obstacle courses and tricks and how to do a great somersault. She also learned how to do a proper role call (in case you’re not sure: when your name is called, you raise your arms and wave your hands and say “woo-hoo!”) which she has continued to do with her paper and pen at home.
Strawberry season!!! Our garden was a bit of a bust this year, but the strawberries did not disappoint. We enjoyed an abundance of strawberries which were freshly picked most days and eaten like candy.
First camping trip for Brynn and our first of the season! We went to Seattle for a short weekend visiting dear friends, meeting new babies, and seeing the big boot and hat (we found this boot and hat in a magazine and had been talking about it for months). It was a wonderful time and we can’t wait to get back!
We also enjoyed spending a long weekend in Bend celebrating Pete’s birthday. Good food, good friends, mostly beautiful weather, a fun lake day, time in/on the river paddleboarding, and just relaxing together. The best! The above photo is a semi-recreation of a pic we took of Sage at the same age on the same bed.
We kicked off July with something that has been our our list for about 10 years–camping with friends at Wallowa Lake, “Oregon’s Alps.” It’s about a 7 hour drive that we stretched into about 9, but it was well worth the trip. Our days were spent hiking, sitting by the lake, paddleboarding, and windsurfing (John). Evenings were spent around the fire learning Taize songs, yelling at each other so we could hear over the loud creek running through the campground, and doing some tricks with lights.
This is the view from the top of the gondola/tram, near the lake, looking out on the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Soon after our return from Wallowa Lake these fine people showed up for a visit! The Rickey Family is very dear to us. Normally we get to see them in Phoenix when we are getting ready to head into Juarez over Thanksgiving. So glad we got to see them in Oregon since we didn’t get to Arizona or Juarez this year!
After years of wondering when it would serve us, John’s juggling skillz made us all proud when he won a juggling contest at a Nike’s Family Fun Day. And he did while Brynn was in the Ergo. Actually quite impressive!
Many years have passed with only a few plums to speak of but this year we had an incredible crop. Almost every day since these plums started ripening we have eaten or at least looked at a plum. Fresh plums, dried plums, frozen plums, cooked plums…we have enjoyed our plums!
John’s birthday was spent camping at the beach. It was really a nice weekend up until the last 18 hours when there was constant rain with periods of heavy downpour which meant packing up in the rain. Everyone had great attitudes and Will loved running around in his duck suit, stomping in puddles. The year wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Oregon State Fair. As you can see Grandma Williams came with us again! At 94 she just doesn’t stop moving!
After years of saying “we should do that” we finally committed to making a road trip to Santa Cruz, California to see our friends Nate, Allison, Sidney and Stella who have the privilege of living and working there. It was a long time in the car with the two kiddos–we took two days to get down and two days to get back–but they were troopers. We spent the week camping in our friends’ front yard, hiking among the Coastal Redwoods, watching the ocean and surfing (John), resting and napping, and just playing together. Brynn started crawling, Sage made fast friends with the big kids, John and I got to go on a canopy tour, and we got to see what life is like for our friends.
Earlier in the year John had an idea to create a mystery trip for Grandma. The local cousins got our brains together and planned a fun day which included breakfast at a local diner, a morning at the zoo, a ride on the Max train to the Portland State Farmers Market, lunch at the market, a streetcar ride to the Portland Aerial Tram, a ride up and down the Aerial Tram and then traced our way back to the zoo and home. A very fun and very exhausting day!
Halloween! This year was the first that Sage got to go trick-or-treating. One morning I was explaining to her that she would get to dress up in a costume (she quickly chose The Man in the Yellow Hat, from Curious George), go to her friends’ houses, and they would give her candy. She was pretty stoked. Then I told her you could take the candy to the dentist and they would give her a toothbrush and she thought that was the best news ever. She didn’t forget it either. She would tell people that she was going to take her candy to the dentist for a toothbrush and she was all in. That is exactly what we did (we did let her have a few pieces) and it worked beautifully! Probably the only time that will work, but it was fantastic!
Normally November is filled with getting ready to go to Juarez for, what has become, an annual Thanksgiving trip. With Brynn being a very active kiddo and remembering what it was like to have Sage there at the same age, we decided to take a year off. While we missed being there, we enjoyed our time home as well and got to try out some new things, namely, Members Preview Night at ZooLights (two thumbs up!) and a Thanksgiving buffet at The Governor Hotel (yum!).
Sage enjoyed the buffet too. I think her highlight was the banana pudding.
Already?! As we look back it has been a wonderful year. Sage and Brynn are healthy and growing strong. Brynn is on the cusp of walking any day/week now. She has started signing and it’s so fun to be communicating with her. She loves her sister and following her around, pulling things off shelves and out of boxes, rolling balls, and climbing up stairs and ladders (yikes!). Sage’s favorite activities are reading, playing “shopping” and “library/storytime,” doing puzzles, going to the park, climbing on things, and doing art projects. John completed his 10th year at Nike and together we wrapped up our 5th season as photographers. The photography business occupies most of my weekday afternoons which normally fits well into nap time, although most days I could use one too!
We are looking forward to 2014 as Brynn turns 1; Sage turns 3; John’s brother, Taylor marries an awesome gal, Beth; we celebrate our 10 year anniversary; and hope to return to Juarez for Thanksgiving. So, so, so much to be grateful for–words and pictures cannot accurately express how full are our hearts.