Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 In Review

Just when you think you did nothing all year, you sit down with pen and paper and see everything written in black and white that you did do.

That's how my morning started.  With writers block.  Thank God it is the last few days of the year so I can fall on my "Year in Review" mode.

Wow, what a year!

I haven't a clue what went on in January and February because the calendar is b.l.a.n.k.  Nothing.  See.



I do know in February we sent our daughter down to Olympia to be a page for our local representative.  She lived with a host family for five days and saw the ins and outs of how the government ran.  She also got paid - and then saw how much was taken out in taxes - welcome to reality, babe.

We photographed the dog in front of the State Capital
because the teenager was nervous and surly.
The dog at least sat still.

March was a different story.  Because of a dry well in September (and October - six weeks with no running water - yes, it sucked) we threw caution (and a few dollars we had saved up) and booked a trip to the Cook Islands in November (Election Day, truth be told - we were handing over our credit card number when it was announced Obama was re-elected).

At the end of March, we boarded a series of planes and 19 hours later, landed in a paradise named the Cook Islands.



The whole trip was fantastic and one we hope to repeat.  Our daughter made some good friends (I think a boy, even) and the whole island was warm and welcoming and free of the United States pressures and political correctness.

We came back and hit the ground running.

We were introduced to our new future - Marching Band.



Our first experience was a parade 2 hours away.  It was fun, windy and a learning experience.

  1. You see your kid for as long as it takes for them to walk past you in the parade.  
  2. No matter how much you yell at your kid, they aren't going to stop and wave at you.  
  3. They board the bus and somehow manage to beat you home, calling from the school, saying "where are you?"  Um, taking pictures at this cute bridge we saw on the drive home.


June brought 75 people over to our house for an 8th grade graduation celebration.  Four other families went in on it with us, and between the families and the girls that had been friends for years, we managed to pull it off.  And nobody got hurt!  (Launching yourself in the river doesn't count as getting hurt.)



We also found that trusting your teenager and their friends with the "big camera" gets some great photos.  My daughter would have NEVER posed for me this way!



Also in June, we put our only child on an airplane and sent her off to Washington DC and New York with her classmates (and a few trusted adults).


Having sent her off to overnight summer camps since age 7 and numerous other week-long separations since then, I did require a hug goodbye.  After all, this one did involve an airplane.  Knowing that she has traveled the globe, we felt she had learned enough to get her through six days being away from us.  She loved it.



Point to make, though,  Don't buy a cheap point and shoot and have it delivered three days before the trip.  Spend a little more money and have more time to practice.





My husband, during this time, also took a trip with his dad and brother to Oregon, leaving me at home with no distractions.  Wanna guess how much writing I got done?  NONE.  Zip.  Nada.  Until he called to tell me they were on the home stretch and would arrive in about six hours.  WHAT?  I have writing to do.  Crap.

We started hiking in June also.  Now this doesn't sound like a lot but, hello, my idea of hiking says Holland America on the side of it.  While I did do a huge, big, honkin' hike over a small South Pacific Island, that was different.  We were on vacation.  I needed a passport to get there.  It was what you do.  

This is in my backyard.  Well, four miles from it.  But I put on my game face, took a few ibuprofen and charged gamely up the hill.  



Shut up.  It's a start.


I did learn that if we brought a friend of my daughters, they
could go ahead of us so they didn't have to hear me whine.
In August we got introduced to High School Band.  Holy Moses, I need the Crib Note version of the rules, regulations and finite details of marching band.  Our town may be small and the high school population is hovering right around 500, but over 100 students participate in the award winning band.  They use the tail end of their summer vacation for band camp which starts at 8 in the morning and ends at 8 in the evening.  For five days.  Then it culminates into a dry run of the upcoming show.  

Wow.




Seeing summer slipping away, we decided to take a quick trip down the Washington/Oregon Coast.  We told our daughter and she asked how long it would take to get there.  "Eleven hours, " I said.  

"Eleven hours?! That's longer than I was on a plane with you guys!!"

As you can tell, we've never taken a road trip before.








September started us off in Marching Band competitions.  Only we started off with the wrong competition.  Wind and waves and rain and really bad driving directions were (almost) enough to scare us away forever.  We all learned a little something about ourselves.  The two parents learned it was okay if you didn't make EVERY competition.  The teenager learned their parents didn't love them any less if they didn't make every competition.



In October we crossed our first high school threshold with the induction into the Homecoming dance.  Our daughter announced three weeks prior to the dance that she needed a dress.  Umm.  It's 7 pm Sunday night of the last weekend we/you have free to go shopping for a dress.  Bring on the computer.  Twenty minutes later, we had the dress.  

I'd show you pictures except for on thing - which leads me to the really BIG lesson here.  Even if your child says "oh, no, you don't need your camera, Jane's mom has one" you bring your camera.  Jane's mom had a camcorder.  I have the professional camera (and two more for backup) and you wanna know how many I had on me to take a picture of my darling offspring in her dress?  NONE!!   I don't have a single photo of her in her dress with here hair all cute.  Should I try to duplicate it and do it this afternoon, I would get a snarly look.  No go.

Now we are into December, November having been blissfully uneventful.  This is the time of year to reflect the past 365 days and look forward to what the next 365 days will entail.  



What will you do this new year?




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