Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 Recap: Remembering the Positive

When I tried to recall anything positive from 2013 from off the top of my head, I KNEW there had to be a lot of good things! It just didn't go the way I had imagined it, so I wanted to write 2013 off as a terrible year full of the bad and the ugly. But that's not really true. And as I scan back through pictures and videos and blogs and journal entries from the year... I know it was a pretty dang good year after all. And I am thankful for everything that happened. Everything I learned. Every moment I got to spend with my husband and son. It was a good one! :)

Annnd, I made a ridiculously long recap of the year JUST to show myself how much good came of it. :) Feel free to NOT read all of this, ha ha!


January 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Interview with an Adoptee: Andrew
I wanted to interview some of my friends who were adopted at birth and this was the interview that got me going! We've been friends with Andrew (we call him Wyatt, I'm sure I've mentioned him here at some point) for quite a few years. His story is one of those classic adoption stories in which he does not know anyone from his birth family at all and has very little details about them. He personally thanks us for what we try to do with Kal's adoption because he didn't have that and the closed nature of his adoption is always something that will make him feel like something's missing.

* I made a semi-sorta resolution to be more consistent in my communication with Kal's birth mom. So I decided what that really meant... and then sent a package of pictures and/or a letter and/or some of Kal's "art" once a month. Every month. Except December when we visited.
* We finished up our adoption paperwork to start "trying" for Baby #2 and halfway through January we were approved!
* I was so, so happy with my life and the way things were. (This feeling sort of disintegrates halfway through the year with adoption stuff, so I'm glad I can go back and see why and learn from it. The adoption journey just wasn't good for me last year.)

Work party w/Zay.

February 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: "I Love to See the Temple"
I shared a little bit about my religion, which I don't do often enough. Zay and I are both devout Latter-day Saints and it is a HUGE part of our lives.

* Had an awesome Groundhog Day! Lol. It coincided with Date Night with the hubby. Date Nights are sacred. It would be so much easier to have Date Nights if we lived close to family and had that kind of support system to turn to for babysitters. But we make it happen anyway.
* We got a washer & dryer. No more laundromats for us. This was a big deal! Renting vs. owning has meant not buying large appliances, but we finally did.
* Celebrated Zay's 31st birthday with a party. And I made him a Superman birthday cake! And burned his birthday dinner. Lol.
* A lot of adoption waiting and wishing for winter to be over. I didn't write about it, but I went out and tried to really, really enjoy the weather despite it being the winter that just would not end ... and I took a bunch of really pretty winter photos outside. I wanted to find the beauty in Utah winter, and I definitely did. I love where I live and I'll miss it when we inevitably leave. Wish I could find those pictures now, but I also came across this video of a photographer taking pictures around here and it's soooo pretty.

Video of Timpanogos Photography:

March 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Interview with an Adoptee: Dan
This interview was SO much fun and I was so proud of the job I did on it! I had a tape recorder and a huge jumble of notes on the back of an old envelope and somehow I turned it into a coherent interview on paper that Dan was really impressed with. His story was very interesting. He was a little older when he was adopted and had his biological younger brother with him as well. He was hilarious to talk to. So glad I got to do this!

* I made a basketball birthday cake (I cut so many corners with decorating that thing, ha ha) and we had a Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party for Kal's 2nd birthday. He was so overwhelmed and overstimulated, but didn't want to stop playing. It was so much fun. So many people came - it was a blast. 
* We had a fun Easter, including ditching Church halfway through to walk around the neighborhood and talk (don't think I wrote about that part, ha ha). Kal was so adorable Easter egg hunting. Small things like that make my heart melt.
* Lots of bday parties, lots of playdates. Busy, busy - the fun way!

April 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: The Best Adoption Scam Email I've Gotten Yet
There's always inevitably some fake adoption correspondence during the waiting-to-be-matched phase and this email totally took the cake. It cracked me up so hard that I literally started crying. I tried to read it to Zay with a straight face, but I couldn't. Lol. Sure hope Zahinah found what she was looking for...

* We started talking to and soon after were officially matched with an expectant mom who was 100% sure she wanted to place her baby for adoption and that she wanted us to be the parents. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Lol. I'm being sarcastic. But at the time, yes - it was very happy!

* Had lots of Date Nights!

Found this guy! Made Zay's day. Memories!

* More playdates! (They never end, really.)

* Had a "Georgia" reunion with some of my favorite girls from back home. :)

Kal's always flirtin'

* Kal figured out how to take selfies... his very first one! He he he...

May 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Mother's Day Then & Now
I love being a mother. It is all-consuming in its exhaustion, but also in its LOVE. It has softened me in some ways and turned me into a bolder woman in other ways. I was always meant to be a mother. 

* I had an awesome Mother's Day weekend. I love my little family and all our friends who love us too. It was a very special day for me this year.
* We celebrated Baby #2 by trying out the new Popeye's that just opened out here - ABOUT TIME, Utah! Got some Louisiana cookin' in celebration of that Louisiana baby. :)
* My buddy Kayla and I officially started our Fat Squid business (I really need to update that blog!)

June 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: *Cornrows by Alice Anne* - Part IX
I have thrown myself into my work when it comes to braiding hair. And I do it constantly, day in and day out. I am grateful I have a talent that can support us while we're still in college mode. And hopeful for the day when I won't have to do it anymore. :) 

* Man of Steel Weekend - need I say more?? I can't even tell you how many times we've watched this movie. Too many to count. Seriously.

"Shoop man!" -- what Kal yells when he sees anything Superman related on a shelf

* Ate lots of good food! (all the time, really... but I love summertime and BBQ's/picnics)

Church activity.

* I finished up the very last days of my Hiking Challenge.
* We bought a minivan! Woot, woot! I love it.

* Went to a friend's mission farewell party. So proud of him!

July 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Losing a Son, followed by Some Days I'm Not Okay

* I journaled through our adoption trip.
* Hiking Mt. Timpanogos! This was a seriously symbolic hike for me. I hiked to the top of a mountain that I have seen off in the distance for years. And I dominated that hike. That mountain was no match for me after a failed adoption.
* Ran a 5k, which was easy peasy after doing the Tough Mudder! This was super fun because all 3 of us got to do it as a fam.

* We started talking to another expectant mother (Miss H). I sort of hinted about that in THIS post. Thought it was weird that so soon after our failed adoption we were contacted again and we weren't really ready to commit to another adoption situation, but eventually we did. Baby #2 is gonna get here one way or another, dangit!

August 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Cute Feet
This cracks me up, because I've gotten all kinds of traffic from people searching for "cute feet." I don't know how I feel about that, but it's pretty funny. Lol.

* I realized everything was going to be okay. And it is! It took time, but everything is MORE than okay. We are doing great. Suffering that loss really brought us closer. I know now more than ever before that Zay and I can get through anything. That we will stand stronger after trials. That our happiness is not dependent on external factors beyond our control. Happiness comes from within and we've found that. We've found a deeper compassion for each other's feelings. A stronger commitment to each other and our family. So much good came out of this experience.
* I made an awesome owl birthday cake for my buddy Kayla. I LOVE making cakes. I am a super beginner when it comes to cooking/baking ANYthing, but I love getting creative and making fun cakes, so hopefully I get enough practice and can really get good at it. It's so fun!

Don't slide off the seat, cake. Please! Ha ha.

* Visited Zay's work a lot and let Kal get addicted to video games, whoops!

* Went camping in the backyard and this was the only picture I took:

* Squeezed out all the last summer fun we could have!

Caught this hilarious FAIL, ha ha ha

September 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Grief-Triggered Post Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, & Thyroid Issues

* Dyed my hair:

* Attended the Empowering Fearless Birth event as a vendor with The Fat Squid. Wrote about it HERE & HERE. I love being surrounded by informed, empowered women who are confident enough to make bold choices regarding their birthing experience(s). I met some amazing people and it was a very educating/empowering experience!

Our Fat Squid set up. It was super cute. :)

* I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Which explains a lot! As soon as I got on the right dose of thyroid meds (and quit playing around with my dosage!!), I immediately felt better. I may have to take medication every day for the rest of my life, but I would gladly do it to keep feeling the way I do now. Plus, this is an important discovery for my baby-makin' journey if/when we choose to pursue fertility treatment again! Thyroid problems are a roadblock to fertility.
* Got to snuggle with our friends' new baby:

How precious is he??

* I turned 28! I'm getting old! Ha ha.
* Enjoyed probably the one day it rained all year, lol:

* Kal had fun with friends, as usual:

* We borrowed a bike trailer and rode Kal all around town for a few weeks.

October 2013

Most Popular Blog Post: Thyroid Doctor's Appointment

* I started homeschooling Kal to get him ready for pre-school. He's been having so much fun with crafts and learning about all kinds of different subjects. We're kind of random about what we're learning, but Kal loves it and we have so much fun. The structure is great for him and he's learning to sit still and focus for at least a few minutes. Yay!
* Started to be slightly skilled in the kitchen! Made some meals that Zay actually said were AMAZING. Woot! Woot!

Turkey Burritos from THIS recipe at Mix and Match Mama's blog

* Jaker's pumpkin patch plus Cornbelly's:

* After 12 weeks of keeping it a secret, we announced that we're matched for another adoption. And we found out that Miss H is having a baby GIRL!!!
* Playdates galore... 2013 was the year of playdates. This boy has more friends than me!

* Many Target trips:

* And library trips:

* I made Kal's Halloween costume and took him to a couple parties. Zay was impressed with my last minute hot-gluing skills. Lol.

November 2013

Most Popular Blog Post:  Sunshine in a Bottle: Open Adoption Interview
I got to "meet" a fellow blogger and a birthmama of two beautiful kids! She exudes positivity and optimism about life and I LOVE THAT! That's usually how I try to be. :)

* I did a massive de-cluttering project on my house and parted with many, many old school papers that I couldn't bring myself to throw away until now. I miss school sometimes. I love learning and challenging myself mentally. One day I might have to go back and get my Master's. We'll see.

I even held onto scrap math paper... but no longer. I tossed it all and got rid of a LOT of junk. I was so proud of myself. :)

* I cooked a big Thanksgiving meal and had a beautiful, restful day with my little family. Loved it!
* I taught Kal how to groom the kitties, so they've been getting lots of extra attention. Moo Moo is such a pretty cat to be so FAT:

* We enjoyed some abnormally beautiful weather!

December 2013

Most Popular Blog Post:  Thyroid Update

* I found some closure about baby Neo.
* I took my chances with traveling alone with a toddler and Kal & I took a trip to Georgia together! Ahhhh, HOME!
* We had a successful Fat Squid month - lots of Christmas orders! Exciting!

* Kal graduated from his speech therapy.
* Christmas we were sick, but we still squeezed every single drop of fun out of the few days Zay had off work. :)
* New Year's Eve we spent with friends and had an AWESOME time. Kal stayed up till 1:30 that next morning and was seriously wiped out by the time we got to bed. I couldn't have imagined a better way to end 2013. I got to smooch with my man and laugh hard and really celebrate. Love our friends and the memories we've made with them. :)

Video of some New Year's Eve shenanigans:

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future." -- Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Best Is Yet to Be"

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