My favorite memories from 2013

photo-106I’ve spent some time over my past few non-working, non-blogging days thinking about the ending year. It was a good one. Here are some of my favorite memories from the past 8760 hours.

I went on my first roller coaster rides at Disney World in March. First it was Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, then the Rock n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I rather enjoyed the experience, though I don’t think I need to seek out crazier ‘coasters.

I finished the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in June. While my time wasn’t great, the day was sunny and 70 — perfect for running, and I ran the first 10 miles with my husband. We take whatever dates we can get!

I attended two professional sports games in fantastic style: I was in a box at Fenway Park for a Red Sox game in April, and I saw a Sixers game from the front row, on the floor, at the Wachovia Center in October. I didn’t have to cough up the full fare for either, and I’m not sure I’ll start that anytime soon, but it was a very civilized way to see games.

I traveled to London in September for the What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast tour. Fish and chips, an art museum, and the dry wit of British media personalities all made for a memorable time.

Japan in April — I have now officially seen Mt. Fuji from a bullet train!

Upon coming back from Japan, having traveled for like 20 hours, I went straight to my then 3-year-old’s nursery school silent auction. I think I was so tired that I was laser focused, and I won all kinds of awesome stuff, including my B. Makowsky handbag I carry daily.

My then 5-year-old won first place for kindergarten in a local poetry contest. He wrote about cats. The poem was jaunty and (I thought) rather clever. I’m trying to get him to enter another young author contest now, but he’s kind of resisting it, unfortunately.

That same kid sang a solo in his kindergarten play and totally rocked it.

We joined the YMCA, and went on many a wintry indoor swimming trip with the kids.

I discovered Stitch Fix. This has significantly changed my wardrobe over the past 12 months. I particularly like a handful of shirts and one pair of pants they sent, and have worn those multiple times.

I got a contract for my next book, Mosaic. I wrote a draft of my novel. I am going to take a short writing retreat in the next few weeks to completely finish it but I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out. I think. The problem is that every time I come back to it there’s always something new I want to change. I guess one can revise forever, and I’m really enjoying the revision! I take from this that I want fiction to be a bigger part of my life. It’s hard at first, but eventually I love the story so much I want to keep going.

I watched 4th of July fireworks on the beach in Ocean Grove, NJ.

I got to read for an hour on the beach in Cape May when we were there the last week of July. My older 2 kids played with some girls who were staying nearby. It raised my hopes of eventually being able to relax while around my kids. I’m almost there. Indeed, while I wouldn’t put a trip to Uno Chicago Grill into a favorite category, we just went there for dinner this week and the kids were not awful. I got some of the restaurant meal relaxation benefits of not having to cook or clean. Growing up is cool. The kids grew up a lot during 2013.

I saw some amazing teachers in action at some amazing schools: Excel and Match in Boston, the Mastery charters and Boys Latin in Philly. I was observing these teachers and schools to write about them, but I also picked up some tips for improving my public speaking.

I spoke to a fire-code-capacity crowd at the Indiana Governor’s Conference for Women in November, and the speech felt great. The audience was with me the whole time, they laughed, I spoke for an hour with no PowerPoint. It felt how speaking should feel.

I started a new gig blogging for Fast Company and discovered the fun of writing for a place that gets incredible social media traffic.

I went on my first camping trip with my 6-year-old. We slept in a tent together in the beautiful autumn woods and really slept, too.

I got a bike. I look forward to warmer weather, so I can take mid-day breaks by going for a quick ride.

I wouldn’t rate skiing as one of my favorite experiences of 2013 (we took a trip to Killington last January). But hearing my then 3-year-old announce that he really liked to “go fast down the mountain” was pretty cool.

I’m having real conversations with my 2-year-old. She’s a bit of a firecracker. It’s hard to deal with in the toddler version. Tonight she launched herself out of the crib. I asked why she did it, and she told me that “I didn’t like my crib.” I came into the room to find she’d also scaled a chair to get to the lamp and turned it on. I asked her why and she reported that “it was too dark.” I’m pretty sure she will never have a problem advocating for herself. She started the year as a nursing baby; seeing her become her own real little person was a highlight of 2013.

I feel this year I’ve figured out a pretty good “balance” (much as I dislike that word). I took about 6 weeks of vacation. Not full off-the-grid vacation, but time away from the office and doing different things. I ate lunch with my 4-year-old and 2-year-old most days. I spent massive amounts of my work time undertaking a project solely because I wanted to (the novel) and the rest of my work hours doing interesting non-fiction work. And yet this will be a very good year, financially. Sometimes you do what you love and the money really does follow. In 2013 that came true for me, and I’m hoping 2014 will be the same.

What do you hope from 2013 will continue into the new year?

8 thoughts on “My favorite memories from 2013

  1. Happy holidays and congratulations on your great year.

    I feel like I’m in a transition mode as I approach my next decade in about a year and a half.

    Over 2013, I’ve finally made some good strides forward in a couple of areas of my life. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m hoping the progression continues.

    I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

  2. Found your blog this year – and I consider that a plus! You have gotten me to thinking more about what I really want and so I’m thinkiing through goals for next year.

    Also – you mentioned StitchFix a few weeks ago so I looked it up and signed myself up! My first ‘fix’ is supposed to arrive around January 15 and I’m really excited about it!

  3. Growing up really is very cool. I’m looking forward to more of that in 2014! Would love to be able to read for an hour on the beach either this summer or next, when the sand-eating days are behind us…

  4. Happy New Year!! My mom and I took a leap of faith and submitted a book proposal in January 2013, and it will be coming out next January 2014!! It’s been so fun working with her, so I hope that will continue in the new year. I’m also hoping to keep up my momentum I had before Christmas break with yoga, spin classes and running at the gym!

  5. There is something great about listing good memories. It makes life feel rich in experiences that we don’t always realize is happening at the time.
    The first 9 months of the year was getting through sleepless nights and readjusting to work. Once my daughter turned one, about 3 months ago, sleep life is better. I think she will be a fire cracker as well. She is already trying to keep up with her brother and is not afraid to climb. I appreciate your theory on life with a child under 2.5. It is very busy. I have to say that although she is cute and does adorable things, I am looking forward to an age of being able to read for an hour while the kids play.
    I will be looking forward to reaching some major milestones in a work project this year, starting my blog and experiencing the growth of my kids.
    I wish you a happy, healthy 2014!

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