Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Post | 2013

We ended 2013 over here in pretty meager fashion. I've been living on one corner of the couch for the last four days, with a few transfers to my bed and back. My body is rebelling, and my sinuses are leading the coup. Michael has been on the other side of our couch with a stack of 2,000 flash cards for his boards. Our house was not the place to be for a rocking New Year's Eve ... but we did bust out some sparkling cider and discuss whispered resolutions (because my voice is gone - not because they are mysterious). (But now I think I want to add a "mysterious" category to my resolution list.)

I had a strange feeling last night. The only thing I can compare it to is the way I feel when we're locking the door as we leave for a vacation, and my mind is fiercely trying to remember what it is that I'm forgetting. That's how I felt leaving 2013. Like December was shutting the doors, close of business, and I was trying to grasp on to what it was I forgot to do. I don't really know what that means. Maybe I have some unfinished business with 2013 that will come to my mind on this side of January. Maybe it was just an effect of my body forgetting how to breathe this week. If I sort it all out, I'll let you know.

For now, I'm ready for a rewind of 2013, because last year's review sure gave me a grateful pause and better perspective. Ready?

I started off the year with tedious projects that were actually well worth it. I've significantly increased the joy I feel when I see my fridge since I made these cardboardy Instagram magnets. And we all remember this dear project, endearingly referred to as thatdamnwall. To view a completed version of the project please see: June.

And let's not forget who adopted us in January - this little Kitty. After reading some past posts about those initial interactions, I see that I was very wrong in thinking this was a temporary visitor. When we leave Indiana she'll be coming with us for sure. But, the logistics of that will need to be worked out. Girl is crazy in the car. She used to be so small!

February marked the month I got in touch with my inner child and brought the bangs back to life. That was hard, you guys. The length of my hair has a direct correlation with my inability to take (hair) risks, so that was a scary day. But, the bangs are still here and life is good. Maybe this year I'll go blonde.


We also made our quick trip to Cincinnati in February, and had our first married Valentine's Day. We've decided to make sushi our Valentine's tradition, so I'm already excited that February is about to make its rounds again. Cincinnati was such a fun little city, full of hills (!) and a great farmer's market, cathedral, arboretum, and we hear the aquarium is great, too. We need to get back there this year.

March gave us these delightful cupcakes, which may need to be baked again soon. 

This was a busy month, and such a good one. All of us ladies out here spent a lot of time together getting ready for The Everything Sale, and I am grateful for the way that helped all of us grow closer together.

Helping with The Everything Sale was a huge reminder that there is so much good to see in the world when you look for it. We saw such wonderful acts of kindness that day. I know that I am just one of the countless people that loves The Farar family so very much, and I think about them so often. Even though The Everything Sale is long over, this family is still in the minds and hearts and prayers of so many. They are loved.

We experienced Kentucky's Thunder Over Louisville last April, and it was so memorable. Probably the best fireworks I'll ever see in my life, if we want to get dramatic (but truthful). After waiting all day for the show I had decided that this was a fun but one-time deal, but then after the fireworks... you know I'll be back there come spring. I just really loved that day.

That was also the weekend of our FIRST wedding anniversary. Holla! Can you believe it? That first year sure flew. We packed in enough changes to keep things blurry and exciting and before we knew it, it was time to slice that first layer of cake. Except we had to substitute Oreos for said cake, which just didn't make the move with us.

Speaking of cookies, 2013 marked these as my favorite recipe. This was routinely, methodically determined, and it was actually the first recipe I started using months back. I just didn't think it was my favorite UNTIL I started making my cookies twice as big but cooking them for the same amount of time. That's the ticket, friends. Go enjoy a few (dozen). And ignore the bad picture on the recipe page - why do they show a burned batch? Bugs me every time.

Also, finishing Popsicle Stick Table #2 was put in the books as a great success in this house. I'm thinking we would be a lot more emotionally invested in these tables if we actually ate the popsicle off of every stick that went into these guys. That would have been true dedication. Maybe next time. (a.k.a. never again.)

Remember our dog-sitting days? As do I, as do I. Part of me actually kind of misses (parts of) those fun times. Maybe we'll get back in the business as we get into 2014. This little guy made quite a few visits over here last year.

We fit some good music into our April last year - here we are at the Josh Ritter concert at The Vogue. What a fun night with the Toblers! And his albums have become our road trip music of choice since then. This man was a big part of my musical year. You should watch this, and share in our enjoyment. Yeah, I know it's long. Don't judge.

And who can forget this epic "Secret" experience last April -- the Taylor Swift concert. Oh what a night. I loved being there so much; her concerts are awesome productions.

I still can't believe that all played out the way it did. For the record, I have since used the Secret in all the right ways (in an extremely dedicated fashion) for another "aspiration" and failed, hard. I didn't just dabble in this Secret use either, I dedicated myself to this goal even more than this T-Swift experience, and came so incredibly close to success that I was sure the Secret worked again. Until the complete failure part. So, the point is, I'm still on the fence about this whole cosmic concept. I think the obvious bottom line is: God gets final say. (And I don't think God cares too much about Taylor Swift concerts... and I mean that in the nicest way possible.) Have you tried the Secret? I so enjoy success stories. Send them over.

And April ended on such a somber note, when the world cried with Boston. That stung so much. I was glued to the news that week, and I felt so offended by those cowardly actions at the marathon. There were multiple 2013 newsy moments that could have justifiably ruined perspective and killed hope, but this quote helped me through that event and others since. I don't want to ever stop believing in the power of the good in the world.

May brought some beautiful days to Indianapolis, and the benefits of working downtown came back. I love working right by the war memorials and being able to catch parts of the ceremonies that take place there throughout the year. 

May also brought a tiny reminder that I married the right person. Those tiny reminders are everywhere when I watch for them.

Aaaand my first, and last, completed crochet project. Should I pick this back up in 2014? We shall see, we shall see.

And my favorite part of May was a surprise visit to Utah, for Mother's Day and Ali's birthday. That was I love being with my family and with my mountains, and we had such a fun weekend all together. Oh how I loved and needed that quick trip.

We soaked up the sun as much as possible in June. We were both so ready for summer. The Monon Trail is a favorite up here, and our Craigslist bike finds got some good use. That sounds so nice right about now!

In June my sweet, sweet grandma passed away, and I sure miss her. She was such a wonderful woman. I was so grateful to be able to make it out to Utah for her funeral, and be with all of my family while we remembered this woman we all love so much. We all think about her so often. 

Right after that Utah trip was our Daetwyler reunion in Florida. All of Michael's sisters were there, and we had a blast being all together that week on the beach. 

We did fit in a few days of nothing but summer stuff, like this bike-in movie. What did we do with our summer breaks growing up? Three months of just summer, to fill however we wanted? I totally took that for granted.

Alison made her first trip out to Indianapolis that month, and we caught the Indy 500. We picked her up in Chicago, and had a great weekend. We were surprisingly entertained by those 200 laps of speeding cars that day. Definitely a unique sporting experience.

Aaaand my first, and last, completed sewing project (post-8th grade sewing class). Should I pick this back up in 2014? We shall see, we shall see. (Doubtful.)

July marked our first full year of living in Indianapolis. We were finally using Google Maps a little less as we went here and there, and we were becoming experts on how to experience this city on the cheap. I documented our day to day routine for the books, because this is just a fun time of life. 

The kitchen. Finally finished. Not the most aggressive project timeline in my history, but... it is finished.

And the highlight of the summer was the Miner Road Trip in July, when Logan, Jenny, Ali and the kiddos all made their way out to the Midwest for an adventure. I loved having them here so much! They met us at Michael's parents house, and we loved being with them for the fourth of July. We watched fireworks along the Ohio River, and Lydia sang all the words to Party in the USA. Just a good, good time.

The crew came up to Indianapolis for a few days after that, and we hit all the sites. The kiddos loved the zoo and the Children's Museum. Jaren had his birthday while he was here, so that was the best bonus! I sure love our families. The times that we are together are the highlights of every year.

We took a mini road trip to Nauvoo in August to meet Michael's sister Pam and her family, visiting from Texas. They came back to Indianapolis with us and we had fun showing them around.

Then, another mini road trip! This time to see our Iowa family. We met them in Milwaukee when Danny was there for work. We had never been there before, so we had fun exploring with them. Cheese factories, markets, all that good stuff. Cheese is the best stuff, actually. 

We ended the month with another concert in northern Indianapolis. John Mayer played at an outdoor venue and summer never felt so good. His voice will always be one of my favorites.

September. The greatest month. The transition into fall is the best time of the year, and it seems like I enjoy it more every year. Running errands downtown for work in fall weather just makes my heart happy. Running errands for work in snow or blistering heat just makes my heart feel ok. So, September takes the cake.

Our dog sitting adventures got a whole lot bigger. I took these pictures while safely stationed in a corner, and stayed in my selected corners throughout our entire visits to these small horses' dogs' home. Those things, you guys. Nice as puppies. Big as baby elephants. Bad combination, if you ask me.

September meant hitting the big 2-5! And it has been a good age transition. It's at least one that I remember rather than still feeling like I'm my same age long after my birthday has passed. Do you have those?

Color came to our bathroom. That was a big deal.

But this discovery was the biggest deal of all. 


October was time for spooooky stories and busy days. We never even carved this chosen pumpkin you see here. He just sat idly by on our porch, a symbol of our more passive enjoyment of Halloween. 

But we did have a wonderful fall break in northern Michigan, just us and our bikes. It was probably one of the most seamless trip experiences I've ever had. We had no time to plan until the night before, but everything came together and everything went smoothly the whole weekend. That trip was so great, and so was Mackinac Island.

And the month went out with a haircut and an epiphany.

Michael hit the big 2-6! Always one-upping me. He has worked so hard this year, on both written and practical tests. Doesn't he look so legit up there flaming those dentures? I'm sure there is a more technical term for that. But, still. He's flaming those dentures like a boss.

His birthday present was a trip to the Notre Dame game, and his friend Jason flew out to come with us. We had such a good time catching up with him. And freezing with him at the game. Seeing that campus made the trip worth it, even if the scoreboard was a disappointment... #gocougs.

Ali came out for another visit, and we were able to go to Louisville and meet Michael's dad. We went to the temple and then rode bikes along the riverfront. Bikes are just the best way to see a city. Don't you wish we all rode bikes more? We would all be happier. I'm sure of it.

Then it was finally time for our long-awaited date to Wicked, which was my birthday present two months prior. Talk about anticipation. I so love Wicked. (Also, don't you love Elphaba Idina Menzel in Frozen? I so love Frozen. I'm just full of love.)

And then it was finally time for Thanksgiving. I haven't checked 2014's November yet, but I hope Thanksgiving is a little more timely. I needed more Christmas Tree time in my life. We loved being with family in Evansville, and eating so much food with them. Some of us learned how to make tamales one afternoon, so here's Ethan sitting on them. Cutest tamale guard I've ever seen.

And then December. Too soon to review December? You're right. We'll stick to the highlights version:

Just the right gifts.

And our little tree, who is still up, standing tall.

Well, just a little bit tall.

What a year we've had. To be honest, I have gotten in the habit of measuring years by places I've flown to or big accomplishments I've made. This year, in those terms, was semi-uneventful. But those aren't the right terms. I'm realizing more and more that years, and months and days, should just be measured by the way you live your life and the perspective you keep. And in that sense, 2013 was its own kind of eventful. It sinks in more all the time that Michael and I get to be together for eternity. I realize more all the time that the most important thing I can do is just try to do what my Savior would do, in all situations. And I realize more all the time that true happiness is intrinsic, and all up to me. All up to you, for you. Working through this concept overwhelmed me at first, but now it is beginning to empower me.

I'm excited for 2014. I'm trying to make the right kind of resolutions.

Look for God's hand in my life more. Be God's hands in other lives more.

And get my dresser and closet under control.

Maddie from the corner of the couch, out.

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