Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

2013 is almost over.

And what a year it was! Between the winter so endless that it brought a huge snowstorm on May 2nd, my stint as a magazine cover model, and everything in between, 2013 was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I am ready for a new year, you all!

Before we say goodbye to this year, here's a collection of some of my favorite photos (= moments) from 2013. (There are lots more, but a.) some of them include people who have not given me permission to publish their photos on my blog, and b.) I don't want to bore you all TOO badly.)

So here we go....a few all-time faves....

Genevieve at winter swimming lessons on a Sunday afternoon:

The girls with "Big Al" (yikes!) at the reptile museum over spring break:

And doing spring break arts and crafts:

The day I decided to wear my favorite new Old Navy spring skirt despite the winter weather, just because I was tired of snow and cold and assumed spring weather was around the corner:

(seriously love that skirt....)

...Only to have this still happening six weeks later, in May:

(To be clear: this late-spring snowstorm was not in fact one of my favorite moments of 2013.)

I still love this shot of Julia on her 9th birthday, despite the fact that an anonymous commenter shamed me for sharing her (very difficult) birth story (as I do every year) in the accompanying post--clearly not realizing that I have new visitors to my blog every day, readers who have not yet heard the birth story.


And then there were these shots, of the way the sky looked one day when I stepped outside to meet the afternoon school bus:


All those days at the pool last summer, starting as early as humanly possible:

(Genevieve with pal Lucy)

...And keeping it up until the very last day:

(me with my BFF)

Our family trip to the Ingalls Homestead outside DeSmet, SD:

My many stunningly beautiful prairie trail runs in high summer:

And at sunset, in autumn:

Genevieve with the pink stuffed mouse she got for her 7th birthday:

...And myself the next day when my parents babysat for date night:

 (Got my hair done, holla!)

This selfie at the bus stop on the first day of school:

(me and my girls...)

My trip to Toronto:

And, of course, Christmas memories:

Happy New Year, friends. See you in 2014.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Northern Christmas

As promised, a slew of photos from Christmas 2013 up north...

On our first evening at Grandma and Grandpa's house, the girls made Christmas cookies with one of their cousins:

In general I think it's fair to say that we all ate plenty of sugar:

The angel on the top of the Christmas tree at my parents' house was the same one that's been there my entire life:

On Christmas Eve Day morning (our first morning there), when it was only 9 a.m. but my daughters and I had been awake for hours and needed something to do, I took them downtown for a cozy coffee date amidst the whirling winter wind, swirling snow, and lit-up shop windows. We'd had a restless night and were in intense need of diversion, distraction, and the largest to-go cup of coffee known to man (or tired mom).

 Oh, and the kids' puzzle page in the local newspaper.

We got dressed up for the candlelight Christmas Eve church service:

Notes were left for Santa on Christmas Eve (along with a plate of cookies plus carrots for the reindeer):

"Mama, Santa makes smiley faces just like you." -- Julia.

On Christmas Day the family gathered to open presents and have Christmas dinner:


 "God bless this house and everyone in it."

 new running hoodie

 new swimming hoodie

the (little) kids' table

And at the end of the night, one tiny elf was mighty tired....

 please don't ever grow up.

(Does anyone remember that old children's storybook, The Littlest Angel? For some reason this photo reminds me of it so much! I honestly hadn't thought of that book for years and years--probably since I was a child--and have only the vaguest memory of it, but when I uploaded this pic of Vivi today the title just popped into my head. I know my household owned a copy of the book when I was small, and I guess an impression of it lived in the deep recesses of my memory bank all this time. What I wouldn't give to see a vintage copy of that book again now!)


As you can see, we had a lovely, traditional, extended-family Christmas up on the frozen, snow-swept prairie. I hope that you had a holiday just as lovely, wherever you happened to be, and with whom. Next up for us, a big annual kid-friendly New Year's party at the local gymnastics club, hosted by some great friends who rent the place out each year and invite oodles of families. We have a potluck dinner, the kids run all over the gym, and we do a faux "countdown" at 7 p.m., complete with horns and noisemakers and hats.

And then a new year begins. And I have plans for that, too, but we'll talk about that another time.

Happy Holidays and love to you.