Friday, January 8, 2016

Year in Review 2015

I keep meaning to blog, but then—after working/writing all day, picking up the kids, making dinner, doing laundry and dishes, getting the kids ready for bed, etc. etc.—I just don't feel like it. Hopefully I'll feel more inspired in the new year to write for fun. 

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
We took a WONDERFUL five-day (not long enough!) vacation to Mexico. So good for my sanity, relationship, and winter attitude. I shut off my cell phone and kept it off from Wednesday to Sunday, and it was BLISS.

At Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Pretty good turnout for our celebration — nine out of 12 girls made it, flying from Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Idaho, and Illinois. (Missing Julie in Green Bay, Webs in Colorado, and Schmidty in Missouri.)

The guys, Aaron & Kevin. (Our chaperones.) HA HA

My heart. Celebrating 10 years. 

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Resolutions schmesolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you have a child?
Yes! Anna had Inga, Katie D. had Remy, Katie S. had Sawyer, Jamie had Eleanor, and Christine had Sofie. An explosion of Baby Cuteness. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The extended family nearly made it through the year unscathed until we got the sad phone call that Aaron's aunt Pam, who was very ill, passed away the day after her son got married out in South Carolina ... and then received the devastating news that my uncle took his life a few days after Christmas. I'm still trying to make sense of it. (Can you ever, really?) I feel terrible for my aunt, who told me "I am heartbroken and can't stop the thoughts ... how I didn't see it coming, how I wasn't able to stop it, how I will never fall asleep by his side again." Alcoholism + depression strikes again. *sigh  

5. Where did you travel?

• Riviera Maya, Mexico (just a little bit south of Cancun) 

• East Bay Suites in Grand Marais for a travel story, April.

 During our weekend in Grand Marais, we traveled to Grand Portage State Park,
near the Canadian border. We regretted not getting passports for the kids.

• Annual Fourth of July trip to Crivitz, Wis. We don't have kayaks,
so we steered the trusty (cobweb-and-spider-filled) canoe.


Our friends kayaking down the Peshtigo River. Adam even had his own kayak for the afternoon! We had to tow him at one point, but he did really well considering it was only his second time going solo.

Oh, what a beautiful life

Kids, kids, everywhere kids ... 

• The Gathering Place Resort in Birchwood, Wis. (annual family trip - so much fun).

My dad brought his pontoon and we tooled around Red Cedar Lake, even went by fancy-pants Stout's Island Lodge (I used to write about Stout's all the time for the magazine, the "Island of Happy Days.")

• Tent camping in Chippewa Falls, Wis. with college friends.

Come on, now. What kid doesn't LOVE a brewery tour?!

• Lanesboro (travel story), such a cute town!

Amish tour - a fascinating way of life.

Biking down the Root River State Trail, with only one small crash.

• Girls' weekend at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. (T flew home just for us!)

• Madison, Wis. weekend with the college girls. I sat outside and watched football in 23-degree weather, when I don't even LIKE football. It was so much fun ... I'd totally do it again. (Ideally NOT in 23-degree weather.) Go Badgers!

• Winona overnight/familiarity tour/work field trip. I drank entirely way too much.
(What happens in Winona, stays in Winona?)

 Oh my gosh. I didn't realize how often we weren't at home. No wonder why I felt like I was constantly packing an overnight bag. I was so fortunate to have not one, but TWO weekends away with my girlfriends, thanks to Aaron's support and understanding. (He also had a much-deserved weekend away with the guys, visiting Steve in Michigan.)

Brewery tour

 6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A new house!!! A better night-time routine. Regular trips to the farmers' market. To be at peace with my body. At least one time on the slopes with my new board. (We didn't go snowboarding at all last winter!)

7. What dates remain etched upon your memory, and why?

My birthday - the big 4-0! (Wait, what? I'm officially "middle-aged?!?!?!!?")  

Turning 40 isn't so bad when it gives you multiple reasons to celebrate: First with college friends in Mexico, then a big party at Brine's in Stillwater—and dancing afterwards!!—with my very favorite people in attendance (a few were understandably missing due to family obligations, sickness, or distance). The best gift of the night (of my life?) was a memory book created by my dear friend Amy, a talented designer who reached out to my favorites for a memory, story, or photo, then compiled it all into a hard copy book. I pull it out whenever I need a pick-me-up. I also celebrated with the string sisters at Tongue in Cheek on the East Side (pork belly ... mmm), followed by a girls' weekend in the fall at Grand View Lodge. I felt so loved.











String sisters (minus T).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I stopped caring so much about what other people think of me. It was like something clicked when I hit that milestone birthday. This is who I am. Take me or leave me. I also decided to make a conscious effort to move my body more, because if not now ... then when?

I'm so lucky to be their mom.

9. What was your biggest failure of the year? 
Finding answers for Adam's anxiety and eating issues. He's getting better, but it's still a battle. Also? Planning meals in advance, and getting the kids to eat more veggies. (Who am I kidding? Getting us ALL to eat more veggies!!) I also wish I had carved out more QUALITY family time. It might be The Year of Bringing Back "No TV Tuesday."

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, no. When you have your health, you have a lot.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A vacation.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I love that Caitlyn Jenner had the courage to finally be who she is, helping spark important discussions at dinner tables across the country. (I don't know if her behavior "merits celebration," but I think she gave a lot of people hope.)

13. Whose behavior made you depressed and appalled?
Josh Duggar, terrorists, those responsible for horrific mass shootings, those who can't see that there are two sides to every story (I support the police!!), and gun control wackjobs. (We need to do SOMETHING.)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Healthy food. Why does it cost so much MORE to eat better?!?!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I know I sound like a broken record, but MEXICO! I had never been to a tropical destination in winter before. It was surreal to leave Minneapolis in a snowstorm and walk out of the airport in Cancun to green grass and palm trees.    

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Bieber "Where are ü now?"
I also think of the Foo Fighters and Avett Brothers, since we saw them both in concert. (sooooo good!)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a.) Same b.) Slightly thinner and more toned c.) A little richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 
Been more organized and proactive. I'm always such a procrastinator!  

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spent less time on FB. "I wish I knew how to quit you!"

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We had the annual marketing department cookie exchange at my boss's house in Ham Lake at the beginning of December; celebrated with my mom's side on December 20; Aaron and I hosted in Forest Lake on Christmas Eve (he made prime rib & cheesy potatoes); on Christmas Day the kiddos opened gifts from Santa before heading to Coon Rapids (the girls bought matching flannel PJs for the last Christmas in the house before my MIL moves in with Josh and Becky this spring); and celebrated Christmas with Aaron's side on December 27 down in Austin, Minn. His grandma is 81 and AMAZES me with her independence, clarity of thinking, physical capabilities, and positive outlook on life. 


My cousin Sara and her daughter Lily were in town from Cali.

Apparently the Kardashians did something similar for Kim's baby shower. We're so trendy.

Thank you, Santa, for our jerseys.


21. What was your favorite TV show?
American Idol
(I don't watch much TV).

22. What was the best book you read?
Ordinary Grace
, by William Kent Krueger 

23. What was the best movie you saw?
Inside Out
(only by default, I think it was the only movie we saw in a theater last year!) 

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
If you can't figure out the answer to this, you haven't been paying attention.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Could be better, could be worse.

26. Who was the best new person/new people you met?
I really like all of the new additions to book club. We have some AMAZINGLY inappropriate conversations. 

27. What do you look forward to in 2016?Jay & Pete's wedding this summer (it's been so long since there's been a family wedding), more good times with friends and family, and FINGERS CROSSED - a NEW HOUSE! (We're putting our house on the market this spring - working hard to get it in top selling shape.)

28. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

“There comes a time in life, when you walk away from the drama and the people who create it. 

Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good.

Love the people who treat you right. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living.” 

- Louise L. Hay 


All in all, it was a pretty good year.