What Did You Do This Year?

I’m sitting up on New Year’s Eve . . . writing this post as I look back at the last year.

I certainly admit that I’ve decried 2013 as a year filled with grief and loss, but I’ve made mention before that there were a lot of peaks to the valleys and they were quite high peaks.  Some of them were tremendous achievements and some were melancholy along with the pride that goes with them.

I’m not going to give you every single event that happened, but there were a lot of really great things so lest 2013 end with a sour taste in your mouth from me, let’s take a look at everything that happened here:

As a family we did a lot, and I do mean a lot.  There was a video we shot for March 26th, the anniversary of their mother’s passing.  We didn’t do it as a remembrance of her as much as a celebration of what we’ve done in two years.  This was the video:

2013-03-24 12.38.28But that same month we made a trip to Disneyland.  It was amazing . . . and terrifying.  My poor son, Noah, is scared to death of roller coasters, something we didn’t realize until we were 1/4 of the way into the ride on Space Mountain.  I can’t honestly tell you much about the ride . . . but I do have the scars from his fingernails dug into my arm.

2013-03-25 17.34.36

We went to the beach . . . Long Beach, to be precise.  The kids, though the water was cold, had a blast.  Buried in the sand, running in the surf . . . it was fun, more fun than they expected.  They weren’t particularly excited to go but once there they didn’t want to leave.

Abbi before graduation
Abbi before graduation
Hannah at her graduation
Hannah at her graduation

Two girls . . . two graduations.  Same day.  Even the greatest of parental pairs would have gotten more grey hairs over this and I had to do it alone.  It’s not bragging, by the way, it’s just reality.  Hannah, the middle, graduated 8th grade in the late morning.  The ceremony and the after-party would rival a Stanford graduation, it seems.  I don’t know when 8th grade became the end-all-be-all of graduations but God help the kids that graduated here because their parents now have to make high-school a bigger party than this.  Regardless, I was immensely proud of the achievement.  My oldest made the decision . . . and it was very, very hard for her . . . to go into drama, which her mother did not think was worthwhile.  She loved how good Abbi was at it but hated the fact that she wanted to do it.  Until this year she was really thinking of going into Pharmacy, even though she didn’t like it, because Andrea wanted her to do that.  I am proud of her ability to move past that.  Hannah had so many problems adjusting to life without her Mom and was on the verge of flunking out.  She passed with a B average.

2013-08-10 14.42.35

We made a trip to see the giant redwoods at Big Tree National Park in Calaveras County.  If you’ve never been, you should go.  There’s something pretty amazing about it all and the fact that in the high altitude we were all in good enough shape to march up into the high trail and see it all made me proud.

2013-06-29 16.34.38-1

We made multiple trips into San Francisco.  We were there the weekend the Prop 8/DOMA Supreme Court decision came down and had an amazing time people-watching.  For the record, 90% of the people half-to-all-naked were not gay, as a matter of fact.  Just really stoned or really drunk, which added to the hilarity.  If I’d known the people I’d have taken pictures for when they try to tell their kids how stable and conservative they’ve been.

2013-06-15 23.07.38

I got gussied up and went to a couple awards ceremonies.  They were for work, went with an amazing friend, and totally worth it even though we were robbed, in my opinion, of a statuette.

2013-08-03 20.28.25  2013-08-04 17.36.08We did a lot of things and treated them like adventures.  Some were, like the drive-in movie that ended up breaking and never seeing the movie.  Going to the baseball games and having a blast eating too much food and staying until the nail-biting end.  (Okay, wasn’t a nail-biter, but it makes for a better story).

This was par for the course for our year. We didn’t sit idle.  I was a bit lethargic at times.  I found times when it was really hard to face some of the things alone, knowing how much my wife, their mother, would have loved so much of it.

At the Sundial Bridge
At the Sundial Bridge
On a family event - feeding parrots
On a family event – feeding parrots

We took my daughter to college and on the way saw a bridge designed by Calatrava and fed birds at a sanctuary.

The prize winners!
The prize winners!

We went to a state fair in another state as well.

Christmas came and went.

Me, Recording in the House
Me, Recording in the House

And we made music.  Lots and lots of music.  Our house is filled with it.

And that’s just a few of the things we did, I’m dangerously close to boring you with the length of this post.

So as 2014 comes, while I hope it’s a damn sight better than 2013, it’s going to be hard to see it live up to the amazing things we saw and did this last year.  That, my friends, makes me very, very happy.

Have a happy new year, and hope your 2014 is amazing.  And it will be, as long as you make it so.

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