Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review 2013

This won't be a terribly long winded review of the year, but I guess I'd better post something so I can move ahead into the new year with subsequent posts in proper chronological order. Random selection of pictures included...
Grace's 1st sleepover (the body-less head)

The main thing, and the only thing that matters really, is that everyone is healthy and doing well. My family is the joy of my life, and I continue to be amazed at how fast the girls are growing up. I have gone from years of "wow, they are growing fast" to "no no no way too fast, stop the bus!". They are turning into quite interesting little people, and I couldn't be more proud of them.
Something funny on Julia's 15th birthday

Julia continues to be involved in Special Olympics and the Spirit cheerleading squad, while Grace does gymnastics, piano and clarinet (both instruments new this year in terms of actual lessons). I can't believe Julia is in high school, but she must be because she has a minor role (bystander #2) in the high school's spring 2014 production of Les Miserables. She is on cloud 9, and I think that Bystander #2 is the most important small role ever in a musical production. Grace's piano teacher continues to gush over what a natural talent she has and how quickly she is picking things up. Which makes me wonder what she could accomplish if we could get her to practice...
Julia, my (big) little angel

Highlights of the year from a family event perspective would have had to be seeing Les Miserables in Philly early in the year with Julia, The Lion King on Broadway with all four of us, and the Avalon vacation in August.
Grace school picture day

Musically, it was a pretty good year. Amp and I saw three shows together: The Eagles in Philly, and Justin Hayward and Graham Nash (both in Wilmington). We also got to see Brother Dave play with the Rosewood Trio a couple of times which was a real treat as well. I am thrilled for him (and jealous of course). As for playing...short of finding some dedicated time and a commitment to practicing, I will continue to be relegated to owning several nice guitars that I can hack around on a little. For the time being I can live with that. I like having them in the house.
Brother Dave with the Rosewood Trio

Outdoor activities were unfortunately very few and far between. I did a couple of brief solo day hikes and I think that was it, outside of the guys trip to Maine in September. Someday maybe I'll go back and blog about that if for no other reason than to post a bunch of beautiful pictures from the couple of days that I was there.
Acadia NP, Maine
From a hobby perspective, I accomplished what I set out to; I followed whatever whim struck me at the moment. The end result of which is that I got a lot done and had fun in the process. I painted more buildings and made more terrain pieces than actual painting of figures, but I got a decent amount of that done as well, and without specific painting goals, everything I was able to get done was fine in and of itself. I made progress on re-basing my Crusades stuff for Impetus, I completed a good basic set of modular terrain tiles and some fleece covered multi-purpose boards. I completely reorganized and cleaned up the gaming area in the basement with Amparo's help. I did a lot of maintenance on older figures (re-basing where needed, touching up paint jobs and brightening colors). Some Ottomans got painted, and a lot more got prepped and primed for when the mood next strikes me. I learned how to play Impetus, and had some great starter games of Fireball Forward! with Leo. I also made the decision to purge myself of some unused figures/periods and actually did it. I do hope the actual playing of games picks up in 2014, but all things considered 2013 was a good hobby year.

I enjoyed taking pictures with my good camera, and slowly but surely I am learning about all those fancy things it can do beyond point and click.
Pretty dawn sky

I read a lot as usual, but not much fiction this year.

We also spent a lot of time cooking in the beautiful kitchen that Amp created for us back in 2011. It was a large and expensive project, but as much as we love to cook and hang out in the kitchen with friends and family, I think it was the best house investment we have ever made. Especially over the holidays, we tried a ton of new recipes, which I will be writing up as time allows.
Kitchen fun

Lastly, as we get ready to move into 2014, I am thinking about the Christmas tree stand project that Amp and I built together. It was a lot of fun, it looks good, and it has given us the confidence to start thinking about other things we can make. There are a million home Do It Yourself blogs out there with great plans and ideas, and I know that Amp already has her eye on a number of projects.
My sous chef

And so that, in a brief recap, was my/our year. Perhaps not as brief as I thought it would be.

My final thought relates to something that I think Brother Dave wrote about once. "Be Present". Which I interpret to mean being engaged and attentive to what you are involved in; living in the moment, I guess you could say. Time seems to be moving faster and faster every year. The kids are growing up at warp speed. Middle age is on the horizon, not over it (no! it's not here quite yet, thank you!). And so today...I shall make the most of the day.

Farewell 2013.

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