Tuesday, January 3, 2023

2022 in 12 Photos

This year, I wrote the fewest number of posts that weren't 7 Quick Takes, and it looks like next year may be more of the same (my new calling at church is going to take up a lot of time.)

But with my hands around a mug of hot pumpkin drink, I say let's focus on the positives, including what a year it's been!

In January I tackled my biggest sewing challenge ever, witnessed first hand someone coming out of anesthesia, and answered awkward sex questions from my 5-year-old. 

While writing this post, I realized I'd made a typo in the URL of a post I wrote about when you're going through a really tough time, and even though I could go back and fix it retroactively I won't, because the whole point of that post is that it's okay if life is messy sometimes. Even if it makes my eye twitch.

With all the snow melting, the drainage situation in our driveway got so out of control we had to bail it out with snowshovels so the garage didn't flood. (And now you'll understand why the highlight of our November was redoing the driveway and installing a giant drain.) 

I made curtains for the home office area, convinced the kids to try a family dopamine fast that overall went better than I thought it would, and went to the aquarium (the real one, not the one in our driveway.)

We got a new piano! Our high school senior (an amazing pianist) was leaving the house in less than a year, and it was the right time to replace our beloved antique upright. I can't say enough good things about pianos with a headphone feature so no one wakes up the whole house banging out Chopsticks at 6AM on Saturday morning anymore.

This month our 8-year-old was baptized, the tooth fairy fined my daughter for not brushing well enough, and Phillip and I briefly entertain the idea of doing yoga for just long enough to realize it was a terrible idea.

In April we took a family spring break trip to Miami, Florida, where my kids got out of the car and immediately said "Look, Mom, there's an alligator!" I rolled my eyes, thinking they were just being goofy. They were not. I didn't get around to finishing a post about this trip like I planned so even though there's no record of it, trust me, it was amazing.

On the blog, I posted some of my thoughts on how it felt to have all my kids in school for the first time. At home, we enjoyed watching general conference and had our first dinner party since COVID where we realized we couldn't remember how to people. At school, my daughter wrote the first and only haiku about logarithms I have ever read.

In May, COVID hit our house like a freight train. Rather than trying in vain to isolate within the family, we embraced it and tried to make the most of the unexpected break from school and work. Which I did enjoy, when I wasn't lying in bed feeling like I'd been trampled by a horse. 

I joined a language exchange site after deciding to learn Spanish, turned 40, and chatted unexpectedly with the police (I didn't know it, but this was actually only the first time of the year, lucky me!) Oh, and then my high school daughters successfully switched places with each other in class, even though they're not twins.

High school graduation time for my 18-year-old! Her graduation/birthday gift from us was a trip to Montreal, Canada.Top it all off with a lot of extended family visiting for graduation and June was an all-around insane month. But my 6-year-old still had time to make us all laugh by doing things like making this passive-agressive PB&J.

My kids spent so much time at the pool this summer. We took swim lessons at a friend's pool and two of my kids also tried the summer swim team in a neighboring town. We toured an alpaca farm, may have gotten COVID a second time, and took the kids to watch their first baseball game. We also began our annual Educational Summer Vacation, learning about the countries of Colombia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Iran

The summer had been so packed with visitors, activities, trips, and getting our daughter ready for college that we almost didn't take a camping trip like we usually do every summer. But we decided last-minute to do it, and the site we found was unbelievable.

Then, in what was perhaps the most insane thing we've ever done, we took the family on trip across the country to drop our daughter off at college that involved planes, trains, a road trip, a visit to Grandma's, three different states, two VRBOs, and a partridge in a pear tree. I'm still exhausted.

Just in time for school to start, we returned home and the rhythm of the school year took over. My 16-year-old is homeschooling this year, and I really enjoyed taking her on a field trip to the war museum and learning her trick to writing a first draft of an essay. I also got a pixie cut (although I did trim it up a bit at home after taking this picture and liked it better.)

Seeing as how I've successfully raised a child to age 18, I figured a few posts on parenting this month might be appropriate, so I shared 30 things you learn in 18 years and 10 things you learn in a big family. Can any of you relate? 

Being the responsible 40-year-old I am now, I got my first mammogram. I also took the little kids to an open house at the fire station and received a hilarious picture of a letter my aunt found in her house that I'd written her when I was 7.

After having new driveway drainage installed, Phillip and I passed rainy afternoons by standing outside and watching the rain swirl directly into the drain. Look at how beautiful that is. LOOK AT IT. 

We also celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving. We were going to go to a friend's house, but decided it would be more fun to get sick instead. And then for some reason, I went to the mall on Black Friday which I'll never do again.

The 18-year-old came home for the holidays and we've been having a glorious time with her building gingerbread houses, doing fun things together as part of our second no-gift Christmas, and cleaning out the world's messiest closet. I also made some delicious orange cranberry muffins and brought our Nativity in to show my son's first grade class, just like I did when my college freshman was his age. Time really does fly.

This year was full of ups and downs (and I think it bears repeating that just because I can't share some of my kids' downs on this blog doesn't mean we don't have them) but overall, writing posts like this one makes me feel really grateful for the gloriously chaotic life we lead. Happy New Year!

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