I love that the New Year brings a feeling of a fresh start. These last few days, as I've been enjoying the festivities with my family and friends, I've had time to reflect on the past year. At first, I struggled to find anything that was really worthy of sharing with you guys, but a quick look at my personal Facebook page brought back many memories (some great, some not so much). Isn't it funny how technology has changed our lives so much? Just ten years ago, the easiest way to reflect on your year was to look through photo albums!
Anyways, back to the subject. I am joining Miss Kindergarten, Dragonflies in First and A Teeny Tiny Teacher (along with over 100 other blogger teachers) for their annual linky party! Be sure to check out their blogs! Here are 13 highlights from my year, in no particular order:
1. Last January, I launched my blog. I was nervous, excited and scared all at the same time, but I love where this journey has taken me so far. This is my original logo (read about how this design came to life here!). I got a professional blog design done by A Bird in Hand Blog Designs and I love this colour scheme even more! I've had amazing experiences with my Teachers Pay Teachers store, blogging and my Facebook Fan Page and I've not only reached all of my goals but also exceeded several of them. I would say that hard work pays off, but I'm not fooling anyone, I'm loving this and I don't consider it work at all.
2. This year, my daughter Gabrielle turned 14 and started high school. Oh. My. Gosh. How the heck did THAT happen?? When did I become old enough to have a daughter in HIGH SCHOOL?! I am very proud of the young woman she is becoming (even if we do butt heads every once in a while).
3. Ty turned 7 and started Grade 2. It seems like just yesterday, we were in the hospital with him, waiting for him to gain a bit of weight so that he could come home! He is a very funny, very energetic little boy who NEVER. STOPS. TALKING! And to think that at 2.5 years old, we were worried that he would have a speech delay. Yeesh!
4. Speaking of the kids, they both won some awards this year as well! Gabby is a recreational ballerina and has found a love for dancing that she had given up on for a few years. At her recital this last spring, she won the Recreational Ballet award for Most Improved. Proud moment!
5. Ty started skating late in the season in 2012, but he improved dramatically over the year. When this season started, he absolutely shocked me! He had the balance, the agility and the speed he needed to play hockey! I grew up watching and playing hockey and I secretly wished that one of my kids would find an interest in it. Ty found a passion for it this winter. He is skating three times a week and participating in Pond Hockey. Maybe next season he'll want to join a league team.
6. Ty is also our little soccer player. This summer was his second summer participating in the recreational league. We saw some big improvements in his skills and he loves it even more than before. He also keeps reminding us that it doesn't matter if his team wins or not as long as he has fun. I guess we're "encouraging" him a little too much. ;)
7. This summer, we adopted a new puppy! We already had 2 big dogs, Chopper and Maika who are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, but Gabby had been babysitting all summer and made tons of money. She is very responsible, so when she asked for permission to buy a Shi Tzu puppy, we gave in on the condition that she would do ALL the work and pay for ALL the bills associated with this new puppy. She agreed and has been taking very good care of Lexi so far! I'm impressed!
8. I'm a tattooed girl and 2013 saw me getting 2 brand new tattoos and getting some old ink fixed up and/or covered up. When Colin and I celebrated being together for 10 years, we decided to get matching tattoos (roman numerals for the year we met). On mine, our tattoo artist added the words "I love you" in Colin's handwriting. Out of my 6 tattoos, it's my absolute favourite one. Colin got his done on his forearm as well, but a lot bigger.
I got this little heart done when I was 17 (it was my first one) and it had started to face quite a bit. People always thought it was a strawberry so I got it covered with a strawberry instead. There is more to the story (since ALL of my tattoos have a meaning behind them) but I won't bore you with the details now.
I also got a starfish done one my hand (read about the Starfish Story here) and got my butterflies on my wrist fixed.
9. My husband is the least romantic guy in the world. He never surprises me with ANYTHING. This year though, that changed! Because I'm commuting 180kms a day for work, he bought me a new car!! I never saw it coming! For two months (Sept and Oct) I had been asking him to check certain weird noises, and other things with my car, and he just kept shrugging it off and procrastinating. Just when I was starting to think that my old car would leave me stranded on the side of the highway, Colin handed me the keys to this beauty! It was a complete shock! I had NO IDEA that he was planning this! I LOVE my 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid!! I guess he does care about me getting to work safely...he even paid for road assistance! Yay!
10. By early September, I had lost all hope of getting a teaching contract for this year. By the end of the month, my sanity and my career were saved. I was offered a long term contract until (hopefully) the end of the year, in a Grade 4 and 5 split class. Just as I was about to give up teaching and start exploring other career options, this came along. Oddly enough, this is the second time this happens to me! Just as I decide that I can't take the uncertainty anymore, something comes along and proves to me that I am meant to be a teacher and that it would be stupid to give up just yet. Here are a few snapshots from my classroom:
11. We took a trip to Toronto last January and went to ROM and Medieval Times Restaurant for the first time (for the kids, at least). We had a blast!
12. Colin and I celebrated 10 years of being together in November. To us, that date is more important than our actual wedding date because that's when our lives really changed. Don't get me wrong, our wedding is also very important, but it didn't really change anything in our lives. At least, not like when we first met.
13. Finally, I made a lot of new friends, both online and offline, this past year. Here are a few of my favourite "new" blogs I follow. Go read all about them and learn about the great people who are behind them!
I hope 2014 finds you in good health, good spirits and good company! Happy New Year everyone!