Hey everyone! Please tell me I'm not the only one who is still in partial shock that today is the last day of 2014. This year was a roller coaster of a ride (as it seems every year is) with so many moments and memories made. This year I really began sharing my life on this little space online and it return it paid off in so many ways - from opportunities to take my family on amazing events, to allowing me to work from home and bring in extra money so I can make more of these amazing memories and share them with everyone.
I began sorting through my favorite posts of 2014 with the idea of entitling it, "My 14 Favorite Moments of 2014", but I quickly found that I just couldn't narrow it down that much - in fact I had a really difficult time narrowing it down to what I have in this post, which I think is about 28 memories.
These are in no particular order.
Our first "fashion" shoot. I had the opportunity to take the kids to Osh Kosh 'BGosh on a shopping spree for spring wardrobes and then share our styles with you. The outfits were all so adorable, but what I remember most was how bitterly cold that day was in February and how frozen the kids were while they were trying to smile. They're troopers those ones. :)
We had a couple of snow days which I absolutely loved. We don't get them every year, so when we do we get all sorts of excited. I decided to play around and practice photographing in the snow, and loved the results.
I wrote about my favorite things to do with kids in Oregon in the summer time, which was fun because I got to mentally thumb through my favorite memories in my mind and share bits and pieces with you.
My first (of many) press moment, when I realized that this blog of mine could be used as the a vehicle to let me learn things that I otherwise would never have the chance to do. I was invited to the Research Chefs of America's annual conference which happened to be held in Portland this year. It was three days of fabulous food, fun, and lots of learning. I enjoyed it immensely.
One day last spring, the kids ran out into the front yard to play and I happened to peek out of the window and saw them dancing on the sidewalks without a care in the world. I quickly grabbed my camera and captured their innocence.
I actually traveled to Seattle twice this year, the first time as press for the annual food and wine event, Taste! Washington, where Wayne and I had a crazy 24 hour trip there and back, yet were able to squeeze in a trip to the infamous Pike's Place Market - where I fell in love.
I've worked with various brands over the year, and in doing so it has actually allowed me to spend more time with the kids. We had a little picnic in the back yard and I will never forget how excited they were when they found out that I had Drumstick ice cream cones for treats. :)
There's been many field trips over the years, but hands down our walking field trip to the High School AG shop was by far the most exciting for a bunch of four year olds. It was only a few blocks from the preschool, so we all walked over for our tour, when suddenly (and I mean VERY suddenly) while we were inside one of the green houses we had one of the hardest down pours I had ever seen. Everyone was taken aback and not sure what to do - but the kids thought it was the funniest thing ever. The shower only lasted ten minutes or so, but created a memory that I'll never forget.
The kids and I decided to have a tea party - and the photos from it make me smile everytime I look at them.
One the girl's friends had a birthday party where the kids had the opportunity to ride in a helicopter for the first time. I watched as each child rose up into the air and flew away for several minutes and I'm sure I held my breath the entire time. As anxious as I was, I'm so glad that they got to have such a fun experience.
One of the highlights from our spring and summer was softball. It was our first year with Emma playing T-ball and Anika playing on a team where she was the youngest - our lives were definitely consumed every night of the week with it, but it was lots of fun.
My little Miss Emma graduated Kindergarten and entered a new chapter in her life this fall as a full day first grader.
Anika also entered into the world of middle school, but ended her years as an elementary school-er with a bang as her fifth grade class had a really fun field trip with a behind the scenes tour of the Moda Center and a wild ride on some jet boats in Portland.
I finally got off of my butt and accomplished a project this summer that I was really proud of - a raised garden in our side yard. It was quite a lot of work, but we had vegetables all summer which was wonderful, plus the kids got involved with planting and harvesting.
Over the 4th of July we camped out at my friend's property and visited with old friends we don't see very often. They live right on the river and 20 minutes from the beach, so we kept happily busy and the kids got to fish for the first time.
We loaded the kids up and attended a themed Luau dinner party benefiting our local FFA. The weather that evening was magical.
I've talked often about my love for our small town, and this summer Dayton held Friday night gatherings every week, with an old car show, music and vendors in the city park. It was a fun 1/2 mile walk from our house and the kids got to visit with many of their classmates.
Anika entered the world of FFA last spring, and not only devoted every night of the week to softball, but to raising a lamb as well. It was a diffucult task because she ended up with a large lamb who ended up outweighing her by nearly 50 pounds. There were lots of tears, but lots of character that was built as well, and we practically lived at the county fair for a week - which Emma and Noah thoroughly enjoyed!
Another AMAZING opportunity I had was a visit up to the Nautilus headquarters (think Bowflex), where I met several other bloggers and had a private tour and trip to Multomah Falls for a hike in the rain, followed by a day trip to Hood River. It was such a fun day.
Fashion popped up again this fall when the girls got to shop their little hearts out at JCPenny and showed everyone their styles.
In September I had yet another incredibly fun weekend up in Portland for Feast - a fabulous food event. All I have to say is that I ate incredibly too much, drank even more, and made some great new friends. (Day 1: HERE, and Day 2: HERE)
One of my friends moved back to her hometown of Astoria this summer, and we decided one weekend to take a day trip and drive the 2 1/2 hours up to see their new home. We stopped off and walked the beach on the way home.
The kids have attended many shows and events over the past couple of years, but never an ice skating show, and Disney on Ice was a blogging opportunity that turned into a great family afternoon!
For Thanksgiving, we drove down to southern Oregon to visit my family. It's always a little difficult for us because we have many places to visit and not lots of room, but we had a great trip - but the best part of our visit was surprising my Mom with an impromptu girl's sleepover in her apartment.
I love Christmas events, and I'm kind of sad it's all over with already. As a kid the holidays seemed to last so much longer than they do now that I'm a busy mom. I'm left every year wondering what happened to all of the weeks between Halloween and today. We visited the Zoolights again this year and had a really great time, and luckily due to the weather I was able to see all three of the kid's holiday programs.
Well, there you have it. The memories that I'll hold dear from this year. I actually which I would have done something like this for the previous ten years, so I could have a summary of many years past.
We've been invited to several New Year's Eve parties this year, but I've been fighting a nasty cold for the past week and have been working so much that I haven't been able to rest up, so the old woman in me thinks that we are just going to call it an evening as a family with some board games, movies, snacks, sparkling cider and champagne, and a few sparklers for the kids, and hopefully lots of lounging on the couch in my pajamas.
What are your plans?
Thank you so much for reading my blog this year, for all of the heartfelt comments and suggestions. 2014 was the first year that I realized this blog could take me places, whether that be from your support and motivation, events I've attended, or bills I've been able to pay.
Thanks for being part of my journey.
2015 here we come!