Highlights of 2013

As we say good-bye to 2013, I have been going through all of my photos from the year and remembering the highlights. 2013 was definitely a year of personal growth for me and our entire family! I’m kind of amazed, actually, to think about what we’ve accomplished, where we’ve been and how we’ve grown.
Here are my top ten highlights from 2013.
I had two major personal accomplishments in 2013. First I completely organized our entire home. I went through every drawer, closet and room and purged, donated and organized. Our life is majorly different because of it! I still can’t say I’m a neat and clean person, but I am a lot more organized! I’ve really gotten into a rhythm of knowing how to organized a space, and I continue to do this on a routine basis! I’m looking forward to lots more organizing in 2014!
My second personal accomplishment is that I worked hard on improving my photography skills. I learned to use my camera, I took tons of photos for other families and I even took a day-long photography workshop. I feel way more confident in my ability to use my camera than I did a year ago!
We had some amazing travel experiences in 2013. The first one was to Baton Rouge to visit our friends who moved away nearly two years ago. I’m so thankful we took the time to make this trip. It was wonderful to see our friends and let these boys reconnect. We also loved experiencing Louisiana, and we had some fun memories both on the trip there and the trip home of our time in Mississippi and Springfield.
In July, we made our annual trip to see Kent’s family at the farm in Southern Illinois. This is always a great time to slow down and enjoy hanging out with relatives. The farm is full of adventure and memories!
Later in July, we drove out to South Carolina for our family vacation. I think we all agree this was our favorite family vacation. We simply loved having a place right on the beach and spending each day just hanging out and relaxing. We didn’t rush around to see the sights. We just enjoyed being together.
Watching all of our kids’ accomplishments this year was so fun. It’s hard to see them grow up, but it’s also a great experience to walk with them as they develop their own interests, talents and abilities.
We were completely amazed to watch Alayna unleash her diving talent. We knew that she loved to jump in the water, but we couldn’t believe how quickly her skill developed when we enrolled her in a diving class.
Matthew continued to develop his baseball skills. That kid is amazing to watch on the baseball field. He is super aggressive, which drove me nuts at first! But now that I’m used to watching him taunt other players and steal bases, it is really fun to see! He made some major improvements in his ability to hit, pitch and catch. He was one of the top players on his spring team and then got to play on a summer All-Star team. The fall was a blast because he had an amazing coach, who really worked with him and encouraged him.
Andrew decided to play basketball on his school team this fall, which has brought lots of excitement to his life! Matthew also is playing basketball, but since Andrew hasn’t been involved in a sport for a while, I’m focusing more on him! Andrew has developed a great group of friends at his school, and it’s really fun to watch them play basketball together. He was a little nervous at first, but it was fun to see him come out of his shell during a tournament for seventh graders during Christmas break! He had some great shots, and he plays awesome defense!
Jayda absolutely loves gymnastics! She also tried ballet and swimming this year, but we quickly learned that gymnastics is definitely HER sport! Just look at her joy in being part of her exhibition in the spring! Alayna also made huge progress in gymnastics. After years of trying, she finally made her goal of graduating to level 4. The next step for her is to make the gymnastics team, which I am sure she will do in 2014!
It also brings me so much joy to see how well the kids are doing in school. They finished their first year at a new school with great friends, wonderful teachers and fantastic memories. This is a photo of Alayna getting a Superior in her speech meet.
The kids went off to school in the fall feeling confident and anxious to be with their friends again!
And little Jayda started preschool in the fall! She is blessed to be in class with two good friends, which makes the experience that much more exciting! She absolutely loves being in preschool three mornings a week!
Moving into our new church facility was a major accomplishment both personally and work wise. Personally, I devoted a ton of time to updating our logo and colors, creating signs and banners, putting together direct mail, editing video, and lots of other jobs on the communications end to move into the building. Our family also gave lots of hours on Saturdays to help finish construction and do clean up at the building. Moving in to the building in September was a huge blessing, and we are all so thankful!!
One of our memories of 2013 is the huge flood that swept through our area and even closed school for a few days!
And we have some wonderful memories of family from 2013. We got to be with Kent’s side of the family for his grandmother’s 90th birthday. During our trip, we loved remembering Kent’s great uncle by finding his flag on the town square. Later in the fall, I was able to spend a day with my two sisters to celebrate a milestone birthday! We took a train into Chicago and saw the musical Wicked. It was a fun day I will always remember!
So, that was our 2013. I hope you are able to take some time to look back at your favorite memories. Happy New Year!


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