Thursday, January 8, 2015

This is How 2014 Looked


So… it’s January.

Eight days in.

A whole week and a day.

Life looks… pretty much the same as it did in November.  I say November because that was like the last time we had a normal day, because once Thanksgiving hits it’s pretty much all over for the year as far as normalcy is concerned.  In contrast, not much feels like the holidays around here anymore.

Except for the Christmas tree in my living room, which will reside there until I’m over it.

It takes me a while to get over it.

Can I get an Amen for fake Christmas trees?  I just love them.  Except when you have a pre-lit one and half the lights go out and you decide (because you’re a touch compulsive) that all the lights must GO, and you spend six hours unlighting your pre-lit tree.  It takes that long because there are 1,000 lights on said tree, each wire full of lights wound tightly multiple times around each branch on the tree.  The tree that is nine feet tall.

. . .

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you my top twelve favorite photos of 2014.  I know, I know, I’m a little late for year in review posts.  Everyone’s been doing them lately.  In fact, everyone already has.  I haven’t, because in spite of my love of nostalgia I don’t like to reflect on a previous year and wax poetic about all that I did (or didn’t do).  Because it would look like this:

Housework.  Raising kids.  Crying over the last vestiges of my youth.

And that is just sad.

So I haven’t done it yet.  But I am now.  I contemplated only posting the best pictures of myself from the year, but I thought that might be a little narcissistic of me.  

You know, more narcissistic than having two blogs that pretty much showcase my own thoughts about everything.  

Also, there are only about two or three good pictures of me from last year.  Sigh.  You know what they need in high school?  A class that teaches young ladies how to take decent pictures.  I could have used it.  All you beauty queens would have gotten an easy A.  Seriously.  Watching me take a passable selfie costs a good twenty or thirty minutes of your life.

Here are 12 favorite pictures from the year.  I did one a month, because I'm not that creative.  

In January I didn't take many pictures, because I likely was enjoying not having Christmas loom over my head - just like I am now.  I took some pictures of my then-12 year old sitting at his then-new laptop.  He looked so grown to me and this was about the time I started thinking about how old I really am.  Also, my kids aren't little anymore.  They're humans now.

In February THIS one took her dad to a Someone Special dance at school and looked like a teenager and I wept.  Not really.  I high-fived myself because I did her hair and you can't tell in this picture but it looked Gorgeous.

March he turned thirteen and got Pop-Tarts for his birthday.  He was happy with them, too.  To all you over-achieving parents out there, here's a pro tip: as long as you keep expectations low for your children, they will be happy with junk food as a gift, even for a milestone birthday.  In other words, stop trying so hard to do AMAZING THINGS for your kids.

He also got thirteen packs of gum that day, and my job was done.

In April we visited my parents at their home and took a ride down by the creek (or "crick," if you're from Pennsyltucky).  The kids asked to be let off so they could skip stones while we rode along, and when we came back to retrieve them we couldn't see them.  This picture was snapped about thirty seconds into my total panic at not seeing them by the creek.  They were face down in the mud, hiding like escaped convicts.  Little jerks.

We retaliated / taught them a lesson for hiding beside a body of water by making them bathe in the creek.  Then we hosed them off before allowing them inside to shower.  It was about 50 degrees that day.

In May my mom and dad and grandmother visited us for Mother's Day.  This is my mom.  Also what I will look like in about 20 years.  I'm okay with this.  My mom and I look alike, act alike, and sound alike.  If you call my mom's house you might think I am the one answering the phone and vice versa. That made it so much fun to be a teenager, especially when my dad's business contacts would think I was my mom on the phone and they'd say all kinds of lewd things to be hilarious.  TEENAGE ME: "Uh, this is Andrea." DIRTY OLD BUSINESS MAN: ::clears throat:: "Oh, heh heh... er, is your mom or dad there?"  TEENAGE ME: :: rolls eyes, hands phone to mom, contemplates circus life::

One weekend in June some of our family members visited for our son's confirmation and our daughter's dance recital. It was one crazy weekend.  She decided to blow off steam by shooting hoops in her church dress. Also her Someone Special dance dress.  When you're 11 you have one dress that you wear to everything.

July - Each of our kids took a friend on vacation to the beach this summer.  It's always a good idea to invite friends who get along on your family vacation, because when you're punishing your kids for fighting with each other at least the friends don't feel like they're being punished too.  These four were almost inseparable the entire week.  I love this picture so much - it's so Jersey Shore: The Wonder Years.

This was in August, when we realized that we had about six days to cram all the activities in that we had planned for the summer.  This picture was taken in Hershey Park, where we got rained out of the park and chose to ride the (indoor) Chocolate World tour along with the rest of the park's guests.  It was very claustrophobic.  What you don't see in this picture is the surly teenager who "just wanted to go home already."

And yes.  Chocolate World is as terrific as you think.

September.  My husband went to Penn State and loves it more than he loves me and our children combined.  I'm not kidding about this at all.  He gets so janked up about attending these football games every fall that he talks about almost nothing for four months every year but Penn State football and going to a Penn State football game and where he is going to get his Penn State football tickets.  I thank God every day that he has a son who is willing to go to these games with him, because I've been to my share of Penn State football games, and I can tell you that I have already attended my last one.

We went with friends to Costa Rica in October and it was the best family vacation we've taken and our kids did not drink beer but I love this picture.  Even more than the one of me doing "superman" with the zip line guide which is quite possibly the most inappropriate thing I've done with a stranger in 20 years.

In November we visited my brother and his girlfriend in Arizona for Thanksgiving and after we ate our turkey dinner outside (because, Hello! Arizona!) they posed with our kids for this classic picture where it looks like the subjects are looking at something interesting just out of the frame but in actuality they are staring at the corner of the ceiling and trying not to giggle as the people in the room laugh because a) it's just silly and b) everyone drank wine all day.

December. This photo marks the beginning of the Close! You're Too Close! season, otherwise known as Christmas Vacation.


This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #5: Share your top 12 photos from 2014.


  1. Great pictures! Your daughter looks just like you. And I still have my tree up! In fact, everything is up. By January 3rd, all our company was gone, but we had three days of heavy rain and I couldn't get motivated. Perhaps today, I will.

    1. Thank you! I like to leave the tree up until mid-late January. I know, terrible. The wintry stuff stays out, too. I do take down the Christmas-specific decorations, though.

  2. Whenever I read your posts, I am like. OMG YES WAIT I HAVE TO REMEMBER TO TELL HER THIS!
    This is why you should have a comment space after every paragraph.
    Get on that in 2015 will ya?

    I grew up in Ohio so I TOTALLY know what the "crick" is.
    Pop Tarts are an amazing and very generous birthday gift.
    Your mom is GORGEOUS.
    I don't take many pictures in January and my youngest' birthday is January 11th.

    Happy 2015!

    1. I think we are clones.

      I knew you would understand about the Pop-Tarts. And thanks for the compliment for my mom. She and I look the same so I will also accept the compliment for myself. Thank you.

      I wish there was an option to comment wherever you felt like on posts - what a great idea! I would underline or place exclamation points all over the place. Or add a YESSSSS here or there. Bloggers would love me.

      Ohio and western PA are basically the same place. I tell people I'm from the midwest all the time. It's just easier that way.

  3. This just confirms that you are awesome every single month.

    1. Thank you so much. I was really scrambling to get photos for each month. I also feel like I should explain that the September picture was taken from my husband's phone. I don't want anyone to know I was there.

  4. Amen for fake Christmas trees! I have one, and I'm glad I do, because our dog tried to pee on a real one... However, it's been gone since Boxing Day, because after 4 weeks of Christmas, I'm just DONE. Happy New Year! xoxox

    1. Thanks, Kerstin! We used to have real trees until one fell over and that was the end of that. Now I'm all for fake - the faker the better! I'd love a white one.

  5. I love these pictures and the stories that go with them! Your family is so beautiful. And your mom! She looks so young. My fav though? The pop tarts. My 13-year-old son would be that happy about pop tarts too.
    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

    1. Pop-Tarts are a hot commodity around here. The trick is to buy them for your kids for years and then stop buying them (because that's all they ate). Now when they get a box, it's a huge treat. My kids have been known to spend their allowance on Pop-Tarts.

      I know my mom will appreciate your comment on how young she looks. And she is. She and my dad had babies when they were practically babies themselves.

  6. I love these photos! But what the hell is up with the guy in the Minecraft mask in the background of July's photo?

  7. I love them all, especially the mud one.
    Tell your daughter that I am quite impressed with her left hand layup form. I've tried to teach many eleven year olds to do that and it's not so easy, especially in a dress.
    Wishing you a great new year!
    (This is my second attempt at commenting as I don't think the first one took. Feel free to delete one if they both show up)

    1. Thanks, Shannon! I will tell her. It's something they practice a lot A LOT. Like, let's forget that you were ever right-handed a lot.

      Happy 2015 to you, too!

  8. It was fun to read your year's review and see pictures. Now I can say I know you a little better than yesterday!

  9. Andrea, that was just funny, and I mean that in a great way. What an awesome post and awesome pics. You are a talented lady!

  10. I feel ya on the Penn State thing but with my husband it's the damn Cowboys. The Dallas ones.

    And could you please call my husband and tell him what a great time you had in Costa Rica so he will want to go too? Thank you.

  11. You are so funny! I love reading your posts. The commentary with the pics is to DIE for! Thanks for the laughs and the smiles. I can see why you love them. Visiting here from Mama Kat's...

  12. I loved that you even thought of only posting the best pictures of you that were taken last year. That would have been awesome! Keep that in mind for next year. There are only so many benefits to regularly blogging; Being able to do crazy things like that is one of them!

  13. I love the fake pre-lit tree. As much as I love it, however, my husband loves it more. I used to ask him to put the lights on the tree and he hated it. :)
    Gorgeous photos or all of you - what a lovely way to look back on the year.

  14. that was a fun look at your year in review. I remember that adventure in the mud! And Thanksgiving outside--that must have been divine! Stopping by from mama kats kelley at the road goes ever ever on

  15. Your description of delighting your 9 foot Christmas tree just cured me of ever purchasing a fake tree in my life. Thank you. And LOVE the photos!