Obligatory 2014 Hunt Recap

I am not a very good blogger, being a working mom takes up every single minute. There is one blogging tradition I remain faithful too. My year in review post is my favorite blog post to do. 
This year has been a really eventful and really great year for my family and me.

1.Debt Free: Starting January 3rd I will be virtually debt free (outside of our mortgage). This year will accomplished our goal and paid off both my car and my student loan.  It's a huge step to reduce our debt and be able to put money into more of our long term debts like Dave's student loans for his Master's degree or our house and finally start saving for Cam's college.

2. Baby Girl Hunt:  This year we started planning for baby in January 2014. It was a lot of planning to make sure we were ready in every sense for another baby. We found out she was a girl in November and we're so excited for another beautiful curly haired little girl. The early ultrasounds scared us good with some choloroid cysts, but we also learned that it was not a genetic defect and the cysts would likely go away and have zero effect on her growth an development. Also, due to the blood clot when I was pregnant with Cameron, I'm on blood thinner shots. It's a lot less painful this time around. Maybe I'm just getting used to getting shots. To say that this baby is already a lot of work is a huge understatement.

3. Promotion: Last year I predicted that 2014 was going to be the year for Dave's job and I was right. A few months into the year he was promoted to Technology Solutions Supervisor.  He also had the opportunity to act as Area Director for a few weeks this month while his boss was on vacation.  It has definitely been a good year for Dave's job. He has always worked so hard at his job and it's good for him to finally get recognized and be able to work in a higher capacity.

Carl, Dave, Paul  at Youth Conference 2000
4. The World Loses Good Men:  This year was a hard one for Dave (and me), but more so Dave.  He grew up with a group of guys in South Jordan, Utah. One of those guys, Paul, passed away this summer. Dave was really close with Paul and although I did not have that same friendship, his passing affected me too. He was a really great man; cheerful and constantly friendly. I still cry when we talk about him and Dave connects a lot of his childhood memories with him. It's hard to lose someone too early.

On a different level, my Grandpa Bockholt passed away a few months ago. He was older and recently diagnosed with lung cancer and due to his huge testimony he was ready and willing to move on to better things.  I loved him a lot,

Grandpa Bockholt with his famous smile
he had a big impact on my father's upbringing and as a product of that, he had a big impact on my growth and development. I have felt the weight of the passing of these men. The world needs more like them, not less.

5. Cam-Cam:  She's gigantic and constantly learning and growing. This year has been a fun with her for sure.  She talks non-stop and loves reading. One of her favorite places is the library.  Recently, we discovered she has a knack for tracing letters too.
The other day her Nursery class came into Sharing Time to ease them into the Primary process. I sat behind her and watched her sitting in her chair, watching the chorister with her hands folded in her lap. It blows me away how big she is getting.
This year I had set the tentative goal of potty-training, but after three failed attempts and under our pediatrician's reassurance, decided that she wasn't ready and to be honest Dave and I probably weren't ready for that gigantic elephant of a problem yet.
She has found her own interests this year including: books are a continuous theme with her, Dora the Explorer, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Frozen (just like all little girls), Play Doh, letter blocks and playing pretend with her figurines/baby doll. It's adorable to see her take her toys for walks around the house in stroller/coach them on using the potty/put them down for naps. She's becoming such a little person.

6. Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam Again:. I received my first church calling in four years as a Sunbeam teacher. There are only four kids in my class, four very rambunctious four-year-olds that feel like 15 kids.  It's been a challenging calling, but it's nice to talk about the gospel basics and interact with the innocent and happy kids. They are cheerful bright kids only about a year older than Cam. A few of my lessons have been really great for them and it's fun to see things click in their heads the seeds that will grow as they learn and grow.

7. Braces Be Gone:  Best post birthday gift ever. After two years of metal mouth, cutting sandwiches and brushing my teeth after every snack/meal; they finally came off. I've been pretty self-conscious about crooked teeth my whole life and it feels so good to finally have the smile I imagined.  I don't stop smiling and laughing anymore because I don't ever feel awkward about whether people are laughing with me or staring at my teeth.

8. Auntie M: This year was a big baby year for both Tate and Hunt families. On Dave's side, two cute little girls were born: Evelyn & Macie. On the Tate side, handsome little Curtis was born.
Being an aunt is a lot of fun, you get to do a lot of the playing and smiling, and skip out on the super whiny times, poopy diapers and screaming at night.
It's so fun to be with them and see their personalities develop as they grow and learn.

9. The Wedding Game:  This year featured two weddings on the Tate side. My beautiful niece married her long-time boyfriend Angel and moved back to Ohio to live with her family.  I wasn't able to make it, but it looks like it was a great time.
My mom married an old friend from the old neighborhood this year. I've known him almost my whole life. They used to double date when I was a kid. They reconnected over genealogy last year after his wife passed away.  I love that my mom married Jim. He's a really good man and they are so cute and happy together. At first it was a little difficult because things were so different, especially teaching Cameron to call Jim "grandpa". It felt a little awkward and wrong to me, but he is a great grandpa for Cameron and I can see his love and care for her grow.

10. Updates: This year we had a full house. The three of us lived upstairs and Dave's sister Heather and her family lived in the basement (Josh & baby Macie).  They moved out at the beginning of December just in time for the power downstairs to freak out.  We already knew that the previous home owners were diy type of people, but they did a pretty awful job with an ancient panel and the basement drawing the majority of it's power from the A.C. unit.  A few weeks ago we called up Home Advisor for a well-reviewed electrician and he's been working on the electrical this week.  It will be so nice to have a really good basement for spare bedrooms for family, play room and a really good entertainment room I have fondly nick-named the "Nerd Lair" (more on that in next year's post).

11. Family Vacation: This is a first for our little family. Sure, we make the yearly camping and extended family gatherings with my mom/company and Dave's mom/company, but this year we decided it was time to share some experiences together without the extras.  As a bonus, Dave's brother's family lives in San Diego and Cameron is absolutely in love with seeing "fishies" at the aquarium in Utah.  Cami loved the flight and giggled hysterically through take-off. While in San Diego we played at Sea World, San Diego Zoo and during a rainy day we visited the gigantic Nicklecaid world of Dave & Buster's. Sea World was by far the best experience I have ever had on a vacation. The park was empty (thanks to a cooler day and a Thursday in December) and Cam absolutely LOVED it. As a parent, when your kid is that excited and thrilled by something, you can't help but feel that same exhilaration. I can't get over how great it was. Due to baby number two, it's doubtful we will go on another big vacation like that for a few years and it's so awesome that it turned out so well with no accidents, irritations or failures. Successful Hunt Family Vacation!

12. Leer:  Last year I predicted to be once again running constantly, but I rediscovered an old hobby in reading.  This year I read 39 books and it's quite the random collection including multiple genres and ages from juvenile fiction, young adult and adult fiction.  I had a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick my favorite book that I read this year it would be "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell. No joke, this book is huge, bigger than the film and bigger than I realized. I felt like it was a discussion on life and choices and how to break free of the various imprisonments one can face.

As you can see this year was pretty eventful for me and my family. We have grown even closer together and have really bonded as a family. This year felt incredibly fast.  I can't believe that it's already the end of 2014. It's been a great year, nay, a FANTASTIC year. I'm sad to see it end, but I expect next year to be just as fantastic as long as I have my family, friends and neighbors.  Here's to 2015, may it bring everyone joy and love and butterflies.



A few nights ago I had this horrible dream that stressed me out beyond belief.
Dave and I are cuddling on the couch watching some stupid movie and I feel something moving between my legs.
When I look down, it is a tiny baby hand moving around so I sit up and open my legs to see our new baby daughter laying calmly between us.
Because I am only 23 weeks along, I start freaking out. Our baby was obviously not very developed and looked kind of alien-like with an enormous forehead and eyes spaced far apart. Dave leaves the house because our phones aren't working and he wants to call for help.  I am running around asking everyone for a cell-phone but no one will help me.
I find my mom eventually, who helps me hold the baby, carefully walking beside me because the umbilical cord is still connected. We are walking through a parking lot when my water finally breaks and it's not just water, it's yellowish thick substance that looks and smells weird. My mom mentions that she thinks I have an infection and our need to hurry just be increased.
Finally we find someone with a cell phone who calls for an ambulance. The ambulance takes us to the hospital and in the NICU the doctors say that there are babies more sick than my baby and that it looks like we're both doing fine. They still set us up on a bed and I'm sick with exhaustion and stress.
My mom holds the baby up for me because she says the baby is happy.  In the hours between birth and the hospital she has grown by several months and has a small tuft of brown curly hair on top and she gives me a big gummy smile.
The meaning of this dream is ridiculously obvious. I have felt very anxious about this pregnancy and this baby from the very beginning. All I know is complications during pregnancy and a difficult baby. Like all women, I want someone to relate and someone to really be there for me and as a by-product: this baby.
Dave and I had a really good discussion about it and although that's the way I felt. Really, we did not choose to have a baby for attention or friendship. I didn't get pregnant to get praised and questioned constantly. We chose to have another baby because WE wanted to and because we wanted to complete our family. WE chose this, it was not an accident and I am genuinely excited to see the future for this baby and our family



I really tried to think of something clever to put as the title, but I just don't have it in me today.
Results came back almost two weeks ago for my baby girl's choroid plexus cysts. The results were NEGATIVE, which means no genetic defect and the cysts will either go away on their own or will not affect her growth/development.
With these results and Christmas right around the corner, I looked around me and my life a few nights ago.
For the first time in my entire life I feel truly happy and content.
It's a new feeling to me, I've spent so much of my life pushing and ready for the next step (i.e. degree, marriage, family, church stuff, debt free, etc.). To say it's nice to settle into life is the biggest understatement ever! It's like my heart wants to jump out of my body and give everyone a big hug.
My life isn't perfect and a lot of times each day has it's own challenges. Some days are harder than others, but along with that, some days are really great.
Really, I am in a good place: I have a wonderful family, married to my best friend (still my best friend) and a silly three-year-old.  I have a nice house that's perfect for our family in every way.   Dave and I both have fully functioning cars and good jobs to provide for our family's needs.
Right now I would not change a thing.
I don't want a new house. I'll take our weird house with it's weird electrical and never-ending projects.
I  am happy with our cars, despite their "well-loved" exterior (that's probably just my car) and high mileage, because they keep us safe without a car payment and without too much maintenance (outside of the debacle a couple of months ago).
I'll take Dave and Cam any day and everyday over anyone and everything else.  They both love me through everything; past, present and future and nothing can change that. Even when I feel absolutely crazy with frustration or sadness, they both still love me and won't leave me. It's true family security, what I've been waiting for my whole life.
Who needs any new stuff this year, my inner-self/chi/etc. gives me the gift of joy and peace this year.




Yesterday was the official 20 week ultrasound. Thanks to my "dramatic" history, I will have two separate ultrasounds done at the hospital to check the babies growth, fluid levels, etc.
We went last week to Fetal Foto at the mall to get gender because Dave had to work yesterday. So I went to the hospital by myself. Nothing too crazy. During my last trimester with Cameron I had to get stress-tests done there every week. I knew the routine and nothing weird can come of this right? I admit I felt a little nervous, because baby girl does not move very much.
The ultrasound tech was oddly impersonal, but I knew something was up when a good chunk of the time was spent measuring parts of the baby's brain.
Finally, the supervising physician comes in and drops the sentence like he's noticed a new freckle or that you dyed your hair, "I don't know if Mary talked to you about the cysts in your baby's brain but.."
He literally trailed off like that.  My heart sinks and my brain starts running a thousand miles an hour, but my ears are desperately trying to listen because this is important and there's no one here with me to listen.
Baby girl has two fairly large looking cysts in her brain, one on each hemisphere.  In the ultrasound it looks like her brain is made up of two donuts (choroid plexus cysts).

The angle of this is a little weird, but you can see parts of the cysts.

These cysts have three possible attributes/outcomes:
1. They could mean absolutely nothing. Doctor said 5% of normal babies born each year have these cysts and are completely fine and fully-functioning babies.
2. Many times they just go away in like a month.  The baby's body sorts out the cyst and distributes it, or something. I'm not a doctor....
3. These cysts are relatively common in babies with a genetic disorder linked to Trisonomy 18 or Trisonomy 21. These two genetic disorders and commonly known as Evan's Syndrome and Down Syndrome. 
After the doctor lists these options, he goes on to do his own ultrasound and I'm doing everything I can not to break into hysterical cries. He checks for other signs of genetic disorder: cleft palate (she has a fully connected lip and nose) and opening hands (she does it just slightly and wiggles her fingers on one hand for the ultrasound).
Following the ultrasound, I opt to do the stupid blood test to find out how many of these chromosomes my baby carries.
It takes 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS, otherwise known as the longest days of my life.

I'm not a super big fan of blasting business all over Facebook and I didn't really want to tell many people because I'm trying not to freak out about this. I don't meet any of the other criteria points that would indicate these genetic disorders and frankly, Dave isn't really worried.
I can't help it. I'm carrying her inside me. She's a big piece of me and it's terrifying to think abou the future. Even more so than when we first started planning for second baby 11 months ago.  I hoped that this baby would be different than Cami...I meant easier...
So it's been eight days since the test and thanks to the holiday, it's been only four business days. 


Jesus Wants Me

Amy came over last night, hugging a white 3-ring binder to her chest.
Here comes my first church calling in four years. 
My last calling was as a "indexing committee member" before Cami was born, in my single's ward. Then there was a time of working weekends. When I changed jobs, somehow I snuck underneath the calling radar (thanks to a giant ward of more than 700 people). and my passivity--then they split the ward.
Bishop called me in as a primary teacher and that was the white binder Amy was carrying so tightly. That binder held the specifics of my class.
Sunbeam-Primary 1
4-5 year olds. Someone has a sens of humor. My first calling in four years  is teaching kids brand new to Primary and Sharing Time. Kids don't generally like me. Giddy-up.

I had my first lesson experience on Sunday. 
I literally spend three days and multiple hours planning and making things for them, including some pretty sweet-looking beards.
None of the kids like singing and only one of them wore a beard. My lesson took exactly 10 minutes and after coloring for 15 minutes and a matching game my partner had.  I felt like I spent three hours with a room of Cami's. Dave's church clothes were dirty, so it was me and Cam by ourselves for the last hour.  She has been in this really rebellious toddler stage lately. We went to time-out twice in the middle of church. There's a reason we sit in the back.  It was awful. I cried a lot after church. 
It's so overwhelming, on top of every day stress of work, taking care of Cami and new baby coming. I work really hard for this calling already and it seems to be so ridiculous, like teaching cows how to fly.


Plus One

Baby Number Two has been a work in progress for 10 months now, although I'm only 20 weeks along. It took five months of planning before we were truly ready to think about a second child.
So let me introduce Baby Girl Hunt #2.

We truly found out about this baby on 8/8/14 and I wrote a little entry at work about her.
It was a Friday and while cancer patient after cancer patient called me at work, all I could think about was the significance of August 8.
Two years ago on that day, cancer claimed my father. It's a day I can't forget. The images still pop up at inopportune times in movie theaters and longer drives.
Today I'm late and I'm never late.
I'm so happy. This day is already  memorable through pain and loss, but today it's different. Today it's new life and love.


Family Definitions

I wrote this post shortly after my grandpa passed away. It's something that I feel very strongly about, but it needed time for me to finish grieving and complete the process.  Today is a day for thanks  and family. It's a day to share.

Family is not defined by blood.
The older I get, the more I recognize that my pedigree is really just a bunch of lines and shapes that describe genetic links.
My Grandpa Bockholt passed away recently and his passing is huge to me and I did not have a drop of his blood in my body.
He married my dad's mom after she divorced my Grandpa Tate. My dad, like many kids, spent most of his childhood with his mother and summers/occasional visits with his dad. Because of that, my dad and my Grandpa Bockholt had a lot of similarities and they even looked alike.
I am lucky to have three sets of grandparents and I'm lucky my grandma married him. Even after my grandma passed away (when I was like two) I still saw him regularly.
Like my father, my grandpa was SO happy-always laughing and joking.  He was an active grandparent, reaching out to us in the ways that fit us best.
I remember one time when I was in high school, he played video games with my little brother. My grandfather had to be in his late 70's or early 80's, working that gray Playstation controller with some familiarity.
Without such a good, happy man in my life or in this world--things seem a little more sad, like my father's passing on a smaller scale. 
I'm so grateful for his presence and influence in my father's and my life. I know my father wouldn't have been the great dad he was without him and I know that I would not push so hard in my life to provide that same kind of happiness for my family.
Joy, love and laughter create a family, not bloodlines and cards sent out once a year. 
Like I said, always smiling. Heroic.


Wrestling the Family Picture Bull

Last week we finally got around to family pictures.  Nearly two years after our last picture. Cami has burst from constantly crying baby to very independent toddler and it was time to have some memories of this period and all of her glorious Shirley Temple locks.
I knew it would be hard. Toddlers can be very hard, but Cam is generally a pretty good kid-she's pretty content and offers smiles to almost anyone.
No one told me that pictures would turn into a Running of the Bulls experience. I felt as though I were tackling a two year old and attempting to tickle a smile out. My sister-in-law took the pictures, thankfully she has more patience than any of us did that day.  She took almost 500 pictures.
More than 400 featured numbers like this:

Note the unhappy look and pulling at my head in pure disgust. Dave and I have forced smiles and tried our best to make it work out.
We did manage a few really great shots and I admit in every shot thinking, "Braces were one of the best decisions of my adult life".
The whole fam with smiles

Cami in her full beauty.


Sorry I'm Not Sorry

Sorry I'm not sorry.
I lit Facebook on fire today. The fires will spark a debate and I'll probably de-friend some people from it.
This girl I went to high school with posted this picture of her bare stomach today on Facebook and her quest to complete some 30 day ab challenge or something.  At the end of the post she asks who will hold responsible for completing this challenge.
There are so many wrong things about this post, too many things not too light my match and step up on my soap box.
1. I've been saying for months (remember this post?) if not years how social media has become a place for people to gain validation.  My friend may not have the six pack abs of a gymnast, but it was flat and pretty defined. To me, it looked as though she wanted someone to post, "Oh, Emily, you don't need to go to the gym, look how skinny you are!" Blah Blah Blah. I will not validate or provide you fuel to make you feel better about yourself.
2. If you can't hold yourself accountable for your choices and decisions, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your body, you cannot expect anyone else to do the same.
3. The worst part about this is this girl should know better. After high school, she developed some sort of form of alopecia and her hair grows in patches. As such, she has some different haircuts that still make her look feminine but are obviously a little different. She learned to be comfortable with her lack of hair and she should understand that self worth and value are so much more than what you look like.
4. And above all, this popular circulating ecard says it all.

So I sacrificed "Emily" and told her as much. It seemed a lot more angry because my phone thinks Every Word Needs To Be Capitalized On Facebook.
So sorry I'm not sorry.
This selfish, objectification in the world is so depressing.
Emily and I both have daughters. What would Cami or "Susan" think or say if they saw this post?
Would she think that she needs public recognition for everything she does, including participation trophies?
Or that everything you do, you do it for someone else to approve or give you a virtual high five?
Maybe she will think that her value is only skin deep and a fit body is all that matters?
This is the age of social media. It will teach our children what matters and that's terrifying.


Passing of my childhood

Celebrities are over-grieved.
Robin Williams was less a celebrity and more of friend. He shaped so much of my life.
I first met Robin Williams in my pre-kindergarten days. He had this wonderful bit on Sesame Street that would make me laugh so hard I rolled on the floor. From that moment, Robin Williams was a part of me. As I got older, I heard his voice in Alladin and saw him as a cross-dresser in Mrs. Doubtfire and as a sad grown-up little boy in Jumanji.
I couldn't NOT write about him. He was there to help me grow up and I learned so much from him.
1. At an early age, I knew Robin Williams was silly and it was okay to be silly sometimes.
2. He was an original, he didn't pretend to be anything he wasn't or put on some perfect show. He was who he was and he was unapologetic for it.
3. In Aladdin, he taught me how important it was to be honest, especially with those we love.
4. In Jumanji, he taught me that there is always hope during dark times and that things will work out.
5. He showed me the meaning of family in Mrs. Doubtfire and that boobs are not very great for putting out fires.
6. I learned about love in Bicentennial Man. It's not a movie looked on very fondly, but when i saw it I cried. Everyone deserves happiness and everyone deserves love.
7.Many people quote Dead Poet's Society this week and I hate to be cliche' but I learned how to really study from this movie. That it's important to find passion and art in life.
8.  In Ferngully, I learned from his voice that the environment may  shape you one way, but you decide who you become.
9. Most recently, I caught up on Good Will Hunting and I learned the importance of really living and not just seeing the world go by.
10. Or in the new-age classic Hook, he taught me that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

I could cry and sob over his passing like a little girl. His passing is huge and the world seems more sad without his smile and goofy voices.  I admit there are some big parts of Williams voice & behavior that remind me of my dad. This world has lost some of it's strongest and most joyful influences in my life.


Toddler Bed Horror

A few months ago Dave and I started about easing Cami into a toddler bed. My heart raced and my fingers started to twitch.
She isn't an escape artist and I'm sure she would be fine in crib until she started kindergarten. Transporting the crib for family trips and getaways are very difficult and we wanted to be able to use something more portable.
Cruising around Toys R Us one very hot summer day, we went with our gut and got a cheap Mickey Mouse bed. Nothing fancy because let's be honest, my child is a giant will not be in it very long.
That night, we completed our usual routine: bath, story, song and prayer. She ran into her room; so excited for her Mickey Mouse bed and then nothing. 
We settled in for the night for a later movie, The Conjuring.  
Okay, I love scary movies but since Cami was born I'm a wuss.
I was up all night, back and forth between the scary movie scenes and images of Cami beside my bed, staring at us. All night long. No joke. It was awful.
Cami woke up at 8 and stayed in bed until we went to get her. 
Weirdly, that night was one of the longest nights of my life and it's probably due more to the movie than my child growing up or waking up. I need a chill pill.


Broke is Broke

My livelihood is dead this week.

Okay, really it's been dead for six weeks.

My beloved external hard drive, Florence, passed away sometime around June 15th.

I could not be saved. I.T. company wants $2,000 to "maybe" try to recover and compartmentalize her innards.

Her brain was just beginning to grow with stories about my dad and his writings. 150 pages of scanned, books, letters and other elements of my father were filling spots within the framework.

What I miss most is Florence's heart, where my dreams were alive. Where books and stories built momentum in words and chapters.  I spend hours, days, probably years on some of the writings in her heart. So much time spent in readying Karl, Alex, John Brown and Adam for the world.  I think Florence and I shared a heart sometimes.

I don't have a lot of value in myself, money or things.  My value is in words and dreams.  It's hard not to be dramatic.

Earlier today I talked to woman about some medical testing and she claimed that $2,000 was all in the day's work for her husband. I wish he could give me one of his days to save some of my years.

200 pages of my dream is gone and it cannot be rebuild. Along with the elements of this Earth, I have changed and cannot duplicate some of the words that started the framework of this book almost ten years ago. It's the only thing that hasn't changed with marriage, birth or death. It held so much of me inside it's plastic walls. Those words were my rock. Erased. My dad. My heart.

What is life without dreams?


I am different

I am different.
Most of the time I feel normal.

  • I have a full time job where I do more than punch keys or stare at a computer screen.
  • I am a wife. My husband is my best friend and that's more important to me than cliche' romantic gestures.
  • Together we have a daughter with a strong will and a big heart. 
  • We live in a nice house and neighborhood where I feel safe and comfortable.
  • I am part of a great legacy of realists and dreamers, where money is minimal but love and family are pinnacle.
This is normal and these things are important, yet around me-people want more.They want a perfect yard with perfectly trimmed rosebushes, or spot free cars.  I have friends with new houses with more bathrooms than family members or friends with brand names clothes, who pay more than "$30 for this shirt".

Only then do I notice the difference. I'm happy when you are silent. When you shut up about things and share stories.  Stop talking about spend money and talk about family.  Listen to what isn't said. Listen to happy kids playing or older siblings laughing.  Or maybe live instead of buying or showing. How about being different.


Traveling Salesmen & Second Chances

I live in a nice neighborhood and I think "No Soliciting Signs" are tacky.  They just don't match my dead lawn and weed-ridden parking strips.
This absent sign makes our house a big target for "those" people to come around. Dave works nights a lot so I get to turn away a lot of pushy, sad, or frustrated people who hate their job.
Over the last three years in this house, we've probably turned away about a hundred people and I'm not exaggerating. I did buy their product once.
When I opened the door, he smiled at me. His smile was crooked and had some old stains, but you could tell there was some recent work done. His head was shaved and his clothes a little loose. If I saw him in a different location, I probably would have assumed he was homeless. Hitched to his belt was the familiar green spray bottle of the traveling salesman.
He kept his smile and kicks the whole conversation off with, "Hello ma'am, my name is Joe. Tell me, do you believe in second chances?"
The pause was long, much longer than I was used to. I almost cried standing there at the front door, talking to salesman. I was going to buy the product and he didn't even need to sell me on it.He went on with some vague story about being a gang-banger and getting shot or something, but the details didn't really matter.
The guy went through the whole routine though, showing me the streak-free shine on my windows and cutting edge clean on my car's front headlight.  He even reverted to calling me "ma" or "mama" as Southern men are wont to do sometimes.
I'm sure he walked down the street calling me some ignorant racist white girl, but he sold the bottle of green cleaner to one person and maybe more.
I've written this post a thousand times in my head and I still don't quite known how to explain my feelings without getting too religious or pushy.
I believe in second chances. Nothing is forever. People make mistakes and sometimes these mistakes are repeated over and over again and over again beyond what seems possible. Like many people, I've made many mistakes. My mistakes are probably different than a lot of people understand. At the time, many people told me to "just stop". For me it wasn't that easy. You know what's great though about that? Screw other people, you'll figure it out on your own. It's your second  chance, your opportunity for change. Life is about action. If you sit idly and listen to all the crap people tell you about what you should do, than you don't ever figure out where you belong.
I think that's what I loved about this traveling salesman's story. Even if it's complete bull-crap, he's out there actively trying to make his life better financially. He's building a second chance of his own with his actions. He claimed the program he was in started as a rehab kinda thing to get him off the streets and then provided him the opportunity to work in sales. I'm sure these people didn't sit him down and say, "Hey, just stop selling drugs. That's it, that's all you need to be successful." He'd probably still be on the streets.
This world needs more understanding, more empowering and more tools. The power of self-reliance can change lives if it's directed in the right way. I believe in Second Chances and crappy liquid detergent from traveling salesmen.


Love and Friendship: Butterflies & Ponies are Forever

Carl, Dave, Paul  at Youth Conference 2000
The title is deceiving. This weekend has been a rough one for my family and those close to us. One of my husband's closest friends passed away on Friday; Paul.
McInzie, Meredith, Paul, Dave, Carl and Cheyenne
October 2004; Before Paul left for bootcamp
I think I met Paul about four times.  He lived in New Jersey and lived a pretty different lifestyle than I was living at those times.  Those moments he was there were important ones for our family and his.  He and his (now) wife flew out for our wedding, and a little after Cami was born to meet her.  In turn, Dave flew out to Jersey for his wedding and we both attended the reception and mini-ceremony in Salt Lake.
Each time we met up, Paul and Leah both greeted me with hugs upon arrival and hugs when they left our house/apartment. Paul exhibited a genuine love every time. I don't mean that in a cheap way that some people say after someone passes away. Paul was an amazing man and my heart hurts that it was cut so short.
Dave grew up in a South Jordan suburb and essentially grew up with the same small group of friends: Brad, Carl, Paul and Shaun. There were a few that rotated in and out of that group. They were the closest group of friend that I have ever met.  After more than 20 years they still meet up and pick up where they left off. I'm totally not used to that. Their friendship and love is so fantastic and it makes Paul's passing that much more difficult. Love is important, but love is hard.
Carl, Dave and Paul
It's well-known in Dave's small circle that Paul has had a hard time.  He was a Marine and served over in Afghanistan or Iraq. I don't know a lot of details. He was shot pretty critically in his service and one of his legs was messed up for life. While recovering with this crazy pain in his leg, survivor guilt and PTSD; he struggled with substance abuse in pain killers and other drugs. During this rough patch, he was living in New Jersey near a VA hospital that could help him with those things. He met Leah at a bar. She was a waitress and they hit it off. They have been together for a long time and like all relationships, it wasn't perfect.
They both made mistakes. They were married last year, but marriage can't always fix things.
I was talking to Dave about love, butterflies and ponies.  When you first meet and over the course of the first year; your relationship with each other is full of gooey butterflies and ponies. After that things change and people sometimes say they fall out of love. I don't think that those feelings fade after a year.
Love, butterflies and ponies are still there when you see those closest to you; those family, friends and/or spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend. I think it's like when you make those delicious "poke cakes".
Right after you make a cake, and it's still hot, you poke some holes and pour something like caramel or sweetened condensed milk on the cake.  At first the caramel sits on top and you can see and taste it whenever you want.  Pretty soon it soaks through the holes and fills the cake with that extra spike of sugary goodness. You can't see the flavor anymore, but it's there soaking your cake in something amazing.
You may think your love is fading, that the butterflies and ponies have all run off to someone or something else; but they are just deeper, somewhere intimate and close to you. It's still there. Love changes, but it's constant as long as you are.
My husband's relationship with Paul changed due to choices and distance, but they were close friends and that doesn't change; it's just deeper. Deep enough so that you think it doesn't matter, but then something drastic changes like death or loss and they return so quick you feel like you've been hit by a bus and things will be different forever. Love didn't fade. Butterflies & ponies are forever.


Social Media Validation

Relationships and social media are tricky things to match together. In my opinion, I've removed mention of my relationships outside of my profile stating I'm "married" because I don't think social media is the place to plaster your relationships.
You all know the type I'm talking about, "I love my husband SO much, he did A, B, and C for me today" or even pictures via Instagram, "Out on a hot date with my awesome husband", etc. As a viewer of such irritating posts, I used to feel jealousy or whatever that my spouse didn't do stuff for me, but then I realize that there's a root to those posts: the validation, bragging, covering up and impersonal.
The quest for validation IS what social media has become.  People post pictures and status' to get recognition from their peers. When they say stuff like how much they love their husband, they are looking for that attention to make them feel like, "Oh, so-and-so said they wished their husband was as great as mine. I really am lucky."  Gag me now, if you need to validate your relationship and your marriage, go to the source. Go to your spouse and tell them, spend time with them instead of being online.
There is a fine line between being grateful and bragging. This line is crossed everyday sometimes multiple times online. Why do we feel that need to display what's great about our life and deny the bad?  That image-focused world won't get us anywhere better. The first brag creates a cycle and more posts and more pictures and then no one cares anyway and you get blocked. Real life isn't perfect, so why display perfection? Why shove pictures of your "wonderful" life into everyone's face?  Why not step back and see it for what it is? Flawed and beautiful; a combination that should be reveled in and not just talked about to the world. 
My next thought about these braggers is that perhaps they are trying to cover up really awful stuff.  The other day, I was listening to morning talk show and they were discussing social media and how people put on this facade for the world to see online, when real life is so much worse/better.  My coworker shared with me a story that one of her friends on Facebook always says how much she loves her husband; when in real life her husband cheated on her and was a complete douche bag, but she puts on this face for social media so that everything seems okay.  Again, if stuff isn't really okay and you are trying to lie to yourself online. Turn off the computer and go see a relationship therapist or have a real conversation with your spouse/significant other.
I don't like to post about how great my husband is because the internet is not the place.  My relationship with him is personal. It's between him and me. That's it. If I love him and I'm grateful he did something for me. I tell him in person or I do something special to show my gratitude.  Our relationship is precious and the internet is a awful, degrading place to put my love for show. A relationship is private and what goes on with us: good or bad doesn't belong on the internet. We figure out our problems and we grow; but we don't need to show everyone. We show each other, we tell each other, we love each other.....without social media.
This blog entry was a little rough to sort out my thoughts. I hope it make sense. If this article reduces "I love my husband" facebook status' or one less picture in my feed. I will have succeeded.


Hiding Pregnancy

Picture this:
You're pregnant with your first child. Baby Daddy is great.  Your relationship is fantastic and the wedding planning starts soon.  You are starting to show a small baby bump. Do you hide it or do you go with it?
I ran across this article from US Weekly Magazine with the title, "Mila Kunis Conceals Baby Bump With Channing Tatum on First Red Carpet After Pregnancy Reveal"
My mind starting spinning for multiple reasons. I'm not about to criticize a movie star for her choices, but I am going to share my opinion about early pregnancy and I'm not going to sugar coat my opinion.
Mila Kunis' story hit pretty close to home for me.  That's my story!

Here I am the day of the induction.
Not only have I been there, I've done it in Utah and an LDS congregation. Luckily I didn't start showing for a really long time, but when I started showing and I freak because I'm not married and I know that every person sitting in the magenta pews around me are judging me.  In Salt Lake County, it's not paranoia; it's truth. Pregnancy should not be associated with shame or judgement; no matter what the situation. In pregnancy, a woman is a mother. A mother is not a shameful thing. So let's stop looking women like that. Pregnancy is hard enough without those looks and thoughts. So let's start with us. Instead of looking at pregnancies as mistakes or blessings. Let's think of them as growing children with a future. Mila isn't even far enough along that she would need to hide it. So why hide it with Channing Tatum?
I can't tell you how much pregnant women irritate me on Facebook. I'm talking to you, mother who updates Facebook daily regarding the status of their pregnancy and health.  I can't wait for the 40 weeks to be done just to stop hearing about your morning sickness or growth of your baby.  Once a tri-mester or even a month is totally acceptable. Or newly pregnant women worrying about stretch marks or various physical ailments related to child bearing.  A long time ago this article circulated about the media about a woman's stretch marks are her battle wounds.  I think that the article puts a positive spin on something that many women have problems with.  Like other women, I do have stretch marks, hips and some of the physical scars from child birth will be with me forever. Why do we need to put a positive spin on something that is natural and normal? If you have stretch marks, it's okay. We have a club with stretch-mark t-shirts.  If you don't have stretch marks, I'm sure you have some other physical mark from childbirth that stresses you out equally as much. Like I said, it's the opinion of other women that can make pregnancy hard enough.
Or maybe women worry about what men are thinking when they see that "bump".  We want to be desired even though our body is changing and it's probably hard to see the changes as beautiful. It's easy to say "if they love you, they won't care" and quite another to truly believe it.  When I was pregnant with Cami, I worried so much about maintaining my physical appearance and I went to the gym every day, but the gym won't hinder the growth of that belly (which is really a good thing).  Magazines tell women it's important to be beautiful and skinny even when your pregnant. I spent so much of pregnancy worrying about that.  The first week after the birth of my beautiful monster, things completely changed for me and my husband.  Our priorities completely switched.  It wasn't about what we wanted, life was about providing our child with the best and if that meant skipping the gym 6 days a week.  It took a long time for me to realize it's okay, because we were caring for our child instead.
Mila Kunis is of a different world.  She has hair stylists, spa people, make-up people, assistants, agents, etc. that dictate what she does and where she goes. Maybe her agent shoved her into this big premier with Channing Tatum to promote their movie.  She still has the choice.  If she wasn't comfortable with the situation or her growing baby, she has the option of saying "no".  She will have to face the media eventually and some may say she is extremely brave for going. I don't say it's brave, I say uncomfortably self-aware.  The majority of pregnant women do not have other people pushing them to go places or do things that they aren't ready for. I tend to think that women don't need other people to push themselves.  We have multiple thought tabs open and multiple self-talks going every second of the day.  It's okay to take a break and it's okay to say no.  Pushing your limit is not worth the exhaustion, emotional frustration or whatever may come with pushing yourself because you feel obligated or to make anyone else happy. You need to be happy and that baby needs to be happy.
This open letter to Mila Kunis is a great reminder for distant future me and past pregnant me. There's no shame in pregnancy (planned or unplanned). The changes of pregnancy and childbirth are normal (so stop worrying and embrace yourself). Who cares what men think (unless he's Channing Tatum :), you're growing a human being and that's beautiful. Say "no" and take breaks.  If you do everything you want/need to do, you may be missing something.



Is it moun'in or moutain? Meer or mirror?
This post will be pretty short. I'm not much of a blogger these days and my daily stories aren't nearly as exciting as they used to be.
Today at work, my boss told us not to be "robuts" when we talk to patients. It was not on purpose, she was trying to sail through a lot of stuff for the team in a very short time frame. She probably just got excited or something.
Either way, I felt the rush. The same rush I experience every time I catch an oldie playing in an elevator or at the mall. The rush of remembering.
My dad. 
Bah, I'm sorry Blogger-verse. I don't know if I can ever stop posting about him. He was too great of a man and I worry so much about forgetting stuff. So when this rush comes, I want to blog about it. Share with the world or my kid(s) when they get older, so they will know him too.
My dad was an army brat of sorts and his parents divorced when my dad was 12. As a result of these two huge factors, he grew up bouncing from school to school. I think he said he had been to like 8 elementary schools or something. (It's quite possible that he said something else but I remember I was in elementary school at the time and I was all ooohhhing and awwwinngg at the thought of going to more than one school).
He talked about how hard it was for him to make friends sometimes and he developed a lot of interpersonal hobbies; like origami and picking locks.
Another result of his forced lifestyle was the way he pronounced his words. Oh, how my siblings and I used to tease him about the way he said certain words. The two big ones were the way he pronounced sorcerer (saucerer or saucer) and robot (robut).  My older brother, Derrick, used to joke with my dad, "Is there a flying saucer that casts magic in that story?" and my dad would laugh and explain it away everytime.
We laughed, but those are the weird things you remember when you get older. My dad's legacy isn't so much in the physical things he left behind but in the character he was.  The way he ate pancakes 90% of the time with peanut butter covering  all but the edges of the pancake, so you could see it begin to melt down to the plate or the way he pronounced his words.  He didn't change it because we teased him. He kept it, because that history is part of him. 
I hope Cami remembers the way I say mitten with two t's or mounTain. I'll remember the way she sings songs with me, dropping syllables all over with a bright smile across her face.  
I didn't mean to get all sentimental. I imagined this blog post would be very funny--the way us, Utahn's talk and such.  I can't help it sometimes. The rush of it all.


Twenty Fourteen

20 days into January and I finally get around to starting this blog post that will likely take me two weeks to actually complete.
Since I started tracking my years in this blog; the hard, the good, everything. It seems to be getting better each year and like previous years I'm really excited for 2014. 

1. Money Money Money: No, I'm not hitting the jackpot and our family income is not going to grow substantially.  I'm excited because we will finally pay off some big bills this year; likely the rest of Cami's birth (thanks to a week-long bed rest stay at the hospital), orthodontics and perhaps my student loans. 
Right after we got married, Dave and I haven't had an easy financial time and we've really worked our butts off to get to this point and I'm so excited for some breathing room. Quick, knock on wood. I don't want to curse myself with more debt.

2.Smiling: By summer, you don't get to call me "Brace Face" anymore. I get all of that metal crap out of my mouth this spring.  I'm so excited to have a good smile. I've never been complimented on my smile and I'm pretty used to people staring at my mouth since middle school. It will be so awesome for people not to be thinking how awful it looks or questioning my age.  
It will be worth the hours of flossing each individual tooth, incessant brushing and avoiding the foods I love.
First food on the list right out of the office is a giant Milky Way candy bar and a bite out of an apple. I daydream about this day a lot. The original estimate was March, but I've been trying to tell myself May so that if it gets pushed out, my heart will remain in tact.

3.San Diego:  We have tentative plans to visit Dave's brother, Richard & family in San Diego this summer. I'm really excited to take Cami to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. 
She loves the Hogle Zoo and I just know her brain will explode with the scale of San Diego.
It will be nice to visit family too. Richard, Jessica and cute Madison are a perfect fit to be with. They are extremely active and we're hoping to run a half marathon with them while we are there. 

4. Year of the Book: I'm really committed to literature this year.  I spent a lot of years just doing whatever comes my way, but this year I'm for real about completing my Goodreads book goal (It's only 20 books, that's not bad) and doing some major writing on the "epic" novel I've been writing for like five years. I hope to finish it before I turn 30. Is that goal too lofty? Maybe by 40. Maybe by the time Cami graduates.

5. Running: Running is the ultimate drug for me. After giving birth, there's a lot of peace in running, even if she's whining in the stroller.
Last year I ran my first half and I'm planning a second.
I joined the "Walk/Run Club" or something at the Olympic Oval. It's only $25 a year and I can go whenever I want and push Cami. For the longer runs, I may take her to the rec center daycare.
I want to keep up with this. When I turn 30 or 40 I plan on doing a marathon, but I can't imagine that time commitment while juggling a two-year-old.

6. Mom's Wedding Part 2: My mom's doing the marriage thing again this year.
We've all known Jim for a while. Jim's family and my family lived in the same neighborhood more than 15 years ago.
My parents used to go on double dates with Jim and his wife. My dad and his wife passed away and the reintroduced themselves.
It's crazy how things line up like that.
So in a little over a week, my mom will be married again. I'm so happy for her. She deserves to be happy.

7. Sprinklers: Moving into a used house was a good decision, but our house was well-loved in some ways.
The sprinklers broke in less than a year and we found that the people who owned the house before us used copper pipes, which is both crazy expensive and awful because they wear out more quickly than PVC pipe.
Without a sprinkling system, watering our smallish yard takes around two hour. That's not exactly how I want to spend my time during the summer....AGAIN.

8. Camikins: Our cute, little girl will be three by this time next year. She's so smart already and it's hard to picture what she will be like next year.
We'll be inching her into a "big kid bed". I try to picture a bed in place of her crib and it freaks me out. I'm so nervous about this year. What if she gets up early and wakes us up all the time because she has nothing to cage her in during the morning.
Then there is potty training. A whole different animal and as a working mom, I have no idea how I'm going to tackle that beast. Cami is such a creature of habit too, teaching her new habits like sleeping in a bed and potty training.
Lots of big stuff this year for my little girl. I've been thinking about introducing tumbling or something too. She's such a rowdy girl, I think she will love rolling around and such.

9. Macie: This one is hot off the cell phone. Dave's sister just had her little baby girl: Macie Loa. She's so beautiful and I'm so excited to have her in my basement (in a non-creepy way).
There are a few other babies this year, but none that will be so close. Babies!

10. Verizon: I like making predictions in my blog. Some I'm right and some I'm wrong.
Dave's worked really hard at Verizon Wireless for more than three years and he's been passed over for promotions and recognition.
I think he'll finally nail a promotion.
Last night he told me that if he didn't get the promotion this year, he would see it as a sign that it wasn't the right time for our family.
His shift would be really hard on our family. I wouldn't see him; I would go to bed before he got home and leave before he got up. It would be really hard on our relationship, but my husband deserves to feel successful. I always see him as successful but I know that a promition would make him feel that way.

Well, I made it to ten this year. Ten things that this year will bring to my family this year. Some big moments and some scary moments are ahead. I'm really excited.


2013 List

2013 was predictable. At the beginning of 2013 I made a lot of hopes and guesses for what the year would bring for my family. I was pleasantly surprised.
Like every year, there were things on that list that didn't happen the way I hope; but there were some things that worked out far better than I imagined.
1. New Job: I knew I wasn't supposed to stay at KSL this year. I made a goal last year to be done by April 2013. It took longer than I anticipated.; but I finally left the television business after 2 1/2 years working in Master Control for KSL.
My search led me to Myriad Genetic Laboratories, in a Patient Service Coordinator position. I make a difference everyday by coordinating insurance companies, doctors and patients with the hereditary cancer testing they need.  It's been such a life changing decision and it has changed me a lot. Not only do I spend my work day on the phone with India, I work a morning schedule of 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with weekends and holidays off.  For the first since I was in high school, I didn't have to work Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. Myriad is also an incredible great company to work for and I'm glad that I don't have to worry about getting laid off this year. For once, I feel pretty stable in my career and that's a feeling that can not be matched in today's economy.

Sliding in weather slightly above freezing.

2. Cami: I could write about these changes forever.  2013 brought a new child. She picked up walking kind of slow, but when she had it, she ran with it (literally). After Cami mastered running, she picked up words pretty quick. Her first word was "Daddy" (big surprise there) and "E I E I O" from her Baby Einstein videos.  She used to say the words to the song whenever she felt some sort of emotion. While brushing her extremely thick, knotty hair she would cry very pitifully, sobbing "E I E I O".  In the last two months she started to put together short sentences and telling us what she wants.  She walks independently and holds hands so we don't have to carry her into the store or wherever we go.  That is life changing! No more carrying 45 pounds around with me when I have to go somewhere makes errand seem almost bearable.  Cami seems like a real child now and not just a screaming baby.  She has her difficult days and she would watch "bee bee" all day if we let her.
In 2013 I grew to love her as a mother. It may not have happened the first day my eyes so her chubby cheeks and thick hair. I may not have swooned at her cuddling with me to feed as a baby, but love finds a way.

3. Running: This was an unexpected joy in 2013. After doing the Insanity workout program twice, I needed to switch up my workouts. It was getting so hard to do it and such a drag! So I looked up some running programs to switch it up.  Early in the summer, Cami and I took some long runs to pass the time before work. It was a hot summer, but by the end of July, I ran my first half-marathon.  I ran the South Jordan City half-marathon. It is a wimpy race with no more than like 200 people.  I ran by myself most of the time and despite the hills, I set a personal record. It was amazing to cross the finish line and feel that if I could run a half-marathon, I could accomplish anything.  It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again in 2014.

Great Grandma Oberg and Cami
4. Reno: The quick trip to Reno happened at the end of September. It was a long drive and a lot of Dave's dad, which can wear on anyone after a while (he's a little pessimistic, okay, maybe a lot sometimes).  We watched a lot of Elmo on the drive and there wasn't much of a nap or sleeping during our stay. Even though it was hard, Dave's grandma loved meeting Cami.
In fact, two weeks after our trek to Reno. They decided to move into an asissted living facility in Utah.  It's wonderful to see them for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Christmas this year, Cami went up to her great grandma to play with her. Seeing a great grandmother in action is like seeing a unicorn for me. It's cheery and joyful.

Bear Lake
5. Vacations: We took a few family vacations this year. With my family we went to Bear Lake and stayed in a condo.  The two hour drive was hellacious, Cami screamed and cried the whole time. The trip was a little hard at times, but Cami loved spending time with her cousins and playing in the lake.
With Dave's family, we spent a weekend in August up at the family cabin.  This was a lot harder. Cami did little sleeping, but we stuck it out.  She really loves the outdoors and if she would have slept, our trip would have been perfect.

Brad & Jaycie
6. Roommates: We also gained roommates and a lot faster than intended.
It started with Brad and Jaycie. Brad is Dave's best friend from his childhood. He and his wife moved to South Carolina at the beginning of the year and Dave pressured them to move to Utah. Brad hated his job in South Caroline and Jaycie was super homesick so he got a job with Dave and moved across the country. We made a deal that they would always have a place with us if they wanted and they did in August.
Heather and Josh, Dave's sister and husband, found out they were pregnant at the beginning of the year and decided they needed to move somewhere a little less expensive then their basement apartment.  They were planning on living with her sister and husband in Eagle Mountain but were still hoping to find something closer.  We offered our basement and they moved in a few days before Brad and Jaycie.
We never anticipated having two extra couples in our basement and there have been some challenges, but like a weird family, we make it work.
My favorite part of this was the relationships I gained:  A greater relationship with my sister-in-law and the new baby she will bring to our house next year; and a best friend in Jaycie.
Having her in the house with my after work has been so much fun. A few weeks after they moved in, I helped get her a job with me. We eat lunch together and we hang out after work. Good chick friends are priceless!  She isn't dramatic, isn't judgmental and she's totally chill and I love her! It's been a long time since I had a really good friend outside of Dave. Doubling with Brad and Jaycie have been really fun. I'm going to miss them when they move out this month.

Not mine
7. Pregnancy: Not mine!  Lots of family members announced they were having a baby this year. Dave's sister, Heather and her husband, Josh, announced in the spring that they were due in January. At the end of this month Cami will have a baby cousin downstairs, named Macie.
Dave's brother, Jeff, and his wife announced in October that they were expected a girl, Evelyn, in April.
At first all of the pregnancies were hard. I knew that our little family was not complete and we will have another child eventually, but pregnancy was hard for me due to the blood  clot and the expensive medication (hell, we're still paying that off).  Cami was also a super hard baby and the thought of another screaming baby isn't something I'm eager to start again.  Then everything changed, I get a baby downstairs that I can hold and cuddle whenever I want and when she starts crying I can go back upstairs. We're not ready right now and that's okay. With our second and final child, we'll be more ready than we were for Cami.

Melissa and Angel
8. Engagements: My niece, Melissa, and her boyfriend got engaged. They are getting married in September.
This year my mom also found someone, an old friend named Jim Powell. They connected shortly after his wife passed away and they grieved for their spouses together and found love.  It's so nice to see my mom happy again.  After my dad passed away she had a really hard time and was super lonely. I'm happy she found someone so quickly. Jim is nothing like my dad, but he is a good man and he loves my mom.  He also has a super cute little dog that Cami loves sometimes and also makes her nervous.

Eight things. Eight fantastic things that 2013 brought. It hasn't been a walk in the park, but 2013 was pretty great. Here's a to good year and may 2014 bring the same joy and excitement that I felt this year.