11:30 AM

2013 in Review

I have been answering these same questions about the new year for 17 years now. Ya, some of the questions sound like something a teen would ask... I considered looking for a new list, but my love of tradition and consistency won out and voila, this year's year in review:

1.What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

I started my own business.  To be fair I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  I took the concept of road side lemonade stands to the extreme when I was a kid, setting up shop not in front of my house, but in front of the bank, to maximize foot traffic.  I also had a homemade oven clay jewelry shop that I ran out of a pop up box at recess and also that time that I was selling my own custom designed greeting cards to family. For the purposes of this exercise though, let’s say that squeaker & yoyo PHOTOGRAPHY is my first business. 

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I resolved to be more active.  I would say I did achieve that because I went from no exercise to exercise once a month, so that’s more.  Still not ideal, but got to give credit to the fact that it is in fact more, and that was all that I was hoping for.  I don’t think I will be making any resolutions, although I am setting myself some business and career related goals.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year, but I did get to meet some cutie patooties at the airport again this year. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but a friend of mine who was murdered finally had his assailants arrested and charged, four years after the crime.  I was feeling so unsafe knowing that these criminals were out there living their lives in my town.  I remember when I first heard I wanted to never allow my children to leave the house, I never wanted them to be out in a world where this could happen and where no one would be punished for it.

5. What countries did you visit?

We were in the states this year for our annual trip to KV and for the first time in Naples, Florida.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

The time management skills of an intergalactic time traveler.  Seriously, I am a pretty organized person.  But no amount of slowcooking, freezer mealing, calander updating, check box checking is keeping my laundry at bay or my house clean.  I have taken on a lot and 2014 is only going to give me more to do so I am pretty worried that my dirty house won’t be the only thing that starts to show some wear and tear in the months to come.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Sending my little squeaker off to his first day of school.  I bawled for about 3 days straight.  He did amazing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My biggest achievement was having my photography featured in theHuffington Post.  It was so exciting I could not even sleep that night.  It was just this moment when I really understood that when you put all of your passions together (and a lot of hard work) that success will come.  I always thought that was just something people like Oprah could say.  But it was finally true for me.  I found my calling this year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

My biggest failure was not having the patience and attention for my family that they deserve.  All too often I found myself trying to cuddle and edit photos at the same time, answer customer emails while doing ponytails, and begging the kids to play quietly for just one more minute so I could finish something I was working on.  Just trying to get by.  I know that lots of moms work this many hours successfully but this work load is new for me and I was not very good at managing it.  Me and my kids are used to having more for each other.  Here is hoping I find the magic balance in 2014.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No!  We are a healthy bunch J

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I got yet another new camera.  I upgraded to a more complex version that has even better low light abilities.  I was so excited to actually be able to photograph Elora outdoors after sun set.  I now have an image I never thought would be possible, my baby girl in the wild flowers outside with no need for sunglasses on. I was so thrilled I sent Canon a thank you letter.  Technology rocks!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I have to give some props to my son’s kindergarten teacher.  She has been amazing with me and the challenges that this year have presented for my little boy.  She is also so on board with being Elora’s first teacher next year and I know we could not have them both in better hands.  She is the only reason I did not lose my mind and camp out in front of the kindy class windows.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Russia tops my list again this year for bad behavior.  I really wish that we had globally stood up against them more this year, maybe even take the Olympics away from them.  A close second goes to Rob Ford .  I can’t even go there, Toronto must have been in a “drunken stupor” when they elected them so I guess we are all obligated to forgive them.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Happily our money did not really GO anywhere, just into savings and a those trips mentioned above.  My money stayed home J

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Huffington Post article.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Goodbye, Goodbye – Tegan and Sara

You never really loved me
Never really, never really loved me
Loved me like they did

You coulda told me
You coulda told me

You let me try
Knowing there was nothing I could do
To change you

You coulda warned me
Knowing there was nothing I could do
To change you

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier

ii. thinner or fatter? Maybe slightly slimmer?

iii. richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Date nights, I think we did not take as much time for each other this year.  I firmly believe that a strong marriage makes a strong family so I always try to invest in us and we did not get as much in to that bank as I would have liked.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Nothing really, I was so busy this year that anything that was a time sucker, energy zapper or less then desirable just got outsourced or chopped off totally.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

This year we had an epic ice storm and we were without power, heat and water.  We toughed it out at home for two days before calling it quits and moving the whole family up to my in-laws.  The power was out for four days total for us.  Our fish Nemo died from the cold, Christmas was rescheduled, and Elora was just a hot mess from the entire ordeal.  It did not really feel like Christmas at all this year.  Ah well you can’t win them all. I am still living on last year’s Christmas memories, it was beyond amazing.  On that note here is our very late holiday card, from me to you!

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

I think I gave myself some extra love this year.  I always strive to find myself, to be more authentic in myself and to love and appreciate my strengths and achievements.  This year I made big leaps forward in self-actualization.

23. How many one-night stands?

Zero, that was so 2001. See what I mean about the irrelevant questions :)

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Anything with Karl Pilkington in it.  I have had the pleasure of watching his Idiot Abroad 3 series this year and his Moaning of Life series.  I have never wanted so desperately to be friends with a celebrity.  His shows have got me though some seriously tough times; there was a point when Idiot Abroad was the only thing that could make me laugh.  Literally. 

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No, hating is one of those things that went out the door.  It is seriously an energy and time zapper

26. What was the best book you read?

I am pretty disappointed in the amount of reading I do any more.  Unfortunately reading is low on the priority list these days.  I finished a few historical fictions about China and the rest of the Paulina Simons Tatiana series.  They were all great but nothing this year really stood out.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I love the new Tegan and Sara album.  Kudos to them for making such kick ass albums year after year.  I have loved them for over a decade now and I am impressed with their work.

28. What did you want and get?

A family beach trip!  That was our first attempt at traveling as a family and it went amazing, so smooth with all the changes.  I think we have excellent traveling companions in our kids and I see a return to travel in our upcoming year, I am thrilled.

29. What did you want and not get?

I need more space in our house… work in progress.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Any Day Now.  It is about the true story of a gay couple in the 70’s who are fighting the system to gain the right to adopt a young teen with special needs.  It is a sad movie, but a great eye opener about how far we have come in adoption systems and how far we still need to go.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34, and we took the kids on our winery bike tour this year.  Yes I take my children to bars, remember I am a certified parent in two countries so just save your judgy looks for someone else. 

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably satisfying?

This year was immeasurably satisfying. Wow that is two great years in a row.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

This year I discovered high waisted jeans.  The teeny boppers wear them with crop tops.  But did you know that they come with industrial strength  6 inch elastic panels? Ladies these are pants with BUILT IN TUMMY CONTROL!!  I call them Spanks Pants and I own them in every color.  I obviously do not wear them with crop tops, I hide the spanks part under normal shirts.  These are the best thing to happen to me since maternity pants, because there is only so long you can get away with wearing them, and once your “baby” starts school is definitely the time they should be retired.  I also discovered the adult onesie.  Takes comfort to a whole new level.

34. What kept you sane?

Jeremy, my husband extraordinaire.  He has been very patient as I spend every waking hour growing my business.  He has been supportive in a way only he can be.  Between him and my mom I have had the freedom to give this my all.  I wanted to go big or go home and they propped me up on this journey.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Karl Pilkington, see above.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Russia’s homophobic laws.

37. Who did you miss?

I missed my dad a few times this year.  I often wonder what he would have been like as a grandfather.  What he would have thought of me and my brother and our lives now as adults.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I really enjoy that I get to meet so many new people through photographing them.  My clients have been a great source of inspiration to me this year, I love getting to know them, telling their stories, watching their kids grow like living works of art.  Many of them I have developed friendships with and we only came to know each other because of photography.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:

Passion can achieve dreams but hard work and constant learning achieve goals.

Happy New Year!!!