2013 in Review

So as 2013 comes to a close, I thought it was time to look back at the highs and lows of the year.


My Mom celebrated her 80’s birthday.


We got to visit a cool resort in southwest Virginia. We went to the indoor water park during the day, and got to go snow tubing at night. Really awesome. Hope we get to go back again this year. Would love to put some skis on Max to see how he does. He’s pretty coordinated, and I read that the best time for kids to learn new things is between ages 4 and 8, so the time seems perfect to let him try skiing and/or snow boarding.

The week of March 10th was a big week for the three of us. On March 12th Rachel had a birthday and went to see Pink! live in concert. On March 15th Max learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. And on March 16th, I completed my first half marathon. It was a great week for all of us. Oh and we finally got some late season snow in Virginia. Max was waiting all winter for it.


Max completed his final year at Good Shepherd. His two years there were great. When I look back at pictures of his first day of school there, he looked like such a baby. He’s really grown and matured a lot since then. I was so nervous sending him to school, but we were fortunate that the kids in his class and their families were all really great. A nice group of kids, who have manners, and treat one another with respect which seems to be rare these days. May also marked the end of spring t-ball for Max. He really started to get the hang of things, and really took a liking to it. When he first started playing in the fall, he was nervous because he didn’t know what to expect. His coaches were awesome at making him feel comfortable, and teaching him the basics. He also made two really cool friends on the team.


The summer seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. One minute we were watching fireworks on the 4th of July and the next thing we knew, it was Labor Day and school was getting ready to start. We did get to do some fun things like swimming at Nana and Pappy’s, I taught Max how to start a fire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, we got to go to see a few minor league baseball games and eat hot dogs, peanuts and french fries. Max’s favorite part of live sporting events is when the “Charge” music plays so he can stomp his feet on the bleachers.

We also got to go to Ocean City to spend a few days at the beach. The weather wasn’t great, but we still had fun. Max got to hit some baseballs on the beach, caught lots of sand crabs, and he got to try ice skating for the first time. We also got to visit with friends and family in NY. We ate real NY pizza, Max had his first experience with a water balloon launcher, and visit some of the great NYC playgrounds.


Not sure if it’s a high or low, but Max started kindergarden. One of those bitter sweet moments. Where you are proud to see your child moving on, and becoming independent, but it also is a sharp reminder of how quickly he is growing up. He was understandably nervous, because 1) he was going to a new school and 2) It was his first time being at school for a full day (6 1/2 hours). He had only done half days in pre-school, so the first few weeks of school seemed very long for him. The day we dropped him off for his first day of school had to be the longest 6 1/2 hours ever. I must have checked my watch 100 times. When we picked him up, he was smiling and happy to see us. He said his first day was good, and it was fun, which was a huge relief.

Max also did fall t-ball and tumbling. He continues to love baseball, and every night before the sun would set, he would ask to go outside to practice. He is always jumping off of stuff, and climbing and flipping, so we thought tumbling would be a perfect class for him. Unfortunately, even though the class was listed as being for boys and girls, Max was the only boy. He seemed kind of intimidated at first, but we made sure he went every week. We didn’t want to let him quit, because once you quit something, it’s all too easy to say I give up when it comes to other things. Eventually after the first 2 or 3 weeks, he really grew to love it. He learned to do some basic moves like cartwheels, and straddle rolls. I thought he sort of forgot the things he learned, but a few weeks back, we were throwing the football around outside and he caught the ball, ran with it, spiked it and then did a straddle roll as part of his celebration dance hehe.

I had a milestone birthday and turned 40. It wasn’t so bad, and I took comfort in knowing that I am in better shape now than when I was 30, I’m relatively healthy and Im hopefully a little wiser, more patient and understanding. Things that come with age, along with gray hair, lines on your face and all that other fun stuff.

Max lost a few more baby teeth. Luckily his two visits to the dentist were both cavity free. But the x-rays they took showed that he has overcrowding in his mouth and will likely need braces. Sounds very similar to the problems I had. If he does need braces, I will make sure he isn’t silly like his dad. I went through the pain of wearing braces for two years, but never used my retainer, and my teeth ended up shifting out of place. Not as severe as before the braces, but far from perfect.

Rachel had applied for a new position at work over the summer. With the government shutdown, there was a hiring freeze, so several months passed and she didn’t hear anything about it. Finally right before Thanksgiving, she was called in for an interview and learned that she got the job. She starts in January. So very proud of her, and so glad she has a more stable job and isn’t working retail anymore.

Overall 2013 was a pretty good year. But there were some bumps in the road as well.

In the spring, I injured my achilles while running. After several visits to the doctor, it finally started feeling better towards the end of the summer. Not sure if it will ever be back to normal, but at least I can walk now without any pain. It was tough trying to rest it over the summer when Max wanted to ride bikes, play baseball and go swimming. The other bad thing is that I lost a lot of the endurance that I had gained while training for my half marathon. Hoping that if the weather is not too cold and icy, I can start getting back into it, and start doing longer runs again after the new year.

There were several layoffs at work. I was fortunate to be able to keep my job. While I don’t love my job, I am thankful to be gainfully employed. In this economy, it’s so scary, so I feel blessed to start my 14th year with the same company. It was sad to see so many friends lose their jobs, but fortunately they got good severance packages, so they weren’t at a complete loss.

Over the summer, Rachel’s 98 year old grandfather’s health began to decline. Ever since I know Rachel, he always seemed to have his ups and downs, but always seemed to bounce back. So I expected him to make a miraculous recovery once again. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and he passed away this fall.

A few weeks later, Rachel’s grandmother found out she has melanoma. At her advanced age (82), the treatment can’t be that aggressive, so we’ll need to cross our fingers, say our prayers and hope she beats this.

Right before Thanksgiving, my sister fell down the steps outside her home. She ended up tearing ligaments in her ankle, and has been unable to put weight on the foot since injuring it. She needs to go for an MRI to see the extent of the damage and so the doctors can determine if she will need surgery.

Hoping 2014 is another good year. A year filled with personal accomplishments, and hopefully some fun adventures a long the way.

Gingerbread Men


The other night after dinner, it was already dark outside, so we were looking for something to do inside. Rachel had a headache, so it needed to be quiet. I remembered that we had picked up a Gingerbread man ornament kit a few weeks back. So I got the stuff out and Max and I began.

We started attaching the little foam pieces, like the eyes, scarf, buttons etc using white glue. After had nearly completed the first one I discovered there were little double sided sticky tabs included, which made the whole process easier and a lot less messy. They came out pretty cute. After they were done drying, I asked Max to write his name on the back. Then I added the year, and age 6 on the back of the ornament. Max asked me what I wrote. After I answered him, he grabbed a pen, and wrote “Dad age 40” on the back of my ornament. hehe¬†