Happy New Year

As I write this I'm listening to someone carefully and gently pluck at a guitar -at least five of us have committed to learning to play guitar in 2014-, kids in the living room working as a group to complete a marble run, and lots of peaceful quiet.

I am blessed.

Today the kids and I took off on a "high adventure". We traveled south to a nature sanctuary, a peaceful local beachfront restaurant for lunch, the beach for a few hours midday, a wonderful little town between here and nowhere, and dinner at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant full of character, home cooking, and local specialties like frog legs and gator. The weather was perfect and the company I kept today, five of my kids, was just a joy. A terrific end to "the best year ever".

My goals for 2014 have been written down and sealed in an envelope, along with the goals of almost all the children. My plans for the new year include weight loss and taking more time for myself (and dating, I've committed to going on at least a date this upcoming year - I'll keep you posted), the kids goals include learning to read, advancing their scout ranks, and giving up soda (this one is a little bit of a cop-out, we don't actually ever drink soda). Included in the envelope are also our personal highlights/memories from 2013. Next year we'll add our 2014 highlights to the envelope when we commit to our 2015 goals.

My biggest accomplishments of 2013 include buying our camper. With the help of friends, family, and the internet I've learned to do so much work on that camper, using tools I'd never heard of before and doing things I never imagined I could do. I learned to tow and to back it up. On our second outing the kids and I drove over 5000 miles to the Grand Canyon and back. Looking back, the thought that comes to mind is "WTF what I thinking", but it was the best trip ever and I learned so much about myself, my family, and the world around us. I'm not yet sure of the places we'll go in 2014 but I can say with certainty we'll be camping and loving it.

Because I'm Me grew wonderfully in this past year. It was imperative for me to find a source of income and this business has flourished and provided that. And I love it. When I owned my store I loved my job and firmly believed one should have a job they loved, especially since you're there 1/3 of your life, give or take. After closing the store I wasn't sure what other job I'd love as much, Because I'm Me is very different from Ditto Kiddo and I love it for different reasons, but I do love it and I find it very satisfying.

Thanks for sticking with me this year. Thank you for helping my business grow, this business, while fun and rewarding for me, also provides much needed income for my family and has helped us to stay afloat this year, making it even more near and dear to my heart. Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting on the wide variety of posts on this blog - from home schooling to business to family to travel to who knows what, I know sometimes it's a little all over the place, but isn't life like that?

My wish for you in 2014 is simple: On the last day of 2014 I hope you will be able to look back and know you had the best year possible. That, most certainly, is my biggest goal this year and every year.

Happy New Year.

(In our plastic flutes with bottoms that randomly detach is red and white sparkling grape juice, in the little bottles is really fun champagne flavorings I found on clearance in the Christmas section at Target, they turned the sparkling juice the most wonderful colors and gave it great added flavor. Most fun, though, was all of us feeling really cool and celebratory toasting with our bubbly.)

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