As always, I cannot believe that another year has simply flown by. I swear, time seems to go faster and faster each and every year. 2018 has been yet another whirlwind year awash with highs and lows. It hasn’t been the easiest year yet there have been plenty of wonderful adventures, special moments, time with family and those not so pleasant yet necessary life lessons.
For some reason, it always feels like a shock to jump into another new year and perhaps that is why I love to take a moment to reflect on the year that has passed and be filled with gratitude.
We welcomed in the New Year in San Diego after spending the holidays with my family in Tucson, Arizona. Over the years, San Diego has become a special place for our family and we enjoy spending time hiking, watching sunsets, building sand castles on the beach and taking in the perfect weather. Torrey Pines Reserve is always a must see as well. My favorite post of January: “Why I Will Always Love Torrey Pines” shares some of my favorite photos of this magical place.
We also drove to LA where we discovered another treasure, El Matador Beach in Malibu which is lovely especially if you arrive before the crowds.
In January, I spent time finishing up my posts on my November trip to Chile. Some of my favorite posts published in January include:
This post is about my absolutely stunning hike in the Chilean Andes to the foot of a massive glacier.
This post explores my visit to two of Chile’s beloved vineyards outside of Santiago where I got my first taste of Chile’s crown jewel, Carménère.
February was a busy month. On the home front, we continued our weekly ski outings with our kids (we are in a ski club that runs December through March and we ski all over Minnesota and Wisconsin every Saturday throughout winter).
The kids and I also met my dad for a long ski weekend at the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona. We had never skied there and since my parents live in Arizona we thought it would be worth checking out. Although it is nowhere as good as Colorado or Utah, the skiing was much better than we get in the Midwest and we had a wonderful time skiing with all three generations.
Later in the month, I had the honor of traveling to Kenya with LifeStraw as part of an international team to participate and document the “LifeStraw1million” campaign. It was a life-changing experience for me as I found myself doing what I love best, meeting people from around the world and doing good on the ground. Over the course of the week, our international team of 130 LifeStraw staff and volunteers were divided up into 15 team reaching 3-4 primary schools per day all in different parts of Western Kenya. By the end of the week, we met our goal and it was quite a rewarding experience.
My favorite post from the trip:
At the end of March, we went on a family vacation to Colorado where we skied the Colorado Rockies. It was a wonderful family trip and we truly enjoyed the togetherness. The highlight for me was when both of my kids left me in the dust down a black run. As I saw my son glide by me on his snowboard, I raced as fast as I could to get ahead of him and then did one massive wipe out. Thankfully I didn’t break anything except my pride.
May was a month at home enjoying the start of Spring in Minnesota and finishing up the school year for the kids. In May, I wrote a few posts on my own hometown:
For this post, I literally drove all around the neighborhood snapping shots of as much street art as I could find. It was a ton of fun!
The North Shore of Lake Superior is a place we treasure and visit often. I compiled a list of my favorite hikes to do with the kids.
The highlight of the year was by far our three week intergenerational trip to Europe. It was planned months in advance but as the trip neared my husband had to cancel at the last moment due to a bad back. Despite our disappointment there was a silver lining as my dad was able to join me and my children for a portion of the trip. Over the course of our trip, we visited London and Paris with my mom, sister and niece and then moved on to Germany where we met up with my son and dad, continuing on to the Austrian Alps. It was a very special time yet we sure missed my husband.
I wrote many posts on the trip as it was pretty inspiring. A few of my favorite posts include:
Highlights of August included a visit to the North Shore of Lake Superior with my parents and a weekend sailing the Apostle Islands with our neighbors. A few of my top posts include: Superior Hiking Trail: Temperance River to Carlton Peak, Superior Hiking Trail: Hike to Leveaux Mountain, and A Weekend Sailing in the Apostle Islands.
September meant back to school for the kids and readjusting to a new schedule with my two kids at different schools and start times. We spent most of our weekends at home. In October, me and the kids did a long weekend visit out to see my parents in Arizona which of course included a lot of hiking. I published two hiking posts Best Hikes in Tucson: Blackett’s Ridge Trail and The Best Hikes in Tucson’s Sabino Canyon.
Finally I began to get my groove with my schedule and began regular volunteer work with a local elementary school, weekly tutoring with a fifth grade girl from Western Africa and helping teach English as a Second Language with new immigrants to Minneapolis. It has kept me quite busy along with keeping up the blog and all the work involved with raising an active family.
At the end of the month, we spent Christmas with both sides of our families in Virginia which was wonderful. We just returned last night on New Year’s Eve and I am still glowing in the warmth and love of such special time together. I am forever grateful for our amazing, loving family. I just wish we all lived closer.
As I welcome in the new year, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog. The friendships I’ve gained over the years have been amazing and I can’t believe that soon I will be completing my eighth year of blogging! It has truly been a life-changing experience and I look forward to welcoming 2019. Happy New Year!