I say it every year and every year it remains true: this year has gone so quickly. I think when you have a young child in your family, life tends to fly by even faster…it’s incredibly valid with our little McKinley trio. Louis keeps us moving at all times and he won’t stop growing up on us so it all seems to happen in a flash.
Family-wise, we’ve continued to learn and grow as a unit. Bumps and bruises have happened but it’s nothing we haven’t figured out and overcome. Business-wise…the same thing. This has been the biggest year ever for Handmade Escapade and I hope to continue that trend.
January: We rang the new year in with some of our closest friends (and some bubbly). We traveled to Michigan for our post-Christmas, Christmas party with the Boltzes. Louis showed us how attached he can get to things (ahem: stuffed animals) and Bennett and I had to learn how to be more skillful at parental negotiations.
February: Some DIY tutorial projects started surfacing on the blog. We made some amazing friends during a ‘Lovescaping’ community project in Wheeling (which led to more friends and becoming involved in restoring the love to the old & forgotten in our beautiful city). I was taught some humility in the parenting department and learned to stop being “That Mom” by letting Louis experience things on his own account. The three of us traveled cross-country for a visit in Idaho and Washington with our families.
March: I discovered Project Life and finally got off my butt and started working on Louis’ baby book. Louis and I traveled to Indiana to throw Sierra (and baby Delilah!) a Lorax themed baby shower…which I’m still pretty proud of. Spring started to show it’s face and we took advantage by playing in the gorgeous woods surrounding our home. And we calmly enjoyed Easter as a family – and then crashed our new friends’ egg hunt.
April: We finally got off our butts and purchased a membership to the local zoo. The 1st ever (hopefully more will happen this year!) Big Craftowski craft-along happened. Caps for Chemo & Light the Night showed another successful year of donations from some remarkable people. Louis got his first “buzzcut” which basically made me fly off my rocker. And our beautiful friends hired us to photograph their wedding…and we gladly took on the job and had an AMAZING time.
May: We continued exploring our property with Louis…all while continuing to learn to “let go” and let Louis learn things on his own. Indiana got another McKinley visit as we got to meet our newest family member, baby Delilah, for the first time. Our friendship with the M Family grew, as did our beer-snobbery, and I broke down and confessed our Super Hero alter-egos to the world. Handmade Escapade launched one [50!!] of the biggest additions to my shop ever.
June: We witnessed our nephew turn another year older [sob!], Louis cultivated relationships with other littles, we had a visit from one of my amazing high school teachers, and Louis’ obsessions grew from just superheroes to include “Hungry Birds” as well. I experienced one of my biggest moments in face-to-face sales by vending at West Virginia’s 150th Birthday Celebration…which was both exhausting and humbling. Even more awesome…Bennett had his photo selected as the cover image for Wheeling’s Summer 2013 pamphlet!!
July: We officially said goodbye to gDiapers and hello to a potty trained little guy! I shared my mass amount of “Mommy Guilt” that is always heavy on my heart. The sewing bug bit me. Hard. And I started sewing skirts and shorts and everything I could think of. Handmade Escapade and Designs by Nicolina began a partnership (and I gained a new best friend that I can chat with daily about the struggles with online sales).
August: A dear friend invited me to celebrate her bridal shower…which was insanely gorgeous. We declared this the Summer of Millipedes. Gross. Our little guy turned T-H-R-E-E and we had a dinomite birthday celebration for him. And we headed back up to Michigan to celebrate my 10 Year High School Reunion – where I laughed more than I have in a really long time. Oh yeah, and the equal rights group that I’m merchandising for? I finally got to meet some of the amazing men behind the work.
September: My obsession for Pumpkin Spice lattes (and pumpkin everything) reared it’s ugly head. We celebrated the return of college football season, and I talked about my annoyances with labels and how ‘Happy Parenting’ is the only parenting style we practice. Louis changed his obsession from his Super Louis cape/mask to a Superman pajama set. Two of our beautiful friends married in a fabulous historic hotel in the heart of Washington DC. And Louis and I traveled to Idaho to be with my Momma…to both mourn the loss and celebrate the life of my step-father, Paul.
October: We visited the pumpkin patch for the 4th consecutive year with Louis. Handmade Escapade celebrated it’s THIRD birthday…and we are still trucking along!! Bennett took some fabulous self-family photos for us, even though we had some struggles with getting the youngest McKinley to comply with our demands. And we hosted our third annual pumpkin carving party – which is quickly becoming one of my favorite parties ever to host, ever. Oh yeah, we also dressed up in our super hero alter-egos and went out for Halloween on the town. It was awesome.
November: Lots of cookie baking happened with Louis, once the winter hit. Bennett and I shed some tears over Louis’ first “First Day of School”. I made super dorky sweatshirts, got a new logo for Handmade Escapade, inhaled some delicious pumpkin doughnut goodness and prepared myself for the season of Christmas shopping that was about to hit my shop. The McKinleys hit the big city of Pittsburgh for a concert and backstage passes at the Fresh Beat Band concert and it was such a fun night! And although I still haven’t culled/edited the pictures as proof…we spent Thanksgiving week down in Canaan Valley for some good ole’ fashioned family time with the Gerkins.
December: Louis had his first meet-and-greet with Santa. I singlehandedly experienced THE BIGGEST and CRAZIEST amount of orders I’ve ever had with my business…and then struggled with maintaining balance between work and family during all of the insanity. This was apparently the year of meat in our house, as Bennett brought home geese (which we plucked on Christmas Eve), a pig and venison. Christmas came and went in a flash and we had a wonderful day of relaxation at home, opening gifts and stuffing ourselves with sweets.
And here we are, on the brink of a new year. Lots of new goals, new ambitions and 365 days of blank slates.
2014, I’m coming for you girl!