Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long, 2013!

I say. 2013. Lots went down this year—both on and off my blog. I’m sitting here in the last hours of 2013, thinking back on this year and regretting my decision to let my kids try to stay up until midnight. Right now they’re doing the conga.


Alex is in New York at a Phish show, but it’s okay because while I was in warm places all day today, he was sitting in line on a sidewalk so he could get a good place in front of the band at MSG. I’d try to make him feel bad for missing my three kids at 10pm on New Year’s, but I think he’s suffered enough.

Although based on this photo he texted me, it looks like he got the spot he wanted.
I think it is traditional to start end-of-year retrospectives with a look at your last new year’s resolutions. My resolution last year was all about Project Stimey, which could be summed up with this quote from my first post of 2013:
My goal this year is to improve my overall physical health. By the end of 2013, I want to weigh less, I want to be fitter, I want to be a water drinker instead of a soda drinker, and I want to be altogether more awesome.
I’m not where I want to be, but I have achieved every one of those goals. Especially the part about being altogether more awesome. Ha, ha, ha. :) I’ll write more about this and my 2014 resolutions soon.

One of the coolest things I did last year was go to President Obama’s inauguration with Jess from Diary of a Mom. I had never been to an inauguration before and I was so thrilled to be able to watch this president, whom I still stand solidly behind, sworn into his second term in office. Then Jess and I spent something like sixteen years trying to find our way off of the National Mall. That part was a little more harrowing.

February brought the one year anniversary of Susan’s death. I find myself thinking of her often. Every time I see a full moon, I think of her. Buying gloves makes me think of her because of the year I bought gloves for both of our kids and totally got the wrong kind. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were driving past her street and Jack mentioned that we hadn’t been to play in her backyard for a long time. There are so many things that remind me of her and I hope that will never stop happening.

In March I took my kids to the Disability Day of Mourning to honor and remember disabled people killed by their parents or caregivers. I was excited to take Jack to meet some autistic adults, but what I didn’t expect was Sam’s incredible reaction and my understanding that I’m not just raising a strong autistic man in Jack, but strong allies in my other kids.

Immediately thereafter, I put one of my gerbils in a hat.

Karma took care of me less than two weeks later, when my two “boy” gerbils had a whole pile of babies. You remember this post. My post where I FREAKED OUT about said gerblets got me more traffic than I have ever gotten for anything I’ve ever written. I do think that traffic was mostly due to the greatest Facebook thread in the history of Facebook threads, wherein you all mocked my pain and gave me helpful suggestions such as, “Quick! Put tiny hats on them!”

You all are assholes. Lovable, wonderful assholes.

March was a big month for the circle of life, because shortly after our gerbil births and subsequent gender-based separation of what turned out to be a total of seven gerbils, we lost our beloved dog, Cassidy, after a long life full of patience, kid cuddles, and peeing on everything we owned.

We closed out March with a snowy spring break trip to Luray caverns, which was notable for the swimming pool at our hotel, hedge maze outside the caverns, and the most epic snowball fight Team Stimey Junior has ever had.

In April we went to the White House Easter Egg Roll and Jack chatted up Michelle Obama.

Then Jack and I went to Lake Placid, New York, with the Montgomery Cheetahs for a special hockey tournament and I made 75 million Miracle on Ice jokes. But honestly, how could I not? My baby skated on Olympic Ice, had a blast with his teammates, went dog sledding, and bobsledded on an Olympic track. Also other stuff. I love special hockey tournaments.

Also, in April (although I wrote about it in May), my internet soul sister came to visit me and I got to meet her in person for the first time. It was one of the best weekends of my entire year. In related news, she didn’t kill us.

Damn if we didn’t travel a lot this year. May brought a trip to Hersheypark, where we discovered that if you kick Quinn down onto the asphalt in the parking lot and scrape up his face first thing in the morning, it will be difficult to get him to enjoy the rest of his day.

After that, it was just a matter of finishing out the school year, playing around in the summer, and hanging out with fun friends who came into town and let me play with them. Before that though, Jack kicked ass at his school’s Geo Bowl, Sam graduated from elementary school, and once again, we threw Quinn to the ground and scarred his beautiful, beautiful face.

July brought BlogHer and a much needed weekend filled with laughter and release and inspiration and exactly the people I needed to be with to put me at peace. You know who you are. And you should know that I still think about those days often and with joy.

Just after getting back from Chicago, I headed back out on vacation, this time with Team Stimey. We went to the Lake Michigan beach, Wisconsin Dells, and the middle of nowhere, where Quinn contracted Lake Madness. It was fantastic.

My family had a really wonderful summer, so the kiddos were none too excited to head back to school in August. We made it so much more palatable though, by acquiring three kittens just prior to sending them back. I highly recommend doing the same. It is much easier to send your kids off to school if you can promise them cuddles with a small cat when they return home. In fact, I think we should get three kittens every August. Common sense might prevail on that one though.

I spent much of the middle of the year worrying about Reach the Beach, a 12-person/200-mile relay race that I’d committed to run in September. Much as I tried to freeze time with my mind, the days marched on and eventually I actually had to lace up my shoes, get in a van, and race that bitch. It turned out to be such an awesome experience that I am quickly selling out Future Jean by committing her to another fall relay race. (Am moron.)

The last of our big pet news happened in October, when we had to put our elderly and wonderful cat, Denali, to sleep. She was cantankerous and pointy and we miss her a whole lot.

It turns out that I didn’t write about it, but November brought a DC gathering of mid-Atlantic and Australian autism bloggers and all-around great people. It was another of my favorite weekends of the year and completely soul filling.

Then…disaster. My car window was smashed and my purse was grabbed from within. It was a huge, expensive, pain-in-the-ass bummer. The worst thing is that Algernon was in my purse when it was stolen. Poor Algernon, off on his own. But then…love and friendship. You guys lifted me up with your notes, love, and a generous helping of stuffed rodents from all around the world. Seriously, they keep coming—and they make my kids and I smile every day.


That is pretty much everything that happened to us this year. You know, except for all the other stuff—both stuff I wrote about but didn’t recap here and stuff that I didn’t write about. When I look back at all of this, I realize that I am a very lucky person who has a wonderful family and some fantastic friends.

I wish all of you a very wonderful new year. I hope that 2014 is the best for you.
With love, gratitude, and friendship,


Happy New Year from Team Stimey!

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