January 11, 2013

Things I learned in 2012

A few things that I learned this past year:

1. Don't be afraid to download pictures.

 I have this insane fear of all my precious digital pictures just one day totally disappearing, so I hang onto them by never erasing them from my storage cards. The above picture is an example of this malady. It was taken eight years ago when little Susie was hardly older than Renata is now. 
This has become a problem because 1. those little storage cards aren't cheap and 2. it's crazy to have ten of them lying around completely useless for picture taking because they are full of old pictures and 3. I had to stop taking pictures because I ran out of storage cards. 
So, I've taken the plunge and started to download pictures (always making a backup file along with a burned copy). Now the idea is to finally get them printed off and into an album. We'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

2. Colorado is a beautiful place to go hiking, so do it. 
Okay, maybe this wasn't something that I actually "learned" this past year, as I've always been aware of how beautiful the trails are. The main thing was that I'd given up hiking with the rest of the crew when they went because I was too focused on getting caught up on laundry, or making dinner, or just relaxing for a minute. 
Dumbest decision ever.
So I started hiking again this past year and I never regretted one minute of it. It was an easy way to exercise too. Which leads me to number three....

3. The older you get, the more you need to exercise. 

This one is a total bummer. I really, really, really am not a big fan of exercise. It hurts. It takes too much time. It hurts.... have I mentioned that?
But, after ten babies in less than fifteen years, my body has taken a bit of a beating. I needed to tone. I needed to firm. I needed to have the number of a plastic surgeon. just kidding. 
Mainly, Adrian and I didn't want to start having health problems as we reached forty.
So, following the lead of my husband who decided to work on making himself look and feel better (which he has done with the help of weights, exercise, and better self-control than me) I hit the court. I started playing basketball again, mostly with the kids, and was amazed at the results. Fifteen minutes of shooting around, maybe five minutes of playing knock-out with the kids, and I felt better. Plus, it hardly hurt!
So, my advice to all you ladies is to get out there and find something fun to do that doesn't feel like exercise but that still gives you a little cardio. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel in the long run.

4. Don't ever underestimate what kids are capable of.

See this one here? Sam is our pancake maker. He makes awesome pancakes. Joanna makes tremendous cookies. Susie can handle two loads of laundry all by herself. Nathanael can change diapers like a pro. Ben can split wood like a woodchuck. Peter can read books to the little girls and keep them happy while Sam is making pancakes. Maggie knows how to stack the wood that Ben just split. Annie knows how to get kindling ready for the fireplace. Renata just learned how to open the front door. (Not so happy about that last one.)
Kids can do a lot more than we think, especially when you pull them away from the television, computer, or Xbox. 
Honestly, it's almost like I don't have to do anything around here anymore.....

5. Life passes by way too quickly - make sure people know how much they are loved. 

This past year our family suffered the loss of many close friends from church. Claire - one of the neatest ladies I've ever met, and Sue - one of the best cooks this world has seen (in this picture with Susie) and Bob (our ninety-year-old cribbage partner in crime.) They were like our extended family of sorts, and I still miss them greatly - even though I know they were overjoyed to be released from their pain and join Christ in heaven. Each of them made a profound impact on our family and I'm glad to have known them, even if for a short time. 

6. Men in aprons are hot. 
I probably just grossed a ton of you out. Sorry. But seriously, put down that 50 shades of whatever you checked out from the library and go get an apron.  

7. Don't cry if your baby grows up to be a cowboy. 

I wouldn't have necessarily chosen this path for my son, but it seems like he's a natural. Ben rode that sheep all the way out of the gate and across the arena before the cowboys had to literally pull him off the back of that mutton. Now that's some bustin' if I've ever seen any. 

8. Iowa has a bunch of wind-power. 

Like, a BUNCH. Driving across eastern Iowa this fall I couldn't believe how many fields were full of them. I'm not really sure what to think about it, other than they might need to change their welcome signs to something like, "Iowa. The home of ethanol and ugly windmills."

9. Australians like to play "chasie". A game of catch-me for you Americans. 

We had the great privilege of spending some time with Dr. Kleinig this fall when he was in the States. Every night he played a game of chasie around the living room furniture with the kids. They LOVED it. I think he might have liked it a little bit too. 

10. Michigan is beautiful in early October. 
I'm sure Michigan is pretty any other time of the year as well, but coming from a place where we only get to witness Aspen trees changing from green to yellow, this was breathtaking!

11. Mule deer are mighty tasty.

I know. I surprised myself as well by really liking all of the white little packages of meat in our freezer. I kind of even dig the deer skull mounted above our fireplace mantel.

What's wrong with me?

12. Twinkies really aren't that great. But I love the people who thought they were!

My dad used to eat Twinkies like they were going out of business. He must have known something the rest of us didn't....
So, when Hostess announced the sad news that they were stopping production, Adrian and I did what anyone would do. We ran to the nearest grocery stores and cleaned them out. Ebay loved us.
But, I couldn't in good conscience sell a product without a little taste-testing. And, you know what? I ate a twinkie, a cupcake, and a ding-dong - None of them were good. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.