The Annual Year End Post, 2014 Edition

Last year I wrote my annual year-in-review post by posting a month by month summary and selecting an Instagram photo to represent each month. I like how that felt, and I enjoyed the process of looking through them all and selecting just the right one, so here we go again. Watch out, this is a long one.

Year End Reviews from the past, if you’re interested: Halfhearted 2008200920102011, and 2013. There wasn’t one for 2012 – I was off blogging for almost 7 months and didn’t bother. 

January 2014:

From my Instagram stream it looks like I painted my nails a lot, something that held true all year long! This tells me I had actual time to sit down and putter in the evenings, something I felt had been a bit absent from my life. My favourite photo, though, was this snap of the Creepy Little Lurker herself. I posted last year that I wasn’t sure how much longer dear Mooki would be alive, and truthfully, I’m still having that conversation. She’s even more blind and deaf now and sleeps even more than I thought possible, and now her body is starting to look frail. But this picture sure makes me laugh.

February 2014:

It snowed in February 2014. It’s funny that this is so anomalous here on the west coast that I’m pointing it out, but I will say that by this time in 2014, I’d been walking Kale up and down the hill to kindergarten for a few months and I was Seriously Sick of walking in crappy weather.  I am still sick of trudging up and down the hill to and from the school every day, but Kale loves his school, it is an amazing community, and at least it doesn’t snow so frequently that this is my view from September to April.

March 2014:

In March, Ross and I managed to sneak away for a few days during Spring Break while we farmed Kale out to his grandparents. Kale is now at an age where this is not a big deal – we can fairly effortlessly walk him on the ferry and he spends happy days with his grandparents and we can do more “adult” things, like hit up one of the local craft breweries on the Sunshine Coast for a flight. Both Ross and I turned 40 in March 2014, so it was a win-win for everyone that we were able to coordinate well enough to have a weekend away. We were also delighted that friends hosted a “Throwback to 1974” party for us. I’m not one that worries much about the age I am, and turning 40 wasn’t cause of alarm – it was a great reason to party.

April 2014:

Ah, my dear sweet boy. Kale’s love and admiration of his kindergarten teacher was alive and well. Ms. C was such a great teacher for him – firm, fair, and willing to find creative ways of teaching each individual child. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to Kale’s education in public school, and even the labour dispute, which ended school early at the beginning of June and made it start late at the beginning of October didn’t rattle him too much. One day, he asked to bring some flowers for Ms. C and it was sweet.

May 2014:

We went camping again in May (well, actually May 31-June 2) and this time we tried Fort Ebey State Park, which I really enjoyed. I didn’t post any pictures to Instagram because of the roaming fees we would expect to pay, so I don’t have a snap of that to share. But May was also definitely the month in which my garden went bonkers and flowers were everywhere. I love these alliums, even if their unique puffball shape makes them attractive to thieves.

June 2014:

What would a year in review post be without me referencing picking berries and preserving the harvest? I certainly didn’t make as much jam this year as in years past, mainly because I had nowhere to put it all and we needed to eat our way through some reserves. But I did make it to my favourite berry patch more than once, and I did eat my weight in strawberries. Don’t ever change, strawberries.

July 2014:

In July we went to Monck Provincial Park and I really recommend it as a place for families to camp. But for this month in my year-in-review post, I’m picking a pretty boring picture that represents something much bigger in theory. July 1 was an exciting day for me, professionally, when I moved into a new office. I’d been hot-desking at the local co-working place for some time, but when the opportunity came up to rent a desk in my friend’s new office space, I jumped at it and haven’t looked back. Right in the heart of downtown New Westminster, The Lorne Muse (named after the street it is on – Lorne Mews) houses a total of 5 businesses plus a small meeting room / kitchen in a fun, friendly, and supportive environment. My company has been personally very rewarding this year – both financially and also emotionally – my work has been very interesting and satisfying and I feel like my work/life balance in 2014 was particularly good overall.

August 2014:

August was such a great month. I made fig jam, did karate in the park with Kale with regularity, made a lot of smoothies, we went to Saturna Island with cherished friends, went to the Food Truck Festival in town, and – something I’ve been wanting to do for ages – got started on another tattoo. Things were really good in August, despite knowing Kale was unlikely to return to school in September due to the labour dispute. Kale did a lot of day camps to pass his days, and lost his first tooth while at camp which he still refuses to give up to the Tooth Fairy. I spent tonnes of time with friends. August was a very happy month. Here’s some cheerful beers to mark this month:

September 2014:

In September I organized and led a card-making event called New West Love Letter to Myself which was a fun experience even if the attendance wasn’t great. We hit up Hicks Lake for the annual camptacular in what was the most fun and best attended one yet.  Kale and I started working on his Halloween costume. And the rain came back. Gah. Rain.

October 2014:

Kale started grade one Рfinally Рand adores his teacher. I had another sit with my tattoo artist and things starting kicking up notches with the municipal election. I volunteered for two candidates this year, both of whom were successful in their bids. It was tiring, and there was a lot on the go, but I managed to have a few nice evenings with my girlfriends and Ross and I managed a few date nights (granted, at election campaign events, but still.) Kale and I finished his Halloween costume Рit was a papier mach̩ snow pea, a character from Plants vs. Zombies, which still remains one of his favourite games.

November 2014:

The first half of November was filled with events, fundraisers, meetings, and other great stuff all about the municipal election, which happened on the 15th. We still managed a few nice days out in the park, including the day we got some new family photos done, and I had my final sit with Moorea to finish my tattoo. This tattoo is a nautical theme, with a starfish, an anchor, and a ship’s wheel. Way back when we got broken into (it seems so long ago now), by chance I was wearing my dad’s ship’s wheel necklace and so it wasn’t lost. I had it tattooed so that if we ever get broken into, or if I ever lose this piece of jewelry, I’ll always have him with me.

December 2014:

December just passed, so my memories are a bit more fresh. I volunteered for Operation Red Nose with friends three Fridays, went to Ross’ company Christmas party all fancied up, Kale lost tooth # 2, we hosted the Arbo family Christmas dinner, and for Christmas I was gifted a lovely shiba inu brooch. I caught a dreadful cold (which is still lingering ever so slightly) and reorganized my craft room. It was hard to pick just one picture for this month, because it was a great month with lots to choose from, but ultimately, I picked this one, because my family is the most precious thing I have. This was a quick snap on a lazy Sunday during the holidays, watching a rare early hockey game and eating pizza.

Looking Back on my 2014 Resolutions:

How did I do? Well, I’d say. Very well.

  • A healthier savings account. We did a great job on this. I put some real effort into stashing aside some money for vacations and for general saving. We refinanced our mortgage as well (it had come time for renewal), and used that as a good time to also check in on some things like RRSPs and Kale’s educational saving. And, one step further, we finally got real Wills and Powers of Attorney taken care of. Checking all the boxes on my adult life list.
  • Stop buying uncomfortable shoes. I did pretty good at this, and actually only bought a few pairs of shoes period (though I admit to an online Boxing Day impulse buy of a pair of not very practical black booties that haven’t arrived yet). I picked up a new pair of Birkenstocks while on a shopping date in the States with a friend, a pair of Keens for camping, canoeing, and summer walking, and a pretty hot pair of surprisingly comfy Clark’s heels.
  • Done my Christmas shopping by November 30 and then take myself to the spa in December. I didn’t go to the spa, but I managed to do this once again. Boom.
  • I’d like to stay committed to fitness, in whatever form that is. Karate was my main form of fitness, and I stayed very regular to it every week. I managed to get my orange belt right before Christmas, and I have to admit I’m pretty proud of the hard work that went into it. I gave myself a few Christmas gifts this year, and one of those gifts was a pattern to make a new custom-fit gi. Karate uniforms are not meant for curvy people, that’s for sure.) I’d like to add cardio to my fitness regime this coming year.

Resolutions: Goals:

A friend on Twitter suggested that this year, rather than make resolutions, set goals. I like this idea – it sounds like a more concrete and measurable way to challenge yourself. I know it’s just semantics, but I like it. Here’s what I’m hoping to do in 2015:

  • For the 11th year in a row, I’ll be done shopping by November 30, and then take myself out to the spa. This year I’ll actually make it to the spa.
  • I’d like to get two more karate belts this year, and add in some cardio to my activity. I don’t have major goals to lose weight but I’d like to keep being active as much as I can. I would like to see us biking as a family (so Kale’s goal is hopefully to learn to ride a bike!) and to get out paddling in the canoe as often as possible.
  • More date nights. I don’t have an exact number but I feel like I could have done better in spending time with just Ross. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world many days when I hear of other wives and their frustrations with their spouses, but I have an equal partner in Ross in every sense of the word, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
  • This poor, neglected blog. I miss blogging for the sheer enjoyment of writing. I’m setting a goal for myself to write here once every two weeks at the least. To help me do that I’m actually doing what I tell clients to do – I’m planning an editorial calendar!

I hope to see you back here in the comments as I get back into The Arbolog. Enjoy your year, friends, and make every moment count.


7 years ago


  1. Reading your blog posts has always been one of my enjoyments (it’s where I first “discovered” you!). Well done on your perseverance to keep on writing, my friend. It sounds like balance in all aspects of your life has been achieved.

  2. I enjoyed reading this Jen! I like how you reflect on your year and include photos to go along. I look forward to hopefully reading some more frequent posts. All the best to you and the gang in 2015.

  3. Lovely 2014 roundup. I’d like to join you in the finish shopping by November 30th and then have a spa day accountability =)

Comments are closed.