Annual Year End Post: 2015 Edition

Year End Reviews from the past, if you’re interested: Halfhearted 20082009201020112013, and 2014. There wasn’t one for 2012 – I was off blogging for almost 7 months and didn’t bother.

My Instagramming got much busier in 2015, because I like its simplicity and speed. This annual year end post is much harder to choose from because I snapped and posted so many pictures. I’ve linked to other photos (and some posts) from things I did each month, but I’ve picked a nice selection of 12 photos that I think really explain my year.

January 2015

My polka dot plant bloomed. I made quiche more. I bought some pretty jewelry. We took the ferry to see our family and some awful woman decided Kale couldn’t have rainbow loom ears because it was “girly” so I went on a rant. We had a fun moment when we caught a mouse in our kitchen through some fast fingers – I actually dropped a container on the mouse as it ran – thanks karate for improving my reflexes! Kale was delighted and so badly wanted to take it to school for show and tell, but instead we drove down to the industrial area by the skytrain and let him go.

February 2015

We were getting really exciting about our upcoming trip to Maui but I also posted one of my first terrarium pictures. Terrariums became (and still are) a major thing for me this year (check out this recent snap of my kitchen counter). I love their little self contained world, I love the tiny plants, I love finding small and unexpected things to go in to the terrariums. This year I want to improve my terrarium building and focus on sculpting figurines to go into them, finding great glassware with lids (dishes are cool but self contained terrariums need lids), and on cultivating some of the plants I like myself rather than just buying them. I sold two over Christmas (no kidding!) and I’d like to consider selling a few more.

March 2015

Nothing else mattered in March except Maui. We spent 12 days in Maui and it was amazing. I turned 41, chilled on the beach with a book, consumed some delightful blender drinks with friends, went geocaching, and got a tan in paradise. We also went snorkeling at Molokini, saw a number of wonderful sunsets, went to a luau, and rested – oh my goodness how we rested. Kale also got to see a number of wonderful birds. (This year Kale has developed quite a love of birds and I LOVE this.) I can’t wait to go back. I will go to Maui many times, mark my words. I’m hoping we can return in 2017.

Current status: overcast.

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April 2015

I got more ink, this time a crow to cover up an old cartoon-y bird. We chopped down some trees on a friend’s property. We tried to spend more family time having fun outings, and spent a nice afternoon going to a fancy cafe in Kerrisdale and bird feeder shopping.

Family outing to Fauberg Cafe and to get a new bird feeder.

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May 2015

Did some karate in the park. Bought a car for myself from Ross’ mom. Figured out my strawberries were taken over by hops. I made my mom a wrapped pendant with birthstones for her kids and grandkids. Kale and I (and friends) did some more geocaching. Drank some purple stuff.

Purple drank. Long Table Gin, Violetta, and Tonic. #downthehatch

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June 2015

June was the end of school and the celebration of friends for Kale, and we also spent some time looking for geocaches on the Vedder. It marked a sad month for us when we lost Mooki on her 16th birthday (and also the anniversary of my dad’s death).  RIP, fuzzy friend. Still missing you.

Bunny ears!

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July 2015

In July we adopted Tiger, an orange floofy 5 year old cat. He’s awesome. I got more ink. And wow my little guy is not a baby or a toddler or a preschooler or anything anymore. He’s a full on kiddo who turned seven in July. Here he is camping with his dad on an overnight canoe trip, here he is as a pirate in musical theatre. We went camping for his birthday (it poured the whole time – in fact, we only went camping twice and it poured both times). Here’s Kale as an official seven year old:

Happy birthday! The big seven.

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August 2015

In August, Ross and I went to the Okanagan with friends for an adult wine touring weekend. It was really lovely and beautiful and we hit 11 wineries in two days. We’re still working our way through the cellar, but we really enjoyed going and I’d definitely do it again. Honorable mention for the best part of August? Taking Kale to the Royal BC Museum and experiencing this moment again. We also had to buy a new stove because the tiny little stove I so loved finally died and they no longer make parts to fix it.

Hello, #burrowingowlvineyards, you sexy minx.

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September 2015

School was back in! Back to the routine and back to the class. Kale was excited to be back, he enjoys school quite a bit so it was not a hardship or a struggle to get him back, and he has the same teacher for grade two that he had for grade one. I did a huge fill the freezer day (and blogged all the recipes – phew!) and I also decided to move my office back home – it was time. My officemates were growing and would soon need the space, and a number of my clients had their funding cut and it made for less work for me this past summer so I needed to find ways to cut some expenses. Moving the office back home has been good, though I really miss hanging with my office mates.

October 2015

Kale was a pretty spectacular zombie for Halloween this year, our neighbourhood had a cougar (whut?) and I was able to put my finger on why I like little plants and tiny terrariums.

November 2015

I added to the ink collection on November, and I’ve got plans in the works for another. November was a quiet month. I liked that because I had time to make some kimchikohlrabi pickles, and granola, and to reorganize the spice drawer. Kale was also sick with the flu for five days and both Ross and I agree that was likely the longest he’s ever been sick.

December 2015

For Christmas this year we decided to get away from the city and rented a house on the water with some friends. It was nice to get away, and nice to have moments of quiet and serenity. I bought Tenth to the Fraser (more on that soon!) I also got my green belt in karate, which was an important milestone for me, and we adopted Nugget. He is a dog that needs work but has lots of love to give.

Two of my very favorite goofballs.

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Looking Back on My 2015 Goals:

  • 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 did this, and spent a great day in December getting pedicures and going for beers.
  • 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. Well, Kale did learn how to ride a bike, after we sent him to a bike camp. I didn’t get two belts, but I did get my green and am happy with the progress we did make as a group and am glad to have stuck to karate. I really enjoy it and protect my Monday nights so that I can keep going. We did get out in the canoe a few times, but I would have liked to have been more and hope we can find more time for canoeing this coming year.
  • 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. We did a good job of this, taking time to enjoy each other’s company and planning stuff with just us, including a few weekends away.
  • 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! Well, I didn’t manage to write every two weeks exactly, but I did make a point of writing more often and managed to put together 23 posts plus 10 posts that were recipes. I didn’t blog in September because UGH September is so busy, but I am pretty happy with how I stepped it up this year. The most trafficked post was this one, in which I talked about scaling back when I needed to which is kind of humourous considering that finding time to write is part of the delicate balance of scheduling my life.

Setting Goals for the Year Ahead:

I don’t actually have too many goals for this coming year, because things are honestly really great in my world these days. I feel like I could always spend more time on my hobbies and less time on my phone, and while I’m happy with how much I see my spouse and my family, I could always see them more. But these don’t really say “Resolutions” to me. So, here’s four things I’m going to focus on this coming year:

  • For the 12th year in a row, I will be done my Christmas shopping before November 30, and I’ll take myself for a spa day in December in celebration. This is a no brainer, but it is good to stick to it.
  • Know when to say “I’m flattered you’d ask me, but no thank you.” I don’t do a good job of this, and convince myself a lot that saying yes to everything won’t have a big impact, but it does when it all adds up. I need a few more quiet nights at home to putter in the kitchen, sew things, and write and read more. I need less meetings. I might need to be more forceful when I do say no. I’m not saying I don’t want any new exciting opportunities, but I am saying that I will try to be more realistic about what the implications of saying yes are.
  • Reexamine my relationship with stuff with actions not just thoughts. I have a lot of things packed away in cupboards and boxes and I’d like to take time each month to go through stored items and really reassess whether they need to be in my life and so I’ve booked a day in my calendar each month to do exactly this. I already know that when I book things in my calendar, I am good at following them, so if I book now, I have less of a chance of it not happening. I need to get through a number of boxes of stored items, including kitchen stuff, office stuff, and linen closet stuff, and clothes are my first target. You know those tips that tell you if you didn’t wear certain articles of clothing in a year you should pass it on? Well, I’ve kept track of my clothes all year and guess what? More than half were never worn. That’s ridiculous. And yet, I struggle to fit t-shirts into the drawer and can barely close my socks drawer. So, on January 3 my first sort and purge day is a massive, ruthless, clothing purge. February 7th I’ve got the office, including books, in my sights.
  • Read More. Right now I pick up my book right before I go to bed and the same thing happens every night: I fall asleep about 250 words in. While I’m a really fast reader, a book takes me a month to read because I am more or less reading one or two pages a night. I’d like to make a bit more time for reading when I’m not about to go to sleep, whether that’s in the morning or in the early evening. Less time scrolling timelines, more time flipping pages.

I am glad for those of you who continue to stick around the Arbolog, and hope you have rung in 2016 as healthy and happy as you can be. A special note for my long time friend Melanie, who I met through this blog: my strong and determined thoughts are with you as you prepare for what lies ahead.

As I said last year, make every moment count, friends. Life is so precious and so good.

6 years ago


  1. I finally got around to reading this whole post. It was a good one – I love your year in review posts! It’s always amazing to see what we can pack into a year isn’t it? Thanks for the kind mention. I really like your idea of scheduling one day a month to go through things. Our house is feeling quite crowded with stuff these days and I know we need to purge – it is hard sometimes though with three children who spend a lot of time crafting. We have a lot of crafting stuff and toys because my kids actually play with all that stuff so I try not to look at it and think of it as junk. 😉

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