We all embraced the privilege of becoming a year older this year. Piper had her birthday in Scotland, Stuart celebrated a big one at home in Washington and then at Disneyland, and Autumn had a little surprise birthday party at the local trampoline place with a couple of new friends. My birthday was good, too, but fridge repairs competed extensively for attention and energy that weekend. I got a new fridge for my birthday.
We traipsed across the Atlantic together for the first time in 2023. It was my girl’s first international trip and my first time home in 13 years.
Stranger Cousins assembled for the first time and spent some long overdue, face-to-face time together. And we managed a bonus cousin reunion with our Stronach Girl-Cousins in England.
It wasn’t a tourist trip this time around. We underestimated how exhausted we’d be mentally and emotionally, with it being the girl’s first trip there. They’d never been away from home for so long before. Autumn was homesick almost instantly.
I struggled, not realizing the impact that not visiting for so long would have on me.
We headed north, checked off Mt. Rainier National Park from our National Parks list, and visited Grandparents on the same trip.
I got a bonus National Park without the family this year…
Homeschool is still going. Last year went a bit differently with traveling and distractions. We look forward to getting back on track and building our skills in 2024. In 2023, we took advantage of our local library’s programs for kids. The girls made new friends and enjoyed attending classes and learning in a different environment. Homeschool is still the right choice for us.
I’ve added new items and designs to the Sugar Grenade shop this last year and continue having some exciting, busy months when people are buying Galentine cards, and when they’re making their Leslie Knope Pawnee Goddess vests. I have plans and ideas to expand the shop next year.
I hope to pick up new design clients this year and get back into Bea + Elle a little bit. I got off track a few years ago, but am excited to focus on getting more involved with businesses and brands again.
We had our annual Easter egg hunt with friends, and we cannot believe how big these kids are getting. We’ve done this since they were teeny tots.
We made it the Adams/Britton cousin Halloween shindig this year. Last year, Piper worked herself into a tizzy and couldn’t go due to excitement-induced barfing.
For Thanksgiving this year, we broke our tradition of hibernating all winter and drove down to Las Vegas to spend it with family – more cousin time! We made a big, delicious dinner together and had a really relaxed few days hanging out. There were matching jammies for the cousins, Minecraft, leftovers, and lots of laughs.
We squeezed in more holidays with cousins’ time and headed over to Stuart’s aunt and uncle’s for Christmas cookie decorating.
We look forward to spending more holidays with friends and family in 2024.
After I got home from Scotland, I went on a glamping trip to Bryce Canyon. It was a quiet couple of nights away with much rest and a little adventure – I did my first slot canyon.
Then we had a Girl’s trip to celebrate our friend’s 40th and headed up to Bear Lake. There was a road trip, food, karaoke, homemade trail mix, hiking, trivia, bracelet making, s’mores, a beach day, and paddleboarding. We really packed it in and had a great time.
The Oregon Coast
We’re always looking forward to our Oregon Coast trip! Our 2023 trip was a little different. Usually, we camp up the coast and end our trip at Cannon Beach. This year, we headed straight to Coos Bay, Oregon, where we had an Airbnb for a couple of nights, and Stuart’s cousin and her family surprised him by getting an Airbnb down the street.
Then we headed up to Cannon Beach to camp at our usual spot to meet up with Autumn’s pen pal and to camp for a few days.
This year, our old pal, Kirsten, visited us from San Francisco. It had been many years since we’d seen each other, but she showed up, we crafted, and she instantly became the girl’s best friend. They even had matching Christmas jammies this year.
Bestie, Mandy dropped in for a surprise visit around Easter, and we returned the favor and dropped in to see her when we picked up Wendy and Sonya in Vegas.
After our visit home, Aunt Wendy and Aunt Sonya couldn’t resist and visited us for a few weeks. It was their first time in the States, and we got busy covering some serious miles and eating some serious calories immediately with them.
It’s been a good year! So much hasn’t made it into this post but should be noted the hospitality, support, mentorship, and presence of so many fantastic friends in our lives, we are grateful!
Besides all the fun stuff, we’ve also had some icky things. We’re focusing on the good and crossing our fingers for no more eyeball blisters, dental infections, or covid this coming year.
Here’s to another year of adventuring with my favorite people!