Yeah, you may have already moved on into 2015, but I’m still looking back and reflecting on the previous year and all that happened. Despite some illnesses and injuries, 2014 had a lot of good moments for me, too. We went on some fantastic trips, had breakthroughs in overcoming challenges, and enjoyed spending time together as a family.
Here are some of the highlights of the last year, in chronological order (because I simply would have a hard time ranking them):
Snow day fun – We started the year with a polar vortex, which Cordy and Mira loved because it meant plenty of days off of school. Despite needing to still work while they were home for snow days, we managed to work in a little bit of fun, too, like performing the boiling water sublimation trick in below zero weather. It was the viral challenge of the winter, before the ice bucket challenge became the viral challenge of the summer.
Castaway Bay – In early February, we were getting a little tired of the snow and cold, which was remedied by an overnight trip to Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay. It was close to zero outside, but 82 degrees inside. I like that Castaway Bay has no pool areas deeper than four feet, so I felt safe letting my kids play without needing to hover over them. It was also a fun experience to go into the outdoor portion of the hot tub – we were still toasty warm in the water, while our hair was frozen in the near-zero temperature with snow all around. Even though it was a short trip, it was just what we needed to recharge.
Walt Disney World – Probably one of the highlights of the year for Cordy and Mira was traveling to Walt Disney World in March. I went for the Type-A Bootcamp, and brought the family along to have some fun as well. The one thing they wanted more than anything was to meet Anna and Elsa. I’ve still never written up the full experience, but let me tell you it was a four hour wait in line to see the famous sisters in the Norway pavilion of Epcot. (Thankfully they’ve since moved them to Magic Kingdom and have FastPasses available now.) Aaron earned all the dad points by waiting in line for us, while I kept the kids entertained with the Agent P game around the World Showcase. Despite the long wait and terrible sunburn that Aaron endured, even he agreed it was worth it when our two dopplegangers met their royal inspirations.
It was also funny that during our wait, other tourists were coming up to us and asking if they could take pictures of Cordy and Mira. One super smart mom didn’t want to wait in the line for her toddler daughter, so she told her daughter that Cordy and Mira were the “official” young Anna and Elsa and had her daughter pose with them for a photo. I wanted to buy that mom a drink for her clever thinking. But really, she saved herself the need for a drink by avoiding that line.
Disneyland and Disney Social Media Moms Conference – As soon as we arrived home from our Walt Disney World trip, I had to quickly unpack and then repack to leave one week later for California to attend the Disney Social Media Moms conference at Disneyland. I received my invite for that conference after we had already booked our trip to Walt Disney World, so I wasn’t able to bring the entire family with me. But my brother-in-law and sister-in-law came along with me instead, and gave me a chance to spend more time with family members that I don’t see often enough.
The entire conference was fantastic! I still have posts in draft that I want to finish, telling more of what I learned there. As a true Disney geek, I loved learning more about the parks, the company, and how hard they work to go above and beyond for their guests. Yes, Disney is a media giant that wants your money, like any other business, but the difference is that they really want to make sure that you walk away from the experience feeling that parting with your money was completely worth it. And some of their new social initiatives are gaining steam as they use their influence to make a difference and give back to communities. (More on that soon – I’m planning to take what I’ve learned from them to launch a virtual book drive for our school district in the next week or so.)
It was also at this conference where I found my love of running again, and completed a 2 mile fun run presented by runDisney. I also discovered I love wearing costumes to run races.
Mira’s birthday at Cedar Point – Mira’s birthday usually falls on Memorial Day weekend, and she often resents that her birthday is so close to a holiday. It makes it hard to throw a party that weekend, since many families already have plans for the three-day weekend. This year, we were invited to Cedar Point that weekend for a blogger event. I mentioned that we were making the trip a birthday event for Mira, and our super generous and thoughtful contact at Cedar Point arranged for a Dairy Queen birthday cake for her.
Ice cream cake combined with riding her favorite rides and coasters for two days equaled a very happy Mira. She still talks about how that was her best birthday yet. I have no idea how we’ll be able to top that this year!
BlogHer ’14 in San Jose – This was a solo trip for me to attend my ninth BlogHer conference. While it is a work trip, it’s also my annual chance to see some of my colleagues and blog friends in person. My very first BlogHer conference was in San Jose, so it was fun to return to where it all started this year.
Halloween – I enjoyed going out with the kids for trick-or-treat, but I also was thrilled to get a night off to go out to a citywide Halloween party without the kids. Aaron and I had a great time dressing up for Highball.
BlogHerPRO – In December, I went back to California (three times in one year – a new record!) to attend the BlogHerPRO conference. Only this time, I was asked to be a speaker. This was my first time being a speaker for a session, and while I was nervous being up in front of a small crowd, it wasn’t bad at all. I might even want to do it again in the future.
So what does 2015 hold for us? I’m not sure yet, but if it’s at least as good as 20014, I can’t wait to find out!