2013, The Dill Way

31 Dec

2013 is over. Feels weird doesn’t it?? I guess I could say that I had been waiting a long time for a year like 2013 to come and I feel a lot of emotions to see it now gone. We as a family have went through a lot, from start to finish, that has done nothing but make us stronger. We definitely dealt with our share of tough times (losing my Opa in January, the trials of a premature baby) and had some truly amazing times (the trials of a premature baby, my brother’s wedding).

My wife is one of the most organized, driven people I have ever met. Don’t let her fool you — and she will definitely tell you she is so unorganized — her life is very seldom out of line. From paying bills and balancing the checkbook to presents for birthdays she is always on her game. She is extremely prompt and would rather get it out of her way then let it sit for a day. I on the other hand… am not. Well now hold on. I have only ever had two late bills so it’s not like I am lazy, but I just don’t keep on top of things like she can and does. Christmas presents? They can be bought next week. The checkbook? I can balance it on my thumb!
The main difference between my lovely wife and I? Lists. Yep. That is how she does it! It is as simple as that. She makes lists. So in a true ode to her here is a look back at 2013, in lists.

Nolan was born in March, but you all know that because he is 90% the reason you read this blog. Well as you also may already know, he has been on a tear ever since, ignoring any and every “but he’s a premie” stereotype there is.
1) He was the fattest child in the NICU by far. He had no issues with eating, and never has. I sort of take that back: the only issue the Nolanator ever had with eating was when he pulled his feeding tube out of his stomach, through his nose…. twice. And never cried.
2)At 6 months his pediatrician actually took him out of the “premie” bin and shocked us by saying he was even a little advanced in development.
3) At 9 months he was in the 90th percentile in height & the 63rd percentile in weight — compared to an average 9 month old. So that’s also cool.
4) He has accomplished nearly every other milestone on track with most “normal” babies.
5) He climbs stairs. Endlessly, he climbs stairs. He would rather be climbing stairs than sitting still. He likes stairs.

I brag a little ok? Get over it.

Here are some things Nolan hasn’t been able to accomplish as of yet, at 9-1/2 months old:
1) Teeth. He must have phenomenally strong gums.
2) Standing up by himself. Not that he should be able to yet, but he wants to. He wants to so very, very badly.
3) Going down stairs (gracefully). He will go up them all day long, but he has no way to come back down.

As I mentioned before, Nolan has grown at an alarming rate. He chows down meals as if he may never eat again! He is really pretty good about eating whatever Gerbers meal we throw at him though sometimes he will give you quite the disgusted face when he tries something new. There is really nothing (I can think of) that he just won’t eat, but here are some foods that Nolan really, really enjoys:
1) Bread
2) Pears, Mangoes, & Guava courtesy of Gerbers. He prefers this with a little oatmeal mixed in.
3) Apples
4) Carrots & Celery
5) Spare rib bones and scraps from Jim & Nick’s


It is no secret that we as a family like to travel, and while traveling with a baby may not be easy, it sure is fun. Ok, it is more fun for me because I don’t have to crawl back into the back seat to feed Nolan a bottle when he is fussy. Here is a list of the states we traveled to in 2013:
1) Wyoming
2) Nebraska
3) Iowa
4) New Mexico
5) Texas… this should count as two states. Residents of Texas should almost be ashamed of how large their state is. Land hogs.
6) Utah
Total miles traveled were well over 20,000. Also, please note we did this all without boarding a plane with arms full of luggage, car seats, strollers, diaper bags, and the like. So what if we cheated a little and the flight from Texas was while the monster was still en utero!?

In June my brother got married. Finally. It only took him 9 years, but he finally locked her down. It was definitely one of the coolest moments of my life, standing up there next to him. In September my brother-in-law got married, and that was equally as exciting. Marriage is neat. Nolan was in the flesh for both ceremonies, cute as a button, but the little guy slept through both receptions. I mean he was completely out. Not even a hurricane was going to wake him up. When he wants to sleep, the boy sleeps. Here are a few other things that Nolan can routinely sleep through:
1) The vacuum. You can literally vacuum around his crib and he just keeps on sawing logs.
2) Buffalo Wild Wings. I would be lying if I said I didn’t suggest that particular eatery on nights when he was fussy. The TV’s and general crowd noise must have been particularly appeasing to him.
3) A bottle. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but it always blew me away when he would be sleeping soundly yet still finish off a bottle. I know it’s not Nolan-unique but it is mind blowing nonetheless.

There are also things that Nolan cannot sleep through:
1) The night.

This past year was a crazy one for us in a work-related way as well. The Mrs left her job in January to first become a full-time bed-rester, then transitioned to a full-time Mom and she loves it. It is a very demanding career and there is no doubt she puts in more hours than anyone I know. Also, the pay sucks. But she still loves every minute of it! I myself also pursued some different opportunities in my career, including a move within the last couple of weeks. Fittingly, here is a list of the companies we are expecting W-2’s from for 2013:
1) Encana Oil & Gas
2) Reed Orthodontics
3) Cornerstone Natural Resources
4) Bonanza Creek Energy

I have learned a lot of lessons through these changes; a lot about myself, a lot about what is “best” for my career, and a ton about what is best for my family. I also learned that I have little control on what I want the most control over. It has absolutely been a learning process and hopefully 2014 won’t as much of a tax puzzle.

We faced a lot of challenges in 2013. I personally don’t like to dwell on challenges because doing that and a nickle won’t get you anything. However, I think it is necessary to list a few of them out because by all accounts 2013 was one of the most challenging years of my life.
1) We lost my Opa, my grandpa, after a long battle with health issues. I definitely felt I hadn’t gotten to know him well enough and it might be one of the only regrets of my life.
2) We spent Valentines night in the hospital. And then the next 13 nights after that.
3) We had a child! Talk about challenging.
4a) We had a premature child, who spent his first 6 weeks of life in the NICU — and so did we.
4b) We had a premature child, who spent his first 2+ months on oxygen and would randomly shut-down his own heart rate and breathing. That sounds super scary, right? It was. You learn to handle it and to deal with it, but I had a lot of fear about how these events would shape his growth…
5) We celebrated a year of marriage!! Like I said — marriage is neat! I love it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…. but it’s a challenge. It is my opinion that every year should be celebrated and appreciated, but also acknowledged that it isn’t hardly ever “easy”. No relationship is.

In spite of all of the challenges, we managed to complete some minor home projects… I won’t list them out but Josie got a step closer to her dream kitchen with new appliances. We put in a storm door so that we can leave our front door open — I think it’s a small town thing. I took out a nasty juniper bush and some landscaping that was driving me nuts. We put up some new lighting around the house, finally got rid of the last of the brass fixtures, and were lucky enough to purchase a new kitchen table.  Challenges I’ll note, complain I won’t — we are stupidly blessed! However, as all homeowners know, there are always a few more home projects that are still itching our pockets:
1) The laundry room. The Mrs has some grand plans for this room. I am just thankful that the crawlspace is under the room for re-running plumbing (if necessary….God please don’t make it be necessary….)
2) The garage. I need more lighting, we need more storage, and I probably need to accept that my 3-car garage will never fit our 2 over-sized vehicles properly.
3) A deck. OK, so this is a moon shot for 2014 and we both know it. But it will stay on our list until we can knock it out.

There were so many more happenings in 2013, too many to keep track of or list. But here is a shot at capturing a few more oddball things that meant a lot to me:
1) We bought the Mrs. a new (to us) vehicle! It is bigger than the Jeep was and that allows us to be able to haul all of the accessories children require
2) We introduced Nolan to all of his great-grandparents (Grandma Myra, Gma K, Papa, Gigi) and even to his great-great grandmother! Talk about a rare occasion. She actually would not let him go. It was incredibly special to see.
3) I was the best man in my brother’s wedding, and being able to give a short speech and talk about how much I look up to him and how much both he and his wife mean to me and my family was truly special
4) We hosted Christmas! It was Nolan’s first one, so we had plenty of leveraging power. We “managed” to get my parents to come, her Mom and Grandma, her Mom’s boyfriend, and last but not least — my grandpa flew up from Texas to see all of his family in the area, but we were lucky enough for him to be with us on Christmas.
5) We took Nolan to 5 baseball games. I love the game of baseball, and being able to hold him on my lap during those games was a dream come true. My favorite was the AAA game in Des Moines, in July, with fireworks afterward. Nolan didn’t even mind the loud booms… and fireworks are my favorite. Kind of funny that such little things like that can mean anything, but they absolutely do!

And finally, here is my list of what we are banking on 2014 to bring us:
1) More of Nolan’s firsts, including walking, his birthday, his first words, and many more.
2) Traveling — we just can’t help ourselves. We upgraded Nolan’s car seat recently to a really comfortable model. Trips to Salt Lake City and up to Wyoming, plus our annual trip to Iowa are already on the books.
3) A Jeep CJ-7. Sorry babe, I had to.
4) As much time with family as possible — our favorite way to kill time.
5) Patience. Tons and lots and pallets of patience. Shipped direct from the Patience Factory, please.

So there you have it. A 2013 year-in-review as only The Pickle Jar can provide. We hope that your year was as eventful and exciting as ours was! Here’s to another year and to being incredibly thankful and blessed to see it dawn…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: