Top 13 parenting moments of 2013

Lists are the thing to do for the New Year, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and joining in. Here’s a list of my top parenting moments of 2013 in no particular order.

1. Dance parties in our living room. Blasting the “Chicken Dance,” “Bicycle Built for Two” and Frank Sinatra’s rendition of my son’s all-time favorite “Jingle Bells” on our stereo for one of our various living room dance parties is one of my favorite memories of the year. Although this activity is a recent one — we started it just a few months ago — hopefully it is one that will stick around.

I’m sure as Miles gets older watching his mom and dad’s TERRIBLE dance moves will become more embarrassing and less amusing, but until then, here’s to more twirling in circles, arm shaking, head bopping and stomping (those are our go-to moves!)

2. Meeting milestones like a boss. This kid is nothing but an overachiever. He was out of his crib before he was 2 and potty trained weeks after his second birthday. Both of these major milestones were done on his terms (who am I kidding, this kid calls most of the shots.) Just before we moved to Evansville, Miles was climbing his way out the crib with ease obviously necessitating the move to a “big boy” bed. And a few weeks before his second birthday he was insistent on tossing his diaper aside so we decided to start potty training. A few weeks later there diapers were packed away and the REAL underwear came out. Mr. Independent definitely has kept us on our toes this year.

Sleeping in his big boy bed (with his Christmas tree and many other things he's dragged in with him!)

Sleeping in his big boy bed (with his Christmas tree and many other things he’s dragged in with him!)

3. So many words! I know all parents think this (as they definitely should) but Miles really is a genius. He is talking so much, mostly in complete sentences these days. There’s been so many new (and hilarious) phrases and his ability to communicate has cut down on (yet unfortunately not eliminated) the frustrated outbursts.

4. We took two trips to a local pumpkin patch this fall and had a blast — Miles played for more than an hour in a barn converted to a giant play area, picked out pumpkins, played in a bin of wheat, visited the petting zoo and rode around in a wagon. The trips stuck with my son so much that to this day, months later, if we are getting ready to go somewhere he will occasionally say, “We are going to the pumpkin patch?” in a hopeful tone. Obviously this a was a top moment of 2013 at least for Miles.

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5. Making lemonade. We didn’t literally make lemonade, this one is a little more figurative. There were several times this past year where things didn’t always go as planned, as they will always do for the rest of my life and yours. And for the most part, my little, strong family of three did a great job making lemonade out of the lemons that got thrown in our path.

A tiny example of that was of day this summer. It was our third attempt at going to Burdette to swim. Something had come up — rain, work, scheduling conflict — every other time and both Miles and I were really looking forward to it. But the sky opened up and it started to POUR! So we made some lemonade, no scratch that, we made mudpies. I’d bought several vegetable plants the day before and hadn’t had the chance to put them in the ground yet so Miles and I played in the rain and mud and planted the plants and splashed in puddles. SO MUCH FUN!

Jumping in puddles and "gardening" -- our version of making lemonade out of lemons when our day of swimming was rained out.

mud Jumping in puddles and “gardening” — our version of making lemonade out of lemons when our day of swimming was rained out.

6. Miles made it to 2. Birthdays are always a top moment. Not only do you have an awesome time spending the day celebrating your kids birth, but it is a chance to reflect on the past year. This year’s birthday party was a fun one at my sister’s sister-in-law’s house. Did you follow that one? Anyway, we had family and a good friend over for a swim party with all things “choo-choo.”

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7. This past year afforded us a couple different opportunities playing in the snow, both in the beginning of the year when we were still in Anderson, Ind., and just this past few weeks when Evansville got several inches. It’s a lot of work to get Miles (and ourselves) all bundled up, but so much fun to see him in awe of the white fluffy stuff. He really didn’t get into sledding much but got a kick out of marching around in the snow and throwing it at Michael and me.

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8. A new cousin for Miles and new nephew for me. Cousins are pretty awesome. I have an amazing relationship with mine that I continue to foster and treasure today. Miles has three awesome cousins in Louisiana on my husband’s side of the family but at the beginning of the year we welcomed his first cousin on my side of the family when my twin sister had Charlie. It has been so much fun to watch the two little boys grow up together and become so close.

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Sweet moment with Miles and Charlie during our Christmas celebration.

Sweet moment with Miles and Charlie during our Christmas celebration.

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9. Countless loving moments. I could have a Top 1,300 list of loving moments from this past year. While the first year or so of parenting is rewarding in many ways, you don’t get a lot of “return.” That may make me sound like a jerk, but it’s tough in those first few months where there is little to no interaction.

This past year has been so different. I get the biggest hugs and kisses that Miles initiates without any prompting; he shouts, “Mommy I love you;” he will hold his hands on my cheek pulling me close into him; and so many more. I can’t get enough of my little guy’s sloppy kisses and bear hugs.

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Photo by Bluebird Photography www.bluebird-photography.com/

Photo by Bluebird Photography www.bluebird-photography.com/

A rare "rocked to sleep" nap moment a few months ago.

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11. Swimming. In moving to Evansville we left behind my wonderful in-laws in Louisiana but I’ve been blessed with a whole set of adopted in-laws through my sister. Her husband’s family, even before we lived in Evansville, have been great to me. And with the Spurgeon/Orr clan, we’ve gotten access to two pools. Miles couldn’t be happier. We had great times swimming in their pools this summer. It took a few minutes to get warmed up, but once Miles got in the water it was tough to get him out.

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12. Fourth of July. Holidays are always memorable but this one was especially fun. Since moving back to Indiana, I’ve made a habit of going home to Vincennes, Ind., for the Fourth of July festivities. It isn’t as if there is something extraordinary but it is a nice time with my mom and family friends. And Miles has been able to enjoy it the last two years too — barbecue with friends, parade and fireworks. It’s the “All-American” celebration.

Watching fireworks way past his bedtime.

Watching fireworks way past his bedtime.

While most of the kids were eating candy in they'd caught during the parade, Miles munched on a banana.

While most of the kids were eating candy they’d caught during the parade, Miles munched on a banana.

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13. Trains. No list about my son and parenting could be complete without mention of trains. They kind of go hand-in-hand in our world. And there have been lots of memorable train moments. His party was train-themed and tested my crafty/baking skills. I will treasure the image of Miles and my grandpa Charlie standing at the same huge picture window I stood at as a child to watch the trains go by. A trip to the Evansville Museum Transportation Center was a memorable one for all of us. And I’m hoping that when my son is sneaking in after curfew at 16 or yelling that I’m “ruining his life” at 14 that I will be able to picture all of our peaceful moments on the living room floor playing trains.

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It’s been a great year for us; here’s to an even better 2014. Happy New Year!

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