I am going to indulge in a personal off-topic post to share some thoughts at the New Year.
2012 has been a really amazing year. The huge highlight was of course how we spent our summer.
I spent my weeks in the marine paradise called Newport, Oregon, while the kids enjoyed time with grandparents.
Every weekend brought a new adventure all over the state, as I took the boys to see all the sights. We played at the Pacific Science Center in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, explored the human body and the bouncy-ball inventing room at OMSI in Portland, and sat where Howard Hughes once did in the cockpit of the famed Spruce Goose. The geology geek in me swelled when we visited the beautiful fossil beds of Eastern Oregon and stumbled upon the many treasures of Newberry Volcanic Monument, where we walked around the rim of a cinder cone volcano, hiked through a lava tube cave, and climbed on basalt flows. Later, we drove around the rim of Crater Lake and did several short hikes there, and collected volcanic rocks and sand on several beaches. We enjoyed seeing many animals at a walk-through and drive-through "safari" and a desert animal museum, and discovered so many marine creatures at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Hatfield Marine Science Center where I worked. We even got to see many invertebrates and fish in the wild at nearby tidepools, the California Sea Lions that rest on a dock in Newport, and the fascinating sea birds at Yaquina Head. We drove almost the entire length of the Oregon Coast and visited all but one lighthouse in Oregon, and also had a fun visit to Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California where we found hundreds of crabs under the wet rocks and in tide pools. We attended a kite festival on the coast, combed dozens of beaches, and sat in the ocean. We brought home quite the collection of crab molts, rocks, sand, shells, feathers, bones, fossils, photographs, and memories.
Back in Utah, we immediately started back to school and I immediately got really sick and struggled with various illnesses all semester. It's a miracle I completed any classes with all the troubles we had, but I did fair and got the classes out of the way. I managed to fall into a job as a tutor and completed my first semester leading a study group for Human Physiology. That was so fun and I'm looking forward to doing it again this upcoming semester. I work at the Academic Tutoring Center and really enjoy that as well. We moved into our own apartment at the end of November and enjoyed Christmas at our new place that has a fireplace! :D
Here was how I celebrated the new year...
Dec 31, 2012:
The kids and I counted down to the New Year in Chile, which was 8:00 our time. We blew horns and banged pots (I'm sure the neighbors thought we'd lost it), made a mess with pop-out streamers, then toasted with a glass of sparkling cider. Kids played a few games, looked at pictures from our many adventures in 2012, and went to bed. I relaxed alone with some music, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, and a puzzle from Dinosaur National Park.
Right before midnight I walked outside to feel the falling snow on my face and hair, and heard the muffled noises of people banging pots and pans in their homes, cars honking their horns as they drove down the icy street, and a few nearby fireworks going off, as the future became present. I took a few photos of the snow sparkling in the lamp light, and the 5-foot-long icicles clinging to the eaves of my building. It was beautiful and a truly glorious way to start the new year: in complete serenity.