Doing a series of 'closing rituals' is part of my annual tradition on the blog (since 2006) and in my private journals (since I can't remember when!).
Basically, here, it means sharing some of the highlights of the year (both blogged and un-blogged moments). Although I kind of missed out on part of 2010 due to an extremely hectic year.
Anyway, I've done all sorts of end-of-year round-up posts:
- The traditional month-by-month. Example: my 2006 Highlights post + a mix of late 2010/early 2011 round-up called An Amazing Year: Part 1 and An Amazing Year: Part 2.
- The list route. Obviously, this became my favourite. Samples: 7 from 2007, 8 on 8 from 2008, my 2009 annual review.
- The theme-based round-up. This is just listing down some memories from the year, using different themes such as family milestones, work/professional, etc. Like: A World of Good: 2011 Year In Review and 2012: The Year of Possibility.
This year, or rather, for last year's 2013 annual review, I'm not quite sure what kind of 'highlights post' I want to do. So, since I'm all for 'hybrids' at the moment, I thought I might just do a hybrid of month-by-month, list, and theme-based.
Some Things To Remember
For 2013, I chose FOCUS as my Word of the Year. While I was initially apprehensive about this word, being the slash/dash person that I am, I realised how important it was to understand what focus really means to me. Even more so, as a slash/dash person. That's why in a way, 2013 became the year when I truly connected with what matters most to me, at this stage of my life.
The Monthly Highlights
- Had an incredible road-trip with my family, including my mom and sister that took us to different parts of South Australia and Victoria, then Melbourne and Sydney.
- My boy turned 9. He had an ice skating party with his friends.
- Kids started school again (boy at Year 4; girl at her third term in Reception).
- Celebrated Valentine's Day with a special surprise dinner at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Organised by the hubby.
- Hubby's birthday.
- Celebrated 10 years of being in Australia.
- Went to Melbourne to attend Evernote for Business event AND to be interviewed for a job. Yes, they offered me a job to become their PR Manager for their Asia Pacific office based in Singapore. However, I had to turn them down due to a number of reasons. It was a tough decision, as they seem to be an amazing company with really great people. Can't speak highly enough of the people I've met.
- My girl turned 6. She had a 'masquerade party' at our house with her new school friends.
- Did my only giveaway of the year here on the blog. Haven't done this in ages!
- Celebrated my 39th birthday. Yep, last year in my 30s! Ouchie.
- Graduated with my second Masters' degree. A Master of Teaching degree from Flinders University.
- Went to my first Bryan Adams concert with the hubby.
- Found a house I love. Bought it.
- Went to the Gold Coast to attend my third Connecting Up conference. My first time to attend as a non-CU staff and representing my company, Vervely, for Microsoft Citizenship APAC (my client). Great to see some old friends, meet new ones, and develop connections. Special thanks to Nerida Gill too, for being a great roomie!
- Celebrated Vervely's first year in business.
- Remembered my dad's fifth year death anniversary.
- Our dog Blue turned 6!
- Started incorporating 'Daily Writing' practice.
- Put our old house on the market. Sold it within 24 hours. Started packing.
- Sold my first car, Yvonne, my Pink Ford Festiva. And, bought a new car - Wynona Rider (still not blogged!).
- Moved to our new house on the 4th of July. On an incredibly stormy day.
- Finished my first ever short script. It's in draft form, but pleased to have finally done it after years of wishing I can write a screenplay. It's loosely based on an old short story I wrote. Title: "The Last Kiss".
- The li'l girl attended gymnastics this month - and she loves it. She got tested and was accepted into the program, and has progressed on to the next Step/Level, after her second term.
- Kids won Oliphant Science Awards again. Girl won 2nd Place for Multimedia (her second win in a row). Boy had Highly Commended for his video (he wasn't too pleased he didn't win a prize after winning 1-2 prizes a year for three years in a row).
- My company, Vervely, officially became a Microsoft direct vendor. Making me part-Microsoftee, with my own @microsoft.com email account. So thrilled to be a part of an incredible team - with an amazing company.
- Started doing bento lunch boxes for my kids.
- Went on a short weekend trip to the Riverlands for the first time, with the family.
- Attended my first wedding party in Adelaide, for my good friend Tina (a former co-worker) and Calvin.
- Hosted my good friend Christine and her husband Simon from New Zealand at our new house.
- Got mentioned in The Philippine Times Australia (Oct 2013 issue).
- Went "Trick or Treating" for the first time.
- Launched my latest web project, as a result of my newest hobby: Bento Lunch Box Stories.
- My mom arrived for the holiday season from Manila.
- My little girl's first media appearance. She got featured on The Advertiser and the local Messenger paper. Much excitement.
- Girl's first School Nativity Play. She played an angel. This is how she got into the papers. 🙂
- Went to Melbourne to speak at Associations Forum's inaugural Future Leaders Conference. Had a great time and made some lovely new friends.
- Went to Melbourne again to attend Microsoft Citizenship APAC's Social Media for Social Good Event at the local MSFT HQ. My fourth Microsoft office visit (Sydney, Redmond, Adelaide are the first three, in that order).
- I also received another feature on The Philippine Times (Australia).
- Attended Girl Geek Coffee and Giving Tuesday at the local Microsoft Adelaide office. Also started meeting - and getting welcomed into - the amazing local team.
- Celebrated 14th Wedding Anniversary.
- Celebrated my mom's birthday.
- Mum-in-Law and Dad-in-Law arrived for the holiday season from Johannesburg.
- Family trip to the Yorke Peninsula. Our first time to visit the area.
- Fabulous Christmas Day celebrations at home, with the family. Kids loved spending it with all grandparents for the first time (including my dad, in spirit).
- Spent a lovely New Year's Eve at Brighton Beach with the family.
Projects and Themes To Remember
- Started attending art classes at a local art studio. And yes, started painting again. Special return to oil painting as a medium.
- Some new creative discoveries: Doing gelatin plate printing. Drawing/painting on vellum paper. Copic markers. Prismacolor pencils.
- Did 101 Faces Project.
- Also did a couple of Diane Culhane online art classes.
Favourite New Gadgets of the Year:
- Finally abandoned my old iPhone, in exchange for my brand new Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone.
- Trying to motivate myself to become healthier, so decided to buy and start using Fitbit.
- My new LG Roboking (gotta blog about this some time!).
- The fridge that the previous homeowners of our new house left us. Not really new, but new to us.
- Projector, screen, and sound system for our very own home cinema. Projector and screen are also from the previous homeowners. The sound system is new.
More Family Moments:
- Both the kids are still playing piano and they had a recital at school together for the first time.
- The boy is still playing soccer and has had trials for the next season. It looks like he's still going to continue. It will be his fifth year.
- Both kids started playing a little bit of squash, with some external and daddy coaching. They seem to be enjoying, but not sure if they'll continue.
- They're also still taking swimming lessons, but the boy has been allowed to take two terms on and two terms off this year. He has participated in their school's swimming carnival and their team won. They both love having our very own pool.
- This is the year that I've been introduced to Netflix and has finally given in and explored Spotify a lot more. Loving them both at the moment.
- This is also the year when I probably watched the most movies ever - and got introduced to some great TV shows. I became a Trekkie, a Whovian, and a Browncoat all in the same year.
- I also got to read a bit, but not as much as I'd like.
Other Blogging Highlights:
- As part of my blogging projects for this year, I joined A Week In The Life (September) and 31 Days of Blogging (October). Really enjoyed them both.
- Grateful for the support from different parts of the world regarding Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
- Also thankful to see the result of my 38 for my 38th Fundraising campaign for Charity Water.
- Managed to share two new recipes: Spinach and Feta Fillo Pie Recipe and Crispy Binagoongan Recipe.
- Top 5 blog posts of the year (all-time, not just new posts): Chilli Crabs Recipe, 12 Things To Make and Do with Strawberries, Fish Fillet with Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe, Chicken Sopas Recipe, and Top 5 "To Do" Apps on the iPad/iPhone. Clearly, I'm being marked as more of a food blogger than a social media/techie blogger. Heh.
- Top 5 commenters of the year (love ya!): @KariRohl, @conniesnotepad, @angelisophia, @SarahCB1208, and @flamehair.