2013 Highlights

Lighthouse - 2013 HighlightsDoing 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:

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

January 2013

Day 18/365 (2013): The Boy at his Birthday Party, with Sister

At the boy's birthday party at the Ice Arena. Love how his sister is looking on so sweetly. Also, looking at this, I can't believe how much 'younger' they look. Have they really changed that much in a year?

February 2013

  • 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.
Day 45/365 (2013): A part-surprise Valentine's Day dinner

The Valentine's Day semi-surprise dinner at the restaurant at the Adelaide Botanical Garden was great. Loved the multi-course meal (can't remember if it was 6 or 8 or what - just plenty of food!). The hubby did well. 🙂

March 2013

  • 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!
Day 89/365 (2013): The Li'l Girl Turns 6!

My girl on her sixth birthday. So very cheeky. Always loves the camera, this girl. And, the camera seems to love her back.

April 2013

  • 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.
Day 105/365 (2013) / 16/52: Graduation Day!

Started a second Masters' degree way back in 2009. Finally finished the coursework late in 2012. So happy to do the graduation march last April 2013 - with my kids and hubby cheering me on. It was tough to finish when I went back to full time work. And, I wish I graduated with my friends. But, I'm glad I persisted and got to the finish line.

May 2013

  • 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.
With Beth Kanter and John Kenyon

It was great to see Beth Kanter and John Kenyon again at the 13CU conference at the Gold Coast. Loved getting the chance to hang out again - on Aussie soil! Really amazing and smart folks, these two. Well deserved love from the NPTech community.

June 2013

"Red House" Virtual Tour

Lived here for 6.5+ years. Longest time hubby and I have ever stayed put in one place. And yes, this is is the best the house has ever looked.

July 2013

  • 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.
New House

Loved this house from the moment I saw it online. Didn't think I could ever own a house like this in my life. We'll see how long we can stay put in this one!

August 2013

September 2013

  • 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.
1 Prize Winner and 1 Highly Commended in this year's Oliphant Science Awards. The girl's second win. The boy's first non-prize winning year after winning three years straight.   How do you balance celebrations with one child while trying to commiserate wi

One prize winner and one highly commended in this year's Oliphant Science Awards. This has become an annual thing for us too. So far.

October 2013

Adelaide Visitors

With the Goodings from New Zealand at the National Motor Museum.

November 2013

  • 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).
Li'l girl on The Advertiser Nov 2013

When we did a birth announcement for the girl on The Advertiser 6+ years ago, we called her our 'little star'. On her first official media appearance, we see the words 'stars shine' with her photo on the same newspaper. Ah, how cool is that? So much excitement over this, of course.

December 2013

  • 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.
Santa has come to visit! And, the rest of the grown-ups went a bit overboard with the pressies again, methinks. ;) Looking forward to the kids' reactions in the morning. How amazing is it that we get to celebrate Jesus' birthday around the world this way,

So. Many. Presents. Yes, these kids get spoilt. Especially with three grandparents around who enjoy going overboard at Christmas time!

It was a great day for strawberry picking...

At Beerenberg Farm in Hahndorf. Best strawberry picking day ever. Lovely weather. Huge, plump, juicy strawberries.  Some of them, as big as a small child's fist. It was great to spend time with the parents/grandparents over the holidays! 

Projects and Themes To Remember

Art/Creativity Moments: 

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.

Entertainment Notes:

  • 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:

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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