December 31, 2013

{2013} Time in a Bottle

It's the final hour of 2013.
I thought I'd take a moment to save a little time in bottle, or Time in a Blog Post.  

Some current events & signs of the times from right here:

Currently reading:  The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak (it's very good so far.)
Mitch is reading "No Silent Night, The Christmas Battle for Bastogne" next to me on the couch. 
(We're reading from two very different perspectives of the same war.) 
Meanwhile, Beau sits between us attentively writing & illustrating a chapter book he titled, "A Beauty Horse."  He says some day he'll make books and sell them.

I read just shy of 30 novels in 2013.  There were many good ones, but my favorites this year were The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (though the name is exasperating) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. 

Currently watching:  Band of Brothers.  Mitch received the boxed DVD set from my mom for Christmas, we've started watching them a few nights over the past week.  Very intense.
Other new movies playing at our house over vacation:
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The Croods, Planes, & Despicable Me.  
It's been cold.  -30 (F) overnight & not getting out of the negatives for highs during the day.  
It's nice to have new movies for winter days like these!
The only film I saw in theater this year was Monsters University. 

In the mail this past week: 
Notably less Christmas cards & letters than previous years.  Are they phasing out?  I still love snail mail.
A late package I had ordered for Beau - a Where's Waldo classic adventure collection.  We're loving Waldo these days. 
A surprise in the form of a large box at our door one evening.. containing three sets of sheep horns from Texas.  We had honestly given up hope that we'd ever see them again.  It was a jovial Christmas miracle.  

U.S. postage stamps are currently at 46¢. 
Gas in our area is somewhere over $3.00/gallon this week.  We pay around the same for milk. 
Pantone announced the next Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid, which gives me flashbacks of Barney the Dinosaur from my babysitting days.  

Current Projects: 
Johnathan is working on a 5th grade project on the Native American Seminoles. 
Mitch is working on clearing his project list.  He has always had the week between Christmas & New Years off with the family.  No such luck this year.  
I'm hopeful / excited to get working on interior finish of the upper level of our addition soon. 
I painted the inside of the lower level / garage area a dark color called "Seal" and love it.  Will I look back someday & think, "That was so 2013?"  Hopefully not. 

As of the close of 2013, we've held out & still don't have internet/data on our phones.  Talk & text only.  I feel like we're a significant minority.  When we leave home everyone around us is playing on the screens of their phones.  I'm tempted to cave in.  (Not to follow the crowd, but because maps/directions/info on the go would be awfully handy.  And so would the mobile camera features.)
For now we access internet only on our home computers and I still read real books & even check them out at the real library from time to time.

I consider it a great success to know little to nothing about 2013 celebrity current events.  Triumph over media in the modern ages!   There are so many better things to focus attention on.

I'm currently experiencing small doses of feeling really freaked out about raising teenagers.  I was doing pretty good until just after 16 came.  It's all good.. just fleeting moments of trepidation. 
We have several years of this to go! 

Speaking of teenagers, they just made it safely home from their evening with friends.
So now I'll say goodnight & farewell to 2013.
(Our Family's Year In Review can be seen Here.) 
Tomorrow a new year with new thoughts on the way!


  1. I have a smart phone, but my husband does not and he refuses to give in. He really doesn't need any more stimuli in his life. Hold out as long as you can -- from my perspective, it's not really worth it.

    Happy New Year Amanda -- wishing you much peace, joy, health and happiness for 2014.

  2. Happy New Year to you, too, Amanda. I enjoy reading your blog through the year and occasionally commenting. Good luck raising teens. We lucked out with our two daughters (one is 32 the other turning 28) so it can be done. I think you have the family values for it to work out. I too have only a cell for voice and text and did send Christmas cards. Only my son in law has the iPhone but that is from his work.

  3. Glad to hear they made it home all right so you can now go to sleep. Happy 2014, Amanda! I hope it's a wonderful one for you. I loved The Book Thief and am hesitant to see the movie because I hear it's quite different. :-)

  4. i can't help you on the raising teenagers thing. but good luck with that! :)

  5. I caved and got an smartphone last year. And I must say it's been extremely handy! It's not an iphone, so the camera is crap. I want an iphone only for the great camera it has. Maybe for my next upgrade. Hang in there with your teenagers! They seem like good kids, I'm sure they will do great! And from my experience, after a semester of college away from home, kids have a new appreciate for their parents (trust me!) Happy New Year to you and your family!

  6. Amanda, I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and your well-composed images. You and I are a minority of 2 - who are the current "celebrities? (and why?) I must confess I'm something of a techno-grammy. I love my iPhone camera and rarely take my heavy DSLR on walks anymore. (Getting old, I guess - or lazy.) I've read on the Kindle about 4 years now and won't go back to paper though I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to try the Kindle (I was an English major, after all - I love the feel, smell, look of paper books, but I've come to the realization that it's the words that count.) PS I will never, ever, wear orchid, though I have some orchids that might bloom in 2014 if I'm lucky. Happy 2014 to you and Family.

  7. Beautiful recap and insight into your life. The movies in you rhone sound very familiar. I've not seen one movie at the theatre this year, but the rest of the family has. My husband hates my very old hand-me-down phone so I let him buy me a smart phone for Christmas - still waiting on the Sim to arrive via snail mail. It will be very handy for many things.
    Postage is 60 cents here and it's our 6 week summer vacation time for schools.
    Gas is about twice your price in Australia, close to $6 a gallon, more than milk.
    Real books from the library - always a few dozen in our house at any one time but I'm not into reading. fiction.
    Four teenagers in our family at the moment. This time next year there will be five teens. Love them - life is so interesting.
    It will be interesting for you to read over such posts as the years go on.

  8. Oh, and tomorrow's forecast in our town is a very hot 104F.

  9. I enjoyed reading your post.. It will be fun for you to look back at this someday. Happy New Year my friend.


  10. I feel like I got fewer Christmas cards in the mail this year as well. Maybe 2013 was an exceptionally busy year for everyone? David and I have talk & text phones only as well so I totally get where you're coming from. If it weren't for the expense, I'd totally get a smartphone. But right now we only pay $13 a month for both of our phones (we're on David's mom's family plan!) so there's no way I can justify spending way more than that just for fun. But someday I may cave, who knows... ;)

  11. Lovely way to document the end of 2013, Amanda.

    I am reading Before, After, and Someone In Between by Jeannine Garsee. Last August I traded in my Kindle and upgraded to a net-book. I love it!

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a good one. Have you read any books by Catherine Ryan Hyde?

    J and I never went to a theater movie all year. I recorded and watched Julie and Julia on the DVR. I also recorded The Secret Life of Bees and have yet to watch it. J watches a lot of reality tv shows. I like Alaska: The Last Frontier and watch The Bold and The Beautiful while making dinner. Dallas is going to start again in January!

    If you got a smartphone you would love it. I resisted for a long time too. Now, I wouldn't be without it.

    If I buy milk in our local small town or in North Dakota boarder town is it at least $4.25 and up to $6.00/gallon. I got some in the big city yesterday at it was $3 or a little less.

    Good Luck with your addition project. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your progress.

    Stay Warm!

  12. Happy New Year, Amanda!

    30 books is great. I love reading and getting lost in a story. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a good one. Have you read any Catherine Ryan Hyde books? I am reading Before, After, and Someone In Between by Jeannine Garsee.

    I traded in my Kindle Fire and upgraded to a net-book. I love it! I can buy good reads cheap and adjust the fond size so I can easily read. I have hardly touched a physical book in the last year.

    I resisted on the smartphone too. We went 8 1/2 years with no phone. J had a track phone for a few years. I would not go without my smartphone. It is so handy and texting is lots of fun.

    J and I did not see a movie in the theater all year. I DVRed two movies and have watched one of them. Julie and Julia. I don't watch a lot of tv, but do have a couple shows I like. J is in to all kinds of reality shows.

    Good Luck with continuing to work on your addition project. Can't wait to see pictures!

    Stay warm. Sounds like we are in for another extreme cold spell.

  13. Happy New Year to you and yours, Amanda. I'm reminded once again how much I enjoy your attitudes toward life and family. And yes I'm still good with my desk top, lap top, Garmin for not getting lost, libraries and no need for a smart phone, celebrity's and dare I add most TV ....:)