It's the last week of 2013 and what a year it's been. All in all, I would say it's been a good year, certainly not without challenges, but surely with less heartache than 2012 put us through - okay, maybe that's not accurate, can the year be responsible for anything we experienced or felt? No, I suppose not, just suffice it to say, 2013 was an improvement.
Some of our 2013 highlights were Mason and I doing live cooking demos, traveling to New York and Connecticut, our family taking trips to Hawaii, Napa Valley, Truckee, Disneyland, and so many more day trips. Mason and I spent lots of time at the river and Dave and I managed to get away a few times alone, too. Mason cooked up a storm in 2013 and as of checking in with him yesterday, he wants to book all the same fairs and festivals for 2014. We worked really hard raising money for his school kitchen project for which we have raised $7000 so far! There is certainly plenty of adult help that supports Mason in his ideas that seem so simple in the mind of a 10 year old, but do not for a minute be fooled into thinking there is anyone else driving the momentum of his fundraising and cooking projects, Mason is a driven young man. We have several projects coming up early next year and it looks like they can net an additional $7-8,000 - not bad! Dave is rocking school getting mostly As and I think he might even be liking college more than he did when he first started. The online accelerated programs are tough, as many of you know, but he is doing it and doing it well, each 6 weeks getting one class closer to his Bachelors degree. Dave had two other noteworthy events this year, he facilitated the 9th year of See's For Soldiers seeing an increase over donations last year netting more than 2800 lbs of donated candy. Dave also won the grand prize in the recipe contest at the 20th Annual Mandarin Festival this year with his Mandarin Pomegranate Cheesecake - he won a full set of Kitchencraft cookware! Way to go Dave!
As for future plans, they are ever changing, right? The one thing we can all count on is change. We had set our sights on leaving CA in just 3 years, but it seems to be a better plan for Dave to stay put in the Army for an additional 2 years and be eligible to collect his full retirement immediately upon retiring - a good plan indeed, but as we all know, the terms and conditions are always changing. At this point, we'll be in CA a bit longer, but rest assured, we will make the move east to see Dave in his National Park Service Ranger uniform living out his childhood dreams.
The immediate big plans are to host a handful of Mason's friends for a kids New Years Eve party. We will grill burgers, build a bon fire and make smore's, set up camp in the living room, eat snack food, wear party hats and sound the noise makers at the stroke of midnight. The kids will have fun and Dave and I will make memories that we can reminisce over in our "old age!"