2022 Recap… A Year in Review

This last year has been one of my absolute favorites. We are getting settled in our life in the mountains, we’re all making new friends, figuring out a balance and enjoying so much time together as a family. It helps that our kids are in such a golden age right now – they still like us, they like each other and they’re getting more independent and resilient and their stamina continues to grow.

Our 2022 kicked off with a massive snow dump. It was intense! We got somewhere around 55″ of snow in about 36 hours.

After we dug ourselves out of that snowstorm, it was as though Mother Nature was done with snow for the winter. She just gave it to us all at once, then not again until it all melted in April.

The huge snowstorm set us up for a very long ski season. I didn’t keep track of all of our ski days, but I had around 65 last year, the kids around 55.

I absolutely fell in love with skate skiing {a type of Nordic skiing where it’s like you’re skating on skis – you can get going quite fast and it is tremendous exercise!}.

Ben joined the Nordic ski team in our little community. He competed in his first ski race and just loved the fanfare and spectacle of the event.

Our base of snow eventually gave way to clear pavement and melted out trails in town and we started having dual-sport days – skiing and biking!

Much to my reluctance, Alex bought me a mountain bike for my birthday. I really thought I’d hate it – you know, flying down the hill making sharp turns, trying to avoid hitting a tree. I figured I’d be too anxious to enjoy it, but actually, I loved it. I have a tremendous amount to learn and so much practice to get under my belt!

Ben is also the proud new owner of a real-deal mountain bike with disc brakes, a suspension and a bunch of gears. It is so beautiful. He actually hated how it looked and refused to ride it. Our friend, Amanda, found these incredible rainbow bike graphics and gave them to Ben as a birthday gift. Now it’s perfect!

Early in the spring our little 3-year-old-at-the-time Hannah made up her mind that she was ready to ride a two-wheel pedal bike, so off she went!

The spring was dubbed “sprinter” {spring-winter} and was very cold – it just never seemed to warm up. Like ever.

We broke ground on our very own garden this spring! Alex set up irrigation and fencing, and together we prepared the soil. Hannah was my helper to plant all of the starts. The garden ended up being wildly successful and one of the coolest things I have ever done before. It brought so much joy to all of us to go and check what was growing and then harvest our bounty. Unsurprisingly, we learned a tremendous amount, too.

Summer eventually did come, though not until mid-to-late June. We had the busiest summer of all-time. It was ridiculous. Fun, but way, way too much. Memorial Day weekend was spent celebrating Ben’s 6th birthday in Winthrop, Washington.

We took our first family of four camping trip to San Juan Island in early June. Several families from Ben’s school were at the camping trip as well – it was so lovely. We loved taking the kids out to the Sound {Puget Sound} and letting them see a completely different environment than our mountain valley. Plus, the camping was a blast!

After Ben’s school year wrapped up, we squeezed in a week-long trip down to Bend, Oregon. A highlight was seeing Crater Lake. Ben was sick the whole time we were there {don’t worry, the rest of us got it eventually, too} and was just suuuuper low energy. We still made the most of it – we visited Mt Bachelor Ski Resort, The High Desert Museum, went kayaking, and at the very end, he had enough stamina to do a mountain bike ride.

Here and there, throughout the summer, we were able to fit in trips to the pool, a couple of camp sessions for Ben and a few trips to the farmers market.

Much of the summer was spent hosting visitors and taking regional trips here and there. We had the pleasure of seeing so many wonderful friends and getting to know their children.

Hannah’s fourth birthday was celebrated in Seabrook, Washington, a darling town on the Washington coast. She had her first-ever birthday party, complete with a watermelon theme. It was such a special time for her!

We put an end to our air travel hiatus and flew to Wisconsin to catch up with Alex’s family. We hadn’t seen our nephews for 2.5 years. It was such a special week together!

While we were in Wisconsin, Alex got to visit his grandmother, Nana. A month later she passed away. We all have so many memories and stories of Nana. What a special human she was.

Shortly after we returned from Wisconsin, I turned around and took the kids back to my hometown and family cabin in Minnesota for Labor Day weekend. We also got to see my BFF, Sarah, and one of her daughters. It was such a lovely end to the summer.

September arrived, and with it, the new school year. Ben transferred to the main public school in town, 30ish minutes away. Hannah returned to the nature preschool she attended last year – this year she’s going four days a week.

Along with the school year, the smoke arrived. There were multiple wildfires within 15-20 miles of our house and the smoke from the blazes infiltrated our valley. It was awful. Our air quality was horrendous nearly every day, and it lasted for more than two months.

We had to be very strategic about our outdoor outings during “smoke season.” We managed to escape the smoke a few times and went camping with some friends, we checked out a new state park and went on a family mountain bike ride and made it to the Chelan County Fair.

Mostly, though, our fall was spent indoors. We did a lot of baking, coloring, had lots of story time, and relaxed. We would have much preferred the air to have been fresh; however, we did appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some rest and focus on projects at home after our bonkers summer.

{Pantry overhaul!!}

The stars aligned for Alex and me one day to get the kids off to school and then make a bee-line for Colchuck Lake, which is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We didn’t have much time to make the nearly 9-mile hike to the lake, so we ran it. It was one of my favorite days of all-time. The run was the most challenging physical pursuit I’ve ever undertaken and the reward at the lake was absolutely worth it. And! Somehow, the air was clear and we made it back for pick-up!

By mid-October the weather pattern finally changed and the smoke dissipated. We jumped at the opportunity to get our house and yard ready for winter, we played in the leaves, went for hikes, spent time down by the river and tried to get in as much time outside as possible.

Little did we know, winter would be arriving at the very beginning of November! We were surprised to receive about 8-inches of snow in the first week. The temps stayed cold, and the snow never left. We have been Nordic skiing since the second week of November!

Our early start to winter has been a blast. The kids are loving the snow play and Alex and I are getting out to ski most days. I have a goal to ski 100 days this winter {Nordic and alpine combined}, and Ben’s ski team coach is pushing all the kids to try to ski 50 days this year. I think we can do it!

Throughout the year slow and steady progress has been made on our garage and guesthouse build. It was a mad dash to the finish line and it’s almost complete now. We have our first guests currently staying there, actually! It has been a very long process, which we have enjoyed, and we’re so excited to have a garage and guesthouse.

The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. I relish in the nostalgia of going through our Christmas decorations, watching the kids delight as they trim the tree. I just love baking cookies and making gifts for friends and family, and it brings me so much joy opening holiday cards from friends and family around the world. I do keep our holiday cards and love looking back on them year-to-year.

As 2022 comes to a close, I am looking to 2023 with a calm smile. Of course none of us know what lies ahead, what challenges or opportunities will come down the pike. Wishing you all a 2023 filled with joy, good health, fun adventures and community.