First off, let me announce that this is the 10th edition of my online recaps of the year. Yes, 10 years since December 2002, when I was not married, no kids, and in a career transition. I suppose if the year wasn’t interesting, I’d have more things to be worried about. But no, it’s been another eventful year for the Ipe family. Maybe it’s a factor of getting older, but as the months roll by, years seem to be going by faster. I can’t believe I’ll be 40 in a few more years. I said a few more years, so let’s not start panicking yet. Besides, who cares if I’ll be 40 one day, when I plan to live forever?
Life, Love and Family
As I write this, I have one cat sleeping on my desk, and the other is sleeping nearby on an ironing board. The entire family has spent a lot of quality time together this year, bonding and growing. Yes, I think I can say that. This wasn’t a big year of trips, but we ate out more often as a family, went on more outings as a family (a basketball game, the circus, and Disney on Ice.) We attended a lot of dance classes, a lot of soccer games, cub scout meetings, swimming classes, had the kids participate in the church talent show, and I coached my son’s soccer team in the Spring and Fall. During the weekends when we weren’t running around, my wife and I made sure the four of us spent more time cooking and hanging out together. Heck, I even took a week off, and we all attended (or worked at) vacation bible school this summer. That’s a lot of family bonding time.
Nums and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. As I mentioned before, when we’re not running around, we’re attempting to spend as much quality time together as we can. Next year is our big 10-year wedding anniversary, so we’re in the early planning stages of trying to figure out where we’re going to go!
Joshua is now 7 years old, and has been somewhat challenged by 2nd grade. Somewhat. He’s doing well in school academically, but it’s now just a question of getting him to improve his handwriting, playing with more kids, and just getting his head out of his books. He’s a great kid, so I guess we’re doing something right. He’s getting taller, he has his own thoughts, and we all need to listen to him more. He also took private swimming lessons this summer, and he seemed to really enjoy it. He also again participated in both Spring and Fall soccer seasons through our local police athletic league, but I don’t think we’ll be doing it again. Josh also joined the Cub Scouts in September.
Lily is as precocious as ever. She’ll be leaving her day care next June, and entering kindergarten in a year. She often alternates between being a 4-year old girl and sounding like a teenager. I don’t know if I’m surprised or in fear. She continues to get herself into trouble, much like I did when I was younger.
If there’s one thing I’d like to say, I realized this year that spending time with my kids is so important. In the past, I think I focused on keeping them fed, getting them to bed, getting them up and dressed, etc, and I relied on to play with each other. I now realize that, especially with Josh, they are growing up fast. Faster than maybe I realized. And they want to play with us. I need to spend more time playing — PLAYING — with them, reading to them again, and spending that quality time.
We had three trips this year.
- In April, we drove down to Baltimore, stayed at a nice Marriott in the Inner Harbor, and did some sightseeing in Baltimore and Washington DC, for an extended four-day weekend. Very nice.
- In July, we spent a weekend at my sister’s house, and completed some much-talked-about sightseeing in Philadelphia. We spent time with my sister and her family, visited the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Zoo, and saw some friends in the PA area.
- In August, we made our annual pilgrimage to Bethany Beach for our big summer vacation. This year, it would be the first time we stayed for an entire week there. No short trips due to family obligations. No Hurricane Irene shutting down Delaware. A full seven days of good weather, and no work calls to interrupt the relaxation.
Oh geez, where do I begin? It’s been a fast first year at the new job. I felt like a fish out of water at times, learning all new things, learning to deal with new people, and the ins and outs of a different company with a new-to-me culture. Still, I don’t regret it, as I didn’t want to be stuck in some Infrastructure IT Audit role forever. I needed to branch out, and it’s been a learning experience. In 2013, I have some plans to further develop myself. More on that later in a few months.
Spending time in Bethany, and not working? That was nice. Also, biking my first century ride (100 miles) in one day felt pretty awesome…. long after my body had recuperated.
- I gained some 14 lbs. back this year. Between my injury last September and my work schedule, I have been unable to sustain a consistent workout schedule, and the weight has slowly come back. The only reason that I didn’t balloon to gargantuan proportions is because I know how to eat proper portions at meal time. It’s sad, but the workload should normalize soon.
- It’s been two months, but can anyone believe that Super Storm Sandy hit the Northeast so badly? In hindsight, I’m very glad that we didn’t get hit that badly, but there were many people in our town who lost power for more than a week. My in-laws lost power for a week, and ended up staying with us all that time.
- I finally got my long-awaited new PC this year, new peripherals, and even “the big desk” that I have sought for 10 years now. It’s been a long time coming, but I am happy.
- I only bought one videogame this year (Starcraft 2), as I’m still mostly working on the ones I purchased, but haven’t finished yet. I did beat Batman: Arkham City, and that was a lot of fun. The kids and I have been also enjoying playing the original 2004 Knights of the Old Republic PC game. I follow their directions, provide some guidance, and steer. It’s fun. The kids and I also played the first two King’s Quest games this way, and it was a fun bonding experience.
- I didn’t see as many films during the calendar year as I have in the past. 24 films, but a mix of home viewing and in-theater. It’s been such a busy year between work and the kids’ activities, we too often just relied on television for that quick fix.
- Best films I enjoyed: Gone Baby Gone, The Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- Worst films I had to sit & watch through: Cars 2, The Lorax, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Quantum of Solace
Looking Ahead to 2013
I honestly don’t know what 2013 has in store for us. After spending this year adjusting to the new job, I’ve gotten a better sense on what to develop and improve, so that I can further my career.
We have a few vacations in the early planning stages, especially the big 10-year anniversary trip. We are also planning a trip with friends to South Carolina.