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Saturday, December 30, 2023

A Year in Review 2023

T e n 

This is my tenth year reflecting back on the last 365 days with my "Year in Review" post. It feels special, a decade of memories condensed to ten posts on my little corner of the internet.

It's my favorite post to write every year and you can read my recaps for the last nine years (202220212020201920182017201620152014). I went back through my last decade, reviewed month by month and adventure by adventure. In those ten years fell in love, I ran two marathons, moved west to Utah, finished graduate school, moved back east, started over, traveled to amazing places all over the world (Madeira, Iceland, Paris, Copenhagen), skied the west, road tripped across the country, camped in the dessert, hiked New England's highest peaks, went on scuba diving trips and my first overnight backpacking trips, bought my first house alone, met my now husband, got engaged and married, bought our first home together which we completely renovated, had two kids, and started my own business. It's truly been a decade of so many milestones and the rest is history or so they say. It is truly wild to look back at the big and little moments of the last ten years and I can say with certainty life is wildly beautiful, kind of crazy and can be savagely hard. I'm insanely nostalgic for all of these memories and can't help but wonder all the different directions my life could have taken over this transformative decade of my mid 20s and to my mid 30s. I do know for certain that I'm glad it all brought me here.


The first few months of 2023 were quiet as we prepared for our newest arrival. January was a quiet month while I was in my last few weeks of pregnancy, soaking up the last month as a family of three and trying to prepare for a lifetime as a family of four. I feel like January was a month of standing on the edge. I was standing in my life as a family of three, knowing in a few short days our lives would change forever as our little girl completed our family. It was a lot of cleaning, prepping food, organizing newborn gear, and celebrating the end of my last pregnancy.


February was entirely baby month. The third day of the month we headed to Yale New Haven Hospital for a planned c-section. At around 9 am, we welcomed 7 lb 13 oz Piper Kate into our lives and spent two nights in the hospital getting to know our newest addition. My mother and sister in law were back at the house with Whitney and the dogs and it was a sweet moment seeing Whitney peek into her car seat as we brought his little sister home. February was a quiet month. I just tried to survive postpartum life after a c section and with a toddler. Adam took a short two weeks off before heading back to work and my mother in law stayed with us the week. We enjoyed the quiet season of life and still found some time to celebrate Whitney's Chugga Chugga Two Two second birthday with family before the month slipped away. 


March felt like a victory, surviving that first month of postpartum life with two children. I forgot how hard c-section recovery was but finally started to welcome a bit more movement by the time March rolled around. As a family, we started to come out of the fog a little bit and wandered out for a few local adventures. I took the horses to Hammonasset for a beach ride. We took the kids on some small adventures to the Mystic Aquarium and the Connecticut Science Center and really enjoyed some time with Whitney while Piper was young enough to mostly snooze the days away. 


As the months ticked by, we really started to find our rythem. I was more confident taking the kids out for solo adventures and the warm weather was the motivator we all needed. We picked tulips at Wicked Tulips with my sister. We left Piper home and spent a rainy day at the Essx Steam Trail station where we rode Thomas. We visited The Dinosaur Place as a family and slowly left newborn life behind as Piper turned 3 months old in May.


We finally felt confident enough to bring both kids on their first overnight adventure and took the train to New York City. We were quickly reminded that while newborns are fairly easy to travel with, those toddlers really keep you on your toys. We had a fun day taking the train in, we visited the parks and zoos, and enjoyed a one night getaway in Manhattan with very little sleep. Back home, the summer started and we joined friends on a boat and enjoyed local fun like the Memorial Day Parade. Later in the month we headed to New York, this time to experience the Bronx Zoo with the kids and a friend. As I came out of the postpartum 3 month mark, I decided I would make it my fitness goal to run Piper's age (in months) with the goal of running a half marathon by the time she turned one. 


June was a low key New England summer kick off. Summer was a blur of beach days and barn days, more trips to enjoy our membership at Mystic Aquarium, and time spent on the trails with the dogs. We didn't go on any specific trips, but instead truly enjoyed the beauty of where we live in one of it's best seasons. 


July was a fun month and one of my favorites. It was hot and swimming season was in full swing. We ventured to splash pads around the state and went back to the beaches and lake to swim. We even ventured north to enjoy a few nights in a cabin outside Stratton with both of Whitney's grand parents. We also spent the weekend in Maine where we had a fun beach day with Adam's friend and his family. We caught up with our wedding photographer Kat and took family photos, and made a fun investment I have been daydreaming about when we bought our first camper, the Whitneybago. 

In August we celebrated our anniversary with a trip to Spain, a week in Barcelona and the Catalan coast just the two of us. It was our first time away from both kids and were were completely exhuasted and so excited to get away. We ate our way around the northeast part of the country, learning to salsa dance and why you should never rent an EV. By day 5, we missed the kids miserable and were excited for some family adventures. We got home and used our new camper in the Catskills on a camping trip at North South Lake and eased into the start of a new school year with a few trips to the local fairs.


We took the RV out again but this time to Lake George. In Lake George, we stopped by the balloon festival and even went to the cutest little amusement park where Whitney basically had every ride to himself. We also started the CT State Park Tour (our initiative to visit all the state parks within the state of Connecticut) and visited some lovely CT gems like Rocky Neck, Harkness Memorial, Day Pond State Park, and even saw dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur State Park


We used our camper one more time before winterizing it for the colder season and this time, it was to Lincoln, New Hampshire. We hiked the flume gorge, rode the Loon gondola again, and had a nice little weekend leaf peeping up north. Back home, we enjoyed the fall foliage on some CT fall likes and visited a few more state parks. Whitney and Piper enjoyed a ton of Halloween events like trunk or treating and a Chester parade and I quickly learned that less is more when it comes to Halloween events with kids. I rode in my first horse show since having kids and the littles were also there to see it which truly made for a special memory for me. 


We enjoyed a quiet November hiking in the preserve with the dogs, increasing my running mileage, and trekking to the barn with or without the kids. We drove to Massachusetts to see my extended family for Thanksgiving and it was sweet seeing the kids interact with my family. Piper started to crawl the week of Thanksgiving and our life with two mobile kiddos began. That same weekend, we ventured to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to ride the Cog Railway and visit Santa's Village. Whitney loved the cog and we were surprised to see Santa joined us for the ride up the mountain. Santa's Village with your kids was about as magical as we expected and we had such a fun day with Santa's reindeer and enjoyed the rides in the park. 


December was all things Christmas and a magical but utterly exhausting month when you have young kids. We kicked off the season with a visit to the tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We decorated our tree and the rest of the house and enjoyed many nights by the fireplace. We enjoyed Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce albeit it a bit cold, rode the Polar Express to the North Pole at the Essex Station, visited Gillettes Castle decorated for the holidays and drank hot cider, and donated enough money and gifts to support three families in need. Piper celebrated her first Christmas and Whitney enjoyed his first Christmas actually understanding what the holiday was about. He asked for a "trash truck with buttons" and was quite happy to see his trash truck under the tree on Christmas morning. We spent Christmas Eve hosting Adams family at our house and Christmas Day with my family in the morning and enjoyed a relaxing day at home with the kids and their new toys. 

2023 was truly a fun year for our little family of four. We adjusted to life with a baby again and made time for adventures, big and small. Adam and I fell in love with Spain and really enjoyed our trip away while realizing how quickly we would miss them. We traveled through the northeast with an A Frame in Vermont, a weekend in Maine, and trips in our camper to Lake George and New Hampshire. I regained my fitness goal and ended the year with my first double digit run since having children. While 2023 was the month of adjusting, I truly think 2024 has a lot of adventure in store. 

2023 State Parks (16 visited)

Rocky Neck State Park
Harkness Memorial State Park
Gillette's Castle State Park
Hammonasset State Park
Putnam Memorial State Park
Windsor Meadows State Park
Sherwood Island State Park
Farm River State Park
Day Pond State Park
Horse Guard State Park
Miller's Pond State Park
Machimoodus State Park
Dinosaur State Park
Quinnpiac River State Park
Wharton Brook State Park
Sleeping Giant State Park

2023 Running/Hiking/Walk Miles 

(609 total)

January: 33
February: 20
March: 34
April: 51
May: 70
June: 64
July: 40
August: 57
September: 63
October: 65
November: 60
December: 51

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