Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Images of the Year

I suppose the title of the post really ought to be "Some of My Favorite Images of the Year," because there are way too many to include them all. Going back through the pictures of the year was really bittersweet, and honestly as many of these made me cry as made me laugh.

We spent more than half of 2013 apart. Actually, we spent more than three quarters of 2013 apart, it's just that these past six months have not been dotted with the long weekends we were able to steal together in the first half of the year. It has been really hard, and it's not over yet. Not til May. Sigh.

But there have also been good things this year--new friends, new passions, new things to celebrate. New milestones for our sweet baby boy. 

In a year like this, ranking moments would be complicated and heart-wrenching. So I put these in chronological order instead. Roughly.

Let me know in the comments which ones are your favorites. Or tell me about your favorite moments of 2013.

Daddy Legs--Jake relocated to Kansas in January of 2013. It was miserable and cold and I have no pictures of the cold misery. But one bright spot is that we got in a routine of meeting in Kansas City for weekends. This is one of those weekends.

My Chanchito--This little pig was a gift from a friend. A symbol of perseverance against all odds, he came to me at exactly the right time.

I Missed You--2013 was another heavy travel year (SHOCKER!). The best thing about traveling is coming home!

Gavin--Howie got another brother this year. We were fortunate to get to spend a week in the Bay with Rowan and Gavin just before Howie's birthday, and Howie discovered his inner super hero in the process.

Howie's Third Birthday--I had a work retreat the weekend of Howie's birthday this year. But fortunately, Daddy was able to fly in, and we celebrated during out free time!

Hard at Work--One major highlight of 2013 was getting to work with (and meet in person) the rest of my Coms team from MSJDN. 

Fab Shoes--And might I add, we all have impeccable, albeit distinct, taste.

Has a Daddy, Has a Happy--One of my favorite random snapshots of all time. Howie didn't know that Daddy was coming home this day after weeks of training in Colorado. He drew a happy face on his hand at school. From the time we picked Howie up, he didn't let go of Daddy the entire night.

Fourth of July!--We got to spend it together in Kansas, and it was Howie's first time at a carnival. They both had a blast. You can see Howie gets his exuberance from his Dad.

Super Heroes--Howie's favorite exhibit at the Children's Museum this summer. I believe that's all that needs to be said.

Group Hug!--Our photographer did a family session with us just before Jake deployed. This one is one of my favorites because Howie's favorite kind of hug is the "everybody hug!"

Jake is Old--There is nothing special about this picture really. Except that it documents one of the all-time best schemes I've ever pulled off. Friends and family flew in, we rented out Jake's favorite brewery, brought in German food, and best of all--he was SURPRISED!

Deployment--Honestly, that's really all I can say about that.

The Bus Is Too Slow...--Was one of the first things that Jake told me once he got settled at Kandahar. He got so tired of spending over two hours a day on the bus that he bought a bike to ride to and from the airfield so he'd waste less time in transit.

Meeting the President--The ABA President, that is. She was very excited to hear about our work for military spouse attorneys, and she's eager to help in the coming year.

White House Baby!--We had the chance to meet with Dr. Biden's people to talk with them about the work we are doing to reduce military spouse attorney licensing barriers, and to educate employers about military spouses as employment candidates. It was awesome!

Uncle Clayton--We spent Labor Day weekend with my Dad's family. We went hiking and Howie got to ride in style. 

My Dad's a Hero--This is one of the sweetest, yet saddest, photos I pulled from 2013. My boys love each other so much. I can't wait until they are back together again!

Super Dirty Prius--Sometimes the right message comes to you at the right time. This was one of those days. If 2013 hadn't been filled with them, I'm not sure how we would have made it.

Making Change--Working for Pattie Millett was by far one of the most rewarding things that I did all year. And seeing our community rally around one of our own, champion her cause, renewed my hope that the work we are doing will make being a professional military spouse a more easily achievable goal in the future. 

I Cried--And then there was this. My worlds collided when Senator Leahy asked me to talk about Jake's deployment, something I'd neatly tucked in the back of my mind to focus on the work being infuriatingly obstructed by Senate Republicans. It was a perfect storm of ache, angry, and indignation all channeled into some pretty candid words about supporting military families.

Victory!--After four lost votes, a fundamental alteration of Senate protocol, dozens of meetings with Senate staff, weather cancellations and five inches of snow, we FINALLY got our vote, and Pattie is FINALLY going to be the judge that she unquestionably should be. Mary hates this picture, but to me it captures the hard work, joy and general delirium that was the last quarter of this year.

Silly Batman--While most of the Hicks clan were watching mortified as the Arkansas Razorbacks blew their lead in the last 90 seconds of their last Thanksgiving game against LSU, Howie was trying very hard to be serious like Batman "riding his Bat-cycle." His serious face might need a little work.

Zoo Lights--Because who doesn't love the zoo at night? This was our first time to experience Houston's famous display, and it did not disappoint. Howie's favorite? "The rhinoooo!"

Reindeer Family--Howie's favorite of our Christmas decorations. He didn't care a thing about the stockings, but he loved the hooks. He told me Santa must be pretty smart since he knew to put a Howie Deer, a Mommy Deer, and a Daddy Deer together. 

Deployed Silliness--The holidays were hard, especially for Jake being so far away and in a war zone. But I'm happy to report that, as per usual, he found the fun.

Dino Puzzle--Everyone's got a talent, and Howie's is puzzles. He's a master. This dinosaur puzzle has a hundred pieces. He was done in fifteen minutes. Kid is nuts.


  1. I love this. I didn't see it before. Too cute. And, I am not biased at all by having all three of my boys included.

  2. Such a great idea to put all your fave pics of the year together. We all take so many, good to reflect back on them!