My life is never dull as a look at 2013 reminds me. Roaming Rita got some mighty fine roaming in along with other splashes of local delights and a few travails.
Not to go in any chronological order, as that would take forever for you to read but here are some of my most endearing events of 2013.
With great excitement I can proudly announce that I am the proud Grandma of not one, but TWO new grandchildren born this year! Lindsey Marie was born in January and Andy Jr. was born in November. Additionally, we found out that our oldest daughter, Beth, has a baby girl on the way in May, 2014. With the arrival of this little girl, I'll have 8 grandchildren, and I suspect still counting. I so love these marvelous grandchildren in my life! They are my greatest joy.
Kelly Pilger holding Lindsey on the left and Sarah Pilger holding Andy on the right
In September, my hunny bunch, Rex, and I celebrated 40 years of married life together. Our children arranged a special night for us at Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver. (I'm working on a post about this amazing boutique hotel). The children also surprised us with a generous gift card for dinner. It was a marvelous time and I was so proud of our children for pulling it all together for us.
Our gift card from the children, wine and truffles from Hotel Teatro
Another huge milestone this year was celebrating my husband's 25 year Anniversary as a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church. Our parish, St. Joan of Arc, honored him with a lovely reception after the celebratory Mass.
Deacon Rex on the left, Pastor Fr. Joseph Cao in the middle and Fr. James Cuneo (celebrating 50 yr on the right)
Rex and I at the parish celebration
My travels this year took me from a week of pure lounging joy aboard my friends' sailboat in Marina Del Rey, California, to my son's Masters Degree Graduation in Pennsylvania with side-trips to Delaware and Washington D.C. Dallas was also a destination earlier in the year.
On my sailing trip, I crewed on David and Chris' 45 foot sailboat. We crossed the 32 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean from Marina Del Rey to Two Harbors which is about a nice 6 hour day of sailing. Living on the water for 10 days is one of my favorite things to do. I'm always ready for another sail. The beauty of Catalina Island beckons me over and over again.
When my son announced he was walking his graduation for his Master's Degree from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, it opened up an opportunity for me to explore an area I hadn't been to before. In one week's time I quickly explored places I had only heard about. I saw the Delaware River (go George Washington!) and Padre Pio's National Shrine in Barto, Pennyslvania. I spent a great day shopping in Amish Country (Lancaster and Intercourse). I had a historical look at Gettysburg and in Washington D.C. I glimpsed all the National Monuments and the White House. My favorite place in Washington D.C. was the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. I could have spent days exploring it. In the middle of all this, was Matt's graduation in Pittsburgh. I'm so proud of him. I had to laugh at a picture I took of him. His baby daughter's burp cloth pulled ranked on his Master's hood.
Congratulations, Matt, on a Master of Science Degree in Sports Leadership from Duquesne University
Did you happen to pick up a copy of Shape magazine in 2013? I became an avid collector of each monthly publication because my daughter, Beth Blair, was the Shape Weight Loss Diarist for the year. She had a full page write up with professional pictures each month and twice a month she had articles on their web page. Of course I had a subscription to the magazine but I also bought extra copies. At every checkout I proudly showed the cashier my daughter. One lady teased me that I was only buying one magazine instead of 18 like she would do. I fessed up that it was actually my 5th copy of the same issue.
Beth in the September, 2013, issue of Shape Magazine
Have you ever seen a 515.5 pound pumpkin? Feast your eyes on my son, Andrew's, giant pumpkin that he grew in his backyard this year. It took 6 men to load it on his trailer to take it to the weigh-in. Each year his pumpkins grow bigger and bigger. It's a party-worthy event when Andrew cuts the pumpkin from its vine. Family and friends gather to watch, help and celebrate.
Giant pumpkins are a sight to see
In April I spent two nights and three days at the five star Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. I accompanied my daughter, Beth, for was an amazing experience at the Woman's Weekend of Wellness led by doctors and specialists from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado. We had wonderful seminars, activities (I chose the water aerobics) and the healthiest meals I've ever had in my life (I'm talking tofu, egg whites, smoothies, etc.) The gorgeous setting of The Broadmoor added to the all-over wellness we were being offered during the weekend. I would love to go again.
My room was a lovely South Superior room on the 7th floor
A view of Cheyenne Lake and the conference center from my room
I had never been to a Kentucky Derby party before so when I was invited by cousins I was ready. I had the hat. Mint Juleps were authentic as was the fun and seeing the actual race on TV.
Music also played a memorable time in my year. The annual Ukulele Fest was held on a beautiful October weekend at the Temple Events Center in Denver. The musicians were delightful and I have a few more favorites to follow now. My friends and I always get the VIP pass for the Uke Fest and we get to enjoy meals from the food trucks and the complimentary drinks, poster and ID badge on a lanyard. It's the way to go.
Ten days after the Uke Fest, Jimmy Buffett came to town for his "Songs From St. Somewhere" 2013 concert. Being a member of the Colorado Parrot Head Club gives us (my husband and friends David and Chris) entry to the fabulous tail gate party and group seating. The concert is at the Pepsi Center in Denver and it fills to the rafters with Buffett fans. A great time is had by all. It's a party not to miss. Look closely at the picture below, Jimmy is playing a ukulele. How awesome is that for us that celebrate both venues.
These were just a few of the special events of 2013. In between I still kept busy, even if not road tripping. I spent days babysitting my granddaughters, and continuing to work at the Racquetball and Fitness Center. I took in a Rockies baseball game. Renewed my CPR and First Aid certifications. I took my precious 28 year old daughter, Mary, (now 29 yr.) to have her tonsils out. Every grandchild had a birthday party and of course, this grandma went to the baby showers. I watched one of my wee ones Trick or Treat and another one sing her heart out in a Christmas program. Oh, and I can't forget the Gingerbread House. In August Rex and I drove to Loveland, Colorado, to meet up with my friend from 4th grade, Don Joy. He's written a really fun book to read "Murder in Whitechapel, The Adventures of the Post-Mortem Knife". It's a Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper thriller. Look it up, even better, buy a copy.
Mackayla in pre-kindergarten
Morgan and Abbi eating candy off the Gingerbread House
My trip to Dallas was during the first week of January, 2013. You can read about my trip from my January archive. I thought my new year was starting out quite sweet. Before January, 2013, was over though, I was facing the reality of life's travails. I was in the hospital twice, and endured two surgeries for a very large kidney stone. Did I say "ouch"? I'm sitting very quietly and still as the clock ticks towards the midnight chime. In August I fell down...and broke my thumb! I just want to end this year healthy and happy! Here's crossing over into a new, and I hope healthy and happy year.
Happy New Year!