Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my grandma predicting the end of the world. I remember books around her house detailing the signs of the end times. Discussions of the anti-Christ (and how it was DEFINITELY not Princess Di, as some of her less informed church-going friends were stipulating).
I have to admit that I was really holding out hope in the Mayans this year, for the sake of my poor grandmother. But, just as grandma’s less informed church friends, the Mayans were clearly mistaken. As a result, I was able to celebrate the end of the year rather than the end of the world.
2012 was a fantastic year, yes? I thought, for the sake of a palatable review (as opposed to the pungent year end review that my journal had to endure), I’d list some of my top three’s.
Top 3 restaurant discoveries:
- Blue’s (Milwaukee, WI) You may recall that brunch is my favorite meal out. This summer, my favorite friend Jordan introduced me to Blue’s. Blue’s was remarkable for several reasons: their phenomenal food, their philosophy of community in regards to dining (including locally grown produce, of course), and their creativity. Look at the drink menu. I mean, when Arrested Development meets mimosas, this mama’s happy.
- Victory 44 (Minneapolis, MN) I could not possibly write a review that would do this place justice. You absolutely must visit it for yourself. In fact, book a flight now, because with it’s ever changing menu, you don’t want to miss January’s Apple Pie with Cheddar. (Follow the link to their website and check out the menus from the past year. After your flight is booked, that is.) My beautiful friend, Jessica, introduced me to this place on my most recent visit to Minneapolis.
The chef frequents the lobby, explaining the ingredients, concoctions, inspirations, and anything else you’re curious about. We were educated on the coffee beans, and even told to change our bean selection when we ordered cappuccinos. Hand-poured cappuccinos. Like, two baristas actually came and poured our cappuccinos tableside, in order to simultaneously serve both us the freshest, most perfectly frothed and swirled cappuccino. I was so captivated by the process that I forgot to capture the moment with my camera. (Jess is the photographer though, so I still hold that she should’ve been all over that one.)
Side note: The entire bill for BOTH of us–tax and tip and all–was under $30! We almost ordered another round of meals upon discovery, but decided the taste of the second meal coming back up may sway us from choosing Victory 44 again in the future, so instead we agreed to just meet there again soon.
- Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (Chicago, IL) I had been hearing tales of Mindy’s Hot Chocolate for so long, that I finally had to try it out for myself. Everything I had heard was accurate, and I have not been able to stay away from the place since discovering it earlier in the year. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner, but describe themselves as a dessert bar. DESSERT BAR!! Need I say more to convince you of their awesomeness?
Top 3 shows I attended in 2012:
- St. Vincent–You can read more about my experience at this show here, but this picture pretty much sums the night up:
- Tallest Man on Earth–I was taken aback by the nakedness of this musician’s soul. I haven’t experienced a musician’s generosity like I did at this show.
- Purity Ring–I still physically respond with giddiness when I see the pictures from this show. I felt like I was being serenaded in Megan James’ living room.
Top 3 books I read:
- The Fault In Our Stars–John Green is a witty and honest author who skillfully tries to consolidate feelings about love and life and death into black and white words on pages.
- Wounded Healer–An intense book about Jesus’ identification in our suffering. This book was a marked part of my journey this year.
- The Hunger Games trilogy–I know, I know. Before you roll your eyes though, realize that I needed something lighthearted to intermittently add to the book line up I had for the year–and what is more lighthearted than plots about teenagers killing each other off? (I had actually read the series in 2011, but they were well written and fun enough that I decided to revisit them as the premier of the first movie approached.)
Top 3 “firsts” in 2012:
- First time homeowner–Kind of crazy, this responsibility of being a grown up. 🙂 Which leads me to my next point…
- First time grown up–I know it’s kind of synonymous with number one, but it recently hit me that up until this past year, I have never had sole responsibility for paying my own monthly bills. Not only am I responsible for my bills, but I am responsible for this kid:
- First time to attend a house show–Jenny & Tyler’s house show this year was a significant evening in my year. Their music has been an instrumental part of my healing over the past couple of years, as music is a way my heart connects the tangible and intangible world. Having the opportunity to spend the evening with them was a gift.
(Side note: I realized in my year end review journaling that this year none of my “firsts” included new cities I visited. That may actually be a first in itself. This realization made my spirit restless. Therefore, this will be different in next year’s review. It WILL be different.)
Top 3 celebrations:
- Earth Day Herb Garden–one of the fun projects we did on this, my favorite holiday (after Brock’s and Jesus’ birthdays, of course)
- Sufjan Steven’s Christmas sing-a-long–I’ve never experienced a show that so perfectly embodied the complete tackiness of the holidays, spirituality of Christmas, and celebration of the season.
3. My birthday–not typically one I would make a big deal about, but this year, Brock did. And it was kind of adorable.
Top 3 mom adventures:
- Mother’s Day–I suppose I should have expected to be spoiled on my birthday after Brock’s thoughtfulness on Mother’s Day. If I had to choose the most meaningful day of the entire year, it would probably be Mother’s Day. You can read more about it here.
- Pennsylvania–I don’t know that a year has passed since Brock was born that I couldn’t throw a good camping trip into the top three mom adventures. This particular trip is well documented in two parts, here and here.
- Friday Night Date Nights (Collective)–Let me tell you, guys, one of the greatest things about hanging out with a kid is that you can act like one. (We’ve already established that I have the emotional maturity of a two year old sometimes.) Friday nights, I am five, and Brock and I turn the mundane into magic.
Top 3 people/groups of people I adventured with this year:
- My Minnesotan loves
Top 3 proudest mom moments:
- Feed My Starving Children–Watching the effects of this world’s brokenness on Brock’s heart was definitely a significant moment in my year.
- Frog catching–Teaching my son the art of frog catching was another proud mom moment.
- Coffee–All the hard work my dad did in training Brock last year paid off. I woke up one morning I stepped out of the shower to find that Brock had snuck in the kitchen, made me coffee, and had delivered it with a love note. My heart melted.
Top 3 pics of Brock in 2012:
I think the combination of the three of these encapsulates his personality.
The year has been a significantly satisfying one. In retrospect, I am glad for my grandma’s (and the Mayan’s) mistaken predictions.