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Aloha, 2013: Memories, Dreams, and Reflections

I decided to participate in Ashley Sisk’s year-end photo recap project. After putting this little post together I can’t help but think, Wow… what a year. There have been ups-and-downs, just like any other year, but at the end of this year I can really say that I’m happy with where I’m at. I look forward to 2014 and all the changes it will bring, but 2013 was a damn good year.

1. ME

A picture of yourself (you don’t have to show your face). What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2013?
This year was a little anti-climatic as far as personal accomplishments go. Last year I became a mother, graduated law school, passed the Bar, lost baby weight, and moved to a new country. This year I potty trained a one-year-old and learned how to make Chicken Masala. But I’m okay with that. I was able to focus on things that bring me joy, whether or not they are considered particularly difficult or out of the ordinary. I was able to spend time raising my daughter. I was also able to spend more time on my blog, and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow as well.

2. I LOVE YOU
A picture of your husband, boyfriend, children, pets, etc.
I love them the most.

3. STILL LAUGHING
A moment you’re still laughing about now…tell us a story.
Eva isn’t scared of many things. She climbs trees, runs full speed into crashing waves, and does everything else a daring toddler typically does. So when we do find something she’s afraid of, we can’t help but laugh. Especially when it’s something as simple as chickens. Is that horrible? These pictures were from the lodge we stayed at in Mikumi.

4. WINTER WONDERLAND
A picture that reflects Winter.
This is what winter looks like in Tanzania.

5. BIRTHDAY
Here’s how we celebrated our birthdays this year…
On March 10, 2013 Evita turned one! We had a baby luau at our house that you can read all about here.
I had one of the best birthdays ever this year. We took a road trip to Udzungwa Falls National Park and went hiking to waterfalls and swimming in streams.

6. FRIENDS

A picture with friends (this could be your friends or your children with their friends).
I know this is a crappy picture, but how often is it that you get two of your best friends in the world in one pic? Especially when one lives in San Antonio and the other in Brooklyn. I’m always so grateful when we all find ourselves in the same place. It doesn’t happen often. It doesn’t even happen every year. But this year, it did.
…and this is Eva with her best friend Juliet. Juliet is like a big sister to Eva, and I just know they’ll miss each other when we’re gone.

7. I WAS INSPIRED
It could be a picture of your inspiration (person or thing), or inspired by…
These two pictures are from when I volunteered for Babfor, a Korean organization that works to feed needy children around the world. I was inspired by how joyful these kids were, even when they literally have nothing. You can find more pictures form my experience working with them here.

8. SPRING FEVER
A picture that reflects Spring.
This picture wasn’t actually taken in Springtime, but it’s a good representation, no?

9. TRAVEL
These are the places we traveled in 2013:
Mikumi National Park
Dubai, UAE
A picture that reflects Summer.
The word “summer” always brings to mind childhood days of going out on my Daddy’s boat. This summer Eva and I were able to visit Texas and she was able to do the same.

11. A DAY IN MY LIFE
A picture of a typical day in your life.
You can read about our “simple days” in my “La Semana Pasada” posts.
…and a “typical day in my life” prompt wouldn’t be complete without including a picture like this. No makeup. Messy Hair. In the Kitchen. Wearing Evita in her kanga. She’s grown tremendously since this picture was taken in March, but I still wear her like this every single day.
12. ALL SMILES
A picture that makes you smile or of smiling faces.
Eva’s smile is out of control here. I just love this little face.

13. AUTUMN HARVEST
A picture that reflects Autumn/Fall.
Autumn is rainy season in Tanzania. You can find more pictures from this beautiful day here.

14. FAMILY
A picture of your family or a picture that represents family/home for you.
Home is wherever these two are. This was taken on our 7th anniversary.

15. CELEBRATE
A picture that reflects a celebration.
This is how we celebrated our second Christmas in Tanzania.

16. LET’S DO IT AGAIN
Stuff I can do again and again.
Exploring the Sea Caves of Dar at Low Tide
Hiking to Waterfalls
A picture of someone or something you really miss.
I miss being able to wear my tiny baby snug against my chest, without my pregnant belly getting in the way of things. I love wearing her on my back, too. But I miss this. Terribly.

18. BEAUTIFUL
A picture of someone or something you find beautiful.
My mama and my baby. The most beautiful girls in the world.

19. DRESS UP
This might be a picture from Halloween or not…but someone who is all dressed up!
Halloween 2013

20. MACRO
Share your favorite macro or close-up image.
2013 was filled with days like these.

21. HOLIDAYS
A picture from the Holiday of your choice.
We spent our second Christmas in Tanzania, and our second year delivering toys from Toys for Tots to a local orphanage.

22. MY FAVORITE
Share your favorite picture or memory from 2012.
One memory that really stands out is watching an elephant cross the road. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when I saw this. 
This is Africa,” I thought to myself.

23. DON’T EVER CHANGE
Something you love about yourself, someone, or something that you never want to change.
Eva loves the ocean. And I mean LOVES. Seriously… what kid tries to hug it? I’m so worried that our year+ in Virginia will make her forget this love she has for it. We’ll be over an hour away from the beach, but I’ll try to take her there as often as I can (when it’s not freezing out).

24. JUST BECAUSE
Other  noteworthy moments in 2013 that don’t fit into any other category.
This year, Eva lost a great-grandmother. I’m so glad that they were able to see each other one last time while we were in Texas. The other baby in the picture is Eva’s first first cousin, who she met for the very first time on the same trip.
How can a 2013 recap be complete without mentioning a presidential meeting?

25. HOPES AND DREAMS
Share what you hope to come or dream for 2014. Feel free to share an image of your choice.
Need I say more?
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