I did it.  I wrote four posts in less than a week!  Let’s see if I can try to keep this blog current the rest of the year.  Without further adieu, here is the final installment of our Year in Review!

October:  Just as the green leaves faded to a golden yellow, the frivolity of summer gave way to looming due dates, studying and overtime.  Classes began again at the end of September, and Dustin was gone 14 hours a day.  This put him home at 7pm most nights, and gave me just a smidgen of time to study.  Drake started to get a bit more independent and his vocabulary exploded.   Each month seems to be just a bit more fun the last with him.  Maybe fun isn’t the word to use, but different doesn’t set the right tone…

One of my goals for a happy life is to never be so overstrained by adult burdens that I don’t get to enjoy the things life has to offer.  In keeping with that mindset, we made a few getaways to help keep the house calm and sane.  In an attempt to beat the ice for one last fishing trip, we made an easy hike to a lake full of brookies.  Old Man Winter beat us to the punch, however.  Everywhere we looked glistened with ice.  A bummer, yet beautiful at the same time. 

Dustin also was able to go elk hunting with a buddy from work; my parents come out often, and this month their visit really helped me to get a good chunk of studying accomplished.  We even managed to play a little bit.  The following weekend, Dustin, Drake and I went on a family elk hunt.  This deserves its own post.  Perhaps I will get to that later.    

Traditions are something we want our family to have.  We decided that dressing up as a family for Halloween would be a good one until the time Drake starts to think it is pretty lame.  I figure we will have made some great memories by then.  This year, Drake struggled with his molars.  He chose to cuddle and read with Daddy instead of greet trick or treaters.  Either way, a memory made. 

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November: “Tiss”.  There is nothing better than waking up to kisses from Monner.  For some reason, he just loved to wake up and give “tisses” first thing.  Mornings with Drake, while still snuggled in bed, are some of Dustin and I’s favorite times.  Drake’s still cuddly and a bit tired…  it’s such a positive start to the day. 

As happened in March, Drake really developed a lot this month.  He started using two word phrases, continued to say “spiiiicy” after eating something, well, spicy, counting to ten (we say one, he says two, we say three, he says four…), moving his eyebrows on command, telling us when it was potty time, and he started to have “meltdowns” when things didn’t quite go his way.  We knew they were coming…

Most of November was sweatshirt weather, and we took advantage by playing outside most every day; Drake and I also took a solo trip to the zoo.  Drake could identify almost every animal.  If I told him the name once, he immediately repeated it.  When the rhinoceros would hit the wire on its enclosure, Drake would say “Oh no!”   We also happened upon some pine cones, one of Drake’s favorite things.  Once in hand, he showed everyone that passed, and told them “pine coooone”.  It’s such a blast being his mom.  Every mom says this, but it is true: I have the coolest kid in town.

Thanksgiving came and went with subdued fanfare being as it was just the three of us.  We introduced Drake to Santa Claus through pictures and statues.  Drake would say, “Santa.  Ho. Ho.”  The day after Thanksgiving, I hoped to start another family tradition of cutting down a Christmas Tree.  We traded cuddle time for tradition, and even though we made the trip we didn’t beat the twilight.  However, we had our best dinner out of the year and I had the most delicious margarita that has ever passed my lips.  Pepe Osaka’s of Winter Park comes highly recommended by us.  They even accommodate food allergies!  Perhaps fish tacos and margaritas might become part of the tradition as well.


December: Why not start the month how the last one ended, Christmas Tree Hunting.  After looking at the weather forecast, we decided if we were going to cut down a tree December 2nd had to be the day.  The following weekend I would have finals, temps would be frigid, and then we would be heading to KC.  Leaving a little earlier this time, we packed up the Sube and headed west.  We didn’t find the “perfect” tree like we did last year, but we found one all the same.  Drake seemed more interested in the river and the fishies than the whole tree thing.  Perhaps that was my fault for taking him to see the frozen stream…

Dad made a solo trip for finals so he could spend an entire week.  Having Grrpa here was a godsend.  I wouldn’t done as well as I did if it wasn’t for him entertaining Drake all day.  Getting Nonna and Grrpa to make a permanent residence in Colorado is still a work in progress.

This month, Drake took to picking out his own clothes and tying flies.  During the day, he would go downstairs and knock on the office door and say, “flies, flies, flies”.  He would ask me or Grrpa over and over.  Thankfully, Dustin would get home and appease him.  He loved his books ad cuddling this month as well.  Brining them off his shelf, he would come over to us and say “cuttle. read.”  How great is that?  The color book we bought for Christmas was mastered in two days, he could identify and say every color and object.   The way he shouts his colors makes me laugh.  Also, by month’s end he knew several letters of the alphabet.  Sheesh, he’s growing so fast…   

Christmas morning from this year forward was an affair that we deemed would be spent at home.  We flew to Kansas City the week prior to Christmas.  Time prevented us from seeing everyone as much as we wanted, but at least we are able to spend a little time with everyone.  Christmas Eve turned out to be a rushed, hungry affair, as a flight delay didn’t put us home in time to stop for groceries.  At least we had a bottle of wine to warm our bellies as we got the house ready for Santa.  Speaking of that jolly old fellow, Santa must sprinkle some special “early riser dust” on those children nestled in their beds.  Drake was awake at the break of dawn.  Perhaps years of practice prepared Nonna, because, to my surprise, she was awake when I called her to tell it was time to video chat.  

All of the Christmas magic I enjoyed as a youth filled our house as Drake made his way down the stairs.  Smiles broke across all three of our faces as Drake sprinted to the tree.  Learning toys, fun toys, books, crayons, clothes, trains and trucks soon were scattered all over the living room.  Again, I say, it is moments such as these that makes being a mom so cool.  Getting to experience all the wonder of my younger years, but this time with a different perspective gives me a feeling I cannot adequately describe with words.  As I have said before, Drake hasn’t made my life complete, he’s just added another incredibly fascinating layer.  A year well lived. 


Cheers to a splendid new year,


Written by Stephanie Mullins

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