Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Slice of Life - My Year in Review

I've been participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. I love the challenge of composing a piece of writing at least once a week about life or teaching.
Facebook collects 20 of your biggest moments of the year and creates a review.  I actually love it, and it inspired me to write this slice today!
2013 came in very quietly.  We ALWAYS have a New Year's Eve party here, but for some reason 2012/2013 found us spending the evening by ourselves watching t.v. while both daughters were out on the town.  Sigh.  While it was nice, I don't want to do that again.  This year we're back to hosting a party!!
My word this year is JOURNEY, and what a journey 2013 was!
Katie turned 17 in February, and Libby turned 20 in March.  I posted these one-year-old photos on Facebook on their birthdays:
Photo: Happy Birthday to my awesome 17-yr-old, Katie Mueller. Where does the time go?  I love you! Photo: Libby Mueller leaves her teens behind and turn 20 today!  Wow!  Still remember the Irish jig played at your delivery and the  little green bow they put in your hair like it was yesterday! I love you and happy birthday!
For spring break, my husband and I went to Marco Island in Florida.  It was SO relaxing! 
In April, we said goodbye to our 14 1/2-year-old Labrador Retriever, Maddie.  She was such a sweet girl.
Photo: Farewell, sweet girl.  Bobby is going to be so glad to see you!  The house sure wasn't the same when I got home today.
Maddie: 1998-2013
In late April, Katie looked beautiful at her Junior Prom:
I also hosted a parent/student book club with my 4th graders over The One and Only Ivan at the Cincinnati Zoo!  It was a GREAT day!
At the end of May, I finished up an amazing year as a gifted intervention specialist for 4th grade reading at Kings Local and was moved to the intermediate building in the same district as the 5th/6th grade ELA gifted intervention specialist.  It was a wonderful move because I wouldn't have to travel every day among three elementary buildings, and I would get to have my 4th graders for two more years!  It's been an awesome year so far - a lot of work and adjustment to two grade levels and 105 kids, but I still love it and wouldn't trade it for anything!
My husband's company hosts an annual summer outing every year, and this year, we went to Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY for a weekend.  It was a great experience!  When we arrived, we were greeted by the official bugler at Churchill Downs, Steve Buttleman!
On July 1st, my husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun!
nErDcampBC was a summer highlight!!  I love this picture from the first night because I went alone, and I was floored by how friendly and welcoming everybody was.  It was so fun to meet Nerdy Book Club friends for the first time!
Photo: Nerdy Book Club fun! Tomorrow is nErDcamp in Battle Creek, MI!
Summer also brought a fabulous trip to Las Vegas with friends!
I go on a girls' trip every summer with friends from high school/college.  We've been going to Niagara-on-the Lake for the last several years.  So fun!  We took a short trip to Lake Norris in August  with the family, and I also went on a Debbie Macomber Fan Retreat weekend with my mom.  We had a great time!
Megan and I attended the Choice Literacy Writing Retreat.  Wow - we were humbled and amazed at what an awesome experience it was to be surrounded by passionate educators and writers.  Thank you, Brenda Power!  It also started our journey to write a professional book together. 
Late August brought us the start of school.  Katie began her senior year in high school, and Libby started her junior year at Miami University.  I started my new job.  Yay!
 Over Labor Day weekend, I flew to Richmond, VA to celebrate my aunt's 80th birthday.  It was a fantastic trip!  This is the whole family wearing our "80" glasses!
 Fall brought Katie's Senior Homecoming, college visits, lots of activities at school, and Halloween:
Another fall highlight was starting the #ReadWalkWater project with my friend, David Etkin.  Our Nerdy Book Club post started our month-long efforts to raise money for clean water in Africa, inspired by the book A Long Walk to Water.  David and his students raised a whopping $12,000+!  My school is close to $5,000.  It was an incredible experience, and I hope we can do it every year!
 Two highlights in November was our 26th Friends' Thanksgiving weekend and my trip with Megan to NCTE BOSTON!! We met and spent time with so many wonderful people!
Libby brings friends from Miami U. to our Friends' Thanksgiving party now.  We love that!
In December, my fifth graders donated pajamas to the Scholastic Pajama Drive.  Scholastic will donate a book for every pair of pajamas donated to the Pajama Program.  We donated 45 pairs of pajamas.
Wow!  What a year!  That brings us to this holiday season.  Katie got accepted to OSU, my parents moved to Florida, and since it was just the four of us on Christmas morning, we went to Waffle House for breakfast!  We spent a lovely Christmas day at my sister-in-law's, and on the 26th, I celebrated my 47th birthday.  I know 2014 will bring a new journey full of adventures, challenges, and learning.  I pray that this year brings all of YOU many blessings!


  1. What a great photo essay of your year! Sounds like lots of special memories with family and friends! Wishing you all the best in 2014!

  2. Reading this post is a kick in the seat for me...I need to take more pictures! I love the way you captured and recapped your year. Thank you for sharing 2013! Looking forward to your sharing of 2014!

  3. Holly, you have wonderful, full life. The blessings of family, home, work, friends are so apparent in your year in review. I'm so grateful to have stumbled on to this website and become a member of the Slice community. No doubt 2014 will build many more memories.

  4. Holly, this is beautiful! Your pictures really show what a wonderful year you have had! Here is to wishing you even better 2014!

  5. Wow! What a year --thank you for sharing your journey! Have a wonderful party tonight!

  6. What a fabulous year you have had, Holly - so much to celebrate and take joy in. Happy 2014 - and to reading more slices of your life.

  7. Beautiful year, Holly. I've been to Marco Island, a fabulous place. Hope you have a wonderful New Year, and party to welcome it!

  8. That photo essay was brilliant and heartwarming. I don't know if I could even begin to remember things from this past year, and then capture them like you did. Here's to hoping you have an even greater 2014.

    Now I know I need to take more pictures and then somehow keep them organized to do something like this next year! Oh, I'm feeling a resolution coming on.....


  9. WOW! What a great way to celebrate 2013! Happy New Year--looking forward to what 2014 brings:-)

  10. You had a terrific year, Holly. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. I hope 2014 is even better.