This year started in Costa Rica, where Corey’s foot was sliced by a stingray and Nolan was forced to trash his favourite velour Spongebob blanket in the Toronto airport layover, teary eyed at the pukefest on the plane (sorry, Westjet passengers in front of us!  Sorry.  Chunks happen.  Oh my god.)

But the dubious was tempered with the unforgettable, a giant swimming pig, next to a rustic restaurant near Tamarindo. Avocado shrimp salad, the freshest we’d ever tasted. Surfing off paradise beaches, sitting next to a moonlit pool, still easy in each other’s company. Halfway through the year, it was Hawaii, and roadside pineapple and a sporadically crotchety baby.  An experiment of sorts: could we make a drastic change?

The answer, it turned out, was no, not yet — but in the meantime we had three weddings to attend.  We are in our thirties and the privilege of witnessing earnest vows and choked-up words has waned in recent years: activities, largely, of a slightly younger crowd.  But in 2013  we were invited to two engagement parties turned surprise weddings — Kobe and Kelsey and Michael and Adrian and their aginst-odds, verclempt moments turned into highlights of our year, too.   And just last month we were overjoyed to watch our good friends Amy and Adam tie the knot in Mexico, hard and earnestly, after so many years together.  An overabundance of beaches and love — it seemed like the year couldn’t get better.

Except.  Change loomed.

It isn’t something that comes easily to me: I resist it and resent it, and for that reason, a large chunk of my brain insisted on believing that I’d be with my employer forever.  I’d been with them for 7 years, after all.  Why mess with the consistent?

But life threw a curveball and it became very crystal clear that consistency is only an illusion and though I was terrified to let go of that comfy, cozy (fraying) rope, my god.  The pool I landed in is so incredible and smart and motivating.  Why didn’t I go looking for it years ago?  This year taught me that I need to go looking for change sometimes, perhaps when I’m at my most comfortable.

2013 was full of sandy hair and early tidal pools, watery-eyed vows and first steps.  It was gritty and slightly rocky, inspiring in the most unexpected places.  It was never, ever boring.  Even when shit seems to be going totally sideways, it’s actually going up, to a better place, and an entirely new perspective.

Bring it on, 2014.

Secret Dock + 3 Random Instagrammers

Secret Dock + 3 Random Instagrammers

There’s a small government wharf down the twisty road from our house. I’ve seen another human being on it one time in the last 5 years. The tides get very low here, and it’s not ideal for docking. But it’s exquisitely beautiful. There’s a house on the island across the water that I plot to own one day, and Corey and I sat here four years ago and talked, for the very first time, about the possibility of getting married one day. I continue to believe that there’s a bit of magic in the mist and the ocean and the clouds around here.

I have this photo on Instagram, along with a photo every day for the past two years or so. It’s an amazing instant capture tool and it’s my favourite social media platform by far.

There’s definitely an art to photography, even if it’s your baby laughing, even if it’s a road we’ve all seen a hundred and six times before. It can even be artistic when it’s taken with an iPhone, and I appreciate people who have a creative eye. Here are 3 ofmy tiptop fave Instagrammers du jour:

Neil Kramer – Neil would probably be perplexed to know that I remember that he was one of the first commenters on my Debaucherous and Dishevelled blog about six million years ago. I’ve seen him at various blog conferences over the years, most recently on a street in Chicago this summer, but I never know for sure if he knows who I am. I always say hello, but feebly, and he always nods politely but confusedly. Anyway, he takes amazing candid pictures of every day life and publishes them on instagram. (look up neilochka)

Gerard Yunker – Gerard is a well-known Canadian photographer who photographed Corey when Corey was Blue Steeling stuff. I haven’t met him, but he was in Vancouver a few weeks ago and Corey met up with him and came home to show me his absolutely stunning Instagram feed. He can make an East Hastings back alley look gorgeous. (look up gerard_yunker)

Ania Mari – When Nolan entered kindergarten, there was a parent orientation night at the school library where the principal introduced the school and policies and all the painful administrative details that parents must memorize. I half paid attention, because the woman sitting in the second-last row was maybe one of the prettiest humans I’d ever seen. I stared at her objectively and wondered if she knew how unusually beautiful she was and if it had impacted her mostly positively or negatively. I don’t think I ever spoke to her, though, and if she knew I was scrutinizing her, she was too gracious to glare.

Three years later, her oldest son and Nolan are best friends, and she is my hair stylist and friend. She also has a blended family, and the Instagram photos she takes of them are nothing short of stunning. (look up aniamari)