In no particular order…
1. Doing a sold-out stand-up comedy show at the Des Moines Social Club in March with Zach Peterson!
2. Visiting New York City in April.
3. Hosting a foreign exchange student from Brazil (Jan. – June).
4. Hosting my friend Satoru from Japan in July.
5. Hosting Japanese exchange students for a week in October.
7. Meeting some of my favorite freelance writing clients in person!
8. Doing the “Sister Wives photo shoot” (photo above) for my comedy website. Every man, at least once in his life, should get to experience a Sister Wives photo shoot.
9. Celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary.
10. Having semi-regular lunches with my friend Gordon.
11. Going out for beers with my friends Mike, Scott and Zach.
12. Driving up to Ames and going out to lunch with my brother Luke.
13. Picking up my son from pre-school and then going out for donuts.
14. Taking my kids to visit their grandma and grandpa – or as the 2-year-old says, “Ham-ma and Ham-pa.” (Which is appropriate, because his grandparents LOVE ham.)
15. My kids getting old enough so we can send them to grandma and grandpa’s house by themselves for a Saturday afternoon visit.
16. Getting to go to a year-end “bonenkai” (“forget the year party”) with my wife’s Taiko drumming group at Miyabi 9, the best sushi restaurant in Des Moines.
17. All the times we ordered takeout from Thai Flavors.
18. All the visits to Zombie Burger and Hardee’s and Culver’s. (I have a weakness for cheeseburgers.)
19. Bike rides on Des Moines’ wonderful bike trails.
20. Taking my kids to the zoo, the playground and the swimming pool.
21. Picnics and trail hikes at Gray’s Lake.
22. Late-night nachos from Abelardo’s (24-hour Mexican drive-through).
23. Meeting many amazing new friends, too numerous to list them all here.
24. Family weekend vacations to Omaha and Sioux City. I love getting out of town with my family for a few days and staying in hotels and going to restaurants, and getting away from the clutter of everyday life.
25. Finally getting around to watching Game of Thrones. It’s the best pop culture I’ve seen in 15 years. If you’re not watching Game of Thrones, you are wasting your life.
26. Celebrating my children’s 4th and 2nd birthdays.
27. Walking in the woods.
28. Being fortunate enough to be able to get paid to express myself creatively.
29. Getting to be a guest blogger for Des Moines is Not Boring.
30. Celebrating another year of not owning a dog.
31. Summer barbecue dinners on my parents’ deck.
32. Knowing that there is still so much to look forward to.