At the end of every year, everyone on Instagram posts their “Top Nine,” using an app that puts together your most “liked” photos of that year. That’s my Top Nine above. A toilet made the cut, which seems appropriate to represent 2019. At least there weren’t two toilets which was a real possibility, since we finally finished not one, but two absolutely hellish bathroom renovations.

Also making an appearance in my Top Nine is Mazzy’s tutu tuxedo, Harlow’s new car, and visiting day at sleep-away camp. But there are other less significant photos that made it for no other reason than it’s a pretty picture, a cute throwback or the algorithm was feeling particularly generous that day.

I decided to put together my own “Top Ten Moments of 2019” that focuses on the stuff that was important to me in 2019 (both big moments and small), as opposed to what did well on Instagram. I think that will be my mantra going into 2020 as well!

1. Mazzy 5th Day of 5th Grade

On the 5th day of school, Mazzy came down with a pretty bad cold and stayed home sick. I stayed with her in the morning, then Ruth took over at noon and I went to work. At about 2pm, Mazzy texted me the photo above. I had totally forgot. Our school photo tradition. It all started when we forgot to take a “first day of school” photo when she started second grade, so we took a “second day of second grade” photo instead. We kept it up every year after that and you can see all the photos here. Nothing says #thebigkidyears more than your daughter taking it upon herself to continue your longstanding joke.

2. The Andy Grammar Concert

Harlow has been obsessed with Andy Grammar all year and taking her to his concert was one of my most joyous experiences ever. I didn’t know whether to watch the show or watch Harlow watching the show. I think Mike even teared up when “Don’t Give Up on Me” came on at the end, because by that point it meant just as much to him as it meant to Harlow. She has been prepping us all for that moment for months. Even Mazzy knew all the words and sang along to everything. You can read the full story here.

3. Mazzy’s Blue Hair

The photo above was after a few washes and a fresh hair cut. The immediately after pictures were a bit more extreme. Mazzy loved it. I accepted it. Mike hated it. Our bathroom looked like I had slaughtered a Smurf in the tub. But really, none of that mattered because Mazzy could not stop thanking me. I think I earned some of those very elusive “cool mom points.” And, it’s just hair, right? Actually, that’s not exactly true. To Mazzy, it was not just hair. It was her choosing to express herself in an unconventional way and me giving her permission to do so. There was a very obvious surge of confidence in my daughter that I got to feel partially responsible for, not to mention, a mother daughter bonding experience that we will both remember for the rest of our lives. TOTALLY WORTH IT. You can read the full story here.

4. Harlow’s New Car

Back in January 2019, I started giving the kids a few dollars here and there for participating in photo shoots. I record it all on an app so they have a running tally of how much they have. Whenever we are in a store and they want something, I say I won’t get it, but you can buy it with your own money. Since the beginning, Mazzy spends hers pretty regularly (on slime, squishies, etc.), while Harlow has been steadily saving. She told me when we first started that she was saving up for one of those miniature cars, like the one Luke has. I looked them up and told her they cost around $200. Harlow was determined. Every time she made some money, she asked how much closer she was to her car. It seemed like a pipe dream initially, but true to her word, despite many opportunities, she never spent a dime. In November, after almost a year of saving, she finally reached her goal. Right in time for her birthday. I thought she was going to buy the car and it was going to be an awesome lesson in long term saving for a big reward. But then Harlow made her second smart move. She told my dad (aka Poppy) that she had saved enough money for her own car. And then, in a completely uncharacteristic move for the man I grew up with, Poppy surprised Harlow with a car for her birthday so she wouldn’t have to spend her own money. Congrats, Harlow!!! You figured out how to save and how to game the grandparents in one fell swoop.

4. Krewe of Boo

Truly, I have never seen my family filled with more joy than when we were riding in a shark themed float through the French Quarter for the “Krewe of Boo! Parade,” New Orleans’ Halloween parade. Music blaring, dressed in circus costumes and tossing rubber sharks and moon pies into a crowd of thousands. IT WAS AWESOME. Harlow said it was her third favorite day ever, after the day she was born and her first birthday. Mazzy said the experience was tied with our trip to Disney World. MIKE DANCED! You can read the full story here.

6. Mazzy’s Tutu Tuxedo

Our family was invited to a Bar Mitzvah and Mazzy did not want to wear a dress. After fighting with a her a bit about the options in her closet, I asked her if she wanted to wear a suit. “Really? Would you let me wear that?” “Yes,” I told her. “If we can find one that fits in time.” She thought about this for a moment. Then her eyes lit up. “I KNOW! What about a black blazer with a white button down on top and a black tutu on the bottom???” Done. Tutu and shoes from Zara, tuxedo blazer from H&M, white button down from J.Crew, smile is all Mazzy.

7. Harlow’s Fashion Panda

Harlow told me that for Halloween, she wanted be a “Panda, but fashion.” I didn’t know what that meant until she put the outfit together. I felt foolish for ever doubting her. Then I dressed as a Fashion Panda too. You can read the full story here.

8. Meeting the Real Santa

Instead of going to Santaland at Macy’s (which was a nightmare last year and kinda killed Mazzy’s belief in Santa), we went to The National for their Santa brunch. Santa came around to all the tables while we leisurely ate breakfast tacos, Nutella Christmas Morning bread and drank candy cane hot chocolate. While we were waiting for Santa to come over, Mazzy said, “If he’s really Santa, he’ll know my birthday.” When Santa arrived at our table, he said hello and Merry Christmas and then looked like he was moving on to the next table. Then he stopped, came back, turned to Mazzy and said, “Wait. Don’t you have a birthday coming up? Isn’t it on Monday?” Her mind was BLOWN. Christmas magic restored. You can read the full story here.

9. Harlow and Mazzy’s reunion at Sleepaway Camp


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Mazzy went to sleep-away camp for four weeks last summer and at the two week mark, we went up for Visiting Day. I’ll never forget seeing her wave excitedly when she spotted us from across the road. She was happy to see all of us, but we definitely took a backseat to Harlow. Mike and I got our hugs next. You can read all about why we sent Mazzy to sleep-away camp here.

10. Our first family selfie

Believe it or not, this was our first family selfie, taken during our trip to Yosemite. It was instigated by Mike and taken by Mazzy. I think it was the perfect pic to reflect what an awesome time we had on this trip. The whole trip makes my Top Nine list actually. You can read all about it here.

In all honesty, the finished bathroom should make my top moments as well, because fixing our renovation debacle dominated all of 2019. Half of 2018 too. But there is still so much negativity attached to the whole process, that it’s been tough for me to write about. Slowly but surely the apartment is getting finished and I am happy to be in my home again.

I’m hoping I can write about the finished renovation in 2020 and leave the negativity behind.