Home > Family > 2004 – A year in review

2004 – A year in review

This year’s installment of “The Near Year in Review” picks up, obviously, where last year’s essay left off. 

Big stories in the news this year included the escalation of the US war in Iraq (closely tied to the re-election of George W. Bush), the fraudulent elections in the Ukraine, and most recently the huge Tsunami in southeast Asia.

For the Nears, things were decidedly more domestic in 2004.  The year began with the weddings of most of my cousins, including Ryan Brush, Regan Brush, and Bruce Stuart.  Then of course our friend Jen Zelicskovics (now Jen Germaine) went and got married too, followed by a move to their new house in Milton (yay!).  Hopefully the Near and Germaine kids will be playing together in the not too distant future (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

In January I received the MVP Award from Microsoft, and continued to support the XP Media Center Edition community through the newsgroups.  I also began to test lots of new toys and software and Jodie became more friendly with the DHL courier who is now dropping off goodies on a regular basis.  I also started up my Media Center weblog this year, and am having lots of fun with all of the gadgets.

In April, we started a string of travel that was fairly impressive, given Katlyn’s age.  For our main vacation this year, I carried Diane and Jodie’s extra-large suitcases full of bricks across Western Canada.  Why they felt the need to haul so many bricks around I’ll never know, but I’ll sure remember all the trips from the car to the hotel room every time I visit the chiropractor. 

All kidding aside, we had a great time on our western-Canada vacation.  We flew into Vancouver and rented a minivan that would be our home for the remaining two weeks.  We left Toronto amidst freezing rain and snow, and landed into full-on springtime conditions.  Victoria in particular was so warm that the tulips were finishing their blooming season, and we had to buy some shorts to deal with the heat.


SDZooFish.jpgWe weren’t home for a week, then headed off to California for a knowledge management conference.  While there, we all had an opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the most amazing parks that I’ve ever visited!  Katlyn loved seeing all of the animals, and we had great weather for the day.  There was a small blue bird that decided he didn’t like me, and dive-bombed me the entire time we were in the aviary.

NewCamper.jpgAs spring turned into summer, we anxiously awaited the arrival of our newest toy – the popup camper.  As soon as it arrived, we set up in the driveway to check it out.  The rain and cold kept us from sleeping out there, but we did get lots of looks from the neighbours.  You’ll notice that many of the most-viewed pictures from the website in 2004 are of the camper and of the van – that’s because lots of people from the community at www.popupexplorer.com have been checking them out as we chat about camping. 

Eventually we did get a chance to get out to the campgrounds, and we had lots of fun.  Katlyn wanted to be just like dad and sit in the camping chair around the campfire.  She got to see lots of nature, meet many animals and visit with other kids that we met at the campground.  Most importantly for me, we all got away from the TV, the internet, work, and life – it forced us to relax and bond as a family which is the best part of camping so far!

KatlynTreeCamping.jpg KatlynChipmunkCamping.jpgKatlynBathCamping.jpg

Allegany Landscape.jpgPeteKatlynChairsCamping.jpgKatlynSleepingCamper.jpg 

We had plenty of additional opportunities to have fun during the summer as well. 

PeteAlexAirShow.jpgIn May, we headed out on our yearly trip to Cedar Point, and were stricken by our yearly complication.  Last year, of course Katlyn was in the hospital being born; this year she was in the hospital with a fever we couldn’t control.  Pete continued on to Ohio while Jodie and Katlyn stayed in London; they were cared for by Steph and Tim with a little bit of the Children’s Hospital on the side (thanks again guys).  Later in the summer, we also got to go camping with the London Nears at the Elora Gorge, where we all went tubing down rapids.  In June, Alex and I went to the London Air Show – the F-16s were so loud going by that they knocked the breath right out of us!

KatlynJodieBeach.jpgIn August, we went to Andrew Butters’ annual beach party up at Wasaga, which becomes more of a kids’ party every year.  This year was no exception, and Katlyn was just getting accustomed to playing with other kids after being entertained at home for a year with mom (that would soon change).


Back in Milton, the deck proved its usefulness this summer.  My summer ritual was to come home from work and hang out on the back deck with Jodie and Katlyn.  Each of us has our own Muskoka chair out back to just relax and cool down (sadly no pictures of that since we were so relaxed, but many memories).  I just have to remember to put the umbrella down when I go in, we almost lost it a few times in storms.  )

It was amazing to watch Katlyn grow up this year, as I’m sure it will continue to be throughout the rest of her life.  At some point in 2004, she changed distinctly from “baby” to “toddler” in not only her actions but also her appearance.   Based on the photographic evidence we have available, this change happened during the month of July.


Summer turned into fall and we found out that we were expecting another much-anticipated baby to join the family, yay!  We were torn on whether or not to determine the sex, and in the end we decided to keep it a surprise.  Here’s hoping that we go full term this time, dad can’t take another stressful pre-term delivery!

In October Katlyn started daycare, which has been a great opportunity for her to meet other kids and socialize outside of the house.  The first couple of drop-offs were traumatic for all involved, but she’s now enjoying daycare and learning lots every day.  With Katlyn now in daycare, Jodie had the opportunity to start her new career in Real Estate (she’s very good at it). 

We also enjoyed a memorable Halloween this year, Dad and Katlyn visited the houses nearby and had an opportunity to charm some candy out of the neighbours.  The first house was very hesitant – she knocked on the door and was shocked to be given a treat.  At the second house, she returned the candy that the other people had given her.  We corrected that behaviour right away, and from that point onwards it was “walk in, flash a smile, take a handful of candy from the bowl”.  We then returned home to where Katlyn and Mom could give out candy to the older kids that came by.  She was so excited that she stood in the bay window shouting “kiiiids, kiiiids” waiting for the kids to come to the door.


November and December were mostly lead-up month to Christmas, our favourite time of the year.  Once again I insisted that decorations not go up until December and once again I was punished by having to put up Christmas lights in the frigid cold (I couldn’t feel my backside for a good hour after coming into the house). 

Christmas proper was another set of short runs across the province – Christmas Eve in Welland, Christmas Day in Milton, and Boxing Day in Belleville at Laurie’s brand new house.  We had an opportunity to visit with everyone in the family, and Katlyn came away with pretty much every toddler toy ever made (score!).  Jodie bought us a trip to Vegas in January, which is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.  I’m really looking forward to that vacation. 


We’re getting old and were too tired to do anything crazy for New Year’s Eve this year, so we stayed up late and watched Regis drop the ball in Times Square (Dick Clark was sick this year).  We toasted to another great year, a kiss for good luck, and then straight to bed with us. 

It’s been another wonderful year, the first full year as parents.  As such, I hope you can forgive me for going on so much about daddy’s little girl.  Next year will be stories about our new little one and lots more family adventures I’m sure.


– Pete

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