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Don't forget to remember the highlights from last year

Do you ever have that feeling of being overwhelmed?

There are times when it seems as though we are constantly treading water to keep afloat. The holiday season is most definitely one of those times of year that fills our calendars from Sunday-to-Saturday. I just commented the other day to my wife that it seems like I haven’t even had the time to sit, relax, and bask in the majestic glow of the Christmas tree in our living room. 

The approach of the pending holidays also signals something else. A new year is about to unfurl in front of us! How is that possible? I remember 2012 being ushered in just a few short months ago. 

As rushed as things are though, I do try to remember the good things from the past year. I don’t like to ponder upon the things that were never accomplished, never achieved, and goals not met. Instead I like to simmer in the things that were done and those little unexpected surprises that made a year worth living.

There were a lot of outdoor adventures this past 2012. Some of them were momentous and others mundane, but all worth reliving. 

Most of the big moments for me involved the pride of being a father and watching two boys grow up living the outdoors. One event that I will not soon forget is the struggles and eventual triumphs my two sons felt as they finally learned how to use a baitcast reel.

Now, for those that don’t fish, or for those that do not use a baitcaster, this may not seem like much of an accomplishment to be listed in 'big moments' for 2012.  Many of you though completely understand what a glorious occasion it is to successfully use a baitcast reel and remain free of the dreaded backlash! 

It was with immense joy that I watched the progression from frustration to exhilaration as these two young anglers of mine were able to accurately drop a lure where they wanted. It was even more enjoyable to watch these precise casts be rewarded with a fish on the end of the line.

The next highlight for this past year has to be our family’s traditional vacation to the Northwoods of Minnesota. Personally, I love everything about being 'up north.' To watch my family enjoy being there as well; that’s all a father could hope for.

This is where my family really took a step forward catching big fish. It is completely, 100%, utterly impossible to not sport a mammoth smile when reeling in a five-pound bass.  I was fortunate enough to watch both boys haul in some real heavy bucketmouths. I also thoroughly enjoyed my wife catching 30-inch northern pike.  here was even one brief moment when she was the only person in the boat catching them. It was so comical to watch her apologize for catching another one!

Probably one of the most cherished memories though, for the entire family, is when we were able to hitch our Tahoe to a new boat and bring it home. I should probably stress that the boat was 'new' to us, and was actually a 2007 model in beautiful shape.

The family has reached the age that we needed something a little bigger for all of us to spend time fishing in. There are certain lakes and rivers that we love to fish that required something with a little zippier motor as well. I had been looking for a couple of years to find the right used boat. 2012 was the year.

The first time we zipped across the lake as a family we were all smiles. I thought that Cody might literally explode with joy. In fact, he was so overcome with excitement he cleaned the boat, wiped down and polished the boat, loaded the boat, and studied every instrument, nuance, and detail of the boat. Now that is passion!

The latest in our list of things to be remembered for this last year involved the boys receiving their very own shotgun. I know, I know, some might be horrified. To an outdoors enthusiast though, the day you were handed a shotgun that is all yours is a mighty important rite-of-passage.

I’m sure that my father, his father, and his father before him all remember with absolute clarity the first time they were handed their first shotgun. It’s something that is not often forgotten. Even more special in this scenario, is that my sons helped to purchase their Remington 870 with some of their own money. They treat something much differently when they have a vested interest in it.

Yes, as we approach the holidays and Christmas it is sometimes sad to think of how quickly another year has swept by us. It makes me smile though as I sit here and reminisce. I’m sure you have a few highlights that will make your face transform into that unmistakable grin of happiness.

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