Tamera Schlueter New Year already seems oddly familiar

The Schlueterville New Year began with a case of déjà vu, that crazy feeling of having experienced something before. Great things happened in 2013 — monumental, messy stuff that makes you land on your butt and ask, “Did that really happen?” Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I were a little sad to see it end.

It was a milestone year, with our youngest son, Magnet, graduating from UNL in May, and starting a physical therapy graduate program at UNMC in Omaha in August

. It featured January rejoicing of the engagement of our eldest son, Rocket, to his lovely fiancé, Trooper. In June we celebrated even more, during their ridiculously charming wedding amidst hundreds of family and friends in our own backyard.

It was the year torn apart and rebuilt by calloused hands, with a freshly landscaped yard, and a hair-raising, knuckle-busting kitchen remodel completed the day before Rocket and Trooper’s wedding guests arrived.

The year 2013 had an adventurous spirit, with a face-to-moose encounter on a Colorado hiking trail, and an exploding air mattress in a frigid South Dakota campground. It featured snowmobiling, and ice climbing, back-to-back half marathons, and an aerobatics flight aboard a Pitts S2-B biplane that split my face with a permanent grin. It was also the year I swallowed my fear of all things medical, and underwent long overdue foot surgery.

By the time Christmas rolled around we were bone tired, cash-strapped, and rich beyond compare with blessings received and goals achieved. So we declared a bare-bones holiday that shirked glitz and storebought gifts, and focused solely on good food, snort-laughs, and the reason for the season. Instead of shopping, Hunka and I spent weeks in his shop, building bona fide chuck boxes our kids could use for tailgating and camping adventures yet to come. We caterwauled Christmas carols as the sawdust flew, and both agreed it was the best holiday we’ve had in a very long time.

We were about to chalk up 2013 as one momentous year when it dished out one final, engaging surprise before leaving our lives for good. On bended knee in the middle of a crowded ice rink, Magnet asked his lovely girlfriend, Fireball, to marry him. She said yes. God bless their joyful hearts. Here we go again.

And so begins 2014, with a case of déjà vu. Like last year we welcomed this January with a champagne toast to a couple betrothed and a wedding anticipated. This year’s engagement will again be short, with Magnet and Fireball’s nuptials celebrated in the heat of July. We’ll gather once more in the Schlueterville backyard — this time for rehearsal dinner only — with dozens of family and friends. Hunka and I are drawing up plans for an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven, which we’ll probably finish the day before our guests arrive.

We never know what the future will hold, but I do hope this year will be as rich and busy as the one just past. I hope it teems with hard, satisfying work, belly laughs galore, and a few moments of deadline-meeting panic tossed in to keep us grounded. It will welcome a second daughter-in-law and her kin to our expanding family tree. It will include helping newlyweds move to their first home in Omaha, where Magnet will continue his graduate program, and Trooper will enter her first year of medical school in August.

Amidst all that celebrating, I’ll bet 2014 will save some time for adventures to be had, races to be run, and another bare-boned Christmas filled with memories to last a lifetime. Yes, indeed, this is shaping up to be another banner year.

I hope 2014 will be filled with abundant joy and splendid surprises for you, too. Happy New Year, my friends!

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