Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For the past couple of years or so, I have written a sort of New Year’s Eve question and answer blog. I discussed all sorts of manners of things about the year, and this year I went to sit down to fill out the same predicable meme, but found myself uninspired. This past year was good, hard, but in the end, really kind of boring. I mean, we bought a house and had a third baby. Two extremely good things; great things, really, but they took most of the year to prepare for and most of the year to recover from.

When I was thinking back to the year I was reminded of songs more than moments. You see, I am of the school of thought that if a song sounds good played once, it sounds even better played ten times in succession. That makes sense, right? Of course it does. I do this with every single song I’ve decided I’ve fallen in love with, until it is ingrained indelibly on my brain for the rest of my life, and this particular habit of mine is how I still know most of the entire Journey canon from 1994 to 1995 or the U2 album of 2001. Hey, I never said it was a useful habit. Although, you know what, get back to me when Jeopardy has that as a category, because I would ROCK THAT, no pun intended (okay, it was intended).

Of course, this particular characteristics is also something inherited by my daughters. Which is why many of the songs of the year are dominated by their picks, and not just my own. Now that we are in the last few hours of 2014, I thought I’d put together a playlist of all the songs I’ve had on repeat this year. 

Basically, this is a crazily long-winded introduction to what I originally wanted to post, which was a list of songs I’ve had on repeat this year. Now, I want you to note, that only a few of these songs are actually from 2014, so it’s not like I’m claiming to be some magical musical tastemaker who has captured the zeitgeist of the past year or anything, mainly because a) we have established that I’m not up on the trends having once been enthralled by Journey in 1994, when this was not a particularly cool time to be enthralled with them, and b) these songs are really only from my past year, not the general past year of the collective public.

But, anyway! If you’re still reading, and you’re still interested, here are a few great songs I listened to in 2014. And then listened to again and again and again and again. 

1.     A Million Years, Alexander: I heard this on the radio a few times and kept thinking for the 30 seconds that it was Simon & Garfunkel, but realizing that while it definitely isn’t Simon & Garfunkel, it’s still rather Simon & Garfunkel-ish. Don’t know about you, but that always gets maximum points in my book. I discovered this a few weeks after Violet was born, and I sort of feel like it sums up in the best possible way of her arrival in our little family. It’s a “rainbow crash” and an “exploding sun” but “I found my girl.” She makes our family complete.
2. Let it Go, Idina Menzel: Anyone whose anyone has heard this song, but those with young ones have heard this over and over and over regardless if they wanted to or not. In fact, before we owned the album, Daisy had it memorized this song word for word. Lily has been know to steal my nursing cover to wear as a cape and sing the entire chorus complete with choreography. We spent most of the spring, summer and fall singing and dancing in our backyard to this song. I'm sure the neighbors are thrilled we moved the party indoors. 
(ps: my girls LOVE this version. We’ve spent many a nursing session all cuddled up watching it together.)

3.  Thrive, Casting Crowns: This has been etched on my heart so much of this year. When I felt alone. When I felt like I was drowning. When I was suffering from nights of insomnia. When I felt like I could barely survive, this is what I would repeat, “joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable; anything is possible.”
4. Floatin’ Bubble Song, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: We spent the better part of the year potty training Lily. This has not been an easy learning experience for her, and a lesson in patience for me. Her learning would progress and then be interuppted. All year long. I mean, heck this year alone she moved, transitioned out of a crib, and welcomed a baby sister. That's alot of changes for anyone, but especially for a two year old. Finally, though we learned her motivation: Micky & Minnie songs. She got a new song every time she was successful until we had the whole album. This is one of her favorites.
5. Home, Tandy: I think I heard this for the first time on a Grey’s Anatomy episode (which I have stopped watching this year, I just couldn’t stand the drama anymore. Come on, a plane crash and a hospital shooting in back-to-back years? No one has that type of luck.) But, I love the lyrics. I'm generally a sucker for songs that talk about "home" and this one is no exception. 

6.  Piano Pieces from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Era: For two reasons, a) Daisy has become interested in the piano. She wants to learn to play, so we started listening to classical piano in the car and b) sometimes my life is filled with so much talking that I like listening to quiet, calm, wordless music. It centers me. I have a playlist I listen to in the car, or we put on in the late afternoons while I make dinner and the girls play. 
7. Best Day of my Life, American Authors: I’m not entirely sure where this song came from, but it came on my iPod during one of my first runs after Violet was born. I loved the beat for running. Just fast enough to keep a solid tempo, but not too hard-core to make me crazy.
8. Any way you want it, Journey: I told you I wasn’t cutting edge. But, this song is always part of our late afternoon dance parties. When we were desperate for J to get home, tired and hungry and needing a distraction. We put this one and dance in our family room. But, the best part is when Lily sings from the top of her lungs, “Anyway you want it that's the way you need it.”
9.  Peace like a River, Elizabeth Mitchell: This is a song I remember singing when I was a child, complete with the hand motions. There are a million versions of this song, but I love this version in particular. I love that my girls sing it. I love the lyrics. We sing it when we are having a particularly rough moment. Sometimes when Lily is having a meltdown or Daisy is mad, I just start singing this song while I rock them. It almost always calms them down so we can work through the moment. 
10. All the Little Lights, Passenger: I heard this on the radio early in the year driving to work, and then it stopped me in my tracks a few weeks later when I heard it playing at an independent book store I frequent with the girls. I finally found the song on iTunes, and it has been playing on repeat ever since. I love most of the album, but this song has particular stolen part of my heart. 
So there you have it, the California Stars 2014 playlist. I’m sure the neighbors are looking forward to a new playlist for a new year, even if the song is on repeat ten times in a row.