The Best of 2017: The Year of Payton

Most people think of 2017, much the same way they thought of 2016: it sucked. However, for me 2017 was a year marked with intense happiness. Payton has been this giant bright spot in my life this past year. You may have noticed that my blogging has decreased even more than it had in previous years. Yes, I am obviously busier now with her, but that is only a small part of it. The main reason in the decline is I just never know what to write. Aside from Payton, Lindsey, Samson, and the rest of the things I love, most things just make me incredibly sad or angry. I see the world and I just get so frustrated. I think t myself that I should write a post about this…or that, but then I realize it will get me nowhere or that I just do not have the energy to be that angry. So that is why I am not posting as much. I realize that 2018 will probably not be any better on that front, but maybe I can grow numb to it or find a new way to cope with it, or even find a way to express it into words.

Man…after all that, it seems a little to be like “oh hey, now we get to look at some of my favorite things from the past year!” But, you know, here are my favorite things from the past year.

Favorite TV Show
The obvious answer here is Game of Thrones. Like every year, it is my favorite show. I look forward to it more than anything else. The show that was pretty close to second though was Silicon Valley. First of all, the show is hilarious. Thomas Middleditch is one of the funniest actors out there and this season was better than ever. The show can be funny, but also pretty emotional, I mean has anyone ever shed a tear about a server being destroyed? Or get such a satisfying sense of glee when a refrigerator backs up data and saves the day. Or perhaps feel a level of triumph when Richard says that he is going to destroy the server business and make Hooli obsolete? Plus they continued the ongoing joke of Jackson Hole in this season.

Favorite Song
This is a tough one. I mean, it should probably be a song that came out in 2017, right? However, when I look up the songs from this year, I have not really heard any of them. I listen to Today’s Alternative and Mumford & Sons Radio on Pandora, but all of those songs are from a few years ago. I realize I am like two years behind on this one, but the song that I probably sang the most (and seriously thought it was somewhat new, haha) was twenty one pilots “Tear In My Heart.”

Also, time to be the grumpy old man. What is with all of these band names? twenty one pilots. Not capitalized. I was looking at lists and there were symbols (@, #) in band names. I have to mention a funny twenty one pilots story. The first time I heard of them was when I was driving somewhere and was getting a free preview of Sirius. The DJ on the one station said “up next we have twenty one pilots in studio and we are going to ask them some questions!” I was totally confused. Why would they have twenty-one airplane pilots there to answer questions? Why that number? Then I realized this was a band name. Anyways, I really like this song, and it plays at work almost every day now. So that should probably be my criteria for what I consider new music, haha.

Favorite Movie
This is another tough decision. I can tell you which movie was not my favorite from 2017…The Dark Tower. No movie let me down as much as that one did. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was great and will probably be the movie I watch the most and may rank up there as one of my favorite Star Wars films. It will most likely end up being my favorite out of this bunch. But seriously, 2017 was a pretty good year: Logan, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. These are all movies that could easily be my favorite of a year, but there is one that I think is actually above them all. This might seem weird to you, but Bladerunner 2049 was probably the best movie I saw and left me with so many thoughts & questions after seeing it. In a good way.

Favorite Book
Oathbringer. I just finished it. I love this series and wish Sanderson would stop writing so many other books and focus on getting this one finished. There were so many moments in this book where I got chills because of the actions of characters (or had tears in my eyes), or sat in my car listening for another five minutes after I got home because it was just too good to stop. I think even Payton liked it.

Favorite Book to Read to Payton
For those of you that do not think I still physically read books, I will have you know that I read to Payton every night. My favorite is Snuggle Puppy. I actually sing the entire book to her and she seems to enjoy it. I mean, she enjoys it now, while she has no concept of what terrible singing actually sounds like.

Favorite Sports Moment
I am supposed to say “the Pens winning the Stanley Cup again!” And while that was pretty awesome, it was not my favorite moment. Nor was my favorite moment when Saquon Barkley hurdled a defender (although that was incredible). It would not be crazy to assume that my favorite moment came from the World Series. But that would also be wrong. Nope, my favorite moment was something a bit more normal, but also may have dramatic consequences on my fandom.

On September 13th, Tyler Glasnow started for the Pirates, I took a picture of his pitch chart for one hitter and commented on Facebook that this is all you need to know about Glasnow. I then commented on Glasnow’s pitching while he was still in (it only lasted two innings). I think that game broke me mentally as a Pirates fan. I think so much of the anger and frustration I have towards the 2018 Pirates came from that night (granted it was building all season, but that was boiling point). So I guess this is not a favorite moment, but more like a horrible moment that stands out in my mind.

Favorite Podcast
Sword and Scale had some of the most uncomfortable episodes this season. Times where I seriously cringed hearing the stories of monsters in our society. The episode (well episodes since it was two parts) that really hit me though was 93 & 94, which were about Randy Stair and the murders he committed. The story was incredible, but more so was the interview with a friend of the murderer. But seriously, if you are someone who enjoys watching true crime stories, then you definitely need to check out this podcast.

Favorite Phone Game
Sudoku. I have always loved doing Sudoku puzzles, in fact a few years ago I downloaded one for my phone and beat all of the puzzles (I think there were 1000). After that my need was satiated for awhile, but then someone at work was doing a puzzle and I helped them. I think I downloaded a new app that night and have been playing them any chance I get.

Favorite Fantasy Sports Team
My favorite team this year was Hey I’m Andrew! First of all, it is an awesome name that refers to Ryan’s commercial he did for Honda. But it also marks the first time I won a championship in my league and did it by defeating Offord! It was probably the greatest moment of my life. Also, you should read the post for my funny awards.

Favorite Vacation Spot
We did not actually go anywhere major this year. Our biggest trip was an overnight adventure in Cleveland. We hit up the zoo and then went to the hotel. Lindsey found one for fairly cheap and she thought the area was nice and would be a place where we could walk around, hit up shops, etc. Well it turns out the hotel was in the middle of a residential area. There was like one restaurant in the area (that we could walk to) and there was absolutely nothing to do that did not involve driving. We ended up coming back to our room, playing with Payton, then putting her to bed. Lindsey fell asleep around 8:30 and I sat there watching movies. That would have been pretty great to be honest, but then on the way home we stopped at the Grove City outlets and after that, while driving, a rock hit the windshield. We picked up Samson, and while we drove, the crack started to spread while it was raining. Lindsey freaked out and pulled over. I freaked out at her for freaking out. I was so mad and have no real clue why. She was afraid to put on the wipers because she feared it might cause the glass to actually shatter. I thought she was crazy and wanted to get home as soon as possible, she wanted to wait out the storm. Honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure out why I got so mad. I would not talk to her for the rest of the day and was just in a general bad mood after that…see people, I can be pretty crazy at times.

Favorite Moment
The birth of Payton. Everything else pails in comparison. And it was not just the birth (which was pretty fun!), but also some of the milestones. First words, first rollover, first crawl, first steps, first time saying Dadda. First time eating something. The joy she gets playing with Samson. Falling down, being grumpy, having a temper tantrum. All of these things at some point had to be experienced for the first time by us. And as weird as it may sound, I enjoyed all of them. We watched Pirates games together (we even went to a game!), took Samson for walks, went hiking through the woods, and just so many other things that were all fun. I have already written tons of posts about her. My Facebook feed is filled with quick videos and pictures.

It is crazy to think how fast this year has gone. At times it feels like just yesterday that she was this tiny little thing that we had to wake up every few hours to feed. During those times, it seemed like it would take forever for her to get to the point where she could hold her head up, or hold her own bottle, or hold herself up. But now those things are here and you quickly realize how fast it all goes. Yes, everyone says that (and I am sure someone will say “trust me, before you know it she will be graduating high school.”). I try to enjoy all of the moments and at the same time, I look forward to the future. I am excited for her to walk on her own, I cannot wait for her to start asking questions, I am pumped about potty-training. Seriously, I am sick of changing diapers. Is it acceptable to being training at one year?

My favorite Payton moment is almost a little sad. Obviously all the big ones were great. Holding her when she was born was amazing. Seeing her take those first steps filled me with immense joy. However, there is a little thing that happened recently that really hit me. Story time! When we took her to daycare for the first time, Lindsey and I both dropped her off. Lindsey was definitely emotional when we left, which was the main reason we both went. For me it was sad, but not to the point of crying or anything. Not being tough (if you have read this blog long enough, you know I admit to crying all the time), just being honest. Recently Payton has been saying “buh-bye dadda” whenever I leave the room. I dropped her off at daycare and she said it as I was leaving, but with an almost sad tone. It really hit me. By the time I got to my car, I had tears in my eyes and felt so sad that I was leaving her….which is insane because she has been going there for months and she actually loves it there. As I drove to work, I realized that I truly mean something to her. Before anyone says anything, I love thinking about the mind of a child. They know almost nothing, maybe less than that. They can barely breath on their own. So to see and feel that moment when she processes that you are something special, not just the changer of the diaper, or giver of food, it definitely makes a mark on your heart. And for me, that was that moment.

So that was 2017. A pretty amazing year. I hope 2018 is half as awesome!


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