The New Year is moving at warp speed. I'm hoping that by the months end I might truly say, "Ahhhhh..time to relax and just do what I want to do...sleep really late, read a lot of books, catch up on magazines, and write at least two blog posts a week. Maybe organize and clean up a lot of cluttered spaces in my home as well"(okay, scratch that, this is supposed to be about fun). But you know, just stuff I want to do, not 'have' to do. But as per usual, I'm filling in spaces on the calendar with appointments and social gatherings. I have to get tests done that were ordered at my yearly physical in December, new audiology testing, the mammogram...I should just pack a bag and spend a few days in the hospital. We have friends to meet up with as we were all too busy the past few weeks. Our Elsie has her first birthday coming up and a great celebration planned. I have a birthday coming up, too, but we won't talk about that. ;-) So the coming weeks look busy but I have high hopes for some down time after.
So here is Part 2 of 2015 in review. I know I do this more for me but I hope you enjoy. I left you off in June, 2015 in my last post with a broken arm and weeks of miserable physical therapy. But still, we planned and had a wonderful 4th of July party because in the past we always had one at the lakehouse. Those celebrations were huge, so many friends and family members that many stayed in a motel nearby. Great days of boating, swimming, eating grilled foods, homemade salads and appetizers, playing in the sand and a new-found activity---racing kayaks. We upped the ante by pairing young and old, and guys and girls as teams. You must use your imagination here, I don't want to hurt feelings. Yay young and older gals won two years straight!!
So many good times but our backyard 4th party here in the city was fabulous, too.
Milo is poking thirteen years old with a short stick so I made a Bucket List for him. It mostly consists of spending a minimum of three hours per day outdoors with me. A win/win. If I let him and Layla outside alone, they do their number and then sit on the porch forlornly looking for me to let them in. When I'm out with them they are happy and frolicking and looking for squirrels. So we did that a lot this past summer. My puttering in the garden and reading on the patio makes for some great 'Me' time. They trot along behind me looking for sticks and sniffing for buried walnuts. We can learn a lot from dogs. All they want is to eat, sleep, play and be loved. Sounds good to me.
Watching little Elsie grow like a bean sprout was fun in itself. I had heard the saying, "If I had known grandchildren were so much fun I would have had them first." So true. She's a delight. I am looking pretty ratty here, it was the 4th and I was a crazed woman dealing with thirty guests and a broken arm I didn't realize I had. And humidity does a number on the hair. Ouch :)
August was an absolutely perfect time to get away and off we went to my niece's wedding in Louisville. My brother has lived down there forever and it's always fun to visit. We took advantage of it this year by staying a few extra days but you might just want to read the post. Jaime and Garrett live in Brooklyn. Jaime is a writer and very successful. Garrett is just so fun, I think he and Jaime are a perfect match. One of these days we'll get to NYC and visit them. They said their vows on a hotel rooftop overlooking the Ohio River. The reception was wonderful and The Husband and I met up with so many relatives we normally don't see. It was a fabulous night.
My brother, John and me. He retired from teaching a few years ago and then went back to administration a few days a week...I guess golf year round is pretty much non-existent in their parts! lol! He was also a baseball and football coach for many years and inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame. May I brag a little? And I know you won't believe it, but this handsome guy just turned 68.
A bit blurry but The Husband and I had breakfast with the family the next morning and then went off to explore the different parts of Louisville. It was so fun. A full day of browsing shops and bookstores, stopping here and there for coffee and later some craft beers. We really had a great time and plan to head back soon.
This was also the year that my baby, Abigail Jane, left home and The Husband and I became empty nesters. I didn't like it one bit and still don't. I would gladly welcome all four of our children back home again. Abby moved to the Northside of Chicago and rents a coach house with three girlfriends. Thankfully, she comes home a few times month. We turned her room into a guest room and I joke, she's our only guest! We're very proud of her, she teaches high school English in a predominately Hispanic school, that's difficult, I'm sure. And it's hard to believe sometimes that she's just a few years out of college herself and preparing her students for the same. She does however, mentor so many young kids who identify with her and this fall she started coaching girls basketball. Where she gets her energy, well, it's not from me! lol!
August was another huge time in our lives when our oldest son married the love of his life, Deirdre. It was a beautiful wedding(you can read about it here), and they are truly perfect for each other. Deirdre is so very sweet and fun. She has a fantastic career and travels quite a bit. And she's so great for Jeff. He's a ball of energy and has a very successful business of his own. He recently started hiking big time as well as mountain climbing. He has goals for some large expeditions in various places next summer. I'm very proud but a mother worries, of course.
Near the end of September The Husband and I planned a little trip winding down to our place in Asheville, NC. We love the South and rather than just flying into Asheville, we like to come in from another area and then do a road trip to see various cities and towns along the way. This year we flew into Nashville. We loved it. The best part was staying in a little log cabin in Franklin, TN., just outside Nashville. The town is known for its great downtown shopping area filled with various shops and restaurants. Our little cabin was on a huge acreage of land once owned by Wynona Judd and then Sheryl Crow. We were really star-struck!! And it was a really cute place. You can read more in my September 2015 post.
Driving through Tennessee was a beautiful experience. The Husband must have exclaimed every five minutes, "Look at all of these fences!" For some reason he thought that was unbelievable. For me, I never really saw anything inside of the fences but maybe for a few horses. No cattle or sheep or goats or chickens...can someone explain (this is the Midwestern girl in me talking)? But the fences were beautiful as was the landscape. We stayed in Nashville, Franklin and Gatlinburg. I refrain from talking about Gatlinburg only because of my never ending fear of bears which was always at the forefront of my mind. And I was so excited to find a rustic cabin in the woods to stay at and then never ventured outside of it once I saw how remote and wild it was. Well...wild to me. Ha!
Fall is always welcome here. I did my share of decorating, much of which I posted. We love autumn here in the upper Midwest and always hope for an Indian Summer. I think we got it. That and a very rainy and mild winter so far.
Granddaughter Elsie grows like a weed, she's at such a fun stage now. She's almost walking. I can't take enough pics. When I'm with her memories of holding my own young daughters come flooding back. Things come full circle and I'm constantly amazed how life has so many twists and turns...just when you think the best of times are in the past, your heart awakens to new joys.
We had a full house for Thanksgiving dinner and an even more full house for dessert. That's how our family works. Yes, I get stressed out but I think most of us would with 15 to 20 guests. Still, it's such a great time. This is a small part of out table. As it turned out, we did a sort of buffet and everyone sat where they wanted. Much more informal and perfect for our large group.
And finally, Christmas. I can't believe that we ultimately bought our tree and decorated the fireplace just five days before the 25th. I've never been this late in the game. I simply can't point my finger at any one thing but I do know that for once, I wasn't racing against time, I was looking for the right time. That made it okay. I kept things at a minimum although I don't necessarily call that a victory cry. Sometimes I think we have to stop the over-glorification of 'simple', 'uncluttered', 'frugal'. We set the bar too high sometimes and make those who actually don't have issues with those things feel inferior. Let's be fair and good friends and just do what we love to do. :)
Another picture of Elsie. I was reading the new issue of The Dr. Oz magazine and he was writing about welcoming his second grandchild. How it was a blank slate; millions of paths, choices and opportunities for this grandson of his. And that led to his thoughts on what we adults do. We have goals and plans to be our best, to reach our potential, yet we mistakenly feel defeated by worrying about the hard work...the actual 'doing'. And worry we do! So sometimes we never get past that desire or goal because we fear defeat and that's sad. We have to start somewhere and I think the pain of regretting we didn't try is beyond and worse than the pain we feel when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Hey---Dr. Oz and and I are old pals! lol!
I was so surprised and I'm not sure why except for maybe some sort of brain fog from the holiday happenings, that I never made up a 'word' for 2016, nor a resolution. So many of us say we don't make resolutions, and that's okay. I simply do it because I'm the sort who likes to look forward, not back. My future is a clean slate and I can flow along like I'm on my kayak or I can make out a plan. Either way, I'm moving forward and that's just perfect for me. I guess right now I'm just floating...I usually have goals and I make concrete, old fashioned written down plans to achieve them. But I only had a vague idea this year, again, no word or well thought out plan. I'd love to wrap this up by saying I do know why it's been difficult, that it's 'this' or 'that', but I'm just feeling right now that the clouds are going to part soon and I'll have some clarity. Can I just say that I'm going to chip away at it as I go along? That goals are a beautiful thing but right now my goal is to give myself a break from goals?
In a few months I'll be at the lake in Michigan in the warm sun, paddling around the anchored boat with Milo on a floatie while The Husband fishes for bass. We'll grill hamburgers and steaks and drink Blue Moon under the stars. We'll bring the gardens back to life (and I'll wrestle with the wisteria!). Here in the city we will finally redo the wretched chipped porch and driveway. I'll add to my perennial garden beds and we may get around to cleaning up 30 years of junk in the basement. And that glorious home in Asheville? A trip or two and hopefully visits with the lovely people I've met through blogging that live there....amazing, the best and in a place we never thought we'd return to. Let it be learned...anything is possible.
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 and that Part 2 hasn't bored you to tears! I do it for myself so very much...I love to see at a glance what the year was like.
Now I feel very behind because we are well into the first week of January and I'm reminiscing, but I'll give all of you time to read and fully comment and then I'll bring you up to date on what's happening around here now.
Love and Happy New Year!!!