Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I almost didn’t send a Christmas card this year, chalking it up to too much time and expense anyway.  As the cards began showing up in our mailbox, however, I felt a pang of regret and decided to do something.  I usually order holiday cards from cardstore, scoring a sweet Black Friday deal or something, but this year it didn’t pan out.  I opted instead for cheap-o cards from WalMart.  I’m pleased enough with them, but wasn’t sent enough envelopes for all of the cards, so I had to use security envelopes which I already had on hand and those aren’t very festive.  Oh well, live and learn.

Those of you who visit me here or keep in touch with me regularly with already know most of these things, but I thought in lieu of sending a holiday update with my Christmas cards, I would share some highlights from the past year.

January – The New Year!  I love a fresh start.

February – The big kiddos went skiing for the first time at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area (right in our neck of the woods) with Grandpa and Uncle Paul!  Addy turned one!

March – We visited the Biomes center in N. Kingstown, fun for all seeing and learning about marine animals.

April
– We expanded our yard with fruit trees – can’t wait till they start producing! Our bees arrived and we put them in the beautiful beehives Phil made.  Easter egg hunt at Casey Farm.


May
– Continuing the tradition of the May Breakfast.  Much to the kiddos’ excitement,  it’s also the kickoff of our camping season. We visited the trails at the Audubon Society, where my mom used to bring me when I was younger.  Kiddos and I enjoyed storytime at West Kingston Baptist Church, the church we started attending earlier in the year.  Interesting fact: Phil grew up going to WKBC, so in a way he has returned to his roots.

June
– My Aunt Sherry visited from MN, the kiddos’ Aunt Jenn visited from FL, and we celebrated birthdays with friends – good times! We spent a beautiful day at Beavertail having a picnic, jumping on the rocks, and flying kites (me, getting a sunburn).  I saw a snake eating a frog; that image will forever be burned in my memory.  We camped in NH and ended our trip with a visit to a restaurant featuring all sorts of maple-inspired dishes, yum!  I would love to go back when they have maple syrup demonstrations.

July
– Canoeing on Wood River. We try to do this at least once a year!  Of course we stopped for ice cream on the way home.  Sparklers for the 4th of July.  One of our beehives is thriving.  Phil and I volunteered at Vacation Bible School at WKBC and had a wonderful time being involved.

August
– Spent a day doing a local farm-hop with my friend Nikki and her two kiddos. One of the farms had a giant slide that I would love to duplicate in our yard!  Added bee-friendly plants to our yard; amazing how expensive they can be!  Had tea and saw a fashion show at Clouds Hill Victorian House with some friends (fun till we all had to pee from all the iced tea we drank!).  More camping and swimming for the kiddos.

September – Two of the biggest changes this year: I purchased a homeschool curriculum and started my first official year homeschooling Gwen (though I’ve been creating my own curriculum for the past three years).  Secondly, Gwen asked to take dance class with one of her friends; she takes a half hour of tap dance and a half hour of ballet each week.  I love fall, as it means cooler weather and apple-picking time!  We took our 5th annual trip to Deerfield Fair, NH.

October – We got six bushels of apples and I spent a lot of time canning and cooking and preserving!  Daddy and the kiddos made cider.  I shared my love and birthday tradition of Brown & Hopkins and The Old Mill with the kiddos.  Worked on some handmade costumes for the kiddos and had a fun evening visiting family and going out to eat.  In proper fashion, I summed all of these things up in one fell swoop.

November – Every day it occurs to us how many words Addy has learned; she’s like a real person or something!  We constantly marvel at how well she communicates.  She and the big sibs get along pretty well.  Gwen turned 7 and Josiah turned 5; we had a fun “Brave”-inspired party for them. Josiah goes to Bible Study Fellowship most Wednesdays with Grandma and I do my best to keep up with homeschool and getting stuff done around the house.  I also keep up with my handmade hobbies, selling things at two local stores.  An article about my hobby/business came out in RI Local magazine!

December – Gwen starred in her first dance recital!  We were all very excited (and a bit nervous!).  My twin brother and sister-in-law/friend Jenn are visiting from sunny FL, staying with us for the holidays – fun for all!

I try not to make New Year’s resolutions, because they seem doomed to fail, but I like to think positively about the year to come, things I would like to change or improve upon.  I have such a crazy little family and I want to do the best with what God has given me – raising my children, supporting my husband, using my talents in a way that blesses others.  Remembering that it’s okay to take care of myself along the way.

There are so many encouraging verses in the Bible, relevant to any season in my life. I was looking for verses that might be appropriate for the New Year – something having to do with hope or new beginnings – and found this passage from Isaiah among 25 Encouraging Scripture Verses for the New Year:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19  

May you embrace whatever “new things” are ahead of you this year.  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Much Love.

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