Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review

Happy New Year's Eve, dear friends! Thank you so much for spending another year journeying along with us! It's such a blessing and an honor to have you all as part of our world. Thank you for your support, encouragement and overall love of us and this little piece of cyberspace of ours. We truly love how much you all love our blog!

It's amazing that there are only a handful of hours left to 2014. It seems like each year passes more quickly than the one before it. If only there was some way to slow down time a bit!

This year saw Grace continue to be as sweet and kind and gentle as ever while also finding her voice and speaking up for things that are important to her. We have watched her become a more confident reader and writer and have enjoyed watching her knitting skills improve, too. She is still deeply rooted in the world of fairies and gnomes and adores birds of all kinds and is still dreaming of learning to play the harp. It's hard to believe that in 2015 she will turn nine, and that after that it's all double digit birthdays from then on. I do so wonder what the nine year change will bring for her (and for all of us).

2014 was the year that Emma lost her first tooth (and her second and her third). She attempted to ride a bike sans training wheels and then not feeling ready to continue without them requested they be put back on. I love that she knows her limits and listens to that still small voice inside her and honors it. Emma adores morning lessons (and so does Grace) and also loves to play for hours and hours and hours. Creating, baking, cooking, dancing, helping, exploring and discovering are some of her most favorite things to do, and if she can do all of them each day even better!

We had a blast working together to make new garden beds, can strawberry jam, tomato sauce and peaches and do a little more painting on the fence. Hopefully next spring we'll finally complete that never ending painting project. We cheered Dave on as he worked so very hard to repair the front fence and rejoiced together when it was done!

The excitement reached a fever pitch as we traveled to Florida for a week of truly incredible adventures. Going to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, followed by Grace and Emma's first visit to Disney was beyond our wildest dreams and truly magical. I still get choked up just thinking about it all! Dave and I cannot get over the amazingess that was that week away, and we say all the time how truly glad we are that we waited until both girls were the ages they were for their first trip to Disney and therefore can carry with them the memories of this first trip there all on their own. 

With all the happiness and joy of 2014 we also experienced some sadness and grief. March saw us travel to New York to attend Dave's grandmother's wake and funeral. Being there with our family and watching as everyone helped our girls experience these end of life rituals for the first time (and such a positive experience it was) was such a blessing. Sadly, a couple of days after we returned home we were faced with more death as we said good-bye to our beloved dog Albert. And a few months later we bid farewell to Emma's guinea pig. As things often "come in threes" we thought we were good until we learned that our neighbor's sweet dog passed, followed by one more neighbor-loss as Miss Laura from next door passed from this world and into the next (a loss that shook us all). 

We continue to be grateful to live, learn, laugh and love together each and everyday. The girls and I thank our lucky stars always to have such a dedicated, hard working soul as Dave who makes this incredible life of ours possible! It's such a beautiful life the four of us live and we are so richly blessed.

We hope that your final hours of 2014 find full of joy and peace. We'll eat our traditional meal of Chinese food this evening, fill out our yearly time capsule sheets and stay up with the hopes of seeing the new year in (though I wouldn't bank on that last part occurring)! Happy New Year, dear friends! May your 2015 be full of love, peace, joy and harmony. xo

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

From Our Family To Yours

As one year draws to a close and another is about to begin we wish you much peace and happiness. xo

Monday, December 29, 2014

Family Gatherings

Christmas afternoon found us traveling to New York for Christmas dinner with Dave's side of our family. It was a gorgeous day that felt far more like Easter than Christmas, if truth be known. 
It was so lovely to be able to be part of the Christmas day celebration! With Dave having only Christmas day off from work, traveling for more than just that day was not possible for us. We are so grateful that Aunt Lucia and Uncle Joe were hosting the family this Christmas so that we could be part of the fun this year! 
 Yesterday saw my parents, brother and sister journeying to our house for dinner (lasagna made by Dave) and a Christmas celebration. 
This beautiful creation (an oven rack puller/pusher) was made by my insanely talented father. I had seen one in a catalog and thought that it would be perfect for the girls to use when using the oven. Rather than purchase that one, I asked if my dad could make us one. Forgetting that I had asked for this, and not expecting it to be skeleton key shaped (though with having keys like that in our old farmhouse it truly is the perfect choice), it took me a minute to figure out what it was (where they buying us a new house?!). Nope, not buying a house just fulfilling a request. Mom and dad did share with us that the wood used to make this gorgeous item came from the tree that had held the best rope swing ever. While we are sad that that tree is no longer standing we are happy that it will continue to live on for years (and maybe even generations) to come. Daddy, you never cease to amaze us! Thank you so very much! 
A much hoped for Christmas wish has come true! 
These gifts were a total surprise to David and I. We had no idea what these boxes would contain. 
Inside each box were items made by my Aunt Gail. My father's only sister is as insanely talented as he is. Though her craft item of choice is not wood or stained glass but fabric and thread. She inherited her mother's gift for sewing, and over the years has created some wonderful gifts for all of us (and this now includes her great-nieces). Last night, the girls opened these boxes to discover some wonderful creations. The first was a nightgown and mop cap. The mop caps had been given to Kaitlyn and I-along with matching nightgowns- when we were kids. The nightgowns were much loved and totally worn out but the mop caps lived on. Mom discovered them and enlisted Aunt Gail in the making of new nightgowns and the sprucing up of the aforementioned mop caps. Not one to stop there, she decided to to add to the gift and chose two dolls from her mother's (my grandmother's) extensive collection. She went on to create a matching outfit for each doll and enclosed them in the gift as well. What a truly incredible surprise! 
The dolls chosen for each girl were just perfect for them. Emma's doll's hair color is very similar to hers, and Grace's is too. It's as if Grandma Ruth knew all those years ago that she'd eventually have two great-granddaughters who these dolls would go to. Oh, how I wish my grandmother was still alive so she could see how instantly these two dolls were loved. 
"I love you!" xo

Sunday, December 28, 2014

On Boxing Day

The day after Christmas, Boxing Day for many, was deliciously lazy for us. The morning was spent snuggled together, playing with gifts from the day before and reveling in the peace and stillness that always comes with the day after. Our day ended with some knitting while listening to Sparkle Stories (we are loving the Martin and Sylvia Twelve Days of Christmas stories) and pizza for dinner. It was a quiet and mellow day all around that was absolutely perfect in our book. xo

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Morning

We all came down at a very respectable 8:00am. The girls have never been ones to rise early ever and that has, fabulously, always included Christmas morning!
Grace adores the Bruins, especially Dennis Seidenberg. Finding this minifig was too good to be true!
In our Christmas jammies. 
Gifts for papa. 
The girls loved hearing that when David was a kid he had a potato clock. They decided that they wanted to get him one for Christmas. He was so surprised! 
While we were on Amazon ordering the Potato Clock we also came across this Robot Brush. Needless to say, he's got some projects to keep him busy! 
Opening Santa gifts. 
He leaves one gift (of his choosing and always something wooden) for each girl. 
A Star Girl for our sweet Emma. 
And a peacock for our bird loving girl. 
For the last several years we have used the poem: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" to guide our gift selections for each girl. It really has been such a blessing in so very many ways. The pictures below contain the items for each girl that correspond to the aforementioned poem. 
A tooth fairy door for Emma! 
Some much dreamed about terra cotta bird whistles for Grace. 
The kind soul that we met at Disney (who was able to get us in to meet Elsa and Anna in only five minutes) got in touch with me in October to ask if we needed anything from Disney for the girls for Christmas. He was going in early November and was happy to pick things up for us if we'd like. After a little bit of discussion we decided that Anna's coronation dress would be perfect for Emma's "something to wear" gift. Her smile here says it all! Many thanks to Adam for making this Christmas gift possible! 
Once the gifts were all opened it was time for the obligatory Christmas morning Lego building. 
We got such a kick out of the fact that Hallmark Movies and Mysteries was broadcasting a fireplace scene complete with cat and Christmas music all morning long! It was the perfect thing to build Legos and relax to. 
It was an absolutely lovely Christmas morning. Peaceful and sweet, full of lovely memories and many dreams come true! We hope your day was just as lovely, too! xo