Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Photos of 2013

 Back in 2008, I posted my favorite ten photos of the year and I've looked back on that many times.  Wanna see?  This year was a low shutter-count year for me....only 13,000 personal photos, but it is still hard to narrow it down to just ten.  

Alas, here they are in the order they were taken, though if I did the same exercise tomorrow its quite possible I'd yield different results.

#1 My sweet Avery girl...so precious and so willing to pose for photos.  I'm struck by how much she has aged this year and the lovely young lady she's becoming.
 #2 At the FINISH line of my first-ever marathon, Superman by my side sporting a medal.
 #3 They don't fully recognize it, but these two are so blessed to have each other.  At 17 months apart, they are BFFs and do EVERYthing together.  They will both be better people for having grown up together.  Pure, innocent joy.
 #4 Not the quality of the (phone) picture, but what it represents.  In the middle of an intense summer, Shaun called one of our family meetings.  I don't remember the day's pressing topics, but I love how he always tries to mix business with pleasure.
 #5 It didn't do any thing for me, but I loved seeing how happy my family was to be to upgraded to once-in-a-lifetime seats at Fenway.
 #6 This little guy and I are pretty tight.  He's wearing Batman pjs, makeup that he let a sister apply and he's bringing me flowers.  Ah...
 #7 Had to include a picture from Italy, so hard to choose.  Except for that first travel day (and the pork stuffed with rabbit meal), I loved everything about our trip.
 #8 Love this girl and her free spirit.  I want to live in this posture more in 2014.

So I'll stand
                                               With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
So I'll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours

 #9 These three are still so young and sweet and such a joy to my life everyday.  And wow...such fashion sense!  :)
 #10 I just love the feeling I get when I look at this picture...wouldn't it be cool if we all possessed this confidence and self-assurance?  If we really believed that we held super-powers and could overcome anything that came our way?

Christmas I

Years ago, Shaun's side of the family opted to celebrate Christmas on the weekend before Christmas.   This allows us to all be together every year and then we are all available to do Christmas Day with the other sides of our family.  Shaun's sister hosts every year and its become a treasured tradition. 

We also pared the gift-giving way down, which has enabled us to have the day be about being together, playing games and talking.  Each adult picks one other adult name to buy for, with a set dollar limit, and the remaining gifting is to several families we "adopt".  

These are families who have had a tough year...for instance, the mom has gotten up the courage to leave her abusive partner and since she's in the process of building a new life, doesn't have the resources to provide a Christmas for her children.  Its been such a joy to give.  

Sweet Uncle Tony saved the fire setting until Aiden got there to help.  Aiden kept close track of it the entire evening, making sure to let Uncle Tony know when it was getting low.

Sarah did SUCH a beautiful job with the table.


Handsome dude.

Hi, Nana....thanks for the gifts!  :)

Not sure what this game was called, but it worked similar to the $100,000 Pyramid show.

What a great night!  We are so blessed to all live close-ish to each other and to love each other.  God is so good.

Monday, December 30, 2013

House Project, Week 39

Well, the 18 days Shaun had set aside to work on our house got whittled away to much less, so I had to re-work my wishlist a bit.  Even though Shaun had lots of unforseen things come up, he was still able to get quite a bit done.

My kitchen flooring arrived earlier than expected, delivered right to our front porch.  

 The guys leveled some of the floor, mostly where we'd taken out a wall.



Two days before Christmas....
One day before Christmas...
There is still the finish work to be done, but we are closer than ever and I am over-the-moon about the floor!

We gave the kitchen a good run and found it to be very workable, even with many cooks and dishwashers.
And kids underfoot.  :)

I wasn't sure what to do with the skylight, but there are switched outlets up there, so I felt obligated to do something.  I have an exciting plan for next year!
 Light fixtures got put in...

 And the tool room got mostly cleared out, though we had to nix plans to complete this room before Christmas.
Seven basement windows got replaced, which will help seal up the house and help with heating costs.
 Also in an effort to seal up the house, Shaun insulated and sheetrocked this "nook".  After taping and many coats of mud plus a good sanding, Shaun painted the space.

I wanted to have fun colors in there for the kids and Avery requested orange and blue.
 Blue and orange it is!
The kids quickly set up shop with blankets and bean bags.  Shaun bought a $25 DVD player so they'll be able to watch movies in there.  I think its going to be a great community space where boys and girls can hang out together OUT of the bedrooms.

 The dining room worked well, once again seating 22 people all in the same space.  After dinner, we were able to tear down the folding tables and set up theater seating for our Christmas talent show.
Though we don't love car trouble, Shaun is thankful to have a dry garage to work in and he's been lighting up our old woodstove in there, making it warm when they're working.

 This was likely the last of the progress for a while, since Shaun starts tax season this week.  Its all good...we are living very comfortably now.  However, if there are updates to show, I will.