Monday, February 08, 2016

Belated 2015 Retrospective: What we've been up to

Hello 2016!! [Yes, I know, I'm a little behind.] Hello friends who might still be reading my blog!! I've gone a long time with very intermittent posts. It's been kind of a long blogging break. I'm ready to come back, but don't expect frequent posts. I'm taking my time, and heck, life is busy as a working mom of three small children who still wants to "do all the things."

But let's start this year off with a nice big update with lots of pictures. I'm killing two birds with one stone here. I never got around to doing Christmas cards this year (something that hasn't happened in forever--I even managed to do them the year Silas was born) and I haven't been sharing much on this blog for many moons, so a big update is in order.

So here's a 2015 recap:



BIRTHDAYS

We always celebrate birthdays, but each year is different. For the twins' fourth birthday we decided to have a party for them with friends who had similar aged kiddos. We made it extra fun by having a bubble party. Lots and lots and lots of bubbles. The weather cooperated (thank goodness because no plan B) and everyone had a great time in our backyard. Bubbles, the water table, pizza, and cake; lots of friends, great weather, no gifts. Simple and fun. The boys loved it!

Ethan with little bro Silas checking out the various bubble wands.
We had some interesting bubble wands. I think Ethan was
the only one to figure out how this one worked.
Peter and Ethan spending time at the water table.
The dads were in charge of the bubble machine.
Silas turned 2 this year!! It's so hard to believe my baby is 2 already. He has changed so much in the last year and his language has just been exploding since his birthday. My philosophy on birthday parties is to do a party for birthday #1 and then keep it small until they are old enough to start asking or noticing that other kids have birthday parties. But, we had to cancel Silas' first birthday party due to sickness, so we made up for it this year. My parents came, his godparents were both able to make it, and a few others friends as well. We still kept it simple (because that's how we roll) and I think a good time was had by all.
Opening a few gifts
Silas loves babies!! Here he is with Baby Mikey.
Birthday cupcake!! 

TRAVEL AND VACATIONS

A bit of travel again this year. I had the usual professional conferences this year which took me to Denver in February and then a little closer to home in October for a regional meeting in Louisville.

The boys and I took a long weekend in late May to go to Atlanta to visit family. In addition, I took Silas one day and ventured up to Greenville, SC to visit college friends and celebrate my godson's First Holy Communion. Peter and Ethan enjoyed spending a day with Nanny and Papa.

Brotherly love in Hilton Head, SC
As a family we ventured down to Hilton Head Island once again to meet up with my family for a vacation. It was a bit dreary for most of the week, but we still managed to have fun on the beach one day, the pool another, took a long walk and collected sea shells, visited the Children's Museum, and took the twins to play their first ever round of miniature golf.

Chris had the opportunity in November to go on a retreat. He didn't have to go too far (our diocesan retreat center near Danville, KY), but I'm sure the break was nice for him.

SCHOOL

Peter and Ethan started in the Pre-K class at their daycare this past August. They both have been doing great. The daycare has been great from very early on teaching letters and numbers, days of the week, calendar months, and a few other things, all in a very fun and natural way. So it has been an easy transition to starting to learn in a slightly (they are only 4 after all) more formal way. The school is using "Handwriting without Tears" and the boys have learned so much. They weren't writing much of anything prior to August. Now they can write their names and all the letters in the first half of the alphabet. They are writing numbers and practicing different writing strokes. It's been a really great program so far.

Silas is in the same school, but not doing any formal learning yet. His classes this year do calendar stuff and draw and color and do fun crafts, but it's all very organic, just as when the older boys were in those classes. He has had great teachers who love him which makes it so much easier to leave him (and his brothers) there each day.
Peter, Silas, and Ethan in December following
their Christmas Concert at the daycare

OUR "FAITH"-FUL PURSUITS

Chris and I now both have commitments at our church's Adoration Chapel. He's had his for many years now (every Tuesday at 6 AM). I used to have an hour but had to give it up during my pregnancy with the twins. This year I jumped back in and have the privilege of spending an hour with Jesus every Monday night.

Chris also took a leap of faith this year and went on the Men's Cursillo weekend in November. I wasn't sure if he would enjoy it or not, but he seemed to. I was so glad to have been able to get a sitter for the last day of his retreat so that I could attend the Closing Ceremony. 

I haven't been on a retreat in a long while but I have been working through my novice lessons for the Benedictine Oblates this past year. I've been rather slow going through them and I don't always fulfill all the obligations of an Oblate, but I'm trying. It's a work in progress. The Novice Director has been great and I love getting his feedback on the lesson answers I send him. I'm almost done, have decided on my patron saint (I'll save that for another blog post), and I think we have a date set for Final Oblation. We're all going to take a day trip up to St. Meinrad's for it in April. It should be fun!

Sometime in the past year or more I agreed to co-chair the Vocations Committee at our parish. The main thing I've been working on with that is a Vocations Crucifix Program where different families host the crucifix each week and pray for vocations. It's been a great experience and the committee and I are hoping to expand our work over the coming year.

WRITING

Well, as you know I haven't been writing much on this blog this year. Most of my writing here was in January and February and then my posting took a serious nose dive for the rest of the year. But that's okay, breaks are good. Besides some "7 Quick Takes" posts and "Small Success Thursdays" I did manage to do two reviews this year. One was for Catholic Sistas on the planner being sold there (check it out HERE) and the other on a new e-Book on the Jesse Tree (check it out HERE). The Jesse Tree book was fun to review and then I used it with the kids this year. Here are a few quick pictures:

Boys hard at work coloring their ornaments

The boys' Jesse tree ornaments: three sets, different ribbons for each kid.

Our Jesse Tree with some of the ornaments

At Catholic Sistas I still maintain a once-a-month spot and I spent 2015 putting together interviews with religious men and women as part of the Year of Consecrated Life. If you're interested in seeing what I've been doing over at CS:


A book review of Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer by Sr. Marie Paul Curley.

A book review of Life from our Land by Marcus Grodi.

By the way, I highly recommend both of the books listed above.

I also volunteered this year to be a part of the Gospel Reflection Team for 2016 at CatholicMom.com. I was given one date to write a reflection for and submitted that back in September. I'm excited to have this tiny opportunity to branch out a bit more, especially for such a big, well-known website!

During this year long blogging break, I have been considering starting a new blog and leaving this one up as an archive. For the moment I have discerned to keep this one going, but a part of me wants a fresh start. That being said, God has made it clear that now's not the right time, so I'll wait. I anticipate there could be a change here sometime in the next year or so. We'll see what God has in store.

MORE PICTURES

Something I can't really do in a Christmas letter is include a bunch of pictures. But I can here!! So here's some other highlights of the year in pictures. 
A trip to the local children's museum early in the year.
The boys LOVE helping with the laundry.
And fighting over the small vacuum to clean under the kitchen table.

A visit to a local orchard and pumpkin patch in the fall.
Pumpkins!
Halloween superheros and a tiger.
All Saints Day party, Peter as St. George, Ethan as St. Michael.
Costumes made by me, something I've NEVER done before.
Silas attended the All Saints Day festivities as St. Isidore the Farmer.
This is how some people "help" mom out.
The Birthday Boy (Dec. 2015)
Christmas Eve, everyone in Christmas jammies!

Merry Christmas!!
Christmas Day Mass, 2015
Cheating a little with this one: Jan. 2, 2016,
my very first 5K!!
From our family to yours, we wish you many blessings in 2016. 

2 comments:

  1. What a blessed year! Congrats on the 5K! What a great way to start the new year. I can't believe how big Silas got and the twins are just so handsome. Wonderful update.

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  2. sweet babies! Time flies!

    ReplyDelete