Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Review

2017 was a rough year. The problems with Allie that began at the end of 2016 and continued into 2017. I'm not going to go into that on here - it's just not something I wish to share publicly.

Jack's diagnosis at the beginning of the year was heartbreaking. They predicted 6 months to a year, but that didn't come close to the time we had left with him.  He passed on March 18th at hospice.  He did everything for me that a dad should do. There is not a time in my life that I don't remember him being there. Growing up he always said, "I hate a liar worse than anything."  And that shaped me.  He taught me how to play poker.  He taught me how to change a tire.  He taught me how to sand and stain wood. He taught me to use a hammer and a screwdriver.  He taught me how to use a saw.  He taught me how to fix things.  He was the one I called whenever anything broke and I needed advice on how to fix it or who to call.  He loved me as a daughter, he loved my children, and he loved my grandchildren.  And we all love him.  I will always miss him.

We had the girls (Lily and Rylee) almost every Friday night and this year, and we did many activities.  I wish I would have been posting more of those to this blog instead of just Facebook, but... I'll try to catch up with pictures on here someday.  For myself and them to look back on.

Conor finished 8th grade and began as a Freshman in High School.  In 8th grade, he took an engineering class and loved it.  He downloaded software for a 3D printer and designed items on it that his teacher printed on his 3D printer.  His summer was spent conditioning for soccer tryouts.  Every day he went to the soccer field and practiced.  He also got a summer job.  14 years old and he asked his friend's dad if he could get a job working at his engineering company - and he said yes.  So 2 days a week he would work 8am - 3pm.  He occasionally got to work 3 days.  He loves making his own money.  His Freshman year he is taking all the requisites, of course, but 2 of them are Honors classes - Geometry and Biology.  He is also taking Algebra II.  He feels so good when he gets good grades.  He's also still growing.  I believe he started the year at 6'1" and ended at 6'4".  He worked at the tree farm again in 2017 - this was his 2nd year working there.

The picture above: on the left is from Ceara's graduation (nursing school) in 2015, the one on the right is Ceara's baby shower in 2017.  Just to give you an idea of how much Conor grew.  His height changed, but his picture pose remained the same.

Lily turned 6 in 2017 and started 1st grade in August. She loves school, she loves to learn. She already reads very well and enjoys it. She is quiet, a little shy, and soft spoken. She did take dance classes this year and had an end of program performance.  She did very well up on the stage in front of so many people. She also played soccer this year.  Her first game she just ran with the group that had the ball when she was on front line - just behind them and didn't attempt to get the ball.  She would kick it when it came straight to her.  By the end of the season, she had improved a lot and did go after the ball.

Rylee turned 4 in 2017 and is in preschool.  She is a very spirited, energetic, and fearless. She is also so very sweet.  She will help with anything you ask, she is giving and kind.  She turned 4 in January of 2017 and wanted a unicorn cake.  She wanted to play soccer and went with us to watch Lily play, but was very bored as a spectator. 

She was in a play at Christmas time where she played a sheep.

John Carter's arrival on Christmas Eve is the final major event of the year.  Our first grandson. Ceara's labor was relatively easy as far a labor goes, and he is perfect. 

I'm sure there are lots of little things - really the important stuff - that I left out of this, but this covered the major (good) events. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017

Our Christmas celebrations began on Dec 22nd with our big family - aunts, uncles, cousins - at my Aunt Judy's house.  

Santa always stops by with a gift for the kids.  Rylee is still so very excited to see him.

He calls them up, one by one to get their gifts and sit on his lap for pictures.

Conor was much taller than Santa, but he still got to sit on his lap.  :)

Lily was putting together a Lego cop that she won in a game my aunt Mary brought to play. 

 The candy canes were another game Mary brought.

Then on Saturday, December 23rd, we had Christmas at my moms with just my sister and our families.  

We were watching Home alone and eating a Ham dinner before the gift opening.  

Rylee ripped through hers very quickly, and even opened some of Ceara's as well.  

Everyone had fun.

My mom put an extra wrapped present under the tree and said that anyone could exchange one of their gifts for the unknown gift.  Rylee was the only one who wanted to, but after she opened it she wanted her old present back.  lol  (purple coffee mug)

Jeff M's gift was mis-tagged and he opened one that was meant for Lily - a Smart Sketcher.  For a while, he believed that the gift was really meant for him and he was super confused.  It wasn't until Lily opened the gift that was meant for him that we realized the mistake.  Lots of laughs over that mix up.  :)

Lily got a tattoo maker and she and Rylee got tattoos on their arms - glitter and glue.  

On Christmas Eve, John Carter decided it was time for him to come into the world and meet us.  Ceara had a relatively smooth delivery and we have our first grandson!  <3 p="">

Our tree this year - another one from Wertz Tree farm where Conor has worked for the past 2 years - he cut two down this year.  One for us and one for Mimi.  

From the field to our living room, all decorated. 

I received many Christmas Cards this year, and I loved them all.  The one below was my favorite, hand drawn for us by Allie.

Christmas was very low key this year.  I didn't bake, we didn't shop much - only for the kids.  It was great spending time with family and friends without the stress of shopping.  In 2017 I began to minimize my house.  I have much more to do in 2018, but I am well on my way!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Texas 2014 Road Trip

I found this post as a draft on my blog and am going to publish it... 3 years later.  I did write some at the beginning and then loaded pictures.  I meant to go back and add commentary but never did.  So, this is mostly pictures of a great trip I had with Conor.  I am hoping we can do another road trip in the next couple of years sometime.

Conor and I took a road trip to Texas in the summer of 2014 - we had a great time.  It was just the two of us and I had a great time with my baby.  On the way down, we went through Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, then Texas.  We stopped to go to Genevieve's baptism first, then the two of us were on our way.  There were a few issues on the first night, but nothing too terrible.  We tried to stop in Memphis the first night - but all the hotels were booked.  As tired as we both were, we drove into Arkansas.  I'm not sure I will ever go that way again.  Every hotel we saw off the highway looked like it belonged in a horror film.  Conor was tired and wanted to stop and got just a little bit cranky, but he didn't get too bad.  He knew I was tired too - and looking.  We finally called Jeff for help - I asked him to find us a hotel that was half way decent as close as possible.  Closest one ended up being 200 miles from where we were - we made it and went right to sleep.  

Conor loved that we were staying in hotels with pools so he could swim at each stop.  When we woke up, the first thing he wanted to do was swim.  We had to wait until they opened the pool, so we had breakfast and got all of our things packed and ready to go.  Then he swam for about an hour while I read a book.  We weren't in a hurry, we didn't have a schedule to keep, but we did want to make it to Texas that evening.  

We arrived in Temple while it was still daylight - wasn't too late, I believe it was 8pm-ish.  My memory is a little fuzzy after a couple of months.  We got settled in, ate dinner, and relaxed.  

We stayed with Phyllis - a long time, best friend of my mom's.  She, her husband, and her girls were great hosts.

The porch Wayne built after visiting my mom's house and falling in love with her porch.  I love both of them - very relaxing peaceful places. 

Hannah and Conor played a lot of games together. 

And we went to a local water park to swim - I loved it.  It reminded me of the past - just looked like it was from a time in the past.

Conor tried so many times to grab that ring... I don't think he ever got it. 

We had a great time.

Texas was where Conor discovered his love of horses and he took 2 years of riding lessons when we returned home. 

We were there to celebrate Hannah's birthday, too.  It was a fun evening. 

On our way home, we went through Oklahoma, Missouri (stayed overnight there), Illinois, Indiana, then home. 

Conor attempted to climb up the star above, but was unable to get very high. 

The hotel in Missouri:

We revisited a pizza place Conor liked when we went through the prior year.

Swimming, and more swimming - of course. 

Bye Missouri!  See ya next trip - the new preferred route over going through Arkansas.