Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014


Here we are again.  Another year has passed and, as has become customary, I'm memorializing some of the highlights.

January

At the start of every year, we celebrate this sweet boy's birthday (I know, it's blurry, but it's still a favorite of mine).  This particular January was so charged with energy and emotion that I barely remember how we honored him on his day or what we got him for a gift.  It was an intense couple of weeks because our beloved babes were preparing for their move to Florida which would happen mid-month.



The little ones spent a lot of time at our place while mom and dad finalized the packing and loaded their moving truck.  It was a treasured time, having them with us so much.



We had lots of outdoor fun. 




But the temperature was frigid, so we spent most of our time indoors. The kids always enjoy cooking with Gramma, so I made each of them an apron - they thought that was cool.  And those magnets... for months they stayed just the way she arranged them.



When Rah was napping, this little dude and I had some computer time together.  I was working on one thing or another, and he was watching a bible story dvd.



We did lots of crafting, too.




And had many sleepovers.  Good morning!




Then that dreaded day finally arrived.  I kissed those precious faces and hugged them tight, then bid them farewell.  Hubby headed down to Florida with them to help with the move, and I drove on home; a little numb.

But, no matter what, life marches on and so came February.


February

It was a very cold, snowy month.





I did lots of DIY in the warmth of the house, like these tallow tabs for the doggies.



And hubby shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. I tried to help sometimes, but he didn't like me to.


March

The start of March showed great promise for the hope of Spring.


 
 
But Winter fought vehemently for the upper hand.


And it snowed and snowed.



And this is what the first day of Spring looked like. 



And it was still so cold.  C'mon April!



April

Oh, phew!  A reprieve!  I went to Florida for some much needed kids and grandkids love!  And warm sunshine.


We took a bicycle ride.




And went to the beach.



This was the sunrise view from my bedroom.



And more time at the beach!




Ah (sigh) and family-time. (that's me, my cousin, and my mom)




We celebrated my mom's birthday. (My brother, my mom and me)

 

Kingston and Aria made necklaces for the ladies. (My mom, me and my girl)
 
 
 


Then back at the beach, I witnessed this pterodactyl... I mean, pelican, diving-bombing the gulf for dinner.


 
We stayed for the sunset.



I think there was only one rainy day the whole time I was there.



These are my daughter's roosters.  Unfortunately, shortly after this they disappeared.  Panther food?  :-/



I have missed those Florida sunsets, living in Vermont. 


 

Then, it was time to head home again.



To hubby and my furry babes.


May


Ah, yes.  Back home in Vermont.   I visited a friend's lovely farm where they have horses, goats, ducks and chickens.  And stunning views of the Green Mountain landscape.



And the sun finally provided enough warmth that we could enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.  Dexter sure did.




I harvested dandelions from my own yard for dehydrating.



And I made my very first batch of kombucha.  It was delicious and I was pleased.



I had the privilege of meeting this sweet old boy who is 35 years old!



And that one single tulip in our yard finally bloomed.  First time in four years.



I love the month of May.  All of the outdoors is fresh and new and green.


June


Oh yay!  Look who came for a visit!  My LoveBugs are back!!


 We had fires and played outside in the yard.



Oh... little sweetheart!




The dogs slept on the deck... a lot.



Wild flowers were abundant!



And we enjoyed those summer days to their fullest and spent as much time outside as possible.



We hiked.



We went to the orchard.



We picked strawberries.



Of course, we had indoor fun, too.



Look at that grin.  Warms me up.



Then - it was time for them to return to Florida, and I started experimenting with different flavors of kombucha... strawberry, blueberry and elderberry.  All delicious!



This is my office at work.  I decided to put the podium on the desk so I could stand and work rather than sit so much.  It's working out well.



Oh yes, and June is the month for peonies.



I love peonies.



Hubby and I set out for some exploring on foot and found this beautiful creek.



With a little waterfall!



Ah, June.  I love you, too.


July


July found us exploring more of the charming landscape of our area.



This lovely country scene is right in our neck of the woods.



And who wouldn't love to spend a lazy summer afternoon right here?  I sure would. (Neighboring house)



A garden and some books.  Perfect.



I'm out on the deck loving the lovable BooBoo.



[sigh] Indeed, it is.



We spent a lot of time meandering the country lanes.



And took a hike to what's deemed The Top of the World.  July, you're beautiful.


August

 
In early August we enjoyed a quick visit from our son-in-law who was up for work.
 
The following week, however, brought tragic heart break.
 
 


 
This beloved and treasured friend of my daughter and son-in-law died suddenly in an accident.

"Our hearts are broken today. This precious friend of our family (high school friend of my daughter's and now also a close friend of my son-in-law's, and endeared to the hearts of my grandchildren) passed away last night from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Louie was a kind, loving, enthusiastic, fun-spirited young man and our lives were enriched for having had him be an integral part. His imprint will remain forever and we'll miss him beyond measure."



"It's true. He's hope in hopeless situations. He's peace when troubles rage. He's who enables us to just look upward when our souls are downcast. Where would I be if not for my faith in the One who loves me with an endless love? I'd be mired in anguish. He is my refuge, my strength, my rest.
Psalm 46"
And God comforted us in our mourning.



The sun still shone and the days brought an array of simple pleasures and delicate beauty.



August brought my first garlic harvest.  It was puny... but it was something.



I volunteered at my first GMHA hundred-mile horse ride.  I helped take the horses' pulse and respiration when they returned from their long excursion.  It was fun.


 
We hiked a lot, and one hike we enjoy takes us right through a cow pasture.  They're sweet.  That's my friend, Jan.  She's 80!  Looks great, right (well, as far as you can tell from her backside)?  She walks/hikes every single day, no matter what.  Love her discipline.
 
 

 
And I went horseback riding with my friend, Wendy.  First time in decades, and it was great!


September

September was bittersweet.  Kristiina and the kids came back up.  That was wonderful!  They had planned a trip to see us for my birthday, anyway, but decided to come a week early so they could also be here for one of Louie's memorial services, hosted by the flight park where Louie flew and taught hang gliding.



Louie's twin brother, Landy, scattered a portion of Louie's ashes there over the park where Louie loved to fly and learned to become an instructor.

"He had a tremendous impact on the lives and in the hearts of so many. I'll cherish the memories and hold close the hope of that day when we meet again."


 Of course, a visit to Gramma's house always includes craft-time!

 We went on a nature hike, enjoyed drippy watermelon, and painted pictures.

 We collected logs from Gramma and Grampa's woods for bon fires (several bon fires), and helped cut the lawn (a lot, because it's so fun to drive that "tractor!")



We made pinecone bird feeders.





That was fun, and those seeds felt cool to sift through our hands.




We had fun pulling wagons.



And visited the petting zoo at the orchard.



We also picked out a pumpkin, and chose faces to draw on them (they each picked a face from the internet for me to draw on two sides of the pumpkin).




Then had a blast painting them outside.



My darling and I snuck out one evening while Grampa stayed with the kids (daddy was still in Florida), so we could capture some pictures of the Aurora Borealis.  It was such a freezing night!  We got a crazy cold-front that, thankfully, was very brief.



This is my best shot of northern lights (looks like a sunset, but I'm actually facing north at about 9:30 pm).  By the time the real color would have started, we had too much cloud cover to see it.  No matter; we had so much fun.


 
We hiked a lot.
 
 


I turned 50 (!) and got some super cool birthday gifts.  We had a quiet celebration at home which included a bon fire and star-gazing with my grandbabes - the three of us lying on a blanket in the grass, with one on each side of me.  Simple pleasures, my favorite kind.






 
September gave us gorgeous color and some magical hikes through the woods!


October


The leaf-color continued through October, with gorgeous jewel-blue skies.




I have a hard time determining which is my favorite season, though I can tell you with certainty; it's not winter.



I went to a conference for work in Philadelphia, and took my first train ride to get there.

"I have learned a couple of things riding this train. They really do go clackity-clack on the tracks, and the horn blows incessantly (though, seemingly in the distance, so it's not bothersome). The restrooms are smelly; that blue water really does nothing to quell the aroma emanating from the tanks below (at least it doesn’t spill out into the passenger cars). Internet access is very limited and ...the plans I had to get a little work done remotely are squashed.
BUT… riding the rails through New England in October is clearly what fairytales are made of, looking much like my cover photo, above (I rode on those tracks today, by the way). I’ve ridden through expansive, rolling fields and green/amber/crimson forests. I've beheld stunning mountain ranges and impressive valleys. I’ve ridden over rivers on steel bridges and under roadways through rocky tunnels. I’ve seen quaint farms decorated with hay bales, pumpkins and dried corn stalks, and charming villages with their white steepled-churches peeking through red maples. I’ve spotted every imaginable farm animal and decades-old rusty cars left in the most peculiar places (in the middle of the woods – fully hemmed in by trees and not a trail to be found). We approached numerous boarding stations, and I witnessed lovers, friends and families expressing their eclectic goodbyes (but they better make it quick, because I bet we only stand still for barely a minute, then we’re off again).
I’m so thankful I managed to obtain what appeared to be the last available window seat, and I’m very pleased with this method of travel! Now - just 5 hours to go (it certainly isn't the quickest method of travel)!"





It was my first trip to Philly and I made sure to squeeze in a bit of sight-seeing.



This is where I enjoyed lunch at work.




And I enjoyed the season's creative pumpkin decorations by one quaint little town.  Everyone along the main road participates.


November


This sweet little LoveBug turned three years old!  Sadly, it was the first of our grandchildren's birthdays that we were not present to celebrate with them.  Oh, that dastardly move to Florida. We FaceTimed, though... at least there's that!



I enjoyed another horseback ride with Wendy.



I put sweet little pots of peppermint in my windowsills to keep the scent and sight of summer present.



I enjoyed gorgeous sunrises on my way to work.



And snuggled with my furry babes.  All four of the girls settled in with me on the loveseat!



We enjoyed a giant 16-pound Thanksgiving turkey for just the two of us - purposefully, knowing we'd enjoy the leftovers.



And then had scads of the most delicious bone broth ever.  (Turkey broth is my favorite.)


December


Ada and Sara enjoyed a sunny day from their perch, which is the back of the couch.



We hiked some more and found such beauty.



We enjoyed the help of one very kind neighbor.







We were mesmerized by the dramatic winter scenery, and we're thankful for another year.


2014 brought some hard things, but not without God's grace, and most certainly not without blessings.  We're counting them and face 2015 with eager anticipation, seeking God's path.