January was snowy and, apparently, bright blue!
February came and, oddly, the snow mostly faded away. (And aren't those good words to live by!)
Then! I went to Florida for an awesome mid-winter visit...
Off to the beach I go, obviously! I do love seagulls, even though they can be little buggers.
I stayed with the kids while their mom and dad headed off for an anniversary snowboarding trip to Colorado. They had a blast, and so did we!
Lots of fun by day and sunset picnics at the beach in the evening.
Then they returned and the joy continued.
She loved that flower she found, especially when mommy put it in her helmet.
Taking a break.
We had a nice day with Mom and Dad O'Brien - lots of love and hugs for their great grandma and grandpa!
Then there was the terrific visit we had with family in Crystal River.
I love my girl's beaming smile; Casper, too.
My sweet Mama and her darlings... and she's their beloved, "Grandma Cris."
He was captivated by that plane taking off the water.
March brought me back home to what was still a snow-less winter...
... but with beautiful blue skies.
I grabbed my camera and meandered around Woodstock for a while.
After hiking Mt. Tom, I noticed this darling in the park. She didn't appear to be with anyone, so we played with a stick for a while and waited for her people to come off the trail... I figured she must have run ahead. No one came, though. So, I took her to our local rescue facility. They're awesome at reuniting lost pets with their family. Sure enough, this silly girl wandered out of her yard when her family was away - and the dog sitters were frantic... then quite relieved.
The pond never fully iced over, so it didn't take much for it to completely thaw.
Ah... and the surest sign of spring; the daffodils start pushing up!
in April, snow fell again, and I was intrigued by this knucklehead seagull that I saw puddle-hopping in the grocery store parking lot. The seashore is hours from here!
The bluest blue sky with our stark birches in contrast.
And there it is, the first daffodil bloom.
Oh, and this! I love this sight.
May brought such joy with a visit from these three beauties!
I welcome these beauties, too.
Aunt Mega treated me to a custom ring made by this nice lady.
We had fun eating out...
... and seeing the sights.
And, of course, I always love it when the dandelions (my little drops of sunshine) appear.
May is so spectacularly adorned.
May and October are contenders for my favorite months for their stunning (though, vastly different) color.
The lilacs sure brighten up the indoors.
Oh wait. Did I say May was colorful? Just wait till you see June! The irises grow like wild flowers in our field and I adore them.
After harshly pruning the overgrown grape vines last year, we discovered they were producing fruit. Happy day!
We hiked with our Emma...
... and share the trails with bikers and horse riders.
Yes... just love them.
The peonies began to open...
... and while handsome Riley meandered the yard with me...
... we discovered them opening even more.
Nic brought Kingston with him when he came up for work. Grandpa surprised Kingston with a motorized chopper he refurbished for him.
To say he was thrilled would be an understatement. He kept saying, "I can't believe I have a motorcycle!"
His daddy went home, and Kingston stayed alone with us for a few days while mommy and Aria made the trek up. He was super excited to have some alone time with us, though was a bit more homesick than he expected. Nevertheless, he did great and is getting to be such a big boy! He was super intrigued by the tractors haying the fields, by the way.
Our little Ada Janie (Ada Blinkie Janie, as Kingston calls her) is getting grayer and grayer!
The fields are all done and the bales are waiting to be picked up.
These lovely ladies are just enjoying the sunshine and seeing what there is to see.
Ah! Mommy and Aria made it. Let the fun times continue!
This darling girl just loves flowers.
We had a good time watching the July 4th Parade...
... walking on the rock walls...
.. and simply breathing in the country air. Laura Ingalls Wilder said, "Some old-fashioned things, like fresh air and sunshine, are hard to beat." She was right.
Oh! Then we enjoyed not one, but two visits with this wonderful woman. Friends for decades... since the days of youth group.
The kids had a great time together.
And, of course, it's not a proper visit to grandma and grandpa's house without a backyard bonfire and roasted marshmallows!
We went to Hartland Dam and had a fun afternoon swimming.
And we went blueberry-picking!
Oh boy; another summertime must-do is the Friday night free concerts at Jackson Gore and the mountain-fun that goes with it!
The kids were asked on stage at intermission to help handout the prizes and t-shirts.
"Look! We get to help!"
They had fun and felt special to get to do that.
Naturally, we went hiking and found the most beautiful photo ops.
Be still my heart...
Another thing that says summertime-fun is running through the sprinklers!
Oh my. That awesome visit came to end and the kiddos headed home. Emma and I went for a hike. She laid in the tall grass while I picked the wild blue berries I discovered.
In August, the grapes continued to mature beautifully.
The evening light got even more dreamy.
The flowers still revealed their glory stunningly.
I'm always happy when I end up at the farm when the cows have just come into the barn for milking. The only way I could get it fresher is if I plunked a bucket under them and milked the ladies myself.
The highbush cranberries are also continuing to ripen nicely.
That bright yellow looks happy, to me.
I like that little speck of red in the middle of all the lush green.
The late afternoon of September brings pretty hues at the pond. Remember this scene from March when I mentioned the ice had already completely disappeared? Look for it again in December.
Still, there are flowers, much to my delight. Our town decorates with these large barrels and seasonal flowers all year long.
The bee balm has all but faded, but the afternoon light is still lovely.
This was the sweetest, most delicious discovery. We don't just have green grapes... we have concord grapes, too!
There she is, draping herself over the couch again (just like her daughter used to do). This time to watch daddy mow the lawn.
Little Ada and our Big Blaze. He sure does look stocky in this shot!
We have an alpaca farm in our town. They're always so entertaining to watch as we pass by.
Still lots of September green, but I'm getting glimpses of autumn color out there.
Oh yes, there it is. The trees are definitely starting to change.
The color change isn't obvious everywhere yet, though.
And still, beautiful blooms adorn October. Hello happiness.
Hey! Look who's back!! The whole family came up for another quick October visit. What do we do when the kids come? Have a bonfire!
I said before they always include roasted marshmallows. They also always include sparklers.
My darling girl and I got up super early one morning and headed out for a sunrise hike. That is, we needed to be at our destination to see the sunrise. It was worth the cold (October mornings are brisk)...and the early!
Those are clouds hovering in the valley below us.
October also means a definite trip to the apple orchard...
... where they also have pumpkins. I love those sweet, beautiful faces!
Haha... and I love the crazy, silly faces!
Happy grass-chewers. For just 22 months between them, that big brother sure is a lot taller than his little sister. She's not necessarily petite in stature - he's just tall.
There are so many fun things to do in October! We also went to the corn maze...
... where the kids took turns being the leader. We went through twice and they both did great leading us out!
Choosing the perfect pumpkins.
Fun at the park, though she wasn't sure she cared much for the see-saw. The bump at the top is kind of scary, you know.
Oh my, what's this? Yes, we hiked and trekked through the riverbeds with cameras and tripods... naturally!
These pumpkins are going to be left behind to decorate grandma and grandpa's house, so...
... they're getting custom paint jobs (instead of being carved) so they last longer.
It was also fun to collect leaves from under the maple trees to take back for show and tell.
Ha! Look at this little sassy-pants. I love that grin.
Whoa! Big brother feared she was going too fast, so he set out to help her. What a great kid.
Then he took a turn.
My family enjoying a beautiful October evening watching the kids play. [[love]]
One of our little artists will use anything for a palette.
Mmmm, having a snack of warm oatmeal out in the fort. Warm snacks on cool days are such a comfort.
With the fields out front and hills out back having been recently hayed, we took to the hills for a little atypical playtime. Lots of fun!
While the hills out back are bigger, the grass out front is softer and makes for better rolling-down joy.
Big plans and deliberations...
Ah, but sometimes you just have to lay back and watch the leaves fall. Then... that quick, full-of-fun visit wrapped up and off they went.
Jeff and Maria came for a visit!
We saw the glorious autumn sights.
And took lots...
... and lots of pictures.
We hiked through that cow pasture I love and Maria was thrilled to pet the beauties that hang out there.
Jeff seemed to enjoy them, too. Looks like it's mutual.
Oh... sigh. October was such a great month until our girl was hit with another bout of kidney disease symptoms. We discovered she had kidney disease (like her daughter, Sara) earlier in the year. She rallied strong as ever and we enjoyed eight great months with her after we discovered she had it, too.
This time, though, she wasn't able to overcome it and we had to do the hard, but merciful, thing. Our home feels very different without this precious one.
Somehow, October still managed to be beautiful.
The autumn days marched on...
...and the blooms finally faded.
November is rather dreary. Maybe it's a necessary transition period, but it's not the prettiest month on the calendar.
I found fun things to do, though.
Plus, November's skies are awesome.
Really awesome. Sorry the sky photos are all pixely... they're phone pics.
December came, cold and snowy, but my office is warm and cozy. (And you should see that rhododendron explode with color in May! I'll try to remember to show you a shot of that one next year.)
Boo is watching daddy outside. This time he's not mowing, he's snow-blowing!
Blaze has a blast in the snow.
So does his brother, Riley!
Little Ada hops through it like a bunny and tries to step in the big [furry] kids foot prints.
It looks like we're going to have a normal, snowy winter.
We had a happy Christmas Day with our gifts tucked under our Poinsettia "tree."
I thought the town hall's lights were pretty.
Their festive barrel, too. Remember this from Summer?
Oh yeah, speaking of remembering... here's that pond I've mentioned a couple of times; this time with snow, but no ice yet.
On the last day of the year...
... there was just a whole lot of this. It didn't exactly go out with a bang.
Thanks for the memories, 2016!
2017, we welcome you and the adventures you have in store for us. May we go in God's grace.