Is it New Year's Eve already? I guess it's now or never if I'm going to continue my annual invasion of your privacy by inundating your inbox with useless tidbits of exhibitionism.
2014 was by no means without moments of disappointment and despair, frustration and fear but an overall generalization would have to conclude it was a good year and we cannot deny that we are blessed beyond measure.
Early in the year we were sent reeling with the news of my bff-sister-in-law-Barbee's diagnosis of lung cancer. While she is not out of the woods yet, we credit God for incredible results and continue to petition and trust that healing will continue for His glory and our benefit.
To celebrate Jade turning 30 in the spring, Brandi and I took her and the kids to Vancouver for a few days playing tourists. It was great fun, and much to Xander's delight it coincided with an international Lego exhibit at Science World.
In May our infamous Pink Panters Relay For Life team ran it's final race. It was a great six years but the time has come for other things. I will still remain involved in Relay, but to a lesser degree. I'm so proud of my team and our supporters who collectively provided over $35,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society during our years of crazy pinkness. Yay us!
After seven years of saying "One day..." in the middle of June, we hopped a plane with Jim and Barbee for 3 weeks of Newfoundland adventures. And a great adventure it was. We learned more about our great country, witnessed an incredible number of icebergs, puffins and whales, experienced some bizarre foods, unique music and met some fantastic people, some of whom we now call friends.
After returning, we crammed as much time in at the cabin as possible before I headed to Kamloops in anticipation of Baby Connolly's arrival.
In true Brandi-organized-and-pre-planned-fashion, she gave birth on her due date, August 12th at the stroke of 12 noon. And we immediately fell in love with Beatrice Jean - 8lbs 4oz of pure joy and perfection. I believe she is the 90th great grandchild in the Ziemer family and the 5th for the deBalinhards.
Xander started Kindergarten at Peden Hill School after a short delay due to the teacher's strike. Within a short time they moved him to a K/1 split class where he is keeping up with most of the grade one work. One day he asked if he could take the grade one math test (the k's were doing something else). The teacher gave him the test to work on at his desk. He read the instructions and figured out the questions completely on his own and managed to pull off a 93%. Yup, this Granny is a wee bit proud.
Maeve attends the Strong Start program at Xander's school and has met some new friends. She is much more of a social butterfly than her brother, but also is proving to be a smart little cookie as well. Her vocabulary is incredible for two years old, she knows all her letters and numbers and has been potty trained for quite some time. Both kids are a great reflection of good parenting. Once again, Granny and PaPa are proud.
We spent lots of time out at the cabin in October to make up for missing so much time during the beautiful summer while we were in Newfoundland and Kamloops. Once again we left the trailer at the lake and stored everything in the cabin for the winter, with the intention of making it our summer home again next year. Ken and Jade got a travel trailer this year so we are hoping to camp with the kids a lot more next year. However, the resort is still for sale so there is no telling what the future has in store in that regard. But if we are there, consider this your open invitation to come hang out with us for a day, a night, or a week in 2015.
After two years of living on his own, it became more and more evident that things were not working out for Jed in his apartment. After weighing a number of factors and petitioning for more supports, Jed moved back in with us at the end of November. We have his basement suite rented out, so he is living with us. This is a temporary measure while we await getting him into a home share program with AimHi. Although it's working okay having him here, we are hoping and praying that our crowded nest will be empty once again more sooner than later.
In November we had a little mini getaway to Vancouver and went to a Blue Rodeo concert at the Orpheum. We had never been there - what a spectacular building. The concert was great too.
I finally got my first passport in anticipation of doing a bit of travelling as Granny-Nanny for Beatrice while B&K attend to a few different work related events during 2015. I'm pretty excited about that. I may even end up in Dallas to see my little sister. She's only lived there for 15 years.
For the first time in many years I did not cook the Christmas turkey this year. What fun and excitement to have all our kidlets together at Brandi and Kore's in Kamloops. They are such fantastic hosts and opened their home to friends and family. I think there ended up being 26 people seated at the dining room table for supper.
And continuing their incredible hosting skills and generosity, their home transformed into the "All Love Garden" Restaurant in honour of my 50th birthday on the 28th. Afterwards we all attended the Cirque du Soleil show. My heart was blessed. Being 50 has been okay so far.
Once again, reviewing the year forces one to count their blessings and acknowledge how truly blessed we are. And if you are reading this, please know that Albert and I include you in the tally of blessings and are looking forward to connecting with you on some level in 2015.