I can be a bit of a flake at times, but the one tradition I seem to hold solidly to is revisiting and rehashing my year, on or about December 31st... and exposing it to all my friends and family. Thanks for playing along as I present the latest anecdotes and exaggerations in the lives of Albert and Liana.
This post actually takes me a number of days to formulate, and this year at more than one point I tried to convince myself this is stupid, you don't actually have to do this just because you have in the past.
And then I go to church on New Year's Eve morning and the Pastor speaks of God's people crossing the river Jordan and He instructs them to gather stones from the river bed to construct a monument of remembrance. The purpose of the monument is not to make an idol to hang out with forever, but to create a point of reference which can be revisited at times to show where you have been and how far you've come. And so I present you with my monument to 2017, so that I may revisit it in years to come and know that indeed, I have moved on.
We started off the year still in grief mode after losing our Barbee in December, and we've fumbled along, learning daily, to adjust our lives that she was so much a part of.
We celebrated our 35th anniversary on January 23rd. The traditional anniversary theme is coral and the modern theme is jade. We embraced the traditional by booking our first ever tropical vacation. Unless of course you count the Tropical Island of Newfoundland, we've been there. And I picked up a monumental stone and carried it with me.
Brandi and Kore and Bea made a trip to PG at the beginning February for a gender reveal party. Our 4th grandchild was due June 1st - which is Brandi and Bendigo's birthday. While my heart secretly was convinced that our forthcoming grandchild was a boy, I went out on limb to proclaim that I was on team girl. While I honestly was just thrilled to be getting my 4th (and quite likely last) grandchild, I knew that my heart was ready to embrace whatever God had in store for our family.
However, I really love being right, whatever side I am arguing for ... as witnessed on camera:
And another stone was added to my 2017 monument.
February also had me having my wired sleepovers at the sleep clinic and confirming that once again Albert was right for all these years - at 72 apnea episodes per hour I qualified for 2 1/2 times the limit considered "severe sleep apnea." With blood oxygen levels dropping as low as 74% during the night, I think we can safely assume my waning brain function is due neither to aging nor wine consumption. I merely have had a lack of oxygen to the brain for the past number of years.
Through the spring months, I kept really busy doing art parties, sometimes as many as 4 in a week. And each time I would do one I would think, "I can't believe this is my job." It's so fun to see completely intimidated people walk into the room and watch them leave with a piece of art they are proud to have created. The wine helps with that, of course.
It was on my bucket list to do an art party with mother-in-law and 2017 saw me check that off my list. It was so fun... and she did great! Even without wine. :)
|Click HERE if you too want to become an artist with me. It's fun, I promise.|
|Young or old, you CAN be an artist. You simply make art. Voila.!|
Another stone to build up my monument.
Winter had been really cold but with little snow, unlike the rest of the province - the lower mainland, island and Okanagon had a lot more snow than us. (With slight embarrassment and childish glee, I admit this was a large stone in my 2017 monument.) By mid-March the last of the snow and ice in our yard disappeared and we were itching to get back out to the cabin.
The property at Vivian Lake was purchased by new owners last year and they have decided not to operate it as a resort. However, we feel so blessed that they are continuing to welcome seasonal (and I believe even monthly) tenants. 2017 was kind of a transition year and we didn't have any parties and craziness, but we look forward to resuming our lacklustre hosting skills and seeing many of you out there again in 2018. Bring a guitar. Bring a chair. Bring wine. We'll provide fire. And water. And carry another stone to add to our monument.
In preparation for this annual post, I always look back through my Facebook feed to remind me of the incidents and accidents that made up our year, And being the FB exhibitionist that I am, I always find it a treat to recall things that my mind would have long forgotten had it not been written down. (And I realize my inclination to write and expose my life is indeed my monument of life that I may revisit on occasion and chalk off where I have been and where I am at.)
For example, I never would have remembered that in April I successfully opened both rows of stitching on the bag of basmati rice. Seriously! I didn't have to use scissors, I didn't have to swear, and I didn't destroy the zipper in the process. It was like a Christmas miracle in April.
One highlight of the year, that I do not need a written monument to remind me of, was heading off to Kamloops in May in anticipation of Little Miss Sissy C's arrival. I will never be able to adequately express the honour it has been to be the birthing coach for all four of my grandchildren. I just thank Jesus that both my daughter and daughter-in-law were birthing rockstars and speedy ones at that. God knows that I just don't have the stamina to endure days, or even hours, on end of the glorious trauma that is birth.
I gave birth myself twice on June 1st, missing my Grandpa's birthday on May 30th by two days. I was hoping that baby would arrive on either one of those dates. But little Daphne Maureen decided she was her own person and wanted her own date. She arrived in the wee hours of May 31st weighing a whopping 9lbs 12 oz. They make 'em solid in that Connolly family. All told, it was 13 hours from the time we left the house until we were back at home with our sweet little babe. Our hearts burst with pride for this perfect, smart and beautiful bundle of joy. 9lbs 12oz translated into the biggest stone of my 2017 monument.
|Hard to believe Daphne is already 7 months, has her first tooth, says "Mama" and sleeps through the night for months now.|
|There is no personality quite like him. And he fills my heart.|
Jed continues to live with Devin and Shayne in his home share program. And while life with Jed will always be, well, life with Jed, we are so grateful that he has really settled into his routines there. We thank God daily for Devin's patience and kindness and his role in Jed's life.
|After a couple of failed attempts at owning used ATVs, Jed managed to save enough for a downpayment on his new Arctic Cat that he has affectionately named Kaylee.|
July 2017 was deemed "the year of the fires" with many areas of our province burning up. We've known this was likely going to happen eventually after the pine beetles swept through the province about 12 years ago. Prince George and the close surrounding area were actually spared a lot of immediate danger and even the smoke, although terrible on a few days, was not nearly as bad as it was in other areas. Brandi and the girls were essentially house bound for most of the summer in Kamloops.
Prince George became an evacuation centre for many thousands of people, including a family who lived in Ken and Jade's RV in their yard, and we were proud to call it home, and added another rock to the pile.
We were thankful to God that the smoke that socked in Kamloops for weeks lifted in mid-august the day before Beatrice's planned third birthday pool party. Our beautiful and kind little (well, not-so-little, size of a 5-year-old) three-year-old girl got to host her Fabulous Flamingo party.
The September Long was deemed "Ziemer Mini Reunion Weekend." With the family currently rounding out at a cool 226 members, including spouses, nothing can actually be termed "mini." We held a celebration in honour of Grandma Grace turning 89 years young and the birth of her 100th great grandchild - who just happens to be the one and only Miss Daphne Connolly. Another pile of rocks in the monument.
|Daphne and Great Grandma even had a great 2-page write-up in The Citizen newspaper.|
|Great Grandma Grace posing with most of her 100 great grands.|
|Snoopy is so good with the kids and he fits right into their family - even the 3 cats.|
By September, we were more than 12 years into the "5-year-plan" for this crooked l'il ol' house we bought in 2005, and it was time to take the plunge and just do it. Our basement suite had been empty since March, and although we had a few requests to occupy it, as hard as it was to kiss that bit of extra monthly cash goodbye, we really feel like we can use the space more than the money at this point. And we moved into it ourselves.
Demolition is always fun yet labour intensive for menfolk, and I just stayed out of their way, cooking steak and barking orders from afar.
|Gone were layers and layers of floor, wall and ceiling.|
And it did not disappoint. I was feeling a little guilty about sorta coercing Papa into coming to Maui to help me "nanny" the girls. However, he fell in love and, sadly I didn't get it in writing, while there he agreed to make it an annual event. However, I am the financier of the family and suspect that maybe biennial is a little more realistic. Either way, it is our full intention to return.
Maui was a fabulous break, but I soon had Albert and JimE back at it when we returned. I had my sights set on Christmas dinner in my new kitchen and my hard working crew assured me they could deliver. And deliver they did. Pile up more rocks in the monument.
Approximately 72 hours before the turkey hit the oven, I moved the cutlery, spices and frying pans to their new forever home. And even those skeptical of my "Mica Black, Crayon Green, Icon Grey and Pacific Blue" colour palette agree, me and my boys pulled it off. I'm so pleased with my "new old home" that even though both Albert and Jimmy offered more than once to treat us to dine out for my birthday on the 28th, I opted to dine in - it truly feels like I am vacationing in my own home. I am so blessed. And thankful. And appreciative. And somehow I will figure out how to pay the bank back. I doubt they'll take this pile of stones I've collected. Alb had better continue his dedication to his 2 jobs and I'd better make more effort to create artists out of wine drinkers.
We plan to have some sort of open house sometime in the New Year and Albert has a dream of having a house concert weekend with famous recording artists. He thinks we can cram 50 guests into our newly-renovated-but-still-the-same-square-footage space. Perhaps if we all cram in like a pile of rocks we'll fit. And we'll become the foundation of the 2018 monument.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you who took the time to read through this and add a stone to the A&L monument of 2017.
|Maeve Jade Xander Ken Liana Daphne Albert Jed Kore Beatrice Brandi|
My heart bursts with love and pride for each of these souls we have been entrusted with.