Thursday, January 1, 2015

So much JOY in 2014

Happy New Year!

As we say "good-bye" to 2014, I can't help but reflect back on what God has done for me and my family this past year! Last January I resolved NOT to make a resolution  but rather commit to a special word to live by in 2014. That word was JOY. Click HERE to see the post where I shared my plan to live joyfully in the new year. I am so pleased to say that I most definitely DID live a year of JOY the past 12 months!

2014 came in with snow, ice, and extreme cold temperatures! No problem for us! We had 12 snow days total, and with Ryan and I both being teachers this meant 12 unplanned family days. What a blessing! We were stuck at home....together! After the rush of the holiday season, this unexpected "vacation" was SUCH A BLESSING! We stayed up late watching movies, snuggling, playing with new toys, having tea parties, doing crafts, putting puzzles together, and indulging in warm, cozy soups and hot cocoa. It was a WONDERFUL way to begin the new year! 



During these weeks of being snowed in so much, I began a new hobby which soon became a little business! I began making chunky bubblegum necklaces for little girls. I taught myself by trial and error and a few YouTube video tutorials! At times in 2014, my "little business" kept me very busy!

Summer! Oh, summer always brings us JOY! We had so much fun swimming, having picnics, lounging on the beach, fishing, hanging out with friends and cousins, riding bikes, camping, geocaching, and soaking in the sunshine!


Ryan and I had been saying for months (eh....maybe years) that we needed to get a new van. We didn't feel our vehicles were dependable to venture very far from home. We finally bit the bullet and bought a Chrysler Town & Country this past summer. I do not know why it took us so long. All 5 of us LOVE our new van! Hooray for a new van!! (and the 3 DVD players!)

In July I drove up north (by myself) to visit a childhood friend that I hadn't seen in many, many years! We spent the weekend reminiscing, laughing, sharing stories about our families, shopping, and making plans for future visits! We met another childhood friend for dinner and the three of us had such a great time catching up! When I look back on 2014, this weekend was definitely one of the highlights that brought me so much JOY!

In the fall, Ryan, Hugh, and I went on a ziplining adventure for the first time! What fun!!

We had so many milestones in 2014 as well...

Hugh turned 11 in June!
Claire turned 6 in December!
Oliver turned 4 in August!

Claire graduated from Preschool!

Hugh finished 4th grade!

Oliver started Preschool! *sniff, sniff*

Hugh and Oliver and Claire played soccer....

Oliver didn't really have his head in the game much! He was really there for the cool shoes and the snacks at the end of each game!

I visited my grandma whom I hadn't seen in a very long time. It was one of the highlights of my year!

Hugh began playing the trumpet!

And me....Well, this past year I lost nearly 30 pounds! See HERE my post about these 4 lovely women who have motivated and encouraged me in 2014! This fall, I was named VFW Teacher of the Year in a 6 county, 36 VFW Posts area! Next week, Ryan and I get to attend an awards banquet for this honor. I am so overwhelmed and humbled by this recognition! I have been greatly enjoying my family....all the snuggles, the funny, cute things the kids say, and the every day moments that keep me so busy but know I will miss when they are grown! I have been cherishing the few quiet times I get with my husband and am looking forward to some upcoming "dates" we have planned! I have been enjoying my job this fall and have been trying some new projects with my students! It has been an exciting time! 

We ended 2014 with a wonderful Christmas!

Definitely a year filled with....

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 106:1

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