Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The blessings of 2014!

Whoa, what a year!  We have had some incredible blessings in our family!  Here is a brief (?) look!

* Lainie took her first classes at Oakland Community College!  Yes, I took her picture on her first day of school in January.  Doesn't every mom do that for college?  (In my defense, she WAS only 16.)

Not embarrassed at all.
* Lainie got her Driver's License this year!  This has meant freedom for her (and me!).  She also helps out by taking Lea places.

* Lea attended the 2nd annual Shine dance at our church, Kensington.  It's a very fancy prom-type dance for people with special needs.  She had a blast and looked absolutely beautiful!!

With her BFF and caregiver Claudine.  I love their relationship!

* Lainie was in another play in the spring.  She played Audrey in As You Like It, as well as an adorable random party-goer.

We are proud of our Drama Queen!

* Lainie and I attended a women's retreat with Kensington.  We had a great time connecting with Christ and each other!  We made some great friends.

* Another chance for Lea to dress up!  Her school banquet was lots of fun.  She got to ride around in a limo bus and have a great banquet meal and dance.

* Lainie, Brad and his sister Tamasin and her hubs Terry did a crazy race!  They got a bit dirty, but had a terrific time. They had to carry Lainie, manhole covers, go through an obstacle course.  A great accomplishment!

* Lea spent a week at Camp Skyline!  It's one of her favorite things in the world!

With her roommate Anna.  They have been roomies for 2 summers!

* It wasn't all good.  A drunk driver rear-ended Lainie who was driving with her friend.  Thank God they were alright!  Her car, however, was a different story.  She still misses it.
Trunk wouldn't closed.  Car all smooshed.
* Brad did yet another race!  This one was him, Tamasin and Terry again.  They had to bike, orienteer, canoe then bike some more.  It was brutal but he was really glad he did it!
They were less smiley at the end.

* My Young Living Essential Oils business really took off!  I love these oils and what they have done for our family.  Better health naturally!  My first year in 25 years with zero allergy meds!  That is just one small part of it.  I don't really "sell" these oils, I share my story.  They sell themselves.  I hit a pretty big goal which is called Silver In 6.  Because of this, Young Living sent me an oil kit with over 120 oils, free!  We were just dying when it came.

* And more on the oil front.  I did something VERY unlike me.  I went to the YL convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Let me tell you something, Folks.  On a scale of 1 to 10, my sense of adventure is a minus 17.  Flying alone.  New place alone.  Staying in a house full of strangers.  All a big deal for me.  But I had an amazing time.  I learned SO much about oils, leadership, friendship, YL.  The pictures from that week alone could fill a blog (hey....good idea.)  Just a few highlights:

I won a major award, haha

Got to spend time with my awesome SIL Tamasin, aka TaTa

Here we are looking gorge by a fountain at a cool mall
I must include at least one shot of Pat Monahan from Train.  They performed for our convention and we were so close!  It was an amazing night.

Visiting the farm in Mona, Utah was a definite highlight of the week.  I planted lavender!

Ahh Maze Ing
I really loved SLC.  I can't wait to return next June!  It's all part of that Silver thing, and YL will pay for me this time!

* The day after I got home, Brad and I saw one of our fave bands, Neon Trees.  We saw them 2 years ago in Paris and they are just so freaking awesome!

* We got to spend some time at our friends' cottage in Gladwin on a lake we really love.  

We love it so much, look what happened!  We tried to buy this same little cabin last year but it didn't work out.  This year, it came back on the market.  So we bought it!  It took a couple of months for it all to come together.  So we just boated past and dreamed about the day it would be ours.

* Lea played softball!  She had a great time and learned a lot.  She had fun with her friends.

* Lainie was in another play.  Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare again.  They did a sports theme, and she got to be a cheerleader for the first time!

Lea sold concessions.

Lainie played Rosaline.  Here she is with Berowne.  She had the greatest time with this role and production!!
With Grammy and Grampy

* So before we knew we were buying a cottage, we blew a wad on this vacation.  Just kidding about the blew it part!  It was worth every penny!  We went to a fave vacation spot, The Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This time we rented a house on the beach.  In the ocean.  We were in Rodanthe.  You can't beat this location.

I went swimming.  Every day.  Me.

Our silly girls, playing in the ocean together

This is not really a pic of our house or us.  It's a pic of our whacked out neighbors who didn't observe our personal space very well!  haha

Grandma T came with us!

Sitting on the deck of the master bedroom.  I could get used to this.

* What an amazing summer!  And this milestone happened!
Lea voted for the first time!
* Labor Day weekend was the greatest!  We got possession of our cabin!  OMG we love it.  Small, 2 bedrooms, but really perfect for our family.  We have dreamed of this for about 20 years!

The view from our deck in the evening.

Hey we have a pontoon boat!

Many more campfires to come

Thanks, God, for this.  Wow.

* My nephew Chris got married!  It was a beautiful wedding in a park.  Jen did great considering she was in labor during the ceremony!

* Oops, it's our cottage again!  How did that happen?  We were able to spend many weekends up north.  So blessed!

Our pups LOVE it up here!

Bonus: we have even more friends on the lake! The big house with all the windows across the lake belongs to my parents BFFs.  

Our bud Susan over for a visit

Another boat ride?  Yes please.
* Chris and his new son, TJ!

* Lainie's friends threw her a suprise party!  17!!

* Lainie had her senior pictures taken.  How is this possible?  She was just born the other day.

* Ooops, another visit to the cottage?  Yep.

* Lea got tickets to Disney on Ice for her birthday!  She is 20!!

* Brad ran in the Detroit Marathon!  He did the half, 13.1 miles!  It goes from Detroit through Windsor and back to Detroit.  He raised money for Hope Water Project and helped bring clean water to people in Africa.  I am so proud!!

* We had the great pleasure of having a visit from our German friends the Schaefer's!!  Their daughter Anna is an exchange student in Wisconsin and they came across the pond to visit her.  And they visited us!  So they got to experience the marathon and our cottage!  It was so great to see them!

* Meanwhile, Lainie was on a cruise!  She went with some friends and their parents.  And she paid for it all by herself!  

Here she is, ziplining in Belize!
* Next up: I took a short trip to Chicago with some cool ladies!  It was another oil thang.  We had so much fun!  Well, THEY did for sure because they got to do a road trip with ME.  I am fabulous in the car.

* Another of those not-so-great moments: Lea had her wisdom teeth out.  This was NOT fun. She ended up with a dry socket which is a terribly painful complication.  Thank God that is over.

* Surprise, back up north!
Winter up north!  Pups hanging out and loving it.

* Hey!  Lainie was in a play!  Surprise!  Haha.  The play was called The Princess Who Had No Name and she played Snow White. In this play, Snow White was a Texan.  It was really cute!
With her friend Phoenix

* Uh oh, one of the worst moments of our year.  Lea was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance!  Thank God everything turned out ok.  But it was a long and scary night in the hospital.  She had a CT scan of her brain, echocardiograms, ultrasounds, blood work....the final diagnosis was that she was dehydrated and had a near-fainting spell.  She was fine the next day and has been fine since!  Thank God.
When we broke out!
* We were still able to see Lainie's last performance of this play.

*A cool thing happened at the play.  A lady from the admissions department of a local private college saw it and wanted to meet with Lainie.  We were very excited to hear more about them (Rochester College) and what they have to offer.  We all love it!  She definitely wants to apply there.
Flower strategically placed to protect the innocent.
* We had some really tough moments related to my Dad's dementia.  It's a, horrible, frustrating, devastating disease.  He does have many pleasant moments, though.  He still is a funny dude.

* Now here we sit on New Year's Eve at our happy place.  Tamwood.  We named our cottage after the cottage Brad grew up at with his family.  It's pretty cold up here!  -5 with wind chill.  But the fire is stoked, we have plenty of blankies and 2 warm doggies.  
And we have each other.  That is the greatest!  These people are the ones that make my world go round.  I can't wait to see what 2015 brings us!  New work/business ventures, school/college, cottage of course!  It's bound to be a great year!