I must confess, 2017 was a pretty eventful year with some amazing, wonderful, and poignant memories. Each New Year’s Eve, my husband and I like to take a look back and reflect on the many blessings and experiences that comprised the moments of the previous year. We typically sit down and go through my calendar, as we sip a warm cup of coffee, and reminisce about all the stuff of the previous twelve months.
A NEW GRANDCHILD
This year made me a grandma once again with the birth of our granddaughter, Azelie Susanna. A new baby is always a great blessing.
Baby Zay is quite possibly the happiest baby around, and has the most kissable cheeks. She was born in June as the daughter of my daughter and her husband, and newest sibling to her older brother and sister. It already has been a joy to watch her grow over these past six months, and I cannot wait to see God has planned for this beautiful child.
THE MAINE EVENT
Just a few weeks after Zelie’s birth, we enjoyed a family vacation to Maine. Nearly all our extended family was able to travel to Kennebunkport where we stayed at Franciscan Guest House.
The nine hour drive to and from our destination had me dreading the travel, but after having several nieces and nephews as our traveling companions in the back seat throughout the journey made it seem like a drive around the neighborhood. It was a fabulous trip, not only seeing Maine and experiencing the food and sites, but having wonderful conversations, hanging out together, group texts on our phones, trivia challenges, playing with the Aerobie, and laughing ourselves silly. We were able to attend daily Mass at the adjacent monastery and the beautiful architecture and art was a joy. I shall treasure these memories forever.
BAPTISMS TIMES TWO
Two of the grandchildren were baptized this year and both sacraments were filled with such beauty and grace.
Our precious granddaughter McKenna was baptized on May 13th, the 100th anniversary of Fatima, and sweet Baby Zelie was Baptized on July 22nd, the feast day of St. Mary Magdalen.
In 2017 I celebrated my one year anniversary as a Granny Nanny to our beautiful McKenna as well. This child simply melts my heart.
She’s funny, creative, happy, and brings me such joy! I am very much looking forward to more special time caring for her in 2018.
A SAD GOODBYE
In February, my brave brother lost his courageous fight with leukemia.
I was blessed to have spent some wonderful quality time with him on our trips to Roswell Park Cancer Institute for his treatments and some fun side trips following his appointments. I will forever treasure my brother’s fun loving sense of humor, his superior wine making abilities, and his love for his family. I miss him so much and I think about him everyday. I look forward to seeing him again one day in heaven.
BADMINTON ANYONE? MAYBE SOME PICKLEBALL?
In my post entitled “The Never Ending Battle” I chronicled my recent struggle with weight and my current lifestyle approach. After my brother’s passing in February, I was feeling sad and eating poorly, not to mention that I wasn’t exactly exercising. And just ask anyone who knows me and they tell you about my abhorrence regarding sweating. Inspired by my friends KB and CB and their renewed commitment to healthy living, I made some choices to lose weight and exercise again. I think the best truth that I have ever learned with regard to exercise is that the BEST EXERCISE is always the one I’m MOST WILLING to do. Several weeks into the process, I sent a whimsical email to KB and CB to see if they had any interest in starting a badminton group. They said YES! Following some research and planning we were able to accomplish just that! Now, each week we gather to play badminton as a group of eight and we have been having a blast. We also are able to adjust the nets to play pickleball. When the gym had been unavailable one time we even enjoyed an outdoor battle of the racquets. I can truly say Wednesdays have become my favorite night of the week for exercise, fun, and friends.
TAKE A HIKE
I will forever be grateful to my friend KO for introducing me to a hiking club that I joined this past year. I have enjoyed some of the most amazing scenery in Western New York.
Can you believe I’m engaging in yet another form of exercise in which sweating is involved? Yet, I hardly notice with all the immense beauty on the trails and the compelling conversations with my fellow hikers who are all incredibly friendly. And a word about my friend KO… a dear woman who was so thoughtful and kind in the weeks following my brother’s passing and now my co-teacher for sixth grade religion class. I am truly blessed by her friendship and so grateful that 2017 was filled with many hours sharing meals, hikes, and conversations.
WHO DOESN’T LOVE A MUSICAL?
Our family is filled with some amazing young talent. The past year many of the nieces and nephews participated in musicals, and I just LOVE a good musical.
Godspell, Into the Woods, Peter Pan Jr, Elf Jr were highly entertaining productions, and I even enjoyed a community theater production of Man of La Mancha with some adorable nieces.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
October had us on the road again with a road trip to Steubenville, Ohio for Alumni/Parent/Homecoming weekend at Franciscan University.
Our nephew became freshman in August, our daughter is an alumnus, plus we brought a few more nieces, nephews, and grandchildren as potential future students. The long weekend there was another memory maker. The family friendly events, food, and fellowship were all so wonderful. I even met a Scotsman who played his bagpipes!
CELEBRATING A GREAT COUPLE
My father-in-law turned 80 this past year and we also celebrated the 55th wedding anniversary of my husband’s parents. Many of our family members were able to take a cruise on the Buffalo Creek to celebrate, as I wrote about in The Timeless Love of Mom and Dad.
This couple is so amazing – fun-loving, adventurous, generous, caring. I could go on forever. In addition to the great fun on the cruise, we had another fabulous time this past Christmas taking them to a big band Christmas concert followed by dinner at Salvatore’s Italian Garden Restaurant. It was a memorable occasion for all of us as the weather that day was filled with every type of wintery craziness. I’m glad we survived to tell the tale. We love making memories with these two special people.
That day in September when we took the harbor cruise with my husband’s family was actually the day I really decided to begin writing my blog. I previously had the inkling to begin writing for almost a year earlier and actually created my site on WordPress, but each time I wanted to post an article I froze. I tend to be a sensitive soul and the thought of posting something and being criticized negatively just would be too much for me to handle. Honestly, I have seen pins on Pinterest about HSP (Highly Sensitive People) and I’m convinced they are describing me (a post for another day, dear readers). Worse, what if I wrote a post and there was no response at all? Too cringeworthy to contemplate.
Well, summoning up my courage, I wrote a few posts (including the one about the boat ride) and I asked some close family and friends to give their honest feedback to see if this was going to be a worthwhile endeavor and the response was highly encouraging. In fact, two of my nieces started their own WordPress blogs, and another family member may join soon as well. When anyone sees me taking pictures with my phone at various events, the inevitable next question is, “Are you putting that on the blog??”
Quite honestly, I am so grateful for the fellow WordPress bloggers who have liked me, followed me, and offered me words of encouragement.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to get likes and positive comments. There have been times my posts have not been too compelling and the *crickets* have been a little too loud, but I remind myself that I am writing as a creative outlet and that enjoying the process is a reward in itself. I’m still scratching my head over the fact that my Aldi Love Letter post has gotten the most views. I am enjoying the confession format that I decided upon at the outset as it allows me a fair amount of latitude in topics, but my favorite topic will always be about my experiences as a young grandma, especially now that you all know about my superpower and the reasons for my joy.
These grandchildren keep me happy and young and I just love the time I am having with them.
Believe me when I tell you that I wanted to add several more items to my 2017 list, but the events above pretty much sum up the year. I welcome 2018 with a few guiding principles, as illustrated below, and with St. Pio as my patron saint.
If you have been a faithful reader so far and made it to this point in the post, I THANK YOU for your patience and loyalty. Please share your comments below if something resonated with you or if you have any feedback. May God bless you in the new year and may 2018 be good to you. Farewell 2017. Hello 2018.