Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014!

Every year for the past few years I have posted a little end-of-year questionnaire to help me remember all the important things about the previous year.  So here goes 2014!

1-What did you do in 2014 that you had never done before?

1-Tried a ropes course for the first time & had a lot of fun!  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!
2-Went candle pin bowling.
3-Tried salsa dancing.
4-Learned to play a dice game called Farkle.

2-Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!  Ashley had her third baby....John William Scott (Will).  He is the sweetest, smiliest, most easy-going little angel on the planet.  He has blessed our lives so much!


And my brother, Brent, had a little boy, Braxton in November!


3-Did anyone close to you die?

Lindy's boyfriend, Sean, lost his dad to cancer on October 8th this year.  It was such a sad time for them.

4-What dates from 2014 will remain etched in your memory and why?

I will never forget the day sweet baby Will was born.  And I will always remember the fun Steve and I had on our 50th birthdays this year.  And I know I will also never forget the day last February when I found out my mom has ALS.

5-Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Well...I was very blessed with good health this year.  However, Steve came down with the flu for a whole week during January last year.


And Lindy and Ashley both had kidney stones!!


My mom got pneumonia in August and had an intestinal blockage in November.


So we have definitely had our share of sickness this year!

6-What was the best thing you bought?

The best thing I bought this year was probably my new bedroom and living room furniture.


After four kids and two dogs and fourteen years of living in this house, we needed it and we have loved it!

7-What songs will always remind you of 2014?

Happy by Pharrell Williams.  This was my class anthem last year.  We played it over and over and had dance parties to it.  I love this song!


Shake It Off-Taylor Swift.  So fun!

Let It Go from Frozen.  I will always think about Sweet Caroline singing this song in her precious little baby voice!

Beachin' by Jake Aldean- The best summer song!  My assistant, Lyndsey, and I shared a love of this song!

8-What do you wish you would have done more/less of?

Prayed more, worried less.

9-What was your favorite TV program?

My favorite TV show this year was definitely The Good Wife!  I LOVE it!  We have made our way through the first three seasons and I am so happy there are three more to go!


I still have fun watching Nashville with Lindy and I still love Downton Abbey!

10-What was the best book you read this year?

I loved Restless by Jennie Allen.



And Wild by Cheryl Strayed!


11-What was the best movie you saw this year?

I feel like I didn't really see many movies this year.  Last night I did see Wild with Lindy and I really loved it.  It is definitely raw.  But it is a redemptive story and it was true to the book.  Cheryl Strayed and her daughter are also both in the movie.  Reese Witherspoon did an amazing job I thought!


 I would have to say that Unbroken tied for my favorite!  What an awesome story of love and forgiveness.  Go see it!


12-What did you do on your birthday?  How old were you?

I turned 50 this year and Steve took me on an awesome trip to NYC!  We had the BEST time!



13-Did you travel anywhere this year?

Yes.  The Maddoxes and travel just go together like peanut butter & jelly.  It is one of our favorite things to do.

This year we visited:

The Mountains--once in March and once in November!



New York--once in April and once in December.



Boston




Bar Harbor, Maine


Myrtle Beach






Portland


Victoria, BC


and Arizona!


And Mark lived in Santiago, Chile for the summer!


14-What national/international event stirred you the most?

I loved the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this year!  It meant so much to me since my mom got diagnosed with ALS in February.


The ebola crisis was so awful and I was gripped by the stories of bravery that came out of that.


It was so much fun cheering the USA on in the Sochi Olympics!


And I don't think anyone could watch the whole Ferguson, Missouri riots and not rethink race relations in our country.


15-Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2014.

In 2014, I have become more dependent on God to see me through hard times.  It has not been the easiest year, but I have felt God's presence with me every day.  I know that whatever 2015 brings, He will walk right beside me.  I know I can face anything because He loves me and he is guarding me and He only wants the best for me.  That is easy to say when you are not facing any kind of struggle, but I can honestly say that all the things I know about God have not changed in the face of crisis.  He is still just as true and good and loving as I always knew He was.  That gives me the courage to face whatever may come my way.


So, here's to 2015!  I wish you and your family a WONDERFUL new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December

Wow.  December was so busy and so crazy and so full of activity.

I haven't had a minute to think, much less blog.  So today is my attempt to recap everything a few of the highlights of our Christmas season since tomorrow IS the last day of 2014!

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season this year was taking David and Caroline to the mall to see Santa Claus.  Oh my word....they were SO excited!!


I think these pictures pretty much capture it....




There is nothing cuter...seriously!


Another fun thing we did in December was take Steve's mom to the Biltmore House in Asheville.  It was her birthday present from last year, but we never got a chance to go until this month.  The Biltmore House was built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt.  It has over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces!  It also has gorgeous gardens, a winery, restaurants, and stores.  And at Christmas time, it is decorated to the hilt!  I am a huge Downton Abbey fan and the whole time we were touring, I kept thinking about how much this house reminded me of the house on that show!  It really was beautiful and we had a fun day!







The second weekend in December, Laura and Lindy and I took a girls' trip to New York!  You know how much I love NYC and I had never been at Christmastime, so we were so excited to go!  Christmas in New York definitely lives up to the hype.  It was so magical and festive and totally decked out for the holidays.  A few of my favorite parts of the trip were seeing the Rockefeller tree all lit up and beautiful....



Watching ice skating in Bryant Park and getting hot cider and hot chocolate on the street....



Saks Fifth Avenue light show....


Seeing the Rockettes perform in their Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall....





The New York Public Library Christmas tree....


And just hanging out with my girls....






We have done lots of the usual fun things at home, too, like spending time with our grandkids, looking at Christmas lights, and watching Christmas movies on the couch with Rocky.




Steve's mom was so sweet and had the kids over to bake Christmas cookies one day.  They had the best time!  She told us she was going to start making that an annual tradition.





We had Christmas Eve at our house this year.  I was so glad my mom was feeling good and got to enjoy all our fun.  We had my brother Brent and his family over and two of my mom's sisters came.  Plus my Aunt Francine, who is 91 and still as spunky as ever, came in from Texas!  We went to the Christmas Eve candlelight service and then came back to our house for appetizers and cider and dessert.





Christmas morning we had a very full house.  It was lots of people and lots of presents and lots of love and family time.  I gave my mom a book I had made on Shutterfly full of all our family pictures from the past few years and Laura wrote my parents a sweet poem and had it framed.  She writes for a living now and she does it well!


Then we wrapped up Christmas night with another round of fun at Steve's mom's house.  It was appetizers and the Stingy Santa game!  We are so blessed with such a wonderful family!


After Christmas, I was exhausted!  Over the next few days we cleaned up the boxes and paper and bows and tried to relax for a little while.

On December 27th, we had our 15th annual Chili and Cheer with our neighbors.  This was the first year that several of our group couldn't be there, but we still had fun.  We sure do love our neighbors and all the memories we've shared with them through the years.
So that was our December!  We had lots of fun and made so many sweet memories.  I loved every minute of it!