The Year in Pictures

A few years ago I started using my last blog post of the year as a compilation of some of my favorite pictures or moments of the year. And, why mess with a good tradition? Here are a few from 2019 that pretty much sum of the year.

In January my longtime friend, Janet (notice how I didn’t say oldest friend?) and I met in Texas to visit Waco. We had so much fun and it turns out we still get along after all these years. We enjoyed shopping, sightseeing, tasting one (or two) of Joanna Gaines’ amazing cupcakes, and all that Magnolia has to offer.

In February our fifth grandchild, Marian Rose (Mari) was born! She was named after my mom and born just five days after my mom’s 92nd birthday. Isn’t she precious?

Though our grandson Charlie’s birthday isn’t actually until April, we celebrated with him in the end of March. He had asked for a signed baseball for his birthday though he didn’t really care who signed it. But, I managed to get a signature from Caleb Thielbar, who pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 2013. (My chiropractor happens to be good friends with Caleb.) I love the look on Charlie’s face when he sees the baseball.

In April we celebrated Easter in shorts, which you can’t really appreciate unless you live in Minnesota and realize how rare it is.

Also in May, Paul turned 40! When did I get old enough to be the mother of a 40 year old? It’s kind of scary!

May took me out to California again, but before I left I had just enough time to stop by Anders’ preschool for his final program. I think preschool programs are about the best entertainment on the planet and nearly missed this one due to car trouble. (You could call in car trouble, or you could call it “operator error”. Either way, it wouldn’t budge). But, I made it in time to see him perform. I love how you never really know what will happen at a preschool program. It’s anyone’s guess and can get quite hysterical. Anders is the cute one in the orange plaid shirt with his hands up in the air. He’s on the left side of most of the kids. It’s true that all of the kids are cute, but I’m kind of partial to the strawberry blonde boy with the big smile.

After the program, the kids all got to dance with their parents. Just look at the joy in his face!

In June, I again traveled to California to be with my mom, My sister-in-law, Betsy drove over from the Sacramento area to spend a few days with us. It was obvious at that point that we weren’t going to have many more visits with mom though she was still doing well enough to get out occasionally. One night we went out to dinner and before we left I asked Betsy to take a picture of the two of us. I knew if I waited until we got there I would start to cry and/or forget. Thankfully, she’s younger than I am (so she doesn’t struggle with her memory as much) and at the end of dinner said , “Why don’t I get a picture of the two of you?” While this isn’t the very last picture I have of myself with my mom, it’s the last good one. I’m so glad I asked Betsy to take it. I’m only sorry I didn’t think to get one of the three of us together.

In July, John and I had Amelia and Anders for a few days over the 4th of July while Paul and Erin were on a mission trip to Russia. The other kids came home and I thought it would be so fun to get a picture of the four older kids sitting on the curb waiting for the 4th of July parade. As you can see, that is easier said than done because, “Nana! The sun is so bright!” Oh well, all pictures can’t be perfect, right?

August was the month when Mom joined Dad in heaven and my whole family was in California for the Celebration of her Life. I saw nephews and a niece I hadn’t see for a long time. It was great to be together in spite of the circumstances.

Two weeks after returning home from California our family got together at a cabin in northern Minnesota. We had a great time swimming, fishing, eating, horseback riding (yes, even us old folks), playing together, and making lots of memories. And yet again, had a little trouble getting everyone to look in the same general direction for the picture. Ha!

Charlie and Jane had been scheduled to get baptized in the end of July but that is when I had to leave town to go be with mom during her final days so the baptism got rescheduled to September. Unfortunately, it was unseasonably cold (low 50’s – payback for the early spring, no doubt) but they didn’t complain as they plunged into the frigid river. We are so thrilled at their decision to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

In October my friend Janet drove up from southern California to meet me at my mom’s house (it had yet to be sold) in Monterey. It was beautiful and warm and nice to visit some places in the area I hadn’t had a chance to see for awhile. There wasn’t one good picture of the two of us but this one is from a hike we took at Point Lobos State Park. The Monterey Bay area of California is always gorgeous, rain or shine. It’s just much more enjoyable on the shiny days.

Our November picture is from Thanksgiving. Since this blog is heavy on grandchildren pictures I chose this one from the “adult table” for our picture of the month. It’s not that we don’t want the kids to eat with us, it’s just that the table isn’t big enough. Judging by the giggles we hear from the kitchen while we’re eating, the kids don’t mind having a minute to themselves without their parents telling them not to eat with their fingers.

I have about 44,000 Christmas pictures but I’ll spare you yet another cute kid photo. Instead, I’ll share one my neighbor took at what has turned into our annual neighborhood Christmas party. Our neighbors range in age from a month to about 85 so we don’t really see each other often. I enjoy hosting a party at our house so people can get to know each other. Everyone brings an appetizer to share and it’s always a fun (and yummy) time.

That’s a wrap on 2019. What a blessing it is to spend time with family and friends. As you can see there were happy days and sad days this year (isn’t that always how it is?), but we count each day and every friend and family member a gift.

Now, bring on 2020 and all that it has in store for us. It’s going to be an epic year, I just know it.

The whale tail at the top of this blog was taken on the day we spread my mother’s ashes at sea.

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