Thursday, January 7, 2016

Farewell 2015!

We closed out 2015 with many blessings.  Too many to count.  Our hearts are full.

One of them came in the form of my Mom. In 2014, I posted here about running into one of my Mom's dear friends, Mrs. McFarland, on my birthday.  As if that blessing of seeing her weren't enough, she then invited me to come to her home for lunch that Christmas season.  And the blessing has she once again reached out to me this season and invited Lucy and me over, saying "it is now tradition."   I can't say enough about what a blessing this is to me, to spend time with this sweet friend of my Mom's.  It is the closest thing I can get to feeling as though I am in my Mom's presence, as so much of her home, and who she is and what she values, reminds me of my Mom.

Mrs. McFarland in the blue.  Her daughter Jodi to my right.
Reminding me in every way of how hospitable my Mom used to be, Mrs. McFarland made all of my Mom's recipes for our special lunch-- from the appetizer, to the entree to the desert!  Talk about being spoiled!   And feeling like I was right back in my childhood home, taking in the comforts of good food and lots of love!

Lucy got along so nicely with Mrs. McFarland's grand-kids; you would have thought they had known each other forever. I couldn't help but think how pleasing it would have been for my Mom, to see her granddaughter playing so nicely with her dear friend's grand-kids.

Thank you Mrs. McFarland, for this priceless gift, and for allowing me to feel God's divine Providence, as well as my Mom's spiritual presence, during this special time of the year.

And now onto another tradition....

Lucy and I headed downtown to see the Cincinnati Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.

This is the fourth year we have gone.  I think it may have been my favorite performance yet.  Lucy is older now, and was so engaged throughout the entire ballet.  Plus, I think she really is starting to understand the story and anticipate different parts ...and was so filled with excitement when they occurred.

My friend Molly's kids were in the performance.   Here is Nate;  he played Fritz, the boy who breaks The Nutcracker.

And here is Abby, she was the poodle:

They had the "Sugar Plum Fairy Parade" after the show, which is how we got to go up on the stage and meet some of the dancers.

Moving on to Christmas eve....  we were in Indy with my Dad, sister and her kids.

Lucy getting ready to open her one gift on Christmas eve....

My sister has carried on this tradition that my mom started:  new jammies to sleep in on Christmas eve.   I think Lindsay and Lucy could be pajama models...what do you think?

Here is Lucy getting ready to go to bed.  Papa is holding her note to Santa.  She was the most excited this year that I think she has ever been.  It was so contagious and fun!

Here is Lucy's cousin Vince, reading The Night Before Christmas to her.  Priceless.

The one gift that Lucy wanted that she was adamant and unwavering about:  "an animated dog."  And boy did Santa deliver!

This toy has an app you can put on your phone. It will cause the dog to bark, move etc.  Lucy could not have been more excited!

Here is Lucy Christmas night, getting ready to blow out the candles on baby Jesus' birthday cake.....

And now on to the other special birthday of the month....

Our girl is 7!!

I had offered to host a "friend" party for Lucy this year.  We have never really done one, and with Lucy going to so many of her classmates birthdays, it seemed only 'equitable,' shall we say.   But upon suggesting it to her--on numerous occasions-- her consistent "no, Mama, I just want my family," solidified the decision.  I wasn't going to push it.  And of course Brian was thrilled with the cost savings!

Thanks to Pinterest, I decided to surprise Lucy with a Tea and Craft themed party.

And just because decoupage is one of my favorite words to say, I decided we would decoupage picture frames.

They turned out lovely!

I think everyone had lots of fun---including the adults!  This year Abby's grandma also got to join us, and I couldn't have been more pleased.  This family-- that has really become like a part of ours-- is such a blessing to us.

Abby sewed Lucy this sweet little doll/pillow.  So very special....

Here's the whole gang-----Lucy was a bit pictured out by this point!  We are so grateful for my sister and her kids coming, as well as the Vollmers.  (Papa Buzzelli has been having some back issues, and was unable to attend this year, which was quite devastating to Lucy).  But overall, Lucy got her wish and was surrounded by those she loves.

Here are some final fun moments for us in the  year 2015.....

Buckeyes for breakfast:

Daughters who melt your heart with a dry erase board....

("talents"  "personality")
Husbands who wrap presents in trash bags...

Kids who find ways to entertain themselves while their moms shop...

And ear muffs on one of the first cold days of this winter......

Happy 2016 to all!