Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Year in Review - 2014 - Family

December is winding down, and my thoughts wander back across the year that is drawing to a close. First and foremost, the girls (all three, big and little) are healthy and happy. I could stop there and consider the year a success.

But that would make for a very short year end post, so I will soldier on....

High School and Musicals
Julia is in the middle of tenth grade and doing well. She is beginning some preliminary job training, and is involved in a lot of activities. She's a very busy young lady.

March was probably the highlight of her year, being involved in the production of Les Miserables, her favorite thing of all time.
Les Miz - Makeup call for Bystander number 2

I am especially proud of the amount of time and work that she put into the play, and equally happy that despite all the work she wants to be involved in all the musicals going forward. This continued with The Little Mermaid in December where she was a chorus fish in the Sea Chorus, which included a new part time career for Amp as a costume designer and seamstress.
Les Miz Opening Night w/Uncle Let

Julia also puts a lot of time in cheerleading with the Spirit Squad, and competes in three or four local area competitions every Spring. I should also note here that we are all very grateful to the local Whole Foods Market and the Whole Foods Foundation, which made a very generous donation to the squad to cover uniforms and other costs.
Spirit Squad

Julia also continues to compete in Special Olympics bowling and swimming, where Grace is a "unified partner" and swims relays with her sister.
Special Olympics Bowling

Wrapping up Elementary School
Having a daughter the age that Grace is now is a constant (and somewhat unwelcome) reminder of just how fast kids grow up. It seems like just yesterday that we were carrying her around because she was so little and she couldn't keep up. Now I can't keep up with her.

She is doing very well in school, but one of the more gratifying things for me is that she is involved in a lot of musical things, and shows a very good aptitude for it. She is about one year into piano lessons, and her teacher calls her "my little prodigy." She is also now in her second year of clarinet and is doing well enough that her teacher recommended that she move up from the starter (plastic) clarinet to a real wooden one. Have I mentioned how expensive real musical instruments are? Egads. Anyway, as much as I love music, that is an expense I'll gladly deal with. Between the instruments and chorus, there is something musical going on at all times (which is how I would choose to have it).
Casted ankle - January

Gymnastics continues as well, along with the periodically gimpy ankle that comes along with that. Six weeks in a walking cast seems to have helped some, but not completely. Apparently, this is something that they believe she will just grow out of. Fingers crossed...
Glasses in August

I couldn't possibly be more proud of both of them.

Around the House
Having been in this house 17 years now (really?!?), there are no shortage of rooms that we would like to re-do and other projects that need addressing. Grace and Julia both some new pieces of furniture this year, and I am in the middle of finishing up the crown molding in Julia's room and then repainting it. The main floor powder room got a complete cosmetic reno including crown and trim moldings and a repaint.
Printer table

Lastly, we put some power tools to use and made some new custom furniture for ourselves. Julia got a modified version of a console table, and I got a perfectly sized printer stand and end table for my office. I still have a hard time looking at the printer table and believing that I made it with my own two hands (it looks too good).

Getting Out and About
One of the commitments we have made to ourselves is that we will try to expose the kids to as much culture as we can, and hopefully do it in a way that they will enjoy. This year we got them to see a Cirque de Soleil Michael Jackson show in Philadelphia, Stomp at the Dupont Theater in Wilmington, Aladdin on Broadway, and Mary Poppins in Philadelphia to round out the year.
Aladdin on Broadway

We also got to Washington DC again in the spring (to see Mount Vernon) and Avalon NJ in the summer (for the beach), as well as many trips to our in-laws in New Jersey.
Mount Vernon

Thinking about what all we did this year makes me start thinking about what we can do in 2015. Most of all, I just hope that everyone stays happy and healthy. That would be plenty.

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