Dear Family and Friends,
Well, it’s that time of year again. That time when our mailbox fills up with lovely cards from all our friends and relations, most of whom appear to be organized enough to pose for Christmas pictures before Thanksgiving, sending us tidings of good cheer.
Since I’m already so far behind on the seasonal merry-go-round, I might as well confess that I haven’t ever contrived a good system for displaying Christmas cards, lacking a mantel and all that, so I tend to stack up Christmas cards in a pile on the desk until I finally acknowledge that I might as well read them, even if I never get around to displaying them.
By a week or so after Christmas, I’m opening the last of those lovely cards and having a blast reading about what you’ve all been up to this past year. What exciting lives everyone leads! Apparently I really missed out by not following social media all that closely. Sorry about that! But the news is just as good when I finally get around to reading it. And now I am inspired to reciprocate. So for all those people wondering what we’ve been up to this past year, read on.
In 2016, we kicked off the year with a round of birthdays, as per usual. Three of us have January birthdays, so we did not lack for cake or candles. We were still steeped in sweets from the holidays, and because we didn’t get enough of the Christmas spirit before December 25th, we kept playing Christmas music and threw an Epiphany Party on the Twelfth Day of Christmas to celebrate. I highly recommend this approach, particularly if you’re the type of person who runs out of time to plan something fun in December but can’t bear to part with Christmas music and decorations as soon as the New Year hits.
On the home front, adventure was rife. The winter was cold and bleak, and one morning we awoke to the spectacle of water running down our hallway wall. An upstairs pipe had burst, flooding our walls and floors, which caused considerable inconvenience for some time but ended up having quite the silver lining: our homeowners’ insurance stepped up to the challenge, providing for replacement and upgrade of all the affected flooring and new paint throughout the main floor. This finally emboldened us to hang pictures, which had been languishing in boxes for two years while we waited for motivation to strike. There’s nothing like a minor flood to inspire home-improvement projects.
In the spring, we planted blueberry bushes, dwarf plum trees, and a cherry bush hedge. We are clearly settling in to our life here and putting down roots, literally and figuratively.
Our two oldest girls took a trip to Oregon over the summer. Their presence was sorely missed, but we knew they were having a great time traveling with Grandpa and Grandma, spending time with extended family, and attending the annual family camping trip in Central Oregon. It’s exciting to see our kids growing up, spreading their wings, and having adventures on their own (almost).
There was a lot of activity of the mundane, everyday sort, such as yard work, swim lessons, civic engagement, field trips to local historic spots and state parks, road trips to visit extended family, and more.
All in all, it was a busy year. So busy that we still haven’t caught up with all our end-of-year commitments. Who’s up for celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with us again? As Ebenezer Scrooge said, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” What’s not to like about that New Year’s resolution?
Happy Epiphany to everyone, and have a great year!
The Focht Family
Photo Credit: All images courtesy of Rose Focht.