Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Year in Review

I am pretty sure that I rang in the new year of 2013 with some uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Last year at this time, we knew/planned that Daniel would graduate high school in 2013 and that he'd go to college, but we didn't have any idea the ways that God would work and show his faithfulness to us this year. Looking back now, I think 2013 was a banner year and one of the best we've had in a while! Praises and thanks to the Lord!

I'll just do a little photo recap so we can look back and remember the events of 2013:

January:  Made a cake for a wedding reception (not THE cake); watched Season 3 of Downton Abbey with Tiffanie, Anne and Debbie, Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Grace Community Church

February:  Celebrated my birthday with family and friends, had fun with Valentine's Day cards (giving and receiving) and Jeanette and I hosted some high school friends.

March: Spring arrived in Tennessee

April: Celebrated Easter together, Daniel went to the Senior Prom and had his final Jazz Band concert

May:  Mother's Day, Daniel's graduation from Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School

June:  Celebrated Grandma's birthday and went to UT Orientation

July:  Daniel turned 18, Mary Lane turned 3 and Daniel went on his first international mission trip to Honduras

August:  Erica started Kindergarten and then turned 5! Daniel and I took a trip to NJ/NYC. Daniel started his freshman year at UT!

September:  Celebrated Jeanette's birthday, went to UT Parents Weekend and had my first experience at a UT football game

October:  Daniel came home for Fall Break and we enjoyed some Fall activities like the Pumpkin patch and I enjoyed going on walks at Radnor Lake to see the Fall colors changing.

November:  Thanksgiving break and family time

December:  I walk/jogged a very chilly 5K and we celebrated Christmas all month long in various locations (FL, TN, TX), and Russell turned 40!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Thoughtful and Creative Gifts

On the Saturday before Christmas, Leanne emailed and asked me to send her some pictures of me and my dad and of Daniel and my dad. She also got some photos off of Facebook and made my mom, sister and me some nice photo canvas keepsakes. It was such a thoughtful and creative gift that we will treasure!

Christmas in Tennessee

On December 28th, we got to have our Ryals-Ryan-Massey Christmas all together. We decided to order Chinese food (that's our Christmas Eve tradition on years when we're together for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and then had some yummy Christmas cookies and opened gifts.

Jewelry became a running theme (for the females anyway):
  • I gave Mom and Jeanette stamped necklaces with the kids' names on them
  • The Massey family gave me an amethyst pendant that the girls had chosen for me at a shopping night at Erica's school
  • The Masseys also gave me a red bead necklace from a 147 Million Orphans fundraiser
  • I gave the girls birthstone rings that I bought in Mt. Dora, FL
  • Mom gave me some pretty silver/red stone earrings I had admired in the shop in Mt. Dora
The guys were content with gift cards, food (Daniel got snacks to take back to college) and shirts. They also had a college bowl game on mute, so that made them happy (especially Daniel since U of L was playing).

The girls got Flashlight Pets from Grandma and wanted to have them in working order (with batteries) right away. GM had given them batteries, but accidentally put the wrong size, and then Russell only had enough of the AAA batteries for one pet and Mary Lane's happened to get set up first. After she got it working, Mary Lane kept wanting us to come into the guest bathroom and turn off the light to see her Flashlight Pet all aglow. She also wanted the overhead lights in the living room off, but we nixed that idea. Of course, Erica wanted hers to light up, so I promised to go home and get some more batteries as soon as we finished opening gifts (I had also forgotten to bring some gifts). After I got back with the batteries, all seven of us crammed into the bathroom to see the light show! Fun times were had by all!

Let the gift-opening begin!

Peanut Butter!

Flag made from Erica's artwork

Cool globe that plays music from different countries

Grandma and her Grands

Gift cards are always welcome!

Mommy and her girls
Light show in the guest bath!

The girls with their Flashlight Pets all aglow!