Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

I had decided on my New Year post - and then changed my mind - so here I am - wandering among the months of last year.

With the exception of a very scary start to 2011 it has been a grand year. We started off with rushing Don to the ER exactly one year ago today. When you arrive at the ER and state that you had open heart surgery - they will have you in the examining room in 10 seconds flat - no waiting around. He was in and out of the hospital several times with one extended stay - and ended up with surgery in early April (not heart related) - and then things began to turn around for us and the year showered us with loveliness and happiness.

When we finally started the year (I count it as starting in April - after the medical crises in January and February) we found ourselves the owners of a brand new 2011 KIA Optima. Black and shiny and the most fabulous car we've ever owned. Road trips here we come.

In late spring we got our long awaited new deck - it is 12x24 and we were out on it every chance we could get. Our son-in-law Jay headed up the construction - that guy can lift a 24 foot long 8x12 beam and make it look easy - and our other kids and grandkids pitched right in to help. Not only is it a fabulous deck with a ramp for easy access, it is a reminder of how wonderful our family is to us.

Our summer weather was very late in coming - but when it finally got here (and lasted only about 5 weeks) we enjoyed every minute of it.

The event of the year was the birth of our third grandson - Donald Ray Bayne III - in West Virginia on June 2. He is one of the happiest babies I've ever seen, smiling and laughing all the time and charming everyone he meets.

We didn't get to meet him until October, when we flew to West Virginia to spend two wonderful weeks with them. Now we are hoping to have them come out here - or for us to go back there again - I just can't get enough of sweet babies.

Jahn-Zyel and Ben have been a great delightful part of our year. Jahn learned to sew this year, during the time the deck was being built and he wasn't needed out there to help out. He was an amazingly fast learner and was way ahead of my instructions. (And then for Christmas he got his very own sewing machine).

Ben lost his front teeth this summer and fall - and also learned to read like a whiz. One day we were driving in town and he read the sign on the bank - People's Bank. He asked me why it was called People's bank and I replied that I didn't rightly know. He said - "Grammy, it is because animals don't use it, only people". Well, I should have figured that out myself.

We got to have Ben here several days a week during summer vacation and we made good use of the new deck. We would eat lunch out there almost every day and read books and play games - such a delightful summer. Summer time and grandsons is a great combination! Ben also took swimming lessons this summer at the community pool - with Grammy watching and her camera ever ready.

In September, on a whim, I looked in craigslist for a piano and found the most wonderful 1895 Harrington Piano, almost free. We had it professionally moved (no more piano moving for us) and the boys' old toy room is now becoming my music room. For Christmas Don got me a lovely old piano bench (from 1920) that matches the piano very well. After over 10 years of not having a piano (since we moved to Washington) I now have one and am enjoying it so much. Maybe by next Christmas Lori and and I can play duets for the holidays - me on the piano - Lori on the cello.

Also in September, Jahn started 4th grade in a new school, and Ben started first grade in his much loved Roosevelt School.

September was a huge month - so many happenings we could almost not keep up with them. In September Don and I both had our books published.

Don wrote a training manual for his work with Developmentally Delayed Adults.

My book,
Are We Walking To Alaska? is the story of when my family first moved to Alaska when I was only 6, and Alaska was not yet a state. What a thrill it was to receive the final proofs in the mail and to see our books go up for sale. And then in December both books also went up for sale on Kindle. We have indeed had an exciting year.

After we got home from West Virginia it was almost time for the holidays - and what wonderful holidays we had. Ben and Jahn entertained us with their costumes on Halloween - Jahn was a storm trooper and Ben was Batman, with a flashing belt even. Thanksgiving was special - and oh so delicious and then came Christmas.

Baking, eating, visiting, enjoying family and friends - one of our favorite times of the year. Christmas day the boys had so much fun opening their gifts - playing out in the rain with poppers that Grampy had bought for them and wrestling in the bedroom. After dinner our kids and Don pitched in and did all the clean up - I didn't touch one leftover or one dish - what a delightful gift to me it was. I was able to sit and read to the boys (a sneaky, but sweet way they had to keep me out of the kitchen).

And now we come to the end of the year and the beginning of a brand new one. Looking back we see a wonderful year full of family and friends and good times. Looking forward we hope for a happy and healthy new year for all. I've enjoyed wandering back through our fabulous year with you - hope your year was as wonderful.


regan said...

What a nice recap of the year! So many positive and family fun memories! And can I just say that your little Ben looks to be the spittin' image of the young boy on the cover of your book! Amazing!

Rowan said...

I hope that 2012 turns out as well as 2011 but without the sticky start! I know how you feel about having a book published, had no idea that Are We Walking To Alaska was a book title, thought it was just a blog. How exciting to be available on Amazon! Happy New Year!

A Garden of Threads said...

2011 was very eventful, I hope 2012 holds many wonderful times as well. Take care, Jen.

Pondside said...

What a year! I was SO with you in the ER - scary stuff - but you both came through with flying colours to go on to a year of great things!

Purple Pam said...

What a nice "look back" at 2011. I remember many of those events. Glad the year made an upturn for you and Don. I wish you a new year that continues on the upswing.

Lili said...

That was an enjoyable recap of your 2011 Jo! The pics of your deck made me long for summer again. You had a very blessed and fulfilling year even though it started off a little rocky. Congrats to you and Don for your impressive accomplishments, you know I really enjoyed reading your book and so did two of my friends. Here's to a great 2012 my friend! ~Lili

GardenofDaisies said...

WOW girlfriend!!! You are on a roll! 400 plus? Thanks for accepting the 366 challenge! I've added a link to your blog under the 366 challenge under my header.

GardenofDaisies said...

Wanted to stop back by and say that your grandchildren are all adorable! That little fellow was born on a great day! (I share that one with him.) And it sounds like, in spite of the rough start, you have had a very good year. Wishing all the best for you in 2012.

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hi Jo...what a wonderful year you've had other than the first few months. I'm glad everything turned out well for your hubby. Here's to another wonderful and even better year!
Maura :)