Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reviewing Our Year

In trying to get pictures together of all we've done this past year I realized I had to seriously consolidate our experiences and activities as it was a year jam packed with projects, activities, changes and blessings!!!

We began 2013 in our old home in California as we prepared for Kevin's retirement and our cross country move to Florida.  We were blessed to have sold our home without even putting on the market for a full price cash offer.  The packing and eliminating years of accumulation was grueling, but after many garage sales, Craiglist sales, giving away to family, friends and of course several local charities knew us on a first name basis after all our trips to their facilities to drop off goods, we had consolidated enough to fill 3 pods to move our things.

We found homes for our chickens, and two younger cats, said our good byes to friends and family, then packed the last of our items, our 3 dogs, one old cat and us in both our vehicles and started our 5 day trek across country to our new home.

My parents, sister and brother at our farewell party, Amber and Eddie the morning we were leaving stopping by.
Dogs, cat and kids loaded up and ready to go

As we arrived at what is for us a "new" home, the reality of the projects needed to update this 20 year old home to meet our needs began.  We dove into the projects that will be ongoing for quite some time, but which have already made significant changes to our new abode.

Our first look at our Florida home on the day we arrived.
The house before, and as the painting and changes begin.

New color, garage door, lights and trims make a big difference!!
The screen porch in the back gets an overhaul and is enclosed for a usable sunroom.

Sunroom after
This is a 3 bedroom house and our original thought was to create a room in the garage for Cameron. We chose instead to buy a 12x20 shed and finish it with a full bathroom, for Cameron's new room. Here is the shed the day it was delivered from the factory.

With the help of Kevin's brother Patrick, the guys added plumbing, electricity, built out bath and closet, finished walls, then painted and added finishes and furniture and TA DA, Cameron's new room.
Lauren chose a sunny yellow for her rooms color. Initially Cameron stayed in here while his room was being built and the girls shared Hannah's room, until Lauren was able to celebrate moving in here when Cam's shed was complete.

Hannah's signature purple is on two of the four walls, and after initially bunking together she's now enjoying her own "Princess" space as well.
We also took advantage of sites, facilities and locations now available to us in Florida and were blessed to be able to share these with a good number of visitors, including our oldest daughter Amber and her husband Eddie when they arrived from California for a two week stay last October. FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!

We enjoyed visits with Kevin's brother Steven and his family, Patrick and Jennifer and their boys when they were out, plus Kevin's youngest brother Brendan and his wife Amy

Amber and Eddie here to visit, kids at Ormond Beach, Hannah with chicken at 4 H
Swimming with grandma in our pool, 4 H and bunnies,  Easter activities
Debary Hall (top left), girls with Aurora, fun with hats and the "air harp" at the kids museum.  Below is our meeting with some special friends the Bartlinkski's at Disney World.

The girls have added 4-H, ECHO Rangers and Ballet to their new activities and we've taken full advantage of the sites, learning opportunities and new friendships that have come along with participation in these groups.

The opportunity to spend time with Grandma and Poppie, as well as Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Patrick when they are at their Florida home, has been a new and treasured set of experiences.

          Girls with Santa, at Disney's light festival and their ballet performance.
It's been a wonderful year, loaded with opportunities and experiences.  for which we are truly grateful.  We anticipate that 2014 will hold more of the same.  Have a happy and blessed new year.

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