Ringing in the New Year

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
This year we kept with the same New Year's Eve plan of a family party involving a friendly challenge.  This is one of my favorite holidays - no real pressure of a certain specific tradition, no real formal meal expectation, just gathering and fun!

Sarah and Paige



Cottonball Clean up (across counter into cup - harder than it looks)

Ball drop tradition

Skill at work

Group shot! (Minus my dad who went home sick - a theme during the holidays)

Happy 2017 From Us!

So 2017 has great potential!  We have a spring break trip in Hawaii to look forward to, more camping, a couple weddings. This year we also have the start of High School for Paige and the last year with any kid's age in the single digits.  When I look at the pictures that scroll across my computer screen of the kids only waist-high to us doing things I can remember like yesterday, I feel like time is going by so quickly.  But then when I think about all they can do now, have done, and have the potential to do, it's just exciting.  And I say if you can say you're excited as another year passes,  you're living a good pretty good life!


It was a great holiday season with plenty of family time and gatherings! 

First, a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' garage café again!

Great Grandma serenading with her harmonica

Post-meal snuggles

Then came Christmas!

Christmas parties with games

Christmas decorating

Christmas baking

Christmas morning surprises

Phone for the tweener

Big bike!  His first very-own bike.  Perfect for keeping up!

Family Christmas

Christmas surprise FACES

Then came Christmas with the Kelly side - a fun gathering the day after Christmas...

Rounding Out 2016

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Truth: I completely forgot about documenting our lives, backing up my pictures on this computer and this blog, in case that wasn't evident.

Current Situation:  Kids flaked out on the floor watching too much TV on a too long holiday break as Will recovers from some crazy stomach/fever bug and Paige is still getting rid of a symptoms from a bad cold. 

Oh, and it's now 2017!  Because it has been 2 years since I published this blog and I'm anxious to do so, here is the last two months in bullets!

  • As with every fall, we had a day of leaf fun in Grandma and Grandpa Cumpata's yard.  I never quite know how much progress we made, besides burning through mower fuel.

No exceptions due to size.  We all help.

Plenty of motorized assistance to go around.

Fall hike


  • We also saw the end to cheerleading season for Paige (last of junior high!)

  • And Paige turned 14!  We had a family party where she got many things she wanted, including a chocolate fountain dessert!

October Highlights

Saturday, November 5, 2016
By this time, school work is getting more serious, temperatures are getting cooler, and before you know it you're hearing holiday tunes played in department stores!  But, fall is my favorite, and so we try to savor it.  We have been blessed with fantastic fall weather this year and here is what we've been doing with it....

Another camping trip (the last of the season) to Devil's lake Wisconsin was, again, filled with great weather beautiful scenery!

I know that there are studies that show nature's positive effects on the brain.  I don't need science to prove that.

Cole got to attend his first Bears football game with Rich!  It was a good game, but they came up short. 

We had a great visit from my Aunt Beth from North Carolina!  An entire weekend of gatherings and fun!
Playing a game.  We were really usually much more lively than this!

Beth and the kids

 We had a reunion with old neighbors we grew up with...

And Halloween....
Cole - as Kylo Ren

Will - as a SWAT team guy with his buds

Pumpkin Patch!  We got all the necessities: pumpkins, kettle corn, cider and apple cider donuts!

Lastly (and a slight bleed into November), THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!  This has been surreal and so joyful!  It is a fantastic departure from the gloomy election time that we are currently in and has simply been a great reminder of sportsmanship, family tradition, and history!  We have bought the gear.  We have had a mini-party to watch the parade and rally.  Oh - and this is the first year we all went together as a family to a game!  But also, in this very month Rich and I got to visit Wrigley through Advocate and have dinner on the field, a tour, and just plain hang out ON THE FIELD!  Having this be the year makes this memory even sweeter!

And that does it for October.  It was a great month. Bring on November, food, celebrations, and the chance of snow!