We receive a lot of Christmas cards with a letter inside, summarizing that family’s year. My family occasionally sent these letters when I was a kid. Brad and I have rarely felt the urge to send a letter summarizing our year.
I sent our Christmas cards out last week without a letter but got to thinking about those letters as I was reading the ones we’ve already received. Christmas is a good time to look back at what’s happened over the last 12 months and share it with others… so this, I suppose, is my letter.
For us, 2014 has been a year of family, friendship and travel.
My side of the family grew in many ways this year. In May we celebrated my mother’s marriage gaining me a step-father (that’s weird to write), two “step-siblings” (whom I have yet to meet) and my mother gained three grandsons, although I doubt these young men will be calling me “aunt Rachel” they seems to like my mom and were nice to get to know at Thanksgiving.
Brad and I welcomed a new niece and a new nephew this year as well. My brother and his wife had their 3rd in July (the niece) and my sister and her husband had their second child in September (the nephew). Both new babies are beautiful and I love them already. That brings it to 5 nieces and nephews ages 4, 3, 2, 5 months and 3 months.
The weddings, showers and other family events provided the opportunity to see many of my extended family more often than most years. Other travels brought a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins to the Cleveland area as well and I value those visits more than I can say. I enjoy spending time with my father’s siblings because I see a lot of him in them and they have dad stories that I haven’t heard before.
We celebrated weddings for two of Brad’s childhood friends this year. I was able to get to know both of these guys over that past eight years and they each found a lovely woman who are clearly good matches for them. Those celebrations brought our wedding total for the year to four.
Our personal travels took us to Niagara Falls (New York and Ontario) over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate three years of marriage. It’s amazing to thing that we have been married for 3 1/2 years and have been a couple for 8 years now. Time really does fly!
This fall we also traveled to various parts of Florida and the Caribbean (Nassau Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico) on vacation.
Our vacation this year allowed for a visit with friends and Brad’s aunt, uncle and cousins in Florida.
Brad and I both traveled for work this year as well. I attended trade shows in Chicago and Atlanta for clients. Brad traveled to Boston, got stuck in Charlotte for a night and to Phoenix this year. His Phoenix trip allowed him to visit with his grandparents who live in the area. He got to see them twice this year, once out there and then when they came to visit us in Cleveland. It was nice to have them in our home and to have so much of his family together.
We also said goodbye to a beautiful woman this year. Brad’s great-grandmother passed away the same day that my sister gave birth to her son. I received news of both events within two hours of each other. It was sad to say goodbye, but the memorial service not only gave us the opportunity to celebrate her life, but also to meet so many extended relatives of my husband’s who we had only knew through stories from her. It also gave us the chance to see Brad’s uncle from the Seattle area.
2014 brought many other new things for us. Brad decided to have LASIK and has been enjoying the gift of good sight since April, the surgery has had a huge impact on his life. I decided to take the jump into the wonderful world of board membership, and formally start my three-year term on my PRSA chapter’s board next month.
We completed several projects on our house early in the year, giving the main bathroom and kitchen face lifts. We spent more time getting to know our city and region from high up in Terminal Tower to downstairs in the Hilarities comedy club and in between with trying new restaurants, shopping in new stores, going to sporting events and cultural experiences.
We are both looking forward to 2015, the growth and new experiences the year will bring.
We wish you all the best this holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!