Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018 Through Lenses: My Family

This is the bulk of my life right here. I have books I read, music I attend... but the bulk of my life is right here, wrapped up in my family. And as our children near adulthood, there isn't anyplace I'd rather spend my energies.

Our girls turned 18, 18 and 17 this year... it hardly seems possible that we can have children that old. But, we do. The number of our licensed drivers in our family increased to four, and the number of cars we own to three.

That was an expensive purchase obviously...  but it was probably the best present my husband could have given to ME -- even though the car was for the kids. I spent so much time the year before, carting everyone places.  School, work, volunteering, etc, etc.  The girls being able to drive themselves places was a godsend. Not having to leave the house at 10pm to pick Casey up from work was a miracle!

We moved our big vacation to February (instead of an already-full summer) and took a cruise out of Texas to Mexico and Jamaica.  THAT was a good idea, too. Having somewhere sunny to look forward to at the end of winter was just what we needed to get us through.  I'm sorry that no one's vacations match up and we can't do it again this year!

Casey had a year of constantly trying to fly the nest early.  She so much wants to be a grown-up. She got a tattoo. A really big tattoo. She saved her money all year to go to COSTA RICA on a volunteer trip. She started school at the community college. She went from being a cart girl to a cashier at her grocery store, and then worked really hard at proving herself to move from cashier to a different position she really wanted.  Which just looks like stocking shelves to me, but is apparently a step up. She and I disagree on her work schedule. High school seniors should not be working so much that they qualify for holiday pay. But she loves it.

McKenzie's heart had to grow up a little when her beloved cat, Biscuit, got sick during the wildfire season and passed away. That was pretty much the worst ever. It was a traumatic few months, as we made our way through that grief. In its aftermath, though, we adopted two new kittens who have become a beloved part of our family -- and has led to McKenzie having her first volunteer job at the shelter that we adopted them from -- which is very very cool.

Alicia and I spent a lot of time together this summer. We spent a few days at the Oregon coast together. We went whale watching in the spring. She got spoiled with a trip to Ireland/briefly-Liverpool with to go see Shawn -- and we had a really wonderful time. She's a good travel buddy! Also, I drove and we didn't die. We had some trouble when school started with some anxiety. But... things work out. I am very grateful for the school program we ended up in. I've not always had good experiences with school administration when we have had to deal with this in the past, but the administration at this new school was so helpful and so interested in doing what was best for her that I cried. We've shaped up to be in a good place.

I went home to visit my family in July for a quick trip... which became longer when my dad's simple angiogram turned into a worrisome week-long stay at the hospital. The doctors at Mckenzie-Willamette were wonderful, and got him back in shape after a buttload of tests and blood transplants. But it was a long stressful week with lots of driving and lots of worrying.

We took a trip to Leavenworth post-Oktoberfest -- our favorite place... Joel and I did some driving and some dreaming around one morning while the kids were still asleep.  We'd like to move there someday, and we're starting to think about that "someday" more and more.

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