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When I sat here last December to write the year’s final post, I had such high hopes that 2015 would be better than 2014. In the day-to-day mundane, I recognize that it has been, or at least that it was peaceful and we were happily present in the moments we were given within our own walls. But as for milestones and highlights, well, I have to say that we had more low points than I care for.

Most of our more memorable events of 2015 are, unfortunately, the kind of moments that knocked us to the ground, leaving us dizzy and confused, trying desperately to regain our equilibrium or at the very least, the air in our lungs. 2015 was good at sucker-punching us, if not much else. From the unexpected passing of our favorite priest ten days into the new year, to the loss of our diocese’s first bishop and first chancellor in the spring, to my uncle’s death from colon cancer at the end of the summer and the pancreatic cancer diagnosis my mother-in-law received in October, I was ready to wash my hands of this year before the first leaf hit the ground.

It has been a hard year, but it has also been beautiful. It is only so if we look at it through a lens of faith, which we are called to do in our home. Through that lens we can see peace in death, strength in illness, beauty in aging, and love manifested in the care and concern of family and friends who have come to our side as we mourn, cry and rage against things we cannot see.

These year-end posts are not about the moments that I will never be able to forget, no matter how tightly I shut my eyes. They are instead about the moments that I dare to recall during the tougher times – the simple, the peaceful, the ordinary – the very moments that construct security and belonging within my family, the moments that are so simple in their beauty, so brief in their existence, they threaten to vanish if I blink. So I memorialize the wonky and the haphazard, the simple and the prosaic, so that I may remember that these more modest days of our experience make life profoundly good.

Without further adieu, I give you the more pleasant moments of 2015.  Drumroll, please…

January: Here are my offspring, together and smiling. This was likely taken two seconds before a wrestling match broke out in my kitchen. January

February: Since the rest of the snowday pics already showed up in another post, this is – sadly – the best I have to share from the month of my birthday. This is Mabel’s reindeer, mooning the backyard. Said toy was strategically placed here by Mabel herself, probably for the benefit of the squirrels and cardinals that evade her attacks.

February
March: Both kids got sick at the same time, so here we sat in the pediatrician’s office. They each offered their middle finger for the blood sample so that they could proudly “show each other their bandaids” for the rest of the afternoon. Ugh.

March
April: Mabel gets and appreciates a lot of attention nowadays. Here she is in my bed. (Ahem!) On my pillow. And yes, she is just in the process of raising her paw and rolling so her belly can be rubbed. Sheesh!

April

May: Ahhhh, Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. They only made two pieces of toast, so there was no second “M.” But there was Starbucks, so all was forgiven.

May

June: Our river trip to Concan, Texas. Victoria has since announced that she plans to attend vet school at A&M, so I figured this was the most appropriate photo.

June
July: This photo earned Gracie Lou a shaming on Facebook when a search for the missing toaster led us to her bedroom.

July
August: Aaron and I got an early start making our Halloween decorations. Here is one of the tombstones that eventually graced our front yard.

August
September: Mabel and her Octopus. I really can’t resist this face.

September
October: The kids took turns chauffeuring each other around the property during one of our more relaxing evenings.

October
November: Just us girls with our Mother-In-Law, Charolette, on Thanksgiving Day. As a family, we have so very much to be thankful for.

November

December: Though we are not really cowboy-hat sorta people, Dom and I have wanted black Stetsons for roughly ten years. Wish fulfilled.

DecemberSo, there is the 2015 that I choose to remember. Bring whatever you’ve got, 2016. My gloves are on.

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