2017 started off pretty smoothly with no notable bumps or bruises.  Remember New Year’s Eve when I almost cried into my keyboard over how grateful I was to have everyone safe and sound? That feeling got to hang around through the Spring time change.  We got the wind knocked out of us again in April when Pop was diagnosed with lung and esophageal cancers. Mark my words: if I ever get my superhero powers activated, I’m kicking that disease’s stubborn ass.

Only a few of the photos below recount the truly memorable moments of 2017 which include not only Pop’s condition, but also saying goodbye to Lady-Bird, my career change, Victoria playing soccer for the first (real) time, becoming a three-car family because the kids are driving, becoming a two-car family again because I had a collision, and literally everything about Aaron’s senior year – right up to getting his college acceptance email. (So much for the frameable letter for my archives.) If I were to post only photos of the moments which years from now I will most likely recall from 2017, I would appear both incredibly proud and undeniably whiny. But as I have stated before – repeatedly, I think, because it’s not easily pounded through my own thick skull – this post is not where I recall the in-your-face moments of the year.  Rather, it is where I acknowledge the sacredness of the ordinary minutes of our lives.  The minutes that peer out through the emotional cobwebs to say, “Hey, remember how good this moment was? Be grateful.”

With gratitude in mind, and in accord with my end-of-year holiday custom, here is our pictorial year in review.


One thing I can’t get enough of: sunsets. Here’s a cold January day closing its eyes over our back yard.  Not sure why I’m so attracted to bare trees backlit by the glow of the sun, but really…who can resist those colors?


As a family, I think we all realize how very fortunate we are, despite the trials of the past two years. On February 4th Bob and Charolette celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  That evening was the calm between the storms, and it was nothing short of blessed.


This is Max.  To say we have spoiled him would be a gross understatement.


We all took a few minutes in the midst of celebrating Aaron’s Confirmation to snap some family photos.  Here are all the Mainiero kids.


Okay, spoiled though he is, Max was unable to escape the inevitable neutering on his first birthday.  As a retaliation technique, he spent the next four months eating items of great import to me and Dom.  Here are destroyed DVDs of LOTR and (gasp!) The Ten Commandments.  Hey, Max, can you wrap your head around “Thou Shalt Not…?”


We spent our summer vacation in Memphis where we sought Elvis, found Elvis and promptly overdosed on Elvis.


20170716_211131381_iOSI tried not to put anything sad in this year’s post, but some moments demand to be acknowledged. More paw prints forever on our hearts.


There’s always one text conversation in these posts, right?  Here Victoria and I are discussing my determination to DIY repair the door handle on the kids’ car.



Apparently I married a funny, funny man.


Homecoming 2017.  The kiddos were gracious enough to let me snap close to 200 pics of them before the dance.  Here they are showing me their “Freeze with your hands up” pose.  So if the cops pull them over, my daughter will be the one vogue-ing.


My sister-in-law, Melissa, drove downtown with us and took Aaron’s senior pictures.  It’s really hard to choose my favorite, but I promised I’d only post one.


20171202_233247378_iOSChristmas decorating our front yard at dusk by the light of the rising Super Moon.  One of the last truly peaceful moments of 2017.

Well, there it is – 2017 in all its not-so-radiant glory.  There are blessings in these ordinary days.  I pray I remember that when I later reflect on this roller-coaster year.  Just out of curiosity…is it permissible to pre-order an easier 2018?  Perhaps I should just hold on to gratitude and hope for the best.

May each of you have a wonderful, prosperous new year, and may you be blessed beyond measure.