Yesterday I had a full day of a wedding consultation, grocery shopping, an engagement session, and dinner out with mom. Before I even hit the pillow last night I had decided that a full Sunday in bed and lounging around the house would be in order. I did manage to do a lot of sleeping and lounging, but a mid-afternoon fit of frustration from our lovely Miss C had me suggesting a walk in the fresh air for the two of us. We are in the midst of a weekend of unseasonably warm weather and why not take advantage of it to get a little exercise and create a distraction for the restless girl at the same time.

The walk was nice. We didn't even get out of our pajamas (sweat pants and a thermal shirt are acceptable in public, right?) We put in the full mile loop and I even talked her into a couple stents of slow jogging along the way. By the time we reached home again I had caught the fresh-air bug and a bit of his friend, the photo-bug as well. I grabbed my camera and headed to the back yard with my girl to capture what beauty lies in the dead of winter.

I think the cold is supposed to return with a vengeance before long, but the reprieve was enjoyable while it lasted.

I was thinking about this blog and how devastated I would be if for in some crazy turn of events Google's Blogger server were to ever die and I lost every one of these brilliant (ha!) musings that I've put so much thought into over the past 8 and a half years.  That got me thinking about the possibility of putting it all into book form (sort of like family yearbooks). And THAT got me thinking about just how many pages these books would need anyway! So, it was time to count.

Some years were very full of posts, pictures and memorable moments. Others - well, not so much. But what I did discover once I was all done counting (and recounting, and recounting, because I'm so easily distracted you see and kept losing my count) is that I had a grand total of THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO posts (not counting this one).

Blows. My. Mind.

That's going to be one expensive book, I'm guessing. And more than one book, I'm willing to bet!

But I'm not planning on stopping by any means. I am so glad to have this resource to go back and relive memories of moments from years back with the girls were little and life was so very different. A few years from now I want to have the ability to go back and do the same with the moments from today. And so on I write! Not anything fancy or brilliant or very well written. Not enough to capture the hoards of readers that other bloggers seem to attract. Not even on a very regular basis. But for me and my family, as the the mood strikes me of course.
On Tuesday evenings, K has 2 dance classes with an hour break in between, so C and I stay in Springfield and kill time until she's done dancing the night away. Most weeks we join the group at my Grandma's house for their regular Tuesday dinner. It usually consists of me, C, my mom, 2 or 3 aunts, a possible uncle and my Grandma. We all squeeze in around the table and share stories, gossip, memories and food. It's lovely.

Me and Grandma - circa 1982

I love seeing them all regularly and keeping up with the goings-on in the family. I love that C is so unbelievably behaved and helpful while we are there. I love my Grandma's house, the history, the memories, the feeling it invokes. But most of all, I love seeing my Grandma. She's getting slower, growing shorter and hearing less and less, but she is always so sweet, concerned and funny. She adores our C-bug and thinks she is such a great helper and such a good girl (she sure has her fooled!) C really is another child while we are there though. It's incredible.

C and Grandma

15 of the 16 cousins. I'm in there somewhere - can you find me?

My Grandma has begun talking about moving out of her house and in with one of her daughters. It's such a strange thought for the family to not have that central meeting place where all 9 of her kids grew up and all 16 of us grandchildren spent endless hours over the years. That house has never belonged to another family. My Grandma and Grandpa built their home right before my mom was born in 1956 and she's been there ever since. It holds remnants of memories from 50 year old craft projects hanging the basement to antique dressers packed full of who knows what to an attic-turned-bedrooms where my mother slept and played and studied as a child. It will be hard for all of us to see it go, that's for sure.
C has always had little quirks about her, and they seem to be changing and growing as she does. She's a worrier. And I don't mean "hmm, I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow and ruin our plans" - it's more like "Is it going to rain? Is it just rain or will there be thunder? If there's thunder there will probably be wind and scary noises and then that could mean a tornado! The weather says rain! I'm going to panic that our whole house is going to blow over..." We've dealt with this and her other irrational worries with seemingly irrational "fixes" that apparently make complete sense to her. For years, during a storm she would wear a camouflage hat and it would make her invisible to the storm, therefore she had nothing to worry about. Whatever works, right? Nowadays she's better, but still needs her favorite eagle stuffed animal if there's any sign of rain.

The newest fear that has randomly surfaced seems to be of the stove. Especially ME using the stove. Whenever I suggest cooking something, she wants to know if it gets cooked on the stove. If it does, she doesn't want it. It's like she doesn't trust me not to burn the house down or something! haha. It's funny but quite frustrating when I'm trying to get dinner made and she's standing there making sure I don't step more than 2 feet away from the cooktop. There's no going to the bathroom while waiting for water to boil, or turning around to wash a couple of dishes while the sauce simmers - God forbid! I have no idea what brought this sudden worry on. When I asked her, she claims it was when we were at a friend's house and they were cooking on a gas stove. She has a serious concern about open flames and they really freak her out. Except we have an electric stove, no flame, just a flat top range. So who knows.

The open flame seems to be a new development too. We were at Hot Head Burrito a while back and they were searing meat on the open grill behind the counter. It flared up when they flipped the meat and when I turned around, she was way over in the far corner of the restaurant, red faced with giant tears rolling down her cheeks. Poor thing!

I wish I knew why she's such a worry-wart. I feel like we give her an environment where she should always feel taken care of with no need to worry about such things, but I guess that's just her. She's such a special girl and is definitely her very own soul. Watching her blossom and grow into more of who she's going to be is such a blessing. She is my very own, one-and-only C-bug.
Happy New Year! Here we are, almost a week into 2016 already. It's time for the annual year-in-review!

(Note: I had this long, elaborate post typed up about the ups and downs of the past year, but somehow it got lost in the great web-world and I don't have the energy to retype, so let's get down to the dirty highlights and lowlights...)

- K turned 12
- Hubby took a week in Florida with his dad for sunshine and fishing!
- C turned 9
- I turned 35 (gasp!)
- K fell even more in love with dance and started taking Jazz and Pre-Pointe too
- We took a quick family vacation to an indoor water park in Sandusky
- K passed me up in height over the summer!
- I took a trip to Myrtle Beach with my girlfriends again
- C had her growing rod surgery and first lengthening
- Hubby turned 37
- We had our first Christmas "sans Santa"