A crazy year gone

As ever, Christmas has gone by in a flash.  Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and before you know it we’ll all be back at work.  For us, we’re enjoying the last few evenings spent by the fire with the tree still decorated, finishing off those last buttery cookies and smidge of Alaskan smoked salmon while starting to make our plans for 2013.

To be totally honest, I’m sort of glad the holidays are coming to a close.  This year has been tough for us, and the last month even moreso.  It will be nice to start with a clean slate.  The baby kicking in my belly is a constant reminder that things are again about to change, and the 3 year-old running around my house half-naked (we’re potty training :)) is evidence that nothing has stayed the same for long, anyway.

In honour of the changing times, here’s a little recap some of my favourite moments and successes of the last 12 months.

Raggedy Ann & Andy print quilt

Raggedy Ann & Andy print quilt and pillow

The dolly quilt and bed I made for Evelyn’s Christmas – all hand stitched and patterned from the scraps I had in my rag bag.  I think it turned out pretty well, and more importantly, Evey seemed to like it.  I don’t have much time for homemade presents anymore, as much as I love to do them, so I’m really happy I got this one done in time to put under the tree for our little girl.

Nicole's Christening Cake

Nicole’s Christening Cake

My best looking cake this year was for our niece’s Christening in May.  The cake itself could have been better – I really need to work on a lighter touch with my full-sized cakes (cupcakes seem to be fine, for some reason).  It tasted OK, but was just too heavy for a red velvet.  The decoration, however, I was pretty happy with, and I hope to replicate it in other cakes to come.

Evey & Princess Peppa on the train

Evey & Princess Peppa on the train

As cumbersome as it can be to travel with a small child, I’m so glad we took the time this year to see some more of Ireland with Evelyn – Dublin Zoo, the beach, counties Meath and Cavan, Dublin city centre.  One of the best weeks we had as a family this year was during Easter, when I rented the car.  I still can’t say enough good things about Newbridge House & Farm, in particular.  I hope, even as I get more cumbersome in the coming weeks, ha ha, we can still make time for family outings around this beautiful country.

Frank's first cannolli, Boston, July '12

Frank’s first cannolli, Boston, July ’12

It also goes without saying that some of the best moments of 2012 were spent in the company of just one person – my best friend and husband, Frank. 🙂  Our trip to Boston was undoubtedly the highlight for me, and it also served to solidify our plans to move back to the States in ’13.

Sunny garden and a little fairy

Sunny garden and a little fairy

I didn’t get to garden any this year, and it was another wet one anyway, but I am happy for the few sunny afternoons we got to enjoy in the company of family and neighbours, just the same.

Lastly, each year that goes by seems to identify itself in my memory most when I associate  it with the books, music and movies that occupied the background.  In 2012, I became hooked on ITV’s “Downton Abbey” and BBC’s “Call the Midwife” (along with the autobiographical book of the same name).  Frank has truly corrupted me, though, and I also thoroughly enjoyed “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” probably two of only a handful of new movies I saw this year.  I learned more about the joy (and disasters!) of baking from “Great British Bake-off.”  I lived another side of Irish life as I read Peter Sheridan’s “Big Fat Love” and Roddy Doyle’s “A Star Called Henry” and I gained just a tiny bit more understanding of the confused history here through those tales.  I listened to more classical music on RTE Lyric FM but I’ve also had fun listening to FUN. 🙂  My other guilty pleasures of the year are Emeli Sande and The Script.

It’s been a crazy year.  I’ve lost myself in it a few times.  I’ve painted my nails more daring colours and I’ve probably cursed more than I should.  I’ve not always been a nice mommy or a good wife, but I’ve seen, through my work in the solicitors’ office, how truly tragic and catastrophic life can be, and I am thankful.  I’ve been a lazy friend, relying too heavily on Facebook for most contact with truly dear people.  I’ve written more but been less satisfied with my work.  I’ve pulled my hair out, doubted myself, crashed into my faith again and again, and felt my heart break for family, for friends, for strangers suffering around me.  I’ve asked myseslf what my purpose is, and what the hell does this all mean, anyway?  But I’ve been moved and inspired to be more than I am.

All I can do now, as I get ready to open the door on 2013, is keep reading, watching, listening and praying.  And if I can remember the promise that “hope does not disappoint,” I think I will be able to move beyond what is past and what I pray is future.

Happy New Year to you all – Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit!

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