Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 In Review

I will begin this post at the end! Here was our 2018 Christmas photo!
It is increasingly difficult to keep up with pretty much all the "goings on" in our lives. I have decided to include the highlights and lowlights of our year.

For me, this past year has been one that I continued to learn so much about myself. Much of which I did not like. As it seems, even in my 40's I can be a very selfish person. 

Our focus is always on the Lord and serving. That is difficult as the kids become older with busy lives. But I must admit that I am proud how they handle things.

Here is a sample of their service:
*Sunday morning baristas for 700 worshipers (2 kids)
*orchestra members (2 kids)
*choir member (1 child)
*youth group greeter (1 child)
*AWANA workers (3 kids)
*Upwards team coaches (5 kids)
*special music (2 kids)
*camera operator (1 child)

Our kids are devoted to their jobs almost to a fault.....almost!

We decided that as wonderful as it was for our kids to be so involved in our church, they also needed to be involved somewhere in the community. Our local theater was the obvious solution. It is run by volunteers and my kids participate in several of the groups formed from the Smoot Theatre.

Our year started with us helping take down the beautiful, plenteous, Christmas decorations in the beautiful, historic Smoot Theatre. We learned so much history as we heard the wonderful stories told about shows at the Smoot.

The storage areas alone hold so much history. If the walls could talk!
Rebecca had all four wisdom teeth removed and provided quite the entertainment for us as she was coming out of anesthesia!
We gave Ben's last growth hormone shot. He is officially done growing as his growth plates have closed. This ended 14 years of nightly injections.
A little Valentine's mini-makeover for the littlest Kaminski.
Celebrated Chinese New Year with friends.
Kyle got a newer, much more dependable car.
No surprise to us.......we have an official asthma diagnosis for Micah. 
Another season of Upwards soccer. Jeremy/Mariah's team
Rebecca also coached a team.
Ben's second game of the season earned him his first ER visit this year. Technically, his second ER visit happened because the first ER visit was a less than stellar experience when we insisted on a transfer to a capable hospital....2 hours away. That visit began in the ER.
We were told at our local hospital that his bones were "close enough" to go home and call an orthopedic surgeon sometime the following week. We not-so-politely requested a transfer.
After a 3 hour surgery the next morning, we had new hardware and saved his ulnar nerve.
Mariah still continues a special friendship with a sweet girl who could not be more opposite her! We believe they "even" each other out. They did not plan to dress alike! Elana is such a sweet, sweet friend!
We bought a truck! 
Jeremy now believes he has joined a special "man club".

The boys volunteered to run spotlight at the Smoot for a show.
Rebecca got hired at Stoked as a barista! She has learned that people are really serious about their coffee!
She turned Sweet 16!
Mariah discovered she loved being behind the mic!
Mariah struggled through some health problems. Lots of UTIs caused an adrenal crisis.
This earned her some testing....still cute even in a hospital gown.
After my front-loader washing machine malfunctioned and continued attempting to fill with water after the door remained opened, flooding part of my basement.....we bought a new, quite expensive Speed Queen washer.
My niece, Jessica, got married.
Once again the big kids helped at "Camp Vaudeville" at the theatre.
Mostly, they are friends.
The camp shared how immigrants changed Vaudeville. Selah was asked to share a little about life in China to the 40 children who attended. She handled the questions afterwards well. Even the hard ones that asked if she knew who her "real" parents were. 

For anyone who does not understand, Jeremy and I are real. We are not fake.
We surprised Rebecca for her 16th birthday and arranged a trip to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh with two of her best friends!This was a dream for her.
Somehow we even pulled off a private meet-and-greet with the aviary's toucans...Becca's favorite bird! God is in the details.
Micah's Barbershop Quartet continued to sing all summer. This was the Merchants Walk in downtown Parkersburg.
They even earned enough money for official Barbershop vests!
Kyle's second year of college at OVU and Becca started dual enrollment as a high school junior/college freshman at OVU.
Three kids were invited to join the OVU Singers under the direction of Mrs. Pamela McClain.
This year began my 12th year homeschooling.
Selah began a new adventure at South Parkersburg High School.
One of my biggest struggles this year has been the loss of two sweet friends. These two women both lost their battle with breast cancer within two weeks of each other. Valerie and Julia were very dear friends. Both hold such a special place in my heart and I am still trying to honor their lives and our friendships. 
My second niece, Kaitlyn, got married!
Micah joined the Smoot Youth Band as a student helper. He loves playing trombone and helping out there.
Mariah still has regular labs. Sometimes she is a rockstar, sometimes she really struggles.
Flag football started and Mariah decided to try her hand at football instead of cheerleading (see what I did there with "hand").

Ben was one of her coaches. 

Jeremy was another.

Poor girl!
Becca took on coaching a cheer team! Somehow I cannot find a photo.

Kyle attended a business competition and placed second.
After 39 months Selah finally got her braces off!
We visited a local pumpkin farm with some of the kids.
Jeremy's brother and wife, Wendy, along with Jeremy and me threw a 50th Wedding anniversary party for his parents. What a legacy they have created!

Jeremy helped head up a mission team for Guatemala.
Jeremy was caught by the missionaries there in this photo. There are hardly any photos of him as he was the designated photographer on the trip.
And in typical Ben fashion, while Jeremy was in Guatelamala he landed in the ER...again.
When we couldn't get in to a local orthopedic surgeon for two months, we got an appointment with his surgeon in Morgantown. It was likely broken with an awful sprain. No new x-rays though as he has had more radiation exposure than any boy should experience in a lifetime.
Less than two weeks later Ben broke his walking cast. 

Seriously...he broke it.
Take two...he ended up choosing blue again.
We volunteered at the Smoot and were so amazed to enjoy "A Christmas Carol".
Another blessed Thanksgiving.
There were more gigs this year than I can begin to count. I think this was at the Blennerhassett Museum's Festival of Trees. I believe the kids had 24 performances.
More gigs/concerts pretty much determined our schedules. These four sang for the Parkersburg Christmas Concert at St. Xavier Church. The acoustics there are amazing!
The following weekend's concert was at Trinity Episcopal Church as all of the Smoot groups gave their own absolutely incredible Christmas Concert.
We also celebrated our 23rd anniversary amidst the bustle of the season. If I look a little tired and worn, I am.
We do love Christmas, especially Mariah!
She told Santa she wanted a real dinosaur, one of his reindeer, and a real unicorn.
Christmas Eve was spent as a family in the Christmas Eve Service at Fellowship.
We are beyond blessed to provide Christmas to our kids.
Two days after Christmas our friends brought a sweet baby boy into this world. We must visit!
I am facing the music that Jeremy is a baby hog.
We also attended 'The Nutcracker' at the Smoot. Kyle and Becca helped seating people in the balcony.
If we were not busy enough, my sweet amazing husband had a birthday as well. 

Jeremy, you are my safe place, my adventure, my laughter, my joy, my comfort, my love, my delight, my mischief, my rock, my muse, my encourager, my solace, my partner in all things. You are the one for me, for always. I read this from a friend about her hubby. I changed it just a little and adapted for us. It is true....every word.
We celebrated Jeremy's birthday, which also happens to be Selah's Family Day. Those days are hard for her so this year we kept it really quiet.
Now, I'll go take a nap.