We lost Joe's mom in May. It was sad news, though we were thankful she was able to live on her own terms, for more than eight and a half decades. We were happy that she and Joe's sister were able to make the trip from CA to VA to visit us in 2012. She will be missed. I don't think I will ever again sing Danny Boy without thinking of her. She loved to sing with us when we played and sang, and Danny Boy was one of her regular requests.
The happy, exciting news this year included two weddings and the births of two new babies into our family. July brought the family together to celebrate the wedding of my youngest brother, Mike to Ilka. It was a simple, sweet, backyard affair. Ilka's daughter performed the ceremony, which was especially touching.
In August we celebrated Dad's 80th birthday, disguising it as a baby shower for the two expectant mothers. Dad and the two mothers-to-be were good sports for the surprise shindig and everyone had a good time.
My niece and her husband brought the delightfully sweet Miss Anita Jo into the world just in time to pose with with pumpkins. Anita seems to have a very easy-going nature, and I have yet to hear her cry!
Seven weeks later, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter welcomed the second child and first son Luca Jean into their family. He is a sturdy little guy and is the apple of big sister Eloise's eye. My daughter, Jenn, gave birth to Luca at home, with the capable assistance of her midwife and doula. I was present and got to meet Luca within 30 seconds of his birth. It was quite awesome. Within an hour of his birth, Eloise was up in the bed with Mama and Luca, and was singing to her little brother... her first songs were Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Rain, Rain, Go Away. And then she snuggled with Luca.... I loved the photo where Luca appears to literally be objecting to having his face squished!
I spent the next week with the family, helping Jenn, Eloise and Luca, while Ben worked on completing the building of Jenn's new studio on their property, and completing the massive job of moving everything from the rented studio to the new studio. We all celebrated Thanksgiving, four days after Luca's birth. It was a very good week!
As three ring circuses generally have more than just two shows going on, so did our final quarter of 2014. My niece Jillian married the love of her life in December and most of the family was able to make the journey to New Jersey to celebrate this new beginning with them. As always, it was fabulous seeing relatives we don't get to see very often. A great time was had by all.
With all of this excitement happening, it's sometimes amazing that we managed to work full-time and continue to grow the farm. We continued the rehab of the old farmhouse, remodeling the screened front porch turning it into more of a sunroom which doubles as a greenhouse in the winter.
Our summer projects included building new front decks onto the house and onto my eBay trailer.... yes, I still manage to continue my 12 year eBay selling venture.
We built more chicken yards, trying to keep up with our ever growing chicken population. Our hens successfully hatched 12 new chicks this summer, and the first of the those chicks has just started laying eggs.
This fall, just ahead of the major leaf fall, Joe managed to finally complete (most of) the trenches, closing them in and completing the gravel roadways around the property. It seems odd, somehow, to no longer have to jump over trenches when walking out to feed the animals!
And, as we close on the last hours of 2014, Joe is wrapping up the pantry shelving.... yep, a full year living in the house and we will finally have our pantry!
Did we complete everything we had planned for 2014? Well, no, but .... there's always 2015! We always have plenty on the to-do list, that's for sure!
And now, just some cute shots of the lovely Miss Eloise ... hard to believe she just turned 3 years old!