Last year was a very emotional one for many reasons. I also felt a little overwhelmed with new things going on in my life--including my baby heading off to kindergarten. I am trying to catch up and hopefully record those things happening in the Walker home--this is a sort of journal after all. I lost track of that a little when my dad passed away--most of my posts were for him-he was my most faithful blog reader and that's really how he kept up with me and the kiddos. So here is my attempt to boil down 2014 into one post!
We spent Christmas and New Year's in Utah with family. We had a lot of fun ski days and made some wonderful memories while we were there.
January in Chicago was colder than it's ever been. We survived the Polar Vortex and endured three closed-school days, not because of snow, but rather because of the windchill. It got down to -45 degrees!
I went out for a monthly visit to Mom and Dad at the end of January. I got in late at night and Dad had already gone to bed. At 3 am, Mom came and got me and said she'd been unable to get Dad's pain under control and the ambulance had taken him to the emergency room. We drove quickly through the night to get there too. Dad was awake and upbeat and asked how my flight had been. I'm so glad that I got there when I did. After the hospital had given him morphine, he was able to sleep and we took him home. By this time, the cancer was all through his back. We didn't expect him to last very long and called Troy to come out. Dad never woke up, but he could squeeze our hands and we knew he was listening to us. He passed away that night as Mom, Chad, Heather, Troy and I were holding hands around him. How grateful we are for the knowledge that we will see him again. Paul and the kids flew out so that we could all be together for the viewing and funeral. Our family was overwhelmed with the love and support shown by so many. Dad had a profound impact on many lives--through scouting and through many acts of service that he did throughout his life. He was always the first to help a widow or single mother and helped many young men on their missions. What a great example to us.
March was still cold and snowy. Nora celebrated her 5th birthday with a Frozen birthday party--complete with Olaf!
We also decided to get out of the cold and headed to Hawaii for spring break. We all had a lot of fun in Oahu--swimming, playing on the beach, wandering around Honolulu, and eating shave ice every day.
Matthew celebrated his 13th birthday in April. He also started back with the track team. It made for quite a few chilly spectating days! We celebrated Easter with Nana--we love having people come out and visit! Grandma Bunting came out to visit after Nana and we went to a macaron-baking class!
In May, Paul took me to London for my birthday trip! It was so much fun--we hit Edinburgh as well and Paul finally got to do some touristy things in London instead of just working! I got home just in time to celebrate Afton's 11th birthday and go to her band concert! Then Granny Kate and Grandpa Walker came to visit. The women scrapbooked and visited the art museum while the menfolk golfed. Perfect arrangement for all involved!
And finally we get to June and the end of school--we had 4 days to make-up, so we didn't get out as early as the kids would have liked!
In Summer, we headed out to Utah. We visited Great Granny Walker. Matt hit basketball and golf camp at BYU. Afton went to her first dance camp at BYU and loved it! I ran a half marathon in June down in Spanish Fork and got a PR of 1:43! We spent lots of time with cousins and also went to Lake Powell with the Bunting side on a Grandpa Bunting Birthday Memorial trip. Those trips are always fun and I have many memories going there as a kid. Love sharing that with Paul and our kids too!
After all that fun in Utah, we figured we had to continue the party when we got back to Chicago. Matt went on a scout overnighter, so the girls and dad headed to the city for a fun night!
And with August, it was back to school. Matt is in his last year at the middle school and Afton started 6th grade there. They get to ride the bus together for one year before Afton catches back up to Matt in high school! Halle started 2nd grade and Nora is our big kindergartner!
I also talked Paul into attending his 20th high school reunion, so we took a long weekend to visit family and friends in Mount Vernon. I love it up there!
In September, Chad and Jordan and the boys ventured out to visit us! Did I mention how much I like visitors! We had some yucky weather, but still got the architecture tour in! These guys are so much fun to have around! And Matt advanced ranks in scouts. I can't keep it straight, but he's moving right along toward his Eagle!
We celebrated Paul's birthday early in October since I was heading out to run the St. George Marathon, where I had a PR and a BQ of 3:35:59! I was thrilled to make my time qualification and can't wait to go run Boston in April 2016! We celebrated Halle's 8th birthday with a pajama party. One week later, she was baptized. We were super lucky to get Grandpa and Granny Kate back out here along with Grandma! Even Uncle Troy came up from Chicago to help us celebrate! And we ended the month with Halloween celebrations with Anna, Elsa, Hermione, Mary Poppins and Bert! Matthew refused to be in the pictured!
Our fall continued with Halle's gymnastics schedule heating up--she moved to the junior stars and it definitely takes more of her time! Matthew made the middle school basketball team, so that also kept us busy and kept mom driving everywhere after school!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at home with friends and more food than we could eat! I think we all prepared for an army, so that just means leftovers for everyone! After Thanksgiving, I went to Utah to decorate for Festival of Trees with my mom. Every year she does a tree and this one proved to be extra special--we honored my dad and his love for Santa and dressing up as Santa for the kids. Mom used his old Santa suit to construct a live-size Santa with her tree. One of my favorite traditions growing up was going to see her tree and now I get to help her decorate!
We took advantage of Paul's work schedule to plan another London trip and Gail came along too! We figured since we were close, we might as well spend a day in Paris too!
And we're ready to celebrate Christmas! The kids knew that we were leaving for Hawaii on Christmas day, but Santa surprised us by visiting the day before and giving the kids a chance to play with all their new things! And I just have to say, spending a week in Kauai is a pretty good present for Mom and Dad! We celebrated our 16th anniversary and New Year's Eve in Hawaii as well. Not a bad end to 2014!