In January, we took a refreshing weekend get-away up to Shasta, and I got to play in the snow while Gary took pictures from the warmth of indoors! Looking back, that weekend felt like the turning point in our lives, closing the chapter on grief and survival, and looking forward to joy and hope.
In February, we took advantage of beautiful weather for a hike out towards Auburn. We discovered a path off the main trail that led to a little alcove with this view. The perfect place for lunch, and one of my favorite hiking finds yet!
In March, we attended the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Old Sac. We'd attended this parade during our first year of marriage, so it definitely brought out a lot of those "we're back home!" feelings. This was my favorite float, with the saddest girl scout troop ever! I don't know why they are so miserable, but they just make me giggle! Don't they look as if they are being punished? Poor kids.
In April, we were invited to spend the weekend with friends (from our old Fair Oaks small group) in Lake Tahoe. There was quite a bit of snow, but we managed to find a stretch of shore to walk along. It was the first chance we had to catch up since moving away, and it was a sweet time.
In May, we had the joy of celebrating with our good friends Eric and Stacy, as they officially tied the knot! I was overwhelmed with joy, as these two both are like family to me, and are deserving of such rich blessing together. The icing on the cake was that we now share wedding anniversaries!
June brought the first ever Fam-Bam camping trip. We took Molly with us to Fallen Leaf Lake, which is a little gem hidden just a couple miles away from Lake Tahoe. There was swimming, hiking, and bacon, in that order (though not all in one day!).
In July, I spotted this tabbycat snoozing peacefully in our backyard. I snapped this pic, which I later entered in the annual N magazine photo contest, resulting in my first publication! Many thanks, mystery cat!
In August, we fulfilled our dream to camp at Crater Lake, OR. In this picture, Gary is pointing to the peak to which we had hiked the day before. Oh, and yes, we know that we are dorks!
September was our trip to Heavenly Hills Family Camp, in Twain Harte. Our former pastor from Jacob's Well was coming down from Idaho to be the camp speaker, and a few of us decided (separately) to pop in and surprise him! If you know us at all, you've probably heard us talk about this church and what a special family we were. To reunite and share what God has been doing in each of us really felt like a holy blessing from God. What a gift, to love such brothers and sisters. I will never forget that weekend.
With October came our annual Halloween tradition, "Candy Poker Night". After years of hosting the event, Gary was proud to finally be a winner of said candy poker, even defeating Ron Burgundy to the last tootsie roll.
In November, we thought we'd be clever and do our own family pictures in a local photography studio. We got our traditional classy images, but I couldn't leave without having a little fun... here's one that didn't make the Christmas card!
In December, we had an early "Holly Molly Christmas" celebration so that we could enjoy Christmas together before Molly headed to Concord to meet up with family. After we all exchanged gifts, Molly and I headed to the kitchen to make breakfast. Baking together on my days off has been one of our special traditions over this past year, and we have discovered some yummy new (low sugar!) recipes. Christmas day was a special treat: orange chocolate pancakes. Mmmmmmmmm!!!!