It is a truth universally acknowledged that every Kannely Christmas card is in need of a newsletter. So here I am, trying to sum up our year into a one page paper, single spaced. (Spoiler alert- I failed to keep it to just a page. Sorry. Proceed.)
It’s been a good year. A little treacherous, a bit adventurous, and full of as many words (both sad and glad) as you might expect from a household of five females and one guy. The winter of 2017 was as bad as anyone can remember. Our roof did not fare well with the ice dams that built up, and eventually let in a pretty steady stream of water through the ceiling in our family room. As long as you don’t count painting the ceiling (which is still waiting), as of Thanksgiving weekend we finally finished insulating, sheet rocking, taping and mudding, sanding, texturing, painting and putting the bookcase and books back in the offending corner. It only took 42 weeks. Ah, the joys of DIY. We are a little wiser, and the proud owners of roof heat tape. Take that, winter!
Emma is 14 and a freshman in high school. She’s in Honor’s math, biology and English. She also is playing the bass clarinet in band, taking PE, and learning French. In addition, Emma started early morning seminary this year (that is a 6:30 am religion class at our church), and did marching band and was part of the high school’s production of Mary Poppins. We almost haven’t seen her at all since school started. Except when she needed to be picked up and dropped off. Or to bring her dinner in between various activities. Emma also got her braces off this year, and was the first recipient in our family of an x-ray for a broken bone.
Elizabeth is in 7th grade and is our lone middle schooler. She’s working very hard at school and managed a 4.0 gpa 4th quarter last school year. She plays the clarinet in band, takes piano lessons, and is following in Emma’s footsteps doing middle school science fair. She may learn to type yet! Elizabeth still loves art in all forms, and has any number of projects laying around the house and all over her bedroom walls. She loves building things with old cereal boxes and paper, and her favorite decorating mediums are Sharpies and gel pens.
Annie and Maddie are 9 years old, and are in 3rd grade. They get a great kick out of trying to confuse people on which twin is which, but if mom accidentally calls them by the wrong name, they are mortally wounded. In my defense, I occasionally call all of my children by another one’s name. Maddie has taken steps to make herself physically different from Annie, including pierced ears, a palate expander, and being two inches shorter. The girls played soccer in the spring and fall, with two practices and a game every week. And even after all of that time spent, I would say their talents lie elsewhere. They both scored student of the month at school in October, and I had both teachers tell me they did not conspire together. I am appreciative though. I didn’t have to listen to one crow of victory and one weepy, “But I’m a good helper in my class, too.”
Ryan is in his 3rd year of being assistant principal at an all kindergarten school. The school itself had a rough year and flooded 3 times, all within a 2 month window. Ryan lost all 3 of his beehives over the course of that long, cold, snowy winter. So he bought two in the spring, and then collected 3 bee swarms for a grand total of 5 beehives. Our plot of land is well pollinated. Ryan also realized his lifelong dream (ok, maybe only like 10 years) of growing broom corn. We didn’t do anything useful like make a broom with it, but it did get tall and we collected some seeds for next year’s crop. We also grew all of the usual garden stuff, leaving us drowning in produce and able to give away 200+ pumpkins and several gallons of berries. Ryan also grew a beard for two months on a dare. The whole family appreciates clean-shaven Ryan much more now.
I tried something new and scary this year. I took an emergency substitute teacher training class and am certified to substitute in our school district. I don’t substitute a ton, because it’s a little terrifying being alone and in charge of a class with students you don’t know, who have routines you don’t know, and a curriculum you don’t know. Especially those few times you arrive and there are no plans to be found. Ummm…. (Cue panic. I’m good at panic.) I also volunteer at school, teach my Primary class of 6-7 year olds at church, and am generally to be found in the minivan, driving or waiting for kids. My big accomplishment of the year was that I figured out how to change a toilet seat by myself.
We drove to California for a 6 day trip this summer for a Kannely family reunion. Once we were back from the trip we sent Emma and Elizabeth to Girls Camp, and Annie and Maddie to their grandparents, and then Ryan and I celebrated the end of student loans (for the 2nd time, mind you) by going to Ireland for a week. We opted for the more adventurous choice, and rented a car and made our own itinerary. Everything was “lovely” (the favorite Irish adjective) except for driving on those itty, bitty, twisty, turny, narrow roads surrounded by absolutely zero shoulder space and rock walls literally inches from your side mirrors on the wrong side of the road, with the stick shift on the wrong side of the car. I was so sure we would be returning our pop can-sized car completely scratched up and missing the side mirrors, but Ryan did an amazing job and it looked unscathed when we returned it. The scenery was “lovely” and very green, the weather was good, the accents made me smile, the ruins were amazing, the cathedrals and castles were spectacular, and the bacon was interesting. Think thinly sliced ham-flavored pork chops. After witnessing the majestic Gothic structures of the tourist attraction cathedrals, the only disappointment was finding that the Mormon branch in Galway meets on the 2nd floor in an office building across the hall from a fitness gym. But it was an amazing trip, and one I’d love to do again. Our one failure this summer was only going on one mountain hike, and one family camping trip. We’ll have to do better next year.
We are thankful for so many of our blessings and cherish our moments with family and friends. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With much love,
Ryan, Danae, Emma, Elizabeth, Annie and Maddie Kannely