Natalie and Jack in the tube under the otter tank at the zoo.
I had this idea last year for our Christmas card that never quite got off the ground. I wanted to do a Collins family blog of sorts. I thought that I would do a year in pictures that was just family and events that happened over the year. My original plan was to do it by month, but as you'll see, that didn't happen. Maybe when I retire I'll time for things like that. For now, this is what I came up with. Here's my efforts for a different kind of Christmas card. Something you can peruse at your leisure. I give you.....
Ryan published his sixth book of poetry and had several book signings to celebrate his success.
We surprised Katie and Sarah for their 30th birthday.
Our four beautiful daughters.
The whole family.
I walked the Indianapolis Half Marathon.
Abby and Cindy ran it!
These three stayed just as sweet and crazy as ever.
We went to see Wicked for Natalie's birthday and Mother's Day. It was my third time, but I still loved it. It was Abby's second time. It was mom, Sarah and Natalie's first time. They loved it as much as Abby and I did.
While we were at a wedding reception in Michigan (Abby was a bridesmaid for one of her best friends), Abby got a phone call offering her a first grade teaching position at Jackson elementary school here in Chesterton. This is her trying to make some semblance of her new room.
Before Abby had time to blink, it was time to take off with three of her best friends for a trip to Boston.
I loved that while she was there, it was the Boston/Chicago Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Wonderful friends of ours from Rhode Island came up to watch the game with the girls. They had a great time. Thanks so much to Barry and Sharon for taking our girls under their wings.
I got a second place ribbon at the county fair.
We went to Diamond Lake for the annual Collins/Poparad families vacation and had a great time.
Jason aka Dick came to our campfire one night.
Natalie caught her first fish.
I got off the boat at the sandbar and was voluntarily in the water. For anybody who knows me, this was huge!
The kids loved being in the water.
We renewed our vows for our 40th anniversary with our very favorite priest. Sadly, we lost Father Heeg two months later to cancer. We miss him.
We were so blessed and honored to have Father Heeg with us at our home that day. It made the day even more special.
Dick is still ushering at the Notre Dame football games and when I am really lucky, I get to go to the games and see him.
Part of Abby's 26th birthday celebration was a winery trip in Michigan. It was a fun day with good friends.
Dick and I went on a 40th anniversary trip to Crystal Mountain Resort and Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan. We had a great time.
We had an amazing time. 40 is good!
I had my 40th class reunion this year. We had a great time over four days of celebrating. We continued the celebration by being in the homecoming parade. I was lucky enough to ride in the bucket of a fire truck and throw candy. I was silly enough to think that the bucket would come down and pick me up. No, that wasn't how it worked at all! I had to climb up the back and all the way across the top of the truck to get to the bucket. It was awesome! Hope it's okay that I used your picture, Den!!
We had a baby shower for Katie.
She got lots of stuff!
Our saddest day of the year was on September 25th when we lost my stepdad Eddie. He was 91 and had a great life, but we loved him so very much and we miss him every day.
Have I mentioned that I have the cutest grandkids ever!!!!
Lizzy turned 5!
Ryan turned 40 with Footballpalooza!
And then on November 2 (Uncle Ryan's birthday) we had another grandchild. The beautiful Haley Jeanette Snyder weighed in at 9 pounds 14 ounces and 22 inches of pure perfection. We couldn't be more happy or proud if we tried. We love her so much!
We are truly blessed to have these four little angels in our life.
Then it was Thanksgiving and we were truly thankful.
Little one is already getting bigger.
Unbelievably, it was time for Santa to come to town.
Abby moved to her own place.
For the first time in 39 years of raising kids, Dick and I don't have a child in the house. Kind of weird, but kind of exciting.
Santa's cutest little helper ever came to the girls night Christmas party at grammy's house. She was a hit to say the least. Haley totally completes our family, not that we won't lovingly accept any siblings she may have down the road. There is just something very special about your child's first child.
I love seeing Katie so happy. She and Mark waited a long time for their sweet little Haley. They are truly blessed.