Happy New Year!
Dear family and friends,
We hope this post finds you doing well on the first day of the new year. Life in 2014 has been joyous, fun-filled and fulfilling for us, though not without with the ups and downs that life always brings. Here are a few highlights:
Gracelyn started preschool three mornings a week at a delightful, new home-based school in our neighborhood, Thrive Preschool. There are no more than six children attending each day, and they are all quite compassionate, fun-loving and cheerful. Thrive is all about play, imagination, and enjoying time with friends. We’ve really enjoyed meeting the kids and adults involved and look forward interaction with them in 2015.
Gracelyn enjoys playing games like Busytown, Go Fish, and hide-n-seek, and playing doctor is still a favorite, an activity during which Gracelyn assumes the identity of Dr. Cranberry. We also have lots of fun playing family games of MadLibs with Gracelyn using adjectives such as “poopy” and nouns like “arugula.” As you can gather, the results of these games are often quite comical.
Our little girl continues to make up rhymes and songs on a daily basis. Some of her recent lyrics:
The sun is shining overhead,
First you, then me get out of bed.
After attending a performance of “Peter and the Wolf” with her school, Gracelyn has also been staging productions of the story using her stuffed animals and dolls as the characters . . . as well as any humans or cats she can round up.
We spent lots of time and energy around getting our home and yard in the shape we wanted. We created a vegetable garden, had a fence installed, encapsulated the crawl space, added a walkway around the yard, and terraced our berry patch. In the berry patch we added 10 blueberry plants and some blackberry bushes too. We want to finish (is that possible?) the yard in 2015 by adding fruit trees, raspberries, evergreens, and some native plants. Our vegetable garden (now in fall/winter mode) is still providing greens and lettuce even though temps are below freezing at night — a first time experience for us.
Shonnie started taking piano lessons this summer and played in her first recital over the holidays (playing Home for the Holidays). She’s also been knitting some and sewed Gracelyn’s Halloween costume (a fox), and a new pillowcase for Gracelyn’s pillow.
Shonnie has been doing some hard-core exercise (à la cross fit) which is pretty insane, but she enjoys it nonetheless. She also runs and swims, including her weekly Monday “date” with Bruce, which consists of an arduous trail run in the beautiful mountains nearby.
Shonnie is excited to be getting back into her coaching work in 2015. She plans to work with mamas who want to evolve themselves spiritually through their parenting experience while also nurturing their children’s spiritual wholeness. If you’d like to read more about this effort, you’re invited to visit her website ShonnieLavender.com and leave your comments if you’re so inclined (please share her work with other parents too).
I began 2014 by swearing off politics, then a few weeks accepting a campaign manager position for a congressional candidate in NC-3 who had recently switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party. Things were progressing well when, right before the filing deadline, the candidate decided not to run. Imagine that!
During the spring, I was delighted to have the opportunity to do some communications work for Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality during the period they were working with attorneys and faith-based organizations to file a federal legal challenge to Amendment One and North Carolina marriage laws banning same-sex marriage. In October, a federal judge ruled favorably on this suit and struck down Amendment One, ordering North Carolina to begin recognizing same-sex marriages immediately.
I’ve now decided that it’s time to get back to my first love–writing. I’ve recently written several personal essays and have begun work on a memoir, tentatively titled “A Tale of Two Daughters.” If you’d like to follow the progress of this project, you can sign up for email updates at my website brucemulkey.com.
In my spare time, I plays handball a couple of times a week and run the trails of Western North Carolina with Shonnie, typically the Mountains-To-Sea Trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway. Who knows, maybe we’ll get around to running the Shut-In-Trail race again this year . . . now that enough time has elapsed for the painful memories of the last race to have faded.
Saturday night is still pizza night at the Lavender-Mulkey home. We enjoy our pizza while listening to Garrison Keillor and “Prairie Home Companion” on WCQS, our local NPR station. Frequently, at Gracelyn’s urging, we have to interrupt our meal for a family dance when some lively music comes on. Then we make homemade ice cream for dessert (peanut butter seems to be the family favorite right now) and afterwards pile in the family bed to read a bedtime story.
This tale would not be complete without word of our feline family members. Kaali, our 19-year-old kitty girl who’d made the trek with us from Texas, passed from her physical form in February. As saddened as we were, it was obvious that Kaali was ready to make this transition. Bandit and Desmond, the kitty brothers, typically sleep with us in the family bed. And in April, Max and Pearl, two adoptees from the Asheville Humane Society, joined our family. Since Kaali’s passing, Pearl has become Gracelyn’s favorite, and they spend time together almost every day. By the way, all of our cats are reputed to have some Maine Coon in them.
So that’s it from here. We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to and what you have planned for the new year.
Sending you abiding love and best wishes for a joy-filled year ahead!
Bruce, Shonnie and Gracelyn