Tag Archives: New Years Eve

Welcome 2020!


new years

Boy, 2019 was a doosy!

It is hard to believe how many changes occurred in our life over the course of a single year. It was a year of high highs and trying lows as we navigated a multitude of huge life events. As I scroll through the last 12 months of blog posts I can’t believe it has only been 365 days since the first blog of 2019. In so many ways I feel as though I have lived a dozen years in that dozen months.

I love New Year’s Day. There is something cathartic about flipping through an empty calendar, each square pristine in its lack of markings, filled only with the promise of possibility.

I love the opportunity for reflection tied to this holiday…the intentional break after a frantic month of celebration and frivolity, to simply pause and ponder on the past and dream about the possibilities of the future.

I love the chance to hit the re-start button on our lives as we make plans to let go of those things that weighed us down last year and move forward with a hope and optimism about the year ahead.

I love the goal setting, the list making, and the future planning.

And as much as I love the transformation that occurs every December as the house gets caught up in the spell of Christmas magic with its trinkets and tinsel, there is a peaceful exhale that comes as the house sheds those layers of decorations and reverts back to a simpler and starker state.

After a month of excess, the promise of restraint pulls at me. It had been a month of much…much celebration, much lost sleep, much frivolity, much junk food, much, much, much…

And nothing sounds sweeter than the routine, restraint, and rest associated with the sleepy, snowy stillness of January,

But before we could settle into 2020 we had to ring out the old year with style, with one more celebration in 2019. It was New Year’s Eve and we had a party to get to!!

Every New Year’s Eve for the last decade we have rung in the new year with out best buddies- The Hudak’s!

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This year was no exception.

Even Grace and Zach opted to join us in lieu of other plans.

This New Year’s celebration was a big one, as it was the year we would  be opening the time capsule we packed as part of our New Year’s Eve celebration five years ago.


But before we broke into that vault of memories and took a walk down memory lane, we needed to fill our plates and our bellies with sustenance!

Lana and I split the responsibility of our New Year’s Eve feast, with each of us making five or six appetizers for the party.

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Once we had everything laid out, the kids were set loose on that buffet of deliciousness.

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Once everyone was satiated we gathered to open our time capsule.

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Olivia did the honors…

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And everyone pulled from the container the papers that were filled out five years prior and began reading the responses to the questions on the forms. It was delightful to read the answers of the people we were five years ago and compare them to who we are and what we believe today.

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Some of the papers were downright hilarious.

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It was such a delight to see the transformations in ourselves that the kids decided they wanted to do it again, writing letters to themselves to be read in five years. This time Braden and Zach were able to add their notes to the time capsule.

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It was soon time to gather around the tv to watch the ball drop.

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Sparkling cider was poured,

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And everyone began the countdown…

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….Happy New Year!!

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Welcome 2020…I’m so happy to see you!

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Welcome 2019!



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It was another year for the history books!

As I was looking back on past blogs written in reflection of the New Year, I was able to see the ebb and flow of trials and ease with each passing year. Some years were especially challenging (like 2017) and we were more than happy to bid them “adieu.”

Others came to a close with feelings of delight as we reflected on the unexpected blessings we never saw coming when the year began.

This was one of those years.

At the start of 2018 we were in such a different place. We were focused on helping Ozzie find healing, as we healing ourselves from a brutally hard 2017. Never in our wildest imaginations did we foresee another adoption on  the horizon, much less the adoption of Tyler’s 17-year-old biological brother.

As I sat in the living room on January 1, 2018, filling in the pages of my new planner, so pristinely empty of appointments, yet so full of hopeful possibilities, I couldn’t have even imagined that we would be closing out the year as a family of eight.

It never ceases to amaze me how life can change on a dime.

2017 was one of the hardest years of our life as a family…

2018 was one of the most blessed.

And once again, as I find myself with a blank planner in front of me, I can’t help but wonder what adventures God has in store for us this year. There is something so exciting and hopeful about the New Year. I love the process of filling in a new calendar and setting new resolutions and goals for the months ahead. Everything seems achievable and even hard things seem possible.

There is something so empowering about new beginnings and fresh starts that make New Year’s Eve one of my favorite holidays of the year. As we bid the previous year good-bye and welcome the new year with hopeful anticipation, it seems all the world is our oyster and the possibilities are endless.

This year will be another big one for our family. While much is unknown, we do know that the following 12 months will hold a few epic vacations, a high school graduation, an adoption, a couple driving tests, and two more kids gaining adult status with their 18th birthdays, leaving us with two minors left in the house. It promises to be a BIG year at Patchwork Farm!

This year we celebrated the passing of another year as we always do, with the Hudak family. We look forward to this annual tradition of food, friends, family and FUN with some of our very favorite people.

We arrived at the Hudak’s house at 7:00pm, ready for a night of feasting and frivolity. This was Brandon’s first time celebrating with the Hudak’s and he was blown away by the feast prepared for the evening. Dinner was a smorgasbord of appetizers and dips prepared by Lana and I. And for the next six hours everyone ate until they couldn’t eat anymore.

This year we switched things up a bit. With the kids all getting older and desiring more free time to just hang out and visit, we didn’t plan the usual hourly activities. Instead, the girls hung out upstairs, visiting and giggling until 11:00pm,

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While the boys took over the basement and played video games and pigged out of plates of food.

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This allowed the adults the rare treat of hours of uninterrupted conversation. That was a gift in and of itself and we had a wonderful time.

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At 11:00 we gathered everyone in the basement for game time.

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We began with the candy ball game that Lana had prepared. Using dice to try and roll a double, the ball of saran wrapped candy was passed around the circle with those who rolled a double unwrapping and collecting all the candy that fell onto the floor, until the next person rolled a double.

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After that, the kids enjoyed a few rounds of “What do you Meme?” before we gathered in front of the TV to watch the ball drop. This game brought gales of laughter as players tried to pick the perfect tag line for the photo on display.

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With minutes until the New Year arrived, we gathered in front of the TV to watch the ball drop and toast the arrival of 2019. With cheers, and hugs, and kisses we celebrated the passing of 2018 and the arrival of a new year full of infinite possibilities.

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Woody couldn’t help but welcome in the new year with a little pyrotechnic display.

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By 1:00am we were packing up and heading home. It was another awesome New Year’s Eve with the Hudak clan.

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2019, here we come!



Welcome, 2018! We are so glad to see you!


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Some years are hard to say good-bye to. Some are not.

There are years of blessings and sweet reprieve and then there are years, much like a guest who has overstayed their welcome, that leave one ready to help them out the door with a boot to the butt.

2017 was one of THOSE years.

It was the hardest year we have lived as a family. There were challenges we never guessed would be part of our family’s story, and trials that exceeded anything I could have fathomed five years ago. This year was an out-of-control, white-knuckle ride that taught us much about surrender and left us looking to our only source of hope: the divine conductor.

It was an unpleasant year of stretching…a dichotomy of great discomfort but also great growth.

Its funny how those two things seem to be attached by an unbreakable string.

The lessons learned this year were essential, even blessed, and now that I have survived the storm I can look back and see that what seemed an out of control nightmare was a divinely orchestrated season of pruning, a needed season before we could bear fruit.

I can look back now and see things more clearly than I could when I was drowning in despair 6 months ago.

I see the purpose.

I see the growth.

I see the blessing and care.

And I see that single set of footprints in the sand left by a loving Lord who carried us through the last 12 months…

But I’d be lying if I said I was sad to see 2017 go.

There is a sense of relief that 2017 has come to a close, as well and profound feelings of hope that next year with hold more laughter than tears.

Welcome, 2018! We are so glad to see you!!

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It has become a annual tradition to join our friends, the Hudaks, in ringing in the New Year…and do so in spectacular fashion!

The evening revolves around food, as all good celebrations do. We make a variety of appetizers to add to the scrumptious feast laid out by our hosts, and together have one heck of a spread!

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We arrived to begin the countdown at 7:00 pm. The night began with eating and visiting. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to catch up and hear about each other’s Christmases. At 9:00 pm the countdown to New Year’s began.


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For the last few years we have planned fun activities and games to countdown the minutes leading up to the ball dropping in Times Square. The kids never know what is planned so these activities are revealed by popping a balloon every 30 minutes that contain a paper declaring the next activity.

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The planned activities kicked off at 9:00 with some fun 2017 trivia and a “Year in Review” sheet for everyone to fill out. This has become a beloved tradition that I treasure. It is so much fun to see what each of my kids write in their reflections as they look back on the past year, as well as read their goals for the upcoming year. Scrapbooking these sheets allows me to look back on their evolution and growth as they grow from children to young adults.


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At 9:30 the next balloon was popped. This was a game that required some floor space so we moved down to the basement where the kids would have room to spread out in a large circle. For this fun, high adrenaline game the kids took turns rolling two sets of di with the goal of roling a double. When someone rolled a double they got to pick one of the movie theatre candies from the center of the circle OR steal from another player. This twist in the game made for a lot of squeals and groans as the kids acquired their favorite treat only to lose it with the roll of the dice. At the end of 10 minutes everyone got to keep whatever candy was in their possession.

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At 10:00 the kids broke into two teams: boys vs girls, for a “Selfie Scavenger Hunt.” The list they were given instructed them to take selfies with the 15 items on their list, most of which revolved around the Christmas season. It was a delight sitting back and watching the eight of them race and scramble to try and find all the items on their list.


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“A selfie with your first ornament”


“A selfie of you decorating the tree”


“A selfie with Rudolph”


“A snow angel”


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“A selfie with Rudolph”


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“Selfie with a snow angel”

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“Selfie with a gift”


At 10:30 we engaged in a little “Hanky Panky”…a game that is as much fun to photograph as it is to play. Everyone gathered in the living room with a fresh box of tissues on their laps. On the count of three everyone began pulling tissues from their box, one at a time, with the goal of being the first to empty their box. We thought the Hudak’s propensity towards allergies would put them at a distinct advantage over the  McCleerys, but Toby (our Dark Horse) pulled off a spectacular win.

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At 11:00 it was time to introduce the Hudak’s to “Speak Out,” a game we enjoyed immensely at our “Mock New Year’s Eve party” two days prior.

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Lucas was hilarious! We laughed until we cried.

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As midnight loomed we had time for one last activity. This one came from the Hudaks. It was time for our traditional launching of the sky lanterns. Decorated with our hopes and dream for the New Year, we stepped outside and launched  our dreams toward Heaven.

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There is something so beautiful about penning our hopes on paper and setting them a flight, both figuratively and in actuality.


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The night was cold and still as we watched our lanterns of light float away.

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By then it was almost midnight.

Bubbly was poured (Non-alcoholic, of course) 😉

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Pay no mind to the drunk behind the curtain

And hats were donned, as we counted down to a New Year.

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We ushered in 2018 with cheers, kisses, and the Hudak tradition of a barefoot run through the snow…BRRRRR!!



Lucas: Mr. “Too cool for School” was unfazed by the experience.


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Then enjoyed the warmth of the fire and good company until our carriage turned back to a pumpkin and it was time to return home.

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Happy New Year, from our family to yours!



Last night we rang in the New Year with friends. For the last five years we have been invited over to the Hudak’s house for New Years Eve. Its always a lot of fun! We feasted on appetizers, played fun, hourly activities/games  as we counted down the hours until midnight, and then rang in the new year together. We also packed a time capsule that we will open New Years Eve 2020.

This year rather than watch the ball drop we lit sky lanterns at midnight and sent our resolutions heavenward. It was magical!

Here is a peek into another fun, memory making New Years Eve:

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The McCleery/Hudak kids


Molly popping another balloon to see what the next activity was…

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Candy cane races…no hands allowed!

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The candy ball game is always a favorite as the kids takes turns unwrapping the candy and cash before the next player rolls a double with the dice.

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Post-it-note races.

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Picking up marshmallows with chopsticks. The stickers on Ozzie’s back are part of another New Years challenge. The kids were each given a sheet of stickers. The goal was to secretly stick them on others without being caught. The one with the least amount of stickers at the end of the night was the winner. (Grace won)


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Sipping jello through a straw. The race begins!

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1st place: Grace, 2nd place: Tyler, 3rd place: Rusty.


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Marshmallow toss. Rusty won this one by a landslide!

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Mouths full of marshmallows for “Chubby Bunny.”

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A fun game of Pictionary!

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Attaching our resolutions to the sky lanterns.


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12:00- Time to set off the sky lanterns.

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Here’s to 2016! Cheers!