When we bought this place and began a long and depressing year of renovations, one of the things we worked on was having a filled in fireplace restored to working order. This involved having a new firebox and chimney built, and by the end of that we never quite got around to the completion of the hearth or tile. We did put down insulating fabric and covered it with cement board, but after five years that wasn't enough any more.
The cement board had started to disintegrate, and so on the first day of the year, as we were about to put kids to bed, I noticed smoke trickling around the edges of the hearth. Ashes or something had worked their way under the cement board and insulation and started the framing smoldering. Fortunately, I noticed it, so we were able to get everything ripped out and cooled down without waking up to a conflagration.
We have already had contractors out to give us a quote on actually finishing the thing.
--5--My ten year old is writing a pop song, which as these things go, is pretty good. She thinks she wants to be the next Taylor Swift. I suppose it is true that everyone living in Nashville is an aspiring musician.
--6--My oldest child is very into Doctor Who and has passed this obsession on to his siblings. Their father and I take great pleasure in annoying them by referring to the character as if his name was Doctor Who. It never fails to get a rise.
However, I knew the entire set of children were Doctor Who obsessed when my son printed out a Thomas the Tank Engine coloring page for my two year old, who looked at it disdainfully, crumpled it, and said, "Don't want 'ain. Want color Dalek."
--7--As I mentioned, we've had a few rough spots at the beginning of this year, but others have had it much, much worse. On Epiphany, Lily, the eleven year old daughter of a friend of mine, had a stroke. She's since had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain and will have many more tests and other things to be done on the long road to recovery. Please keep her and, of course, Jennifer Fulwiler, in your prayers. Also pray for Kelly and her beautiful, but too early, little daughter.