Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

"Live Authentically"

That's been my motto for 2009.

In this past year, I've learned to be
much more comfortable in my own skin.

In this past year, I've gained greater peace than ever before.

In this past year, I've felt less like a nervous girl,
more like a confident woman.

In this past year, I've felt profound love and gratitude.

In this past year, I've allowed myself to be more open.

In this past year, I've made some major life decisions.

In this past year, I've been more in tune
with my own spirituality than ever before.

In this past year, I've learned to listen to my heart.

In this past year, I've heard it loud and clear.

In this past year, I've learned to have the courage
to follow my heart.

And this song has had incredible meaning for me this past year:

Thank you, 2009.
Welcome, 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Random Holiday Thoughts

I love the week between Christmas and New Year's. It is totally kick back. It feels like all we do (well, mostly) is play games and eat and relax. Love it.

Our kids got us Webkinz. Coolest gifts ever.

I love New Year's. I love that I don't do New Year's Resolutions anymore. I much prefer the "word of the year." 2009's has been "(Live) authentically." Not sure about 2010's yet. "(Live) ________" (TBD).

We love spending the holidays as a family. We are so content together.

I love holiday cookie trays and our awesome friends who share them with us.

I appreciate thoughtful gifts.

I cannot believe how much I'm enjoying having a puppy.

We went to a Dickens' Christmas and it was fantastic! All the actors were in character all evening and we were hosted by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the Dickens (as well as their butler). It was hilarious and such fun! My Mom especially loved it. This may well become a yearly tradition.

I love good food. I understand that this is not holiday-specific, but such is my enjoyment of good food.

While I enjoy the kick backness of this week, I also love getting back to normal schedules afterward, too.

I love the magic of Christmas. I absolutely love our kids' total belief in Santa Claus. I still hold a grudge against my 2nd grade classmate Marie Russell for ruining the magic of Christmas for me. I'm so excited that our kids have brought it back.

I love the phrase "Merry Christmas." I love saying it. I love hearing it. It's part of that magic.

I love, love, love my family. I know that's not holiday specific either, but it merits being expressed. My husband and children are my favorite people and I love them so much.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bet you smile at this . . .

I can't help but laugh and laugh when I watch this kid. He's so funny!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

OK, TODAY is the Day

Today marks 13 years since we were married on an extremely cold winter day--"Arctic Blast" was the term local weather reports used. That, along with the fact that we really started dating as the temperature dropped, always makes me feel nostalgic once the snow starts falling.

OK, so this isn't a winter picture. I like it anyway.

Another nice picture Thing 1 took.

A lot has changed in 13 years.

Happy Anniversary, Little Miss. I love you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Decade From Hell

I recently came across this article from Time Magazine. It is entitled, "The '00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade from Hell." Favorable and forward thinking, right?

I thought the headline was a little harsh. Then I started the article and, well, it really has been a decade full of horrible news headlines.

This past decade, whose label I never quite know how to pronounce -- is it the oh-ohs? The zero-zeroes? The Ohs? I'm glad to be done with it just so we can move on to, what, the twenty-teens? That's right. I just coined that term. When it becomes the official name, remember that you heard it here first.

So, these oh-ohs have, according to the article, thoroughly sucked.

The article even goes so far to say, "The first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era."

Here are just some of the events it listed:

The 2000 Election debacle (hanging chads, anyone?)
No evidence of WMDs
Housing bubble
"Our recent near-death economic experience"
2 stock market crashes
Sarah Palin (okay, I added that one)
Anthrax letters
DC snipers
Enron scandal
Worldcom scandal
Hurricane Katrina
More mass shootings than any other decade
More school shootings than any other decade
More terrorist bombings
Doping scandals in sports
Sex scandals
Political scandals

And this article was written before we even heard about the humongous fall of Golf Great Tiger Woods.

Depressing, eh?

There have, of course, been good things, too. The article went on to say, "Sure, some amazingly great things happened this decade, from the stunning rise of China to Apple's dazzling array of new products to the feats of sprinter Usain Bolt to our nation rallying (at least temporarily) around its first African-American President. But all that seems more like counterpoint rather than the main act."

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about this past decade in terms of what it has meant on a less global and more personal level.

This past decade, the oh-ohs, has been the decade in which we've grown our family. Our beautiful daughter was born in 2000. It is a fun, big deal to have a baby born in 2000. We got a free pair of baby shoes from Payless and Thing 1 can also forever attend Harlem Globetrotter games for free. Not bad! Our beautiful son followed 2 years and 9 months later in 2003. Thing 2 didn't get free shoes or free Globetrotter passes, but we still think he's a fun, big deal just the same.

This past decade has also been the decade that saw us move from our first home (okay, so technically, the doublewide trailer was a car purchase sans settlement and complete with titles--one for each half) to our townhouse to our farmhouse. We feel very grateful be settled in a nice, small town in a beautiful home in which to raise our family.

The oh-ohs have seen me finish graduate school and Mark graduate from medical school. It has seen us move from west to east, from Phoenix, Arizona to beautiful small town, PA. It has seen us struggle with my debilitating depression while finishing med school and starting up residency. It has seen us deal with the highs and lows of attending residency. It has seen us wrestle with how to incorporate our education and training in a way that suits our family, our strong desire for lots of family time, and our belief in work-life balance. It has seen us walk away from traditional paths and take a giant leap of faith to start our own business, a clinic right in our own home where, together, we both get to do things we enjoy professionally and where we both get to work and help provide for our family and serve people in this area. It is ours, all ours.

The oh-ohs have seen us learn about and decide to homeschool, finding that we couldn't choose an educational option that better suits our family than this. It has seen us constantly tweak our approach and play with it so that it continues to meet our needs and desires in a fun, challenging, and wonderful way. It has seen us start a homeschool group that continues to grow and thrive and in which we've found some of our closest friends in the area.

The oh-ohs have been challenging and fun and wonderful and difficult and happy and sad. This past decade saw us deal with my Dad's battle with Parkinson's Disease, his declining health, and his death, something that has been really hard and also a major turning point in our lives. This past decade has seen us make very big and deep personal and family decisions, always striving to follow our hearts and be true to ourselves and live authentically.

This past decade saw us do some traveling. From Arizona, we traveled to California for a surprise Father's Day trip for my FIL, where we also got to visit San Francisco. We made trips to MA, mostly to visit my Dad in the hospital when he had his heart attack and back surgery, but also squeezing in some side trips to Boston and other neat places in New England. We arranged several trips to Utah so we could do medical school rotations and visit extended family members on both sides. We traveled to PA twice in order to check out residency programs and various towns and areas. We moved cross country and visited many states as we did so.

Since settling here, we have managed to visit many areas nearby, including Hershey, various places in New England, DC, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, the beach in Jersey, the beach in Delaware, and more. And we've also made some pretty big trips down to Florida for a wonderful vacation to Disney World and to visit extended family again. One of our biggest trips was a cross-country road trip to attend Mark's grandmother's family reunion. Though it was our 10th visit in 17 years to see Foleys, it was our first venture west since moving here and the first visit in the past 10 years where all Foleys have been together in one place. It was emotional for me -- less than two years after the last time my side of the family (me, my mom, my dad, my brother) would all be able to be together, it was a time of celebration for Mark's side of the family to be together. I felt grateful, but admittedly a little jealous and wanting, too. Road tripping on Father's Day, being together, remembering Mark's grandfather . . . it reminded me how raw my feelings still were and how much I missed my Dad.

So, this past decade has been full of ups and downs for us. It's been an emotional decade and it's formed much of where we are today--physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, intellectually. It's had very stressful aspects--no major life decisions come without some amount of stress--and very difficult ones and it has also had very joyous events to celebrate as well, most notably, our growing family and our settling down in a place to raise our beautiful family. Who knew it would be a farmhouse with a great yard, garden, and barn out back, a clinic that is our own out front, and a happy family of 4 and a dog inside? We are grateful and we are happy.

I guess I wouldn't call it the decade from hell. And I'm not one to hurry time along and always look ahead. I like to try to live in the moment. So, I'm enjoying what's left of the oh-ohs. And reflecting on what it has been for us.

How has your "oh-oh" decade been?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

For the woman who has everything . . .

Thank you to one of my very favorite blogger friends, bythelbs, for alerting me to these PSAs.

And to her commenters for letting me know of the far less creepy Jack Black one.

Seriously? Is it me or would that have been better coming from a woman?

And! In the name of equal opportunity public service announcements, there is one for men, too!

Anyone else think she says "prostate" a little too happily at the end there? Ewwww.

But don't despair! While those are creepy (and really horrible ideas for Christmas--if you really care, schedule it, but don't be so stupid as to put that in someone's stocking. Can you imagine unwrapping that? Can you imagine trying to say, "Er, thanks and Merry Christmas to you, too?" without being violent?) . . . as I was saying, while those are creepy, Jack Black's is far more comfortable to watch. Because who doesn't love watching Jack Black press his man-boobs into a mammogram machine? I bet Greg gets a little turned on watching this.

Because nothing says "Happy Holidays" like pap smears, prostate exams, and mammograms.

To you and yours, happy invasive exams.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

17 Years Ago Today . . .

. . . it all started with a kiss.

And they lived happily ever after.

The Beginning.

I love you, Littlemiss.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I've responded.

I like to try to respond to my blog comments. I've just gone through the past many posts and responded (if you comment and subscribe, you already know that, but in case you didn't, now you know). Thanks!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blog Posts

Our blog started mainly as a way to keep in touch with grandparents and aunts and uncles who live far away. We thought it would be an easy way to share pictures and keep in touch. I've liked getting to know my SILs this way, since we tend to be the bloggiest in the family.

It's evolved into, well, a whole mix of stuff, I guess--family posts, vents, political stuff, food posts, memes, American Idol recaps, and just general what-we're-doing posts. There's really not much of a theme or method to our blog madness.

As we get back into regular blogging, I have well over over 100 pictures to go through and I know there are some we'd like to share--Halloween costumes, puppy pictures, NaNoWriMo stuff, etc. But I still feel "blunky" at times and toy with the idea of quitting/going private.

So, my question is, why do you read our blog? Are there certain posts you like/don't like? Do you wish I did stuff like "Wordless Wednesdays," (I don't like those--I'm too wordy to be wordless)? Do you care? Is it to just generally keep abreast of our lives? Do you wish we switched up our blog decor (though I'll say now I'm rather partial to the simple sushi picture)? Are you just waiting for us to get back to Idol season? I've barely blogged recently and when I have, it's mostly been about our crazy novel writing project (snore?). I wonder, what keeps you coming back?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I've learned from doing NaNoWriMo

1. That it takes an enormous amount of time and discipline to do it and that's not always good for my mood.

2. That writing my story was much more emotionally challenging than I expected. I thought I had enough distance from some tough stuff that I wrote about, but writing about it was really affecting me at times.

3. That getting your story overwritten is really stressful and can make you cry so hard that you have a headache for the next two days.

4. That data recovery is not easy and can take 14 hours to compile and even then you don't get all of it and then you're even further behind.

5. That coming back from that data recovery setback is GRUELING.

6. That if it hadn't been for the data recovery issue, we were not only on, but ahead of, pace.

7. That getting a puppy while doing NaNoWriMo is really testing the limits of your ability to pull it off.

8. That it makes sense that so many writers have dogs. They are wonderfully, cuddly writing buddies. They make you be disciplined and snuggly.

9. That doing NaNoWriMo with friends is wicked fun and keeps you going and excited.

10. That several other story ideas can pop in my head as I work on the one story at hand.

11. That so much of what I wrote was total crap.

12. That some of what I wrote was really good!

13. That I think I'm a pretty good writer, but not so great in the imagination department.

14. That my husband rules at going after what he wants in life even while working his tail end off at multiple jobs and things around the house, too.

15. That our kids LOVE NaNoWriMo and are totally doing it again.

16. That it's a good feeling to print up our winner's certificate and collect our winner goodies (certificate, blog picture in post below this one, etc.).

17. That I appreciate all the support and encouragement from friends.

18. That Cristin's family sent her the coolest package full of supportive items to help her do it--now, that is super thoughtful and super cool.

19. That I so appreciate friends who I know laid low and refrained from contacting us or inviting us to do stuff for the whole month--we've missed them but love that they supported us like that. Bring on December!

20. That I can get REALLY behind on emails and general life stuff when doing this 30-days-of-literary-abandon thing.

21. That I don't miss Facebook one bit.

22. That we're grateful for friends who invite us over for Thanksgiving so we won't be lonesome. We were going to be by ourselves and, in a way, were cool with that, given that November is NaNoWriMo month, but it was nice to not have to cook at all and to share it with friends and their family. It was really good of them to include us.

23. That I would totally do this again.

Mark and Cristin, I'd love to hear any more you've come up with, too!!