Sunday, January 13, 2008

Best of 2007, Part V: Moments

I'm limiting myself to 10, because this post will still be too long and I'm anxious to be focused on moments in 2008. Inevitably I will post this and then think of moments that deserve to be remembered more than those listed here. That's the nature of all best lists, and I'm happy just to have any record.

1. Seeing my mom and dad in their beautiful new home, last January, and actually getting to cook for my mom instead of the other way around for a change. While my mom was in the midst of her battle against breast cancer, it was inspiring to witness my parents' love and support of each other, and the life they have created together at this stage.

And it is a rare treat to spend time with my siblings. Karen screamed when she first saw me, and had me laughing all weekend.  Erin and her children picked me up at the airport and took me out for an amazing dinner. I remember watching in awe how her 18-year-old son Liam helped his younger brothers and sisters, and the way Erin and Liam were able to talk and joke with each other. Isn't that every mother's wish?  With Eileen I got to exchange teaching stories and see how her baby has grown into a little girl. We love living in the west, but I do feel that our children pay the price in not seeing their three grandparents or knowing their cousins back in IllinoisBoys_3.

2. Our week in Tucson. Brian had a conference there, and we made a vacation out of it.  I always find  February a difficult month, just before the warmth of spring arrives. We stayed at a great hotel and the boys and I had fun exploring our old town before meeting Brian for dinner each evening. Angie and her three kids joined us midweek, as did Mary Alice. Such a gift to see our kids playing together! On Valentine's day, Angie kept our boys overnight at her mom's and Brian drove us out to Gates Pass where he had proposed fifteen years previously.  Being back in Tucson, I felt so grateful for the history we share, as well as the future that awaits us.

3. My dad's 70th birthday. I wasn't able to be there for the party, but putting together a book for him, with all my siblings, was a highlight of the year. I'm grateful to have such a great dad.

4. Fourth of July at our house---a very kid-friendly party with lots of food, toddler pool, sparklers, and frozen margaritas, yum! The kids grabbed instruments and had their own little parade around the neighborhood, with our friend Gen playing his trombone. Living so far from family, I relish that sense of community. (Most of these photos were taken by Amy Walling)


Halloween at the Wallings and Thanksgiving with the Rockows had that same sense of community.  We miss our families-of-origin, but we are also grateful for the one we have created piecemeal out of friends.

5. A September weekend in Phoenix with Angie. It was ungodly hot, often over 100 degrees even atAngieanddokphoenix  11 pm, which only added to my 1st trimester state of nausea, but it was an incredibly fun time. Even if I did lose a few meals, the ones we shared were great, and the conversation over them even better. We went to a scrapbooking tradeshow/conference, where I bought beautiful paper and learned lots of stuff, none of which would have been half as fun without Angie there to laugh with throughout it--and take silly self-portraits with:-)

6Aidan_5_years_maria_2_days_2. Our Texas roadtrip. In Wichita Falls the highlight was welcoming Maria Anne to the world and witnessing my little sister Elizabeth and her husband Gabriel in those early days of parenthood. We stayed with them at the beginning of our trip, and when we returned a week later, one would think they had been parents their whole life.

I also loved seeing how interested and gentle our boys were with their baby coAustinblogusin.

In Austin the boys got to play  with their Keating cousins, Makenna, Cole, and Ava, as well as take a little hike, explore a kids' museum, and watch bats fly out from Congress Bridge.

In Houston, my dad and five of his siblings--flying in from Chicago, Ireland and England, gathered for the celebration of their sister, Carmel O'Malley, and her 50th anniversary as a Sister of the Incarnate Word. It was such a beautiful thing to see them together, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room when they toasted to their late parents. So glad we were there.

8. Learning we were expecting a baby!

I'm a planner, a list-maker, a goal-setter. With my previous two pregnancies, I was testing way before you're supposed to. This one came as a surprise, and there are moments now when I feel I've just gotten used to the idea I'm pregnant and have yet to comprehend that a baby is coming.  But the best things in my life have all been unplanned---meeting Brian, making a home in Utah, and now this child. I feel excited, a little nervous, but, mostly, greatly blessed.   

Crocs_sure_sign_of_summer_cropped 9. Aidan and Sean becoming friends as well as brothers. Obviously seen in little moments throughout the year, but I saw it mainly click this summer. Sean got older and we had time to explore, swim every day, go to the waterpark, play at Mill Creek. I love knowing my sons will always have each other.

10. All the little moments. Aidan's excitement over riding the school bus and learning to read. Sean's ability to talk (and then never stop). The small kindnesses of Brian that brighten my day. Emails from former students of mine. Weekend mornings with the four of us snugged in one bed. Hot cocoa, working in the garden, movie nights. More. That is all I can think--I just want more of this. Please let us all stay healthy and enjoy more of these moments.

Hopes for 2008:

  • a healthy baby

  • a warm and loving home...with lots of house projects completed!

  • learning new skills, like how to raise three boys, how to sew (I can't even sew a hem), how to use my SLR...many things.

Mainly I want to cultivate an eye for all the blessings in my life and an attitude of gratitude. That alone adds so much to my life. So I hope to, at least weekly, stop and give thanks for the big and little things, and actually write or photograph some of the things I'm feeling especially grateful for at that time.

And shorter blog posts!  There's a good goal. Here's to a year full of great small moments!

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