Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of the Year, the End of the Decade

For the last two years, on December 31st, I have written in a family journal about our year. Our ages, our visitors, our trips, the kids' teachers' names, their activities, our jobs, our cars, our favorite restaurants and the like. I'll do it again tonight. And everyone will sign their name to our little family history.

So, I wasn't going to recap the year here - but then I saw all the other blogs doing it. And recapping the decade while they were at it. So, of course, I couldn't resist.

2009 was, well, interesting. I wouldn't call it great. Parts of it really sucked. But I think, when we look back at it in a year or two, we might identify it as the start of good times. I hope so at least.

The year:

* J's company shut the doors and he took about four months off of work. Which means he was home with us all day, every day for four months. And we're still married. Win!
* He started with a brand spankin' new company at the end of July in a huge leap of faith. Luckily, I share the faith but it has been hard, financially and otherwise. He's back to working very long hours.
* We celebrated 10 years of marriage in October. Took a long weekend to San Francisco to celebrate.
* Continued freelance writing (best year yet)
* Hit the tipping point on the KC Kids Fun site, great traffic, great advertiser response
* Launched a new business doing social media marketing for local businesses and am overwhelmed by the immediate response and work
* Got the little guys started in two days of Mothers' Day Out and reclaimed a little bit of my adult life and sanity
* Learned a lot about pediatric psych and social development issues (wish I didn't have to but you gotta do what you gotta do...)
* Spent a night in the hospital watching over my sick child (just one night, first ever and it was an asthma attack that calmed down fairly quickly - made me so, so thankful for the continued good health of all four of my babies)
* Planned and attended my 20-year high school reunion (Holy crap.)

The decade:
* Rang in the new decade with my new husband
* Got pregnant
* Had (very early) miscarriage
* Switched law firms
* Moved from first house to second house
* Got pregnant again and gave birth to a 10 lb, 4 oz baby boy
* Got pregnant again (whoops!)and gave birth to a more normal-sized baby girl
* Became partner in my law firm
* Paid off my student loans (all $85k of them. Christ.)
* Decided to quit my job as partner in my law firm to hang out with my kids
* Got pregnant again
* Found out it was twins
* Moved from second house to third house
* Gave birth to an 8 lb baby boy and an almost 6 lb baby boy on the same day
* Started freelance writing
* Started KCKidsFun with a friend
* Started K2Media with the same friend
* Stood by husband as he weathered two job changes and a horrible economy
* Watched my husband fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in a band and being adored by fans (and they are adorable - www.facebook.com/rockshowkc)
* Witnessed my children morph from little beans on a sonogram to lumps of cuteness to amazingly smart, funny, sanity-challenging, non-stop-talking, piano-playing, joke-telling, athletic (some more so than others), beautiful people

At the risk of sounding a bit melodramatic and of jinxing my good fortune, I thank God and everyone in my life for these blessings.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I think I'm actually going to shut down the ole innernets for the holidays now...here's a pic of my blessed angels. (I'm currently hiding in the office, trying not to kill each and every friggin one of the "angels" before Santa can get here. Day FOUR of winter break, people. Day FOUR. OMG.)

This is the photo on my Christmas cards, which were just mailed yesterday. Oh, do I ever have my shit together this year...

Anyway, Merry Christmas. I hope that yours is happy and peaceful and whatever you wish it to be.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where I'm From..."It's Complicated"

You know, on Facebook, the relationship setting "It's Complicated"? I generally see people use it for comic effect. A few use it as an earnest description of their situation. I'm not sure exactly why, when you can choose to not list a relationship status entirely. Whatever.

"It's Complicated" is an apt description of where I'm "from" though. I generally describe myself as "from" Kansas City. My father was born and raised here. My mother was born and raised just about an hour north of here. I lived in the Kansas City metro (or in Atchison, the aforementioned hometown of my mom) from infancy until nursery school, then again from first grade to second grade and then from ninth grade until now (with seven years of college and law school thrown in there somewhere).

Most of my family is here in Kansas City. Even when my family lived elsewhere during my childhood, we visited Kansas City. My childhood summer memories are of the Kansas City Zoo and Worlds of Fun and the Plaza and Brookside. I know every part of town inside and out. I've lived and/or worked in every metro county.

Kansas City is my home and my history. And I am thankful it is.

But here's the catch: I have another "hometown" where I lived for nursery school, kindergarten and second grade (well, half of it) through most of ninth grade. And it feels like home too. In fact, it's a lot more "homey" than Johnson County.

I miss it and crave it sometimes. I came across some photos of my hometown, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, today. I'm sharing them with you for old times' sake.

The public library where I learned to love books and got my first library card. It had a metal plate with my raised library number on it and a special sleeve to keep it safe. The original library was enlarged at some point when I was in elementary school. It used to be just the part of the building to the far left of this picture.

The library is just down the street from this, the Congregational Church where I went to nursery school. It was built in 1808. And is awesome.

Newer and uglier is St. James Church, the church where I received First Communion and listened to the Saturday Mass folk group sing "One Tin Soldier" for a long time. It was just down the street from our second house. (The interior has been slightly remodeled since I was there.)

The exterior of St. James Church.

This is the Episcopal Church. Almost everyone in town was Catholic. My next-door neighbors went to the Congregational Church for a while. I can recall two kids in my class that went to this church. I knew one Jewish girl. Everyone else? Catholic. (Mostly Italian-Catholic) Anyway, I took tap in their community room when I was pre-K.

This is the ferry. It is the oldest continually-running ferry in the United States. There are several bridges now that make the ferry really just a fun activity now as opposed to a transportation need. Runs across the river to Glastonbury.

Parts of town date back to the 1700's. Houses are preserved.

And treasured. As opposed to here, where old means bad and most things get torn down and replaced as they age. It's a horrible shame. The history in Rocky Hill (and the east coast in general) is a beautiful thing.

The population there now is about 19,000. I think it was more like 16,000 when I was growing up there. The school district boundaries were the town boundaries. There were two (and a half) elementary schools, one junior high and one high school. The town rallied behind the high school soccer and basketball teams (no football). It was small-town living and it was really, really great.

I think Kansas City is a great place. I'm so happy that my children have the benefit of our schools and all of the other things this city offers for families. I love how affordable life is here.

But I am sad that my kids won't get that small town upbringing. It's something special. And not complicated.