1. Through Internet sites like Facebook and Blogger (and now Twitter) I have re-connected with many family members, high school classmates, and old friends; and made many other friends online as well. (click here to read my blog post about this)
2. For the first time this past January, Curly and I participated in the March For Life in Washington, D.C. I hope our family will have a chance to attend many, many, more of these in the future (as many as it takes until Roe v. Wade is overturned).
3. Speaking of Curly, he, more than either of his brothers, is passionate about the plight of the unborn in America and the world. Mind you, our other two boys aren't afraid to stand up for life (last year they had some conversations with their friends at school that at least one of the teachers had to put an end to because the debate was getting heated, and because some of the parents might not want their kids discussing abortion at school), but it is an issue that Curly has really developed deep convictions about. (His favorite TV personality? Glenn Beck. Not bad for a ten-year-old.)
4. Moe received his First Holy Communion in 2009.
5. For the time spent Memorial Day Weekend in North Carolina with my aunt and many of my cousins, most of whom I hadn't seen in years. There were children there I had never met; and because we were in town for a baby shower, now there is one more cousin I have yet to meet!
6. For the Montessori school that our boys attended and where I worked for the past several years; for their teachers and the friends that we made while we were there. I pray that the school will continue to grow and prosper, and the friendships will last for years to come.
7. For the Catholic school the boys are attending now, for their wonderful teachers, the principal and assistant principal, and all of the new friends that they (and I) have made.
8. Speaking of which, the cafeteria food at the boys' school is to die for. Our "lunch lady," Mrs. O, was a five-star chef at one of the fanciest restaurants in Virginia, and the food is always delicious AND nutritious. Everything is made from scratch, and Mrs. O. is always happy to accomodate Moe's food allergies.
and even a baby snake.
10. That we were able to take our kids to Yellowstone this summer, which is probably my favorite place in the world. They loved it, and can't wait to go back. Read about our adventures and see some of our photos here, here, and here.
11. That we are all still alive and in one piece after our Yellowstone horseback riding adventure (see the links in #10). We had a great time and our guides were excellent, but there were a few close calls...
12. For the time spent with our dear friends B. and A. and their four kids over the July 4 weekend. We traveled to the Finger Lakes region of New York, where A's cousins had invited us to stay at their cabin. The main reason for our trip was the Indy Car race at Watkins Glen Raceway, but we also hiked in the beautiful gorge at Watkins Glen State Park, and spent time at the cabin relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
Here's a rare glimpse of Moe looking for critters in the pond by the cabin:
The beautiful gorge at Watkins Glen There were many races that weekend besides the big Indy Car race. "The Glen" is surrounded by rolling hills and farms--a perfect setting to enjoy some good racing!
In case you're wondering, we did go to Mass on Sunday--we got up early to make the 7:30 am Mass at a tiny church in Hammondsport, NY. Normally we don't go that early, but the husbands didn't want to miss any of the action at the racetrack!
13. For calling me once again this year to be a catechist at our parish. It took a little bit of creative scheduling for me to do it (since my kids are in Catholic school, they no longer take part in the Religious Education program), but thankfully my family has been wonderfully accommodating and supportive of this endeavor. Plus I have a great class of just four kids, and I've had a lot of fun with them this year. And I'm learning perhaps more than they are!
14. For Our Lady's patience with me as I try to develop a closer relationship with her. I have been blessed with a wonderful priest as well as great friends from church who have encouraged me to get to know her better. I came pretty close to making a total consecration to her, but in the end I didn't. I pray that someday soon I will have the courage and conviction to pledge myself fully to Jesus through his Blessed Mother.
15. For our little niece, the first girl on my husband's side of the family to come along in many years. She arrived in July, and was baptised in November.
16. For our two-year-old nephew, who is now walking and talking. His bright smile and hearty laugh will light up a room!
17. For my wonderful sister-in-law-to-be. You've made my brother happier than he's ever been. May God bless you both with many happy years together.
18. For my awesome husband, who has been with me some eighteen years, from our first date until now. I know sometimes he feels frustrated with my gaffes and blunders (not to mention my tendency to be somewhat of a slob), but he has stuck with me and loved me and I am eternally grateful for him.
19. That my parents and my in-laws all enjoy health and happiness. May they be a part of our lives for MANY more years to come!
20. Greg Mortenson. He rocks. I picked up his new book, Stones Into Schools, last week. I can't wait to read it.
21. Sarah Palin. Look out, people; Sarah's comin'!
22. For Larry's piano teacher and for Curly's guitar teacher. They encourage them to challenge themselves and keep music fun.
23. That for the past several years our boys have friends their age living right next door. They are constantly playing over at their house or ours; sometimes building forts outside, sometimes playing video games, sometimes playing capture-the-flag, and the other day they turned off all the lights in our basement and had a ghost hunt. (Good luck; they won't find any in our house.) Now the kids all go to the same school, so we carpool together.
24. For my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, the parents of the little boy and girl in Blessings #15 and #16. They live too far away for us to see them very often, and the time that we do spend with them is very precious indeed. I am grateful for cell phones and text messaging; on Christmas morning SIL sent me a picture of their son playing with his new Thomas the Tank Engine wooden railway set underneath their Christmas tree.
25. In 2009 we had a few snowstorms, and I love the way the snow makes everything around us look like a Christmas card. I'm not to fond of shoveling, or the way the kids tend to track dirty snow into the house, or having to deal with wet coats, hats, and mittens; but they love playing in the snow and that makes it all worthwhile. Just two weeks ago we had the biggest snowstorm we've had in years, and the most snow in December ever.
Last January 1, I published my first post, so I'll mention one more blessing: A year of blogging, and getting to know many of you through your wonderful blogs. It's been fun, and may we all have a blessed, bloggy 2010!