2008 – a Skamarakas Year in Review

Oh my gosh, don’t you hate it when you open up those Christmas cards, and people have felt some obligation to send you those lengthy notes that tell you how much better their lives were this past year than your life was?  And their kids are all smarter than yours are?  And their husbands cook, clean, change diapers, and won the Nobel Peace Prize?? 

Well, lucky you!  Not only am I not organized enough to get my end of the year family report into our Christmas cards, my kids are amazingly average and my husband, who is only typically here on the weekends anyway, acts as if housework might be linked to an immediately deadly form of some God awful disease.  So you have to come to the right place to avoid all those sunshine and rainbow end of year newsletters.

Having said that, though, it’s been one amazing year at our house!  By far, the biggest news of the year is NO MORE DIAPERS!!  Granuaile, the hardest of my three girls to potty train, is house broken!  We tried everything, but the thing that finally kicked in for her was something my friend Bec from OMOM (hi, Bec!!) used for her son, Thane.  We did a kitchen timer – you know, the ones you wind up to the time you want, and then they ring?  At one point during the training process, she was coming in and setting the clock so she could go to the potty – it was cute!  She is dry, day and night, and we’re out of diapers and pull-ups.  It’s a little bittersweet.  My last baby, potty trained 🙁  Okay, I’m over it 😉

Brighid decided to be a Marine, not be a Marine, go to boot camp and field operations training, be a Marine, then not be a Marine this year.  Whew, am I relieved!  She actually did phenomenally well at boot camp, and won the award of Overall Outstanding Cadet out of 180 kids – mostly boys. 

Then she went to San Luis Obispo, CA for field ops, where she got dehydrated to the point that her veins collapsed and they couldn’t start an IV for rehydration fluids.  That pretty much convinced her she might rather be a lawyer than a Marine.  Semper Fi, y’all.

Eilis had a great time with two weeks at SeaWorld camp.  She loves the place, and after a day there, feels much like she owns the joint.  She spent one week with the theme Red, White, and Shamu, but it was the next week – What’s For Lunch? that she really enjoyed. 

She’ll be making First Holy Communion in a few months, and made her first confession in early December.  Of course, the day after her first Confession, she asked me to steal Cinderella’s nail polish from my stay at the castle suite.  I guess she figured she should have something to confess the next time she went.  Or is that my crime??  Wait a minute……

Jim continued working in the midwest, and he participated in both of the summer trainings Brighid did.  He served as an instructor both at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and at Field Ops.  And he’s still got those dimples to die for.  Swoon.

We took an amazing trip that included a few days in Rome – thank you very much to our driver friend Manilo Tranquili for his wonderful guided tour of the city and of Castel Gandolfo.  We had a terrific time.  Isn’t he a cutie??  Dark hair, piercing eyes, chiseled good looks… you have to love Italian men!

After a few days in Italy, we toured the British Isles.  I blogged about the trip.  Look back, you’ll see it.  I don’t want to over-use the word amazing, but it was.  Amazing.  Oh my gosh, this is turning into one of those family holiday letters, isn’t it???

I continued to puruse my career goal as a professional – as in people give me money for it!! – writer.  I did well this year!  In addition to work for my brother-in-law (maybe soon to be ex-brother-in-law, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post) and the Virginia National Guard, I’ve written speeches for a former US Ambassador and helped build too many websites to count.  So if you’re surfing the web for information on theme weddings; surrealist art; Clark Gable; Lowell, MA; or any number of other topics, chances are, you will come across articles I’ve written. 

My big news of the year comes as a result of both my abilities as a writer and my love of all things Disney.  After submitting essays to Disney as an application for the 2009 Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I was surprised to get an email telling me I had been elevated to the second round.  They needed 3 more essays, but they needed them right in the middle of me having to do a 10 minute speech for someone on the financial future of Ireland.  I knew I blew it – my answers were a little smart ass-y and sarcastic – definitely NOT Disney-like.  I was floored when I was asked to schedule a telephone interview, and was in such a panic doing the interview, I thought I bombed.  When they asked me how I might explain to people how they could make Disney affordable in this economic climate, I suggested not buying the way over priced Disney souvenirs.  Way to endear myself to the Mouse House, no?  I waited one long, agonizing week before being called and told I was on the panel!  I had an awesome training weekend (yeah, I blogged it, go read), have 14 new best girlfriends, and a guy friend who is almost as sarcastic as I am 🙂  And now, for a year, I’m answering vacation planning questions at www.disneyworldmoms.com .  Go visit me, ask me questions, and PLEASE give me good feedback 🙂

We closed the year out with another cruise to the Caribbean.  It was just what I hoped it would be – quiet and relaxing, no rushing to tour anything, just casual walks off the ship and through Cozumel and Key West.  I’d like to go away again next year the same week.  It was a nice way to kick off the holiday season.

So that’s it – our year in review. 

From Jim and I, along with Brighid, Eilis, and Granuaile, we wish you a healthy, prosperous New Year.  To my Irish friends, Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.  And to my Italian friends (did I mention I took Italian classes for a little while this year?) Felice Anno Nuovo.

2 Replies to “2008 – a Skamarakas Year in Review”

  1. Me again, I’ve just realised your background is the Goofy photo you talk about in your Moms Panel profile video!!!!

Comments are closed.