Happy, Healthy, Prosperous – all the things a new year should be!

It has been an amazing 2012 for this family.  After several years of serious health issues, teetering on the brink of death times too numerous to mention, my mom is finally battling back and getting around.  My sister added the most amazing brother-in-law to the family in July.  This is the first year in the last four that I haven’t spent at least some time in the hospital.  My husband is awesome, my children incredible.

The year was not without it’s bitterness.  This year, we lost two powerful women who were important in our lives to breast cancer.  We almost entered the new year without our beautiful Lusi, who suffered serious physical damage in an end of year attack by another dog.  Andy Reid was fired as coach of the Eagles.

But regardless of the pills we’ve swallowed, the promise of the new year is too great to ignore!  We’ve got a Bilbrough wedding to look forward to in the coming months, and friends will be welcoming a new baby that I hope I get to spoil a bit.  Jim has an appointment at the VA that we believe will bring terrific results.  I will be a certified teacher by the end of this new year, and will hopefully find my way back into the workforce.

Eilis is starring in her show at school; Granuaile remains, in her own words, awesome; and Brighid has a very good plan for her own academic and professional future.  Harper and Lusi will both celebrate second birthdays; Granuaile will make her First Holy Communion; and we will ride into the new year in a new car.

I know the new year won’t be without it’s bumps and hurdles.  But you have to taste the bitter to know the sweet, and we’re ready to tackle whatever comes out way.

I shall close this year with these words from Helen Keller –  “Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

This is my New Year’s Resolution.

Charming Charlie – A New BFF for the New Year!

I am so starting this new year off right!  I’ve been a big fan of the chunky necklaces that match every outfit that you find at places like Coldwater Creek, but I’m nearly embarrassed to admit how much I’ve spent on the likes of these fabulously faux gems.  I’ve paid way too much for necklaces that only match one blouse or earrings that I can only wear on Leap Year day or something silly like that.

Today, Brighid and I hit the Deptford Mall to check out some of the sales and use some of her Christmas gift cards, and as we were walking the mall, we discovered it.  The mecca of bogus baubles!  Charming Charlie has accessories to outfit any, well, any outfit!  You’ll find handbags, sunglasses, necklaces, earrings bracelets, scarves, hats – anything you need to put that polished finish to any look, they have.  And they have it at such amazing prices!  Necklaces that I know I’ve paid upwards of $40 for (shhhh, don’t tell my husband), I saw almost identical twins of at Charming Charlie for only $15!  They had bridal style headbands, which I was looking at for my sister, for $12 and up – very similar to ones I saw online at bridal stores for more than $75!

The handbags are all fun and funky, and you’ll find a nice selection of wallets, some crazy socks, and gorgeous pashmina style wraps and scarves to match every outfit.

And I love that the store is arranged almost like a rainbow!  Everything is with it’s matching color scheme!  Pick out which outfit you want to match accessories to, and head right to that color!

I’ll be heading back there this week to coordinate some jewelry with the outfits I’m taking to Walt Disney World next weekend – and I’m sure I’ll be back many more times after that to dress up some of the other things in my closet that need refreshing.

Check the store locator on their website to see if there’s a Charming Charlie near you.  He’ll be your new BFF in 2012!

2011 – What I Learned This Year

I could sum up my year in one word.  School.  I feel like the entire year was consumed by my educational aspirations.  But aside from all the -ologies I studied in 2011, I’ve learned quite a few other things.  With a year that saw me recovering from last fall’s bout with MRSA and then a stay in ICU battling kidney failure, I had lots of time to reflect on things – the good, the bad, and what was more important.

So here goes:

I learned that it’s perfectly okay to be sad about the things I’ve lost.  My sister, who died way too young; my dad, who fought for the last ten years of his life to make sure he snatched every bit of joy and happiness he could in the time he had left; the five babies I never got to hold or cuddle or sniff the tops of their tiny heads.  I know now that it’s okay to still find myself in a puddle of my own tears over not having those things.  But it’s even more important to celebrate and appreciate the things that I haven’t lost.  I have three amazing daughters, who can melt my heart with their beautiful smiles and warm me on my coldest days with their giggles.  I have a husband who loves me – cherishes me – and through all of his own battles, always manages to make me feel like his number one priority.  I am blessed with an awesome sister, terrific parents and step-parents, and extended family and friends that I adore.

I learned that it really does take the worst to make you truly understand and appreciate the best.  The worst snowstorms help you appreciate the warmest days.  A bad grade on a test makes you truly grateful when you get an A.  A bad eye day for Jim makes a good eye day such a gift.  Laying in bed in intensive care helps you to remember to find gratitude when “it’s only a cold” or “it’s a small cut”.  I’m going to bitch way less about how sore my nose is when I get a head cold and be happy instead that they discovered Puffs with Lotion!

I have finally figured out what a “good” doctor is.  I’ve had the same primary care doctor for almost 30 years.  While I’ve appreciated everything he’s done for me, I never really appreciated what a good doctor he is.  He’s funny.  I don’t mind going to see him, because I feel I will surely be entertained, but this year, when we needed balls to the wall, he stepped up to the plate.  And you already know that I truly believe I found God’s gift to medicine when I found Dr. Veitia.  So if you’re in the area, and need a primary care doctor, it’s Dr. Gary Heck.  Looking for a phenomenal surgeon?  Dr. Nestor Veitia.  And you’ll love them as much as I do when you meet some of the other doctors that are out there.

I”d like to say that in 2011, I figured out the meaning of life.  Well, at least my life.  I haven’t.  But I have made huge strides in figuring out what was important.  Family, friends, health, education, and Mickey Mouse.  If you discover the joy in all of that, you don’t really need to know the meaning of life – you just need to enjoy it.