January: Haitian earthquake relief teams & rescuers. In my state of mid-pregnancy and thinking about babies and being an emotional rollercoaster, it was almost too much to bear to watch the relief efforts on tv. I literally would watch for just a few minutes and then have to go do something else to get my mind off of it because I would be stuck in an endless state of depression. But so many people were willing and eager to help. From the folks that adopted babies, to those that were there picking up the disaster, and those that helped state-side to collect supplies (shout out to Brent Olsavsky who organized water bottle donations), I was inspired by your dedication to helping people who had literally nothing left.
February: The Olympics. I can't help but get all emotional when I see everyone so proud to represent their country. Battle of the Nations in a peaceful way. Its just something about the Olympics that makes me feel very Kumbaya. Along with the rest of the population of facebook status update-ers, I also found extreme enjoyment in watching (and very enthusiastically cheering) the Curling events.
March: My Mom. Somehow after the unexpected passing of my grandma, HER mother; my mom found strength to still be MY mother when I needed her most. Thank you & I love you, Mom.
April: My Son. On April 8th, 2010 at 8:04 am, it was just me and my husband that made up our family. And then one minute later, from nothing, came another person. In just a moment he wasn't here, and then he was and our whole life changed for the better. Everything was new to us because it was new to him. We never studied anything as closely as the little hairs on his head. We never worried about anything as much as we worried that his little breaths were going in and out while he slept. We never thought our hearts could grow three sizes too big in an instant. We never thought we'd be beaming with so much pride when the doctor said he has strong lungs. He was strong and screaming and beautiful and so full of potential. And he is ours. We are his.
May: Holy Cross Church. In my whole life, I have never felt deeply connected to a church or its community. I am a born & raised Catholic girl that went through all the motions of our religion because its a tradition and feels comfortable. I pray and believe in God, but I never felt invested in the sermon or the service. I have friends that believe all kinds of things & attend all kinds of churches, and I've always felt a little envious of people who love their church. And then we joined Holy Cross in Fairview, PA and my eyes were opened to a church, priest, and community that really made me feel welcome and surrounded by people who are inspired to go to church on Sunday. It wasn't just part of their weekly routine - they went and celebrated every week. Our priest, Father Scott, says every Sunday mass like his life depended on it; like he has absolutely no where else that is more important to be than right there repeating those words he could probably say in his sleep. If he cares that much, I can't help but be excited and inspired. Our little man was baptised there in May and the service was like it was the first and most important baptism they had ever seen. Everyone came up to congratulate Grey and all parishioners present on the day signed a letter addressed to him when he is a teen and ready to be confirmed; reminding him that he has a whole community of people happy to help him navigate his way through life and through his faith. Its so beautiful and makes me so joyful to be there. If we ever move, leaving Holy Cross will be the hardest part.
June: Waiting for Superman. The movie wasn't released until later in the year (out on DVD/blueray in Feb.2011 if you didn't see it!) but I stalked the trailer about 30 million times over the summer and had my heart swell up in inspiration every single time. There isn't much I can say about this without going on a super rant about public education in our country - but know that this is happening in our country, the one we claim to be better than everyone else's. Young kids are begging and crying to have the opportunity to attend a great school. Its a disgrace that we don't offer quality education for every child. What does that say about us as a nation, if we don't care about the education we offer our children? Okay, I'm done...for now. See the movie. Once you know, you can't unknow it.
July: Our friends. As you may have noticed, we like planning events throughout the year that demand family & friend involvement. We get pats on the back for doing all the planning & organizing - but it literally would be all for not if we didn't have people in our lives that supported our crazy ideas and showed up to participate. At the second annual Beer Olympics, we had so many friends show up to donate money & participate that I was literally overwhelmed. Yes it is easier to wrangle people to join in on the fun with such a catchy & interesting event - but its a beautiful summer weekend AND it costs money AND you have to follow the rules AND you have to get your face painted AND you have to play on teams with strangers AND you have to participate in a very childish and silly awards ceremony....and despite all of those limitations - our friends still show up with money in hand and a resounding, "Hell yes I'll sign this waiver." Thank you, thank you, thank you for playing along while raising money for others. I love you.
oh and the VH1 Do Something Awards. If you didn't see it, sorry to say - you missed out big time. I watched the whole award show with tears of inspiration streaming down my face. So amazing and unbelievable what determination and persistence can do. Vh1 is admirable for spotlighting so much good-deeding! See the nominees & winners here.
August: Teachers. I mean the using their own money to buy school supplies kind. And the stay afterschool to teach ballroom dancing classes kind. And the kinds that go to cheer at their students' sporting events. The kinds that get teared up when their students put on a show they have rehearsed for weeks. The kinds of teachers that teach their students its important to be nice and try your best. Thank you teachers for making a difference everyday.
September: The Buried Life. This show makes me so happy. First the boys are adorably hilarious but more than that, I am so inspired at the way they just go after what they want. balls to the wall..excuse the cliche. So many people make a bucket list and then never get around to it...but these four guys have decided to get it all done while they have the time now. I seriously love them.
October: Strangers, like;
This woman and her son. This is the kind of mom I want to be.
Johnny from the Dominican Republic who I am eternally indebted to for taking care of Greyson when we had some unexpected oceanic turbulence on vacation.
The Chilean Miners. It's impossible for me to watch the video without tears filling up my eyeballs and a smile so wide it makes my cheeks ache.
The Pioneer Woman. Literally cannot look at her blog for less than 45 minutes. So obsessed with her layout, her photography, her writing, her recipes, her overall humor about the hilarity of momhood; just so obsessed with her. Warning - if you look at her blog, I just want to warn you its almost impossible to stop. Just sayin'. (shout out to one of my fav bloggers, Zina, for introducing me to the wonderful world of Pioneer Woman).
November: The Conemaugh Valley Community. I've already wrote a blog post about it, so to save being redundant let me just say that my faith was restored in promises kept.
December: My Husband. It is hard being a grown up, its even harder being a husband, and hardest being a dad and a husband and a grown up all together. Add that with a big glob of having caretakers surround you for your whole life and its even harder...because now that my husband's main caretaker (ie. me) has two other beings that suck the caretaking out of me all day (ie. the baby and the dog) my husband has had to take on new jobs that he's never had to do, like the laundry and dishes, making sure bills are paid, and maybe that all seems very small, but B has never had to do any of that because I used to do it (& like doing it!) and then before me his mom did it all and then if his mom couldn't, his gram would, and so on and so on...which is probably why his mom still jokes, "yea, that's my fault; sorry I never made him do anything." But even though it has been a rocky road this year adjusting to dadland and gaining lots of responsibilities AND managing a super stressful and demanding job...my husband is trying his hardest everyday. thank you for learning to do new things for me. thank you for loving me even when i'm bossy.