Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bring it on 2009

Last year I did a best and worst list for 2007. This year I didn't do one because, first, I was a little preoccupied so I didn't really notice much going on around me, and second, I was pretty sure you could all guess what my year was about.

Best of 2008: Oh my gosh! We had twins!!!!

Worst of 2008: Oh my gosh. We had twins.

It was definitely a challenging year. Those first few months after the move to Miami are probably one of those times I look back on through a dark haze. Being by myself all day every day trying to figure out how to deal with two babies and a toddler. Never seeing Ryan. Never seeing anyone, really. Nursing infections. Sweating. Sweating some more. Sweating in places I didn't know could sweat.

But I am excited for 2009. Things have gotten so much better. Thank you for coming, 70 degree winter, I am sure you have something to do with my mood change. Plus I'm more in my groove now with this three kid thing. We get out a lot. In fact it still surprises me how on-the-go I am with three kids. Must keep us all sane. (That and a healthy dose of humor about our life.) And we have awesome friends in Miami. We go for walks along the beach. How pleasant is that? Maybe it's because I finally dropped a few pounds (don't read that as meaning back to normal). AND - we are half way through the hardest year of residency. THANK GOODNESS.

And, dare I say? The twins are actually getting really fun. (Or maybe my mind is clouded because I've been around family for the last three weeks!)

I didn't ever think that once they were both crawling it would be even more fun. Yes, I do have kids that can potentially go in all different directions now, but it's so stinking cute to watch them take off army crawling after each other. Or over each other. Or following each other into the smallest spaces in the house and then howling for help when they get stuck. Or watching them both race over to me and start begging if I ever sit down with food. I keep thinking I need to dress them in some camouflage outfits, stick a toy rifle under their arms, and narrate their adventures ("Hit the deck, soldier!") as I listen to their heavy breathing as they army crawl after each other deliberately over and under every obstacle in the house. Really, I think it's a lot of effort to move that much chub. The first time Ashton crawled one morning, he moved two feet and slept for 3 hours.

As for 2009, do I have any goals? I guess not really. I told Ryan I thought we should try to be more spiritual. He told me I say that every year. I do? Oops. That's probably why I don't make goals. Apparently I don't even remember them.

But I have been thinking that this year I'd like to focus more on Ryan and me. I think we got a little lost in the chaos last year. Heck, half the time we were sleeping opposite schedules just so someone could get some sleep. But that could make for a really nice year, don't you think? Trying to focus on your spouse, keep each other happy, think of each other's needs as a priority? I haven't discussed this with Ryan yet, but can he really have much choice after I've blogged it? This is like doctrine. Like Oprah. Like saying you're going to lose weight this year in front of millions of people. (Seriously, did anyone watch this week? I only watched Monday - it may have gotten better the rest of the week. I've never watched Oprah before. There must be a reason. Millions of people are feeding her money to tell them "it's not a weight issue, it's a love issue"?? Come on. And women just eat this stuff up?) But we're off to a good start - I just booked a weekend cruise for the two of us! My first cruise ever. (And it's only taking two family members out in Miami to do it.)

Maybe I'll even challenge Ryan to try to re-discover his personality. :) That may sound funny, but he's the first to admit that med school and residency have sucked the life out of him. Frankly, he doesn't have time to have personality. And if he had the time, he certainly wouldn't have the energy. Our last Sunday in New York, Ryan and I had to speak in church. Afterwards, people kept coming up to me saying incredulously, "Ryan is really funny." It's so weird to me that people don't know what my husband is really like! But then I have to remember, he is hardly ever around people, and he's always exhausted. So I'm hoping he gets some time to be himself again this year.

But I guess I sort of feel a theme this year, if not specific goals. Every 6 months our church holds a general conference where the leaders of the church all give talks. One talk in particular keeps coming to my mind. It is called "Finding Joy in the Journey." That is a link to the transcript. If you want to feel inspired, motivated, grateful, and just happy, you should read it. I'll give you a few teasers from it:

“Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”

Arthur Gordon wrote in a national magazine, and I quote:

“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’

“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]

“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’"

It seems especially poignant when I feel like so often we just keep thinking how nice it will be when we're done with med school, or done with residency, or through with this year. But you know what? This is my life. So this year is all about finding joy in the journey.


Angela said...

Those twins of yours are SO darn cute! I don't think anyone could hear the two of them laughing together and not smile. It just seems like double the joy!! (. . .and double the intensity when they are both throwing a tantrum).

Yeah, James had a bit of an identity crisis in law school too. I had forgotten about that until I read your post. It really is a relief when they have a little bit more time to be themselves. But you're totally right--there is always a way to be content right now. It is a choice.

I like the circus story. Sometimes it seems like so much extra work to try to actually DO something else on top of housework, cooking meals, errands, caring for children, that would be purely fun for the kids. But I sure remember a few of those times my Mom went the extra mile for me, and it really makes me want to make my kids' childhood count.

Kimi said...

Are the twins ever separate? I am excited for you and Ryan to go on a cruise, one of the great perks leaving in Miami. I find the fact that Cash howls to go to therapy extremely hilarious.

Jess said...

I am so in need of hearing that life is the journey, not the destination.
It is so easy to wish away these early years with babies because they are soooo much work, but then they do something cute and you just remember how great it is!
My one year old started singing Elmo's World with me tonight while getting her bath. My three year old who hasn't fought bedtime for 3 days! Woo hoo!
It's the little things that are so exciting right?

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I love you, Jen. I find a lot of strength in what you write about your daily existence. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

I'm so happy you are going on a cruise. I can't think of two people who deserve a break more!


Safire said...

Awesome! A cruise! I am so jealous. And I think your goals are great. A good thing for me to remember too! Your boys are so cute and chubby. I love baby chub.

Gavin and Shawna said...

what a thought, huh?! Those are some great thoughts..ones I am often reminded of but forget to easily. Our "hardest" year is just ahead of us...maybe it will be much like yours....i will draw on your strength and the light that perpetually shines at the end of this tunnel. I try to enjoy the joys of the journey while looking forward to that pot of gold, too!
Where are you cruising to? Who is watching those cute boys??

Goeb Life said...

Great motivation for this coming year. I hope you are able to enjoy the journey, those boys look sooo happy!

Jenilee said...

Jen you are amazing. I hope you know that. We miss you guys so much. Your boys are so adorable. Seth and I keep saying we are going to go on a vacation, just the two of us. I should follow your lead and just schedule it.

luann.jeff.simon.jack said...

Yeah. Most upbeat post I've seen in a while. Time in Utah has done you good, but I bet the boys will just get more and more fun. That's funny what you say about know like people don't know he has personality...I've thought at times...where did my fun husband go? Multiply my life but 1.5...okay more like 5...and its yours. Kudos to Ryan for his good work and for you for...well where do I start.

luann.jeff.simon.jack said...

And as for finding joy in the journey...would you believe Jeff and I organized the house and cleaned out old junk just to spend time together. The last few outings have not been as fun as hoped so we figured we'd stay home. Jeff simply finds no joy in cleaning or organizing, but somehow he came around this time. I felt like it was a breakthrough...enjoying work. And Simon thought moving the food storage from our room to his closet was the funnest thing he had done all year.

Melissa Bigelow said...

I totally relate with the husband thing. The biggest reason I was nervous for him to start residency was I knew that he would slip into the tired/stressed/all business mood. After we moved to Florida and he was working an easier schedule, I remember thinking, "oh ya, this is the man that I married." But I agree, enjoy the journey because what are we waiting for?

Ty and Trista Swartzlander said...

We miss you here. The twins have grown like crazy over the last month. Have a safe trip home. 2009 is going to be a good year for you. Lots of fun memories and less of a blur than last year. That is my prediction if you want it. :)

Julie said...

Beautiful! This made me tear up! I miss you guys already!