2014 in Review: Freedom, Family and Friendship

With three kids, the year flies by at such a rapid pace, I feel like I am desperately trying to hang on for dear life. Plus, I have developed some sort of out-numbered-by-the-children induced dementia and find myself forgetting things. Daily.

I asked Lily what some of the highlights of 2014 were and she said: Nothing.
I asked Chloe and she said: "School, being with my cousins, just school."
I asked Nicholas and he growled, pointed at me and threw a toy.
I asked Mike and he said: "Nicholas being born." Note: Nicholas was born in 2012.

As usual, my family is absolutely no help. 

Since I know everyone is breathlessly awaiting the intimate memories of my personal life, here's my memories from 2014. (Note: Something of these things could have happened in 2013. Remember, I am nearly senile.)

1. This year marked seven years since my oldest daughter was diagnosed with ependymoma, a vicious, vile type of brain cancer. Lily was 14 months old at diagnosis. She is now "nearly 9," and for the first time in seven years, I heard her oncologist say:

"Lily is a survivor. See you in two years. Send me pictures. "

2014 gave us freedom.

2. It also marked our 6th Annual Lily's Lemonade Stand for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. It was our top fundraising year so far and because of the amazing friends, family and sweet strangers, we raised $12,619. In July, I was nominated for a Bloganthropy Award for my work with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (the biggest, most humbling honor ever.)  Our lemonade stand is so much about paying our blessings forward. I will never know why our child survived when so many children have lost their lives.  We know we cannot squander this gift and lemonade will help us find a cure) (Pssst: There is still time to donate. . .and help us tip the scales over $12K. . Just head over here and take advantage of the last minute tax write off! )

3. To wrap up Lily's accomplishments: my daughter ran in three 5ks (two with me and one with Mike), learned how to read chapter books, danced in her 4th dance recital and FINALLY got that Newborn Nursery doll she has begged for "her entire life." We also celebrated her 8th birthday with an off-the-hook, epic glow in the dark party.

4. My year would never be complete without my darling beautiful Chloe. Chloe continues to be the source of pure joy for my heart. She also ran in two 5ks, danced in her 3rd dance recital and began to learn how to read. Chloe turned 5 and we celebrated with a Cinderella themed party at Enchanted Dreams. From her raspy voice (which just gets better age) to her quick, intelligent mind, Chloe is the ham in my sandwich.

5. This was the year Chloe began kindergarten and I was left home alone with Nicholas. It has felt like a restart to motherhood. It has been terrifying, trying and above all, the most fun I've ever had. The boy is all boy, with a side of devil and the sweetest kisses.  Nicholas growls, dances like he is in Saturday Night Fever, tackles kids twice his size and is the child who completed our family in the most surprising of ways.  We celebrated the boy's second birthday in true manly style with a Digger/Dump Truck party.

6. This summer I launched a business with my fabulous writing partner Lindsay Podolak. Tigerlily Creative Media is the answer to something I've been searching for my entire life: the chance to write for a paycheck. My father always told me I needed to start a writing collective. And here I am, writing. (PS Hire us!).

7. Early in 2014, my brother David moved from my mother's home into a group home with other men with similar developmental disabilities. This was an answer to a prayer and David is thriving. Every grown man deserves a home of his own, away from his mother. David got that. I know my Dad would be happy to see his boy settled.

8. Celebrating 11 years of marriage, Mike and I also celebrated our 20th Christmas together. I've known Mike since we were kids and now we have three. His life is a blessing. His love is a gift. And the fact he puts up with me is the best luck, ever.

9. We took the most epic vacation, ever. Beginning in San Francisco with my best friend Karen, we traveled to Yosemite, Mammoth Valley, Death Valley, Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Antelope Island and Salt Lake Lake City.  These places are like glimpses of heaven--a view into the Universe. We are lucky to have the resources to share these treasures with our children. We are blessed to have the time and the energy to make it happen.

10. The joys and struggles of my friends are their news.  I've been blessed to watch so many of the people I love excel and laugh and live life in joy. I've been inspired by many strong, powerful women who are fighting battles. And most of all, everyday I wake up with a full inbox, text messages that make me laugh out loud and too many beautiful friends to count.  My friends stop me from giving into my natural introversion and remind me what is important in life: people. Where would I be without my friends?

Well, I'd be talking to myself on a street corner and laughing out loud alone in Walmart at 11pm. (I SWEAR this has NEVER happened. Despite what my children might tell you.).

Cheers to you 2014. Happy 2015. (I hope this is the year I get that automatic wardrobe dresser robot machine that Judy Jetson had. #SendTheFuture )