New Year, Same Me

With the calendar change and a significant note of the passage of time I so often and easily think about resolutions I can make and everything that I can change or do in the new year.  Resolutions are great but I don’t do well with them.  I can’t actually remember the last one that kept, I’m not even sure that I’ve ever made one.  Research tells us that goal setting is a good way to get things accomplished, and I do well with challenges and targets to meet.  So this year I’m making goals based on things that I want to accomplish and that feed my spirit or soul.

2016 Goals:

  1. Read 50 books
  2. Run a 5k before my breast surgery and (maybe) after my surgery (this goal is VERY dependent on when surgery is and what type of reconstruction I choose)
  3. Increase my range of motion and upper body strength
  4. Make Beef Wellington
  5. Make “The Silver Spoon” lasagna
  6. Get my Passport renewed

These goals are not in any particular order and I think I can check them all off in the next 12 months.

Here’s a glimpse at my thought process in choosing these.

  • Reading has been challenging, chemo, radiation, etc. etc. all make focusing on anything difficult.  I’ve been able to get through some of my more challenging books lately so a goal of about 1/week is both attainable and a decent increase from the past 2 years.
  • I have always been and felt strong, emotionally and physically, I’ve lost a LOT of my strength and fitness in the past 2 years.  I want to move my body in the right direction to regaining this part of my life.  Sure I’d love to lose weight that I’ve gained during treatment and be as strong as I was before cancer, but at the end of the day, I really just want to feel like I’m physically and emotionally strong and healthy.  That doesn’t happen at a specific body weight or ability to bench press the it, but it will occur as I continue to make healthy choices for my body and mind.
  • I adore cooking and baking!  Making Beef Wellington has been in the back of my mind for a few years, to it’s moving out of the back of my mind and onto our family plate… soon.  I’ve made the Silver Spoon’s lasagna using store bought noodles, this year I’m taking on the whole recipe start to finish.
  • Travel.  This will be a part of our life-after-cancer so I really need to renew my passport.  If I don’t reach this goal, please smack my forehead.

What are your resolutions or goals for 2016?


2015 Year in Review


2015 has been an amazing year.

As a family one of the greatest joys we’ve had this year has been joining the Launch Team for Hartford City Church.  This is a new church plant of the Evangelical Covenant Church, East Coast Conference.  Our mission is to glorify Jesus Christ and bless the city of Hartford.  The vision of the church is to participate in and experience God’s Beautiful Restoration in Hartford, CT (and beyond), Isaiah 61:1-4 is our seed verse.

Esther is in 3rd grade and doing great!  She loves her friends and is kind and caring.  She and Naomi are on the same indoor soccer team this Winter. Her favorite part of this year was taking our various trips to Old Sturbridge Village, with family and friends.

Naomi is in 1st grade and is also doing fabulously!  She is more quiet than Esther but just as sweet and kind.  She loves playing soccer with her friends from school and town.  Her favorite part of 2015 was having a play date with her friend Cam.

Matt has seen a busy year for work but he continues to grow in his position at Aetna and has a great team to work with.  He began brewing his first beer in January and made a few more batches over the year.  Ever the connoisseur, he was pleased with some and decidedly unpleased with others.  May brought knee surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon (it had ripped off his knee cap).  Matt’s surgery and recovery have been smooth and better than expected.  2016 will hold a return to running and golf for Matt, as both were put on hold during recovery.

Carey began 2015 by finishing her radiation treatment in January.  Over the summer she finished her Herceptin infusions and celebrated one year of having no evidence of cancer (aka remission).  There have been some setbacks this Fall with reconstruction, caused by an infection that brought a week at Hartford Hospital and removal of the implant used to reconstruct the right side (cancer side).  This means that 2016 will be the year in which Carey finishes reconstruction.  In the midst of the Fall’s challenges Carey began serving with MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a Ministry Coach, working to support and assist the MOPS groups across CT and into NY.  Carey experienced the support and friendships that come from MOPS groups and communities and is very excited to be beginning to give back to this organization.

We have certainly had our challenges this year, but we have seen God’s hand carrying us through each day and challenge.  As people seeking to follow Jesus we know that Life will always have challenges, they are what shape us and build our character as well as our hope.

Our prayer for 2016 is that God would continue to draw us close to Him, that He would give us the strength and grace to meet each new challenge.  Our world can seem so dark at times, whether it is the individual challenges we face or the broader global challenges facing humanity.  We pray that 2016 would be a year that brings Hope, that as we celebrate the birth of Christ we would be reminded of the Hope that He came to give us.  As we go into the new year may we love and care for those around us with strength, humility, and grace, just as Christ did.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love the Penneys

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is fun and even during my more “bitter” times I liked the day.  A chance to tell people more pointedly that you love and care for them is great.  Its kind of like a Thanksgiving for people.

I start with my immediate family and then head out through family and friends and I am thankful for each of you.  For the friendship and the fun times and character building times.  So who are your valentines?  Here are some of mine.


Biggest Little

Littlest Little

Love & BL - Sledding

LL - Waiting her turn

Love & LL - Sledding


Santa, shopping and garbage

What do Santa, shopping and garbage have to do with each other?  Nothing, really but they all happen to be on my mind now.

As of a few hours ago we are completely done with Christmas shopping.  The Littles and I ventured into the mall for two reasons this morning.  1) To visit Santa and 2) to pick up a few remaining items.  The Littles loved waiting to see Santa almost as much as seeing him.  They bopped around and played with the tree and the little toys they had in the line area.  Then we walked into Santa’s “room” and the bopping slowed.  They knew this was their big moment… or they just thought it was odd that this guys was wearing a fuzzy red suit and he was asking them what they wanted him to bring to their house.  The looks in the picture pretty much say it all.  No tears but there’s certainly some bewilderment.  This was their first visit and, in my opinion, it went great.  We didn’t make a big deal about it, Matt wasn’t actually there, the Littles had fun and we have some cute photographic documentation.

Now to the garbage.  Why?  Why do I always find things to throw away on garbage day?  I should specify, after the truck comes by on garbage day.  And these are not just some pieces of mail or some packaging.  Why are there always things in my fridge that look fuzzy funky that I miss when I do the “garbage night sweep”?  How exactly do I miss the funk that is right in front of my face when I do the sweep?  Please tell that I am not alone in this.  There must be fellow funk-missers in the world.  Anyone?

Welcome to the tundra

Well, tundra might be an overstatement.  But we had family visiting us this weekend from Dubai so when compared to Dubai I’m pretty sure that our 23-34*F felt like they were in the tundra.

While my cousins were here we visited, ate yummy food and went to Boston.  We live about 1.5 hours out of the city and we had yet to take our Littles into Boston.  Matt and I have gone into the city since having the Littles, mostly for Red Sox games.  We both LOVE Boston, the history, the character, the sports teams, the culture, the museums, and so on.  I can’t think of a reason not to visit with the girls but for some reason they have never been.  Thankfully that has been amended.

We went to the Boston Children’s Museum,, all the littles had a fantastic time (my cousin has two of her own).  Then we went to, wait for it… La Famiglia Giorgio, only the best Italian restaurant in the North End,  Really, if you frequent (or in-frequent) the North End check this restaurant out, they’re great.  We also walked through the New England Holocaust Memorial (breathtaking, and Faneuil Hall (quintessential Boston).  We had a great time.

On their last night with us we had a big family supper.  That means, 8 adults and 7 kids (6 of which are under 4).  Again a great time was had by all.  Here are some pics of the festivities.

Fun in the bubble room

The shadow family and the butterflies

shadow family 2

Another shadow family and more butterflies

Walking around the North End

Kirsten & Martin at Boston's Christmas tree

The bouncing 3 year olds

More bouncing and giggles

All the Littles in one frame!!

Skipping Thanksgiving

When  I started this blog I fully intended on writing often.  I was pretty confident that I would not write daily but I found myself hoping to write a few times a week.  I have a ways to go.

Thanksgiving was about 1.5 weeks ago and we are full into Advent and all the preparations for Christmas but I want to revisit Thanksgiving.  This season is my favorite time of year, beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas and the New Year.  So here is my little “I’m thankful for…” list.

I’m Thankful for …

my family. This begins with my husband, continues on to my littles and extends to my parents, sibling(s), in-laws, nieces and nephew, etc.  My family is amazing.  They are smart, funny, punny, creative, inspiring, forgiving, gracious, loving, nurturing and mine.  And I love them.

my friends.  Every one of them make my life more full and rich.  They show me new things about myself, they listen and empathize and encourage.

my home.  Its over 100 years old, probably more like 150 years.  It has little drafts and all the quirks that come with old homes.  But it also has tin ceilings, a cool front porch, a great yard, some new flower beds (put in by me), a large kitchen, a coziness that comes with age.  These walls have survived the Great Depression, 2 World Wars, probably the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.  They have protected families from hurricanes, nor’easters, snow, rain, hail, wind, sun and heat.  I have more in my old cracked home than most people in the world.  I am thankful for these walls and I would love to hear the stories they could tell.

my life.  Life is a precious gift, it can be hard and painful but it can also be glorious and beautiful.  It is always precious and sacred.

There is so much more that I could list but those are the big things.  Now to carry those with me into Christmas.