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Looking Back... and Forward

Monday, January 3, 2011
We said goodbye to 2010 in style. Well, in true Ooten-style. Too much food, too many drinks, time with great friends, time with our kids, all at our house instead of going out like most people our age would prefer to do. The truth is, we have always spent our New Years' Eve holidays in. I think it's because we do so much running for the other holidays. It just feels nice not to have to be "on." We had a great time with our friends, Dawn, Brandon, Bret, and Cilla. We missed Rebecca and Paul, and our family members that sometimes join us. And, while the kids missed Joseph and Carson (as did we), they partied hard into the mid-morning hours with Jackson, who also celebrated his 4th birthday. It kind of epitomized our last year in a lot of ways... spending time really enjoying everything we love about life.

I don't typically like to look at the past, unless it's to cherish it. I like looking to the future, wondering what it holds, and really planning for what I want it to hold. :)

But, this week, it seems appropriate that I look back at how our lives have changed over the past year. We didn't have huge, life-changing events... but we did have some pretty big things going on. Maybe it just felt that way for me, because, as many of you know, lots of things in my life changed this year.

I think I finally made a commitment to make some choices this year. Or maybe I was finally confident enough to make some choices because Brad was so willing and able to help me make those choices. I don't know. But, in any case, we made some choices this year that I think really improved our lives.

In January, I walked into my job, where I had worked for over three years, and gave my resignation. I was tired. I was stressed. And, despite the fact that I knew it was what I wanted to do, I was totally terrified to leave. Not only because I was worried that I was going crazy to leave a job during the largest economic downturn in my lifetime, but also because I was really pretty scared to be a stay-at-home mom. I hadn't really done it for more than a couple of months when Bailey was a baby. I also knew that, while Brad's promotion helped, it in no way compensated him enough to replace my pay. So, we were going to have to make some cuts or some choices to go further into debt. You probably can figure out which way we went with that one. :)

Looking back, it was the most freeing decision I made. I love the people at my former job. I am and always will be forever grateful for the vast opportunities that it gave me and for the many things that I learned while working there. However, I had no idea how much stress it was putting on me until I was away from it. That made being at home with my kids even more wonderful.

As you know, I became a little, ummm.... crazed, during the spring. I think it was a combination of things that made me crazy. You know, staying in the house for too many hours with the kids through bad weather, watching too much Spiderman and Batman, and feeling like I really had no idea what I was going to do with my "career" once the kids got a little bigger. I always have to have a plan. I just have to have a plan. No matter how silly that might seem, especially to me in my life right now, I still have to feel like I'm working toward something.

That's when I had the insane idea epiphany to create my life list.

I think these two decisions were probably the two decisions that shaped our year more than any. Combined, these two decisions, really shifted our focus on life and made us all more aware of the most important things in our lives. It's not to say that it didn't come with a price tag. It did... and still does. We still have to be sane about things and make compromises sometimes because of this price tag. BUT... we have a clearer idea of what we want and we know that eventually we want to come up with a way to get there.

Because, I really, really want to go through and talk about the past year in detail. And, because I know that you really, really probably don't want me to recite my entire blog from 2010 in this one post....


I'll do it this way: A video. 

It was supposed to be short and sweet. 

But, that just would not be me. AT ALL. 

You have been warned. :)

So, when you need something to do on your lunch break (hehe), I've provided you a nice little video of us in the past year. 

For those of you who make it to the end (yes, all three of you), the music runs over a bit. I am not sure why, except that the Windows Movie Maker made me crazy and I eventually threw my hands up in the air and said, "It's close enough." No one ever gave me an award for video editing... 


Happy New Year... Here's to hoping we have as much fun in 2011 as we did in 2010. 


  1. Yep...watched during my lunch break. ALL of it. I LOVE this idea...what a great way to preserve the memories of your family. Loved it!!

    And so glad our family could be part of your family's 2010 memories. I think 2011 will bring many more wonderful memories for all of us!

    Again...just LOVE this. Great job.

  1. andreaooten said...:

    :) Thank you!

    I can't wait to see more pics of the kids in next year's! There were about 50 other pictures that I realized were on my phone and/or the other computer after I finished it. I really wish I would have put the one of Bailey and Jackson at the ballet. It is totally one of my faves. And, I had like NO pool pics, despite the fact that the pool is a HUGE part of our summer life. Oh well... it would have been an hour long if I would have thought of this before.

  1. Oh my gosh...that may be the best thing ever. I love it. I felt like I was able to be at all the things I missed. Theyre growing so fast. It made me excited for the next years to come. Oh...and I especially love the one of me cracking up. lol.