Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year-in-Review (warning: lots of words to follow!)

I’ve been sort of been MIA lately. Truth is, I don’t have a good excuse, especially considering I’m currently on day 7 of an 11-day break from work. I haven’t left town. I haven’t completed any big projects (unless you count cleaning my house and putting away Christmas presents, because in my opinion, that is a big project). Yet somehow I still haven’t found the time to blog. But I make no apologies. My un-plugged break was much needed, especially considering I’ve had a bit on my mind lately. I’ve sort of been stumped, stifled, dry. But today it’s come back to me. The inspiration, the motivation, the urge to write!

And I don't think I can let the end of December come and go without doing the quintessential “year-in-review” post. It’s quite crazy, when you really think about it, how much life can change in a single year. 365 days. 525,600 minutes (according to a song from one of my favorite plays. In fact, that song is so appropriate at this very minute – go listen to it!). One year ago and here I sit, a changed person in many ways but still very much the same.

Let’s review, shall we?

In January I was featured in Shape magazine and our local newspaper for my weight loss journey. Hard to believe that was already a year ago! Somedays the routine of working out and trying to eat “healthy” gets old. Then I re-read these things and remember why I do it, and it re-energizes me. Hoping for continued motivation and new ways to push myself in 2012!

February was an interesting month. I turned another year older, but my birthday coincided with a stressful time at work (layoffs, high workload, lots of fun stuff). I did start to write down my “love story” with Sean, which gave me a whole new appreciation for the relationship we have today. We can’t forget that the beloved Green Bay Packers also won the Super Bowl!

In March I took the trip of a lifetime with my mom to take care of some family business. We spent the week working hard, but it was an unforgettable experience for both my mom and me.

Who can forget the Royal Wedding in April? A fun experience to witness, even if it was from thousands of miles away, snuggled in bed in the wee hours of the morning. More notably, April marked the second anniversary of Sean’s dad’s death. It still feels like a punch in the stomach to say it, as though I’m learning it again for the first time. April will forever be marked by that memory, but hopefully one day it will get easier to bare.

And then there was May. The first 27 days were probably great in their own rights, but May 28 certainly steals the show. That was the day, after 6 and a half years together, Sean asked me to marry him. Still makes me smile just thinking about it!

June was jam-packed. Sean’s brothers graduated (we were only able to attend his youngest brother’s ceremony). We had a dessert-themed party for his youngest brother. We started making wedding plans. And we celebrated Sean’s birthday (along with our soon-to-be wedding date)!

In July we had a relaxing holiday weekend. Later that month we celebrated our engagement with our friends who threw us a lovely party!

We had our second-annual golf tournament in honor of Sean’s dad in August—another beautiful day and a wonderful event. We also took a trip to visit 2 of my favorite friends in Madison, followed by our (hopefully) annual trip to our friend’s cabin—one of my very favorite weekends of the entire year. We of course made our yearly trip to the Minnesota State Fair and closed out the month with a fun, co-ed baby shower for 2 of our dearest friends.

September was rather quiet, but good times were still had. The month also marked the 10-year anniversary of 9/11…very hard to believe.

My favorite moment of October has to be the birth of my best friend’s daughter. Charlotte’s much-anticipated arrival came a whole week late but not a minute too soon. She’s perfect in every way and I love her to pieces! October was busy in lots of other ways, too. We attended our marriage retreat, made our annual trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch, took our engagement photos, and spent a blissful weekend with family when Sean’s brother and his girlfriend came to town.

Of course November is known for Thanksgiving. I also celebrated post-Thanksgiving with a very memorable late-night/early-morning shopping trip with my mom and sister. Unfortunately, November also marked the second round of layoffs in a year at work. This time we lost even more friends and colleagues, a tough day with lasting effects for those of us still there.

And now there's December. We spent some quality time with family and friends, and decorated the house with Christmas spirit (and after all that work, no one even saw it but us!). I contemplated some significant changes, but in the end came to a decision that was difficult but felt entirely right. And then there was Christmas. I never got around to writing about it, but we had a wonderful holiday with lots of family time.

So here we are, teetering on the verge of a new year, with both wonderful and not-so-wonderful memories behind us in 2011. I think 2012 is going to be a good year. There will be challenges and obstacles for sure, but also joy and opportunity and love. I’m excited just thinking about everything that is ahead of us. I wonder what this post will look like this time next year?

Wishing all of you a safe and happy New Year—with a blessed 2012 to follow!

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