Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goodbye, 2011 - possibly the greatest year ever!

And now for my annual recap of the year.  I feel pretty blessed to have had the experiences I have this year, and I am excited to see what will happen next.  I'm in such a great place in my life right now, and when I look back on years past, I can see the path to this moment.  And it makes me happy to see what all I've been through to get to this point.  I have to thank God for bringing me through everything and blessing me with what I have now.

January - The year started with travel for CPSI.  I was still very happy to have a job, but I knew the travel would become an issue before long.  My first trip was to Bunkie, LA.  We stayed at a super-nice casino and the hospital was small and friendly.  The application didn't work, but it was still a fairly pleasant experience.  Four of us went, two from our training class and two more seasoned employees.  I learned a lot from the experience.

February - What an eventful month!  February brought with it a ring and a house!  Jon proposed on Valentine's Day after a lovely dinner at Macaroni Grill.  He did it at our apartment, where we exchanged gifts.  There was a cute teddy bear in my gift bag and I loved it so much that I didn't even see the little box at the bottom of the gift bag!  He got down on one knee and proposed.  Kaylee was our witness.  It was exactly as it should have been.  Shortly after the grand proposal, we moved to a house.  Renting for the time being, but planning to buy.  We painted some of the walls, which was actually a lot of fun, and are planning to do more at some point.  Hopefully.  I also took a trip to Texas in February.  Fort Stockton was a neat little town and I actually enjoyed some of my time there.  Travel was beginning to wear thin, however, and I knew I would need to be home more for wedding planning.

March - This month took me back to Texas for another week.  I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and Hannah.  It was so much fun, but a little overwhelming.  I have photos of me in a bunch of different dresses, but they are currently on a computer that I can't access.  My laptop cord bit the dust and I haven't been able to purchase a new one yet.  :(  I ordered a dress online, one I hadn't tried on, so I was pretty nervous about it fitting correctly and everything.  I also started working on my wedding wrap because I knew I would need something to go over my arms since the dress was sleeveless.  I went to Oregon this month too - and endured the worst travel experience I had ever had.  The hotel was nasty.  I mean seriously nasty.  Dirty sheets, smelled of pet urine and moth balls, and the carpet felt greasy on my feet.  I slept in my clothes and put a hoodie over my pillow.  Slept on top of the covers, too.  In addition to the nasty hotel, I also caught the flu while at the hospital training the doctors.  I knew it was the flu, but our primary (the person in charge) kept saying it wasn't.  I got sicker and sicker, and his excuse for it not being the flu was that I would be in bed and unable to get up.  I told him I would rather be up and at the hospital than in that nasty hotel bed.  Oh, and someone banged on my door in the middle of the night one night, screaming for Joe to come out and face her.  I told her through the door that there was no Joe in the room.  She didn't believe me - kept screaming.  I threatened to call the police and that's when she stopped banging on the door.  Seriously.  This was a crazy place.  Oregon was beautiful, though, and I got to see my first REAL snow - you know, enough to actually stick to the ground, enough to build a snowman.  I didn't build one, though.  I was too sick.  (it was the flu, by the way - I went to a doctor when I got home)  After getting over the flu, I got on the plane and went to Oklahoma.  It was interesting.  Not much to say about that trip other than that we had fun and went to a cool winery.  I bought a bottle of wine that I intended to drink on our wedding day, but it didn't happen.  So I still have it!  :)

April - Jon traveled for work during April and May.  He came home on weekends, but it was still very hard.  Had a work trip to Florida and spent the evening at Panama City Beach.  That was pretty fun.  This trip was only a couple of hours away from home, so that wasn't bad.

May - Probably my favorite trip of all, I went to New Mexico.  It was beautiful out there.  The hospital was not so bad either, although there were some issues getting the application working.  We drove to Roswell one day and spent some time in the UFO Museum.  It was fun.  We settled on bridesmaids dresses in May, and everything started to feel VERY REAL for the wedding.

June - I knew I wouldn't be able to keep traveling like that, so I looked for and got a new job in May/June.  Back in my field, although not exactly ideal, this position allowed me to do what I needed it to do - I was at home every evening with my love and the dog!  We started talking about getting a new puppy for Kaylee to play with, and at the end of June, we adopted Simon from the Animal Rescue Foundation.  It was so much fun having a new dog in the house, and he is still so much fun to have!  They play together so nicely.  And sometimes not so nicely, lol.  We also went fishing with my parents once during June, on the same day that a wildfire consumed a large portion of the Gulf State Park.  I took some photos showing the plume of smoke. It was sad to see all those beautiful natural wetlands burn.  Oh, and right at the beginning of the month, I fell through a rotten board on our back porch.  Trip to the ER, x-rays, etc... all for some bruises.  I really could have just stayed home.  Oh well.

July - We went to Bellingrath with my parents and my sister's kids, took our engagement photos, took Noah to see Harry Potter, and got our passports!

August - We did so much wedding stuff in August.  Got the website finished, recruited victims... er... people to do stuff for the ceremony and reception, reserved the tuxedos, shoe shopping with bridesmaids, flower girl dress, etc.  We also paid off my car!  YAY!  Oh, and we ordered our wedding rings, which was super exciting.  Near the end of the month, we sent out invitations.

September - This month brought our 3-year anniversary of first contact.  I located his first words to me and my first words to him.  It was interesting finding those messages and seeing how we've grown in our relationship and what it has become.  I'm so happy I decided to return that message!  It led to the bliss I felt throughout our relationship and especially now.  We did a lot of final wedding stuff during September, and started getting RSVPs from guests.  I started freaking out a little about the upcoming wedding and all the stuff we still had to do.

October - One of the best things we did this month (besides getting married, of course!) was to take some time out to take the dogs to the botanical gardens for an afternoon.  We took photos and walked through the gardens, and didn't talk or think about wedding stuff.  It was so great to get away from the insanity for a moment and just be us.  I finished knitting my wrap about 2 weeks before the wedding, so that was nice.  I was so glad to have it finished!  And now I don't want to knit anything for awhile!  I ordered a new dress to wear for the Halloween party on our honeymoon cruise, and to wear at the Renaissance Faire.  It was gorgeous and I was so excited to have it!  There's a huge recap of wedding weekend, so I won't reiterate any of that here, but I do want to mention... we got married in October!  Also went on a cruise for our honeymoon - a first for both of us!  It was awesome - both wedding and honeymoon - and I am so glad we did it exactly the way we did it.  No regrets at all.

November - The cruise lasted into November, and when we got home, there were wedding gifts to open!  That was fun.  We finished out our registry with gift cards and cash we got for the wedding, and I got on the thank you notes right away - wanting to get that done before holiday insanity started.  Our photos were going to be delayed because our photographer was having a family crisis, but we did have a few shots from friends and family members to tide us over.  November brought my 35th birthday, and for my birthday Jon got me a sewing machine!  I have had so much fun with it!  And I think he is having fun watching me make stuff.  He just sort of randomly wanders over to my sewing area and watches me for a few minutes.  He also helps sometimes.  He likes to cut fabric and sometimes he will press fabric for me too, which I think is very sweet.  I got a book and some notions and a couple of small pieces of fabric and started practicing.  By the end of the month, I had made two pillow covers for our couch pillows, and an eye pillow filled with rice (to soothe tired eyes) I got some patterns for skirts, tops, dresses, and a few costume patterns that will need to wait until later!  (a Renaissance dress and an Elizabethan dress)  I'm starting with the skirts, lol.  We went to the Renn Faire, which is a yearly tradition.  It was awesome, as usual.  Thanksgiving was nice.  Splitting time with different families was interesting and a little difficult, but we figured it out.  We got our first Christmas tree together and put it up - and decorated the house.  It was so much fun, and really nice when we were finished.

December - We both spent most of this month dealing with sinus infections, ear infections, etc.  But that didn't stop us from enjoying Christmas as much as we could!  Our first Christmas in our house, first Christmas as a married couple, etc.  It was awesome.  And so ends the year 2011.  Engagement and wedding year.  The best year I've had in a very long time.  Maybe ever.  I don't remember ever being this happy.

Looking forward to seeing what's in store for 2012!

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