wrapping up 2011

I can’t believe 2011 is over. It seriously feels like both the shortest and longest year! To sum up this crazy year:

In January: We started looking for a place to call our own, to put down real roots, to stick around for awhile. This turned out to be not so easy as we have pretty specific housing needs that aren’t trendy at the moment.

Addy quit preschool and dance and switched away from her beloved gym to a new gym. That was a HARD transitional time for her. Yikes.

In February: we had terrible ice storms and weather. It was soooo cold. This was our second freeze of the year. Brr. Do we really want to live here?! We narrowed our housing choices anyway and then….all the models changed and we had to start over.

In other big news, my brother – bachelor extraordinaire – asked his girlfriend of many years to marry him while flying in a hot air balloon over Africa.

In March: Noah turned 9! We contracted on a lot we didn’t really love because the lot we did love was taken during all the model change hub-bub. At this point we are just desperate to move to a more functional abode. We’ll take what we can get.

I had a busy month of photographing births in March – I love my job!

In April: Addy turned 5. I cried for a week. She wanted to see the sun rise over the Gulf so that’s what we did. It was beautiful and wonderful….and cold! She also performed in her first gymnastics “skills meet” and loved it!

In May: I turned 30-something ;) and we waited…and waited…for answers to some building questions. They didn’t come.  Addy played her first season of soccer and LOVED it! Noah participated in National Lemonade Day and made a ton of money for himself and a cause near and dear to his heart. Addy participated in her second gymnastics skills meet and loved it even more than the last. Teegan took his last gymnastics class. :(

In June: we FINALLY got answers to our building questions and a ground breaking date was set for July. The kids finished up grades 3, 8 and 11 – I have two kids in highschool and one is a SENIOR! YIKES! I make the difficult decision to stop shooting portrait sessions and focus on my birth photography in order to better balance my family’s growing needs and my own sanity :) Noah went to Hogwarts summer camp at our church and had a blast. Noah and Addy started Tae Kwon Do in a homeschool class during the day – it is a real workout for Noah, for sure, but both kids love it.  We also took a few days and went to Waco to visit the Mammoth site, the zoo and a few other local attractions.

In July: We had no grand plans since we were in the middle of a heavy drought so no fireworks at all this year. Sad. But our house finally broke ground and made great progress this month. I had tons of births which was great. I also took about 20 seconds to enjoy the summer before diving into fall planning. Ethan came for the summer – a definite highlight!

In August: We went to Austin for a SUPER fun weird few days of eating and strange sites. The kids absolutely adore Austin and would go there before just about anywhere else so that was fun. We registered Addy for Kindergarten which broke my heart. Thankfully she changed her mind the weekend before school started and decided to homeschool. Whew! She doesn’t regret it, yet! Addy also started a new dance class (jazz and tap) along with two days of gym and her homeschool TKD class. In our lonely little neighborhood, this is a great way for her to be around other kids and get out of the house since she’s homeschooling. She LOVES her activities. Noah is still doing TKD through December. I’m hoping he likes it enough to continue with it beyond 2011.

The big news, though, is that Dalton and Teegan both started college classes this month. Dalton is taking one on campus and Teegan is taking one on campus and one online. They are excited and I’m glad that someone else gets to do some of the teaching and we all benefit from the free tuition that comes with dual credit classes here! :)

In September: Our house is almost done! Very exciting! My Mom came to visit which was nice for all of us. Addy started Girl Scout Daisies, in case she didn’t have enough on her plate. Noah and Addy got their Yellow Belts in TKD and Addy started learning new, harder routines for this fall’s gym meets. Best of all, Addy – who had previously sworn off ballet FOREVER (due to a bad experience last fall), cautiously decided to TRY it since her tap and jazz friends were also taking ballet.  She LOVES ballet now more than all the other types of dance. Her instructor is so gifted and sweet and it makes all the difference. The kids also started Religious Education at our UU church and love it.

In October: Teegan turned 14! Addy started – and basically quit – soccer. It wasn’t as fun this fall for her. Our schedules were too full to consistently make the games and pretty much any conflict meant that Addy chose it over soccer so we pulled her out.I shot my last birth for the year and am looking forward to some much needed time to focus on my family.

And we closed on our house! It’s a miracle, really. Neither of us thought it would truly work out and Tony wouldn’t even talk about it to anyone but me until we signed on the dotted line – too superstitious. We were sleeping in our new house by the end of the month!

In November: Dalton turned 17. This time next year he’ll be voting in his first presidential election! Addy performed her new routines at her first fall meet and did awesome. A string of viruses went through our house that basically took us all down for most of the month. But my Dad and his wife visited for Thanksgiving and that made it all better! The kids made tons of friends in the neighborhood and they are so much happier. Even though Addy has only known one house her whole life she repeatedly reminds me that she loves our new house and is so glad to be out of the old house. It was that bad!

In December: We started really settling into the new house, enjoying the weather and gearing up for the holidays. Dalton and Teegan finished their first college semester with 4.0′s and are registering for the next semester. Noah and Addy had their orange belt tests at TKD. Addy performed in another skills meet and did even better than last time. She’ll be moving up a level  in Jan 2012. Addy also performed in her holiday recital doing a beautiful ballet routine and a tough tap routine and did awesome with both. Addy is struggling last and this month with her schedule and her new-found neighborhood friends who she barely has time to see. The new gym times should free her up a LOT so hopefully she’ll only be gone after school one day a week. Tony turned 40-something! :)His business continues to grow and morph in directions none of us expected. I’m often jealous! But grateful that he works so hard and is so good at what he does and that it is something that he loves!

We are ending 2011 happy, healthy and feeling truly blessed with amazing kids who impress us every day without even trying, an amazing house that makes us feel organized, settled and gives us room to breathe, amazing neighbors and friends and amazing family who take time out of their year to come visit us since its so hard for us to travel.

It’s hard to ask for much more in 2012 but I’d like to focus on my health (cliche I know but rarely do I make it a priority and it shows!), focus on my children and homeschooling and make my husband the priority he should always be. It sounds simple enough but these goals often elude me even though they are the most important things in my life so they are my focus. I plan to take WAY more photos of the kids because I’m sad I’ve stopped recording their memories in pictures like I used to. So I’ll be getting back to that, too. And hopefully in 2012 we’ll get out of here once or twice for a vacation somewhere out of state. We really miss traveling!

 

2 thoughts on “wrapping up 2011

  1. Wow, what a great wrap up!! All in all, it sounds like 2012 was a pretty good year for your family. Hooray for a new wonderful house! Happy New Year!

  2. And you forgot to put ‘adopt from Vietnam’ on your to-do list this year… Hee.Hee.
    Looking forward to blogging this year too! Congrats on settling into the new house! One of my goals is to travel more this year as well. Hoping actually to have Houston on my list. Our adoption agency was located there and I have always really felt they should get to meet Elizabeth:)

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