Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Year In Review

I can't believe that it is New Year's Eve already! Looking back on the crazy year that was 2010...

JANUARY: We moved in to our new home! This was technically at the end of December. We recruited a few family members to help us (well, to help Randy) with the brunt side of things. The unpacking was a slow process, and one that still is going on...there are still boxes in our basement! I'm actually ok with that, too. We are such busy people that a few boxes in the basement don't really hurt anything. Anyway, we have slowly made our home ours and are excited about all of the memories to come in it! We have moved five times in four years, so it is good to be home.

FEBRUARY: Randy and I celebrated our last Valentine's Day as a childless couple. And by celebrated, I mean that Randy stayed home and I sat in a graduate school class all day! Romantic!

MARCH: March was a big month for our family. Of course, we welcomed Miss Quinn Elizabeth on the 12th. Her due date was the 5th, but she knew that Mommy still had grad. school on the 5th and the 6th so she waited patiently and Mommy was induced on a Thursday night. My spring break from work started the next day, so it was actually ideal timing. I took five weeks off from work.

In March I also celebrated my 25th birthday! I consider this age to be a milestone, so it was a little bittersweet. Meanwhile, I was continuing to remotely work on my grad. school classes, attend weekly church classes, and work at my online job from home. Maternity leave - what's that?!?!

APRIL: April was the month I officially joined the Catholic church. The RCIA program concluded at Easter, and I was welcomed with open arms into our parish. Randy and I love our church and feel like it is a huge part of our lives. We are so lucky to be part of a young, vibrant religious community. This was also the month in which Quinn got to start modeling all of her cute spring outfits, including Easter dresses! I was beginning to really love dressing her up, and, of course, having her sport so many festive headbands. :-)

MAY: I finally finished my master's degree at Drake. This was the result of 2 1/2 years of Friday night and Saturday classes, tons of commuting, countless hours of paper-writing, reading, incorporating strategies into my classroom, research projects, and more. Craziness, but SUCH a feeling of accomplishment. I was (and continue to be) so proud of myself, and I consider that another accomplishment to check off on my life's to-do list.

Quinn was also baptized into our church. It was fun to gather our family together again to celebrate such an important event!

JUNE: School's out for summer! I was so excited to have a few weeks off to spend with my baby girl. Randy and I celebrated two glorious years of marriage. We also attended lots of weddings this summer. I love wedding season!

JULY: We began the month of July with a sad, sad day. We lost our beloved family pet, Cooper, in a tragic accident. His absence still hangs heavily in our home, and we think of him every day. I remember reading in a Tori Spelling memoir once that her beloved dog was quite sick but waited until Tori's daughter was born to pass away, almost as if she wanted to make sure that her owner delivered okay and that the home would be all right without her. I can't help but make a similar connection to Cooper's life and death. We're okay, Cooper. Still sad, still missing you, but we're okay. Love you, bud.

July was also the month of trips! We traveled to Okoboji to celebrate Randy's grandmother's 80th birthday! We also seized that chance to visit my grandmother, who lives nearby. We then traveled to Boise, Idaho, to see Randy's sister, Amy, and her little family. It was nice to get away. For us to take a few days off and relax was a welcomed change!

AUGUST: I began the preparations to move into my new school!! With all of the changes going on in my district, my grade (eighth) was split and moved into two buildings, one old, and one new. I began working at the new middle school, conveniently located two minutes from our home! Moving into new rooms is always a stressful process (one that I've done three times), and even more so with a baby under one arm, but I got it done and have been pleased with the experience ever since. I've begun working with people to whom I am especially close, so it makes work a little more bearable!

SEPTEMBER: Randy celebrated the big 2-6. With Randy's birthday come Quinn's and my half-birthdays, so we had plenty of reasons to eat cake in September! We also completed our 5k.

OCTOBER: Halloween! We were so excited to dress up Quinn in her giraffe costume and parade her around. I can't wait for all of the Halloweens to come and all of the fun costumes to wear!

NOVEMBER: Thanksgiving. We traveled a lot this month. It is so nice to have our families' homes just a few minutes apart so that we can see all of our relatives in a short time period. We are truly blessed to be able to see our siblings and parents often and are thankful to live so close.

DECEMBER: Food, family, and friends! We were so blessed this Christmas with good weather, especially when compared to Christmas 2009 and its blizzard. I have a short Christmas break this year and it is already, sadly, drawing to a close.

LOOKING AHEAD: My sister continues to battle her cancer. Please continue to keep her in your prayers! She is so strong and beautiful and such a good mother. She is truly my paragon of courage and grace and I wish her a happy and healthy 2011.

We are looking forward to a fun year! Quinn will turn one, start walking and talking, and I am sure she will be even more of a handful than she is now. Bring it on! I can't wait to take her to the pool this summer.

I can only hope that we are blessed with as many special memories as we were in 2010.

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