Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in a nutshell...

What a year!  
Lot's happened around the world, as well as in my little world.
We watched Japan get rattled and destroyed during one of the biggest earthquakes in their history.  Osama Bin Laden was killed, the war in Iraq came to an end, our stock markets took some scary dips, and we lost one of the most intelligent creators of our generation, Steve Jobs.  With all of this unfolding around the world... my life had some ups and downs of its own.  {mostly ups, thankfully}

In my little world...
We celebrated the kick off of 2011 in San Francisco, watching the fireworks and spending time with our friends C&K.
I got a new job in February working for a non profit organization that I am extremely passionate about... it's been a great fit for me.
I travelled to 9 countries during a month long trip to Europe with my best friend (TL) and celebrated my Birthday in Paris.
 {Started in Germany}
 {ended in Ireland}
My precious nephew Ryan turned two.
My college girlfriends and I took a weekend to relax and catch up in Los Angeles.
One of the best days of my life happened on July 16th, when I watched my sister Julie tie the knot to her husband Matt... and the festivities leading up to her wedding take the cake for some of the most fun celebrations I have ever been a part of.

TL and I visited Hawaii to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary in September.  I fell even more in love with this guy this year.

My sister Kelly shared the news that she's expecting her 2nd little baby boy... due in March.

My girlfriends and I took our annual girls trip to Vegas.

I got a second part time job as a morning traffic anchor working back at a television station in our area {again} and have been fortunate to work with some incredible people.
I spent many happy hours, movie nights, and bunco nights with a wonderful new group of friends in my neighborhood... we've gotten very close.
We took a trip to Disneyland with our close friends Sabrina & Justin to see it lit up for the Holidays.  Boy was it beautiful!

The year ended on a high note... getting to spend the holidays with all my family together.  It was the cherry on top of it all. :)
This year we are spending New Years with my MIL to celebrate her Birthday and bring in 2012 with a bang!

Thank you to those of you I have met through this blog, those of you who provide encouraging words, and follow along on this journey with me.  I love this community of women that I have come to know.  You are a source of knowledge, creativity and support for me.  Thank you!

Cheers to a new year, a fresh start, and many new adventures!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Weekend

Christmas this year was very fun... lots of time spent with my beautiful family.  TL and I both worked for the days surrounding Christmas, but we had the day off and got to visit with both families!

TL and I also got many new wonderful gifts... very exciting!
The tree at my parents house... gifts for all 9 of us!
 Our stockings... the boys get hip packs (it's an inside joke).  Santa even put pictures so we knew ours. ;)
 Dad making his traditional Green Eggs & Ham and Egg with Rice for breakfast... yum!
 Breakfast after stockings... we've done it this way every year!
My dad got my nephew a ride on John Deere tractor... isn't this the cutest thing ever?
 We spent Christmas afternoon and night with TL's family... she got us all footie PJs (including the pups)
 Max & Zeus waiting to open their presents from Santa (aka my MIL)
A little family picture :)

TL's family stayed with us for a few nights... and my whole family came up to our house so we were all together.  It was the best part of Christmas!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Hope for the Season

I love the holidays - I've been so fortunate to be raised in a family where tradition and love gives me the feeling of joy near Christmas that I have felt since I was a little girl.

The holidays this year has also brought me a little feeling of helplessness.  I feel a weight of sadness for so many I know who are missing people this year and I feel like the season can intensify that grief for them.

A friend of mine since high school was deployed in Afghanistan for less than 10 days and was shot in the head last week.  His wife flew to Germany to be with him leaving their baby with family - and I truly believe he has the strength to survive this.  But to know his family is struggling and separated through the holiday...

The family of my sister's student who was hit and killed by a car earlier this year is celebrating their first Christmas with out their fourteen year old Tom.  He was the light of their life and he wont be there...

I have several people in my life who have lost their mom, dad, or family member in the past years and that seat will be empty at the breakfast table Christmas morning...

I can't help but wish everyone could have the people they love most with them during this time of year.

I feel so abundantly blessed and appreciate the people, family, and friends I have in my life.  I guess as I have gotten older, I have come to cherish and not take for granted the people I am able to make memories with every year.

I don't mean to be a downer about the holidays - it's a beautiful time of year.  It's one of my favorite times of the year and I always look forward to it.  I have loved getting the Christmas cards in the mail this year with pictures.  It's been my favorite thing to look forward to daily.  I also love looking our tree filled with ornaments connecting me to memories of growing up.

I just don't want to forget to think about anyone who may be lonely during a time of year when lonliness seems to hit you the hardest.

This is the season of hope.  If you're lucky like me and get to spend the holidays with the people you love most... squeeze them a little tighter this year - and enjoy.  And if you're missing someone close to you, know that I am thinking of you and sending you a little extra cheer :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Academy of Science in San Francisco

During a little trip to the city, we decided to check out The Academy of Science in San Francisco.  It's a beautiful museum in Golden Gate Park - and we had never been.

Inside, there is an incredible rainforest with birds and butterflies flying freely, massive aquariums, and a 40 minute presentation about earth, the solar system and the universe.  It was really neat and we learned a lot and had fun!  Their cafe inside is delicious, too!
The outside
The rainforest
One of the aquariums
"Claude" the albino alligator at the museum - very rare!  Doesn't he look fake!
Sabrina & I in the aquarium - so many beautiful and colorful fish
The living roof

I definitely recommend it if you are taking a trip to the city.  It's a little pricey ($30 per person) but we spent more than a few hours in there and it really is a neat place!
Have you been?

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Christmas Time In The City

TL and I had a meeting to go to in San Francisco, so we decided to take some friends with us and make a little two day trip out of it.  I absolutely love the city at Christmas time.

Justin and Sabrina haven't really explored much of the city before, so we decided to be their little tour guides and take them to a couple of our favorite spots.  {I used to live there & TL's mom has an apartment there}

We made our way through a few delicious little restaurants - including: Dottie's True Blue Cafe in the Tenderloin, Straights in Union Square, Boudin at the Wharf, and The Grove in SOMA.  We also visited Fort Miley, Baker Beach, Golden Gate Park, the full house 'house', Union Street and of course the Wharf & Union Square.  {We fit a lot in two days!}
Golden Gate Park
Fort Miley {we saw dolphins}
 Baker Beach
 The Wharf
 YUM... my favorite :)
The festive street cars

We also went to The Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.  That was my first time visiting the museum and it was really cool!  I'll post about that soon.

A little over a week until Christmas... I can't believe it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Naughty or Nice Bunco

Our 12th month of Bunco was Christmas themed "Naughty or Nice".  Shannon was the host, and she had everything very festive - and dinner was delicious.  I was so excited to see all she had done to decorate and get ready!

Those who've been naughty wore red, those who've been nice wore white.  I was a little naughty and a little nice ;)  We didn't play for money this month - instead, we donated all of our money to adopt a family in need.  We also did a secret santa gift exchange between us!
{The homemade favors Shannon made us}

It's been a very fun year with these fabulous ladies - already looking forward to January!!