Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

And yet another year, Gone.

Keeping with tradition, it is time to reflect back on the closing year in order to remind myself of all that's happened and what I have done and achieved. I love New Year's. I have no use for rubbing shoulders with strangers anymore or fighting for a drink. In fact, this year Mike and I will again stay home with a wonderful spread of snacks and a lovely seafood and risotto dinner, as well as some good beer and wine.

What I truly love about the new year is the fresh start. For the first time in three months I feel rested and refreshed. The social calendar has slowed and it's the perfect time to refocus my energy on the goals I was not able to achieve this past year, and really focus on what I want 2013 to be like.

After reviewing 2011's Year in Review post I see that 2011 and 2012 were very different, whereas 2011 was a year of planning and new challenges and ventures, and 2012 was largely a year of execution and settling in and adjusting to those new ventures.

I started school in January at Saint Joseph's University. I would say that the majority of my stress this past year has stemmed from school in one form or another. But I am extremely proud of wrapping up my first year with a 4.0, which will surely only add increased pressure and stress this coming year. Yet I have decided I like the ring 4.0 has to it so I will continue to try my very best to maintain it.

I managed to start the year out right with a five-mile race on New Year's Day. Although I did not achieve a single one of my 2012 resolutions, I have achieved, finally, consistent exercise. After years of practice, I consistently kept active throughout the year with only brief and sporadic periods of inactivity. That's a huge accomplishment, and now simply part of the routine. I also ran Broad Street again, a 10-mile race in Philly, this past May in honor of my 30th birthday. I finished in 1:55:37, shaving a whopping 17 minutes off my time from 2010.

Speaking of my birthday, I turned 30 in style with a Big Birthday BBQ Bash that Mike and I threw at home. It was a blast and I avoided feeling all of the 'boo-hoo I'm 30' nonsense. I reflected on turning the big 3-0 here.

In August, I decided to do something I have always wanted to and signed up for private one-on-one swim lessons. I love swimming so much and I certainly have a knack for it, I've discovered. It is now one of my favorite things to do and I look forward to building up my endurance in 2013.

As for travel and leisure, this year I was fortunate enough to take three vacations, which is totally awesome! In July, Mike and I went to Cape May again with our usual crew for our 4th Annual week in Cape May. The house we rented was huge and had decks and porches everywhere, the weather was great and we had an awesome pool again conducive to hours of pool volleyball. Overall, it was extremely relaxing and we had a great time.

Labor Day Weekend, I took my Mom out to Colorado to see my brother, Joey. I had never been out there so that was really cool. It was great getting to see Joe and where he lives. We hung out in Louisville, Boulder, and Longmont hitting up five breweries (Lililkoi Kepolo at Avery is still the best beer I have ever had) and countless bars. We went hiking and also drove up the highest paved road in N. America, Mount Evans Road, to 14,240 feet. The temperature was in the 80's when we set out and in the 20's at the summit. It was freezing and the drive up was terrifying thanks to my fear of heights and lack of shoulder and guard rails.

Lastly, Mike and I got to spend Christmas in Washington state with my brother, Doug, and sister-in-law, Kristin. What an incredible way to wrap up the year! We truly had an awesome time and made so many memories and got to have so many new experiences. We went to a Seahawks game (it really is as loud as they say it is), ate Moroccan food on Christmas Eve, went snow tubing on Christmas, spent time in Seattle and just laughed our heads off and got to catch up and talk. A lot. I always take away so much more than memories from my visits with Doug and Kristin and my trips out to the Pacific Northwest.

The only major change we experienced this year was an incredible blessing. Mike started a new job after eight years of being with the same company and becoming increasingly unhappy. For the first time since I have known Mike, he is off weekends. This is a total game-changer and the entire quality of our marriage has improved and best of all, he is a happier man, which makes everyone around him happier.

This past year we also maintained our Oktoberfest tradition despite an extremely busy fall. As we and our friends all get older I think it is increasingly important that we maintain these traditions because it would be all too easy not to see one another without events that bring us all together. We are happy to do our part and provide another reason to come together.

This past November we saw two of our dearest friends, Roman and Danielle, tie the knot. Mike was overjoyed to be named Best Man and I was thrilled to be a bridesmaid. The wedding provided many festivities including a fabulous bridal shower in July, bachelor and bachelorette parties in the fall, all leading up to truly fantastic wedding, which included a weekend in a beautiful hotel with many great friends. Overall, their nuptials were great cause for celebration; a whole lot of it, and we are thrilled for them.

Also this past November, Mike and I hosted our very first Thanksgiving and I loved every second of it, particularly the planning and prep. It was a huge success - the house looked gorgeous, the tablescape was stunning and the food was delicious. I very much hope to do it again next year. Thanksgiving, a holiday I didn't care much for, is now possibly my favorite. I guess as long as I can do it my way. ;-)

Overall, 2012 was great. After all, we had one another, a roof over our heads, pillows under them, food in our bellies, and our family, friends and Cooper. Life has been good to us and we are fortunate enough to do many things.

I wish all of my friends and loved ones a wonderful 2013 free from pain and full of love, accomplishments, and good fortune. Cheers.

And now for those resolutions...

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