Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our Year In Review

Hmmm...let's see. I know I'm almost a week into the new year, and haven't blogged in quite a while. So, I guess I'll catch you all up who don't know what's going on in our exciting lives---

(I'm taking this format from my sister, Gwen, so, I'm kind of a copycat :)

January: Matt and I went on our first vacation of the year to Belize. We stayed at the Hamanasi Resort and had a blast. We went cave diving, explored Mayan ruins, saw tons of new birds, and relaxed, relaxed, relaxed. I've decided January is the perfect time of year to visit Central America; it's not too hot, and we hit the tail end of the dry season so it only rained once!
To see pictures from our trip, check out our archives
Also, Matt continued to love his job, and I finished up my tutoring job from the previous year. Boy, was I glad to be done with that! I loved it, but the paperwork was a little overwhelming. Plus, I thought I was unable to be as effective as those kids deserved!
At the end of the month, Beth, Chad, Mom, and the kids came down to Southern California to visit Disneyland, and I was able to hang out with them for several days. It was a lot of fun! Mom and I went hiking near my house, visited the Getty Museum, and had a great time. We enjoyed walking around Disneyland together, and getting to see the look of amazement on the boys' faces :)

February: Kate had her 4th baby, and I flew out to Virginia to take part in the celebration. My plans changed at the last minute due to a job opportunity (I was scheduled for an interview right in the middle of my planned trip) so I had to change my flight and ended up not staying as long as I had hoped. But I still had an awesome time and realized how much I miss those kids! Grandma Dot was kind enough to let me stay at her house, and she drove me back and forth through the cold to Kate's. Gwen and Danielle (with Allie) also came to visit on my last few days, and that was really cool to get to meet my grand-niece (great-niece?).
I didn't end up getting the job-too many qualified applicants. But my name is still on the list and I'm crossing my fingers for the next round of interviews.

March: The month kind of went by in a blur. Probably did a lot of gardening, taking care of those plants!
Oh, at the end of the month, Matt and I went to Sacramento for a week. He had a conference to go to, and I occupied myself during the days, and we hung out at night. We got a call midway through the week that our car (the electric Nissan Leaf) was ready for pickup, so on Friday we raced home, drove out to Fontana, and filled out the paperwork to bring him home. We're so pleased with the new addition to our family ;)

April: In April, I worked a lot on craft projects. Look at my blog, and you'll see plenty of sewing projects that I tackled that month.

May: More of the same. Boy am I exciting...

June: Peggy and her family moved to San Diego, and came up for a quick visit. We're excited to have family close by! Also, Matt and I flew up to Seattle to watch our friend Rene' graduate from college and to have a super fun visit with Jill, DeMarko, and the boys. It didn't even rain on us practically the whole time we were there. We drove the Olympic Peninsula, stayed in Forks, hiked up Mt. Rainier (there was tons of snow!), toured UW, and had a great time.

July: We were feverishly working all month to remodel the bathroom. We took it down to the studs, and built it up from scratch. We put in a new bathtub and vanity, added a wall with a pocket door, did tons of drywall and tiling, and got it done just in time for company!
We also spent a week at El Capitan State Beach camping with Matt's family. It was a great time, but probably too cool, so I think we'll stay in a hotel this year. :)

August: August was a busy month. We had lots of visitors in the area for my nephew's wedding. First, Jill, DeMarko, and the boys came to visit. We were still finishing the bathroom, but we made it work. Then Gwen flew in, Adam took the Greyhound down, Penny and Mike arrived, and we had a full house. My mom (who was staying with Peggy in San Diego) invited her "boyfriend" to the wedding, where we all got to meet him before he proposed marriage to her. Good for you, Mom!
We have a roommate! Gwen decided to make a drastic life change and move in with us. It was a big, scary step, but we're sure glad to have her here and be able to help her out. She's going to an online university, pursuing her career goals, and is now the store manager at an ice cream shop. Way to go, Gwen!

It was in August that Matt realized that he had a lot of time off saved up, and he risked losing some of it, so...we decided to go on a bicycle tour! From Canada to Mexico! We had less than a month to prepare, and feverishly ordered all the last minute things we thought we would need.

Matt also had a conference in SLC at the end of August, so we drove up and spent a few days there. I drove up to see Mom and Beth and the boys one of the days. But I mostly spent time reading books down by the pool while Matt went to class :)

September: On the 19th, we left on our grand adventure. 44 days, 1,893 miles. Just an amazing time. I can't wait to do it again. If you missed our ride, we kept a journal at this site. We're still in the process of adding pictures-the pictures uploaded so far are just from our phones, but Matt took his big camera on the journey, so he'll get those uploaded.
Mom got married while we were on our trip, and we missed out on going, but our thoughts were with her and the rest of the family!

October: Bike trip. Amazing time. Met Helena. See her journey here. I can't believe we spent a whole month (and then some) bicycling practically every day. Awesome!

November: Finished the bike tour on the first. Peggy drove us home from the border, and it was surreal being back. It was instantly back to reality. A couple weeks into November, Helena stayed with us a couple days, then I drove her down to Ensenada, Mexico. I've never driven in Mexico before, and that was an experience. It took me so long to get back into the states, I was exhausted, and stayed the night at Peggy's in San Diego. In the morning we paid a visit to Charming Charlie's, an awesome jewelry store that just opened up in San Diego, close to Peggy's house. I think she was suitably impressed. While it's a long way to drive for jewelery...I might have to make another trip down there soon. That store is way too fun!
Of course, Thanksgiving was fun. Matt and I went to his mom's cousin's house for dinner. He had to eat and run, but I got to stay and visit. It was nice to meet his relatives, and get to know them. They live so close by, hopefully we can hang out more.
I also got accepted into a certification program through a company called Power4Vets, who try to help veterans get jobs in the power industry by training them for certifications. I'm in the process of becoming NERC certified, which is basically the certification required to work in the power industry. This certification will definitely help me get a job working in Matt's field. Plus, I love learning new stuff, so this is almost like being is school again!

December: Well, December was a crazy month. Matt's birthday was right at the beginning, and then I drove 1,383 miles to Penny's house in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I stopped at Mom's house on the way up, stayed the night, then left insanely early to get to Penny's in the early afternoon. In fact, she was still at work when I got into town, so I met her there, picked up a key, then introduced myself to her 3 dogs. They were a little excited to see me, but they did pretty well. That was Penny's last day of work before maternity leave, and we spent the next week trying to get stuff done on her list, and hoping she would go into labor. She didn't, and Mom drove up to see if she could be there when the baby was born. On Mom's last day in town, Penny was induced, and after waiting all day, Connor was born early in the morning on the 21st. Mom left later that day (we got back to the house around 3 am, slept until 8 am, and went back to the hospital for a visit before she left). Penny stayed that night, but checked out of the hospital the next day, brought the baby home, and Matt and Beth (with the two boys) arrived that evening. We had a LOT of fun, visiting. The next day, Connor went for his first appointment, and Matt and the Popes did some shopping and playing in the pool. They joined us for dinner that evening, we had a mini-Boggle tournament, and watched a short movie. It was a fun visit!

I know it was hard having an extra person in the house, but I tried to make myself indispensable by cooking, cleaning, and just generally helping out. It was weird that my twin sister was having a baby, and boy was it even weirder when we brought that baby home! Penny and Mike make amazing parents, and it was really fun to see the very beginning of their expanded family. I'm sure that, while they were glad to have the extra help, they were also glad to have the house to themselves and to get started with the rest of the story.

Since Matt and I didn't spend Christmas or our anniversary together, we decided to meet in Las Vegas for a couple days. I drove back to Mom's house on New Year's Eve, and we had a pleasant evening. The next day, I stopped by Beth's before church and visited with her and Chad, and the boys before driving a 9.5 hour drive in a little more than 8 hours. Yep, I think my average speed for the second half of the drive was 80 mph. I was CRUISING! I picked Matt up at the airport, and we checked into the Bellagio Resort, which was awesome. We had fun the next two days exploring Vegas, seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, and enjoying watching the Bellagio fountain show from our hotel room window every 15-30 minutes. :) What a great time! We were ready to come home, though. I'd been gone for so long! I talked Matt into driving for me (hey, after 17 hours of driving, I was ready for a break) and we made it home in the early afternoon on the 3rd. I was able to open my Christmas presents.My husband is the BEST!

Well, that's about it. Our year in a nutshell. I'm sure a ton of other exciting stuff happened, but it's hard to remember back that far :)

My goals for this year:
Complete P90X, round 3 (I'm starting on Jan 9th. Check out the other blog to follow along!). Complete P90X2 after.
Become NERC certified.
Blog more.
Get some sort of job. Or, commit myself to working on the house more and getting it up to the standard I want it to be.