Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

New Year's Eve takes me back. Every year until we moved to Arizona when I was 13, my parents would pile everyone into the car and drive us up north to our best family friends' house.  Both sets of our parents would go out to the Fireman's Ball to drink and dance the night away, and our trusty babysitter Betty would watch us girls.  It was always the four of us- two sets of sisters: Lauren and me, Corin and Caitlyn. Corin was my age and Cait was Lauren's, and we grew up spending all of life's milestones and family vacations together. Our Moms were best friends in college, bridesmaids in each others' weddings, and after each of them started a family they all became one big group of friends along with some other couples and their kids too. It's neat to look back at all the fun we had, and New Year's Eve was always such a fun night that we looked forward to all year. In typical fashion once our parents left we'd indulge in a million appetizers our Moms would set out, we'd eat yummy cake and German sweets (thanks to Aunt Marita) and drink soda. We'd giggle and run around the house, get into the The Twilight Zone marathon, and at midnight we'd watch the ball drop and toast with our little cups of sparkling cider. Sweet, elderly Betty would somehow round us up and get us into bed, but we'd never sleep. This was always a late night for our parents, so for the next couple of hours we'd have "sister wars," playing pranks on Lauren and Cait, they'd spy on us, send little notes under the doors, and try to avoid Betty coming back down the hallway telling us to go to sleep! We'd always make up little missions for each other- "sneak down the hallway and grab a piece of chocolate cake without Betty noticing." Oh, we were rebels! haha. Then sometime around 2am our parents would come home, we'd pretend to be asleep, then pretend to wake up so we could snack on some of the yummy treats they'd bring home for us. It was so magical.

Nowadays New Year's Eve means family for us. This year we planned on having a few friends over to celebrate, but we ended up coming down to Phoenix to spend it with my parents, sister and brother-in-law. I'm so happy to be here, and I couldn't be more ecstatic to ring in a New Year sitting in our pajamas, eating too much food, and knowing that Henry is sleeping soundly upstairs. 

2011 was wonderful, and just like I said about last year, it really was the best year of my life. I feel lucky that I'm able to say that once again. I think this past year was more about personal growth than anything. As I expected this first full year of being a Mom was so transformative; I feel like so much has changed. Having a baby has a way or re-prioritizing everything in your world. Insignificant things that were once important seem to fall away, and life begins to simplify a bit as your focus narrows. That was 2011 for me.


I am looking forward to so much in these next 12 months. I love the New Year and think any sort of fresh start is inspiring. Yes, tomorrow is just another day, but it still is a fun symbol of starting anew. I'm not making specific resolutions but I am focusing on a few different areas of my life, and I'm excited to keep making headway on those things.

2011, you've been good to us. We continued adjusting to our new role as parents, my sister got married, we had an AZ blogger meetup, and I attended some great concerts and shows.  I had a lot of fun girls' nights (like this one and this one), I started writing for Hello Giggles, I began the last year of my 20s, started Henry in swim class, celebrated his first 4th of July, and took a 2-week vacation all around the East Coast.

I traveled to California to celebrate Shirley's bachelorette weekend, took fun family day trips like this one to Flagstaff, my best friend Sarah got married- I was her Maid of Honor, and we celebrated the beginning of Arizona's centennial. I also got my blog redesigned, visited Las Vegas with my little family, and later took an amazing trip back with some of my favorite ladies, and was a bridesmaid in sweet Shirley's wedding too.

Henry visited his first pumpkin patch, took part in his first Halloween festival downtown, and we happily celebrated his first Halloween. Our little guy turned one, we had a fun party for him, and we had two family photo sessions with our friend Christina. We ended the year celebrating Christmas with a light parade, a fun girly sleepover, and spending time with family.


It's awesome to look back, and then to think ahead and imagine what great things this next year has in store for us. Thank you once again, from the bottom of my heart, for reading along with all 558 of my posts this year (wow!). I love you guys.

Happy New Year!

Weekend links

my other true love
flashback Friday: Madeline and me, two years ago

Happy weekend everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with a little New Year's post, but until then here are some links to explore. Enjoy!

If you click ONE thing in this post, click this link to read about 30 things to stop doing to yourself now. I love this.

The top 12 vegan recipes on Oh She Glows. Awesome!

How adorable would this necklace be for a newlywed, or even at a bridal shower (or even now...hint, hint!).

A list of 'Pay It Forward' ideas. Super inspiring.

After reading her post about getting fit in 2012, I am sending Krista a huge internet high-five.

Are you in the market for a new day planner for 2012? Check out this post.

My friend Casey sent me the sweetest gift this past week- a painting! I'll share a photo of it soon.

I'm always looking for fun ways to spice up get-togethers, so this appetizer idea is great.

Great news, Amber is blogging more.

I enjoyed reading about Michelle's 11 random things and found out we have a few very weird things in common!

True feeling versus should-be-feelings. I liked this post about accepting ourselves.

Need some NYE inspiration? Look no further than these pretty images.

The Chicago Tribune has named the best books of 2011. Are any of your favorites on there?

Etsy sponsor love: one, two, three!

Have you check out the "Sometimes Sweet" project for Funk Off yet? I think it smells pretty darn good. ;)
Loving Martha's collection of lighter New Year's party food!

One of my friends mentioned that she wanted to be less of a "yes" person in 2012. How perfect is this brooch? ;)

I posted about this two week's ago, but my buddy Jason's new site Passionfruit is launching soon! Check it out.

One of my favorite people is having another baby! I for one cannot wait to follow along. I adore Katie.

I love Carly's 2011 recap! It gets me excited to write one of my own this weekend.

This article about dealing with negative or difficult people is so on point and so what I needed to read. Maybe you'll relate too.

I'm loving Leigh-Ann's outfit here! She's adorable.

And finally, in the mood to discover a new blog? Check this one out! And this one, too! I'm loving both of them.

Happy New Year's weekend everyone!

This Week on Hello Giggles: On Being a High School English Teacher

This week I'm talking about my experience being a high school English teacher, and what I learned during those six years. Head on over to Hello Giggles and check it out!

A "Good Morning" Playlist

Happy Wednesday! Today is unfortunately a bit of a "sick day" at our house. Poor Henry has a cold and I'm starting to feel pretty under the weather myself. There's nothing worse than being sick right along side your baby, but I am thankful we made it through Christmas before feeling it. Send healthy thoughts our way please! But sickness aside, the week after a holiday is always a little slower than normal. I don't drink caffeine so when I need a little pick-me-up in the morning I turn to good music to get me going. Below are some of my current favorite songs to get my blood pumping and feet tapping. Trust me- wake up tomorrow, turn on this playlist, and start your day off with a smile (and some booty-shaking). I think you'll love it!


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Familyroom Decisions

Thanks for stopping by!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
So glad it's over! (Don't get me wrong BUT it just snuck up on me this year).
I put our Christmas tree in our Foyer AND... I have plans for that room that need to go into effect ASAP!
Now on to today's ideas...
Do you ever feel like your design style is constantly evolving?
I mean like changing monthly? Or weekly?
I don't know if its all the Internet sites (ie. pinterest and blogland)  that have me confused or if it really is my age (that's what my mother says).
We moved into our house exactly 3 years ago AND
my familyroom is on it's 3rd color.
I went from builder white shown here...

To yellow (which drove me bananas, literally)
Shown here (Christmas 2010)...

To a nice neutral tan.
Shown here...

And still... I'm thinking about changing it.
I'm happy with the color, its just everything else...
I've always loved the traditional french style (if thats even a style)...
And I think all the black has maybe made it to modern?
I've completed transformed pieces with paint. Like my mirror that is now black and hanging over the fireplace, the flower that was once a deep red and is now a lovely white, and the silhouette frames that also took on the new color (BLACK).
I took our entertainment center apart and made it into  2 pieces. One is sitting under the T.V. and the other is holding a few of my white ceramic pieces.
(scroll back up to see what I'm talking about).
I have a few bare walls that are screaming for a creative idea.
(I've got tons in my head but haven't had a chance to actually tackle)

Can anyone else tell me they've gone through the same evolution? Or am I going crazy?
I'm now thinking of
A white slipcover to go over my 9 year old down filled sectional like Nesting Place
Stenciled curtains like these found at Gardners 2 Bergers
And I'd do away with the red and maybe do a subtle hints of green like The Butlers

So I've decided to take on this crazy OCD like my fellow bloggers and do something about it.
Wish me luck!


Christmas this year was great. We celebrated it three times actually since Hank has two sides to his family, and I have my one. It's pretty neat to have so many people to enjoy holidays with, although to be honest it can be a little bit overwhelming at times trying to fit it all into two days! I'm sure some of you can relate. I mean I absolutely cannot complain but I feel stressed sometimes wanting to make sure everyone gets "their" time. Overall though it was so much fun this year and I think Henry is a pretty lucky kid to have so many loving people in his life!

Hank and I exchanged gifts quietly after everyone had gone to bed Christmas Eve, and we both got each other a couple of wonderful things that were nice surprises, including a new scarf and some cold-weather running gear for me. I got him a couple of shirts and a book on coffee. Simple but great. We naturally focus more on Henry during the holidays now, and it was so much fun to watch him open his presents that next morning.

I hope whatever you did, you had a great day filled with love. I know we sure did. There so many times I kind of took a step back in awe of how wonderful the day was.

Christmas Eve- (these are just photos from my parents' visit- we actually spent the evening at Hank's Mom's and it was a ton of fun too.)

Could I be anymore festive? ;)

Christmas Eve 2011
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Christmas day (feel free to make fun of our matching pajamas!)-
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Picnik collage3
Christmas 2011
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