Friday, January 6, 2012

A Recap of my last year...


Looking back at my prior year is always important to me to remind myself of all those special moments and occasions that were celebrated and had, of all the things I did personally or with family, and more importantly to remind myself about how blessed we truly are in the midst of real life chaos and the economic hardship that has hit soo many families including our own. It allows me to see above all those really tough moments we may have had throughout the year (because let me tell you, we were truly challenged to our core this year!), and realize that those hardtimes has not only made our family closer but a much stronger one too! We are united by a lot of love, and a much needed renewed faith in God.  As tough as me may have had it, we were often reminded by above, that there is always someone out there has it soo much worse than we do. GRATITUDE was a big deal and a big word in our household this year!

Another big word for me in 2011 was "Beginnings." I picked that word for the year because it truly was set out to be a year for many different versions of what that meant to me.

So lets go back and look through some of these new beginnings and wrap up my year in
pictures... and some words...

I joined Weight Watchers 2 weeks before my 40th birthday.  It was the best time to begin taking of myself and I've made some positive changes that I believe I can continue with for a lifetime.

In March I turned 40!! This was a big one for me as I begin this new chapter in my life. I celebrated how I wanted and will always remember how special that night was for me.
  Many of my friends celebrated their 40th Birthdays also this year! It was a year long celebration for all of us!

  This year all 3 of our boys had culminating moments.

In April, our Mikey made his 1st Communion which was a proud moment for us.  He was excited to be able to fully begin to participate in his practicing his religion. Although, nowadays he seems to somehow always get sleepy during mass....hmmm??? Coincidence?....not so much ;]

1st Day at Woodland Hills Academy
 In June, both Danny and Christian graduated from their respective grades      (5th and 8th), and would begin Middle School and High School.
Danny and BFF at Graduation with their teachers
Graduating from CHIME

  Totally two different stages of their lives to begin & experience.

       Throughout the year, Jerry and his 80's Hair Band, The Lordz of Metal, began playing in venues he had only dreamed of ever playing at, like the Whiskey on Sunset and The House of Blues.
It was so much fun to see him living out his dream.    

          My SIL, Gaby  got married    last August,   and along with having the honor and the privilege of being a part of her wedding, there were so many new moments we got to share together as well. There was her dress to help her shop for, her wedding shower, and the awesome ladies weekend together which was a first for me entirely. 
           In other areas of my life,  this past year I....

       Started walking more consistently and learned to explore more of my neighborhood because of it. I started walking to the bank and the post office for work while I  exercised, increased my pace, and reduced my carbon footprint at the same time.   
             I also went hiking for the first time in a long time and plan on doing it more often
       this year.

           Met the cast of my favorite TV Show, Parenthood

      My friends and I have started 
     having Girls Night Out. Its hard to
     get everybody's schedules in line, 
     but when we did we had a great 
    time together. We tried  
    doing something a little different 
    each time, but all in all it was
    just a chance to get together, catch
    up and laugh our booties off!!

           I really started to concentrate more on recycling around our house. Its not like I'm totally going green, (by any means), but I wanted to pay attention to what was recyclable and what wasn't..from food boxes to ketchup bottles. I also started to use reusable bags more and more when doing my grocery shopping. It just feels good to not put more plastic out there. Some of the recycling we turn in for money, but both these things are just to do our part in helping our environment.  

Couponing!! I started doing this too this year!!
                 Don't laugh too hard, I know its sounds crazy, but after getting hooked
on watching Extreme Couponing this year, I was inspired to do my own reasonable
form of it to fit my own family's needs. 
                            It took a lot of reasearch and some trial and error, but I figured out my own system, 
tied it in to learning how to schedule my weekly menus (another new concept for me this year), 
and have successfully been saving my family, at minimum, 50% off of every grocery bill.
Not bad, right?  
I  look like a little crazy person, but I don't go to the store without my weekly adds notebook 
and my little coupon box. Hey, times are tough, and I'm saving my family money...its all good!

     Personally, one of the biggest "beginnings" for me this year was the beginning of letting my kids terms of growing up. I was a child of an over protective parent, nothing necessarily bad, but it definitely stopped me from doing a lot of things I wished I could have done when I was younger. 
  So with my boys, knowing that they are growing up and becoming more independent, I had to start making an effort to grow within myself and learn how to trust them and their choices (until they prove otherwise), and help them gain confidence in who they are and what they are capable of.   
               Christian began taking long bike rides with our friends, the Counters. As simple as that may sound for many, it was hard for me to want to let him go because of the obvious fear of having him get hurt. But I knew that if I didn't let him go I would never know if he could do it. I had to give him a chance to let him earn my trust that he'd be ok,  I had to begin to give Danny some room to grow as he started Middle School and Mikey in his own way as well.
It honestly has been more of a chance for me to grow than it is for them.

      And last but not least....

One thing that I really began to this year different from the last couple of years since I started my blog is to actually start posting A LOT more frequently than I ever have.  I published 36 posts in 2011!!! YAY!! Compare that to 4 posts in 2009 (when I started), and only 2 posts in 2010 (pathetic), I did really good this year. I have to say that blogging consistently is harder than it seems, and I am still in the process of finding my natural rhythm, schedule and/or pattern of posting.  But I am happy to see that I followed through with a concerted effort to update as often as I possibly could this year. So instead of challenging myself to beat that number of posts, I am going to challenge myself to continue to practice my writing through my blogging and naturally increase my results.  I’d like to find more of a focus, but it’s all part of that process for me and I know that it may take a few years for me to find exactly what that just might be. 

But for now I am writing from my heart, about things that mean something to me, and what hopefully will appeal to all of you, but mostly I am blogging to just to be able to write about my life and leave that as my legend for my kids to have a part of their mom they can always come back to.

Thank you for reminiscing with me and may you fondly remember everything 2011 may have brought you and your family.

To a bigger and brighter 2012, from my corner to yours...

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