Friday, December 30, 2011


My fellow bloggers are writing year in review posts, so since I'm flying solo tonight I figured it might be fun to look back at what I've blogged about this year. I tried to pick one post for each month, but some of them I had to choose two, and some I didn't have any-when I was recovering from surgery.
Always the first part of the year for us....Supercross. This year we went to the inaugural event at Dodger Stadium. We won't ever make THAT mistake again! Trying to save driving time came back to bite us because Angel's Stadium has a bajillion reasons why they host Supercross better than Dodger Stadium. Now we know! It's always SO fun, we've gone for years and when you're familiar with the riders it makes it exciting even for a girl. ;)
One of my favorite things to do with our extended family...fondue! I hosted a fun Family Valentine's Fondue Night. Why not show the people you love how much you love them?
One night in March, while watching tv on the couch after putting the kids to bed, I got the call I never expected. My dad, who had JUST beat colon cancer months earlier, had died. When people who have been though it tell you to never waste a minute of your life with your loved ones....believe them! I still push it to the side of my mind. I know it really did happen, but I still don't feel like it happened. To have your dad pass away in his recliner in front of the tv because of some sudden killer (stroke, heart attack, blood clot, we'll never know) is too unreal to believe. You may go to bed tomorrow and wake up to a completely different world than you know this minute. Like I said, believe me. I treat his cancer like a gift. That may sound strange, but the only suffering he did was throughout the surgery and recovery. He didn't need chemo or anything beyond removal of the cancer. It was a gift because we all got to say our goodbyes before he went in to that surgery. It was a gift because I got to see him that last time. They never made their next trip to visit me, he died three months before they were going to come to California. I am SO thankful that I went to Ohio for his surgery and got that last hug goodbye the day after his surgery, in his hospital bed, before heading home. I MISS YOU DADDY!

I didn't blog about this, but only a few short months later, my closest friends {literally our families have been best friends since I was 1} also lost their dad in a shocking way. It's still too much for me to bear. I still have his email saved that he sent me after my return from Ohio, offering to do anything for me I needed. Sitting in his memorial I relived our entire lives with our families joined as close as any two families could be. I just wanted to lock myself in my room the rest of the day and cry till I had no more tears left. Hearing taps twice. Seeing the flag folded twice. Gasping for air that cannot get into your lungs fast enough. In many ways our dads were very similar and in many ways they were different. I remember their dad singing to us constantly, not surprising since he was a musician. I remember him tucking us in on any of our 4 billion sleepovers. I think at this point in the mourning process, I can honestly say that thinking of either of them makes me cry the same amount. If it weren't for his family, my family wouldn't exist. It was because of his daughters that I visited California as a teenager (after they moved here from Ohio), met my future husband, and eventually moved here, got married and had kids. God has knit our lives together in such beautiful ways it blows my mind if I think about it too long.

We were blessed by being able to take our annual trip to the happiest place on earth. There is nothing better than Disneyland. (except when the bones in your knee are touching) ;)I decided to build us a headboard after being inspired by The Idea Room's blog. I LOVE our headboard and people can't believe that I made it.
I got the BEST birthday gift ever! My first very own, non-hand-me-down power tool! This bad boy means business! I'm so thankful my dad wasn't afraid to teach me how to use my hands. I still remember being in our basement as a child, my dad teaching me how to solder. Not surprising since he was a welder on the ships in the Navy, and even taught welding classes for them when he was stationed in San Diego. My dad could fix ANYTHING. He instilled the mentality in my head over and over again, that you do something RIGHT, and you do it WELL. If it doesn't work the first time, you try it again a different way until you MAKE it work. My old black box of drill bits and old drill that my mom sent me after he died are my most prized possession of his and I use them ALL the time.
My girlfriends and I were able to sneak away for two nights in Long Beach. I think we may have burned more calories laughing than we ate! And if you knew how much we ate, you'd know that's saying something!
I'm nothing if not determined when it comes to decorating on the cheap. I asked at Restore if they had a pallet I could buy, and they told me I could go to their old location and take as many as I want for free. So, that's what I did...all by myself, heavy, spiders and all. Nothing a pressure washer can't handle.

I can't leave out Cami's pink poodle in Paris party. It turned out so beautiful.Ok, I'm STILL in disbelief over this next one. My husband and I, and two of our friends, got to see U2's 360 tour LIVE. I will never look at Angel's Stadium the same way again. When U2 comes on my pandora station (several times a day), I still get butterflies in my tummy remembering how unbelievable the concert was. I may have to cross this one off of my bucket list twice if they ever schedule another tour in California. I'm concert-ruined for life because no band will EVER top this one in my book.
I love this acid mirror that my chivalrous husband helped me with so that I wouldn't burn my skin off with the acid. What a guy. ;)
I bought a Italian table off of Craigslist, refinished it, and refinished thrift store chairs to make a whimsical dining set. Yep, I still love it.
I planned a dessert table for my girls' swim teacher's birthday. These colors are just something I can't get over. I love how it turned out.

During the summer, I did a ladybug themed party for a dear friend. It turned out great, AND it turned out into a family beach weekend since I had to travel for it. Sa-weet!I just really love my rustic shelf and old window frame, and I like how it turned out for fall. ;)
A week before my major knee surgery, I ran around in the heat working on a big rustic wedding. I worked on it for months, and it ended up beautiful.
"The Journey" post was probably the hardest and most time consuming blog post I've ever written. It is the complete, A to Z journey of the most challenging months of my life. If you've ever been in so much physical pain that it temporarily removed your fear of if it actually killed you because it would mean an end to the pain, then you would understand it. I can rejoice in my suffering now, because through it I was able to train deeper in godliness.
My favorite December post would have to be these gifts I made for Christmas. I'm dying to make myself one.
Well, that was time consuming but fun to look back through the year. I don't really understand it when people say "this year has been terrible, bring on 2012!" because this has definitely been the hardest year of my life. Losing my dad, losing the closest thing I had to a second dad, suffering intensely throughout my surgery, complications, and recovery for months. I've never dreamed of a harder year, but isn't it still full of blessings? I don't want to forget this year and what it's taught me. I feel like the steps that I've taken forward could not have been taken had the challenges not forced me to do them. Would I rather have my dad back? Of course! BUT, I don't believe wishing away a bad year makes the next year any easier. It's just a new set of 365 opportunities. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to show love to others. Opportunities to serve someone else. Opportunities to reach levels of peace you never knew possible. Opportunities to train your body and your mind to be disciplined. It's 365 gifts wrapped up with a big red bow.


  1. Sounds like quite the year! I love how you recapped 2011. Blessings in the new year. Thanks for sharing. I am a new follower. I would appreciate it if you followed me back at!

  2. This looks amazing-I'm your newest follower-stop by for a visit!