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Friday, January 6, 2012

2011: A Year in Review

One of my friends (who blogs at Portraits of a Rambling Thought) posts a summary for each month - by day. I think its really neat. Its a cool way to look back and remember what happened throughout the day/year. I however, seldom know what day it is, let alone what date it is, so this system doesn't really work for me.

But as I've been thinking about how to capture 2011 in a post, I decided that I could probably get my act together enough to remember some high points by month. Some of these things have been posted about in detail in previous posts this year, but I thought it would be fun to do a brief (ha ha) summary of what is one of (if not THE) best years of my life.

(In a weird twist of fate, or an "Enigma of the Mystical", over at the "We're all gonna die" blog, my friend Jess had the same idea! If you have not checked out this blog, now's the time, you can get caught up on her life and the peril the world was in in 2011 all in one fell swoop and it will only whet your whistle for what is to come in 2012)

So here you have it.... 2011: A (Truly Terrific) Year in Review

January: I rang in the new year with my parents in Phoenix, and then returned to LA to begin work in earnest on my dissertation. Later in the month, my parents came to So Cal for a week at the end of the month, and I got to take a mini-vacation with them in San Clemente, enjoying the beach and whale watching, as well as a really fun tour of the Mission of San Juan Capistrano.

February: Mid-month, Sarah came to visit both me and her sister, Emily, who was expecting a baby (since born, the weekend of my wedding!). We went to Disneyland, and to the cliffs of the Palos Verdes Penninsula to whale watch (early in the year is good whale watching time, apparently). She wished for me to go on a date with this guy I was talking to at the time. The guy and I did end up going on one date that weekend, and one in early March. Just after her visit, Heather and Jason came to visit for the NBA All-Star Game. Heather and I attended the game, and then an after party with Jason (who was working the game) - it was so fun to spend some time with her before her and Jason's wedding!

March: I traveled to Philadelphia for the annual NASPA conference. I had a great time with Jessica S, Matt Fulmer, Katie Treadwell, and other friends who were in town for the conference. We explored Philly, enjoyed a variety of Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, learned about spiritual friendships (thanks Frank!), ran the "Rocky Steps", and helped me realize that the guy I had gone on two dates with was a non-starter. That was great, because mid-March I joined OKCupid (thanks to Jessica's pushing) and met Curby! By now, you know this story, so I won't belabor it. Want to relive? Click here. Near the end of the month, I hosted my cousin Monica, and her husband, DJ, for a brief visit. We explored Hollywood and went to Disney (my annual pass was already getting a workout!) and they got to meet Curby. Also in March, I celebrated the upcoming birth of my friend Casey's baby, made a quilt for Collin and Candice's soon-to-be-born baby, and celebrated my friend Jeremiah's 30th birthday.

April: In April, my parents came for a visit. It was really fun to have them in town and they were able to meet Curby, and we all got together with our friend Jessica to play games (read: DOMINION!) at my house. By then both Curby and I knew we'd be getting married, so I was especially glad my parents liked him. Curby also came with me to visit the Fergason family, where I had planned to go in April to attend Andilin's horse show. Curby's parents came down for a day, so I got to meet them, and they met the Fergs, too. And THEN, Sarah and Myles came by, too - just to meet the Curbster. It was a really great time!  Also in April, I had a short visit with Melissa Haigh and her three cute kids, had a really fun happy hour with Shark, Kevin, and Soozy Rooz at the Border Grille, celebrate Easter with Curby and his friends at Faith Worship Community, got to see the Watkins Family Hour reunite with Chris Theile for a Nickel Creek reunion-type show, and buy my first pair of authentic cowboy boots.

May: Three major events occurred this month.  First, I got to spend a few precious hours with Kathryn W and Mel Gruver, friends from grad school, down in San Diego. I almost murdered them when I found out that they were going to be at a conference in SD and hadn't told me, because they didn't know how close SD and LA were. But I relented and instead drove them to the beach and enjoyed In-n-Out with them. For the best, I guess. Second, my mom came to LA for a "Girl's Weekend" that was actually 7 days! It was amazingly fun, and we had a great time going to dinner and a movie ("Bridesmaids") with Curby, taking an Italian cooking class at the Cordon Bleu in Pasadena with Jessica "Mrs. Cupcake" Roberts, and then participating in a "Cake Ball Workshop" with Jessica R, who taught us how unfortunately easy it is to make cake pops.
As if that wasn't enough, I flew out to Greenville near the end of the month to be a bridesmaid in Heather and Jason's wedding. It was so fun! We had a great time decorating, getting pedicures, and just hanging out. Curby joined starting the night of the rehearsal dinner and it was awesome to have him there to dance with at the reception. After the wedding, we had a great visit with the Filby family, lunch at my favorite - Rancho Nuevo - with Maura and Marcus and Jenn (now Schroeder) Coppernoll, and then spent time in St. Louis at a Cardinals game and hanging out with Matt Fulmer. Maybe one of the funnest Memorial Weekends ever!

June: Life became a whirlwind in June! My parents came back out for a visit - to help celebrate the graduation of my friend Jessica. She is like a second daughter to them, and a sister to me, so we hosted a graduation party at my apartment that was filled with laughter, gluten-free snacks and reckless game playing. It was a really fun evening. The next weekend, Curby and I and our friends, the Cummings, headed down to Anaheim for a U2 concert... where Curby proposed to me! (See the story here!) As if that wasn't enough, I turned 37 and had an awesome mini-golf birthday party with an impromptu Justin Beiber theme. Finally, in the last weekend of the month, Curby and I took a road trip to Idlewild (hill country) by way of Temecula (wine country). It was a fun road trip and we enjoyed being out in nature together. Also in June: We saw Allison Kraus and Union Station at the Greek Theater!

July: July started out with a bang - of fireworks! Curby and I went with some friends to the Hollywood Bowl for the 4th of July Spectacular, featuring Hall and Oates. It was super fun. The next week I joined my dad's family in Spokane Washington for a mini-family reunion, and while there went wedding dress shopping with my mom and two of my aunts. It was a great and special experience and I loved having them there. At the end of the month, finally, after three years of waiting... I hosted Kathryn on an awesome visit to LA! We went to Disneyland, practiced making wedding bouquets and bouttennieres, hung out with Curby and friends, and spent the day bicycling down the coast of Orange County. Also in July, Curby and I started our pre-marital counseling, and in VERY exciting news, Baby Asher Bullard was born to my dear friends Collin and Candice!

August: We started the month with a visit of our good friends Bethany and Ryan Speier, who agreed to be our engagement and wedding photographers, despite living in Seattle. We just generally enjoyed their company while taking amazing photos and recording video for this little video they made that later would blow our minds. Mid-month, both our parents,and my dear friend and bridesmaid, Barbara, came into town for a fun engagement party we had down in Orange County, and I was surprised by the arrival of two of my aunts - Gloria and Donna - who decided to attend from Seattle at the last minute. What great joy!!! It was also the first time our parents had met each other, and it was really great to have Barb in town with me. Near the end of the month, my parents came back so that we could celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to John Williams conduct the LA Philharmonic. It was an evening for the ages - we had so much fun together and we loved celebrating my parents that way! Also in August, I decided that working full-time over the summer PLUS working on a dissertation PLUS planning a wedding was not for me. So I stopped my dissertation until after the wedding.

September: Most importantly, Curby and I traveled to Fort Worth early in the month to visit his family, meet his extended family and granny, and meet a lot of his friends (and half of his groomsmen). We enjoyed Whataburger, Chicken Express, Babes - oh, and meeting people was fun, too. While there we also got to have breakfast with some of my Baylor friends (myles, sarah, melissa) which was a treat. Also, in September I started advising at my local Alpha Delta Pi chapter (Alpha Chi) again, mailed wedding invitations, celebrated Dustin's 30th birthday, hosted my mom for a weekend where she attended my first bridal shower (hosted by bridesmaid Jessica Roberts), and finally got the alterations going on my dress. I also spent a lot of time coming up with wedding ideas, buying crafty stuff and then making that craft stuff into other stuff.

October: The month started with an awesome "mystery" bachelorette party as me and 8 others traveled around Hollywood on foot, trying to solve the "Accomplice: Hollywood" mystery. Amazing. That same night we celebrated the engagement of a good friend of ours - congrats Dave and Sarah! The next week we had another bridal shower (hosted by good friends Nina and Wendy), a very special time. That night we drove back up to LA for the David Crowder* Band's farewell concert. Sad but great. Curby started to move stuff in that month and slowly our apartment was overwhelmed with his stuff and wedding boxes. The apartment grew smaller and smaller. Near the end of the month I traveled to Wisconsin to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of my dear friend, Jenn, who married her love, Ed, two weeks before our wedding. It was only fitting as they had met one week after us, and got engaged about 2 weeks before us! I loved being there for her and the ceremony and reception were perfect. Also that weekend, I got to spend some time with my dear friend Laura, her hubs Andy and their daughter Hope. Laura was one of my bridesmaids and it was great to spend a day or so with her before the wedding. She blessed me! AND while there, her mom took us to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which was an extra special treat. Also that month, I had breakfast with a former student and her husband - Jamie and Zach - it was very fun.
The whirlwind continued as I returned from Wisconsin, with only 2 weeks till our wedding and only one week till our mom's arrived. I'll move that into......

November: Nothing much happened in November - oh, except I got married! :) Our moms came, and then our friends, and then our family and it was glorious chaos. I loved having everyone here. We went to Disney with the Fergasons, the Flower market with my mom, Karen, Candice and my jr. bridesmaid Andi, hung out with all our friends while making flowers, and then danced into the night on our wedding day. Later we went to Playa Del Carmen for the honeymoon and mostly just enjoyed napping in our lounge chairs while sipping margaritas. That month I also headed to Charlotte, NC for a professional conference, where I presented 2 papers, hung with friends, and got reinvigorated about my research. Curby joined me on the weekend and we enjoyed a day in Charlotte together before heading back to LA. Later that month, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together! I cooked a dinner with all the trimmings, even though it was just the two of us, and we ate on our fancy china. The last of the leftover turkey will be used this weekend in a soup. :)

December: I told myself that in December I had to start working on my dissertation again... and so I did, after a week or two. First, there was the Bel Air Christmas Tea which Jennifer Ann attended with me and some friends from small group. Then we had a variety of Christmas parties all month long (for which I made awesome hand-painted sweatshirts!). Before I knew it, I had written 30 pages of my paper and we were off to Phoenix for the holiday. We celebrated with my parents and brother and had a really nice and relaxed time. Earlier in the month we had spontaneously decided to visit Collin and Candice for New Years' weekend, so we left Phoenix, dropped off Tiny at a friend's house, and boarded a plane for England-town (as Curby and I called it). The last few days were spent in Cambridge, playing with Asher, drinking good beer and whiskey, walking around town, and baking like fiends. It was a great way to end a VERY busy and exciting year.

I'm sure I missed a bunch of stuff about 2011, and hopefully the stuff I forgot can be forgiven. Upcoming posts include a "year in pictures" collage post and a "year in numbers" post (thanks for the idea Jess!).

I can't wait to see what 2012 holds. In the meantime, reliving 2011 like this reminds me that I am grateful for my family, friends, and the faithfulness of God in getting me through it. Now, off to more dissertation writing!