Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Another year has come and gone.  Another 365 days full of memories.  Let's take a look back on the glorious 2011.

For the first time in my life, I welcomed the New Year in another state.  I had a week left of my original program at Disney World and would soon be starting an extension.  I rang in the new year at a small gathering with some friends from life guarding.  We watched the countdown and I even had my first New Years kiss with my then-boyfriend Brett.  The following week, I was saying goodbye to many new friends as they returned to all corners of the county and the world.  I moved from one apartment complex to another and got 4 new roommates.  I continued my Resort of the Week project that I had started in the last days of December.  It was so awesome going around to all the resorts and seeing new things, since the parks had kind of gotten stale by then.  I worked a little at All-Star again, but I also got to do new things at my home region, like work in the aqua play area, which allowed for more guest interaction.

In February, I worked through the first week and a half and then finally got to go home and visit my family in Colorado.  I had seen them since the end of July (except for Rachel and Sam coming to visit on separate occasions).  Brett flew to Colorado with me too on our first ever trip together.  We celebrated Valentine's Day the next day--my first with a boyfriend--and our three month anniversary later that week.  He flew home the next day and I stayed a little longer, spending time with my family and some of my friends.  When I went back to Florida, I realized my heart belonged in Colorado and I needed to self-terminate my internship two months early and move back home.  It was a tough decision, but the right one.  Brett and I spent my last days in Florida together, doing some things I hadn't done--like going to the beach.  On the last day of the month, I departed for a cross-country roadtrip.  Solo.  I drove all the way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana that day and stayed with my aunt and uncle.

I was at my aunt and uncle's house for the first week in March.  I got to see both of my cousins (and Nicole's daughter for the first time) and even do some real Louisiana stuff, like eat alligator.  At the end of the week, I drove to Dallas to meet my mom.  We drove the rest of the way back to Colorado together.  It was a fun day that got me hooked on audiobooks.  In my first weeks home, I looked for a job and went to the library almost every weekend.  I started baking with my sister Cady a lot more and even went to my first-ever Nuggets game.  By St. Patrick's Day, I had started a job at a local day care center where my sister Rachel already worked.  I was hired as the assistant teacher in the room for babies that are 6 months to 1 year.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love with those babies.  Near the end of the month, I got my first litter of foster kittens for the year--and since July 2010.  Arthur, Ariadne, and Mal quickly made themselves at home and we quickly fell in love.

In April, I got to see snow for the first time in about a year.  I was so excited, because it was a far cry from those 100 degree days at Disney World.  I went to my second-ever spring football game at CU a few weekends into the month and got to see a future NFL star (Nick Solder) and a current NFL star (Mason Crosby).  It felt so good to be back at Folsom Field and definitely started a countdown to regular season kick-off.  Our Inception kittens only spent a month with us, as they all got fixed and went onto the adoption floor only a month after we took them in.  Near the end of the month, I went on vacation back to Disney World, something I had been looking forward to since I had left.  I spent 10 days with Brett, doing Disney World parks and even going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time.  I got to see a few other friends while I was down there and go to another Orlando Magic game.  I even finished my Resort of the Week project.  I also rose early the morning of the Royal Wedding to watch history being made.  It was awesome, and probably something my future daughter will ask me about in years to come.  (And I think it's the first month in forever that I haven't seen a movie in the theater!)

I got back to Colorado at the beginning of May and went straight back to work.  One thing I can say of those kids is they made me miss work very much while I was on vacation.  And I don't think I've ever missed work before!  Early in the month, my little sister and I went to see one of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen, kick off her book tour in Boulder.  I finally have an autographed book!  Two, actually.  When the Rockies celebrated their firefighter appreciation night, my whole family (literally) went down to Coors Field for a chilly game.  But we won!  And luckily, it wasn't my only game of the year.  My mom and I went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for the first time, and it was amazing!  Next, we got two new kittens who we named after Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton.  A few days later, they called asking if we would take more.  No problem!  Most of the rest of the month was filled with babies at work and kittens at home.  Heaven.

In June, Cady and I continued our three months of baking adventures, baking things from the cook books I got in Disney World.  Yum!  A few weeks in, we had to send Harry and Pippa back to go onto the adoption floor.  Although Harry hadn't yet been fixed, he was definitely ready to find a permanent home.  My friend Julie and I went to another Rockies game with our friends Austin and Colin, who we started hanging out with again during the summer.  (We know each other from Snowbound 2010.)  On the last Friday of the month, my mom, Rachel, and I volunteered at an amazing event at our church.  Shine was a prom-like party for people in the community with disabilities.  Rachel and I worked games while our mom served snacks.  We both got to see people from high school, which was hands-down the best part.  Although I worked fewer hours than normal in June, and even contemplating finding a new job, I stuck with it and couldn't have been happier.  It really goes to show how quickly you can bond with kids!  I love those babies.

July got off to a slow start.  The Fourth of July was about as exciting as it usually is, which for me isn't very.  I don't know why, but I'm just not a fan of that holiday.  At work we said goodbye to another baby, and got a brand new one, and one moved up from the other room.  Cady and I planned an elaborate feast in order to celebrate the second half of the final Harry Potter film.  It was so much fun to make all of the Hogwarts Express treats and a traditional British dinner.  The feast went off without a hitch and tasted delicious.  The next weekend, we celebrated Rachel's 24th birthday at a hip new restaurant in Denver, Root Down, and then went to the final Harry Potter movie.   At the end of the month, I had to say goodbye to Bea and Lucy, which was really difficult.  They were probably my favorite kittens, dare I say it.  I started babysitting a lot more at the end of the month as well.  And on the last weekend of the month, I went with my Dad's family up to Grand Lake for two days of fun.  We used to go to Grand Lake as an extended family (20 people) every other year, so it brought back a lot of memories.  It was so much fun!

The beginning of August brought my biggest birthday yet: 21.  I had a pretty low-key birthday, going out drinking with some close friends and family, but nothing too crazy.  The next day, we went to my new favorite breakfast place, Snooze in Denver, and a Rockies game.  I also said goodbye to Bea and Lucy, but got a new pair, Shane and Sean right away.  We only had those two for two weeks, and boy were they a handful.  I also got my wisdom teeth pulled in mid-August.  It was kind of a weird experience, and I can definitely notice the lack of teeth in my mouth, but I'm glad the pain has gone away.  I caught up on my Oscars project while I was down from Friday to Tuesday.  I also got a custom blog design in August!  That was big news for my blog.  After my mouth healed and I was relying on pain killers anymore, I got a new pair of kittens: Twig and Leif.  They were pretty young and pretty tiny, but so cute.  They just needed some work with people.  In less exciting news, I also housesat for the first time.  That was definitely an interesting experience, and I would totally do it again!

September brought the start of my favorite time of the year: college football season.  Last fall, I only went to one college football game, and that was Florida-LSU, so I didn't even get to see my Buffs play once!  Unfortunately, their season opener in Hawaii was rather like the rest of the month (and season)...disappointing.  But, through the month of September I got to go back to Folsom Field for a devastating overtime loss to Cal and watch the Buffs get their first win at the new Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.  Both days were quite fun!  My babysitting side job took off in the month of September.  There wasn't a single weekend that I didn't babysit once, if not twice.  It was nice on the wallet, but a little trying on my social life.  The country remembered the horrible attacks in New York City on the tenth anniversary of September 11th, and it finally resonated with me.  I picked up my old shopping habits once again, which had been on temporary hiatus for about a year, and spent more money in September than July and August combined!  But I did get some great stuff.  I also found out that Leif and Twig had ringworm, but ultimately we decided to take them back and go through their treatment with them.  I also really picked up running in the month of September.  I started running 3-4 times a week and really enjoyed it, surprisingly enough.  I even bought new running shoes at the end of the month.  And on the final day of the month, I jetted off across the country to New York City, once again.

On the first day in October, I woke up in New York.  I spent the day walking around the United States Military Academy at West Point and then going to the Army-Tulane football game.  It was such a fun Saturday, and fulfilled my dream of seeing that campus.  That night, we went back to the city.  It was a fun long weekend, certainly one for the books.  I did a lot of baking in October, including making a pumpkin-shaped chocolate cake.  I also ran my first ever mile, non-stop.  It was definitely one of my greater accomplishments at life.  (Even if it is pathetic that it came at 21.)  I got to see my favorite band, Anberlin, perform for the second time, this time in my home state.  It was such a blast, and as usual, they were amazing in concert.  My family also got wonderful news that my sister and her boyfriend became engaged!  I'm so excited for them!!  And finally, I started my weekly Pinterest Challenge, to help apply some of my many pins to real life.  October ended with Halloween, of course, and once again, I wasn't that excited about the holiday.  Halloween has never been my thing, but I did have fun doing some Halloween crafts with the kids at school and seeing all the little ones in costume!

Nothing notably exciting happened in the beginning of November.  I missed the first CU game of the month (against USC) due to the cold weather, but went to the final home game of the season against Arizona.  The finally got their second win of the season, and everyone in the stadium suffered through 50 MPH winds to watch.  The morning of the Arizona game, I ran my first race in years.  (I think I had only done two total in my lifetime.)  I didn't do as well as I had hoped to, but I was so proud I did it at all!  Six months ago, you wouldn't catch me dead at a race.  The following weekend, I jetted across the country to Chicago with two friends, Colin and Julie, to hang out with our friend Austin.  We had an amazing long weekend sight-seeing, eating, and just hanging out.  It was so much fun!  And the best part was, I got to bust out some of my favorite scarves, which have been out of commission for a long time.  The morning of Thanksgiving, I ran in my second race and definitely didn't do as well as I hoped to, but again, at least I did it.  Now I have a building block to start on for another race in the spring!  I spent Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, which I haven't done in a long time.  We had three (relatively) new faces at the table with a new husband, a new fiance, and a new girlfriend.  It's so awesome that our family is expanding!  The day after Thanksgiving, I went up to Snowmass Village in the mountains for an evening of relaxation all thanks to LivingSocial coupons.  I finished out the month working and spending time with friends, old and new.  Oh yeah, and I got glasses in November!  I could finally see this beautiful world we live in.

Being home in December was good enough for me!  I was so grateful and blessed to be able to spend time with my family during the holiday season, because I really missed that last year.  Work was a little bit slow due to the holidays, but it gave me more time to spend with family and friends and even at the gym!  I saw a record-breaking seven movies in theaters, but finished no books.  One of the most exciting things about the month was going to my first Broncos game with my friend Nathan.  They lost to the Patriots, but it was still an awesome experience.  I completed a few more goals from my list of 101, most notably making everyone's gifts for Christmas.  That was a lot of fun, and definitely something I want to try again!  It was just such a great holiday season at home.  We got a lot of snow the week before Christmas, I made a gingerbread house, and I got to spend the holidays with my family and all of our traditions.  I couldn't ask for more!  I also went to my first-ever company Christmas party!  So much fun.  As the year started to wind down, I just caught up with old friends who were back in town and spent time with my family.  I'm so excited for the new year!  I can't wait to see what 2012 brings.

Happy New Year!

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