Thnks fr th Mmrs 2011 [part one].

I know I've been saying it to myself for most of the year...

...but seriously. Where the heck has the year gone?!

It seems like yesterday I was ringing in 2011, but now it's just about over. It's the last day of the year, and I'm now forcing myself to accept the fact that a new year is upon us and this one is quickly drawing to a close. 2011 has been a year of ups and downs for me, but there have definitely been more awesome moments than sad moments this year. In no particular order, I present 5 of my 10 favorite memories of 2011:

1. Watching my baby boy grow into a toddler. JJ turned 3 earlier this month, and the fact that he's 3 is still blowing my mind. He grew so much this year...from potty training to ditching the pacifier to forming full sentences, it's been a fun year as a mommy. It's been amazing to watch him grow and develop - and to teach him the way of sports. He loves watching basketball and playing with his basketball and soccer goals...yes. This mama is starting her son out early on the sports. I adore that boy more and more every day.

JJ and I in January 2011...
...and JJ in November 2011. Big kid!
2. Going to Vegas with my sister. My sister has had this thing lately with taking trips for her birthday [she already has plans to go to DisneyWorld for her 25th, and we spent her 23rd birthday in Dallas and went to Medieval Times]. For her 24th, she decided to go to Vegas - and I definitely said I was going. Not even having my gallbladder removed four days before the trip would stop me from going. This was my third trip to Vegas, and it was by far my most fun - went with a great group of girls, had lots of yummy drinks, and I didn't pay to get into a single club. I can't wait to go back!

Made a new friend at Caesar's Palace. :)
Me and the girls, starting the trip off right - limo ride to the hotel!
3. Reconnecting with family. My paternal grandfather passed away in March, and my family decided to go to the funeral. My dad spent nearly 24 hours flying home from Afghanistan, then we drove 24 hours [straight] to North Carolina to be with my family. We almost didn't go, but I'm so, so glad we did. Before the trip, I hadn't seen my dad's side of the family in more than 10 years - and to reconnect with them was fantastic. Even though I spent my 25th birthday at my grandfather's wake, being with my family was incredible. I hope to visit in 2012.

My wonderful Aunt Glo, me and sis.
Pretty girls! Cousins Chernessa and Tiffany [plus baby!] with JJ, sis and me

4. Spending time with my husband. I adore my husband - more than I can put into words. But I haven't spent a lot of time with him this year because of deployment schedules and us living in separate cities [for now]. I did, however, get to spend more than just 48 hours with him three times this year - Colorado in March [the Springs is freakin' beautiful]; here in August when he came to help me out after surgery; and right now. He came home on the 23rd and is here for two more days. I'll miss him when he leaves, but I cherish the time we've had this year and know we'll have more of it in 2012 when he's back from deployment. I love you J.

Hubs and I on 12.30.11. After 7 years, 2.5 years of marriage and a little boy, we're still going strong.

5. OSU football season. Yes - a couple of sporting events will make my list, starting with this year's football season. Now, I've been an OSU fan since I started there in 2004 - and I've always faithfully stood by their side, through thick and thin, since the 2004 season. I can honestly say, though, that I never saw this season coming. I thought last year would be as good as it got for awhile - boy was I wrong. OSU finished 11-1, won their first Big 12 championship, beat OU for the first time since I was in high school, and they had their highest BCS rank ever AND will play in their first BCS game ever. While I'm still a little bitter about the national championship snub, this year will forever go down as the best ever. So proud of my Cowboys!

Sis and I at the OSU/KState game in November. Proud OSU grads baby!
Bedlam aftermath: storming the field. That night was EPIC.
It's nearly 3am now  - and husband keeps tossing and turning, which means my typing is waking him up - so I should head to bed and finish this in the morning. As you can see, 2011 was full of memories and fun times...my final five will be up soon. :)


My holiday bylaws.

Man. Is it seriously the holiday season already? Christmas is like, 12 days away, and the year is quickly coming to a close. I'll do one of those "this is what happened in 2011 that made it awesome and not-so-awesome" posts after Christmas, but for now, we'll focus on Christmas.

My best friend and I were talking today about random holiday ramblings [our failure as wives - and women - because we can't wrap presents, how we don't know what to get our husbands etc.], and during that conversation, I came up with a list of holiday bylaws. Now, I'm not saying you have to follow these - they're my own that I made up, after all [and if you're listening to anything i say and am taking it seriously, i'm seriously impressed]. I do, however, ask that you consider them as you read my made-up list of bylaws for the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's season, in no particular order:

1. It’s OK to cuss out one present while wrapping gifts - two if you're really feeling like things aren't going your way. If you do that to a third, you might want to consider paying someone to wrap for you.

2. Dec. 13 [which is today!] is National Hot Cocoa Day. Take advantage [and, if it fits your fancy, spike it with a little somethin’ extra].

3. NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE THANKSGIVING. Show Thanksgiving some respect yo.

4. Do not leave your decorations up past the end of January. That includes outdoor Christmas lights. No matter where you live, they are not meant to be left up all year. You got them up there; now stop being lazy and take them down.

5. Before you take your family Christmas photo, please refer to Awkward Family Photos. That will tell you what NOT to do. Or just think of it this way: if you're going to look back on it a day, 10 days, 10 years from now and wonder what the eff you were thinking...don't do it.

Just one example - many more on the site. Don't.Do.It.

6. Wrap your gifts please. This is literally the one time a year you have to wrap gifts [most people I know just stick birthday gifts in gift bags, so even that important of a day doesn’t get proper wrap respect]...so whether you pay someone or do it yourself, wrap it. Wrap it good.

7. If you’re going to do holiday baking, be sure not to overindulge. It’s so easy to take a cookie dough spoonful here, a scone there, a cupcake here, a sugar cookie there...and then you wonder why you’ve gained 10 pounds by the time it’s all said and done. Just watch it.

8. When people ask you what you want for Christmas, TELL THEM. Or at least point them in the direction of your Amazon wish list. Otherwise, don’t bitch when you shrug your shoulders and they get you Spongebob shot glasses. Or one of those singing fish plaques.

9. It’s perfectly acceptable to watch Christmas movies meant for those 10 and younger - you never outgrow those [think: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman]. What’s not acceptable is kids watching Christmas movies meant for adults - they're definitely too young for that [think: Bad Santa and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas].

This will never get old - and is safe for all ages. Some other holidays movies...not so much.

10. On the same token of the gift giving, listen to people when they tell you what they want. More likely than not, they really want that gift. You could be exiled to the doghouse/naughty list/bad friend list if you don’t. Fair warning.

11. Don’t try to be all cute and wear cheerleading shorts with some Ugg boots and a college hoodie when its 30 degrees below zero outside. Put some clothes on. Frostbite is not worth trying to impress someone.

12. College football bowl season lands during the holidays. Cut your favorite college football fan some slack and let them watch some bowl games. Even if it’s the Crispy Chicken Wrap Bowl, let ‘em go - this is the last of college football until September. That’s a long time - trust me.

Couldn't resist reppin' my school, who's Fiesta Bowl bound. I WILL be watching. Try and stop me.
13. Don’t set New Year’s resolutions if you’re going to give up on them on January 2nd. At least make a half-ass attempt at them before throwing them in the trash.

14. Have a DD if you’re going to go out and party hard on New Year’s Eve. You don’t want to ring in 2012 in a jail cell with people who might try to sleep with you or eat you, do you?

15. Don't be a Grinch, Scrooge or whatever [out loud, at least]. It's the holiday season, and a majority of people actually enjoy this time of year. If you don't, keep your mouth shut and put on a smile so you don't ruin their holiday spirit. And attend their holiday parties - at least you'll get food and decent company [hopefully].

Don't be this guy.
That's all I've got for the holiday bylaws for now...I reserve the right to add more randomness to this list as I see fit. Happy Holidays all!


To my son. My 3-year-old son.

To my 3-year-old little man:

Are you really 3? Like, really? I feel like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital, and now, you're in the middle of your toddler years. Good heavens.

This past year has been incredible. You have changed so much that the person you are now is a complete 180 from the person you were a year ago. I think this year has been the biggest change for you that I've seen in your short time on this planet, and it's been so much fun to witness.

Us right after your 2nd birthday - Dec. 2010
And us right before your 3rd birthday...Thanksgiving 2011

I know you may not be able to tell, but you have grown so much in between those two pictures. I think the last stats I have from your last doctor's visit is 33 pounds...no clue on the height, but I know you're more than 36 inches tall [Mommy should get a measurement, eh?]. You're so big!!

You are definitely your mother's son. Mainly because that's all I really watch, you love sports - especially basketball. You're a very big OKC Thunder fan and love wearing your Kevin Durant jersey and pajamas. However, you will watch any basketball game that's on, which is awesome. You loved going to OSU football games, but you started getting freaked out by the crowds after the second game of the season, so you mainly watched them at home with me or Grandma. Next year, though - I bet you'll want to watch. You're also a big fan of your basketball goal that you're getting ready to outgrow. Don't worry - Santa may bring you a new one this year. :)

You are a very big Elmo fan - we watch the same Elmo's World DVD [hands/ears/feet] multiple times a day...we've watched it so much that you know the songs, some of the words and where Elmo counts. You can count to ten easily and, on some days, will count to 15 without skipping a number. We're still working on 16-20, but we'll get there.

You're a big, big fan of music and dancing. You get that from your aunty and grandpa, that's for sure. Some of your favorite songs include Itsey Bitsey Spider, Patty Cake, the ABC song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and a couple of Hawaiian songs that your grandma has taught you. When a song with a good beat comes on, you start bopping around, no matter where we are. You have some incredible rhythm!

The Terrible Two's weren't terrible, but you definitely had an independent spirit [still do!]. You have a way of doing things and want to do everything by yourself [you're so much like your mommy in this respect that it's scary]. You are definitely a routine kiddo, also like your mommy. You love helping Mommy clean up, especially by helping vacuum and start the laundry. You also like helping me "fold clothes" [which basically means that you move everything from the dryer to the basket, then you dump the basket on the floor so you can sit in it] and put up dishes. Such a big, big helper!

We're still working on fully getting you potty trained, but I think we're getting there. You never like to sit still for long and are always moving around. You still like sitting in your high chair, even though you graduated to your own table and chairs months ago. You're a fan of art - you love to draw on the whiteboard your grandparents have for you at their house, and you enjoy coloring and writing on things with regular ink pens. You also like Play Doh, but you try to eat it - so we don't play with that as much as before. :)

Technology is a friend of yours. You love playing with my iPhone and turning on/off my laptop and iPad [you're so smart that you know the code to unlock my phone and your grandma's phone!]. You have a VTech eReader that you use every single day - you love the Elmo and Dora the Explorer cartridges, but you have others that you play with, too. You may be too smart for technology before too long - maybe you'll work with computers or something? That'd be awesome. :)

Your are using more and more words everyday, which is exciting. You're putting together full sentences and expressing yourself more, which makes this mommy super happy. But, you also love to mimic things and copy words - guess that's the best way to learn, right? You're very good at mimicking. :)

I can't believe all of these little paragraphs - and then some - make up the person that is you. You are such an amazing son, and I would never trade you for the world. I wish I could put into words just how incredible you are, but I can't. I am thankful for every moment, every giggle, every kiss that I get with you, and I'll never take it for granted. I'll always be your no. 1 fan, and I'll always be there as long as you need me. I love you so much baby bear. Happy 3rd Birthday.