Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My 101st Post: Going Backward to Catch Up, Part 5

Today is absolutely beautiful and it started with a gorgeous sunrise on the front of our property while simultaneously there was this surreal moon shining over our pond on the back of our property. It was truly incredible. I didn't take any photos. What was I thinking? Here is a photo of a sunset that was taken in November 2011. Love the pink reflection on the pond!

So as you have figured out, I haven't been able to sync my blog posts with the calendar! I spent a lot of time in November and December working on "organization" and cleaning out areas that needed de~cluttering! I was able to transfer about 10-15 bags of clothing, decorations and lots of unused toys. What an awesome feeling! My focus word for 2011 was "organization" so it felt good to make progress in that area. I am still working on my focus word for 2012 and have narrowed it down to 5. I like the idea of a focus word for the year, rather than all kinds of resolutions that I may or may not work on.

I really enjoy blogging. I haven't made it a priority in the past year, because I feel out of control when I spend too much time in blogland. This is my attempt to get back on track and get synched up with the calendar! I appreciate any advice on how to keep blogging with a busy life. Let me know what works for you!

November 2011
The Levy Passed!
I was asked along with a number of other people to help out on a levy campaign in the middle of October. There was a lot to be done in a 3 week period. What I will take away from the experience is that there are many wonderful and dedicated people who support education. I am so happy to say that our levy passed by about 200 votes. It took a few weeks to verify, but it is good to know that our children will continue to enjoy a very high level of least for a few more years!

A picture of some of the thousands of levy pins that were made to show our pride in our school district!

This is a rally that was held on our town square. My daughters are holding the neon yellow/green sign and they are flanked by a wonderful first grader teacher on the right and sweet friends of mine on the left:
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet some really fantastic people. It is amazing what a team can accomplish.

My kids have been playing tennis for a few years now. But, it wasn't until this year that I realized how fortunate we are to have such an awesome facility just 10 minutes from our house. I started playing in October with a group of fun women. One drives from 45 minutes away.

I am working on getting good indoor shots. This one is blurry, but I still love the action of it! This was Foster's first real tournament and he did well. He loves tennis and is addicted to it.

It seems that my tennis photos of Marissa are rather boring, so I will have to work on capturing her high energy level on the court.

Veteran's Day
I love that our schools recognize Veteran's Day and as 3 rd graders, Marissa and her classmates saluted our hardworking military and veterans with a very special music program which was created by my dear friend, their music teacher, Mrs. H. It was very inspiring and I particularly loved it when they asked for all of our veterans and military personnel to stand so we could honor them! This was the moment she spied me slipping into the filled auditorium, a few minutes late. Love that smile!

My friend, Mrs. H, the best music teacher.ever.period:

Black Tie Baby
We have 2 black tie events that we attend each year. Although it can be tiring finding an outfit to each one, I am always thankful for the date night with my well dressed hubby. The photo was taken by one of the kids, therefore shadows behind us. (I will take a slightly shadowy photo over no photo.)

We had a very low key Thanksgiving. The kids wanted to stay home and make traditional turkey and fixings. It was nice to be together for the day. We cooked, played outside on a rather warm day and then went to the movies.

A little football to stretch after Thanksgiving dinner. My girls both know how to throw a football. A skill that is necessary, if they ever go to a beach full of guys. Much easier to talk to a guy if you know how to throw a football:

I am not the best at football throwing, but I do like to get into the action and really appreciate a good quarterback & their abilities:

Enjoying being outside with my hubby, a former 8th grade QB!

Annual Buckeye Photo
Every year I take a pic of the kids on the OSU vs. Michigan football game day. This year I am amazed at how mature they look. Even though the Bucks lost this one, we had a great time watching the game!

December 2011
Choir Concert~Foster
I love snapping a photo of my kids during their concerts. When they played instruments it was so difficult to get them in action. It is much easier to get a choir photo! Foster is in the middle above the piano. I think this photo will be fun to share at graduation time!

Choir Concert~Ana
Years ago when Rich and I were newly married and I was pregnant with Ana, I sang in our church choir. It was a small group of good singers and I added some off key reality. I really did not know the notes, but for some reason they let me stay on for about 6 months, until we moved to another city as Rich had finished his doctorate. So when I see Ana on stage, I am happy to know that she is using her God given talents and I am ever so grateful for those choir members for the opportunity to let my baby hear the correct pitch and intonation. It has been years of music lessons and it is gratifying watching her and listening to her pretty voice. And as luck would have it, as a freshman you get to wear the choir robes for concerts.

One of their songs involved a bit of dancing which was fun to watch:
This concert was really such a treat. At the end of the concert the entire high school choir surrounded the audience and sang two songs. It gave me goosebumps, as it was really beautiful and put me in the perfect Christmas mood!

State Champions
In December Ana's tennis team was honored at a basketball game. The team was the Ohio State Tennis Coaches Association Division II State Team Champions. They won the title in October. Although Ana did not play in the actual event, she was there to support her team in winning the Championship. It was Lexington's 4th state championship in the past 6 years. Ana has wonderful coaches and great teammates. She is proud to be a part of this team! They are an amazing group of young women.

The following photos were taken by a professional photographer from the nose-bleed seats. I saw his big lens and asked him if he would take a few pics for me and he was so nice and agreed to. He then edited them and emailed them to me a few days later. I was very thankful that he did such a nice favor for me.

Christmas Eve
All I truly wanted for Christmas was 3 things. 1.Attend church with my family. This is the most important thing to me as it truly celebrates the birth of Jesus. We had an awesome service with incredible music! It was simply beautiful and such a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas. 2.The second thing that I wanted was for the kids to sing/play a Christmas song of their choosing. Here is a pic of them in the music room. I think they played and sang Jingle Bells. It was perfect for me!

3.The third thing that I wanted was a picture of all of us in our Christmas outfits. We set the timer on the camera and had some fun, not knowing exactly when the picture would be taken!!

This is me on Christmas Eve, I was tired from all of the preparation. Whew. The holidays can really wear a girl out!

And this is how the kids typically act at picture time (if they aren't fighting) They were really excited about getting their new pj's, and of course the picture taking:
After church we go home and the kids get to open  a gift. It is their traditional jammies and slippers. We then had some delicious food and special time just being together!

Christmas Day
Check out the sky! It was a beautiful pink as the sun rose! A fun toy for son & Dad:

The stack of gifts in the back were for Rich and I . We wrap everything and give really exciting gifts like socks and ski gloves. I was adamant that his stack of gifts would be higher than mine! The joy is in giving, right? Happiness is getting a gift you wanted but didn't expect, like these two:

Marissa enjoyed her favorite gifts at one time: baton, gloves where the fingertips light up (I am borrowing those!!), a microphone and glitter hat. I love 9 year olds!!:

Skiing with Friends
After Christmas we got away for a few days on a ski adventure with our good friends.
Piggies getting warmed by the fire after a fun ski afternoon!

Our friend Connor making the girls laugh. My goddaughter, Quinn, is in between the girls:

Rich and I with our bestest buddies, Bill & Carrie, at their gorgeous lake house that is 2 minutes from the slopes.  Carrie made us a gourmet dinner that was so delicious. Not only is she beautiful, she can cook better than my momma!!

Connor, Foster, Brennan, Bill & Marissa after a fun afternoon! Brennan is the little guy in red and he made us laugh for the entire 2 days. And he is such a good little skier!
The best skiing is with good friends. We love this family so much and can't wait to make more memories with them!

New Year's Eve, last day of 2011
I don't have any pictures of New Year's Eve. We spent the morning doing some work and then the afternoon shopping and visiting with some very good friends. We were home early in the evening and for the most part spent it together as family. It was really nice to be able to see one another at midnight. The kids are growing so fast, so I know we won't have too many more New Year's Eves together!

As I sit here with a warm mug of hazelnut coffee and reflect on 2011, I am feel that overall it was a good year. It seems trite to say that 2011 was filled with ups and downs. Isn't every year filled with highs and lows? What I can say about 2011 is that there were new challenges for me personally and for us as a family. Our family has quickly shifted from tweens to teens and that presents new challenges. It presents new situations with regard to dating, technology, social invitations, goal setting, sports and school. Some weeks go very smoothly, while others are completely disrupted with a new challenge.

For me, my mom's journey with NonHodgkins Lymphoma was very difficult. It was difficult to be apart from her as we live in different states. It is much better now that she is in remission. She is dealing with some health effects as a result of the chemo. Please keep her in your prayers.

I had a great experience with 2 different bible studies in 2011 and believe that this is what kept me sane this year; Reflecting on God's word and what my role is in this world.

2011 also brought new adventure into my life. I began kickboxing, learned to surf and started playing tennis. New sports that have me enamored! And I am proud of myself for working with a personal trainer to lose weight and learn some healthier alternatives in eating. I will be putting these newly learned skills back into practice in 2012. I hope to set a fitness goal for this year, too. Keep moving in the right direction. One step at a time.

I was able to give back by volunteering through our schools (worked with kids on spelling, levy committee, 8th grade DC trip) and church.

I enjoyed our first family trip to Cali and our favorite vacation spot at Glen Lake, Michigan and an anniversary trip with my hubby to Arizona. I was able to spend lots of time with friends and family on the boat, the slopes, and celebrating big events with family and friends.

I am glad that I also stayed true to my word for 2011 of "organization". I did wait until November, but then really worked hard in the last 2 months of 2011 to get areas of my home organized!

My next post will include my word for 2012. And some goals and of course, some fun pictures.

Thank you for reading my 101st post!!
hugs, Cathy