Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 Times of Twenty-Twelve

2012 was an eventful year. It went by way too quickly, but then, don't they all? While it had its fair share of bumps along the way, I have to say it was mostly a year chock full of blessings. 

As I reflect on the happenings of the past 365 days, there are many joyous occasions that come to mind: my grandma's 83rd birthday, my family's trip to the lake, my friend Erin becoming a mother, taking my dad to the Browns/Colts game for his birthday, my friend Deanna getting engaged, my friend Jen telling me she was pregnant, finally celebrating Christmas '11 with Melissa in November, my friend Colleen moving back, the 1st birthday parties for Anderson & Eli, my trip to Cincinnati to see the Cardinals play the Reds...I could go on and on. But for your sake (and for the sake of a title with alliteration), I've narrowed the top moments of 2012 down to twelve.

12. My T-Shirt Quilt: Years in the making (and by that I mean years of hoarding t-shirts), it was a gratifying feeling to complete this project. 
Currently it's sprucing up the foot of my bed. I also used it at the beginning of the school year to teach idea development to my little 3rd grade writers. 
If you're in the market for a t-shirt quilt yourself, check out the Campus Quilt Company. They're awesome!

11. The Circle City: During our Spring Break, Joey and I decided to take a last minute road trip to Indy and it was the best unplanned getaway we could have imagined. 
I've spent years going to the Circle City to visit family, but I had never stayed downtown or done the tourist thing. We stayed near the White River State Park and were within walking distance of many attractions. We visited the Zoo, the Children's Museum, and Edward's Drive-In, among many other establishments.

We took a self-guided walking tour through downtown Indy and one of my favorite moments was dancing with a street performer we met along the way. 

If you've never toured downtown Indianapolis, I suggest you immediately put that on your to-do list.

10. Sparkle Sisters: My girl Jenny and I have been mistaken for sisters from the moment we became friends in college. We've heard the question, "Are you twins?" more times than we can count.
We've even been called the 'Bobbsey Twins', but we were not prepared for the new nickname bestowed upon us the night of my 31st birthday celebration. Totally unplanned (I swear), Jenny and I wore the same pink sparkly shirt (that we purchased at separate times mind you). She called me ahead of time to tell me she was on her way and asked me if I had worn my shirt and when I said yes she asked if I wanted her to go home and change it. "Don't be ridiculous!" I said. I thought it was a hilarious coincidence. 
So there we were in our matching shirts, minding our own business, when an older intoxicated creeper at the table next to us felt the need to strike up a conversation. "What's up with the Sparkle Sisters?" he grumbled, "Y'all twins or something?" 
I'll spare you the rest of his rambling, but just know that I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. Needless to say, Jenny and I will now be forever known as the Sparkle Sisters. It really is the perfect nickname for us and I'm surprised we didn't think of it a long time ago.

9. Jimmy Buffet: With concert veterans Ruthie & Richard, I finally got to see the legend himself, Mr. Jimmy Buffet. Sporting my Margaritaville pants and all, I danced the night away to his sweet songs. And for just a little while, I forgot I wasn't really at the beach.

8. Smoky Mountains: I feel so fortunate to work with people I not only respect and can count on, but that I can also call my friends. To celebrate the end of the 2011-12 school year, my 4 fellow third grade teachers and I hit the road for Gatlinburg. We rented a cabin in the mountains (waaaaay up in the mountains) and had a blast. 

For me, nothing can compare to the view our first morning there. Walking out onto the back deck of our cabin, and being surrounded by the "smoke" of the mountains was a truly beautiful moment. 
I'm looking forward to a return trip to the Smoky Mountains in April with my family!

7. Holiday World: It had been years since I last visited Holiday World, or any amusement park for that matter. I was excited to take my goddaughter Hannah there while she was visiting me this summer. 
While it's true that Hannah is in 4th grade, I'm pretty sure Joey and I were the real "kids" that day. It's amazing how being on a roller coaster can erase all of your maturity. The highlight of the day was when, after waiting for over an hour to ride the Mammoth water slide, we finally stepped foot in our inner tube and Joey slipped on some water and wiped out, kicking some poor girl (with braces) in the mouth. Once we saw that the girl was okay, I could not. stop. laughing. His middle name is definitely not Grace. However, we did call him Talon Toe Joe for a while after that. 
We had such a blast with Hannah, Joey and I went back again a few weeks later. You'll be glad to know that no one was hurt on this particular venture.

I'm willing to bet that meeting Pat Koch was probably the highlight of Joey's 2012.

6. Dave Matthews: When we heard that Dave was coming to the Yum! Center in December, Courtney and I didn't hesitate to grab ourselves some tickets. Since we'd each seen him at least 3 times before, we went with the cheap seats in the nosebleed section to save ourselves a little cash. We had grand plans to eat somewhere fun downtown before the show, but a 7:00 start on a rainy Tuesday night proved difficult to make when it came down to it. So we did the next best thing: hit up the White Castle drive-thru. 
That wasn't even the best part, though--the best part is actually a tie for me between our seat upgrades and the encore song. Just before our noses started to bleed, an usher came up and told us we could move up to the front row of our section, as the seats weren't being used. Score! No one could block our view of Mr. Matthews and we were free to dance as we pleased. As if that wasn't already pretty special, then Dave came out for the encore to play "The Christmas Song". Neither of us had ever heard it live before, and let me just say it was well worth the wait. 

5. Upgrades: As I sit in my recently redecorated living room writing this, I am so pleased with the upgrades around me. I wrote about them in-depth earlier this year, so I'll be brief and simply say that flipping my living room around was the best happy accident that occurred this year; having a new perspective has truly given me a new perspective (see what I did there?).

4. March Madness: If you haven't figured it out by now, I am slightly obsessed with the Louisville Cardinals. I get it honestly. I can remember at 5 years old, watching my dad yell at the TV, cheering UofL on to their 2nd National Championship. 
As I've grown, I've seen Louisville win conference tournaments and make a few deep runs in the NCAA tournament. But unfortunately, we UofL fans haven't had the opportunity to see our Cards win a National Championship in 26 years. 
Riddled with injuries, the 2012 squad wasn't expected to go very far in the postseason. So it was that much more exciting when they dominated the Big East tournament and made it to the Final Four in a Russdiculous fashion. I'm talking high kicks in my living room when they took down Michigan State, and tears streaming when they came back to defeat Florida. I told you: ob-sessed.
Would it have been even sweeter if they had made it to the National Championship game by beating their hated in-state rivals the Kentucky Wildcats? Yes. Yes it would. 
But fear not, for the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 2 days ago, and I have a hunch that 2013 is going to be the year we get to hang another banner--a National Championship banner, that is.

3. Best Halloween Costume: My sister's boyfriend, Andy, has a huge family--he's one of 11 kids, in fact. Every year they have an awesome Halloween party, and this year Joey and I wanted to bring it with our costumes. Inspiration hit over Red Robin onion rings one night: we would be Snooki & her baby, Lorenzo. 
Joey found an adult-sized set of footy pajamas, and I picked up a Jersey Gurl (that is not a typo) wig. We knew we would get a good laugh, but we could never have anticipated the honor of Best Costume and the free movie passes that came with it. A Happy Halloween it was indeed.

2. The Wealth of Health: Being able to celebrate Mom's 5th year being kidney cancer-free on June 3rd was a huge highlight of 2012. 
In a year when Mom also had to have a hysterectomy, Jill had bells-palsy, Andy had a collapsed lung, and Dad had some scary blood test results, I'm especially happy to say that everyone was healthy as we celebrated Christmas this year. The real wealth of life is not money, but health.

Now if you don't know what the number 1 moment of this year was, then you're either a) not my friend, or b) visiting this blog for the first time.

Nothing else even came close this year...

1. The Birth of My Niece: July 22 was officially the best day of the year (and of my life, for that matter) because I got to meet my little McNugget. I was not prepared for the amount of love my heart holds for this little girl. I sobbed uncontrollably the first time I held her (Micah and my mom were seriously scared), and to this day, my eyes still well up with tears when I think about that moment. 
She just makes life sweeter. 

Road trips, holidays, birthdays, ordinary weekdays--they're all better when that precious baby is present. Even when I was involved in a hit-and-run this year, all I had to do was spend some time with my McNugget and I forgot all about it. She's truly awesome. 

At the end of each year, it's easy to dwell on all of the things we didn't accomplish. But I'd rather focus on the positive and be grateful for the blessings these past 365 days have bestowed. 
Let's learn from the mistakes we made and change the things we can to make the next year even better.

2013 is a gift, so enjoy it. Happy New Year, Y'all!

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