Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

At the close of each year I like to look back and reflect.
2011 has been a year filled with growth and learning,  as well as quite a bit of challenge and of course joy.

After 9 years of a relatively easy marriage Matt and I had a year of growth and challenge.  Every marriage faces challenging times, and this year was one of those for us.  I'm happy to say we've come through and feel like we have a stronger marriage now than ever before.  We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2012 and hope to get away somewhere tropical for a week :)

The second half of the year brought a lot of emotional challenges for me.  I faced a lot of anxiety.  I discovered a huge source of my anxiety and why it surfaced around the anniversary of my father's death was that I had never actually grieved his death.  I shoved it under the rug and didn't allow myself the grief process.  In return it came back to bite me 9 years later.  I finally found a good therapist, one I clicked with and trusted, and she helped me deal with a lot of emotional issues through EDMR therapy.  I highly recommend this if you have any sort of traumatic event in your past.  It's amazing how quickly you can work through something with this form of therapy. 

We faced some pretty big challenges with our family this year.  Praise be to the Lord for bringing a family member through some very hard times and to a place of healing and restoration.

It felt like nearly all of our loved ones faced very challenging circumstances this year.  Illness and loss seemed to weave their way through a lot of our loved ones. The economy certainty played a huge role in that.  I'm praying 2012 is easy in comparison for our loved ones.

In August Matt's grandma Van Laar went home to be with the Lord.

Through all of the challenges I experienced growth.  We wouldn't be strong without facing challenge.  I learned towards the end of the year to finally praise God for my challenges and discovered that they have helped mold me into a better woman.  It's really only when I finally did this that I could look beyond and see the rainbow.

Despite being a challenging year, there was a whole lot of joy.  My photography business flourished and grew, and I'm still in the process of learning more about that every day.  Running your own business is a lot of work, but oh so rewarding.  I don't think I've ever cared so much about something work related or poured my heart into something as much as my photography business.  It's funny, I spent 4 1/2 years in college learning how to become a teacher and it never moved me as much as photography does.  I feel like I still have a lot of room to grow, and look forward to that in 2012.

Watching my kids grow each day is obviously full of challenges and joy.  I'm happy not to currently have a three year old in my house right now :)  I'm enjoying my kids being 2 and 4. 

As we say goodbye to 2011 and await the the start of 2012 I feel encouraged at the growth that I've had and look forward to a year of peace, calm and joy.  I don't make resolutions, but I do pray for a calm, peaceful and joy filled 2012 :)

I thought I'd end this post with highlights from each month.....

Matt and I getting to go to Coronado for 2 nights by ourselves.


Going to Vegas with the Oates for three nights
Spring pictures of my kiddos

Snow at the end of the month

A fun family day at LegoLand

Putting in our back lawn provided our little dirt monster with a lot of fun

Alayna's first time at the beach...
she ate a lot of sand.   

 My niece Amanda staying with us for two weeks.

Father's Day.
He's such a great Daddy.

 A visit from my dear sweet friend Crystal and her son Gideon.

A night away with the Flores.
  Dinner and magic at the Magic Castle. 

 Lots of fun and dirty playtime outside.

Lots more dirty playtime outside :)
Love this picture of them hugging in their swimsuits.


Photographing my first wedding

Alayna's 2nd birthday

 A new car for Matt.

A trip to San Diego with my hubby to celebrate my 30th birthday.
 A day at Glen Ivy with Faith to celebrate my 30th

Oak Glen with the Flores family

The pumpkin patch

 Halloween with Lightening McQueen and a bunny rabbit

Ethan's 4th birthday party,
with a dump truck and construction theme

 Photographing my second wedding and having my hubby second shoot with me

 "A Day Out With Thomas The Train"


Lots of holiday fun with my sweet family and friends

Goodbye 2011 and hello 2012....
you're going to be a good year!
Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Boxing Day

This was the fourth year in a row that we spent Boxing day at the Flores casa.  It has become one of my favorite holiday traditions.  While everyone else packed up their Christmas decorations, we continued celebrating.  It's such a relaxing day.  It's a lot of fun to be able to spend a day together instead of just a dinner.

My kids were exhausted from all of the Christmas festivities and I was very relieved that both of them took naps over there.  Goodness knows they needed it. 

The kids had fun exchanging gifts (as did the adults).

Of course we played some Wii.
Do you like my awesome step aerobics?

My latest obsession (thanks to Krista mentioning it on her blog),
Hanging with Friends.
Jolene and I were playing while we sat on the couch.

Some of our yummy food and drinks...
I was having fun with the Christmas light bokeh.
 This is my favorite picture of the day....

 Aren't these two cute?
The Flores boys are going to have to fight over which one gets her ;)

 Isn't this boy a ham???

 Alayna and Jonny sitting at the table
 Ethan gave me some snuggles after his nap.
He's so affectionate.
I hope he always stays that way :)

 A nice ending to the evening...
the kiddos in their jams watching Cars 2 while the adults got to have some adult conversation.
Ahhhh, such a great way to end the festivities of Christmas.
I love our Boxing Day with the Flores' :)