Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

I RAN: I ran at least 560 miles this year. This included training and running my best ever half marathon, The Rock and Roll Denver, in 2 hours and 56 seconds.
I READ: I exceeded my Good Reads goal of 24 books by ONE book. My favorite reads of this year would be Cutting for Stone and The Forgotten Garden. I have a goal to read through the entire bible, as of today I have completed through 2 Samuel. I really thought it would be a whole lot more boring to read the Bible, but I am really enjoying it. It's surprising how helpful having read the first 5 books of the Bible has been when reading some New Testament passages...shedding new light on a lot of questions I have always had. Two books that really challenged me to think and grow were Blue Like Jazz and Heaven is For Real.
I (started) GROWING UP: I did a lot of self reflection and resoluting to grow up and get over some of my issues... I have a lot to do still, but it feels good to be opening my eyes to the possibility of embracing change for the better.
I BECAME A BIT CREATIVE: I made a jewelry art piece for my room, canned jam, and convinced my husband into letting me have his grandpas antique stove and used it as a entertainment stand.
I (almost) DIED: discovered the hard way that I am allergic to peaches and now have to cary an epi pen... this caused me some depression, and several dreams where I indulged in peaches, only to wake by trying to make myself puke them up.
I JOINED A GYM: joined Allison and hired a trainer for a few weeks of the summer, who pushed me to do some stuff that is harder than running 13 miles.
I TAUGHT: started my 9th year of teaching, taught a class on standard based grading at a district inservice, and embraced a lot of top down change with the best attitude I can muster... in truth my students are great and make it all worth while.
I GAVE: Anne and I continued to make our monthly meals for the homeless shelter, and this year we took on making gift bags for the ones that would be spending Christmas Eve at the shelter. (In truth ANNE organized it all). But it was great to be a part of assembling and delivering.
I PLAYED TENNIS: Finally Jolene and I signed up and played in the Taco Bell Tennis tournament (we've been talking the talk for a few years). We quickly found out that our 3 weeks of preparation was not enough to hang with the big dogs (old ladies who play every day) and win the whole thing, but we did pull out a few wins and didn't get eliminated immediately.

Madison finished 6th grade still loving school, and started (and continues) 7th grade the same way. She has a great group of friends and is very into the social thing (as evident by her 1400+ texts a month). She started taking bass guitar lessons and is now playing in the school Jazz Band. Madison also took a hunters safety course and earned her hunters safety card, though not in time to get a license this year. She had a Halloween party complete with a haunted house that I had to chaperone (thankfully for me it was cheesy), and at this party they set a goal of saving money to go to Hawaii for their senior trip. Madison got a new soccer coach, and the change in her attitude, confidence, and play is incredible; in fact the whole team did a 180 going from not winning but 2 games, to no losses. Madison also got her braces off, and WOW her smile is amazing! She turned 13, and continues to be a wonderful daughter, growing into a beautiful young woman.

Maddox had a year of milestones... he learned to ride a bike, lost his first tooth, graduated preschool and started Kindergarten. We had our first parent teacher conference, where Maddox sat like a perfect angel, and we were informed he is the model student always tries his best, works hard, is kind, and learning like a sponge. I am a bit embarrassed to say that we were surprise by this, and had been expecting to hear that he can't sit still, is a crazy rambunctious boy. He also started his first season of T-ball, and absolutely loved it. Maddox started his second season of wrestling and in the first tournament he got second place. We celebrated his 5th birthday with an ear infection that delayed our zoo trip by a day, but we still made it and he loved it. Maddox has a strong conscience, and is highly compassionate.

Brian continues to be an amazing dad and husband. He coached Maddox's T-ball team, and his expertise was evident in our teams superior skill and behavior on the field during practice and games. He is also coaching the Palisade Little Dogs Wrestling. He has been working with the older kids, as we have realized that Maddox receives wrestling instruciton better from someone who is not dad. He took Maddox on his first hunting trip, but Madison continues to be his lucky hunting charm and they got a really nice doe that added 80 lbs of burger, italian sausage, breakfast sausage, and steaks to our freezer. He got sick for Elk season, which bummed him out (and me... I love elk meat).

We Traveled:
We went on our first Caster Family vacation, driving 18 hours to Northern Idaho, 30 miles from the Canadian border; arriving in Priest Lake ID. This was a magical trip, while we were there my soul felt at home, and since we left my soul has longed to return. We also spent almost a week in Steamboat for a soccer tournament, since we travel so much for soccer, we try to make the trips mini vacations; and Steamboat was a nice little get away. We opted for camping out in the pop up at a KOA type campground, complete with a pool and games. I think we all had a great "camping" experience. Another soccer mini vacation was the annual trip to Vegas, the focus was strictly soccer... though we managed a drive down the strip for Maddox, and a dinner in Cesar's Palace. Brian and I took a weekend trip to Ouray, this may be my favorite "him and I" get away ever, complete with a beautiful hike. We also had a mini family retreat with my mom and Dan and all 4 of us kids... they rented a beautiful cabin between Ridgeway and Ouray, that was so massive all 17 of us slept and lived very comfortably. Dan had a great dinosaur dig activity for all the grand kids to participate in, and we enjoyed playing on the lake and campfires at night.

Major Random Events:
Nik and Megan got married in June, the wedding was beautiful, and my kids were perfect, Maddox got hooked on the mother son dance and couldn't wait to dance it again at Brian's cousin, Patricia's, wedding in July.
Brian's grandpa passed away, and we had a beautiful service that surprised me with its huge sentimental impact for me. This spurred a massive house cleaning/estate sale to get their house ready to be sold and Grandma moved into a retirement community.
My brother had his third little girl, Teegan.
My cousin Christa played tennis for the US team in the Special Olympics in Greece, and she came home with some medals too... like silver and bronze... I am so proud!
My aunt Pepper moved to GJ, to live with my grandma. This has been such a blessing for my mom to have her sister close, and between the two of them, my grandma is in good hands!

Here are some of my favorite images from 2011

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