2011 Year in Review

Our 2011 was such a rollercoaster of highs and lows.  It started with Josh being gone for a few months, and then a few more, and then a few more.  We started Saturday's Unplugged, which have transformed our family.  Our collection of games has grown exponentially and we spend time "unplugged" every day.  We all LOVE IT!!

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Brennan, shortly after learning how to work the doors in the house, took an awful plunge down the marble stairs which lead to a trip to the ER and a lot of crying... from Mommy and Daddy too.  It still haunts me.  How we love our little Brennan.  Our world without him would be so much "less".  His baby jabbers morphed into full sentences, complete with sarcasm and clever jibes at his brothers.  He turned two and lives up to his age on a daily basis haha.  Such a smart boy and a blessing!

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Tristan played with and said farewell to many friends.  We started a little preschool and he picked up on shapes and colors immediately.  He's lessened hit fits and whining substantially and has become a wonderful big brother.  He has developed his own sense of style, insisting on dressing himself every day: striped short-sleeve shirt under a long-sleeve shirt and "rockstar" jeans (jeans with a star on the snap), socks always matching.  His cuteness is almost too much to bear.  He turned 4 and is excited to start kindergarten soon.  I can't believe it!!!

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Noah packed his brain with knowledge from school and shared it with us over many scientific dinner conversations.  His baseball team won the little league championship and he was awarded "Rookie of the Year".  His lego & block-building skills have grown to the point of nearly fearful awesomeness and we're trying to keep up with his brilliance.  He has also said goodbye to many a dear friend this year, but has taken each goodbye like a champ.  Noah's grown into such a handsome, talented, empathetic child.  He's the best big brother any kid could hope for.  We celebrated his 7th birthday in Rota at the beach as a family.  It was... fabulous :)  He leapt into 2nd grade with determination and has calmed down so much over this year. He has matured a great deal.

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Our marriage almost died, but was suddenly revived by a last-minute trip to Italy while Josh was on one of his many TDY's this year.  Our lines of communication have been blown wide open and our outlook for the future is beyond amazing.  Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to make a strong foundation for a marriage.

We had a lot of family come out for visits over the summer and it was OUTSTANDING!  We saw so many new places, and I took a billion pictures.  I turned 30, got back in shape, really developed my photography (and am continuing my journey forward with it).  I've taken up reading (again), and hopefully will stick with it this time.

We surprised our families with a month-long trip back to the states.  There was a lot of driving involved, but it was so worth it to see everyone at once.  We have so many great memories from that trip!!  This brought with it our first experience with Space-A travel, an experience I'd repeat, but maybe be better prepared for in the future.  It was... interesting, to say the least.

December was wonderful.  We were able to give the kids (with help from the grandparents) a really great Christmas.  We spend many hours outside playing in the sun.  Josh and I play cards or word games every day now and it's been faboo :)  We've been trying new recipes and developing our family cookbook, complete with photos.  Fun times!!

2012 is going to be full of change.  Our time in Spain is up in June, right after Noah finishes 2nd grade.  Tristan will be starting Kindergarten.  Josh's time in the Army will be ending soon and we'll be prepping for our plunge into civilian life (a decision we made long ago and are sticking with).  Our New Year's resolution is to stick to our new budget and get some money saved up over the next year and a half to give us a decent start "out".  We hope the military will put us someplace decent and are hopeful Josh won't be deployed again, but not dumb enough to buy into that possibility completely.  Here's looking at you, 2012!  Bring it on! :)
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