Memories, Dreams, and Reflections 2012

December 20, 2012

It's that time of year again!  As 2012 comes to a close and we begin to look forward to everything the new year will bring, it's time to reflect on everything this year has offered.  I'm participating in Memories, Dreams, and Reflections again this year (click HERE to see my Memories, Dreams, and Reflections 2011 post - my, how far I have come since that day!).  I had so much fun reminiscing as I browsed through the thousands of photos I've taken in 2012.  It has been such an amazing year!

2012 will certain go down in history as the year that I found myself.  This year I gained a new sense of confidence that comes from building myself up instead of allowing my worth to come from what others think of me, from comparing myself to others, or what society dictates as success.  I took time to focus on my goals, my dreams, my hobbies, my skills...and I learned so much about myself along the way.  This year I grew in ways that cannot be measured, and I'm so proud of how far I've come...and how far I know I can go.

I Love You
Faith was my little surprise and her presence has saved me, many times, from taking the self-destructive path.  She is strong and sassy and smart...and sometimes, my mother's payback.  Noah reminds me that we can always find the good in every situation.  My relationship with his father was a nightmare come true, but I would never change it because I have this wonderful little boy in my life as a result of it.  David has taught me so much.  I was convinced that the sappy love you read about in books didn't really exist.  He showed me I was wrong.  I was certain that a relationship would take away from my children and my studies and the quest to define myself.  He proved me wrong again.  I love these three blessings more than I could ever describe.

Still Laughing...

Winter Wonderland
A shot from a snow day way back in February.

This year I turned 30, a monumental birthday!  I have a history of bad birthdays, but that all changed this year.  The day was simple...and perfect.  And it showed me how special I am, every day.

This year I began to reconnect with some old friends - over a glass of wine, discussing cloth diapers for an expectant child, watching our children play together.  Sitting down for cookies and a cup of coffee with a twenty-five year old friendship is something that just can't be replaced.

I Was Inspired...
As I was preparing this post I kept coming across this picture.  It inspired me:  I will learn to play guitar!

Spring Fever
Blooming hibiscus from the braided hibiscus tree I bought my mom for Mother's Day.

Travel or Vacation
Shot from our trip to National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Summer Days
Nothing says Summer better than watching the sunrise over the ocean.

A Day in My Life
As a full-time college student, almost every day of my life involves some kind of schoolwork.

All Smiles
This year I became absolutely obsessed with comics.  I was all smiles when I received a thick stack for an early Christmas present.  How can you not smile at zombie Hulk?!

Autumn Harvest
This is by far one of my favorite photos from the year.  I took this while we were on a hike at a local trail.

Family or Home
When asked to describe my family, the term silly is always the first thing that comes to mind.  We are all about the fun - being quirky and nerdy and spontaneous and just having a good time.  I want these carefree years of minimal responsibility to always stand out in my children's minds as some of the best years of their lives.  And I hope that no matter how big they get, they will remember that it's okay to be silly sometimes.

This year we celebrated the birth of my third niece, Avalyn Rain.  She is such a sweet and beautiful girl.

Let's Do It Again...
Early in the year, David and I went for an overnight stay at Peaks of Otter in the mountains.  The night was punctuated with a delicious dinner at the lodge restaurant, wine from the local vineyard, a long and hot bubble bath, and a good book.  Rest, relaxation, and quiet.  This lodge features no TVs and no radio...just each other for company.  Bliss!  Towards the end of the year I told David we needed to start planning for our 2nd annual trip...only to find the lodge has shut down.  They are looking for new owners and hope to open back up by next Spring but it appears our next Winter Retreat will need to take place somewhere else.

I Miss You
My dad's side of the family has seen a lot of losses over the past few years:  my great-uncle in 2010, his wife in April of this year, and their daughter (my cousin) in August.  I'm happy I was able to share some moments with her in those last days...surrounded by family, sitting on the porch, basking in the sun, and chatting away about any and everything.

As the years roll by, I know there may be times when she doubts it...but I hope my daughter will always understand how beautiful she is.  Inside and out.

Dress Up
Little Man all dressed up for Easter.

Teeny tiny drop of water hanging from a cedar tree in the backyard on a rainy day.  I bought an extender tube for my camera from Amazon for $11 and it gets some pretty decent macro shots.

I love this completely unstaged shot of my niece, Laci, coloring in front of the Christmas tree.

My Favorite
This is one of my favorite photos from the year.  I took this picture at the Butterfly House inside Hershey Gardens during our vacation to Pennsylvania.  The Butterfly House, as a whole, was a very surreal experience, and this little bowl containing orange slices attracted the butterflies in droves.  Good times, great memories.

Don't Ever Change
As much as these two will evolve, learn, grow, and change over the years...I can only hope that they will remain the spunky, inquisitive, and lovable individuals they are now.

Just Because...So There!
Love this shot of the kitty, Nugget.  He's such a lovable guy.

Hopes and Dreams
2012 has been such a successful year that it's hard to imagine another year could ever top it!  It's been a year with heaps of free time that allowed for many indulgences and as I've said before, it's been a lot like a fairy tale.  It's been a year to focus on myself - building my confidence, expanding my knowledge, developing my skills, honing in on my natural talents.

2013 is going to be the year I put this all to use, applying it to the real world.  My focus will center around building my career, and everything that entails.  My hopes and dreams are that in the process, I can maintain a balance that allows me to be successful at work and play.  I will continue to focus on self-improvement and making the most of each and every day.  One thing I've learned along the way if that life is what you make of it.  One I can make 2013 an even better year.  And I'm up for the challenge!