My 11 Best of 2011

My friend Rose over at Happy Hippie Rose wrote a blog about her 11 best moments of 2011.  You can read all about her amazing, challenging year in Hawaii. Here.

So I had to ask myself what the best moments of my year was. . .

Which is insanely difficult.

2011 wasn't a bad year. It wasn't a great year, but it was by no means the worst I've had.

These are in no certain order.  Don't over think things, just because something isn't on the list doesn't mean it's not important.  And yes, I will say this upfront, Sami is a huge chunk of it. But I don't think there is a thing wrong with that! She was pretty much my accomplice and plucky little side kick in all of my adventures this year!

1) Work!

Hard at work! Can you tell I was not expecting my photo to be taken?
Yes, that is Tweetdeck, yes, I tweet at work. Its part of the job!

Working hard!

In December of 2010, I started a temporary position at the company I am currently with. When I was hired in late November 2010, I was told that while it was temporary, there was definitely room to be taken on as a full time contractor. On December 21st, I received an email inviting me to join a new team within the company extending my temporary basis. Our projects and contracts were renewed into February, and in March of 2011 extended out and I was offered a permanent position with the company. It has been the best job I've ever had. The fringe benefits are amazing, I work from home, my co workers and managers have been beyond supportive and friendly. I've made a lot of strong connections with this company and recently celebrated my one year anniversary December 1st. While the new year is seeing me changing to a different shift, and taking on new projects, I am hopeful for what the future holds with this company. I've always had a hard time explaining why I choose to work when financially, we really don't need me to work. But the company has made my job, less work and more enjoyable. 

Is it without its difficulties? Not at all. Working remotely is not for the faint of heart nor is it as easy as people think. It takes a high level of dedication and self motivation, discipline and the ability to juggle many things at once. My job is highly entertaining and can be emotionally draining. But it is always a challenge, it is always changing and it is helping me learn things beyond my wildest dreams.  Who knew that one of my work tools would be Urban Dictionary? 

2) Geordi

On January 14th, my amazing husband that must love me a lot, drove six hours to Denver in order to pick up a carrier stuffed with a strange cat from the Denver International Airport and drove back six hours with a very disgruntled, very vocal cat

My friend, Brandon, needed to find a good home for his cat, Geordi, whom he had since it was a kitten.

Baby Geordi!!! And a very young BA

I stole your photo B. Because you never read this anyway!

I met Geordi in September of 2010 when I visited Atlanta, Georgia for Dragon*Con and to spend some time with Brandon and his wife, Erin.

When Brandon posted that he was considering rehoming him in December of 2010, I  jumped on the status and said how I wished I lived closer so I could take him. Brandon and I talked and worked on a way to get him to South Dakota.

On January 14th, Nate walks in the door carrying a heavy carrier. I open the door and this huge furry ball lands in my lap. Geordi was home.

Over the last year, he has been my best friend.  He cuddles me when I am down, he curls up with me when I am ill and he is always there to listen to me ramble. With Sami in school now, Geordi has become my co-worker. One of the cons of working from home, is you sometimes miss interaction with others. This can lead to having very interesting conversations with yourself or your pets. Geordi has always been a trooper, he sits and listens, gives his feedback and patiently awaits belly rubs and food.

Brandon has been my best friend for some time. And I think Geordi is the best thing he's ever given me. I thank him and Erin for this awesome buddy every day. I know people are rolling their eyes because he is just a "cat" but to me, he is a member of my family. I make sure to tell him I love him every day and he curls up with me at night.  This last year would have been so much worse if I didn't have this hefty little guy in my life.

3.) New Home

In April of this year, we moved from our previous home to a newer house on base. Our old house was military housing, but due to the recent annexation of the housing area, it was turned over to civilian company and it was set to be fenced off.

So we moved into another area on base that would remain on base MFH.

I love my new home. I look forward to Nate's return so we can finish decorating our house and make it our home.

4)  2011 Dakota Thunder Airshow 

In June, the base hosted their somewhat annual Airshow. I say somewhat because despite it being advertised as annual, it seems kinda spotty when they do have it and when they don't. (Typical for Ellsworth it seems)

To read more, visit my post here:

5) Mt Rushmore June 2011

It took me 2 years of living 20 miles away from Mt Rushmore to actually go visit. But it was the best day for it. It was nice to spend a pleasant afternoon and evening with my husband and daughter

6) Camping with Sami

What do you do on a pleasant South Dakota summer evening when your husband is deployed? You buy a kids' tent, have your 5 year old assist you and camp out under the stars in the back yard.

It was wonderful to see how helpful Sami could be and how much fun it was sitting up and talking late into the night, making smores and watching the stars.

If only my neighbors turned their porch lights off at night.

7) Reptile Gardens Girls Day

Throughout the year, Sami and I went on several Girls Day adventures. One of my favorite was the first time we went to Reptile Gardens after Nate left on deployment. 

8) First Day of Kindergarten

I can't believe its already time for Sami to start school. We went from being around one another 24/7 to a whole new schedule. Its nice,  but I miss my little one so much. I can't wait to see how she grows from here on out.

9. Princess Night

Sami was scheduled for an EEG in the fall. To get the best results, she has to be sleep deprived before the test. In order to make the night somewhat entertaining, I put on music, made a candlelit dinner, and dragged out my wedding gown and evening gowns. Sami and I played dress up, did each other's hair and makeup and played make believe late into the night. She loved to dance around in the swirling dresses. 

10) First Major Snow

I'm not a snow person. Never have been, never will. But in November when we got the first major snow fall of the season, Sami and I bundled up, took Z outside with us and played. Snow Angels, snowball fight, the whole nine yards. Then we came in, stripped off the wet cold clothes, put on warm PJs and spent the day cuddling on the sofa and watching movies. Its the simple things in life.

11)  Deployment # 2

I know! I know! I know what you're thinking. Why would someone even WANT to remember a deployment? Don't you love your husband?!

Yes. More than I ever thought possible.

However, I know that as a military spouse, deployments are part of the package. So why dread them? Why waste your life being sad and depressed when you can enjoy it and get to know yourself and challenge yourself?

Yes, it sucks at times. But, I know that our love can truly weather anything. Deployment is a part of life. It gives me a chance to see what I can handle, focus solely on Samantha and strengthen my marriage through the test of distance.

Distance has no correlation to love. Nothing can stand in between two people who's hearts are completely in love. Not a continent. Not a war.

*Watch Nancy Grace on HLN 17 January to see a special spot on one of these photos!*

Overall 2011 wasn't bad. It was filled with family, friends and love, challenges and triumphs. Writing this blog truly helped me remember the good despite the stress. 

I can't wait to see how 2012 turns out.

Things I'm looking forward to:

My return to Atlanta, Georgia to visit Brandon and Erin and meet their new daughter Sage.

Dragon*Con 2012!

My husband's return from deployment

New friendships blossoming, and old friendships meeting their end. 

Sami's 6th Birthday

Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

Hopefully a trip to Arkansas and to Washington.

Family Vacation

Personal Vacation

And more!!!


  1. LOVE this post!! So happy and just, awesome. I love your outlook on life, and I'm so grateful to have another glass-half-fuller as a friend.

    I love what you had to say about work, and i LOVE how you managed the sleep deprivation for the EEG. Over at our house I didn't get Duggs to wear any dresses, but I think we did stay up all night watching movies!

    2011 was an interesting year for many of us, huh? Not great, not the worst - I like that. That's how I feel.

    Love the nod and the link... but more than that, LOVE THAT TIE DYE SAMI IS ROCKIN' !!!


  2. @Rose: I think Duggs DEF needs a Princess night. He's earned it! (And I would LOVE to see that photo!)

  3. I think Duggs could use a Princess night too! Lol You girls are both so amazing! You would definitely make my top 11 moments of 2011 if I made a list! Keep being awesome! I love every minute of it! :-)


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