2011 was such a blur of highs and lows and WTFs, so let's just dive right in. Shall we?
We started the year off with a bang...and an emergency room visit. Ben had a scratched cornea and got to wear an eye patch for a few days. It was adorable and heartbreaking. Luckily, there was no permanent damage.
In January, Karl and I began doing some renovations on his house, prepping for Ben and I to move in. The first thing we tackled was the guest bedroom and bath. I am still so proud of the work we did and the way those rooms turned out. While things didn't turn out quite the way I expected, I learned some valuable lessons. For example, you should not paint over wallpaper and then wallpaper over THAT paint. If only to save future homeowners hours of head-scratching, cursing and exasperated sighing.
With March quickly approaching, February was a flurry of packing, packing and more packing. It was such a bittersweet experience to leave the apartment building that I had called home for almost a decade. My best friend lived two floors up. Ben was born there. I was leaving so much behind. It didn't fully hit me until I snapped this picture. The moving van was loaded and waiting outside, and as I took a last look around, I nearly had an anxiety attack. My apartment looked so empty and small.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and turned in my key. When I got to my car, I broke down into tears. After a couple of minutes, I gathered myself together and pointed my car toward the future and the house where my boys were waiting with pizza.
We began settling into blended family life in March. We signed Ben up for T-ball and he took to it like a fish to water. We had a couple of rough practices but he consistently impressed me with his focus and his wacky dances in outfield.
Because moving in and the adjustments that come with THAT wasn't stressful enough, Karl and I began the P90X regimen. So then we were stressed, overtired, sore and hungry. It was a rough month.
I remember April as a blur of great performances, sore muscles and anxiety. In one month, I sang and danced and faked a pregnancy at the Prince concert, was invited to a secret Robyn show and eavesdropped on a conversation between Steve Martin and Tina Fey. P90X kicked my ass on a daily basis and I enrolled in a writing class. I felt inadequate and anxious just about every day in April. Another tough month.
Worked amped up in May and I also co-hosted a baby shower for my dear friend Leigh. Planning brunches and late nights making cake pops. Stressful days at work and stressful nights at home. At least, I had this adorable diaper cake to show for it. And I even managed to post a tutorial on how to make your own!
June. Oof. June was rough. Thinking about it now still makes me verklempt. Ben graduated from Pre-K. My brother graduated from high school. And Karl and I broke up. To clear my head and get a bit of a breather, Ben and I spent a week chilling with the family in Vegas. We swam (& swam & swam & SWAM) and had plenty of family time. I did my best to make sure he had a fun vacation while I crumbled inside.
If June was rough, July was pretty much the worst. Ben and I moved out of Karl's house. We were lucky enough to have friends and family who took us in while I looked for a place to live. Ben spent most of the month with his dad while I stayed with my sister. While the breakup was hard, the worst part was being away from Ben and not having the option to see him everyday. We did manage to take some mini-staycations. We spent a week at the beach with family, celebrating SMK's birthday.
Perhaps my favorite day of the whole month was during Carmeggedon. We spent the weekend in our old neighborhood and had an amazing day at the Griffith Observatory. We took in the planetarium show, ate lunch with a view of the Hollywood sign and lounged in the grass. This picture reminds me that no matter what may be getting you down, you can still go skipping through the grass and have a great day in the midst of a pretty shitty month.
The chaos of the summer came to a head in August. The commute was wearing me down, I missed Ben and it seemed I was never going to find a place to call home. And then, I did. The perfect little bungalow in the perfect neighborhood. We moved in two days before Ben started kindergarten (TWO DAYS!) and a week before his bowling birthday party. While it was a bit hectic, it felt so good to be in a place of our own. Even if we're still not fully unpacked....
September was the month where things began to fall into place. Ben started Fall Ball and fell in love with kindergarten. I enrolled in Mondo Beyondo and magic class. The entire month felt magical and full of possibilities.
October was an extension of September. We explored our new neighborhood, made friends and settled into our new routine. Oh, how I love a routine. It makes me feel safe and secure and happy. Oh, October was also the month I began training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
With December came the holidays and my birthday and some surprising emotions. The holidays were tougher than I expected, as was turning 35. That said, one of my faovirte memories will always be Ben and I working the holiday card assembly-line, each of us signing our names. I am so blessed. So very, very blessed.
*This was my first attempt at using Photoshop to edit my photos. And by edit, I mean open a text box and type in a month. I realize the font size is a bit off and the colors could be better matched, but hell, I'm proud I did this much! Go me!*