Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!



New Year's Eve takes me back. Every year until we moved to Arizona when I was 13, my parents would pile everyone into the car and drive us up north to our best family friends' house.  Both sets of our parents would go out to the Fireman's Ball to drink and dance the night away, and our trusty babysitter Betty would watch us girls.  It was always the four of us- two sets of sisters: Lauren and me, Corin and Caitlyn. Corin was my age and Cait was Lauren's, and we grew up spending all of life's milestones and family vacations together. Our Moms were best friends in college, bridesmaids in each others' weddings, and after each of them started a family they all became one big group of friends along with some other couples and their kids too. It's neat to look back at all the fun we had, and New Year's Eve was always such a fun night that we looked forward to all year. In typical fashion once our parents left we'd indulge in a million appetizers our Moms would set out, we'd eat yummy cake and German sweets (thanks to Aunt Marita) and drink soda. We'd giggle and run around the house, get into the The Twilight Zone marathon, and at midnight we'd watch the ball drop and toast with our little cups of sparkling cider. Sweet, elderly Betty would somehow round us up and get us into bed, but we'd never sleep. This was always a late night for our parents, so for the next couple of hours we'd have "sister wars," playing pranks on Lauren and Cait, they'd spy on us, send little notes under the doors, and try to avoid Betty coming back down the hallway telling us to go to sleep! We'd always make up little missions for each other- "sneak down the hallway and grab a piece of chocolate cake without Betty noticing." Oh, we were rebels! haha. Then sometime around 2am our parents would come home, we'd pretend to be asleep, then pretend to wake up so we could snack on some of the yummy treats they'd bring home for us. It was so magical.

Nowadays New Year's Eve means family for us. This year we planned on having a few friends over to celebrate, but we ended up coming down to Phoenix to spend it with my parents, sister and brother-in-law. I'm so happy to be here, and I couldn't be more ecstatic to ring in a New Year sitting in our pajamas, eating too much food, and knowing that Henry is sleeping soundly upstairs. 

2011 was wonderful, and just like I said about last year, it really was the best year of my life. I feel lucky that I'm able to say that once again. I think this past year was more about personal growth than anything. As I expected this first full year of being a Mom was so transformative; I feel like so much has changed. Having a baby has a way or re-prioritizing everything in your world. Insignificant things that were once important seem to fall away, and life begins to simplify a bit as your focus narrows. That was 2011 for me.

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I am looking forward to so much in these next 12 months. I love the New Year and think any sort of fresh start is inspiring. Yes, tomorrow is just another day, but it still is a fun symbol of starting anew. I'm not making specific resolutions but I am focusing on a few different areas of my life, and I'm excited to keep making headway on those things.

2011, you've been good to us. We continued adjusting to our new role as parents, my sister got married, we had an AZ blogger meetup, and I attended some great concerts and shows.  I had a lot of fun girls' nights (like this one and this one), I started writing for Hello Giggles, I began the last year of my 20s, started Henry in swim class, celebrated his first 4th of July, and took a 2-week vacation all around the East Coast.

I traveled to California to celebrate Shirley's bachelorette weekend, took fun family day trips like this one to Flagstaff, my best friend Sarah got married- I was her Maid of Honor, and we celebrated the beginning of Arizona's centennial. I also got my blog redesigned, visited Las Vegas with my little family, and later took an amazing trip back with some of my favorite ladies, and was a bridesmaid in sweet Shirley's wedding too.

Henry visited his first pumpkin patch, took part in his first Halloween festival downtown, and we happily celebrated his first Halloween. Our little guy turned one, we had a fun party for him, and we had two family photo sessions with our friend Christina. We ended the year celebrating Christmas with a light parade, a fun girly sleepover, and spending time with family.

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It's awesome to look back, and then to think ahead and imagine what great things this next year has in store for us. Thank you once again, from the bottom of my heart, for reading along with all 558 of my posts this year (wow!). I love you guys.

Happy New Year!

Weekend links

my other true love
flashback Friday: Madeline and me, two years ago

Happy weekend everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with a little New Year's post, but until then here are some links to explore. Enjoy!

If you click ONE thing in this post, click this link to read about 30 things to stop doing to yourself now. I love this.

The top 12 vegan recipes on Oh She Glows. Awesome!

How adorable would this necklace be for a newlywed, or even at a bridal shower (or even now...hint, hint!).

A list of 'Pay It Forward' ideas. Super inspiring.

After reading her post about getting fit in 2012, I am sending Krista a huge internet high-five.

Are you in the market for a new day planner for 2012? Check out this post.

My friend Casey sent me the sweetest gift this past week- a painting! I'll share a photo of it soon.

I'm always looking for fun ways to spice up get-togethers, so this appetizer idea is great.

Great news, Amber is blogging more.

I enjoyed reading about Michelle's 11 random things and found out we have a few very weird things in common!

True feeling versus should-be-feelings. I liked this post about accepting ourselves.

Need some NYE inspiration? Look no further than these pretty images.

The Chicago Tribune has named the best books of 2011. Are any of your favorites on there?

Etsy sponsor love: one, two, three!

Have you check out the "Sometimes Sweet" project for Funk Off yet? I think it smells pretty darn good. ;)
Loving Martha's collection of lighter New Year's party food!

One of my friends mentioned that she wanted to be less of a "yes" person in 2012. How perfect is this brooch? ;)

I posted about this two week's ago, but my buddy Jason's new site Passionfruit is launching soon! Check it out.

One of my favorite people is having another baby! I for one cannot wait to follow along. I adore Katie.

I love Carly's 2011 recap! It gets me excited to write one of my own this weekend.

This article about dealing with negative or difficult people is so on point and so what I needed to read. Maybe you'll relate too.

I'm loving Leigh-Ann's outfit here! She's adorable.

And finally, in the mood to discover a new blog? Check this one out! And this one, too! I'm loving both of them.

Happy New Year's weekend everyone!

This Week on Hello Giggles: On Being a High School English Teacher

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This week I'm talking about my experience being a high school English teacher, and what I learned during those six years. Head on over to Hello Giggles and check it out!

A Funny Telephone Conversation

The following is a telephone conversation between a hotel guest and room-service, at a hotel, which was recorded and published in the Far East Economic Review:

Room Service (RS): 'Morrin. - Roon sirbees.'

Guest (G): 'Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service.'

RS: ' Rye ..Roon sirbees..morrin! Jewish to oddor sunteen??'

G: 'Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs.'

RS: 'Ow July den?'

G: 'What??'

RS: 'Ow July den?...pryed, boyud, poochd?'

G : 'Oh, the eggs! How do I like them?
Sorry, scrambled please.'

RS: 'Ow July dee baykem? Crease?'

G: 'Crisp will be fine.'

RS : 'Hokay. An Sahn toes?'

G: 'What?'

RS:'An toes. July Sahn toes?'

G: 'I don't think so.'

RS: 'No? Judo wan sahn toes??'

G: 'I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means.'

RS: 'Toes! toes!...Why jew don juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?'

G: 'English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying'Toast.' Fine. Yes, an English muffin will be fine.'

RS: 'We bodder?'

G: 'No...just put the bodder on the side.'

RS: 'Wad! ?'

G: 'I mean butter...just put it on the side.'

RS: 'Copy?'

G: 'Excuse me?'

RS: 'Copy...tea...meel?'

G: 'Yes. Coffee, please, and that's all.'

RS: 'One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin w bodder on sigh and copy....rye??'

G: 'Whatever you say.'

RS: 'Tenjewberrymuds.'

G : 'You're very welcome.'

A "Good Morning" Playlist

Happy Wednesday! Today is unfortunately a bit of a "sick day" at our house. Poor Henry has a cold and I'm starting to feel pretty under the weather myself. There's nothing worse than being sick right along side your baby, but I am thankful we made it through Christmas before feeling it. Send healthy thoughts our way please! But sickness aside, the week after a holiday is always a little slower than normal. I don't drink caffeine so when I need a little pick-me-up in the morning I turn to good music to get me going. Below are some of my current favorite songs to get my blood pumping and feet tapping. Trust me- wake up tomorrow, turn on this playlist, and start your day off with a smile (and some booty-shaking). I think you'll love it!

xoxo



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Christmas!

Christmas this year was great. We celebrated it three times actually since Hank has two sides to his family, and I have my one. It's pretty neat to have so many people to enjoy holidays with, although to be honest it can be a little bit overwhelming at times trying to fit it all into two days! I'm sure some of you can relate. I mean I absolutely cannot complain but I feel stressed sometimes wanting to make sure everyone gets "their" time. Overall though it was so much fun this year and I think Henry is a pretty lucky kid to have so many loving people in his life!

Hank and I exchanged gifts quietly after everyone had gone to bed Christmas Eve, and we both got each other a couple of wonderful things that were nice surprises, including a new scarf and some cold-weather running gear for me. I got him a couple of shirts and a book on coffee. Simple but great. We naturally focus more on Henry during the holidays now, and it was so much fun to watch him open his presents that next morning.

I hope whatever you did, you had a great day filled with love. I know we sure did. There so many times I kind of took a step back in awe of how wonderful the day was.

Christmas Eve- (these are just photos from my parents' visit- we actually spent the evening at Hank's Mom's and it was a ton of fun too.)

Could I be anymore festive? ;)


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Christmas day (feel free to make fun of our matching pajamas!)-
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How Technology Changed Our Lives












We all believe this is happening at our lives because of the technology we use .... 

Tattoo Tuesday V.102


Name and blog name: Spencer Michael Jordan Kmyta, www.captainstattoo.com OR www.facebook.com/captainstattoo

Age: 22

Occupation: Tattoo Artist, Owner of Captain's Tattoo (editor's note: be sure to check out Spencer's shop and some of the photos of the interior- it's so pretty!)

Age of first tattoo: Thirteen… ish, my mom and I have had this argument for years, I remember being twelve and a half, she argues that she never would have let me get one that young, and says I was fourteen. So we'll say thirteen and play it safe.

Favorite tattoo: I'm getting a half sleeve done right now by Shawn Barber, he's a legend in the tattoo industry, primarily for his oil painting, documenting tattoos and tattoo artists from around the world in his "Tattooed Portraits" series. I'm only 2 sessions and 2 trips to Los Angeles in to the tattoo, and it's already my favourite for sure.

Featured tattoo/location: Honeymoon rose tattoo, right hand.

Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: I got this tattoo by Colin Wiley of Tattoo Zoo in Victoria, BC.



1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning?

I got it June 21st, 2009. I remember the date so well because it was the day after my wedding, and after what seemed like an awfully long, hung over ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria I was super excited to get it done. It's a traditional rose tattoo with "Carly" written on the banner. Carly obviously being my adoring wife (recently featured in a recent "Tattoo Tuesday"). The tattoo turned out great, and Colin is an extremely gentle artist. After the tattoo, my hand was so swollen, my knuckles were completely non existent. Super rad, super hilarious.


2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

I have a few tattoos…
-Rose on my right hand
-Bats on my left hand
-1970 on my left hand
-Anchor on my middle finger, lower knuckle
-Diamond on my left palm
-Alien fetus on my left forearm
-Memorial tattoo for a friend on my inside left forearm.
-Misfits tribute piece on my left bicep
-X-Ray of my skull on my right forearm
-My hands holding my first shop key to my studio, and my favourite tattoo machine on my inside right forearm
-3 Snakes and Skulls around my neck and throat
-Ramones tribute tattoo on my shoulder blade
-Metallica Tribute Tramp Stamp (I'd prefer not to talk about that one hahaha)
-Mars Attacks Alien head on my right thigh
-Black widow on my right thigh
-Large heart with "Clovis" written on the banner for my cat, on my left thigh
-Small heart on my left thigh
-Sparrow on my left thigh

That's it for now!




3) Do you plan on getting more?

Definitely, I have 2 full days booked in late January with Shawn at Memoir Tattoo in L.A., to hopefully finish my right forearm, and then begin the process of planning the upper portion!

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos? 

Being an artist myself, I find I'm surrounded by great friends, and great family, 90% of which I have worked on and have at least 1 or 2 tattoos themselves. There's always going to be the occasional smug jerk here or there out in public who choses to believe you're a drug smuggling Hells Angel because of your tattoos, but in the end it's important to remember that when you chose to become heavily tattooed, you're choosing to put up with that. It comes with the uniform. My wife and I try our best to show those people who we really are, sometimes you can change someones point of view by doing something as simple as giving them a nice smile, or grabbing the door for them. It's a little extra work sure, but if I can have my cake and eat it too, I'm a happy guy.


5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos? 

Haha, too many to count, a couple days ago I was standing outside my studio with a couple friends and clients, a cute old lady smiled at me as she walked past. Once she got about ten or fifteen steps away, she turned and held her hands at her neck, gesturing some kind of pain to her throat as she stared at my neck tattoo. She paused again, smiled, and said "I wouldn't want to be your grandmother." I smiled, and laughed awkwardly. She walked away.


6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Yes, so much advice. Don't look for a deal, the expression is and always has been, if you're getting a great price, you're probably not getting a "great tattoo." This has exceptions of course, and I only speak to those people that I meet daily who tell me about "their buddy" who tattoos them for as long as they can sit for $20. Tattoos are permanent, but not only are they permanent, they're a permanent expression of who you are as a person. If you're a cheap person at heart who doesn't really care what you look like. Than those $20 tattoos are perfect for you. Go the extra mile, seek out an artist who charges within your budget, someone whose portfolio makes you sick with excitement every time you turn the page. Take your time, it's not realistic to get a "sleeve in one session, for cheap." I don't mean to rant, but your tattoos are an investment. Don't be cheap, take your time, don't compromise, and relax. It's not so serious, it's fun.