Friday, December 30, 2011

A year in review: 2011

I was tempted to jump ahead and just give you my resolutions for 2012. But as I've read other people's yearly reviews and as I've reflected on 2011, I realized this year is due a little respect. Every year brings a lot of change, I think, but for some reason this year is feeling especially important. While it wasn't the year I became a mother, I think it's the year I came into my own.

I started 2011 thrilled to be a mom, but tired, lonely and sad. I have so many bittersweet memories from January and February. I was so, so happy to be watching my baby girl learn- sitting, crawling, giggling and playing her in her jumperoo but so many of those memories are tinged with sadness. I felt isolated and I felt trapped inside, literally, because of the mounds of snow and sheets of ice. I remember many tear-filled calls to my mom, feeling like I was trying so hard to make new mom friends and feeling like I was failing. Many of my friends with babies were headed back to work and others felt equally trapped at home because of the weather.



As the snow melted, my heart warmed and felt more happy. We got out. We went on day trips. We took an overnight trip. We celebrated the milestones of our baby's growth.
photo(8)
IMG_5095
IMG_5307
IMG_5386

In May we celebrated my first Mother's Day and I remember feeling like a weight had been lifted from me. I had survived nearly a year as a mama. It had been hard and exhausting, but I had done it and I was (and am) so much better for it. I think as a mom it's easy to feel like the little things you do go unnoticed and that day I felt appreciated. It was perfect timing.
First-Mother's-Day-1-6

June was an amazing month. Chris celebrated his first Father's Day. Meredith turned one! We went on an amazing vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine.



July treated us to another great vacation on Martha's Vineyard. And also? Meredith weaned herself and started sleeping though the night (finally!).
IMG_7681

August took us to Cape Cod and New York City. Right at the end of August, life's tectonic plates started shifting ever so slightly in preparation of a huge life change.
IMG_8097

In September we took a whirlwind trip to the San Francisco bay area which would lead us to make a big decision to move across the country.
IMG_8374

October was full of packing and goodbyes as we set off on a new adventure in California on the 30th.
IMG_8691

November was full of unpacking, settling in and many hellos as we attempted to make new friends. We celebrated our first California Thanksgiving with my family and relished in the wonderful weather.

IMG_8955

December was festive and exciting. By the end I felt spent. Drained from so many conversations with new friends and putting myself out there much more than normal. Grateful for all the people I've met, but tired, we set off for Texas where I've napped every day and savored time with my family in a quiet little town.

We will ring in the new year here, feeling rested and rejuvenated and ready for the new friends, challenges and exciting things 2012 will bring.

Hooray for 2012. I feel much more emotionally healthy. I am so in love with my husband and daughter. I have the prospect of many new friends. I am blessed more than any girl could ever deserve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hopes for 2012: Life and Oh-La-Dee-Dah

Today Jodi is here sharing a couple of her goals for 2012. I've told you you before and have linked to her several times. I love her perspective on motherhood and on being a wife. I'm so glad to know her in real life now, too.

***

Hi, I'm Jodi and I blog over at Life and Oh-La-Dee-Dah. I'm so excited to be guest posting over here! I have loved reading Claire's blog for a while now and just recently got the pleasure of meeting her and sweet little Meredith in person. I'm so excited that they moved out this way and that we're able to be friends both in blog world and in real life.
With the holidays and the new year's soon arrival, I've been thinking a lot about the past year and taking note of the things we've accomplished as a family and what areas I've grown in personally. It's nice to look back on those things; It sort of motivates me to set new goals and move forward. I love beginning a new year with a set of goals to achieve. It sets the tone for purposeful year, don't you think?
There are so many goals under the category "Family", from financially to relationally, but this year my favorite, is to do a new family activity at least once a month. We aren't always great about exploring new areas where we live, but since we recently moved to California, we have a lot of great new places to explore. I love making memories with our boys and I hope they look back after they're grown and remember fondly the state parks we visited, the beach trips we took or the museums we strolled through.
A goal that I listed out last year for myself was to exercise consistently, and it's one that I wasn't very good about keeping. Having two young children doesn't leave a lot of time for extras, but this year I'm aiming to make it a priority by readjusting my schedule and allowing room for error. I often feel like if I miss a day, then the whole week is shot, and then the whole month and so on. I'm reminding myself that consistency doesn't have to be two hours a day, it can be one hour three times a week or once every day for 30 minutes. I've already started and I feel like I'm gaining momentum.
So, as the new year approaches, I'm adding new goals and continuing old and I am really excited to see what 2012 brings. Do you set goals each new year? Are you strict about keeping them or do you give yourself some flexibility?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thank you so much Claire for having me here!

***

Now go check out her blog!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Anna of Dear Friend: Let's Dance

Today Anna of Dear Friend is telling us about her hopes for 2012. Anna is a blogging friend turned real friend. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever encountered. Anna is so full of positivity and because of that is so much fun to be around. I really hate being clear across the country from her now. Enjoy her post. It's a perfect glimpse of who she is and what her blog is like. 

***
 

Hey there, everyone! So nice to meet you! I’m Anna from over at Dear Friend and I’m so happy to be here today guest posting on Beaktweets. Claire and I became real life friends back in Boston and now that she’s across the country we continue to keep in touch daily through through our blogs and twitter. What would we do without them?!

So this is a post about 2012: To the unknown that lies ahead, and the excitement and curiosity of wondering what surprises it will bring. But before 2012, I’d like to take just a moment to reflect on 2011. Because for me, it was a great year. I’ve made more memories than I can count with the people who are dearest to me and I am thankful everyday for this beautiful life.
As I embark on the new year I am excited for lots of new things (many of which are unknown at this point), but also the ability to practice some of the old things in my life as well.
Here are some things I want to remember as I dance through 2012:

Slow down.
In this busy place called life it’s so important to take the time to enjoy the little things. Stop and take pictures. Read more books. Call your friends. Write handwritten letters. Dance around your apartment. Take in the sunsets. Relish in old photographs. Give long hugs. Be yourself.
Try your best.
As a teacher, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s missing in education. And on a larger scale, as humans it's easy to get caught up in the things we cannot do rather than rejoicing in the things we can. So let’s not remember to look closely at what’s there. Take time for each individual task. Arrive early, don’t stay too late. Have fun. Be silly. Be honest. Be proud.
Keep in touch.
Family and friends are everything. Be present. Stay connected. Remember birthdays. Write emails. Call home. Be conscious of those who've made you the unique person you are today. Listen, talk, be there for the people who are most important to you. Show appreciation. Give thanks. Say I love you.
Smile.
Look for the happy in things. Lend a hand. Be spontaneous. Wherever there is darkness remember the light is somewhere close by. Show empathy and compassion. Make someone feel good and important. Give compliments. Pay it forward. Spread joy. Show love. BE KIND.
The new year is closer than we think and I'm really looking forward to it. I wish you all these things and more as you dance into 2012 as well. Above all things I wish you happiness and good health-- and a glass of bubbly with your favorites. Cheers! ♥

***
Now go check out Anna's blog!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Family.

"All because two people fell in love"
mom & dad engaged
mom & dad
Do you know this saying? Since being in Abilene I have been feeling so grateful for my parents and the family they've created. I love their cozy home. I love my siblings and the easy banter. I love my parents and the comfort that just their presence provides. I am so glad they fell in love and have stayed in love for so long.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

traganos-christmas-card
From our home to yours, we're wishing you a very Merry Christmas. I truly hope you are enjoying the company of family and friends, treating yourself to tasty foods and a little extra relaxation. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hopes for 2012: Orange and Barrel

Today Em from Orange and Barrel is guest posting and sharing her hopes for 2012. I have known Emerson since high school in Atlanta, but we really became friends through blogging. I love her blog and have especially loved reading about her recent wedding. So without further ado, here's Em!

***

First, I want to thank Claire for allowing me to guest post. I was thinking about how long I have known Claire and I was thinking it had to be about ten years and then I realized it was probably longer and now I feel old.

What did I learn this year? I was thinking about this question on my drive home. I live in Santa Barbara but I work at the very edge of Los Angeles County, for anyone familiar with Southern California there is an entire county between those locations -- but the upside is lots of time to think in my car.

In 2011, both my parents battled cancer. Seriously, both. How does that even happen?

In 2011, I took the California Bar, twice, and didn't pass either time. Seriously, both. How does that even happen?

I am not one to pass out wisdom, I am too young and inexperienced for all that jazz, but I did learn in 2011 that good things can come from unexpected places. My family grew closer as a result of the cancer(s) and not passing the bar(s) lead to some serious conversations about turning the boat around with my then boyfriend, turned fiance, turned husband all within a little over three months.

In 2011, I got married.


In a quiet and intimate ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. It was beautiful. When I look back on it (we have been married for five weeks) I still get goosebumps. The following weekend we threw a big fairly traditional, gray and yellow clad, reception in Topanga Hills (always makes me think of Boy Meets World) a little area tucked away in Los Angeles.


I got to have my (cup)cake and eat it too. We had a quiet ceremony and a beautiful party. Seriously both. How does that even happen?


I am rounding out 2011 with a job at a new firm and newlywed bliss, all things that came out of some-not-good-moments.

So 2012? I am taking a lesson from 2011, plan for the worst, expect the best, stay flexible, be open to opportunities, work hard, and whenever something awful happens (and it will) handle it with as much grace as possible.

And I am going to work out.

No, I am going to eat more cupcakes.

Happy Holidays and a very Happy 2011 to you and yours.

***

Now go check out her blog!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hopes for 2012: Malisa Price

Today we have Malisa here sharing some New Year's resolution advice!

***

Hello! My name is Malisa and I blog at malisaprice.com. Claire and I met through our mutual friend, Jodi. Today, I am looking forward to sharing my goal experience with you all.
Two years ago, I heard one of my all-time favorite speakers and financial advisers ever, discuss goals versus resolutions. When Dave Ramsey said that goals were specific, measurable, your own, written down, and had an end date. I had an epiphany. Those elements were ALL missing in my previous New Year's Resolutions.
Sure, I had wanted to lose weight, exercise more, read more, and all of the other wonderful resolutions myself and everyone else attempts. But these resolutions never lasted longer than about 2 minutes (the time it took for me to see a slice of cake or realize it was cold outside and there was no way I was leaving the couch to go for a walk).
In January 2010, I typed up some goals for myself. On the top I wrote my criteria: specific, written, time limit, measurable, and yours. I then wrote 6 goals that were all important to me. I wasn't writing this list so my husband would be impressed or that I could boast about it to other people, these were all things that I truly desired to do.
I then hung this standard, typical and plain piece of paper in my cubicle at work. It was taped in a spot that no one could see unless they were standing inside my cubicle. Each time I finished something on the list, I would write it down. It felt great to see progress being made!
One of my goals was to walk 365 miles in 2010. To measure my walking progress, I had a separate chart that I filled in for each mile I completed. I am so lucky to work nearby one of the most beautiful parks in California and one time around the park is 1 mile! This was a great way for me to calculate my miles and see the dent I was making in this goal.
At the end of the year, I was very happy with my progress. So happy, that I've kept the piece of paper! Here's what my goal chart looked liked:
Even though I had WONDERFUL success with my goals for 2010, this did not translate to 2011. Confession time: I didn't write my goals down for 2011. In fact, as I sit here with 2011 coming to a rapid close, I can't even remember what they were, except for two: finishing my Master's degree and saving cash to buy a new car. We did complete both of those but I'm sure there were more that I can't remember.
I learned that if I want to complete my goals, I must write them down. They also need to be something that matters enough to me to specify what I want to accomplish. Then, all I need to do, is take the steps to begin working on them! One-by-one.




Malisa blogs about cooking, crafting, and opinions about the world around her. She loves sharing the latest recipe she's modified and easy DIY crafts. Malisa enjoys discussing her experiences as a married woman and a follower of Christ in the 21st Century.

Website: malisaprice.com Twitter: @malisaprice

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We're here.

Being home feels so good. As soon as we were here a weight was lifted from me and I felt at peace. One of the first things we did was light up a fire outside to enjoy the brisk winter night under my parents' pergola. It was a perfect night spent drinking hot chocolate, making s'mores and chatting with my grandfather, parents and siblings.
 
  
  

Hopes for 2012: Skinny Jeans & a Chai Latte

I have known Kristin for a long time.  I'm thinking middle school or high school. I could bust out an embarrassing picture of us, but I'm going to restrain myself. Once I moved to Boston we lost touch, but blogging brought us back together post-college. I love reading her blog and she is one of my greatest running inspirations. So, here she is to share some of her goals for 2012.


 ***

I'm Kristin over at Skinny Jeans & a Chai Latte.  I'm so grateful Claire asked me to guest post for her while she's enjoying wonderful time traveling and visiting with family and friends!

I cannot believe 2012 is on the horizon already! 2011 brought lots of good, lots of terrible, and lots of interesting change.   I'm so happy to be able to look towards a new year!  While reviewing last years happenings, I'm setting my sights on a few new things.

My main goal last year was to run.  Run I did.


Back in March and April, I could barely run one or two miles.  On November 13, 2011, I finished my first half marathon.  While I haven't done much running since the half (aside from an awesome 5k where I achieved a new 5k personal record).  Running has become a part of my life, and I really want to keep it that way.  

The new 2012 running goal: Run another half marathon and/or run a race every month for at least 8 months out of the year.  That's a lot of money to dish out on running, but it's worth it for the way it makes me feel!

Every January, D (my husband) and I do what we have coined "No-Meat January."  It's sort of a way to renew and refresh going into the new year.  It's also a fabulous way for us to think outside the box.

[Image via Google] 

The new 2012 eating goal:  Go semi-pescatarian.  I'm pretty sure pescatarian is not "real." I'm also not too sure how many "real" vegetarians shun those who pose as vegetarian while still eating fish.  After doing my research this year, I decided to make a decision that felt morally right for me.  My opinion (which I am in no way pushing on to others) is that it feels morally wrong to eat something that has been raised/kept alive for slaughter.  Since D's dad is a hunter and deer live on their own in the wild, I still plan to eat venison.  I'll ease into the less meat lifestyle by including fish/seafood...plus I just love sushi too much :)


I'm absolutely obsessed with traveling.  If I could find some logical/realistic way to make traveling my career, I would.  


  [NYC, April 2011]

D and I were lucky enough to be able to make two "big" trips this year, one domestic and one international.  Although I guess the Bahamas may not be officially considered international, but you do have to have a passport to get there!   

The new 2012 travel goal:  California!  D started mentioning using our tax return to fix up our house...ugh groan.  I like to spend my money traveling!  The next big trip in my mind is California.  

If 2011 has taught me anything though, it's to live in the moment and enjoy all the wonderful memories I have with those close to me.  If we don't get to take a big trip, I'll savor the day trips we're able to take to the beach.  If I slip up with my less meat mentality, tomorrow is a new day.  If I don't make it to that next half marathon, I'll be happy with the new, faster races I can/did complete.  I'm definitely looking forward to a fresh beginning in 2012.
***


Now go check out Kristin's blog!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Siblings (?)


So, lately, it seems like between the blogging world and my real life friends & acquaintances, there are loads of baby #2's on the way. For a long, long time I've said I want my babies about two and a half years apart. These pregnancy announcements have been sending me into freak out mode. Is Meredith going to be too old for her sibling?? Will they even, ever be friends?? We've already missed the 18 month separation mark (since she'll be 18 months in under two weeks!) so I suppose there's no point in fretting about it. On the one hand it feels so soon to be thinking about getting pregnant again, but on the other I feel the time atickin'.

I guess I'm just wondering: if you have children, what age separation do you like? If you don't, how long do you imagine you'll wait between babies?

Hopes for 2012: Guest Post Series

As you read this I am flying through the air with my little family towards Texas to spend a couple weeks with my family for my birthday, Christmas and New Years. While I'm away I'll pop in here and there, but I also have some wonderful guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers. They will be sharing some of the hopes and goals for 2012. I hope you enjoy reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Perfect Day.

Today I lived a perfect day. As we drove home after dinner and meeting with Santa Claus, Chris described today as a perfect Claire chill day and that's exactly what it was. It was like a dream day for me.

We lounged in our pajamas until after noon. Chris and I enjoyed a classic Saturday breakfast of eggs and bacon while Meredith napped. And as her nap continued I snuggled into the couch to read. Once Meredith woke up we very slowly got ourselves ready and walked over the park. We woke to a house that was icy cold which deceived us into thinking it was a chilly day outside. In reality, it was one of those perfectly blue sky, warm days. We shed our layers as we pushed our sweet girl on the swings and chased her around leaf covered fields.


Eventually we headed home so our sandy baby could bathe and nap again. I read some more and napped myself. Once we all were awake we got ready for an outing to meet Santa and have dinner. When we arrived to the mall, we were told Santa was just leaving to "go feed the reindeer" and wouldn't be back for several hours. I shook off my disappointment as we headed to dinner. We enjoyed an unusually peaceful dinner and afterwards got hot chocolate.


 
As we waited to for it be made I spied Santa Claus! I followed him to his little village. He was miraculously back much earlier than anticipated. Chris was such a good sport and let us wait in line to meet the jolly fellow. And he really was a great Santa. He was so sweet to us and took plenty of time to let Meredith warm up to him. Our picture isn't  exactly the best picture you ever did see, but it was a wonderful experience.
 

Once home, we put our babe to bed and had our own little Christmas together. We decided not to try to bring our gifts for each other back and forth so we exchanged gifts tonight. I'm a happy wife tonight as I'm now the proud owner of my very own Kitchenaid Mixer. I've been wanting one for years, but have never really asked for one because they are pricey. I'm so thrilled to finally have one!
 
So that was our day. It may not read as anything special to you, but it was the exact day I needed. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!