It's New Year's Eve! I'm sitting here enjoying the silence in the house (my sister's family left about an hour ago and my parents are out grocery shopping) and talking to my dear husband over the phone. It's amazing how much noise five adults and three children can make in 24 hours! We had a super-fun visit, though, and I'm happy to say that the kiddos and I definitely flexed our creative muscles this morning, creating a "pond" for the little green beanbag frog my nephew dug out of my boxes of work supplies. I did remember to take a few pictures of the project in progress and finished, but those will have to wait until next year (eek!), as right now it's time for my second annual Ten Favorite Things list for the year! You may remember from last year that I choose to list these things in no particular order of importance or favorite-ness.
1. Pinterest, definitely my favorite new web site of 2011. How did we live before Pinterest?!? You may recall that last year the first thing I listed was Dancer Kilts, a web site about Scottish Highland Dance tartans that I researched and designed? Well, brace yourself: Pinterest has completely revolutionized my methods of organization for this site! Look me up if you're on there already - drop me an email if you want an invitation to join Pinterest!
2. My sewing machine, a Singer 2932, was actually purchased a couple of years ago, but I feel like our relationship really came into its own in 2011. Part of it has been my skills on the machine catching up to my hand-sewing skills, part of it has been the inspiration to sew more (especially clothes for myself up here in the "frozen North"), and part of it has been having my own room, with the freedom to leave a project out until I have a chance to finish it, rather than having to put away all of my sewing things at the end of the day in the interest of keeping our shared space functional. I'm definitely looking forward to more sewing in 2012!
3. Leggings have become an integral part of my wardrobe up here in Oregon. It definitely helped with making my Texas (read: warm weather-appropriate) dresses work in the fall and has inspired much layering and sewing of layer-able clothing. And they're sooo comfortable, to boot!
4. Most of you probably don't know that I gave in and traded in my dying, 3-year-old cell phone for my first smart phone back in May. As I predicted, my Blackberry Torch (or Cracky, as I like to call it) has revolutionized my life, but not in the negative ways I was concerned about. It has been especially useful for work and it's nice to have a reliable way to contact my husband and son 24/7. Plus, the combination touch screen and slide-out keyboard is *perfect* for me!
5. A cross-country road trip again made the list this year! Whereas last year's road trip was unexpected, unplanned, and involved driving from Texas to Oregon and back again in barely more than a week, this year's one-way trip was part of our move from Texas to Oregon & Washington. Also, this year, my dear husband did 100% of the driving - impressive!
6. One of the best things about being in the Pacific Northwest right now is that I can see my *mountains* almost every day! Weather permitting, of course ;-) Mt. Hood makes me feel right at home here in Portland, while Mt. Rainier brings back memories of college when I'm in Tacoma with the boys.
7. Dates with my husband have taken on a new significance in the last six months of 2011, since we're living in different states again. I have two favorites: first, in October, when I was able to surprise him with a trip to Oktoberfest at Oaks Amusement Park (classic Portland!) and then, just this month, when we had a romantic anniversary dinner for three (Monkey on board!) at The Old Spaghetti Factory, another Portland institution. Love it!
8. You probably already know about my love for all things laminated (not only do they last, you can *sanitize* them! Very important when you work with kiddos), but did you know that this year my mother-in-law gifted my husband with a personal laminator? Being an elementary school teacher, he also knows the value of laminating materials and was spending a pretty penny most weekends at our local Kinkos. I helped my MIL order the YourStory 375100 Book Binder and Laminator via Amazon on Cyber Monday and scored not only free shipping, but also a half price deal, which led to her ordering TWO laminators - one to keep in Tacoma and one to keep in Portland! I will help my husband by using the Portland one enough that it stays in working condition, of course ;-)
9. My new job was definitely worth moving for, even if it means we had to leave our beloved Texas. The work feels right to me - meaningful, enjoyable, and I seem to be good at it. If it hadn't involved a 1/3 cut in my pay, compared to what I was making in Texas, I would deem this the perfect job!
This is what office supplies look like where I work
10. The opportunity to live with my dad and my step-mom, with whom I never lived as a child. My parents got divorced when I was 5. Who would have thought, at the ripe old age of 30, I would have a "second chance", of sorts, to experience a home life with my dad and step-mom? I am blessed beyond measure that they have welcomed me into their home as a renter-daughter-squatter, as well as my boys when they come to visit. Every day I learn more about these two amazing people and our relationships continue to grow and deepen. How lucky am I?
What people/places/things/ideas really stand out to you from 2011?