1. By far the most memorable moment of this year for me was seeing the positive pregnancy test on June 29, 2012. I actually put off taking the test 9 days... I was in tears while taking the test because I "knew" that it would be another negative. After 3 years of hoping for another baby and 2 years of trying... I had pretty much given up on having anymore children. I saw the positive and I just about fainted. Happiness doesn't even begin to describe what I felt!! I truly believe it is because Zoe started praying for a little sibling that same month.
2. Buying our first home! I never in my life thought I'd own a house before 30. In CA most people just don't buy homes until they are in their 40's... That has been one of the biggest blessings that has come out of moving to South Dakota :) Affordable housing! We have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a potential 4th bedroom and another room that could be an office, a good sized laundry room, and a very nice finished basement!
3. Amanda and Charles' Wedding on October 6, 2012! Amanda and I have been friends since 1991 (21 years!). I met Charles in college and introduced the two of them in 2005 (Oct 12th of that year to be exact haha). Their wedding in Escondido, CA was absolutely beautiful. I was a brides-matron, Gage was a groomsman, and Zoe was the flower girl!
4. Showing Gage and Zoe where I used to live in Danville, KY almost 7 years to the day after my Mom passed away. The trip itself was tough for me because I was in my first trimester and feeling VERY sick the whole time but it was still amazing to get the chance to drive by my old house, show them my old high school, go to visit some old friends, and show them the nursing home where my Mom passed away. They were also able to meet a few of my family members that they hadn't met before - my Mom's Aunt Jane (my Grandma's brother Stanley's wife) and her Aunt Nancy (my Grandma's sister). During that trip we also were able to visit with our friends Ryan and Kacey in St. Louis, MO! We love St. Louis... we even talked about moving there. Maybe someday we will :)
5. Buying our Camry! We had a small 2 door car for the first 5 years of our marriage. We finally bought a 4 door last year but then found out in the summertime that it had no air conditioner. It wasn't broken, it just didn't have one! I didn't even know they made cars without them anymore. We couldn't have survived our trip to St. Louis in a car with no air conditioner so... we traded that Chevy Aveo for a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid! We made it from St. Louis, MO to Sioux City, IA on ONE TANK OF GAS! It's awesome. Unfortunately thanks to that trip we took right after we got the car I now can't STAND the smell of it (one of the many joys of pregnancy). I hope that I can learn to tolerate it someday... but for now whenever I get in the car I feel a little sick.
We put down about 1/3 of the cost with savings, paid $4,000 with the money we got for the Aveo, so we were left with about $7,000 left. For the first time ever we now have a car payment, but it's actually not bad! Only $135/month. Our plan is to sell our 2005 Hyundai Accent to get more money to put towards paying off the Camry. Hopefully that'll be paid off by the end of next year!
6. My Two Ultrasounds - I LOVE ultrasounds :) Even if they are uncomfortable. I was able to get an earlier ultrasound this time around so that was amazing getting a chance to see the baby at around 12 weeks. Then at 21 weeks I had the ultrasound where we found out the gender - a GIRL :) That was such an amazing moment! We've decided on the name Avery Rose (and we do have a backup boy name just in case the Ultrasound techs were wrong..haha) I'm hoping she's born 4 days early on the 22nd of Feb - that would have been my Great Grandma Rose's 100th Birthday! Wouldn't that be awesome? :) haha.
7. Spending time at the beach :) I've really missed the beach since I've lived here in SD... we were able to go out to CA twice this year so it was nice to be able to spend time relaxing at the beach. Going to Konos and Pacific Bean at Pacific Beach and going to Oceanside Harbor and to the Pier a couple times was so nice! Going to the Oceanside beach is always a major highlight of my year.
8. Watching my beautiful daughter Zoe be a 4 year old. 4 is a very fun year and a very challenging year as well! She definitely has a mind of her own now. She's had so much fun as a 4 year old though and it's been so fun to watch her learn and experience so much this year. She got to spend a total of 4 weeks in California visiting friends, family, and the beach! She enjoyed the Missouri/Kentucky trip. She had a lot of firsts this year, including her first time bowling (just a few days ago). I tried to make it as fun and eventful as possible... considering that she'll be starting Kindergarten next year and this was her last school-free year for a while ;)
9. The Hunger Games! I read all three books in about 3-4 days and from then on I counted down the days for the movie to be released! I even followed all the fan sites...haha. I LOVED these books and can't wait for next Thanksgiving when Catching Fire will be in theaters!
10. Furthering my photography business - I finally have a website, a brand look, the right software, a nice pro lens... now I just need the pro camera and a couple more lenses before I can start working on my in-home studio! I don't know if the studio will happen until 2014, but in 2013 I'll at least get the camera and get a little more equipment. It's a long process getting this business going on your own (without taking out a loan first) but I know it will pay off in the end!
11. Gage playing drums at the Orpheum Theater here in Sioux Falls with Rachelle Hope! That was his last show with the band and it was probably their best show up until that point. His work schedule got to be pretty crazy for a little while back in Sept so he wasn't able to really keep up with practices so he's no longer playing with them. It was a good 2 years though and playing the show at the Orpheum was definitely a highlight and a good ending to a fun little chapter in his life :-)
12. Reading Harry Potter Series! I finally read them!! This is a little strange for this type of list but I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of these books and I had wanted to read them for years. It took me about a week and a half to get through all 7 books. I then went online and purchased the 8 Film Collection and watched all of those! I'm so glad I was able to finally get back into reading fictional stories again this year. For the last several years I've been focusing solely on non-fiction books. I'm so glad to be *excited* about reading fiction again!
Ok watching the Olympics this year was fun too...but that would make this a Top 13 list and that just won't do! ;)