Every year since I can remember, my family - and a host of others - have sent out Christmas letters to family and friends. It highlights the events of the given year and usually includes photos that will be dreadfully embarrassing, if not now, in another decade.
My older sisters and their husbands will occasionally warrant a sentence or two, but most of the content of the letter written by my parents is bragging about the glories and wonders of the grandkids. My sisters usually send out their own Christmas letters, highlighting in even more detail the wonder of their children. (Though I haven't seen any such letters this year).
As the spinster in the family, I get the most 'face time' on the family letter. In fact, I get my own paragraph. But I've also considered writing and sending out my own Christmas letter... but each year I just can't figure out what to say about the husband that hasn't married me, the kids I don't have, and the pet I don't own.
But then there's part of me that wants to take it to a silly extreme and 'borrow' some kids and pets and maybe a husband and just take some photos, send them out, and see how many people respond... wouldn't that be entertaining?
Anyway.... until I'm brave enough to do something so ridiculous, here's an online edition of my very own Christmas letter:
|Roman Francisco Duque|
|Family at Grandpa's funeral|
January's theme was taken from Job 1:21 - ...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. January 7th, I welcomed by 6th niece/nephew - Roman Francisco Duque - the first son of Kellee and Frank. I have since wanted nothing more in my life than to kiss his adorable face. Just four days after his birth, my maternal grandfather - John Baggs - passed away at the age of 92. After flying to Utah to attend his funeral, I spent the next several days in southern Florida holding and kissing the newest addition to our family.
|Pie Day 2011|
I have continued my work as a school psychologist with Wake County Public Schools and, most of the time, enjoy it. It is a privilege to work with so many talented and caring people and I love helping kids help themselves. I need to be better about writing down the funny things my kids say and sharing them with the world... cause boy are they funny! That being said, I need to be better about writing down the hard parts about my job, too. I learn so much from the teachers, administrators, and students I work with and need to have those reminders.
|Birthday cook-out and tree planting|
In late May I started a 30 day adventure... all leading up to my 30th birthday! I rode a bike down a mountain, went to the zoo, watched movies, gazed at the stars, ate Carolina BBQ, sang a few songs, took a trip home to Utah, and had a cook-out and planted a tree... it was a great way to celebrate 30 years of existence!
|Performing as Linus |
in the Ward Talent Show
In July, I ended my 30th birthday celebration - and three years of planning - and took a trip to the Holy Land with my friend Annemarie Evans. It was Ah.May.Zing! I spent 10 days in the nation of Israel and loved every minute of it. I have a new appreciation not only for the Bible, but for the restoration of Christ's gospel in this day and age. You can see all 890 photos from the trip, here.
After trekking around the Middle East, it was back to work... and back to my calling. I still am Relief Society President in my singles ward and honestly enjoy it immensely. I love each of the sisters so much and enjoy my time teaching and learning with them. I also continue to serve as an ordinance worker in the Raleigh, NC temple. It is by far one of the highlights of my week and I have made so many dear friends there. (Such relationships that led to this little adventure)
|Ice Cream with friend Young's!|
In August, the east coast received several jolting reminders that Mother Nature was in charge. Within just a couple weeks, I experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, and a tornado. Maybe it was a reminder for folks to get themselves 'right'... but more likely it was the earth getting ready for the NC State Fair!
|With Jim Deni, |
NCSPA Conference Chair
For this October's annual event - meaning the NC School Psychology Association (NCSPA) annual conference - my mom continued to wow and amaze all my colleagues by providing me hand quilted items for the silent auction. I spent most of the late summer helping plan and organize the conference and even lived to tell about it!
To celebrate such a victory, I decided to enter a bunch of competitions at NC State Fair and had a grand ole time doing it! My dear friend Britt and roommate Allyson also joined in on the fun. Allyson was in the top 7 with her lemon meringue cupcakes and Britt won 3rd place in a pie competition!! Britt, Katie and I also entered the horseshoe competitions where we dominated! I also won a 4th place ribbon for one of my scrapbooking layouts!! (It's a major award!)
As the speed of work and church picked up, I took a few days off in late November and flew down to Florida for a break. After all, there was a baby there that needed kissing. It was such a treat to see Roman, his parents, and grandparents! Thanks to all for their hospitality!
|Merry Christmas from Florida!|
After just a couple more weeks of work and church, I headed back home to Utah to spend Christmas with the other sisters. Friend was good enough to drive me up to Logan to see Regina, Clint, JB, and Lily... for which I am ever grateful. Then it was down to Richfield for Christmas festivities... including Christmas dinner from around the world, some quick rounds of Blink, and Grandma's cherry pie! It was the best.
So that's 2011 in review. I am grateful for all I have been given. I have been blessed beyond measure and my cup truly 'runneth o'er.' Thanks to all for being part of it.