A Year In Review – 2011

I can’t believe this is my 6th year doing a “Year In Review” post. I love looking back on the year and seeing the progress.  Living life day-by-day you don’t realize the changes that are made over time.  In a recap, 2006 was the year Sissy came home from VN, 2007 was the year Lolee was born, 2008 I started graduate school, in 2009 we first laid eyes on King, and in 2010, Bogart was born and Matt went back to school!  2011 was really a relaxed year in the grand scheme of things.  Let’s recap, shall we??


This year has been a growth year for Dee.  He’s gone from being a boy to practically being a young adult.  He’s doing things like having sleepovers, being more interested in documentaries than cartoons, and having girls come to the door asking for him.
The 2nd grade ended well.  Dee was considered advanced in both Math and Reading and developed a healthy interest in the solar system.  We spent the another summer taking a break from lessons and what nots.  Dee spent all summer playing with the neighbor kids, running from house to house.
This fall Dee started the 3rd grade and is still doing well in school.  He loves reading and is still loving science of all kinds.  Last year when I asked him what he wanted to be, he answered “FBI agent or chef”, but this year when I asked her she said “video game creator”.  That’s pretty much right on.  Last Christmas (2010) we got all the kids DSi’s but it wasn’t until this summer that they really started to get into it.  Now Dee always has his nose in it.

Dee in late 2010 (he had been pretty elusive that year):

Dee in Mid-2011  (He’s grown up so much!):






Sissy has become quite the little lady.  We have photos up in the house of her in Vietnam and I can hardly believe that it’s the same little girl.  She grows more and more beautiful every month.  I am sure we’re going to be in trouble when she becomes a teenager!  This year we’ve heard the usually from her teachers, “I love this kid” and “she’s my biggest helper” and just like last year, she’s an attitude and a half at home.  She is a big helper when it comes to Lolee (picks out her clothes, helps her with the DVD player, etc).  She’s doing awesome at school.  Her grades are awesome and she is such a hardworker with her homework.
This summer she worked hard to become just one of the boys.  Dee’s friends have been known to steal away time with Sissy to play video games.  Dee gets very mad about it, but I’ve had to explain to him that with a beautiful sister, he’ll always have to deal with his friends trying to spend time with her.
When asking her what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is the same as it was last year – “a stylist”.  She wants to help make people beautiful.  The girl knows what she wants!

Sissy in late 2010 (really this is mid-2010 but I just love this photo!):

Sissy in late 2011 (one of the few photos where she’s no posing):






It’s hard to believe that Lolee is 4 already.  The only word that I can think of using to describe her is “precocious”.  In the car last week she gave me a lecture about how the song on the radio was inappropriate for her and Sissy because it mentioned a killing.  She uses the word “appropriate” on a regular basis.  Funny child.  I’d like to say that this is the year that she will start kindergarten but because she was technically born 22 days after the cut-off, we will have to have her tested.  I think she’ll be approved – both her doctor and the 1st grade teacher at the kids’ school think she’s ready – but it’ll be up to the testing doctor to decide.  The one thing that may get in her way is the fact that the girl LOVES to sleep.  She takes after her mama in the way that she’ll be up until 1a, and sleep until 11a the next morning without thinking about it.  Those early morning classes will be tough for her.
This was also the first year that Lolee has had a haircut – she gave it to herself.  I was crushed at the time, but really, I think the haircut she got to fix her chop-job is cute.
Last year when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up she said that she wanted to be a rabbit, “a rabbit who eats all the food.”  This year when I asked her, she said “I want to be a Japanese girl”…..hmmm…..At least she’s human this year.  I hate to break it to her, but I don’t think even this year’s wish possible.

Lolee in late 2010:

Lolee in late 2011:






Once again I’d like to give a first hand account to King’s development this year, but 2011 was once again not the year we got to meet him.  This year King turned 8 years old.  By his letters I can tell that he’s been practicing his English letters.  His front teeth have been coming in with a vengeance and I see a serious ortho bill in our future!  From his pictures I can see that he’s becoming quite the little man.  I can’t wait to hug him!  We really, really hope that this year will be THE year.

King in late 2010:






This dog just gets bigger and bigger.  This year he topped 120 pounds.  Not much more to report – he’s smart and seriously the best dog we’ve ever had.  I will never own another breed again – Great Danes for life for me.

Me and the Hubs

I’m glad to say that this year didn’t bring as much change as usual.  I am still working at the same job and The Hubs is still going to school.  I still love my job.  I’ve graduated almost 100 students and 80% of them are currently in college.  I’m so proud of every-single-one-of-them.  The Hubs is doing very well in school.  He is officially a senior now and is already looking for graduate schools.  This year he didn’t change his major at all and is still working towards a Liberal Studies degree so that he can work with those suffering from combat related PTSD.

Last year we had several goals for the year.
–  I wanted to work in my photography site.  I did better than that.  I met a woman over the summer who ran a local photography business and with in the week, she asked me to go into business with her.  We started fresh and now own October Rain.  It’s been a lot of fun and we hope to make 2012 OUR year.
–  I also wanted to make more videos of the kids.  I totally failed at that one.  I don’t think I took a video all year.  Ugh.
–  I wanted to blog more often.  I think I failed at that one too.
–  The Hubs wanted to write more and he’s done that in spades.  He’s taken several fiction writing courses and has actually added a writing minor to his degree.
–  He also wanted to keep his GPA up, which he did a great job of.  I don’t think he received a greed lower than a B+ all year.
–  I once again failed at the 52 week photography challenge for 2011.  I will try again this year, but I joined a group of women who are trying the same thing.  I hope that the accountability will be just what I need.
–  I also tried the Daily Joy postings on my Facebook page.  I did a great job up until August but then I skipped a few days and was on a downer from adoption woes.  I never picked it back up but I regularly hear people asking me why I don’t do them any more.  I will try again this year.
– I wanted to read 25 books in 2011 but ended up reading over 30 – totaling over 10,000 pages!
–  Finally we tried giving up red meat as a family.  It was by request of Dee but by June we weren’t as strict as we should have been.

We haven’t talked about goals for this year yet.  I’m too focused on getting the Thailand to think about anything else.  Thank you guys for all you’ve done to keep my spirits up this year.  See you next year!

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  1. Jen T.

    Love the recap and the pics of the kids. Praying this is King’s year!

  2. Wendy Copenhaver

    It was such a treat to meet the clan this year. You have a delightful family, even Bogart, and I am not an animal person. Happy New Year!

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