We started off the year having a weekly game night with our friends. Bang was usually the game of choice so Ben and I obviously had to dress up.
We also spent Martin Luther King, Junior day serving our community at the local food bank with some friends. While it may not always be easy to get in the car and on our way, once we're serving we have a blast and we never regret it.
Turns out I didn't take a single picture in February. At least not that I can find on my computer. But I do know that February was the month I started training for my Triathlon that I was planning to run at the end of August. I worked really hard for the next few months trying to keep my knee from hurting every time I ran and eventually, after several spin classes and elliptical workouts trying to strengthen it, I was able to run on the treadmill for an hour straight without it swelling and bothering me so much I couldn't walk for a month. And then, shortly after this accomplishment I found out some exciting news that put all my hard work on hold. But that's a different month's recap..
In March, the sun came out and we got to do all sorts of exciting things. Like ... I tried to donate blood but they turned me down ... again.
We spent an afternoon rollerblading along Alki Beach and I even got Ben to smile for a picture. I think this may be my favorite of the year.
We also tried out a restaurant several of Ben's classmates often talked about - XXX Rootbeer.
Turns out neither of us was hungry enough for what they were about to put in front of us. This food was HUGE.
Exhibit A: Cheesesteak the size of my head.
Exhibit B: Rootbeer float one and a half of my hands high!
And then came the joys of service. I was babysitting for a couple of families in the ward pretty regularly at this point. It was nice being able to help out others in need but at the same time I was just having a blast doing it. I don't know how helpful I was to the parents but I know I enjoyed every minute spent with these families.
Ben even came some days to help. This was the day Ben realized you have to be really careful what you say around kids because they always remember the one thing you don't want them to. For example, "Let's water these plants so they don't die". Of that statement, this little man decided he wanted to focus on the word "Die". Soon everything was dying and Ben felt horrible.
And finally, just going back to the start of this month, the sun was out and life was good. I never get tired of how much water there is around us. It's so relaxing and I could spend all day every day in the sun on one of the rocky beaches reading a book.
It's even more fun when Ben tags along.
I was still hard at work training for my tri and Ben rewarded me with an amazing birthday.
We spent a lot of this month just going on bike rides and enjoying nature in between Ben studying for tests and getting his internships set up for the summer.
Oh May. What unexpected adventures you held. I spent a lot of this month helping out a friend at high school track meets. This was what I looked like after one extra rainy day on the field:
Ben was inducted into the Rho Chi Honor Society - an honor he gets to keep for life even if he does fail his classes once this baby comes:
This was the month we finally made it out to see the Mariners play. As you can see, Ben kept the sticker on his hat to keep from getting beat up by gangsters. ... Or, just to look cool. I can't remember his exact reasoning for it.
Then, the middle of the month brought some shocking news! We found out we were going to be having a baby! It didn't start to seem real for several more months after this since I managed to get off easy the first trimester. A few days after we found out the news, I got in the car and drove down to Utah for my sister's graduation.
And, of course, I had to get a picture of my Grandpa doing what he always did in the spot he always did it. I wish I would have known that'd be the last time I saw him. I'd have taken him up on the offer to go see a movie.
After the graduation festivities were over, Keri and I climbed into the car and quickly discovered my battery was dead. Luckily, it was before our journey started so we weren't stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Since Keri was visiting we did all sorts of fun things.
There was kayaking:
And hiking to Hidden Lake(s):
And a visit to Leavenworth:
As well as a quick rainy trip up to Vancouver, BC and the suspension Bridge:
Which inspired Ben to produce this video that you may or may not remember.
And then Ben turned the big 2-9 on the last day of the month. His birthday was full of excitement and we got a chance to go on a camping trip with friends the very next day and he was able to use his new present - an inflatable Kayak!
We went camping a few more times and got a chance to take the Kayak out on the Pacific Ocean.
We spent a lot of time just hunging out with friends and enjoying the sun
and saw some amazing fireworks.
Then Keri headed home for a family reunion. I was hoping Ben and I would get to go as well but the apartments just weren't renting. Unfortunately, they rented two days after the deadline for us to make it back to Utah for it.
Oh well. Life is funny like that.
We celebrated our 4th Anniversary a few weeks early and headed up to the Salish Lodge where I got an amazing massage and, in the morning, enjoyed their 7 course breakfast. Uncle Brett, you were not mistaken, their hot chocolate was delicious.
A few weeks later (on our anniversary) my Grandpa was called back to live with Heavenly Father. And, while I've been struggling with this ever since, it was great to be surrounded by family and to feel their love.
It also gave me the opportunity to see several of my cousins that I'd either never met, or that it had been several years since I'd seen them. It was definitely a bittersweet month.
Was a month I'd been counting down to for quite a long time.
We took our 'babymoon' to Hawaii! I've already shared lots of blogs and pictures on this so I'll just share one of my favorites.
And the day after we got back from Hawaii we found out we would be having a baby Boy in January! Of course the day after the ultrasound was the first time I was certain I could feel him moving. In fact, he was moving all over the place. It was the most amazing feeling. I decided that he'd rested up the day before (since he refused to move for the ultrasound tech) since he was exhausted from getting tossed around in waves for a week straight.
I think my favorite October event was driving down to Corvallis, Oregon to watch the Cougars play Football. The only downside to the trip was driving back after the game. We were all exhausted from our cheering.
And then there was the annual Halloween Party (Theme "Hollywood") where we made our debut on the red carpet as Edward and Bella from Breaking Dawn - Twilight Series. (It has to be Breaking Dawn because that's the only one where Bella is pregnant and drinks blood to keep her vampire/human fetus alive).
We spent Thanksgiving here in Seattle with a bunch of friends. It was a blast and I made a pretty delicious turkey (at least I thought it was good). But I, once again, forgot to pull out my camera so I have absolutely no record of it. After dinner was through, all the girls in attendance helped make beaded bracelets for the Children's hospital while the guys played some crazy billiards game (I can never remember the name of it) downstairs. (The deal was that they could play without the kids around as long as they cleaned up all the dishes after dinner). It was such an enjoyable day that, while I missed being with family, it still felt like we were surrounded by people we love and care about. I realized that I had a lot to be thankful for.
This month was actually pretty laid back and relaxing for a December. Of course, since I've all but declared myself on bed rest it sort of has to be.
We decorated the house
And finally decorated the gingerbread house:
Then, the night before Christmas ...
we had a Christmas Eve dinner and a program with several friends from the ward.
The dinner was delicious and the program was perfect.
We all took turns contributing.
After songs had been sung and stories had been told it was time to reenact the Nativity story.
We made due with whatever props we could find around the house.
That adorable spotted kiddo is, of course, a sheep.
Then, after the evening came to an end and it was time for kids to get tucked into bed, Ben and I went on a drive to look at Christmas lights around Seattle.
I love Christmas lights. There's just something about them that makes me smile. Ben doesn't really care about them all that much but he knows it makes me happy so he humors me and that just makes it even more enjoyable.
When we got home there was a Christmas Eve present waiting for us to be opened. Traditionally, my sisters and I used to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was usually pajamas. This year it was a story book called Snow Angels.
It was perfect and just made me think of how excited I am to start our own family traditions in the years to come.
On Christmas we were able to Skype with both my mom and dad and Ben's family so it almost felt like we were with them all. We also took a long nap and spent a few hours over at a friends house chatting and enjoying some amazing food despite them having an unexpected power outage for a few hours.
Then, on New Years Eve we went to yet another friends' house and rang in the new year eating some delicious food and playing Quelf. If you haven't played this game you should. It's a perfect party game and made for a very entertaining evening.
I also lucked out and got to kiss the the love of my life as the ball dropped. Life doesn't get much better than that.
All, in all, 2011 was a great year and I know there will never be another year like it; but part of me can't wait for all the trials and adventures that 2012 is about to bring.
Stay tuned ... the countdown is in the teens!