Each year I have recapped my year by month on the ol' blog, but this year I wanted to change things up. Instead of summarizing each month for you, I have compiled a list of my favorite highlights from this past year.
I really had a phenomenal year and I can safely say it has been one of my best years yet! Thirty is treating me just fine and if this is any indication what my thirties will be like, well, sign me up!
As a person I grew personally, physically and professionally and I have never felt better about myself. This year I did everything from wrap up classes for my Master's degree to running my first ever long distance race to meeting someone special and opening up my heart. In no particular order, here are what I consider the highlights from 2012....
- New Friends! In 2012 I met this girl and this girl. Yep, two local bloggers here in Des Moines have completely won me over and I have not stopped marveling at what wonderful and fun friends they are! Manon and Chandra are best friends that use Twitter as much as I do, and naturally we all ended up following each other. As conversations became more and more frequent through those 140 characters, we naturally ended up hanging out in person and quickly grew to be IRL friends. I have never felt so blessed to have such amazing new friends in my life!
- A new relationship. Along with meeting new friends this year, I also met a new guy that has completely stolen my heart and I can safely say I am head over heels for this funny guy! We met online (shocking, right?!) and we first got to talking about running. Quickly we found out that we had a lot in common and in person we clicked right away (so important for me). He has made the last half of 2012 incredible for me and I have never felt so smitten! We spent the holidays together and I pray that we spend many more together.
- Wrapping up my Master's degree! This year I finished all of my classes and accomplished my goal of maintaining a 4.0 while in grad school (my heart flutters a little bit every time I see 4.0!). All that is left is my student teaching experience and then I will be a fully licensed K-8 teacher! I am so thankful that although I have an undergraduate degree in something other than education, I am still able to pursue a career in this field while also receiving a degree in higher education. I have never felt so blessed and so happy in a career!
- Babies! There are five girls in my close group of friends and we've all been friends for about a decade now. One of us finally decided 2012 was the time to create a new life! Our good friend Katie gave birth to baby Dylan at the end of October and he is such a cutie!
- Reading over 70 books. Yep, this year I was able to make time for something I love to do. Reading. In 2011 I set a goal for myself about halfway through the year and I was looking forward to see what I could accomplish in 2012 if I set a reading goal. Having a concrete goal really pushed me to read more and I could not be happier or prouder!
- Running. This year I took running to an entirely different level. I always dabbled in running and would occasionally work on Couch to 5k, but I never really tried that hard or pushed myself. After my friend Emily urged me to sign up for the Dam to Dam 20K, I thought, "what the hell, why not??" I signed up for the race, trained and ran my first ever race on June 2, 2012. Yep, you read that right. I consider D2D to be my first real race. I had participated in 5Ks before, but never with a clear goal in mind (besides make it to the finish, but I usually walked). Since Dam to Dam I have completed a half marathon and various other small races. Currently I am working on a sub 30 minute 5K!
- Blogger weekends. This year I only had one blogger meet up, but it was a memorable one! Back in January I met up with Lisa, Becky, Lesli and Donna in Chicago for a weekend of fun and it was amazing! It is crazy to me to think that I met Becky IRL for the first time in 2012, it feels like I have known her for years and years. Ahhhh, the joys of blogging. :) I think about this weekend a lot and hope that we can do it again someday.
- Vacationing in Washington D.C. Becky graciously invited me to stay with her and her husband and she put together the most memorable trip for me in our nation's capital. I got to spend some great quality time with Becky and I finally got to meet Mandy!! I quickly fell in love with the city, its rich history and my time there. I have no doubts that I will be back someday to see even more!
- Working with the I Have A Dream Foundation here in Des Moines. Through a blogging connection, I met Brianne, who works for the IHAD foundation and she asked me if I would be interesting in helping with an after school program at a local middle school in the school district that I grew up in. It took me about 1.2 seconds to say YES! and although I had *way too much* on my plate this semester, I enjoyed every Wednesday I worked with these special students.
What a wonderful year!