Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Year in Review

It's a new year. Brand spankin' new.
And that means it's time for a little reflection.

As I think back to this time last year, the very first day of 2011, it's really hard to remember what my life was like. I can honestly say I've never before ended a year SO FAR from where I began it.

2011 was most certainly marked by one thing - Briggs.
Meeting Briggs. Waiting for Briggs. Praying for Briggs. Becoming Briggs's mommy.
And while there's no doubt that he was the main event of the past 12 months, there were lots of other great moments and memories too.

I combed through my photos in an attempt to highlight just a few of my favorite moments from this year. I found 15 to feature - but for every one I chose as a "favorite" there were three more that I thought "well, shoot, those are favorites too."

And then there are all the memories and moments from this year that just weren't captured by a camera. Running Jack Quinn's with my dad. A weekend get-a-way to scrapbook with my sister-in-law. A friend brining me a beer and a prayer the night before we flew to Ethiopia for the first time. Seeing friends - on the brink of divorce - renew their marriage. Waiting on the doorstep for the FedEx man to deliver my new camera. Feeding Briggs in the middle of the night. The giggles that only my sister can pull out of Briggs. Briggs's tight neck hugs. The relationship between Briggs and his grandparents.

Friends, this was a hard, good, life-changing year.

And in a feeble attempt to honor the passing of such a momentous year, here are 15 of the moments/memories/events that top the list;

1. In March, we met Briggs for the first time. I swooped his little 9-month-old self out of his crib and we all cried. Three days later, I put him back in his crib and didn't see him again for 5.5 months.
2. We in all we could of Ethiopia. We spent a total of 15 days in Ethiopia this year - 15 days of sights, sounds, smells, faces and experiences we will never forget.
3. We attended "sex parties" for two of our dear friends. In April, we learned that the Osburns were having a boy and in November, we discovered that the Patrick's will be welcoming a baby girl in April 2012. Apparently, our friends are working hard to ensure that children outnumber adults at our get-togethers in the very near future.
4. I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k in May - by far my most memorable race to date. The race was on Briggs's 1st birthday and a GREAT way to distract myself from the heartache I felt that day.
5. We camped with our friends and family at Taylor Reservoir - and with most experiences, the trip was GREATLY enhanced by some quality time with our nieces and nephew.
6. In August, we celebrated my baby sister's 21st birthday with a night out in Ft. Collins. I've been waiting for little sis to be 21 since I turned 21 8 years ago and I started planning her party months in advance. The night started (as any respectable 21st birthday party should) with a tour of the New Belgium Brewery.
7. We ran (or - in my case - slow crawled) the warrior dash in August with my family. Seriously, this race was hard and it included fire and mud and ridiculously high obstacles. But we made it and we loved it and we drove away from headed straight to the airport to catch the red-eye flight back to Ethiopia to get our boy.
8. On August 23 they placed Mr. Briggs - forehead sticker, soggy diaper and all - in my arms forever. For me, it was a wonderful, wonderful moment. For Briggs, well, not so much. I do pray that one day he'll look back on this moment as one of the most significant moments of his life.
9. Four days later we landed in Denver and were greeted by a lobby FULL of people just waiting to love on Briggs. I'll never be able to fully express the joy, pride, and honor that I felt in that moment. May Mark and I never forget what a miraculous, anticipated child we are raising.
10. Witnessing the birth of Phinehas Jude. Seriously, is there any sight more revealing of the power, grace, and sovereignty of God than watching a baby take his very first breath?
11. Like all new parents, we have loved experiencing Briggs's firsts. He enjoyed his "first snow" experience in October for about 25 seconds. After that, he was all tears.
12. A fall afternoon with my boy "hunting leaves" was just the thing that this mommy and son needed as we continued to learn about each other. It may not seem that significant, but in this hour I learned much about what he enjoys, what makes him tick, and what makes him mad, sad, and anxious.
13. For the very first time in my life, Halloween-ing was fun, fun, fun. Again, it probably had something to do with an adorable toddling turtle and that aforementioned first-time-parent love of all things "first."
14. Watching Briggs throw leaves with his grandpa and great-grandpa in November was most certainly an unexpected joyful moment, and not one I will soon forget. He adores these two men and it makes me all weepy and proud to think that they adore him too.
15. And finally, we closed out 2011 with a December night-out in Denver to celebrate our friend John's 30th birthday. It was a good, good time. Obviously.
Happy, Happy New Year to you all!

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