It is incredible to think about what happened to Markus and I this year. We both moved from stressful jobs where we felt like we were spinning our wheels to go nowhere into new positions at new offices where we see futures and feel like normal people again. We grew so much individually professionally, emotionally and spiritually as Markus continues to take his classes to become baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church this Spring. Most importantly we grew so much together! We really worked on our communication skills and, thankfully, we still disagree sometimes. We're just able to disagree more respectfully now which means more time to spend together doing what we do best: being happy people.
We were watching TV together this week and there was a commercial on with a Best of 2011 montage of their favorite moments from the year. I asked Markus what he thought our best moments were and he emailed me the list below. I've taken his list and added small pockets of detail, since not all of us are able to communicate in four word sentences.
"1. Chicago - Gotham City, so much cool stuff to do, awesome restaurants, lots of walking and public transportation"
Our trip to Chicago to celebrate Markus' 29th birthday was so fun! I am such a New York girl I thought Chicago would be a underwhelming version of the Big Apple, but it is full of its own personality and a great place to visit or live, according to my gorgeous friends who have made it home. Markus loved Batman growing up so he gets very into urban vacations since it makes him feel as though he is in Gotham City! We saw a Blue Man Group show, ate at RL Restaurant, did a John Hughes tour of the Art Institute and, of course, took some great iPhone photos in Millenium Park.
"2. Marfa - Sky Party, Chinati, the Hotel, the jeep trip"
Markus is very hard to shop for so last Christmas I surprised him with a book I had made detailing our planned and paid for trip to Marfa for Valentine's Day weekend. This stunning small town brought us to a level of relaxation we haven't known since we lived in Lubbock. We went to the McDonald observatory sky party and looked out of huge telescopes, did the art scene, stayed at the Holland Hotel in Alpine and took a jeep tour through the Big Bend area with Angell Expeditions that included a soak in the Chinati Hot Springs. I will never forget this trip!
"3. Scary House Halloween - hilarious"
Our first attempt at decorating for a holiday. We ended up scaring some of the little kids! Hopefully they are ready for us next year.
"4. Candy Christmas - best first Christmas tree ever, even post-LittleChildification of the treeskirt"
I posted earlier how last year's trip to Dylan's Candy Bar inspired me to do a Candy Christmas theme for our first try at home decor. Holiday decrations are an expensive buy-in but I am so glad we went for it. It has filled our house with so much cheer!
"5. Costa Rica - fruits, veggies, cuban cigars, surfing, awesome climate, beach, so outdoorsy"
Our trip to Costa Rica was amazinggg. Another case of having no idea I could ever feel that healthy and refreshed. Fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere - a gluten-free, vegan dream. We stayed at Hotel Alma del Pacifico, went white water rafting and through the state parks, surfed and watched the Mavs win the National Championship from a projector on the beach! Such amazing quality time with my sister and her fiance. We love having them as friends! On the last day Markus and I laid in the hammock and took turns reading stories from David Sedaris' "When You are Engulfed in Flames." A perfect memory.
"6. Getting a Chiminea - fire anytime, don't have to use a shredder anymore for papers"
What can I say? Markus is really easy to please. And really, really likes fire. (Scorpio.)
"7. Toy Story on Ice - coolest thing i've ever seen, ever"
We started 2011 off by taking ice skating lessons as a Christmas gift from Markus. As an extra treat we bought disocunted tickets to Toy Story on Ice. Our discounted tickets ended up being in the front row! Disney on Ice was a big family tradition with my grandfather growing up so I was over the moon, but I did not expect for Markus to be so taken with an ice show. Apparently we are the same kind of weird. And I love it.
"8. Rangers Games - it's the Temple"
Markus grew up with no sports influence and I grew up in the Midwest on basketball. We fell in love with baseball together and the Ballpark in Arlington is where we want to be April - September. It's our spot. We even got to take Little Child to her first game this year!
"9. Exercise Ball for Work Chair - best thing to happen to work since Wall-E"
Markus switched out his office chair at work with one of those exercise balls. As you can see, his is lovin' it. Almost as much as the talking Wall-E figure I got him on our Disney World honeymoon. When you see him compliment him on his improved posture. And if you see him lounging on his ball please don't pop it with a pair of scissors a la The Office.
"10. Built-in Shelves - make the house look awesome"
We were desperate for a touch more stoarge space so we had these built-in shelves designed and installed. We did the painting and then had friends over when they were down for a Big Lebowski party with Wii Bowling, White Russians and toe cookies - with nail polish. Left to right is The Dude, Walter, Jesus and Maude. You can kind of see the Top 10 shelves in the background!
That concludes the obnoxious newsletter-style letter you usually get in Christmas cards. From our family to you! What were your top moments of the year? Anything I have to try in 2012?