(no particular order)
1. Vacation to South Dakota!
2. The end of winter. It was so long and hard, I was happy to see green grass.
3. Spending the whole summer with Gene off from work because of his surgery. Not thrilled about the surgery part, but it was nice to be free to travel and do as we wanted all summer.
4. Getting published on Wedding Chicks, front page of the Forum, front page of the St. Joe News press and chosen to be in Orscheln's calendar for 2011.
5. Getting Chickens!
6. Random phone calls from Seth, just to see how I am. Except those ones at 11 at night, I don't like those at all.
7. Sending Tanner off for 1/2 the summer to Upward Bound. I missed him, but was so proud to see how much he changed in that short time.
8. Our second anniversary spent antiquing in south Missouri
9. Travelling to Arkansas to see Gene's oldest and all his granddaughters.
10. Gene's 50th Birthday weekend in Nebraska City.
GENE: I'm amazed how much you continue to change. You have mellowed a lot since the first day I met you, it's kind of cool seeing you turn into an even better man. I love how you treat the boys (Tanner mostly since he's the only one here) like your own sons (sometimes to Tanner's dismay). I can tell you love him. It's funny watching you turn into a big marshmallow anytime you're around little girls, especially your own granddaughters. This year you went from taking snapshots at weddings, to taking portraits at weddings. Every time I download your camera, I am amazed by what you are seeing that I sometimes miss - I'll be honest it makes me jealous sometimes. You are a good husband and you're number one concern is taking care of me and our family. I love you for that. You are the very best friend I've ever had.
SETH: I am sure I don't tell you enough, but I'm pretty proud of you. After me giving up on nagging you, something got into you and you decided to go to school to be a fireman like your dad. All while working a full time job and a part-time job. I don't know many young guys like you, in fact, I know NO 21 year olds like you that are such a hard worker. I think you're finally figuring out that sometimes what is funny to you is maybe kinda irritating to others (at least mom) and you've pulled back a little bit. Most of that is my own fault, I definitely have the dominant smartass gene in this family. I proudly passed it on to both my kids. I see you coming out of your shell and people comment to me how you stopped them at the store and talked their ear off, something you never did before. Outgoing is good, and will take you far in life. If I'm hard on you, it's because I love you, and I want more for you than I had for myself.
TANNER: You're a pretty cool cat. I don't know one 16 year old that will get up from the TV get on their coat and shoes and announce they're going to go out and work on a chicken coop (for hours on end). It's nice coming home and seeing the living room cleaned and vacuumed without me asking. I go pretty easy on you most of the time, because most of the time I don't have to go hard on you. Parts of school has become hard for you. I'm not happy about it, and you're not either. You can do better, and I have faith that if you try harder, you will do better. I have never expected a 4.0, but I do expect your best. This year you started to drive .... on your own. I admit that kinda scares me, not just because you could have an accident, but because you'll have your freedom and I won't see you as much. I guess that's part of growing up and letting go but don't be shocked if I don't push really hard for you to get a car.
LANA: That's me. ;) I'm proud of the things I've accomplished this year, and disappointed in myself in other ways. I'm kinda ready to be me again. I'm ready to slip back into my old body so people around me will say "oh there you are, where have you been?" I'm gonna be harder on myself in some respects... in others, I'm going to ease up off myself. It's not cool to worry and let yourself be scared too much - especially over silly things that never ever happen.
CEASE FIRE RANCH: I love this place. No, it's not really a ranch unless you think that wrangling chickens is a career, then it is. I know it's just a manufactured home, on a couple of acres in the middle of a bean field, but it's the happiest place I've ever lived in my life. Everything I see and everything I touch is part of me. I helped create this place and make it what it is, and hopefully what it will be. If I end up living the rest of my life here, I will not be upset about it.
JINGLES: Your poop stinks and you howl too much. I'm glad you're so cute because I'd hate to think of your outcome if you werent. That goes for you too MACK.... oh, and you chickens too.
MY BLOGGY FRIENDS: After almost 1000 posts, and almost 4 years, I have found my voice - and it is loud. LOL. You all are awesome and wonderful. I wish there was a way that I could express how much it means to me when comments come through. I promise to visit you more the next few months as my work slows down a bit. I want to tell you how much I enjoy your writing as much as you enjoy mine.