Tuesday, May 1, 2012


*um, oops.  Somehow this never got posted...*

Looks like the obligatory year-in-review post is the 100th post here.  I can't take credit for all of them since Adam did write about four posts at the beginning of the year.  2011 has been a long year in some aspects and yet, the time passed impossibly fast in so many ways.

Last January, I was job hunting, about 15-20 lbs heavier and just downright unhappy.  Unfortunately, it took me until May to start hashing all that out and find a place where I could be happier in Chicago but I did eventually get there and make peace with everything, right before Adam got his job offer here in Dallas (funny how things always work that way...).  To tell you more about that month, I only have one photo in my iPhoto library from that month.

I took this from my phone one of the mornings I was opening the gym I worked at.  From January until April, I was the opening manager and I had to be there at 4:45.  I still can't believe I did that and thought it would be a good idea.  It pretty much explains why I was a megabeast of a person for the first part of the year.  Tired Jen = Very Unhappy Jen.  But how pretty was the Chicago River that day, completely devoid of people?

In February, we went skiing with both of our families.  I enjoyed skiing so much more than I ever have and I felt awesome and comfortable and didn't feel even a twinge of pain in my knees.  I credit a lot of that to being a lot more flexible and in shape from my yoga practice.  Feeling good made a huge difference in my confidence level on the mountain and I did quite a few of the easier black diamond runs with my brother.  I had a good time riding the lifts with him as he took swigs from his flask.  He's a special character.

We also survived one of the biggest blizzards in Chicago history.  And both of us got to get up the next morning, throw on our ski gear and wade through the snow drifts to go to work because the trains were still running.  That was the beginning of the real end for us and we started making appointments with the realtor to put the condo on the market.

I feel like we spent most of March just preparing the condo for sale.  I don't have a single picture from that month at all.  (Can't you tell?  Living with me during the first quarter of 2011 must have been a real peach).  I can pretty much bet that we spent a lot of time hanging out in bars and watching Blackhawks and Bulls games with our friends.

April was looking up.  We ran the Shamrock Shuffle and it was actually warm this year!  We had friends come to visit from Texas and I went to the only Cubs game of last season.  They were really bad, I didn't miss much.  I changed hours at work and immediately felt this immense relief that comes from sleeping normal hours.  I think it was around this time that my family had their little intervention with me and told me to get some therapy for my grief.  It was the beginning of my search to try to find myself this past year.

I think this was Mike's plate after some Total Domination at Tango Sur.  MAN, I miss that place.

My friend got married in San Antonio, which was a great excuse for two trips to home and lots of times with friends and family.

I feel like I made some of my biggest strides in May for the whole year and for my life in general.  I started going to therapy, which helped me to understand why I was holding on to grief and pain for years and for other people.  Talking through it with someone helped me to start to let go.  I decided to enroll in a yoga teacher training program, which was an idea I'd been playing around with for more than a year and constantly telling myself that I'm not good enough/thin enough/strong enough.  I'm glad that Adam, my family and my therapist finally helped me to see that right then, I was plenty more than enough.  Even though my program started in June, I was allowed to start accruing my hours in May and I threw myself into my yoga practice even more so.

My dad and his girlfriend came to visit and we got to play tourist all around town for one of what we didn't know at the time would be our last times to do so.

In June, we kicked off the month with a trip to San Diego for the epic wedding of my friend Amy, who introduced Adam and I, to Adam's friend, Brian.  Both sets of our parents were there and it was a great time.  We got to play tourist a little bit in San Diego and enjoyed some fantastic weather.  I think the June Gloom the SD natives speak of is a bunch of B.S.

I started feverishly working on my teacher certification when we got back home and between that and working full-time, I feel like my June was a blur of bike riding and train riding all over the city with a yoga mat strapped to my back at all times.  It was just crazy but Adam was amazing around the house while I was in class all weekend and we used the opportunity to just settle down and simplify our lives a little bit.  I also chopped my hair off in anticipation of being in a super hot yoga studio all summer (AND IT WAS SO INTENSELY HOT).

July was a big month.  We found out just before the 4th of July weekend that Adam got the job offer he'd been waiting for and we'd be moving to Texas in September.  We did a lot of celebrating!

We went to a great wedding, started a Chicago Bucket List and started checking items off one by one, including the above outdoor yoga practice we attended.

In August, we visited Dallas for our apartment hunting trip.  True to both our natures, we'd done a ton of research and had a binder of places to visit but we fell in love with the first place we saw and signed our lease.  I had an impromptu first interview at lululemon after visiting the store and randomly talking to one of the managers and we scouted yoga studios for me to potentially teach at.  I finished my teacher training program, which was so bittersweet!  I ended up having SO MUCH FUN with it and I miss the community of friends that I had during those hot summer months in the un-airconditioned studio all day just sweating our faces off.  (Told you, it was really hot.)  I subbed for a couple of classes at the gym I worked at, which gave me some great experience.  We had our going away party at Higgins Tavern, which was an amazingly good time.  The movers came at the very end of the month, making everything even more real.

Over Labor Day weekend, Adam went to Cabo San Lucas for a wedding and on that Monday we left for Texas.  We stepped off the plane to the best weather Dallas had seen in months (mainly, it was the first day it wasn't 100+ degrees since pretty much May.  You're welcome, DFW.  We brought it with us, it was COLD in Chicago on Labor Day).  I started teaching at the studio that is 4 blocks from our apartment and Adam started his job with a week-long trip to training in Tyler, TX.  I had a couple more job interviews and started Bikram yoga in the hopes of healing my low back, which started bugging me in July.

The biggest changes were buying two cars and adopting Higgins.  We took on a lot of big changes in September but all of them were fantastic.  At the end of the month, we ran our first 5K in ages with our run group.

October brought some cooler weather, a lot more running with our group and Adam's company team, biking all over town and a switch from chiropractic therapy to physical therapy for me.  Adam and I celebrated our first anniversary in Houston and Galveston and Higgins went to Doggie Camp for the first time.  We spent time getting to know Dallas better, hosting out of towners and I got a job offer from lululemon, which was a long-time goal of mine.  As native Texans, it was pretty sad that neither of us had ever been to the State Fair and we had to change that.  I also set a 5K PR, which sadly, I can't remember the exact time anymore so I'll have to try to beat it in 2012.

In November, I started working full-time and teaching an additional class at the YMCA.  Things got really busy and Higgins took on his status as "Most Spoiled Dog in America" by getting to go to doggie daycare 1-2 days a week instead of being crated for 8+ hours a day.  Lucky little guy!  We hosted my mom and cousin on Thanksgiving weekend and everyone (including Higg Man) did the Turkey Trot that morning.

December brought cooler temperatures and a big 30th birthday for me.  Adam took me to a super poshy dinner at Fearing's at the Ritz Carlton.  It was LOVELY from start to finish, which made up for the fact that the weather on my birthday was probably the worst weather we had in Dallas all winter.  We celebrated Christmas in San Antonio with some of Adam's family too.  It was surreal to be able to drive there and not deal with the stress of holiday plane travel.  Work continued to get busier for both of us but we continued to run weekly and started training for the half marathons we had planned for 2012.   On the 29th, we celebrated Higgins' 3rd birthday and his first one with us by heading up to In N Out Burger.  He LOVED his burger and little birthday party.  Looking back on the year, so many things changed but almost all for the better!

Busy Bees

From the looks of my Facebook feed, I'm not the only person who feels like time is flying by right now.  Several people were commenting on the CRAZY fact that it's now the month of May and it got me to pondering... how has this happened?  It's almost summer.  We have our 150 mile bike ride in 4 days (FOUR DAYS!).  It hit me this morning that at this time last year, I was just starting the process of so many life changes.  According to this here blogging record, May 1st last year was when my dad and Adam had a big talk about me needing to seek out some therapy and snap out of my winter funk/grief depression.  It blows my mind to remember just how unhappy I was at the time.  May was a big month for me in 2011, I started seeing my therapist and signed up for yoga school.  I started logging every yoga practice I went to and became the slave to my hours spreadsheet for the 200 hour certification.  Oh, the many hours I spent pouring over that spreadsheet and preparing my schedule!  

This year, I have a great job that I love, three regular yoga classes with students that inspire me and Higgins is the little ray of sunshine every time Adam and I walk in the door to our apartment, which we love.  We went to dinner on Sunday night and found our selves getting a little big retrospective about how good we have it right now.  We're challenged and happy in our work, love exploring Dallas and the surrounding areas and we're steadily making more friends and finding our place here.  We did our first bike rally last weekend (that was another benefit of working for Adam's company) in Muenster, which is about 86 miles north of Dallas.  Riding on the hilly country roads was beautiful, I only wish my pictures had saved.  I tried to remember to savor the views of the wildflowers when I was either slowly making my way up a hill or flying on the downhills.  It was incredible and to think, I used to be horrified of ever getting on a road bike!  After the 40 mile ride, we were also given admission passes and beer tickets to Muenster's Germanfest.  There hasn't been a single day that I've ever regretted this big move and all the changes that have come with it, but a few days stick out in my mind as reminding me just how lucky I am that it came together this way.  Walking around Germanfest, mingling with random townspeople and Adam's co-workers, I was just struck by how much it reminded me of my own childhood.  It wasn't quite the same as walking a few blocks to a local street festival in Chicago, but these little country fairs in the middle of nowhere are what I grew up with and I'm thankful that our kid will one day have the same types of experiences.  I'm already researching more rides like that one that end near fairgrounds and festivals, it was a great experience.  

I spent most of today booking our big trip for 2012, which will be a big jog down the East Coast from Boston to DC by way of New York City.  We're tacking this on to a wedding in Chicago so it will be 4 cities in 10 days and we'll get to see quite a few family and friends.  I'm thankful that my teaching has afforded us the opportunity to take great trips and make the most of our vacation time.  True to form, I spent hours researching the best possible deals and I'm stoked with what we ended up with.  

Life is good and I'm thankful to have had a few moments to stop and smell the roses lately.