{A Year-End Review} The Best of 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This year was quite possibly our busiest, but it was also our most rewarding. My favorite highlights were watching Tim graduate from PA school (finally!) and getting to see our sweet friends Emily & Kent adopt a very special baby boy that many of you helped bring home. We were truly beyond blessed by the places we visited, lessons we learned, and growth that took place in our marriage this year. A special thanks to all of you who faithfully read our blog and for often reminding us of the things that matter most!

Here are some additional 2011 Highlights:

1. Ringing in the New Year with homemade Black-Eyed Peas
2. Kayaking down Lending.com's parking garage during February's Snowpocalypse
3. Sharing our story at Re|Engage
4. Watching Tim Graduate from PA School
5. Attending Whole Paycheck's Outdoor Viewing of ET and Back to the Future
6. Making Homemade Blueberry Jam
7. Going to my first Texas Drive-In
8. Eating my first In-N-Out Burger
9. Watching our readers raise $10, 768 for our race and the McKeaigg Family Adoption
10. Paddling in the KAW100 and getting to know West Hansen
11. Holding Branch McKeaigg for the first time
12. Tim's paddling trip on the Ouchita River
13. Going bici camping with Twinner
14. Giving Tim stitches
15. Making homemade tamales with my Papa 
16. Getting Junk Drunk in Canton with Girl Tyroch and Mary McGuire 
17. Having 2nd row seats to the Bon Iver concert at the Winspear Opera House
18. Surviving my first Corn Maze
19. Building a Headboard for our Biscuit
20. Speaking at MERGE
21. Being a food judge for the Blues, Bandits & BBQ Competition
22. Leading a Foundation Group of Newly Married Couples
23. Spending the night in a Treehouse in the Texas Hill Country with Friends
24. Paying off Tim's Undergrad Loans
25. Seeing my first Nutcracker Ballet
26. Learning how to hot-wire Santa to the front of the Exploder
27. Watching Tim and my Dad fry a Turkey
28. Getting my favorite Book Recovered
29. Driving around Christmas Eve looking at Christmas Lights with Twinner
30. Celebrating Tim's 31st Birthday

Favorite Songs (in no particular order):

1. Farther Along - Josh Garrels
2. And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop - James Vincent McMorrow
3. Who Knows Who Cares (acoustic version) - The Local Natives
4. Civilian - Wye Oak
5. Hagar and Ishmael - Valley Maker
6. Here's to Now - Ugly Casanova
7. Someone Like You - Adele
8. Wash - Bon Iver
9. Strings (acoustic version) - Young the Giant
10. Beacon Hill - Damien Jurado
11. Within the Rose - Matthew and the Atlas
12. Heavy Water / I'd Rather Be Sleeping - Grouper
13. Mercury - Kathleen Edwards
14. Old Pine - Ben Howard
15. No Room for Doubt - Lianne La Havas & Willy Mason
16. Fingers to the Bone - Brown Bird
17. Twins - Gem Club
18. If I Were A Fish - Múm
19. I Can't Make You Love Me / Nick of Time - Justin Vernon
20. 2016 - Aunt Martha

Best Albums of the Year:
1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
2. Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars
3. Kiss Each Other Clean - Iron & Wine
4. Love & War & The Sea In Between - Josh Garrels
5. Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes

Favorite Concerts / Live Events:

1. Bon Iver Concert (Dallas, TX)
2. Feist Concert (Dallas, TX)
3. Cirque de Soliel Ovo (Frisco, TX)
4. The Nutcracker (Dallas, TX)

Favorite Movies (in no particular order):
1. Temple Grandin
2. The Help
3. Made in Dagenham
4. Water for Elephants
5. 180° South
6. Waiting for A Superman
7. Chops
8. Moneyball
9. Sherlock Holmes 2
10. Mission Impossible 4

Favorite Books (in no particular order):

1. A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming
2. Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
3. Sink Reflections by Maria Cilley
4. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
5. Lasting Promise by Scott Stanley
6. When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett
7. Healing the Wounds of Trauma by Harriet Hill

Favorite Videos (in no particular order):

1. Homeless Man, Golden Voice
2. Talking Twin Babies
3. Murmuration
4. Move, Eat, Learn 
5. Foraging for Wild Mushrooms by Carl Pendle
6. Dad & Daughter Sing "Home"
7. A Blind Photographer: Pete Eckert
8. Grain & Gram Woodworker: Blair Sligar
9. La Mur de Pianos  
10. This Must Be The Place by Lost & Found Films

Favorite Eats (in no particular order):
1. De Rice: Tom Ka Gai Soup (Dallas, TX)
2. Smoke: Blueberry & Ricotta Cheese Pancakes w/ Vanilla Poached Apricots & Cream (Dallas, TX)
3. Paco's Tacos: Migas Breakfast Taco (Austin, TX)
4. Oddfellows: French Toast Pudding (Dallas, TX)
5. In-N-Out: Cheeseburger (Animal style) & Chocolate Milkshake (Dallas, TX)
6. Oklahoma Joe's: Short End BBQ Ribs (Kansas City, MO)
7. Bakesale Betty's: Fried Chicken Sandwich with Slaw (Oakland, CA)
8. Raw Daddy's: Vegan Reuben Food Cone (Berkeley, CA)
9. Homeroom: Vermont White Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese & Homemade Oreo (Oakland, CA)
10. Scream: Vanilla Almond Sorbet (Oakland, CA)
11. Cinnaholic: Vegan Cookie Dough Cinnamon Roll (Berkeley, CA)
12. Foo's: Pumpkin Concrete (Kansas City, MO)
13. Velvet Taco: Grilled Adobo Shrimp Taco, Rotisserie Corn & Secret Potatoes (Dallas, TX)
14. The Salt Lick: Beef Rib & Smoked Turkey (Driftwood, TX)
15. Whiskey Cake: Fried Green Tomatoes (Plano, TX)

Favorite New Websites:
1. Pinterist
2. Svpply
3. The Burning House
4. Kinfolk
5. Garden & Gun

Blog Highlights:
1. Seeing The Pioneer Woman throw fist pumps for Fist Pump Friday
2. Featuring Guest Letters from some of my favorite friends and Blogging Heroes
3. Being featured on The Burning House
4. Celebrating our 1 Year Blogiversary
5. Receiving hundreds of heartfelt letters and emails from readers all over the world.
6. Writing our 1,000th post.

Blog Stats:
1. Top 5 Countries who read our blog: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany
2. Top 5 States who read our blog: Texas, Alabama, California, Tennessee, Georgia
3. Top 5 Most Read Posts: Campfire Orange Cakes, {10 Things} That Have Made All The Difference In Our Marriage, our Re:Engage Talk, Guest Letters from Jeremy Larson, Guest Letters from Naomi Davis.
5. FPF photo Countries: Austria, Bahamas, Benoni, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Grand Caymen, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Sudan, Spain and Thailand.
6. Favorite FPF locations: Great Wall of China, Serengeti Desert, Stonehenge, Taj Mahal, and the Grand Canyon.

Looking forward to 2012 because ...
1. The Civil Wars concert in January
2. Tim starting his new job at the Medical City ER
3. Our Leadership Conference in Uganda
4. Drawing better boundaries with our schedules
5. Celebrating 7 years of marriage
6. Shopping at Trader Joe's (they're finally coming to Dallas!)
7. Seeing New England in the Fall
8. Celebrating our 2nd Blogiversary
9. Restoring my 1985 lugged steel Bici
10. Paying off PA school debt and saving for our first house

2012, come out and show yourself.
We're ready!
Em & Tim


Alysa said...

Congratulations on a wonderful year guys! Excited to see what's next!

lara said...

do you start making your lists in january and keep a running tally throughout the year? if i tried to reflect back on 2011 at this point, i'd have forgotten many of the events, songs, eats from earlier in the year i think...
thanks for sharing your lists! xo

Amanda said...

I always LOVE your end of year posts and you know we love you guys too!

Mary Beth said...

Sink Reflections rules. It's one I have to *often* go back to for a refresher... one highlight for me in 2011 was stumbling across your blog- It iz the shiz!

Today's Letters said...

lara, i do keep lists. otherwise i'd forget!

brlracincwgrl said...

I love this list!

Trader Joes is coming here in 2012 too, I'm So excited! I've never been in one and with all these fabulous blog posts, I'm dying to go!

Hope 2012 is AWESOME!

Kristina said...

Your lists just inspired me to make my own Year-End-Review 2011. It would be a shame to forget all the great things we get to experience throughout a year :) Happy 2012 to the two of you!

Kate said...

Happy New Year Em and Tim.... sounds like you have a bunch to look forward to in the coming months. Thanks for your sweet blog, I love reading it!

Scout said...

Your song suggestions are pretty much the greatest. Thanks for sharing! I've come to love many new artists thanks to you guys :)

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