Since everyone else is blogging about their year in review I might as well, too. I think Shawndra (my sister) may be the only one who reads this but it is what it is. Hopefully when I do this next year I'll have pictures to add to it since I'm planning on taking more pictures!

We rung in the New Year on Club Rodeo's last night as "Club Rodeo" before they switched over to "Cowboys" which is evidently the same thing just with a different name... I remember arguing with Jeff that night and feeling incredibly insecure because, as usual, I felt like the biggest, ugliest girl in the room and was only thinking about myself... what a way to start a year, huh?

I started 2011 still working at Merry Maids, though I wasn't super Merry about it. Not even a little. I was pretty bitter that I was wasting my biology degree and feeling like I should be more respected. My bosses were horrible at managing employees and liked to find every way they could to demean us more... as if cleaning toilets for people with shampoo more expensive than my car wasn't enough? We worked in teams of two and I had gotten really close to my Team Leader.... which was an oversight on my bosses' part so they switched me to another team leader. She was CRAZY.. older than my mom and partied like a 19 year old. Everyday she came in with new stories of one night stands and guys she met online. Nice.

The beginning of the year also saw us finding mentors in the Carters... Carey for me and Clint for Jeff. It has been a HUGE prayer request answered and we love them so much. We also got extremely attached to so many families at Crosstown this year and I don't know what we would have done without them.

Around March I found out that I had gotten a job for the last 9 weeks teaching high school Earth Science and Environmental Science at PC West... I was THRILLED. A job where I could tell people what I did for a living without feeling like a waste of space?!!? (Which by the way was a huge humbling process thanks to Jesus... I eventually learned what I did for a living did NOT determine my worth). I naively jumped in head first and was quickly brought to my knees by angry, apathetic 17-year-olds. I succumbed to the easy road of survival teaching with worksheets and movies and made it through those 9 weeks, driving myself crazy in the process.

In May, my principals at West offered me a job to come back the following school year, under the condition that I take the OSAT in Earth Science as that's the only opening they had at the time. Not many people know this but I am a horrible, horrible test taker and took the OSAT for Biology (yep, my subject that I got a whole degree in) three times before I passed it. They assured me that if I did not pass (I wouldn't find out until two days after school started) they would simply switch me and the anatomy teacher (a guy who had been teaching for twenty years... and really enjoyed teaching anatomy). I didn't even want to risk failing the test and everyone finding out so I quickly applied for jobs everywhere else, went to a bunch of interviews, had some offers, and accepted a job teaching 7th grade science at a middle school in Del City.

Also in May, we reconnected with Jeff's estranged brother (half-bro technically- with his dad) that he hasn't seen in ten + years. We have gone to see him once a month still and it is a P R O C E S S in all meanings of the word... still a pretty big challenge but God has blessed us already in this.

This summer was filled with a lot of growth, I feel. I babysat for the Fraziers, a family at my church, a couple of days a week, so most of my time was spent alone. I had hurt my ankle either at the end of May or beginning of June and had finally (with the pushing of my husband and church family) accepted that I had to take some time off from running. This was actually really, really difficult for me. Running was my way of controlling my diet when I spiraled out of control and ate the whole pan of brownies. Running was my way of feeling like a "good, healthy person" and also my way of maintaining an acceptable physique. I resorted to spending a lot of mornings at the free church gym in town on the elliptical and eventually gave it to God.

In July I turned 25. I think this was also the month we found out that Jeff's brother and his wife were getting a divorce. Perhaps it was also the month we found out another couple, one that was married a week after us, was getting a divorce, too. It was a pretty challenging time, as we had exhausted a lot of emotions and prayers on his brother's marriage. I had spend a lot of time on the phone with his wife giving unheeded advice and Jeff had had many heated "discussions" with his family in regards to the marriage. It was a difficult time.

August- I started my new teaching job. I felt overwhelmed, unprepared, uneducated and so helpless with 100+ 7th grade students to call my own, half of which qualify as special education students. I made all the classic rookie teacher mistakes and came home crying, a LOT. Thankfully, in September I found out I was pregnant which helped justify all of my emotions and exhaustion that I had blamed on my job. :)

September- found out I was pregnant... and that I was 17 weeks pregnant at that. Nevermind that I had taken countless at home tests all summer long that kept telling me I wasn't. I can't blame a brand, because I tried several. This baby just didn't want me to know about him.

In October we found out we were having a boy and also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. I wish so much I had better journaled about all of the emotions I have experienced in these short two years of marriage. It has been such an up and down journey so far... battling the ugly monster of self-esteem and selfishness... learning how to argue in a healthy way (still figuring that out, bleh)... trying not to rely on Jeff so much for what Jesus is supposed to be in my life... it's been a crazy two years of marriage. I could write on and on about this alone...

November- I can't remember too much, even though it was just last month! We celebrated Thanksgiving with Jeff's bro (the one we just reconnected with... I'll call him "M"). M stayed with us for a few days and it was the longest we had been around him. It was definitely a sanctifying experience to say the least and the Lord is working on my heart for sure in this matter. I finally started to feel like I was really connected with my students and getting the swing of things with planning and teaching students with an IQ range of 50+ points (which is a challenge!)

December- this month has been... chaos. School has been crazy, which is expected. My hormones have been crazy... I've had to cut back on running to pretty much NOT running at all which has been hard, but my pregnant body couldn't handle it on top of battling a never ending upper respiratory infection. We've had some hard times with family members that we are still working through.

2012 will bring a new addition to the family as well as the transition to me not working and Jeff being the sole provider for our little family. I am pretty nervous about this new year and what it will bring but God is faithful.


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