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Best of 2012

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Now that we’re well into 2013, it’s time to reflect on 2012, right? It’s a challenge to even remember last week much less all of last year, but I’m going to give it a try…

Best Restaurant: Considering how little we go out to interesting restaurants these days, this is always a tough category for me. We make sure to go out each year to somewhere new and fancy on our anniversary, but most of the rest of our meals tend to be at boring kid friendly places. I’m going to pick Draft. Sadly, it closed at the end of the year for reasons unrelated to its popularity. We went with friends before a concert in February and again with Gabe’s parents just before they closed their doors. YUM!

Best Book: I actually read quite a few great books this year. The candidates for the “best” of the year were Ready Player One, The Kingkiller Chronicles, and the Wool series. It’s hard to compare the three because they were different, but since I’m forcing myself to pick one “best,” I’d have to pick The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I highly recommend all of the finalists from this year, though! And I can’t wait to read the next one in The Kingkiller Chronicles as well as the Wool series (by Hugh Howey). I really did have a tough time choosing between the two.

Best Vacation: I might as well rename this category to “the major vacation that we took this year.” Of course, our best vacation this year was our big trip to Disney World! We had been looking forward to it for a long time, and it was great (though exhausting). We’ll do it again in a couple years! We did have a good number of wonderful shorter vacations this year, too.

Best Movie: This one is difficult for me because when I look at the list of movies that we saw in the theater, nothing stands out clearly above the rest. I guess I would pick The Avengers.

Best TV Show: My favorite show this year was Hart of Dixie.

Best Music: I don’t pay attention to the newest music these days, but we went to a fantastic concert in July with Kristin and Chad. We saw Roger Waters perform The Wall in its entirety. That was quite an experience! I wish we had had better seats, but it was still great to be there.

Best Board Game: Our favorite new game this year was Village. We need to add this one to our collection!

Best Lighter Game: I really enjoyed Riff Raff which I played at TBGT. I haven’t been able to find it for sale anywhere.

Best Party Game: We have had Cranium Hoopla for years, but I finally played it at TBGT. It was a perfect game to play with family and friends! We had fun with it on Thanksgiving with Gabe’s family, with my family at Christmas, and with friends at New Year’s. Fun game!

Best Video Game: I guess this one has to go to NintendoLand since it’s one of the only video games that we played this year. I look forward to playing more of the Wii U. With all that free time that I don’t have…

Best iPad Game: Gabe and I both spent quite a bit of time playing Mystery Manor on our iPads at the beginning of the year. It was fun while it was lasted!

Best Kids’ Game: We played a lot of kids’ games in 2012, and my favorite of those is Catan Junior. It plays somewhat similarly to the real game, and I love this intro to Eurogames for the kids. They are loving it. The kids ask to play “the pirate game” often.

Best Toy (for Maddie): My favorite toy of the year for Maddie is her Olivia’s House Friends Lego set. It’s awesome! It’s a dollhouse made of Legos. FUN!

Best Toy (for Cullen): Cullen was very into the wooden trains this year, and we all enjoyed them. We had fun making huge layouts, and they got some motorized trains for Christmas. Good times!

Best Maddie Moment: My favorite Maddie moment was riding in the front car of Goofy’s Barnstormer when she put her hands way up in the air. She was so happy. It was a wonderful experience! Loved it!

Best Cullen Moment: Cullen and I spend quite a bit of time together, and we have so many special moments together. He’s so sweet, especially every night when we go through his bedtime routine. We had a lot of great moments at Disney, too. I think that my favorite may have been when Cullen told Rapunzel that he would protect me from the dragon. He was so sweet with Minnie Mouse and the princesses!

Best Reunion: I didn’t think I’d be able to think of one this year for “best reunion,” but then I realized that Audrey and I reunited our travel relationship! We had a wonderful time at Disney in April. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take some more trips together in the future.

Best of 2011

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

It’s time once again for my “best of” list for the previous year (inspired originally by Cindy in 2008).

Best Restaurant: This is a tough category to start with because I don’t feel like we ate too many remarkable places this year. Our anniversary dinner (post coming soon) was great, but it wasn’t as notable as some previous dinners have been. I think my favorite restaurant this year goes to Bosphorus. Thanks to Michelle for introducing me to it!

Best Book: I thought it would be difficult to pick my favorite book from the year, but when I glanced through my list the answer was clear: Water for Elephants. We read some other good ones, but this was a fairly easy choice.

Best Vacation: This category doesn’t seem quite fair when we have one big vacation each year, usually. Obviously, our best trip was our cruise on Allure of the Seas! More stories, reviews, and photos coming soon…

Best Movie: We saw some good movies this year, but I cannot think of a more perfect first theater movie than the new Winnie the Pooh.

Best Album: Well, it wasn’t released this year, but my favorite album that we bought this year was Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons.

Best Board Game: Gabe played Die Burgen von Burgund at this year’s That Board Gaming Thing. He raved about it, so I managed to get a copy for his birthday. I’m glad we bought it when we did, because it has been hard to get since then! We both love it, and it plays well with two players.

Best Lighter Game: King of Tokyo was one of the most played games at That Board Gaming Thing, even with only one copy out of the entire convention. We picked up a copy, and it gets a fair amount of play at our house. It’s (usually) quick and accessible and entertaining.

Best Kids’ Game: The kids started to get into board games in 2011, and Go Away Monster is the best game we have found for little kids that both Cullen and Maddie can play. They love it! Maddie is ready for some more involved games, but she still enjoys playing this one, too.

Best TV Show: Hmm, this is a tough one. We don’t watch much TV these days, but we did enjoy Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Best Toy (for Maddie): This is a hard choice, but I think that the Bitty Twins got the most play for the whole year out of Maddie’s toys (from both Maddie and Cullen, for that matter). She didn’t play with them as much for a few months, but her interest was renewed when Cullen started showing interest in them. She’s become more interested in changing their clothes and playing with their accessories lately.

Best Toy (for Cullen): Even though he got his Bitty Twins at the end of the year, I’m going to have to say Annabelle (meaning both Maddie’s Annabelle up until he got his own). He has been crazy about Maddie’s dolls for a while. We could not wait for Santa to bring him what have now become known as his “ladies,” Annabelle and Izzy. The house seems a tiny bit more peaceful now.

Best Children’s Book: I’ll have to pick Mr. Bump from the Mister Men (and Little Miss) series. Both kids have enjoyed the books in that series.

Best Maddie Moment: Maddie had so many great moments this year, and it’s difficult to pick a favorite. One of my favorites is the family birthday party that we had at the American Girl Bistro in Atlanta. That was a very special birthday for a very special 3 year old!

Best Cullen Moment: Cullen has been amazing this year as well, and his vocabulary is extraordinary. One of my favorite moments was on the cruise. His reaction to some of the characters was priceless. The first time that the dragons appeared in the How to Train Your Dragon ice show, he was in awe and gasped, “FWAGONS!”

Favorite Thing of 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I still haven’t posted my favorites from 2011 (that post is coming), but I think I have found my favorite thing of 2012. That’s right, a mere 20 days into 2012, I’ve discovered The Coca Cola Freestyle machine. I was coerced to give Moe’s a try. I’ve declared that I hate Moe’s which is quite the unpopular opinion! I think I’m just not a fan of their burritos, but the steak quesadilla was fine. So, perhaps I won’t refuse to go there next time…but what may tip the scales is the Coca Cola Freestyle machine.

I was thrilled to find that they had Caffeine Free Diet Coke, a rarity in restaurants. Little did I know what choices I was about to encounter! It has one dispenser and a big touchscreen.

And that’s just the start! After you pick your base soda, you can have it plain…or add delightful flavors.

My first thoughts were, “um, can I buy one of these for my house??” I chose the Raspberry Caffeine Free Diet Coke. YUM! I hear that all of our Firehouse Subs now have these as well. Awesome!

So, when I win the lottery (that I don’t play), then I think my first call will be to the Coca Cola headquarters to see about installing one of these in my house.

Favorite photos from 2010

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I have been thinking about this post ever since seeing Ann’s Top Ten Photos of 2010 post. I probably shouldn’t even link to her post as they will make my photos look pretty lame in comparison. I did not pick my photos due to technical merit. I’ve barely post processed the photos at all – I just don’t have time for that with the number of photos that we take. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10, but I stuck to that rule. I think I might go back and pick 10 from previous years, when I get a chance to import them into Aperture.

I’ll present them in chronological order. I’m probably not supposed to comment on them at all, but I want to include a brief commentary on each one. I’ll limit myself to less than 10 words for each photo (this is a very difficult task for me!).

This is easily my favorite from the year.

This one makes me smile every time.

He was just learning how to lift his head.

I love how Maddie is talking to her brother.

We had fun hunting for Easter eggs!

This was the sweetest moment of the year.

We can’t wait to go back!

This one cracks me up every time.

Eating is a messy business.

I just love how sweet she looks here!

Best of 2010

Friday, January 14th, 2011

It’s time once again for my “best of” list for the previous year (inspired by Cindy in 2008). I looked back at 2008 and 2009 for the categories. I also stole some ideas from Cindy’s 2010 post.

Best Restaurant: We didn’t visit too many notable restaurants this year. Most of the restaurants that we frequent these days have high chairs, grilled cheese, and a lot of background noise. Two restaurants were in the running this year: Acme Food and Beverage Company and Sitti. I didn’t have a problem picking Acme, which is where we dined on our 4th anniversary. My appetizer, in particular, was divine. I never know that tomatoes (the teeny heirloom kind) could be so tasty, and I made sure that our anniversary fell during a dairy trial so I could have the fresh mozzarella/tomato salad. YUM!

Best Book: I had a hard time finishing books this year, but I still managed to finish most of our book club reads. I still read enough to make it difficult to choose one best book. Considering how quickly I read the first two books of The Hunger Games, I’m going to have to choose that as my book of the year. I still need to read Mockingjay. I’m looking forward to discussing the series with book club next month (so I guess I better finish that 3rd book). I would have finished it quickly as well, but it hadn’t been released yet when I finished the first two. I always have trouble finishing up a series when I have to wait for a book.

Best Vacation: Our day at Magic Kingdom made that trip the best of the year! I’m so glad that we decided to go at the last minute. The day was wonderful and made us excited about returning in a couple of years. We will fly next time. No way I’m making that long drive to Orlando again, if I can help it!

Best Movie: Despite the fact that we don’t make it to movies very often, I’m finding it difficult to pick just one in this category! We are very selective of the movies that we go out to see. Oh, how I miss the days when we could say to each other over dinner, “hey, let’s go to a movie!” and then we could just go to the movie. Or what about the days when I was able to stay awake through a 9 o’clock movie (and even the midnight showings!). Those days seem to be in the distant past now! This year, we had a couple babysitters and we managed to sneak off during the day while the kids were in daycare. I went to some movies with girlfriends, too. So, out of the movies that I saw in 2010, I liked many of them. The movies in the running for “best” movie of the year would have to be Toy Story 3, Inception, and The Social Network. Despicable Me would have been in that list if we hadn’t seen Toy Story 3. It’s hard to choose between the three in the running because they are so different! I can’t help it, though. I have to pick Toy Story 3. Pixar continues to be a sentimental favorite for me. It’s hard to beat. Which brings me to the next category…

Best Non-Pixar Movie: That’s right, I’m cheating and adding another movie category. It’s just not even fair for other movies to compete. The best non-Pixar movie that we saw was Inception. The Social Network was certainly good and had interesting content, but Inception was the type of movie that I wanted to own and see again.

Best Reunion: I stole this category from Cindy, and every year I almost choose not to use it. I do have a good answer, though. I think the best “reunion” this year is the start of the new Mothers & More chapter. The old chapter had been looking like it would fall apart for a while (and I thought that it had), so it was awesome to have a new chapter open up with many of the great women from the old chapter plus some new wonderful friends. The meeting locations are more convenient for me, too, so that’s a bonus. I look forward to seeing this chapter develop this year.

Best Album: I don’t acquire many new albums these days. Gabe ends up getting more albums than me. The two main albums that I got this year was Barenaked Ladies’ and Jack Johnson’s new albums. Between the two, I’d have to pick To the Sea by Jack Johnson. I enjoyed both albums (and both concerts).

Best Board Game: We actually managed to play quite a few new games since we attended That Board Gaming Thing this year. Almost every game that we played was new to us. I’m going to exclude party games from this category (see the next category). Our favorite non-party game of the year goes to Macao.

Best Party Game: The best party game that I have discovered in a while is Telestrations. We played it quite a bit since That Board Gaming Thing, and it has been a recent favorite at games nights. We’ve had some hilarious moments with it.

Best TV Show: Our TV watching declined rapidly this year. We aren’t too interested in any of our shows these days. I think that the award this year has to go to glee. We caught up on the first season (first half of the first season? when it came out on DVD and have been keeping up with it since then.

Best Toy (for Maddie): Even though the Bitty Twins are currently a big hit, they were a late arrival for 2010. I’m entitled to pick them, but I think the toy that got the most play and use in 2010 had to be Baby, the baby doll she had before Henry and Annabelle. She took that doll everywhere. It helped her develop imaginative play, and she cared for that doll and practiced things like changing diapers and feeding the doll that she saw us do with Cullen. So while Baby was not acquired in 2010, she wins for Best Toy (for Maddie).

Best Toy (for Cullen): My pick for Cullen was a toss up between the Fridge Farm and the Little People Barn. Both were hand-me-down toys from Maddie, and Maddie still gets play out of them, too. As with Maddie, I think I will have to go with the toy that got the most play out of the year. That award goes to the Fridge Farm. He started playing with the Fridge Farm around 6 months old and still plays with it almost daily. It’s great for keeping him entertained and distracted while cooking dinner, too.

Best Children’s Book: We did a ton of reading to Maddie (and some to Cullen, too). Even though we haven’t read it as much lately, I think this award goes to Pinkalicious. She received it for her birthday, and it has been a favorite since then. In 2010, Maddie got more into longer stories and can sit through multiple books of decent length. It’s been fun reading with her.

Best Maddie Moment: This one was an easy pick for me. The absolute best moment with Maddie was when she met Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom. I wasn’t sure how she would do with the characters, but she was so excited to meet Winnie the Pooh. She waited patiently in line (until the last few minutes when we were almost there), and she stood by herself with the characters for pictures. She then gave Winnie the Pooh the longest, biggest hug. It was just about the sweetest thing ever.

Best Cullen Moment: This one is harder. I could just go the easy route and say the moment he was born! I’m going to instead pick a moment that isn’t quite as specific as Maddie’s moment. I have loved the few times that I have seen Cullen interact with the music teacher at school. Little dude LOVES music and LOVES that teacher. It’s so cute!

Best of 2009

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Last year, I copied Cindy and wrote my Best of 2008. I had intended to do more summary posts from 2008, but I don’t think I got around to it. So, here is my attempt at the Best of 2009!

Best Restaurant: Once again, we didn’t really eat out very much. We had an anniversary dinner at Second Empire, which was new to both of us. I ate at Poole’s Diner for brunch before my Christmas date with Audrey. Those were the two notable restaurants. Both were very good, but I think I’m actually going to make an odd choice here and not go for “tastiest” or overall great experience but make the choice based on the frequency and convenience of Ruckus Pizza. We find it easy to take Maddie and have found it to be a good place to go with family and friends. We like the pizza and garlic knots.

Best Book: This is always a difficult category for me. I don’t get the opportunity to read as often as I did before having Maddie, but I still read enough to make it a challenge to pick the “best.” Once again, I’m going to limit this to books that I read for the first time this year (My Sister’s Keeper and To Kill a Mockingbird are disqualified). I choose The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This is a book club pick for March, so I’m a little ahead in reading it. Of course, I haven’t yet read the books for January or February, so I’m not that ahead.

Best Vacation: We actually managed to take several significant trips this year that did not involve visiting family at their homes. We went to Bermuda, Cincinnati, and New England/Canada. All were wonderful trips! I’d have to pick the New England/Canada cruise as the best of the year.

Best Movie: We didn’t get to watch too many movies this year. We saw even less in 2009 as we did in 2008. One of these days, we’ll get to the theatre more often, though I have a feeling we’ll be seeing even more kids’ movies. I’d have to say the best movie that we saw this year was Pixar/Disney’s Up.

Best Reunion: While this isn’t a reunion exactly for me, it was great to finally meet Gabe’s dad, sister, and niece on our trip to Cincinnati.

Best Album: I just don’t listen to new music all that much these days. Gabe got a bunch of new albums for Christmas, but I haven’t had a chance to give them all a listen. I guess I’ll have to pick Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants (another children’s album). I haven’t had a chance to listen to it too much, but I’m hoping Maddie will like it, too!

Best Board Game: I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this category last year. We were exposed to several new games this year as we had the opportunity to play more this year. My favorite by far has to be Dominion (and associated expansions). It has great replayability, is fairly easily accessible for less serious gamers, and plays awesome with two players.

Best Video Game: This is another new category for 2009. I have to admit that I barely played any video games, but I wanted to include the category so I could plug our newly acquired New Super Mario Bros for the Wii. Fun! Maddie shows some interest in “playing the Mario,” and we hope to turn her into a mini video gamer sometime in 2010!

Best TV show: I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this one last year either. Let’s see, looking over my Fall Television Update, I think I’d have to pick either LOST, Chuck, Gossip Girl, or Dollhouse. Tough choice! Since LOST and Chuck haven’t started yet for this season, I think I’ll have to pick Dollhouse. Too bad the series only has a few more episodes. It seems like we often like shows that get canceled. Boo.

Favorite toy: Ok, this is random, but I’m trying to pick MY favorite toy of Maddie’s (not necessarily her favorite). I think I’d have to go with her new Melissa & Doug Sandwich Making Set from Christmas. The wooden pieces are cool, and I love how they stick together with velcro and are quite satisfying to cut with the “knife.” Fun toy!

A Brief History of Kerry and Gabe in photos

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

This was originally part of the anniversary post, but I thought it could stand alone. While reflecting on the last several years, I thought it would be fun to look at a few photos from our relationship through the years.

I believe that this is the first photo that exists of the two of us together (just the two of us, not including photos with other people). This was on a trip to Atlantic City in late 2005.

This one is from mid-2006, during my first visit to visit his family in Kentucky.

Of course, we had some awesome photos from our wedding. I’ve posted and reposted some of the best over and over, so this time I thought I’d pick one from our honeymoon in NYC:

From our first cruise in September 2007:

Just before Maddie was born in early 2008:

One of our favorite family photos in May 2008 (Maddie is 3-months old):

And one of our family portraits in the Fall of 2008:

On our cruise to Bermuda in May of this year:

And on our cruise last month to New England and Canada:

Last night at our anniversary dinner:

My most popular blog posts

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I love Google Analytics. I had prevented my site from being in the search engines for a while, but I couldn’t resist finding out how people would find me. I allowed my site back into the search engines and installed Google Analytics nearly a year ago.

I check it almost every day, though I’m most interested in seeing what searches land strangers on my page. These searches have resulted in a ton of hits for some posts. I’m not saying that these are my best posts by any means…just the ones that get the most hits.

Here’s the top 10 blog posts (from least popular to most popular):
10. Changes in Girl Scout Cookies – I received a good number of searches around Girl Scout cookie time for things like “changed tagalongs” and “did the girl scouts change the recipe for tagalongs” and other similar searches. I wonder whether I’ll have similar searches around Girl Scout cookie time next year.

9. Maddie’s cute little feet – I’m not sure why I waited so long to write a post about Maddie’s underdeveloped left foot. I know that I personally spent HOURS searching the internet in the hopes that I would find similar abnormalities in other children to help me understand. I did not find much. I get searches for this one at random times for things like “underdeveloped feet baby,” “child with different sized feet,” “underdeveloped feet in young babies,” and “will different sized child feet even out.” I hope that some other parents can find a little of what they are looking for in this post.

8. How many of these children’s books can you name? – I created a quiz for my friend Melisa’s book themed baby shower. It turned out nicely! I get some searches like “book quiz with answer.” I don’t see a ton of obvious searches that would land people on this page, so it is surprising that it was so popular. I think I had more of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers following the blog link than usual, perhaps.

7. Maddie’s Birthday Party at Daycare photos – For some reason, I get a lot of hits for “daycare birthday party” and similar. I guess that people are looking for ideas of what they can do at daycare for their child’s birthdays? At any rate, I get a good number of these searches, making this post the 7th most popular one.

6. My first big lesson in parenting: never say never – I get some searches for this one about co-sleeping, but I think most of my traffic came from my friend Ann‘s blog when she referred to my post. This is the post where I admitted that I was NEVER going to have my baby in the bed with me. How wrong I was! The weirdest search that landed someone on this page was “dairy-free breaded chicken.”

5. Concert Review: Mannheim Steamroller – I decided to do something different and post a review of the Mannheim Steamroller show that I saw as part of my annual Christmas date with Audrey. I had no idea that so many people were interested in it! Around Christmastime, I had sometimes a dozen searches with people looking for reviews on Mannheim Steamroller shows. I’m wondering if this post will be just as popular around December this year.

4. Maddie’s Hives – This one could end up being the most popular post ever, considering how recent it is and how high it ranks already. I get numerous searches involving hives, including things like “102 fever and hives,” “hives in the morning,” “hives with fever,” “penicillin allergy hives pictures,” and “pictures of penicillin allergy hives.” A few searches on “cefdinar” show up in the logs as well.

3. Melisa’s Baby Shower photos – This one is a bit surprising. Many people find it with generic searches such as “baby shower photos,” “my baby shower photos,” and “friend’s baby shower photos.” Maybe these people are potential shower hosts and are looking for ideas. I’m really surprised, however, by the number of people that have searches containing Melisa’s name (considering the unique spelling). I have seen searches such as “melisa shower” and “melisa baby.” The funniest that I have seen are “melisa archives” (they were probably disappointed considering that it is probably not the archives they were looking for), “melisa babe” (I’m starting to think she has a secret admirer), and my personal favorite “melisa in the shower” (now I KNOW she has a stalker).

2. Animal Crossing: City Folk – These searches have been getting less lately, but for a while I had a flurry of activity with people wanting to know all sorts of things about Animal Crossing. I’m planning to write a separate post eventually to serve as a sort of resource (mostly linking to legitimate resources). People want to know tips and tricks with the game, but my post was more or less a review.

1. 25 Random Things About Me – And the winner goes to…the Facebook viral activity. Around the time that the list was really popular, I got tons of hits daily. Interestingly my follow-up post didn’t receive quite as many hits. These searches started the day after I posted it and continued strongly for a few weeks. It tapered off gradually after that. I would expect this post to fall in the ranks eventually, but for now it has been the most popular post on the blog. The searches in this case were quite obvious, all variations on “25 random things about me.”

Best of 2008

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

A few of my friends have written summary posts for 2008, so I thought I might do the same. I’ll start by copying my friend Cindy who posted What Was So Great In 2008? (hey, I like how that rhymes!). I’m even going to use her categories (with a few of her categories from last year).

Best Restaurant: This one is very easy, for two reasons. For obvious reasons, we didn’t eat out as often as we have in the past. I did manage to go to a few good places. The winner in this category is hands down Mo’s Diner in downtown Raleigh. Thanks to suggestions from friends, we decided on Mo’s Diner for our anniversary dinner. It was one of the best meals that either of us had had in a long time. I highly recommend this venue for special occasions!

Best Book: This is a much tougher category. First of all, I’m going to stick to the ones that I read for the first time (Jane Eyre and Pillars of the Earth were repeats). I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this year, again for obvious reasons. I still read 17 books, most of them for book club. I believe that my favorite book was probably The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I read several good ones this year. I had a tough time choosing, but Cindy says I have to pick ONE, so that’s my pick. I reserve the right to change my mind at a later date!

Best Vacation: Normally, this would be an excellent category for me, but this year we only took trips to visit family. Only one of them was to a destination that was not someone’s home. By default, that’s my winner. Our trip to Gatlinburg in July wins the award for “best vacation.”

Best Movie Watched: I would say Juno by far was the best movie I watched the whole year! I loved it! I did feel a bit conspicuous being 8-months pregnant in the theatre when we went to see it. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should give it a try.

Best Movie Released This Year: We saw Juno in the theatre, but technically it was released in 2007. For movies released in 2008, I would pick WALL-E to be my favorite. It wasn’t my favorite Pixar film, but the robots are very cute and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think that this is one that I appreciate more and more as time passes. This was a tough choice as we went to few movies in 2008 which means we were picky about our selections. I somehow managed to see 6 movies after Maddie was born which is not too shabby considering!

Best Reunion: I almost didn’t use this category from Cindy’s post, but I figured I could come up with something for it. I actually saw many people this year that I had not seen in a while and connected to many through Facebook. I even randomly reconnected with people that I hadn’t seen in a long while at the daycare. My oldest friend (we’ve known each other 30 years!) threw me a baby shower in my hometown, so I saw many friends from the old neighborhood. All of this was great! I was going to change the category a bit to say “Best Reunion Experience” so that I could declare Facebook the winner. Instead, I’m going to declare my visit to my old house as my “best reunion.” My brother-in-law’s parents are friends with the people who bought my parents’ house in Salisbury, and they gave us a tour of the house! It was so neat to see the changes to the old house (and interesting to see the things that were still the same). It brought back great memories, and I loved showing Gabe where I grew up!

Best (Adult) Album: Cindy just had “Best Album,” but I wanted to break it into two categories. I didn’t buy too many albums, but I still had trouble picking one winner. I settled on Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” (the runner-up would be Juno’s Soundtrack which I enjoyed nearly as much as the Garden State soundtrack).

Best (Children’s) Album: Gabe and I tried several kid’s albums that weren’t atrocious for adults. Our favorite so far is the Barenaked Ladies’ album, Snacktime. We are hoping that this will become a family favorite as Maddie gets older.

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Gabe and I are celebrating our 2nd anniversary today! I feel like we’ve been married much longer than that…in a good way! Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s only been two years with all the things that we have experienced in the time that we’ve been married.

In the past two years:

  1. Most importantly, we have changed our lives completely with the birth of our beautiful daughter, Madeline. Aside from being a wonderful husband, I have learned that Gabe is pretty much the best father that I could have hoped for for our children. Maddie and I are two lucky girls!
  2. We have sold our old house and bought a new one. We love our house and both feel that this is a place that we could live for a long time (hopefully until Maddie is in college). This is our dream home, and I think it will be a great place to raise our kids.
  3. We have both experienced cruising for the first time. We loved our cruise to Alaska and are eager to take another cruise. I think we may have to wait a little while before Maddie is ready for that experience, but once she’s a bit older, cruises should be great family trips!
  4. Including Alaska, we have visited 11 different states and 2 Canadian provinces during vacations in the past two years, not including our state of residence or states that we had to pass through when driving from one point to another. Not too shabby! We hope to share our love for traveling with Maddie throughout her childhood.
  5. We have taken somewhere around 20,000 photos in the past two years together (this is not an exaggeration). Maddie has really ramped up our photo taking as we have successfully taken multiple photos of her every single day of her life so far. Of course, not all of these photos are stellar, but when you get enough quantity then you’re bound to have some quality, right?
  6. Gabe has worked at three different companies! He changed jobs about a year ago and again just a few weeks ago. He was presented with opportunities that he had to take, including the opportunity to work from home fulltime.

Whew, we’ve had a very eventful two years in our relationship! I’m looking forward to our future. I love Gabe more today than ever, and I feel so lucky that I can spend every day with him and our beautiful baby girl. I feel like I couldn’t be happier.