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What a year it has been. I can’t say that I expected I’d be where I am today. But I honestly couldn’t be happier.

I am sad for the big loss of 2011. My grandma (Dottie) passed away in February and although I never called her grandma, she was my grandma for 20 years of my life. She was everything a grandma was supposed to be and she never treated me like anything less than her grandchild by blood even though I wasn’t. I am thankful for the time I had with her, for the family she brought into my life, and for the lessons her love taught me. I will always miss her, but I cherish the good times.

Other losses of 2011 are trivial compared that one. Jobs, come and go. Friends that are real friends stick around. And boys of my past are in my past for a reason.

2011 has also given me more than my fair share of amazing moments, great memories, lots of laughs, love, and friendship.

2011 might seriously be one of the best years I’ve had when it comes to personal growth, finding out who I am, where I am going, and who I want to be.

I still have those moments when I falter, when I let things get under my skin and become someone I am not proud of momentarily, but in general I am proud of the way I live my life.

I am blessed to have amazing family and friends in my life. I often take them too much for granted. They are a part of how I am who I am and how I have made it through everything I have in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am without these people.

My parents are supportive, kind, and caring. Yes they often drive me nuts, can be overprotective & nosy, but they love me and are there for me when I need them. They raised me to believe that I could conquer anything and everything. I thank them for believing in me and teaching me to believe in myself.

My brother is a true role model although he probably doesn’t even realize it. He sets goals and he reaches them. He follows his heart over money.  He knows what he wants to do in life and he does it.

My big sister by meaning has a career and a family. She loves life and she always makes time for those that matter. She inspires me that I can be a career woman and still have a family someday.

My little sister by meaning defies the odds. She is going after the education she wants and making a great life for  her darling CJ in the process. She is one strong & driven young lady.

My BFFF has known me the best for the longest. She is willing to go the extra mile to make sure I”m happy and she knows me better than I know myself sometimes. She had this bright idea back in November of 2010…and man was she right.

My JLO literally does know me better than me. She makes sense of my ramblings. She calms my nerves and she makes me laugh when I need it the most. Coffee dates with her are my favorite kind of coffee dates.

My Ames is and always will be my partner in crime. Despite the distance in the last few years we always manage to have a good time when we are together. She is always willing to listen to me vent and she can bring a smile to my face with the simplest reminder of our past adventures!

Kolby, Kel, & Bry are my biggest cheerleaders when I need one. They are the kind of friends that everyone wishes they had. Over the years we haven’t gotten to hang out nearly as much as I would like, but the minute we are together it is like no time has passed.

My MN Girls—Ash, Leah, Elin, Kristin, Michelle, and more—they were all brought to me through the wonderful Twitter and I can’t ever be thankful enough. They have been there for me a lot in the last year or so. I am so glad that I was able to finally meet some of them my last visit and can’t wait to meet the rest. They listen to me vent, they give me advice, they make me smile, they make me laugh, and they support me even when I ignore their advice and follow my heart.

My little bears–those four have taught me so much about love & life. They are my sunshine on a cloudy day. They are the nieces & nephew I don’t have otherwise and they always know how to make me smile.

And all my other friends & loved ones. I can’t name you all off in here without scaring off any readers I actually have. But if you are a part of my life I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the lessons you have taught me and the smiles you have brought me.

What a year.

Looking back on the good times, the lessons, the hurdles, and thankful for how I got to be where I am.

2011 brought job changes, family losses, family gains, a tattoo, a new apartment, new friends, old friends back into my life, smiles, laughs, tears, and through it all I can say that I think it was a good year.

I can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring. I know this much it will bring my first 5K, more fun times with friends, my 2nd tattoo, and who knows what else!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to you and yours!