Reviewing: 2011 Year in Review

Well kids, 2011 is nearly over. In some ways, it’s been the best year of my life. I got married to the love of my life, went on an epic honeymoon cruise to Central America, visited Virginia and D.C., adopted two little kitties who give me so much joy and laughter, took up running as a hobby (and lost a little bit of weight in the process), ran a 5k in Disney World, and had many more fun and fond memories in between.

Getting married to Kurt was the best decisions we ever made. It is also something I am glad I will never have to go through again! Everything ran smoothly until a week before the wedding. Then people wouldn’t call us back, the day we wanted to decorate the reception hall became an issue, my sister couldn’t make the rehearsal dinner…little things that added up and turned me into, I admit it, a bridezilla. I was pretty proud that I was only a bridezilla for about 5 days as opposed to during our whole engagement period, which lasted a year. I’m sure Kurt appreciated it.

Of course, everything went off without a hitch (except the color of the flowers on the cake…), and we are so blessed to have so many family and friends that helped us celebrate our union. My one big faux pas is that we still haven’t written thank you cards for our gifts. I was so good for the shower gifts, so good for the engagement party…not so good for wedding gifts. We feel terrible that we keep procrastinating, but we will get it done. Emily Post says we have one year to write them, so we are still technically good for another 5 months. I’m hoping to do them during the rest of our Christmas break.

The honeymoon was perfect. We spent two nights in New Orleans right after the wedding, as did my mom and sisters. We had a blast eating, shopping, and hanging out. Kurt and I then made the trek to Orlando to stay with my sister before we went on our cruise that embarked from Tampa. We spent the day before we left in Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, and enjoyed The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time. Let me just say, frozen butterbeer is absolutely one of the most delicious things I have ever drank.

The cruise itself was so relaxing and enjoying. Carnival really is the fun ship. There is never a dull moment, and we chose to do excursions in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama; namely, the ancient Mayan ruins at Coba, the rainforest, and the Panama Canal. All three were worth it. How many people can say that actually went through the Panama Canal? One of the best parts is that I teach World Geography, and I can use my actual pictures to show that what it is like. My students eat that up.

Around the end of June we decided to start running, which turned into a mini passion. We’ve completed three 5k races and have signed up for a half marathon on March 4th. Although illnesses seem to keep plaguing us (the flu, sciatica, twisted ankle…) and we’re a little behind schedule, we feel confident we’ll be able to finish it.

The first of our two new kitties we also got in June. An ex-student of ours posted a picture of a cute black female kitten her brother found on their front porch. I’ve always wanted a black kitty named Spooky, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally have my little dream come true. The day after we returned from our honeymoon, we were the proud parents of Spooky. She is the sweetest, most loving cat. Every time you walk by her, she wants to nuzzle her head on yours and kiss you. She’s also mommy’s little hunter. No bug, lizard, fly, or red laser dot is safe from her cat-like reflexes. Naya, our first cat who’s about 8 years old, took a long, long time to get used to her (she was literally petrified of this 1.1 pound kitten), but besides occasional hissing and a few whacks with her paw if Spooky gets too close, Naya finally came around.

Our second new kitty was a complete accident. The day after Thanksgiving, we were in Panama City Beach at my mom’s house. She’s talking about this little black kitten that was meowing his head off the night before. Jokingly, I started meowing to see if the kitten would come; shockingly, it started meowing back! After a bit of cajoling, he let me pick him up. The poor thing was starving and scared. We wanted to bring him to the vet, but it was 8 o’clock at night. The vet’s door said it was a federal felony to abandon an animal. Not knowing what to do, we decided to drive the 5 hours back to Louisiana and take him to the vet there in the morning. Almost from the moment we saw him, this kitten would not shut up. Kurt said, “I wish he had an off button!” Thus, the name Button was born, and let me say, he is cute as a button. He immediately took to Spooky and they are best friends. Spooky doesn’t bother Naya anymore since she now has someone to play with, and Naya is happy about that. In all, Button was the best thing we could’ve done for our two previous kitties. And guess what? The boy doesn’t make a peep now!

2011 also saw some great new adventures in eating. I have eaten not one, but two hamburgers five days apart, and for someone who hasn’t eaten a hamburger in goodness knows how many years, this is a big deal. But Cowbell, the restaurant with these amazing burgers, has me changing my mind about them. This little gem of a restaurant in New Orleans is quickly becoming one of my favorite places of all time. The hand cut, twice dipped French fries with sea salt are literally the best fries I’ve ever eaten. The hamburger is juicy, flavorful, with white cheddar on top and a compote of onions and bacon simmered in zinfandel. Can you say AMAZING? I can. Cowbell. Plus, they have this sauce called “agogo” which is so delicious, I want to moisturizer my body with it. Disgusting? Not if you’ve tried it.

Of course, 2011 has had some drawbacks, including the loss of a very precious life. Although these heartaches will never be forgotten, I look forward to 2012 as a very positive year. Some New Year resolutions include: an organized house, a weight goal, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, one more addition to our family. Except this time, it won’t be a cat.

Our New Years card for 2012

Happy 2012! Love the Hargis'

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