So blog world. The most amazing thing about Blog World and Social Media Expo 2011 (better known as BWE) is that I got to do it with one of my best friends, Mandy. We were on a panel on the military track called "Blogging Through Loss." It was our first trip to LA and it was great to have some widow time with Mandy while doing something productive and crossing something off her bucket list - public speaking.
I'll be honest, our speech wasn't that big of a hit. I think because it was sadly named "Blogging Through Loss" and let's face it - who wants to sit and listen to people talk about sad things. But, those who didn't come found out from those who did they missed a great panel (if I do say so myself). We had our audience laughing. We talked about how blogging has helped us cope, some of the downfalls, and some of the craziness that is the life of a widow. It was fun.
There were a couple of mixer parties we enjoyed during the extended weekend there and we got to do a lot of networking. I might some more folks from the milblogging community and made some awesome connections. I just have to give a quick shout out to the milblogging community - you guys are the bomb! I can not wait to find out when the next MilBlog Conference is because I really, really want to be there and I hope to meet many of you there as well.
We enjoyed some really nice dinners (Roy's Asian Infusion - Holy bagoly how yummy!) as well as attending others' panels and learning some really cool insights to blogging and social media.
Onward to December...
The first part of December was spent in Maryland yet again. We worked on some house hunting. Yup, that's right. I've finally made the decision of where to settle down, and it's back in my home state of Maryland. I'll go into more of that later, I'm not discussing too much because I don't want to jinx anything (hint, hint).Oh hell, I'm gonna tell you all about it at the end of the post. Read on.
To the right is one of the producers of the show I'd been chatting with and was
After LaLaLand, A, Z and I headed, once again, back to NC. I was going to stay in MD for a bit longer but we had actually ended up finding a house we liked and needed to get things moving down in NC and find paperwork in order to finish up on the contract we put in. I also really wanted to have Christmas at my own house, so I could decorate.
Unfortunately, the house we'd liked that I did end up putting an offer in on, fell through. It was heartbreaking to say the least. It was so difficult because it was everything I had imagined my home could be. It had all the right elements and I was in love. But alas, all things happen for a reason and I took that as a sign that this just wasn't the house for us.
Christmas in North Carolina was pretty awesome. Z and I enjoyed decorating the house and getting the holiday spirit in full gear. I've never gotten to do my own house before, so even though our decorations were somewhat minimal, they were still my/our own and I was very proud. I ended up making a lot of DIY stuff, too, which was really cool. In fact, mom and dad's gifts from A and I were DIY and they loved them.
Christmas Eve we had some friends-turned-family over for a big Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange for the kiddos. It was soo awesome having my extended family all together for Christmas, I love these girls sooo much.
Ariana had such a great day. This Christmas was so much fun because she was older and "got into it" much more than last year. She was tearing her boxes open, playing with each thing before moving on to the next. It was awesome. The joy in my little girl's face... it's priceless and it makes Christmas feel even more magical than putting up any decoration. I was also a little spoiled this year too, receiving a Cricket cutting machine from my parents that I can not WAIT to start on projects with!
I was sad to see my parents go before the New Year, but they had their lives to get back to. And I had a lot to do to get ready because before they came down... we found another house. I know, how could I have found a house in MD when I was in NC? Well... Skype is a beautiful thing people. I am officially under contract and on my way to owning my own home. I haven't really put it out there much because I certainly don't want to jinx it or get my hopes up too high but to be honest, I'm super excited. You'll hear more about it soon, I'm not going to take up too much post about the house but let's just say we've found the one, it's in Maryland and if all goes well - we'll be moving soon!
Our New Year's was spent relatively quiet. We had the usual crew over, minus a few who had other plans and just hung out. Nothing spectacular but still so much fun. We played Catch Phrase, had a few glasses of wine, and watched the ball drop. Nothing extravagant but filled with people I love and really just a relaxing and happy evening (and of course a great kiss at midnight!). Definitely a note I want to start 2012 on - Relaxing and Happy!
So I think we're pretty much caught up, that's where I've been. I'm going to work on being here more often. With the impending move, I may still fall MIA at times, but I'm really going to try to find the time. I can't let myself be all consumed with the stresses of moving or I may lose my mind, so I'll be here, no doubt.
I hope everyone had a lovely and merry Christmas, as well as a fun and happy New Year.
Here's to 2012, blog family, may it bring you all relaxing times, fun times, successful times, and best of all - memorable times!