Letter to 2011

Everyone’s doing these reflective Years’ End posts / hopeful New Years’ posts, so I thought I might join in the conversation.

2011, you were a great year for us professionally. We saw SO much growth in our humble little 2-person operation after only doing this full time since May of 2010. At times I was maybe a little too busy to maintain a healthy home balance, but we had so much fun making new friends along the way. I’m starting off with this because I don’t want to sound ungrateful. We were totally grateful and enjoyed every bit of what Arrow & Apple brought for us this year.

But 2011, you were kind of a real jerk to us. I’m really happy you are gone. For reals, you are OVER.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned (1st line my journal ACTUALLY reads “It’s the first day of 2011 and I’m starting off this year with the hugest sense of dread. It’s going to be a hard year.” I had noooo idea).

January, you brought us letters from lawyers and threats of a lawsuit for me using my own name in my own business. Rather than fight it we decided to do the peaceful thing and accept it and come up with a new name and identity, which I think has been a really positive thing for us! But if I’m being honest (it’s my blog you guys) I’d have to say that I still harbor a little bitterness and anger towards that person who I won’t name. (hah! That’s a joke. Funny to me.) I think the whole thing could have been handled much differently, and it challenges me to treat others with the same sort of human kindness that I would have liked to have been treated with. January, overall you were kind of a bummer.

February, you were super hard. On Valentine’s Day we kissed behind a city we loved, the city we met and fell in love in, the city we were married in, the city where our church family was and our friends who were closer than brothers + sisters. Oh Nashville. Leaving you was heart breaking. It’s embarrassing how much I cried in the weeks leading up to moving to WA. The second half of February we spent a good long time getting up to our new home in WA and we had a really fantastic and trouble-free trip, even driving a used car we had just bought and loaded up to the max. It was so fun. I fell in love with the tiny town of Alpine, TX where Josh’s sister and brother in law let us stay with them. We visited Phoenix for the 2nd time in a year and felt drawn to the city and our friends there, but never imagined at the time we would be moving here.

March, you were an ok month! We got to WA and settled in, and it rained the whole entire month (total: 41 days straight without sunshine). We became pro’s at building fires and living in 250 square feet together. Josh tried for several weeks to find a job. I tried for several weeks to drum up some local business. We started making friends who I still consider dear friends even though we only lived there less than a year!

April, you brought us all in one day – the start of Josh’s job, my first Seattle shoot, and a pregnancy test with an unexpected result! We found out April 3rd that we were 4-5 weeks along already. There was shock, there was excitement, and of course there was panic, but overall we were totally happy.

May, you started out fun. I got to photograph one of the most amazing weddings for one of the sweetest most generous and creative couples I’ve ever known. But you ended up being the saddest month of my whole life when towards the end of May we lost our baby at 12 weeks. And not that it makes it any worse, because it was already the most heartbreaking + painful thing I’ve ever felt, but it happened while I was traveling, over my birthday. A few days after the surgery, I had another wedding to shoot. It was so hard to be joyful I remember. Just so thankful that Josh was able to fly out to be with me. I could not have done it without him. Thankful too for the love that was poured on us by our friends + family. 🙂 I’m still healing 8 months later, day to day.

June & July, you were kind of a blur. We stayed busy with work and finally got to enjoy a little sunshine in WA. But sadly our very dear friends had to endure the same terrible loss that we did. So much heart break in one year. It seemed too crazy that it would happen to both of us, but we are thankful that we have each other even now to understand each others’ grief.

August, you found us making a decision that would once again flip our lives around all crazy. Around 1 or 2am one early August morning, as we were looking up houses online, still desperate to put roots down somewhere, but not totally convinced that Tacoma was the right place, Josh said that craziest thing…. “Maybe we could move to Phoenix?” We flew to LA later that month to shoot Maya’s Bat Mitzvah (bat mitzvah is Hebrew for “totally crazy party”, right?) and while we were out there, we secretly rented a car and drove to Phoenix to look at houses. We knew we wanted to buy a home since the market is crazy cheap out here, but we only had ONE DAY TO FIND A HOME TO BUY. We prayed so hard, because it was something we both thought was impossible, but God answered the prayer so obviously. The house we ended up buying was the very first home we looked at that day.

September & October, you went by kind of fast in retrospect. At the time it felt like the days couldn’t go any slower. We stayed super busy, and my beautiful friends Wendy & John finally got married. 😉 Lots of ups & downs during this time though.

November, we finally said goodbye to our wonderful friends John + Patty, the Kevons, Amanda Sue, the Holdens, + many others, and headed south to Phoenix. It was sad leaving people I loved but I wasn’t, like, dramatically gut-wrenched as I was when we left Nashville (for anyone wondering, Josh’s reactions to all of these things is pretty much a shrug. He’s so even keel. Together we’re an emotionally well-balanced unit). On the way down we spent a good bit of time in Nevada due to car trouble & house closing delays. Then we made new friends in, & fell in love with, Newcastle, CA! The roadtrip down to AZ was done very quickly with few stops, as opposed to our 3 week adventure up to WA in February / March. Sadie fared excellently both times, I’m so proud of that little doggie.

December, you really played on my emotions. It was kind of a battle finally getting into this house, and once we did, Christmas was nearly upon us! We were so blessed by friends with a totally amazing couch score, and by other friends with a bed frame. We had our first Christmas party in our house with the few friends we have, hah! It was hard being so far from family this holiday season but as we opened presents together on Christmas day, I was overwhelmed by how thankful I am for my husband who continues to put up with me, and how it felt pretty special just being able to enjoy Christmas morning alone together. It was sweet. 🙂

So now that it’s January 2012, I just wanted to tell you, 2011, that I’m leaving you behind and I’m excited to start a new year. I refuse to live in the past this year, or dwell on things that hurt my heart, or wonder if I could have changed anything. Because we all know there’s nothing in 2011 that we can change, but we have this whole year in front of us that I have hope for. Pumped. Let’s stay hopeful.

No photos this time, but we do have plenty of photos from the end of our stained floor project that I just need to post. In the mean time, gather your friends around and sing Auld Lang Syne, or at least tell them you love them. 2012 Let’s do this!




3 thoughts on “Letter to 2011

  1. Sending so much love to you two for 2012. There was much to celebrate in 2011 … and much to wish away … Here’s too more of the former and none of the latter for this year!! So happy to have ‘met’ you, and lucky to call you a friend!!!

  2. colleenwatson says:

    Goodness, I miss you sister. But I’m so thankful you and Josh had this year to learn so much. And all those bad things, they build character, right? Love you!

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