Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Highlight Reel ~ 2012

2012 was a big year.
Full of big events, mostly in our children's lives ... but honestly, they are my life,
so it's basically one-in-the-same for this momma's heart.

I guess the cliched 'life is like a roller coaster' sums it up.
We had our shares of highs ... lots of them, in fact.

Buuut, if you've lived long at all {or ridden a roller coaster}, 
you know that those are quickly followed by the twists, curves, 
& as bad as I hate to say it, the lows.
You really can't live life having one without the other.

Looking back through the highlight reel of 2012 memories,  
it's the good ones that stand out,
warming my heart with a flood of emotions ... of gratitude, of blessing, of love.
And it becomes ever so evident as to what kept us grounded,
through the good & bad ... the highs & the lows.

Our faith.

Faith in a Sovereign God, knowing that all things work together for our good,
is what held all things together.
As my head touched the pillow each night & the scenes from the day began to play,
whether I said a prayer of thankfulness for such a perfect day ... 
or I tearfully prayed for better tomorrow,
I never doubted that He was in control.
He daily loads us with benefits.

It's with a grateful heart that I share with you a glimpse into the memories 
we collected in 2012.
{there's plenty of pics, but I make no apologies ;)}

My Highlight Reel ~ 2012.


Garrett & Gunnar bought & paid cash for their 1st vehicles.
Totally a big deal, a super big achievement, & super proud of them!

Garrett & his Dodge Dakota
Gunnar & his Chevy

I celebrated my 39th birthday ... yep, officially 39 & holding!
The Mr. took me to Sybaris to celebrate.

Also in January, Garrett was an official page in the House of Representatives.


The Super Bowl came to Indianapolis  
~ course, we had to go downtown & take part in the festivities.


March was full of 'typical' Indiana weather.
We were seeing snow flakes one day ...

and grilling out the next!

James looks menacing in this photo ... but he's really nice ;) I promise.

We had to have an impromptu backyard dinner with our precious friends, the Ellis family,
complete with wrinkly tablecloth & broken umbrella ;)
{James bought a new one later in the summer.}

Garrett attended TeenPact at the statehouse~ he was elected governor!
He gave a speech any momma would be proud of.
{Come listen to it here if you haven't had a chance to yet.}

Garrett at the Statehouse

Flowers bloomed early ...

And we surprised a wonderful girl on her birthday 
at our ladies fellowship night.

sweet Carissa ~ Garrett's girlfriend
Also, a big event in March was Gunnar & Garrett taking their 1st road trip, 
just the two of them.
They drove clear to Oklahoma for Gunnar to see Abigail.
Boy, that was a long day.
Their trip went well ... another step toward manhood.
Yes, this is all tough on momma ;)


This month was much anticipated!  
Our 20th anniversary trip, planned for July 2011, just the two of us, well, it just didn't happen.
We decided to postpone it ... & what it turned in to was a 21st anniversary - family trip.
When it boiled down to it, we just couldn't think of leaving the country without our boys.
We were SO happy to be able to take our whole family on an amazing vacation,
the first time for each of us to see New Orleans, 
take a cruise, & leave the country!

We sailed from Nola, after sightseeing for 2 days ... an interesting city, to say the least.
Turns out, the French Quarter was packed out for Jazz Fest, which was a huge treat for us.
We love jazz music, so to be able to hear it there, LIVE, on every corner, stage, 
nook & cranny, was a huge treat!!

Not every part of the city was beautiful, but is plenty rich in history & culture.  
I took lots of interesting pictures & I'd love to share them all, 
but since I can't, I'll post my faves.
Jackson Square had the most gorgeous ironwork  ...  I loved this lamp post 

 & the old iron gate.

St. Louis Cathedral was stunning.
M ass had just let out & it was interesting to watch the priest
as he exited the church & gave blessings to the many parishioners.

Pedesclaux-Lemonnier House ... this was my favorite.
Talk about charm & personality, this has it!

Now on to the cruise ... it was quite an adventure too.
Some of it we loved, some of it, not so much ... but all in all, we had a good time.
I have to say, when we rounded the corner of the parking lot, 
my breath caught in my throat as I saw this big ship sitting there.
Yikeys!....our home for the next 5 days! 
I must admit, I prayed fervently all week ;)

Here's the ocean on the first evening.
It was breathtakingly beautiful

My sister was so right about this strawberry soup ... yum, yum, yum!

Our first stop was in Progresso, Mexico ... a very authentic experience.
Not touristy, not overly-pretty, but it was an interesting experience.

We spent most of the day here on the beach, only a few feet from this boat.

This little guy caught my eye as we were walking around town ... adorable.

Our second stop was Cozumel.
It's totally different than Progresso ... more touristy, much more to do.
A major highlight of the trip was the snorkeling!
I sipped on a delicious drink & watched my 4 loves on their underwater adventure.

After the snorkeling, we jumped back into our Jeep rental to explore the island.
This is when the real fun started.
It came a down pour like no body's business & yes, the Jeep top was down ...
& we couldn't get it back up!!
We laughed our heads off.

Thank goodness we brought along beach towels cause we were drenched.

The evening dinner was always fun ... we had a wonderful waiter & great food.
Here we are on our last night.

I know.
I am so blessed to live in a house with these gorgeous guys.

I wish I had blogged about our trip in April, right after we came home, 
but it just slipped through the cracks.
I have so many pictures that I would've shared.
But, as soon as we came home, Gunnar attended a 3 day music conference ...
& we began crazy busy planning for the next big event ...
Garrett & Gunnar's high school {homeschool} graduation!!

Garrett, Carissa, & Gunnar

Our family & Ellis family ... proud of our homeschool grads!
And in 2015, we'll do it all over again for our Riley & their Codey.
It's more fun to graduate with friends ;)

In addition to graduating, Garrett & Gunnar began working full-time for James' company.
They are prayerful concerning their futures & following God's guidance.


We celebrated our 2 graduates by hosting their open house in our back yard.
Unfortunately, it was a hundred degrees, literally, but a good time was had by all.

{I still haven't gotten around to posting a tutorial of how I made this chalkboard sign.
I am always behind, it seems.
Do I hear a 2013 resolution?!}

Here's a pic or 2 of the food & decor.

The smoked pork bbq sandwiches were served on these plates 
that I made with a sharpie marker ...
which in turn is my most-viewed blog post 
& pin on Pinterest {come follow me!}.

Also, by this month, Riley has worked his behind off ... and has lost 40 pounds!
He set a personal goal in Dec. 2011 to not eat sugar ... 
& let me tell you, the boy has discipline!
He rarely veered from his resolve, going almost 100% sugar-free for about 8 months.
He also took up boxing, weight lifting, & began jogging 8-12 miles each week.
He has been a great motivation not only to us, but to many of his friends.

All my handsome fellas headed to a co-workers wedding

Riley & his dad building a log fort in the woods
Riley also went to his 1st week of church camp in Ohio ... 
he had a great time, but we sure missed him.


James & I celebrated our 21st anniversary on July 13.
We took a weekend trip to Amish country in Holmes County, Ohio.
It officially became one of our favorite places ever ... & we are planning to go back this summer. 

This is the chalet we rented for the weekend ... it was perfect x 100.

The rural countryside goes on for miles & miles.
We loved driving slowly down these country roads, taking it all in ... taking lots of pictures.

These were parked outside one of the local grocery stores.

Also in July, Gunnar participated in a music conference, 
singing in the worship ensemble.
This was his 3rd year ... he had several solo/lead songs & did an outstanding job.
He truly has a worshipper's heart.

When we are in Richmond for the conference, 
Gunnar loves to go to Chipotle & get this ginormous burrito!


Garrett to Florida with 2 friends for a TeenPact Congress Alumni event.

We also proudly supported Chick-fil-a on Appreciation Day!

Abigail came up for several weeks ... one day, we had a picnic at Brown County State Park.

We also went to the state fair!
Garrett & Gunnar decided to scale this brick wall ... silly boys.


We spent a wonderful day at Conner Prairie, 
one of James' all-time favorite places to visit. 
It always succeeds in making us wish we lived in the country.


Mr. Riley turned 15 this month!
We didn't do big birthday celebrations this year for any of the boys ... 
& bad momma! ... I didn't even snap a pic of the birthday boy =(
Although we didn't seem to take part in as many fall activities as we would've liked,
our church did have quite the Reformation Day Celebration.

Gunnar on the stilts he built himself
The Casey's won the prize for best dressed!
The straw jumping was the event of the day ... so much fun & laughter!

James turned the big 4-0 this month!
My sister said if I wasn't going to plan something to celebrate, then she would!
Wasn't that sooo sweet?
She got together a surprise dinner for him & it was a great turn-out.
{Only I messed up the time & got us there before I was supposed to 
& kind of spoiled the surprise ... Good grief  ;) }
My sister, Lisa, took these great shots!!


For some reason, I didn't take many pics this month ... too busy to remember, I suppose.
We did have some memorable events though.

Garrett & Gunnar turned 18 on the 21st.
We had the traditional birthday meal for them ... Red Lobster.

We had a super fun Christmas party for the ladies of Family Life Assembly.
Tammy was a lovely hostess & Wayne was a great photographer!

This is us acting nice.

 This is us acting normal ;)

Also this month, we remembered our dear friend, Cayla, 
on the 1 yr anniversary of her home-going.
She moved from her earthly home to her heavenly on on Dec. 18, 2011.
Her memory has hovered close each & every day ... 
& we all have been forever changed by her life & her passing.

so grateful for the years of memories our boys have with the whole Ellis family

One of the main weekend activities here during November & December 
was been deer hunting.
And they've been quite successful!
Between James & Gunnar, they dropped 3!
We are grateful for the venison meat filling the freezer. 

We enjoyed being with family during the holidays 
although they always seem to end all too quickly.
Course, one of the sad/bad events was Gunnar being stranded 
 in O'Hare International Airport for 16 hours ... alone on Christmas night!
He took his first solo trip, flying to see Abigail, & due to his plane arriving 40 minutes late,
he missed his connecting flight.
The next one didn't leave til the morning ... 
& it was delayed several times due to snow/bad weather.
I tell ya, I got 57 new wrinkles & grey hairs that night ... no joke.
He had a great time there, though ... & made it home with no problems.

If I were to pick a December highlight though, 
it would be our trip to the symphony.
Garrett wanted to plan something special for Carissa, a December surprise ...
& he invited James & I to go too.
The music & dancing & singing ... it was all so spectacular!

The Yuletide Celebration at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Garrett & Carissa ... she looked stunning!

The hubs & me

Now, don't get me wrong ... as I mentioned earlier, 
this year wasn't free of trials, sadness, & sorrow.
In fact, the last year & a half has been one of the worst I've ever experienced.
You see, I have a blessed life, but I do not have a perfect life.
I hurt.  I struggle.  I battle.  I fervently pray.  I hope against hope.

However, what I refuse to do is blog about all of those things ... the 'lows' of life.
I may in time, but as of now, I haven't chosen to go that direction.
I am working hard to keep my focus on the good, the blessings, 
the happy times.
After all, they far outweigh the bad.

As the Pennington family begins to plan & 'resolve' for 2013, we'll approach it 
with greater expectations, stronger hope, & increased faith.
We pray to draw closer as a family as we strive to draw closer to God.
We acknowledge that highs & lows will run their coarse ... as is life
for each & every one of us ...
and we'll depend on God to be our strength & guide.
He is ever faithful.
He will see us through.

Blessings to you & yours in 2013.


  1. It is so nice to hear positives about the past year. I hear / read about so many people saying how horrible 2012 was for them. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a mostly good one!

  2. Hello Lisa =) Thank you for your comment ... much appreciated. It did seem like 2012 was a tough yr, but there's usually some sort of silver-ish lining in every dark cloud, if you look for it.

  3. Praise God for Faith! For when we have faith we have hope even when life is a challenge! Congratulations to your graduates and beautiful memories made.

  4. Thank you for stopping by =)