I can remember where I was when 2011 rang in...well sort of I can. We had to change around our traditional New Year's plans of spending the night ringing in the New Year with Kyle and Krisha. Work got in the way, so we changed around our weekends and had to do different things. We were at the hunting camp for New Year's eve, but sadly we were all sleeping by the midnight hour. So the new year was off to a slow start, but I'm pretty sure we made up for it!
That next weekend was our first big milestone...January 6th, 2011 Anne Claire's bachelorette party came to town and NOLA has never been the same since!! It was an amazing night surrounded by my dearest friends who went way out of their way to ensure I would have the most fabulous time ever! They even made a weekend out of it by spending the next night at my house for a kind of low key night around the fire. Memories were made that night and our bonds formed a little stronger.
And as proved to be the theme of 2011, there was no rest for the weary because bright and early that Monday morning I started my brand new job. I remember leaving there one day during the first week of work and heading straight over to the office where I used to work. I opened the back door and found everyone and just burst out into tears. I thought I would hate it, I thought I would never be able to get the hang of it, I didn't think I would have any friends. Little did I know how much I would actually grow to love what I do. I now cherish my time with my patients and I look back to those days when everything was so new and fast paced and still can't believe how far I have come. It has been an amazing journey and now I know for sure that I made the absolute right career choice.
Between trying to grasp the flow of a new job and getting ready for a wedding, we were having wedding showers galore. It was humbling to see how many of our friends and family surrounded us and embraced us as we were beginning to embark on a new adventure in life. We enjoyed all the wedding showers to the absolute fullest and were ever so grateful for each guest and well wisher.
I even had several anonymous happies come in the mail just to get me in the wedding spirit...did I mention I have the best friends ever?
3.19.11 Our big day was here before we knew it. I was the happiest girl on the planet, and our wedding was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The rehearsal dinner was a blast...it was everything we wanted it to be. The wedding was more than I could have asked for. Everything came together so beautifully. The wedding was the special, intimate ceremony we wanted observed by our family and friends. It was what we had been dreaming about for a really long time!
We became husband and wife. Then we had the time of our lives at the reception. Everything was perfect...better than I ever imagined. We had the best time and couldn't bare to tear ourselves away from our party. We left a couple hours behind schedule, but we were having such a great time surrounded by everyone we held close that we had no reason to rush out! The entire experience was magnificent, humbling, and something that we love to relive time and time again. It was truly the best night of our lives.
Josh had a little too much fun with the cake!
My dad made me a little teary-eyed with his toast.
I sang and danced the night away surrounded by friends.
Tossing the garter.
Throwing the bouquet...even Kay Kay joined in the action.
The ending of an amazing night.
The day after the wedding we set sail on our very first cruise. And despite battling a few bumps in the road (sickness and Josh getting our debit card cut off in Mexico just to name a few), we had the most amazing honeymoon.
So excited to be on board our first cruise ship!
First stop Jamaica
Then it was off to the Cayman Islands
And finally Cozumel
It was an amazing seven day adventure...one that we cannot wait to have again and again!
After the wedding and honeymooning we tried to settled down in the regular life. I was still transitioning into my new role at work, and as a new family of two we were working on slowly remodeling our house. We settled into life well, learned our new routine, and began thriving as a family unit.
Summer found us before we knew it and we submersed ourselves in fishing trips, quality time out on the boat, one of our best friends beautiful coastal wedding, and learning important lessons like who should and shouldn't be allowed to cut the grass!
We love our time out on the water.
Baker/Smith's rocking their wedding coastal style.
Apparently there are some things that I just am not wired to do!
Camping quickly became one of our favorite past times this year. We found ourselves loving the peace and quiet that we found while in our home away from home. We realized how much we really loving being able to load up the camper and hit the road for a few days. Over the past few months we have found some of the nicest camping resorts in the south Louisiana area, and it's a new love that we enjoy sharing with our friends!
Camping + hibachi grill = perfect combo
This year has brought us a tremendous amount of happiness and blessings. But with the happy it has also brought the sad. We lost a few precious loved ones this year who were all very dear to our hearts. One seemed to be taken from us all too soon and the other allowed to live and long and fruitful life and then taken in the blink of an eye. There is no harder thing in this world to grasp than the will of God sometimes. And I guess sometimes it's not meant for us to understand it all. As hard as it seems to cope with some of things we are handed in life, we just have to remember that at the end of the day God is there with us.
Along with the sadness and heartache, we discovered a few miracles in 2011. The miracle of new life happened time and time again throughout the year for several of my close friends, and I became favorite Aunt Claire several times over. We experienced the heartbreak that comes with having a baby who may not really be as perfect as she seems. And then, by the grace of God, we were able to experience the miraculous medical interventions that can sometimes give babies what seems like a second shot at life. Like baby Charlotte Rae Lyon. Once her hypoplastic left heart disease was discovered about two days after what seemed like any other birth, doctors told her parents there was no hope for her...all they could do was make her comfortable. Through the prayers and a new doctor's eyes, Baby Charlotte's heart was operable. And even though she has a long way to go, she is at home doing just fine right now.
Sweet Charlotte Lyon
The months started turning cooler which meant deer season 2011 would soon be in full swing. Of course Josh was beyond excited. I was beginning to get even a little excited myself. I had decided that this was the year that I really wanted to become a hunter. I craved the silence and solitude of the woods after crazy days at work. So when hunting season finally came even I was chomping at the bit to get into the stands. Four deer down so far, and I would say the Dugas' have had a pretty successful deer season as of yet. The biggest news of the season is that I became a bonafide hunter by killing my first deer! I have never seen Josh more proud. It is a moment that really put our bond on another level. I still can't help but smile every time I think of that day in the woods together!
Thanksgiving day 2011
Even excited to have the deer blood on my face!
The year started to slowly wind down, and I started to realize that while I absolutely love my job I feel like I can do something more. I felt the need to do something a little more acute. In early November I accepted a new job within the surgery department as a circulating nurse. Because of holiday staffing they needed me to finish out the year on the floor, and I was happy to have a couple more months of spending time with the patients I love so much and my coworkers who have become a part of who I am.
Christmas came at lightening speed, and our plans had to change a little since I would be working on Christmas day. Something thing I dreaded doing for almost an entire year, turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Having to work on Christmas also allowed us to do Christmas early with all of our families. Because of that we were able to have very low key and relaxed Christmas celebrations, and we really reflected on the true meaning of Christmas. We felt amazingly blessed to be able to spend such quality time with our families. And despite my concerns, Josh and I were still able to have the perfect family Christmas that Christmas night.
Our first Dugas family Christmas card
Christmas with Mom
Jeffie with his loot, and of course Priss peering over
Our new and improved stockings for Mimi's
Christmas with Dad at Kay Kay's
Sweet Joshie opening his presents from Santa
So 2011 officially came to an end. This year we were able to continue our New Year's tradition and spend it with Kyle and Krisha. We enjoyed a long weekend at their brand new home and enjoyed ourselves to the absolute max. It was one of the best and most relaxing weekends we have had in a while! We rang in the New Year by making a quick trip to the coast. We had a fabulous time. It was the perfect way of saying farewell to a great year!
New Year's Eve 2011
Me and Krisha celebrating the end of the year and the new beginnings to come
Happy New Year!
So here's to you 2011. Thank you for all the memories, the bonds we have formed, the joyful times, and all the ways you have allowed us to grow. Here is to hoping for an amazing 2012. With a new job on the horizon for me (starting Monday) and great friends and family by our side, we have nothing but high hopes for this new year. I hope that we will all see a little more happiness than we ever thought possible, see the least amount of pain and heartache as necessary, grow stronger in our faith and in our friendships, and are able to live this year to it's absolute fullest. I can't wait to see what all 2012 has in store for us all!