And we’re off! 2012 came a-bustin’ through, sweeping me into the middle of January. It’s been nonstop! Kirk’s family (plus G-ma!) flew in on the 29th and celebrated New Year’s with us. They left on the 5th, the same day I – even though I forgot which airline I booked – took off for Wisconsin for a week to visit my family.

Now, I’m back in SD and things have quieted down. It’s time to say ‘adieu’ to 2011:

January. Awwh heck. We moved again! from snowy Michigan to sunny San Diego.

Our move doubled as cross-country road trip

with stops in Colorado to hit the slopes at Vail and A-Basin

road-side photo-ops,

and a night in Las Vegas to strike it rich.

Winnings from the 5¢ slots!

February. We experienced plenty of gorgeous 70 degree days our first month in SoCal.

Between bike rides, surfing exploits and afternoons on the beach, we hatched a plan to start our own photography business. San Diego Home Photography was born.

By the end of the month we had landed our first shoot.

March. I made Kirk a double-layer cake from scratch for his 27th birthday.

We went hiking through Cleveland National Forest and I fell in love with my Vibram Fivefinger shoes. Thanks to them, now I run for fun. Seriously.

April/May. During the spring, a few more real estate shoots trickled in.

Kirk’s parents visited us from Michigan for a week. We took them to the San Diego Zoo.

At the end of April, Kirk and I made 10-day trip to Costa Rica to see Natalia and David,

to meet their daughter, Sofía,

and do a little surfing in Manuel Antonio.

June. Kirk’s younger sister Maureen flew out for a visit. We took her on a grand wildlife tour starting with the Point Loma tide pools,

Seal Beach,

and lastly the Safari Park.

Near the end of June, Kirk and I headed east for a few days of camping in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

July. We had two of our largest shoots this month. Incidentally, one of them proved the most dangerous as well. Thanks to a faulty outdoor propane fireplace, Kirk came milliseconds away from a human torching.

August/September. I made the big decision to write a book. To embark on this project, I took a hiatus from California and spent seven weeks back in Wisconsin.

I chatted away many afternoons with my Omi. We talked about her past, how she met my Opa, and their immigration to the United States.

In addition to writing, I squeezed in lots of activities with my family including Summerfest,

pool time,

and a night downtown Milwaukee.

October. My parents and I flew to Germany to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my great aunt and uncle.

The party served as an extended family reunion too. Here’s me and my second cousin Britta,

and my mom with her first cousins.

Besides the party, we sight-seed ourselves out. We toured Bremen,

gaped at the Cologne Cathedral,

cruised the Rhein,

explored Koblenz,

and drank lots of wine. (And my Mom and I went to Paris too! The posts are coming soon!)

November. Kirk and I tried our hands at the export business: shipping motorcycles to Costa Rica. Will it be profitable? We’re still waiting to find out…

December. The holidays. It’s a tradition in Kirk’s family to go out for dinner on Christmas Eve. We ate and enjoyed the sunset at Pacifica Del Mar, a seafood restaurant with an ocean view.

The Berrymans flew in to San Diego to spend the end of the holidays with us. Together we said goodbye to 2011 and welcomed in 2012. ☼