Pete has been a fantastically stable addition to my universe, and nearly all of the good things that happened this year have been because of him. Tomorrow will mark 1 year and 5 months from the time we started dating ... and it still feels like we just met a few weeks ago.
We celebrated a lot this year. He graduated law school in May, and after the celebration we quickly made our way west, to sunny Las Vegas, Nev. The four days of our first vacation together flew by far too quickly, and I am already bugging him so we can start planning another getaway.
Studies weren't over after graduation, though. Pete's summer was eaten up by bar exam preparations. He took the test at the end of July, and the next day we left to go see his family and my sister in the Black Hills.
After a near-death experience with grapefruit sized hail, the rest of the trip went swimmingly. He started work for a big law firm here in town the next week and has been loving his job since day one.
His dedication to his work is admirable, and he's taught me that work really can be something you love to do. Not that I don't enjoy my own job, but there are days where it's difficult to see a future in my career.
Pete is the most loving, patient man I've ever known, and I'll never be able to put into words how much he's restored my faith in dating.
My younger sister will always be my best friend. It hurts to know she lives six hours away, and won't likely be moving my way anytime soon. Still, whenever we get on the phone, it's like we're back at home, and what should have been a 10 minute call stretches into 2 hours.
More than anything, she's taught me to trust my gut and remember to use common sense. She's the most practical person I know, and it never ceases to amaze me how good she is at managing her life and her marriage. I miss her everyday and hope we can get together more in the new year.
Another younger sister, Barbara is always making me laugh and has a knack for making me rethink how I view the universe. She's had a tough year, and I hope she's able to put the life points she earned to good use. I never get to spend enough time with her, and I hope the path she takes in 2011 is less bumpy than the road she's coming off of.
My youngest sister is so smart and does nothing but expand her brain's power every day. I'm realizing she's not easy to trick anymore, and when she asks the question 'Why?', she wants a real answer.
She's also quick to try and please her family. For example, when I was home for Christmas, we were talking about what she's been learning at kindergarten. She said they had only studied addition in math, so I spent a half hour going over subtraction with her. I was amazed and super proud about how quickly she caught on, only to find out from Mom later that Tessa had learned subtraction about a month ago. She just wanted me to feel good about trying to teach her something.
Tessa does have a very grown up attitude, and that's not necessarily a good thing. She's picked up a lot of sass from who knows where, and occasionally it's like talking to a 16-year-old with a bad attitude. I don't know how my parents will handle living with her when she actually is a 16-year-old with a bad attitude.
My brother-in-law Mike is basically the brother we never had growing up and fits into our family unit very well. I'm so happy Julie found someone who completes her and is so well liked by the rest of the Manns.
Mom and Dad
My parents will always be some of the most important people in my world. After seeing the way they handle Tessa, in all of her glory, this year, I now have a better idea of what they went through with the first three of us. They say none of us was quite as intense as our younger counterpart, but, still, it couldn't have been easy. I wish my job(s) afforded me more time to venture west to the home front. Hopefully 2011 will give me more opportunities to get back to Winner.
In August, I celebrated my first anniversary as a full-time television news reporter. At times, it was a long and windy road to get there, but in the last few months, I feel like I've really come into my own as a journalist and writer. I'm comfortable with where I'm at and hope there's room to grow in the coming year.
For Christmas, Pete got me a nice, new camera, and I hope to be able to put it to good use. The photography market is extremely saturated in Sioux Falls, but who's to say there isn't room for one more part-time pro? I plan to add a blog with my work soon, so be ready for links to yet another thing to read.
This time of year is always my favorite. We get a chance to remember the good that's happened in our lives in the time that's gone by and look forward to the experiences still to come. We get to celebrate our successes and learn from our mistakes ... all with the hope of making the most of the time that's been given to us.
Happy New Year everyone!