2010 in Photos {& what’s to come in 2011!}

It’s hard to believe 2010 is already coming to an end. I can still recall the past decade like it was yesterday. 10 years ago I was a senior in high school. Going into my last semester. And now…10 years later…I’m going into my final semester of grad school.

Since I use this little bloggity blog as a memory keeper, I wanted to highlight some of my top memories from this past year. And I gotta say, what a year it has been!

Going into 2010, I knew I wanted this year to be different. Challenging. Life changing. I wanted to grasp my full potential, or get pretty darn close. I never expected it to turn out so amazing.

Let’s start…

{January 2010}

The highlight of January was my company’s national meeting in Atlanta. What can I say…I love my job, love my colleagues and love when we all get together. Our awards dinner was held at the Georgia Aquarium and I got to see a whale shark in person {hello, 5th grade animal report brought to life!}. The main reason this meeting was so important is I was inspired by Bonnie St. John, our guest speaker, to sign up for Team Novartis as part of Team in Training. What did I sign up for? Oh, you know…just a 100 mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe in one day. No biggie. 😉

{Georgia Aquarium}

{Marriott Hotel. Pulse Bar. Where we spent many an evening talking shop.}

{February 2010}

To be honest {which I’m a pretty open book.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.}, I was nervous about going to Israel and Egypt. I had high hopes and lofty expectations. My Aunt and the others who had been to Israel had really talked it up. Said it was the most rewarding and life changing trip of their lives. A week before the trip as I was driving in the car, I actually cried because I was so worried I wouldn’t gain as much from the trip. I had very limited knowledge about Israel, the Bible, history, etc, etc, etc. I felt…unprepared, ignorant, and out of place. {What if I don’t know who Moses was? What if I don’t know what Jesus did here?}

And then the trip came and those 16 days were over before I knew it. Can you believe that I actually cried as I left? {I do hate goodbyes, but I wanted to stay and soak in so much more!} It’s hard for me to put into words the amazing-ness of this place. It was life changing, rewarding, awakening, and oh so much more. I realized I’ve been gifted with the ability to ask questions without feeling silly. Talk about controversial topics. Research until I am comfortable in my beliefs. This trip and my experiences there would cement a mental strength in me I didn’t realize I had.

{Me on top of Mount Sinai in Egypt. After a camel ride and then a 1,000 step climb up to the top.}

{February 18, 2010. The beautiful Sea of Galilee. A day etched on my heart forever.}

{March 2010}

Back to reality in the States, I had less than 3 months to train for my 100 mile bike ride. In addition to training, I had to fundraise! Cold weather, snow, rain, sleet were no match for this girl. The rolling hills of the Driftless Region…well, they might have been tough on me. But after my trip to Israel, I truly felt like anything was possible. I could achieve anything I set my heart and mind to do.

{Training ride with Madison team}

{April 2010}

Another month of training mixed in with a weekend of turkey hunting. Considering my Saturdays involved waking up at 5am, I slept in on this particular Sunday. Decided to go out hunting in the field around 10am, and within 30 minutes had the turkey seen below. I’ve been told turkey hunting is challenging and that they’re a smart bird. Well, I thought this was the easiest hunt of my life and the turkey came right to me as I was standing in a field. Maybe this year will be more challenging.

{My first turkey. 4/18/10. Around 10:15 am. 23 lbs, 9.5″ beard, 1.25″ spurs.}

{May 2010}

Life long dream: own pet chickens. Accomplished on April 28, 2010. I don’t know many chickens that get their own professional modeling photoshoot, but I’d make it a career if I could. 😉

{Cheep Cheep at 1 week old. Male Bantam White Silkie}

{June 2010}

The day finally arrived. June 6, 2010. The day I would bike 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in California. Again, to say I was nervous doesn’t really cover the range of emotions I felt. The furthest I had biked prior to this day was about 65 miles. {That’s not really close to 100.} I had been having issues with my tendons in my ankles. But I just reminded myself…your body can do this. It’s all in your head. On the long hills I would repeat: What the mind believes, the body achieves. My saving grace during the ride was when my gears and knowledge of them all clicked. I finally was riding with a (small) understanding of the mechanics and physics of it all. {And I think this was partly due to the fact I had over 8 hours of watching others’ gears go by} I still remember the utter joy I felt when I realized I made it to the top of Emerald Bay without stopping, and even passed a number of Rocky Mountain bikers on the way. 😉 If that was the worst of it, then this ride will be cake. And cake it was…until Spooner Hill, which is like a 7 mile long gradual hill that comes around mile 80. This is when mental strength kicks in and you override any pain you’re feeling. My shins were hurting, and I just wanted to finish. The last two miles of the ride, I told my coach to go on ahead as I wanted to finish on my own and take it all in. I thought about why I was riding. I wasn’t doing this for just me. Hardly. I was doing this for the thousands of cancer patients who are fighting a blood cancer. For the families of those affected by these cancers. For the noble individuals who had succumbed to these cancers. For the patients I had, who turned into friends. For the survivors. For the angels. I was riding with a purpose. To find a cure.

{Me at the finish line of America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride}

{Me near the waterfall at Emerald Bay.}

{July & August 2010}

The pace of the prior 6 months caught up to me. I needed to slow life down. Relax a bit. July & August were perfect for that. We raised some monarch butterflies from caterpillars and enjoyed playing with sparklers and slow shutters.

{Monarch butterfly just hatched from chrysalis.}

{Sparkler Fun}

{September 2010}

To assist the Madison Chapter of Team in Training, we volunteered at the Ford Ironman Wisconsin. These athletes are an inspiration. Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Then run a marathon (26.2 miles). Absolutely unreal. What I love is that the athletes come in all ages, shapes and fitness levels.

This Ironman is definitely going on my Bucket List. And hopefully will get crossed off in Sept ’12. 🙂

September also brought time with friends and family. We had an impromptu photoshoot during a fall rustic drive tour.

{Grandma Vi and Me}

{Lynn & Me at the Pumpkin Patch-Apple Orchard}

{Pumpkin Patch Art}

{Team Tippin’ Ninjas Ridin’ Dirty. Urban Assault Ride. Madison, WI}

{October 2010}

More time with friends and family this month. A beautiful baby shower with my college roommates followed by a candlelit hike through Governor Dodge State Park.Oh, and I can’t forget about the launch of this here blog, Driftless Living!

{College Roommates}

{Matthew & Me at Governor Dodge State Park Candlelit Hike}

{November 2010}

This month was full of family gatherings. Cooking weekend at the family farm. Amazing memories with my Grandma Vi. Taking our Christmas Card photo. And of course, our gibberish video.

{Me & Grandma Vi November 2010}

{Our 2010 Christmas Card Photo}

{December 2010}

The month of December was full of photoshoots, end of year work projects, end of semester school projects, and a rather rushed feeling. It was Christmas before I knew it, but I gladly welcomed the vacation from work. I spent a few days and Christmas Eve home in Hayward. We started a new family tradition of a photoshoot out on the lake on Christmas Eve.

{Merry Christmas from the Swenson Family}

Looking back, I amaze myself that I was able to squeeze all of that into one year. Those are just the highlights, and don’t even include all of the cities I traveled to for work! I’ve met so many new people this year and made wonderful new friendships. I really, really am excited for what 2011 has in store.

And, true to my list making style, some of the goals I’d like to accomplish in 2011:

1. Graduate in May

2. Bike around Lake Tahoe in June {again!}

3. Triathlon with Team in Training?

4. Maintain a good work-life balance. I can say I’ve gotten so much better at it this year.

5. Continue to grow in my photography. Etsy print shop, perhaps?

6. Travel somewhere exotic (or plan the trip for 2012 at least). Cancun in February, but that doesn’t count. Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, or Fiji.

It’ll be fun to come back in a year and revisit this list.

And for all of you…what were your highlights of 2010? What are you looking forward to in 2011?

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2011 in Photos {& what’s to come in 2012!} » Driftless Living Photography | Southwestern Wisconsin Lifestyle Photography | Annika Swenson - December 31, 2011 - 10:26 pm

[…] magical blur full of so many emotions. In yearly tradition, here is a photo recap of 2011. (And my 2010 recap, for your […]