Where Logic Meets Love

Our Digital Christmas Letter: 2011 in Review

Saturday, December 31, 2011

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Our Digital Christmas Letter: 2011 in Review | Faith Permeating Life

Mike and I opted not to send Christmas cards/letters this year; instead, in true data geek fashion, we sent out a survey to our friends and family and will be sharing the results with them in the new year. However, I thought I should at least put together a digital Christmas letter reflecting on 2011, so I can have something to look back on in later years.

What a busy year we've had!

At the beginning of the year I officially started in my new position, which is what I had been doing for the past year except it became my actual job and I got a raise. Yay! I do survey design and administration, data analysis and visualization, and basically just help other departments in the college understand what their students and faculty like or want. I also manage the entire student course evaluation process, something I love even though it's incredibly stressful.

Mike quit his part-time serving job in April to look for full-time work. He landed a new job in June as manager of a restaurant and is very happy despite the 50- to 60-hour weeks. Unfortunately his days off (Wednesday and Thursday) don't match up with mine, so it's a rare day we get to spend the whole day together.

We were able to take several trips together earlier in the year, though: We met up with Mike's childhood friends for a weekend in March, and they all came out here in June. We also went to Colorado in May to watch my brother play in the Ultimate Nationals tournament, and to Minnesota in June to see a friend get married. In July we went to Columbus to see Mike's family and to a lake in Washington with some of my mom's extended family. Mike was able to get back to Columbus four other times by himself, and I spent a weekend in Indiana with my aunt and another weekend with my friends up in Wisconsin.

At the end of June we adopted two male fancy rats, whom we named Bert and Ernie. They're pretty freaking adorable (even though they poop a LOT)!

I thought the mono I recovered from last fall had relapsed, but it turned out I just have hypoglycemia, which has been easy for me to manage. It's SO awesome to have energy again!

After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I became a partial vegetarian, and we subscribed to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from a farm in Wisconsin.

I completed a happiness project (recapped here) from January through December.

I attended two awesome conferences this year, one for women in higher education and one for 20-something bloggers, both of which left me with lessons applicable to my whole life. I also learned how to "network" at conferences.

In February I started blogging three times a week. In September I made some changes including buying a URL and creating a Facebook fan page for the blog, and in November I got a brand-new design that I love. I reached 200 posts and went from 1,135 page views in 2010 to over 17,500 total page views in 2011! I also started the Three Books on Thursday linkup, which I hope to promote more in the next year.

I hope you have felt loved this holiday season, and that 2012 brings oodles of blessings your way.


  1. Hi! Happy New Year! I can't wait for your survey results. HaQuyen just told me about your blog and I think I've read a third of it in the last day! Anyway, I have a question about your mono and hypoglycemia. I contracted mono in April and didn't start regaining my energy until August/September--although I felt pretty good in June. I'm doing much better now energy-wise, but I've gained a lot of weight and I get light-headed if I don't eat every few hours. I've had several blood tests--they've checked my thyroid, blood-cell counts, for diabetes, etc. When you got tested for hypoglycemia, did it just show up in a blood test? Basically, how were you diagnosed?

  2. @e
    Hey! My diagnosis was kind of weird. I was diagnosed with mono based on my symptoms, but after it had been a while and I hadn't completely recovered, my doctor ordered a blood test to confirm I had mono (I did). That blood test showed my blood sugar was slightly elevated, which is what drew his attention to it initially, but since it was a test for mono I hadn't fasted beforehand like I normally would, so actually my blood sugar level should have been even higher. When he had me do another, fasting blood test, my blood sugar levels were low, but still technically "normal." I decided to try eating small, frequent meals to see if that made a difference, and it made a HUGE difference. My doctor said based on my symptoms and how the change in my eating habits had affected me, he would label it hypoglycemia. I just had my six-month follow-up and told him that I'm still doing the same thing and the weakness hasn't returned except when I go more than 4 hours without eating. He said he didn't see a need to make me do yet another blood test if I'd found a strategy that worked for me. Also, I found a bunch of different accounts online of people who had had mono and then when they recovered, developed hypoglycemic symptoms even though their blood sugar wasn't technically low enough to be dangerous. So it doesn't seem like I'm the only one.

    That is my very long explanation! I hope that's helpful, and that you are able to find an explanation or at least a way of managing your symptoms.

  3. Jessica, I have enjoyed your blog and thank you for your digital Christmas Letter. Thank you also for giving us words that make us think about what is going on in the world and our lives. Aunt Mary

  4. @Aunt Mary
    Aw, thanks, Aunt Mary! Looking forward to seeing you and everyone tomorrow via Skype :)

  5. @Jessica

    Yes, thank you. This is very helpful! Have a great week! ~Andrea S-R

  6. @e
    Ah, now I know who you are! Haha. Glad to have you as a reader!

  7. When do we get to see the survey results?

  8. @Cat
    As soon as Mike and I get them together. We're also combining them with a bunch of data we collected on ourselves during 2011, so it's going to take a while :)


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