Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - A Year to Remember

So much has happened in 2010. Right off the bat, we moved into our new house in McKinney (though we should've been moved in mid December 2009, but that's another story, and hey, it started this year off right!)

We loved our new house; great location and just the right size...until...

Right as we were settling into our cozy, new, adequately sized home, we discovered our family was going to be expanding once more, and we were expecting Baby Allen #2 in September, just like we had planned!

The spring semester was the end of my second year at Lovejoy, and track season had a fantastic finish. I coach the hurdlers on the track, and our goal on the girls' side was to sweep the district meet. When it was all said and done, they finished 1-2-3 in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, helping the girls' team to a district championship! At the regional meet, all three girls qualified for the 100 hurdles and finished 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively. Two of them made the finals in the 300s, including a 2nd place finish and a state qualifier. We also qualified a 3200 & 1600 meter runner and a shot thrower. After a gold medal in the 3200 and bronze in the shot, I got to watch my first state qualifier in the 300 meter hurdle final. She had the 2nd fastest time going in, and I told her she should go in with the confidence that she could win. One of my proudest moments as a coach was as she took the lead on the homestretch, on the way to the gold medal! 300 meter hurdle state champion! I had tears in my eyes as she crossed the finish, and I was so glad that Jessica, Dwayne, my dad, and my uncle were there to share the moment with me. Another gold medal in the 1600 helped the girls secure a 3rd place tie at the state meet; not bad for 3 girls! Should be an interesting 2011 season with all the gold medalists back!

Our angel, Cecelia grew up so much this year, too. Being a father is such a blessing; I'm constantly amazed by her! I'm so proud of the person she is already. She's just so sweet. This year, she became a big sister, and I know she will be a good example for Vivienne (who we haven't talked about yet, but we'll get to that major event soon).

This blog post is going to be all over the place, just what happens when you go a full year without a post and have to recap everything.

This summer, Jessica went with me to Taos, NM for the cross country altitude training camp. We had a blast; it was a nice getaway for us and though we love our Cece girl so much, it was nice to just have some "us" time. It was also during the "Beard Experiment" summer, in which I discovered that I like having a beard much more than not.

We had a great trip in Taos. I enjoy each minute with my wife and best friend. I remember growing up with her in middle school and high school. She was a girl that I always thought any guy would be lucky to end up with. I never imagined I would be that guy. I still have to pinch myself sometimes; I'm so blessed that she's my wife, and she's also the best mother in the world! So many more memories to come!

We celebrated four beautiful years of marriage in August, and we're planning a big extravaganza for our 5th in the coming year. It just gets better and better!

Our baby shower had some excitement this time; we got the sonogram tech to write down the sex of the baby on a card and seal it in an envelope. We took the envelope to the baker and told her we wanted pink cream inside if it was a girl and blue if it was a boy. Aunt Julie cut the cake, and we found out that we were having a girl; Vivienne Armelle Allen was to join the crew!

Late in the evening on September 12th, Jess went into labor and we again made our way to the Birth and Women's Center of Dallas. Our good friend, Carter Rose, was there to capture everything on camera; he has such an amazing talent to help us cherish all the best moments forever. We really can't thank him enough for what he does for us.

It was a relatively smooth labor (I realize that's easy for me to say), and at 12:34 a.m. on September 13th, Vivienne Armelle Allen added another little bunch of love to our family. It's been a blast watching Cece become a big sister. We have so much to look forward to.

Cece loves her Vivi! She always says "Baby Vivi!" and gives her big hugs and kisses. I must be the luckiest man in the world!

I made Jessica a cake on her birthday! Not bad for my first baking, huh!?

November 13th was the culmination of the best cross country season I've ever been a part of; The Lovejoy Boys' and Girls' Cross Country Teams won the state championship!

And my girls were there to share in the bliss!

I can't imagine how any season after this could go any better; it was a coach's dream season but after it was over, I realized that it's not about the end result but how we got there, and we get to start over next season. I really love my job.

The next weekend, we celebrated Cecelia Raine's 2nd birthday! We had a party at the house, and her buddies came over to the house. It was a Minnie & Mickey Birthday, and Jess got the balloons (that lived on almost through the new year) to top off the excitement.
I can't believe how fast she's growing up. She's just the sweetest little girl in the world!

That afternoon, Dwayne and I left to roadtrip to Terre Haute, IN for the NCAA XC Championships. Oklahoma State was the defending champion, and this time they won in dominating fashion to win back-to-back championships. I think there are pictures on Facebook, but I can't find any on our computer. Oh well.

Vivienne's first and Cecelia's third Christmas was fantastic. We had a small family get-together here at the house, and we made sausage balls, just like Nana always did. It was a great Christmas; the girls got a great picture with Santa, too!

All in all, I can't imagine a year being any better; it was full of blessings! I have faith that God will continue to take care of our wonderful family. I truly believe I am the luckiest man in the world. I love my wife so much; she is an amazing friend and the best mom on the planet. Our girls are turning out to be the best of buddies, and we look forward to them playing together more soon. So, cheers to a great 2010, and best wishes to everyone for a prosperous and happy 2011!