Lots of people do wrap-ups at the end of the year, but lovely posts by Jessica Love and Erin Bowman in particular have inspired me to do one of my own. Fair warning: This is a LONG post. It’s also full of pictures, many of which include my daughter. If you’re getting bored with those, please accept my apologies. She’s just so darn cute!

All in all, 2011 was a strange year, full of very high highs and some super low lows. Here’s what sticks out…


High – Revised and started querying my manuscript, Where Poppies Bloom, in hopes of snagging a fantastic literary agent.

High – Cheered on the Seahawks, a sort of last hurrah with my husband before he headed out to Ranger School.

Low AND High – Said a sad goodbye my hubby and began a year of serious bonding with my favorite girl.


High – Sent more Poppies queries, received some requests, then some encouraging rejections, revised, queried some more.

Low – Turned thirty… Eep! I’m old! (Though the Ben and Jerry’s was a high.)

High – Took serious inventory of my eating and lifestyle habits and decided to make some major changes. I’ve since become a healthy eater and happy runner and yoga-er. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight and feel amazing.


Becoming a Low – Had a few close calls with Poppies, revised, queried some more. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?)

High – Welcomed Spring with open arms.

Low – My girlie lost her first tooth. (Okay, it was knocked out. She cried. I did too.)

High – I acquired a niece! I’d already been blessed with three nephews, so this was a VERY exciting event! Isn’t she sweet?

High – While Poppies was in the hands of several agents, I decided to give it a mental rest in favor of something shiny and new. This idea (creatively entitled Bus WiP) resulted in a detailed outline that’s still awaiting a first draft.


High – Celebrated Easter with my Sweet Pea.

High – Trekked across the country to watch my husband graduate from Ranger School in Georgia. So proud of him! (Also, he’s not normally this thin. Ranger School is grueling.)

High – Received an offer of representation from an amazing agent while on vacation! Notified others who were reading. Waited…

High – Visited Disney World with my parents, my husband and our girl, and my in-laws. Such a wonderful trip!

High – Visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hogsmeade! Butterbeer! Rollercoasters! Dream come true. πŸ™‚


High – Received a second offer of representation. Contemplated. Made a challenging but thrilling decision. Signed with Agent Vickie. Celebration ensued!

Low – Watched and worried as my dad’s health mysteriously deteriorated, culminating in TWO brain surgeries and a discouraging diagnoses. I can’t really describe what this was like, except to say that watching a man who’s appeared invincible your entire life rapidly decline is absolutely heartbreaking.

Low – Waved a tearful goodbye to my husband as he deployed to Afghanistan. Again, it’s hard to express how horrible a feeling it is to say farewell to the person you love most, especially knowing there’s a possibility he could be hurt or killed while away. It’s the very best part of yourself, ripped away.


High – Happily welcomed Summer!

High – Got down and dirty with the Poppies revision ideas Agent Vickie suggested. Fleshed out characters. Upped the mystery. Added detail to the setting and backstory.

High – Watched the world’s hammiest little hula girl dance the Hukilau.

High – Fell in love with my small town all over again.


High – Successfully completed my first 5K, and my first round of revisions.

High – Celebrated the Fourth of July with family and friends.

Low – Dealt with this hideous creature cock-a-doodle-dooing all day and night for weeks. (I found out later that my neighbor shot him. Yikes.)

High – Dove into another round of revisions. (Yes. I am freakishly pragmatic.)

Low – Said goodbye to Harry Potter. The end of an era, I tell ya!

High – My girlie and I visited my parents in Phoenix. My dad was weak but beginning to recover, thank goodness.


High – Celebrated my girl’s fourth birthday…

…with a very Tangled Birthday Bash!

High – Completed a second 5K, and submitted another revised version of Poppies to Agent Vickie. Getting close!

Low – Rushed my Sweet Pea to the ER after she fell face-first on the pavement. Tears all around. A terrifying night, but luckily there was no lasting damage.

High – Discovered yoga and became a total junkie.

High – Contemplated and planned for a rewrite of a previously “finished” manuscript. This one’s still in the works, and it’s one I’m really excited about.


High – My girlie began another year of preschool. Where has the time gone?!

High – Got our country on and traveled to the Tacoma Dome to see…

Taylor Swift!


Low – Begrudgingly accepted that Fall was on its way. We’re sunshine girls… What can I say?

High – Our annual trip to the local Pumpkin Patch.

High – Halloween with Rapunzel. (I was Hermione Granger, obviously.)

High – I was invited to join the Bookanistas, a group of writers who review exceptional picture, middle grade, and young adult literature.


High – Finished revising Poppies! Embraced my next project.

High – Lots of bonding with fantastic friends, especially this girl, who I adore!

Low – Realized that I’m a compulsive book buyer. Yeah…

High (sort of) – Had all kinds of fun with my family, cheering my beloved Cougs on to an Apple Cup… LOSS. *sigh*

High – Got all dolled up to see Cinderella at the Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle. (Loved.)


Low – Accepted Winter for its frigid days and early nights. Boo. Still, with sunrises like this one, it’s not all bad. (How cool is the shadow of Mt. Rainier on the clouds?)

High – Rediscovered my love of baking. Now I just need my husband to return so he can eat all my confections!

Low – Speaking of my husband, I came to terms with the fact that my daughter and I will be spending another holiday season without him. Painful, but I’m so thankful this deployment is winding down.

High – Reconnected with old friends. I’ve known these girls since I was sixteen (one since I was ten!).

There you have it… My 2011. The highs, the lows, and everything in between. This post (while incredibly time consuming to put together!) was a fun trip down memory lane. It’s reminded me how lucky I am, how much I’ve grown in twelve months, and, most importantly, that the highs always outnumber the lows.

Tell me, what was your highest high of 2011? Your lowest low?


32 thoughts on “2011 IN REVIEW…

  1. Amie Kaufman says:

    What a gorgeous post! Exactly the right number of pictures if you ask me. Your daughter is out-of-this-world cute, and should come with some kind of warning label — she’s so lucky to have a mum who’s so devoted to her.

    My highs this year were so very many — an amazing trip to New York to see friends in February, hanging out in Italy and Spain with my husband in June, signing with my agent in June as well, selling books in November, getting to write with my brilliant co-author, and seriously, getting my hands on some EXCEPTIONAL manuscripts from friends. I’ve been so spoiled!

    Like you, my low this year was around my dad’s health. It’s been rough going for many years now, but this year was particularly challenging. I’m grateful we’ll all be spending Christmas together this year — times like these really remind you to cherish family.

    My highlight of 2012 is going to be the three of you coming out to Australia so I can introduce your cutie pie to some koalas and wallabies! (If I keep saying it enough times, it will simply become reality, you watch. I have employed this method before with great success.)

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Amie! Congrats on your MANY accomplishments this year! I bet it feels like such a whirlwind! I’m so glad you’re getting spend Christmas with your family, including your father. I can totally relate to how difficult it is to have a sick dad. And you might think I’m kidding, but I’m SO down to take you up on your wallaby offer… How amazing would it be to meet up in Australia?!

  2. Lynn Rush says:

    What a fun recap. And such great pictures!!! πŸ™‚ Highpoint of 2011 was getting a book contract and the release of my debut. Low point of 2011 was losing my mother in law to cancer. Looking forward to a great 2012 filled with ups and downs, curves and twists.

    • katyupperman says:

      So sorry about your MIL, Lynn. I remember you posting about how you chose your pen name to honor her, and I thought that was amazingly sweet. On another note, congrats on all your writing accomplishments this year, and here’s to a fantastic 2012!

  3. Eliza Tilton (@ElizaTilton) says:

    wow. Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful family and lotsof prayers for a safe return for your hubby.

    I’d have to say the highlight of my year was the backspace writers’ conference. It was my first writers’ conference and I loved it! I aslo met some awesome writers.

  4. Meredith says:

    Katy, I absolutely love this post. (I might have to “borrow” this idea). What an awesome recap of your year (with adorable pics to boot)! I have a lot of respect for you for doing the single parent thing most of the year because that is so incredibly difficult. Difficult in ways I can’t imagine. I hope your husband’s deployment winds down really soon! But also, that is SO COOL about Ranger school. That is not easy (hi, understatement), so I have mad respect for your husband.

    I hope your 2012 is filled with as many blessings as your 2011β€”or more!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Meredith! This deployment IS winding down (YAY!), so I have high hopes for 2012. Here’s to a fantastic New Year for you as well. Oh, and I love when you post photos of your daughter too. She’s adorable! πŸ™‚

  5. Alison Miller says:

    Beautiful post, Katy! You have had quite a year and I’m so glad I got to know you through it (I remember several of these moments from when you posted about them!). I’ve had a lot of highs and lows too, but nothing that sets out one from the other. Hmmm.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! And shower lots of love on that precious princess! They grow up too fast.

  6. Sophia Richardson says:

    Enquiring minds want to know: do the post-it colours correspond to the highlights on your laptop?

    Loved seeing your year in review– if I had more of a life, I’d make a resolution to take more photos of it! It’s a shame your husband won’t be able to spend the holidays with you (as Meredith said, hello, understatement), but from these photos I’m guessing you will have a wonderful Christmas with your daughter all the same. Wishing you lots of highs for 2012!

    • katyupperman says:

      The colors DO correspond, Sophia! How ever did you guess? πŸ™‚

      My girlie and I did have a wonderful Christmas, but we’re definitely looking forward to Valentine’s Day when my husband will be home.!

  7. Kirsten Lopresti says:

    I enjoyed your year in review and also all of your fabulous posts and book recommendations this year! I’m so glad your father has recovered. That’s a real high! So glad things are working out well with Poppies, too. Here’s to a quick sale next year!

  8. Rida says:

    Looks like you had enough highs and lows to really learn a whole lot! An agent, yoga, your husband’s deployment… wow. Eventful much? Your daughter is adorable as usual, and, well, happy holidays!

  9. Tracey Neithercott says:

    I love this post! You’ve had such an eventful year, major highs and lows for sure. Congrats on the 5Ks, by the way. I’m hoping your 2012 roundup includes: High–My husband comes home, and this time for a long time.

    • katyupperman says:

      Tracey, my hubby’s homecoming will most definitely be a highlight of 2012. Can’t wait! Thanks so much for your friendship over these past months… what would I do without my writerly friends?!

  10. Colin says:

    What a great post, Katy! The lows were certainly not great, but you’ve had some amazing highs this year. I would love to be able to add “getting an agent” to my highs for this year. Maybe next.

    And I don’t know that realizing you’re a compulsive book buyer is a low. I mean, there are a lot worse compulsive habits. And this is one that will improve your writing, and benefit the writing community with all your book reviews and recommendations. πŸ™‚

    Have a great Christmas and New Year–and here’s praying that hubbie comes home soon, safely, and for a long time. πŸ™‚

    • katyupperman says:

      You’re so right, Colin… Thanks for excusing my total and complete lack of self-control when it comes to book shopping. πŸ™‚

      Here’s to amazing accomplishments in 2012!

  11. Kristine C. Asselin (@KristineAsselin) says:

    It’s been so nice getting to “know” you a little bit this year. You are such an enthusiastic joyful person!

    I need your inspiration to get myself healthy–but after the holidays. I need to tap your brain about what you did this past year! πŸ™‚

    Wishing you and yours the best, and hope that your hubby’s deployment is over soon and that you are all back together again. Here’s to 2012!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Kris! It’s been a joy getting to know you this year also. Let’s make it a goal to meet-up one day soon. πŸ™‚

      I’m happy to chat health any time, by the way. I’ve learned a lot this year!

  12. Jessica Love says:

    Yay Katy! I love your post! It made me smile all the way through. I know this year has been tough for you without your husband, but you have done such a great job with your girlie making his time away easier on her. You are such a great mom! (I’m sure it’s easy with such a sweet girl, huh?)

    You have done so much, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you this year. Here’s to lots of success in 2012!

    • katyupperman says:

      YES to lots of success for BOTH of us in 2012! And thanks so much for your sweet words and friendship this year. πŸ™‚ My daughter really is a joy, and she does make my job easy. Still, looking forward to having her daddy home soon to share in all the crazy!

  13. Rebecca B says:

    You are such an inspiration!
    And I’m so glad to have gotten to know you this year. Have a wonderful holiday with your sweet little girl, and I hope your husband is home for a long, long time in 2012.
    Merry Christmas!

  14. judy atkinson says:

    Lucky for me that there is no limit to how many times I can post what an amazing person you are….how fortunate that I can claim you as a daughter!

  15. Erin Bowman says:

    Katy, you have had such a wonderful year!! Thank you for sharing these pics. I never get tired of seeing your girl either. She is seriously adorable. Congrats on everything and here’s to 2012 being just as fabulous πŸ™‚

  16. Sophia Chang says:

    I love these year recap posts! And your dogs are utterly adorable I can’t stand it! Really feel for you to be away from your husband 😦 But also sooo much good news this year too πŸ™‚

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