36 going on 26

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I may be 36, but I feel a lot younger.

“You’re as old as you feel.” Thank God for that because I feel 26 on my 36th birthday. Several of the dozens of birthday wishes on Facebook (how awesome is Facebook on your birthday?) referred to my happiness and how great a year No. 35 was.

It really was a wonderful year that included an engagement to a knockout, moving, starting my own family (pseudo-adopting three children) and losing 45 pounds. I can count the number of “bad” days on one hand.

A quick recap …

That’s me less than a year ago, and about 50 pounds ago.

JULY 2011: So long, Topeka. Hello, Overland Park. This is the month I moved in with Shana and the three kids. It could not have worked out any better. We also took a trip to St. Louis. I got hooked on running, jogging 1.5 miles a day in 100-degree temperatures (that was stupid, by the way). The middle son’s 12th birthday, complete with Legos.

The cover of my first magazine at work.

AUGUST 2011: My first work tailgate at Washburn. I discovered the gym by accident when a co-worker’s husband asked if I’d tag along. I’ve been back five days a week for nearly a year now. My weight went from 247 to 227 in a month. My first edition of The Ichabod hit mailboxes.

Caption necessary? Not really.

SEPTEMBER 2011: The eldest son’s 16th birthday. He spent the year being a, well, 16-year-old. We moved like Jagger at Winefest. Well, Shana did, anyway. I ran my first 5K at our Fun Run.

Haloween with the kids. Photo more or less sums up the household.

OCTOBER 2011: Halloween in Overland Park with the kids. I had my first fitness exam, scoring average or above in everything but flexibility (I still have the flexibility of rebar). My first single-parent day with the kids as Shana traveled to Houston for work.

She’s not a Tiger, but damn she looks good in black and gold.

NOVEMBER 2011: My dad’s 67th birthday. Still amazed at the shape he’s in at that age. My first Thanksgiving with the Curtises, plus one with Dad. I bought my first bling for Shana. She’s got bling on both ring fingers now. Early Christmas present was a trip to the last Missouri-Kansas football game at Arrowhead, now that KU is taking its 2-10 ball and running home. My first Missouri basketball game of the season at Sprint Center. What a ride the Tigers took us on last year!

With my newborn nephew.

DECEMBER 2011: Of course, the 12 days of Christmas. Not sure I’ve see a person cry that much out of happiness. Multiple Christmases: One in OP, one in Overbrook, two in Burlingame, one in Osage City. New addition to the family: third nephew Greyson. Second magazine out. Weight teetering in low 220s. Shana celebrates her 29th birthday for the 11th straight year. Draven, Sissy and Dan have birthdays.

Clearing Dad’s property.

JANUARY 2012: First New Year’s with my future wife and the kids. Fun trip to Columbia for Missouri-Texas A&M. Ramping up my miles running, weight dips below 220. Tristan, and Tricia turn 13 and 46 (30). Cutting wood with dad a few weeks after his scare in the hospital.

This is why you buy the right shoes.

FEBRUARY 2012: I run eight miles for the first time early in the month. Missouri rallies past choking Kansas. I break the 210 barrier, then develop a shin splint and can’t run. Second Valentine’s Day with Shana. Romeo and Juliet ballet.

Great moment. At least for a few days.

MARCH 2012: Back to running after a few weeks. Running five miles by the end of the month, thanks to fitted shoes. Kansas gets Kansas calls at home, bones Missouri out of the Big 12 title in Lawrence. Big 12 tourney title. Norfolk effing State. Ugh. Date Night at Brewhause. State tournament and lunch with some fine friends.

Myself and Coach Haith.

APRIL 2012: Royals season tickets! Wait, they still haven’t won a game we’ve been to. I’m writing this in July. Thank you, Kentucky. My third magazine is out. Chicago (pure awesomeness). Twelve hour days consistently on our web project at work. Meeting Frank Freakin’ Haith. Easter at the Curtises.

With my niece

MAY 2012: Family get-together with the Webbs. Rory eats 17 hamburgers. Memorial Day at Dave n’ Busters. More 12-hour days finishing up web project. New website launches at work (hallelujah). Looking at rings. I finally break 200 pounds.

Dad getting his biscuit and gravy on.

JUNE 2012: Buying the ring. Spontaneously proposing (so unlike me). Convincing her mother it’ll be OK. She’s more excited than we are about the wedding now. An awesome day with the best father in the universe. A Royals game with Dad (they lost, of course). Molly’s birthday.

You win, genetics.

JULY 2012: I celebrate by shaving my head. Why? All that was left, as George Costanza said, were remnants of what was once a great society of hair.

I’m sure I left dozens of things out. It really was an amazing year. Bring on No. 36.

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