Month: December 2013

2013: The Best Year of My Life

I can’t believe it is the last day of 2013. This year has without a doubt been the most crazy, fun, busy, life-changing year I have ever had! There were some happy times, some tough, non-happy times, and then there were some AMAZING times! I have grown a lot spiritually this year, and I have definitely matured. I’m going to take some time to recap this spectacular year that is almost over.

January I started this blog! Hard to believe it has almost been a whole year! At first, I didn’t blog often and I didn’t tell many people about this blog. I didn’t comment on other blogs because I was embarrassed if people saw my blog. I eventually started reaching out to other bloggers, and I was surprised when people started reading my posts! I have so much to learn about blogging, but I really do love it! Most of all, I love all of the people I have met through blogging; it is really such a neat community!

I had several wonderful wedding showers (shower #1, showers #2&3, and shower #4) that some different special people in my life hosted for me.

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Ryan’s grandmother passed away at the age of 95. (I think, might have been 94). This was a hard time, but we knew she lived a good life. This happened before we got married, and was a reminder to me of how we will always be there for each other in the good times and the bad.

Ryan graduated from college!

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My brother graduated with his Masters!

Ben's graduation

Ryan and I got our first rent house together!

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I got to marry my best friend!!!!!!! This was definitely the highlight of the year, and it will always be the best day of my life! (I PROMISE I will do a recap of our wedding someday!)

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Ryan and I went on our honeymoon, which was the vacation of a LIFETIME! (I will eventually post about this too!)

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Ryan got his first job….he hated it. This was a hard time for us, but we learned so much through this time. We both drew closer to the Lord, and looking back, we see His hand over the whole situation. The Lord knew exactly what He was doing, and of course His plan was much better than ours.

Ryan got a second job, and he LOVES IT! This was such an answered prayer and a huge blessing!

My big bro got married to the love of his life! Finally Kaleigh became my sister-in-law, because in reality, she has basically been my sister for like the last 7 years or something. 🙂 I couldn’t be happier for Ben and Kaleigh!!

Ben and K's wedding

I graduated college!

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I got my first teaching job that I start next week!

Wow, I almost didn’t realize how busy this year was until I sat down and wrote about it. It’s safe to say this was definitely a year for the books. 😉 I am thankful for everything that happened, and most thankful for the husband I have to share life with. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Years Eve! Ryan and I will be the crazy ones staying at home and celebrating just the two of us We will have dinner, play games, and if we are feeling really crazy maybe even watch a movie. What can I say, we know how to party. 😉  It will be a perfect night I’m sure!

Questions:

1. What happened to you in 2013?

2. What are you looking forward to in 2014?

3. Any plans for tonight? 

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Christmas 2013 Came and Went

And just like that, Christmas is over. I hate to say it is over because I love Christmas so much, but this Christmas was absolutely wonderful!

I have been absent from most social media because we’ve been celebrating with family. Thursday we left to spend the weekend at Ryan’s parents’ house, and we didn’t get home until almost 9:00 last night. We had a blast with everyone, and we hated to leave because Ryan’s brothers and their wives were staying longer, but Ryan had to work today so we headed back. However, I will admit, it feels good to be home. Nothing is quite like home. 🙂

Since 2013 is quickly coming to an end, I thought I would do a recap of Christmas #2 (with my family) and Christmas #3 (with Ryan’s family) in this one post. Then I will move on from Christmas, I promise. 😉 Get ready for pictures!

Christmas #2

IMG_5011Ryan and I spent Christmas Eve at my parents’ house. My brother, SIL, parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin were all there. We always have ham sandwiches, chips, dips, fruit, veggies, and lots of desserts.

IMG_5038The grandparents and the kids.

IMG_5036Ryan, me, Kaleigh, Ben

IMG_5005My plate of food from the night. Turkey, lettuce, pepperjack cheese, strawberries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, vegetable dip, and crab cakes. I snacked on other things too, but this was the only picture I took.

IMG_5034When everyone else left my family and I ended the night with games, and obviously making silly faces.

IMG_5032Jenga!

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Thinking hard for Scrabble. We get serious about games.

My parents started a new, fun tradition where every year each couple gets a game they wanted for Christmas. Ryan and I got a rotating Scrabble board, Ben and Kaleigh got Jenga and another game I can’t remember, and my parents got a game none of us had ever played called Suspend. That game was a lot of fun too!

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Of course before we went to bed we layer out cookies and milk for Santa. They were eaten the next morning.

IMG_5030Sorry for the blurry picture that you can barely see, but here are our stockings full from what Santa brought.

IMG_5016I love my parents’ tree!

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So I got some really awesome gifts that I love, but I wanted to share something with you. You know you are getting old when you get really excited about a new kitchen trash can for Christmas. But in all fairness, I had really been wanting a stainless steel trashcan, so I feel like it was a perfectly normal thing to be excited about.

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I thought you might also be interested in the barbells I received from my parents! As I have mentioned before, we aren’t members at a gym yet, so all of my workouts are done at home. I have resistant bands, but it will be so nice to have these too! I plan on using them today!

IMG_5022After we opened gifts at my parents we all quickly got dressed and headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for breakfast with my family. It was basically all of the same people that we were with for Christmas Eve, except for this time my other cousin and her husband and two little boys were there as well. I love all of the decorations my aunt has at her house, so I had to get a picture of Ryan and I in front of her tree.

IMG_5023My family doesn’t have big lunches or dinners for Christmas, but we do have a big breakfast, and I love it! After I ate this plate above, I went back for another biscuit with sausage gravy and about 1/4 of another cinnamon roll. I know it was a lot, but I get this breakfast once a year so I enjoy it!

IMG_5044My little cousin, Cooper, got a bow and arrow for Christmas, and to be honest, we all enjoyed shooting it a little. 🙂 Unfortunately, I’m no Katniss.

IMG_5045My other little cousin, Cade, got a bike, so we watched him ride around in it for a while.

We went back home about 11:00 in the morning and just relaxed for the rest of the day. We did go outside and play with this cool frisbee disc each couple got from Santa in the afternoon, which was a lot of fun. Ryan and I left a little after 7 that night to head home and get ready to leave the next day for his parents’ house.

End of Christmas #2.

Christmas #3

IMG_5052I drove Ryan to work Thursday morning so that I could pick him up Thursday afternoon and we could leave straight from there to make the road trip to his parents’ house. We left about 3:20 and got to their house about 8:30-9:00.

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These pictures that look horrible because of bad lighting, the car moving, and the fact that you can’t really tell what everything is, is the food I packed for the road for me to eat. I had one slice of leftover homemade sweet potato pizza that we had Monday night, and then a bunch of random veggies that I threw in some tupperware and later put balsamic vinaigrette dressing on. Ryan enjoyed two slices of leftover pizza with some Cheetos he got in his stocking Monday. It was getting dark so the pictures aren’t the best. But I am all for packing food on the road because it saves you money, time, and it is so much healthier since you can control what you eat and what is put into your food.

IMG_5055It was so nice when we finally arrived at their house. Their tree was absolutely beautiful!

Sadly, I didn’t get as many pictures here. 😦 Ryan’s brothers and their wives and kids didn’t show up until Saturday night, so we got to enjoy Ryan’s parents to ourselves for Friday and most of the day Saturday before everyone else came. The house was full by Saturday when everyone got there, and after enjoying dinner together we started opening gifts! After all of the gifts were opened we got to look in our stockings, which is always so fun! The only picture I snapped was Ryan and his two brothers looking in their stockings. Ryan is looking through some binoculars they all got; he really liked them!

One of the gifts I got was an Anne Taylor Loft gift card, and I’m so excited because I need to build up my teacher wardrobe.

IMG_5057We all went to church on Sunday and then snapped this picture of us all. Gotta love self timers on cameras. 😉

IMG_5058We had lunch with everyone, and then sadly Ryan and I had to pack up and leave to make the drive back home. We knew Ryan had work the next day so we didn’t need to get home too late. It was a short trip to my in-laws’ house, but it was so special and fun.

End of Christmas #3. 

In case you can’t tell, our first Christmas was absolutely amazing! We were surrounded by so much family and love, and so many memories were made. I am so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people who I love very much!

Questions:

1. When did your Christmas celebrations end?

2. Favorite Christmas tradition?

3. Any new Christmas traditions you want to start?

4. What did you do this weekend?

Christmas 2013 Part 1

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and were able to spend lots of time with family! My Christmas was fabulous, and we aren’t even done celebrating yet! Instead of making one super long post about our Christmas celebration, I thought I would break it up. This part will be about me and Ryan’s Christmas together that we did on the 23rd (part 1), part 2 will be a recap of celebrating with my side of the family, and part 3 will be a recap of celebrating with Ryan’s side of the family. We are heading out this afternoon when Ryan gets off to go to his parents’ house and spend the weekend there celebrating. I love how long our Christmas celebrations last!

Ryan and I celebrated Monday night, on the 23rd, as the last date of the 12 dates of Christmas and it was so wonderful! I know some of you may not understand why we chose to celebrate on a day other than Christmas or Christmas Eve, but we knew we would be with our family both of these days, and we wanted a day to celebrate just us. It was really so nice, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We were able to focus on each other completely, and our celebration was much more intimate and relaxed.

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Confession: This picture was actually taken on Christmas Eve at my parents’ house. When Ryan and I celebrated on the 23rd I didn’t exactly get ready (aka, I didn’t do my hair and I was wearing sweats and a t-shirt), so I decided to share a picture where we looked a little more presentable. 🙂

Before we ate we looked through our stockings to see what Santa brought us. You see, Santa is a very smart man and obviously knew Ryan and I were celebrating two days early, so when Ryan was at work he sneaked in and filled up our stockings with goodies! He must have done this when I was at the grocery store…

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As you can see, Ryan’s stocking is overflowing so Santa couldn’t fit his cheetos in his stocking, so he just set it on top. Santa is a problem solver.

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Excuse my foot, but here is some of what was in Ryan’s stocking. He got some much needed dress socks, cheetos, a candle, and a small football that isn’t in the picture.

IMG_4973I got Christmas ornaments, two KIND bars, a candle (that isn’t in the picture), and a set for doing my nails. Maybe this will help me actually paint my nails… Oh, and there is the football that wasn’t in the picture with Ryan’s stocking!

After we went through stockings we read the Christmas story in the bible, and then enjoyed a candlelit dinner.

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Sidenote: I LOVE having the Spode Christmas plates that I got as a graduation gift!

For dinner, we had the most romantic food possible: homemade pizza on sweet potato crust.

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Can you guess whose half has the veggies and whose half does not? 😉

We did the same thing as we did for our sweet potato protein packed pizza, except we didn’t add chicken this time.

After dinner we exchanged gifts.

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We moved the gifts from under the tree to under our “fireplace”. 😉

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I got Ryan an AV cord, which apparently goes from his playstation to our television, so that whenever we watch shows from Netflix it will show up clearer than before. I also got him some of these prana zion pants that are for climbing, hiking, and camping, but they didn’t get here in time so I had to print off the receipt and I wrapped that for him. He was still super excited to know they would be coming soon! Finally, his favorite gift I got him was an ipad! He was so surprised when he opened this; the look on his face was priceless! I love giving people gifts that they love and are totally surprised about! It has been hard to get him away from his ipad ever since he opened it. 😉 I was really only able to get this because I got a really good deal on it. One of my parents’ neighbors didn’t want it anymore, so he sold it to me for a really affordable price. Score!

Ryan did awesome and once again proved he knows me better than I know myself.

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He gave me a Camelbak backpack for running/biking/hiking, the first book of the Divergent series, the recipe book Peas and Thank you, pro compression socks, the movies “Elf” and “The Hobbit, two pairs of fleece lined leggings, and gum! All of these are perfect for me, and I am so thankful for everything. Yes, I know, he spoils me!

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I can’t wait to go out for a long run with this!

The presents were nice, but they definitely weren’t what made this night so special. Our first married Christmas together was more perfect than I could have imagined, and it’s just because we were together. We ended the night playing with our new presents and just talking. Perfect date night with my husband.

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Oh, and some of you have mentioned you want to do the 12 dates of Christmas next year. If you do, I want to let you know something Ryan and I decided to start doing. On day 4 of the 12 dates we were supposed to write each other a hand written note. We decided we are going to do this every year, and I’m going to get a notebook that we can keep all of our letters in every year. Since this year is coming to an end we naturally wrote about the past year, and we thought years later it would be fun to look back and read about what happened that year and what we wrote each other. We also wrote each other a handwritten note on our wedding day, and this will be the first letter I put in our notebook, followed by the letters we wrote each other this Christmas. This was Ryan’s brilliant idea, and I love it! Even if you have already been married several years, I think this would still be a fun tradition to start! I love to look back on things from the past!

Now, I need to go pack for this weekend at my in-law’s, try to fit in a workout, get my tires aired up, and maybe try to hit up a few stores for clearance Christmas items! I have a lot to do before we leave! I hope you all have a great day, and keep enjoying that family time! Don’t lose the Christmas spirit yet! 🙂

Questions:

1. Do you and your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend like to celebrate Christmas by yourselves or with other people?

2. Tell me about your Christmas yesterday! 

3. Do you Christmas celebrations last a long time like mine? 

4. Favorite thing you ate yesterday? Mine was sausage gravy and cinnamon rolls. 🙂

My Hope For You This Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I woke up so happy today! Christmas just puts me in a perfect mood. 🙂 I wish Ryan was off all day, but he gets off at 11:30, so I’ll take it!

Ryan and I celebrated our own Christmas last night for our final date night of the 12 dates of Christmas. It was wonderful, but I’m not going to recap today. I will save that for another day. I want today’s post to be short and to the point. I want to share with y’all my hope for each of you this Christmas.

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1. I hope you remember the true reason for Christmas.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2: 9-14

Jesus is the reason

It is so easy to get distracted by the lights, decorations, music, and presents, (don’t get me wrong, I still love all of these things), but these are not the reasons we celebrate Christmas. Take some time to pray and thank God for sending us his son, Jesus, to save us from our sin.

2. Enjoy your family and treasure this special time with them. 

Put down your phone, technology, and social media for a while just to enjoy being with the people you love.

3. Have fun, eat good food, be thankful, and be merry!! 🙂

Those are all of my hopes for you this Christmas! Short and sweet! Now I have to go eat breakfast and finish up a few last minute things  before we head to my parents’ house when Ryan gets off! 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Jogger Egg Nogger Race and Marvelous Family Time

We actually had a full weekend of activities, but I hardly got any pictures! I know, total blogger fail (I feel like I have to write this too often…). So I know people say if you didn’t get a picture, it didn’t happen. Well just trust me, everything I say actually happened. 🙂 I will add in the few pictures I have to keep you entertained. And surely Google images can help me some. 😉

Saturday morning began with the Jogger Egg Nogger 5k and 15k race with my Dad. The weather definitely wasn’t the best though; it was cold and raining the whole time we ran. I was a little nervous because of the weather, but the race still ended up being fantastic! Since the weather was so bad, my Dad and I never got a picture outside after or before our race, so the only picture I snapped of us was in the car after the race. (Just ignore how dark my eyes were. I’m not quite sure why I wore eye makeup when I knew I was going to be running in the rain. Not my smartest decision.)

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Since Ryan is an awesome, supportive husband, he got up early and and supported us in the cold and rain. Best husband ever!

My dad and I were both pleased with our times. I finished the 15k in an hour and 18 minutes, with an average of 8 minutes and 24 seconds a mile. As soon as I finished my Dad, Ryan, and I went into the warm car to head home. My dad dropped us off at home, and we showered and had lunch before heading out to meet my brother and SIL at the movies. We saw Anchorman 2.

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Source

The movie was funny, (how could it not be with Will Ferrell as the main actor?), but I don’t think it was as good as the first one. I am still glad we saw it though because I had been wanting to see it ever since I heard they were coming out with a second one!

We had a blast getting to go with Ben and Kaleigh (bro and SIL) to the movies and getting to talk with them some. We all agreed we needed to make that happen more. I was so mad at myself when we left the movie theater because I realized we didn’t get a picture together! 😦 So this reused picture from Thanksgiving will have to do!

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The rest of me and Ryan’s saturday night included eating delicious leftovers for dinner, watching the Mavericks play (this was more of Ryan), and reading (this was more of me), all while relaxing on the couch.

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And obviously while we relaxed we wore warm, fuzzy socks. Okay, so maybe it was just me wearing the fuzzy socks.

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Sunday morning we went to church and then headed to Cheesecake Factory to eat lunch with Ryan’s family. We spent the whole afternoon with Ryan’s parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. This time was truly so special. I don’t have any pictures I took from yesterday, but the pictures couldn’t have captured how special yesterday was anyway. Family is so incredible and something we should never take for granted.

This weekend was very marvelous because of the fun race my Dad and I got to run in, but it was mostly marvelous because of the wonderful family we got to spend time with on Saturday and Sunday. Because my family is so marvelous, I am going to link up again with Katie for some Marvelous in my Monday.

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Take some time today today to tell your loved ones and family members how much they mean to you. If you can see any of them today, try to see them and treasure every moment.

I hope all of you are ready for Christmas! We are two days away! So crazy! Tonight Ryan and I will be celebrating our own Christmas together and exchanging gifts. We will also be enjoying some homemade pizza. I can’t wait! 🙂

Questions:

1. What did you do this weekend?

2. Did you see Anchorman 2? Did you like it? Did you even like the first one?

3. What are you looking forward to the most this year about Christmas?

4. Tell me one reason (or more) why you love your family!