2013 in Review

31 December 2013

It's New Years Eve and, to be honest, I'm ready for 2014 to arrive. There have been a lot of good things happening in 2013, but it was a year of many changes, quite a few of which have been challenges that I've had to work through to get to where I am. While a new year really is just another day beginning, it does mark a clean slate for us. 

January held evenings with family, hikes around Maryland, visiting the hirshhorn, and meeting good friends back in Virginia for outdoor adventures. 

February consisted of me stressing out over my job and taking weekend trips to DC, Harrisonburg, and Winchester. Noah and I checked out the Newseum. My sister and I met in Harrisonburg one weekend to explore old stomping grounds and grabbed some tea. Some weekends were also spent at home luxuriating in the company of Artemis and Noah in our Hagerstown apartment. 

In March I began working out at the YMCA. I loved their facilities in Hagerstown and was finding, for the first time ever in my life, that exercise could be an escape. It's something I could control and feel good about. Noah and I visited the Antietam Battlefield as well as the Great Falls in Virginia. For Easter, I hid eggs around the house while Noah took a shower. He had to hunt them down and put together a puzzle to find his easter basket. 

April brought an upturn in my attitude. I got to see a lot of friends. I visited the Zoo and DC with Allison and Noah. Brandon and I went geocaching in Winchester and on Earth Day I went out to pick up in my local park in the name of geocaching. 

May took Noah and I on a few different adventures. His Jazz Band took a trip to Six Flags (my first time there) and we were chaperones for a few kids. Noah also took me on a big date to Fort Frederick in Maryland and they were having a big festival that weekend. I also took time to go down to Richmond with my sister. She was going to move in June so we went apartment-hunting! May also brought the classic Apple Blossom Festival to our city and we spent time with friends and family there.

June held Noah's birthday as well as a bike and several trips. Noah, Nic, and I journeyed down South to visit our friend Jake in Louisiana. On the way we stayed with some friends in Knoxville which is a beautiful southern city. We spent a week down south exploring Shreveport and catching up. We had some great hosts! I biked the C&O Canal about three days a week and started working at Books-a-Million. Noah was off of school for the month and was loving life. 

In July we had some summer celebrations and trips. Noah and I hung out with my family on the 4th of July and enjoyed hitting up downtown Winchester for the pubs. We visited with his mom and I saw my first beer hops. While beginning to pack up our stuff in Maryland we hit up our favorite little park two or three times a week while I intermittently drove back and forth to Winchester to work. 

Over the course of two days at the beginning of August, Noah and I moved into our townhouse in Winchester before heading to Bethany Beach. We played and enjoyed the ocean for a week in what is one of the best value vacations I know about. Mitsi took us to see the Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center and when we finished with all of our vacationing we settled into our townhouse before Noah started back up at his middle school. 

September was a fantastic month filled with warm outdoor events. We had cookouts in West Virginia and picnics in the country side while playing in the creek. I started classes again which was jarring and delightful. We took several trips up to Shenandoah National Park with friends and enjoyed getting outside much more before the weather cooled off.

We visited our favorite farm, an annual tradition for us, and picked pumpkins, hiked through the corn maze, and rode on haywagons. We held our first game night at our new place inviting a group of friends to join us for some Cards Against Humanity. Our inner children came out as we built a blanket fort with our roommates and we tied up October with a big Halloween Bash at the lake house. 

November may be my favorite month of this past year because it's when I finally got to meet my companion. You may already know how much I adore my dog Odin and I don't think my obsession is going away any time soon. I interviewed at a pharmacy and got the job and met with friends for coffee dates. I took the PCAT in Richmond meaning I got to be with my sister for three days or so. It was very nice to explore the fan district with her and on my own for a few days. Most of November was filled with puppy romps and exploring parks and school campuses with Odin. In the last week Noah and I celebrated three thanksgivings with our families and my sister came to stay with us for four days. It was a very busy month!

Finally we hit the end of 2013 and we decorated our Christmas tree, I finally painted our psychedelic bedroom, and Odin got to play in lots of snow that hit Virginia. We hosted a Christmas party that was tons of fun with thieves Christmas, food, and friends which I hope to make an annual event. Not pictured is all that family Christmas activity. Christmas Eve was wonderful (and I may catch up with this more in January) and the following couple of days were incredibly busy. Kelsey stayed at our place this year and Odin got to join in with most of the family events. We were rocking through December and BAM it's time for the New Year to begin. 

So, we laughed, we cried... I went through dark times and began to see the light. I am rebuilding myself and my confidence and I am looking forward to pursuing my dreams again. 

I hope you have a very happy new year and I wish you all the best in 2014!

Follow It

29 December 2013

I will work my first morning at a pharmacy today and I'm quite excited. It's taken a while to get here it feels like and I am more motivated than ever to do well at my job. One day I will be a pharmacist and I will help people find better health and work to make a healthy community and that makes me feel good.

Home Projects: Painting the Bedroom Part II

28 December 2013

Here's the update from our home project part I. I can't put into words how much more I like our bedroom with the softer sea foam color than the bright primary colors. It feels more relaxing, lighter, and oddly bigger.

It took me one day to tape and put up the first coat of primer. The next day I touched up the primer areas that seemed thin and followed behind with a coat of the seafoam green paint.

To me it is beautiful and it feels so much more homey. I love it.

Snowy Sisters

27 December 2013

My sister has come up for the holidays and we've gotten to spend a week together in Winchester. We even had snow on Christmas Eve for a little period of time, so of course we had to grab a picture together. We live three hours apart and with school and jobs we don't get to see each other too often. The last time was when I took my PCAT in Richmond.

It's really nice to get time with my sister when she's available especially since I don't have a lot of family around here any more. Hoping we can hit up our favorite coffee bar before she goes and play some fetch with Odin.

Hope your holidays have been very happy!

Redefining Passion

21 December 2013

This article titled "Redefining Passion, Avoiding the Fate of the 64%" really clicked with me.

Here are some excerpts that stood out:

You don’t inherently know what you’re passionate about.

Passion is acquired through experience and excitement. It’s derived from turning something you love to do into something you’re skilled at doing. You don’t just discover passion and then match a job to it;
it’s something that needs to be grown and cultivated over time.
The problem is that we seek immediacy.

We want to be good at what we love NOW. 
Replace decisiveness with curiosity. View every job not as an irreparable decision, but as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and a stepping stone towards identifying your true passions.


18 December 2013

With all this talk about Odin lately I don't want my pretty kitty to feel left out. Artemis is as cuddly as ever although she likes to bap Odin on the nose if she feels like he's getting too far into her space. Animals have made such a positive impact on my life and I'm very grateful to have soft playmates who like to cuddle!

Home Projects: Painting the Bedroom Part I

16 December 2013

Okay, I find this to be semi-embarrassing, but since we moved in during the month of August Noah and I have been sleeping in a psychedelic-colored kids room. See, there were two bedrooms upstairs that we could pick between. There's one that connects to the bathroom (sweet right?) and another one that had two closets and was a little bit bigger. We knew one of our friends would be moving in pretty soon so we had to make a choice. Knowing that with our lack of storage in the home we might need more space we chose the larger bedroom. Apparently, the previous tenant had two kids who slept in here and they had ... bright ideas about how to decorate! 

{Don't judge us on the sheer amount of stuff in this picture, I swear it's not this crowded normally!} So, now that we are fully into December, we are getting around to painting. This is one of those projects that you have to commit yourself to. It'll take a bit of time so you don't want to jump into it and be halfway done for forever. Plus you have to figure out sleeping situations and moving furniture and you'll have to crawl into the center of your bed if it takes time overnight.

You can see our situation. EVERY wall is a different color. Pink, green, blue, and orange and they are all the brightest possible versions of those colors. Yet, miraculously it's one of those situations where you get used to it. You don't like it but you realize you don't have enough time to do the job so you just learn to ignore that it's there. 

However, I'm waiting for my job training to happen (that's a whole other story) and I have some time on my hands. Noah helped me tape the ceiling and doors and I have done the first layer of primer. And thank goodness for primer! This is a bear trying to cover these colors. 

I have to cheat and use a step stool while my 6'6 husband is at work. It's quite convenient with the exception that you have to move it for every foot you paint.

I'm very excited to take away these distracting colors. I'm a firm believer that a bedroom should be a haven, a place to relax... and it just doesn't happen for me. I know there are some people (my sister for one) who thinks the bright colors are a lot of fun, and I'm a fan of an accent wall sure, but not four of them. Haha.

Artemis decided should would help and direct the painting process (before we kicked her and Odin out so they wouldn't get all up in our paint).

Here's the primer ready to go. I haven't even cracked open the paint cans yet but I'm itching to get there! It's so satisfying to erase the old and bring in the new. 

So, it's been a productive weekend and I'm pumped to get our bedroom to feel more like our space. It's even more important when you have four people in a townhouse to have a safe, cozy place to go to for some quiet time.

Reason to Smile: Getting a good start on a long overdue project!

Winter: A Dirge

14 December 2013

The wintry west extends his blast,
  And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
  The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
  And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
  And pass the heartless day.

- Robert Burns

Greenery Downtown

12 December 2013

The downtown walking mall is decked out with greens and reds and christmas trees now and it's quite lovely. We visited during the Christmas parade and they held a tree lighting on the court square. I really like this season but I'll admit I would like it just a little bit warmer.

Finals are finishing up and I'm hoping to get trained for my job soon. Getting excited! Hope your December is going well!

Snow Day

09 December 2013

Yesterday we experienced about five inches of snowfall and Odin was loving it. We did too. Everyone was trapped inside so our day consisted of watching tv, reading, playing Dominion, walking the dog, and watching Jingle All the Way. It was a simple day all nice and laid back. In fact, schools were cancelled in his district so Noah is home again today and I'm studying for finals. 

I don't like being cooped up inside for very long, but for a day or two... it's nice to be all cozy indoors.

Downtown Dog

06 December 2013

We had such nice, balmy weather yesterday that I just had to get Odin on his (new) leash and take him on a walk downtown. We started off at Posh Pets Boutique so that I could get a rigid leash, aka not flexible, for tying Odin up to chair legs downtown. The flexi-leash locks but he can shake it around enough to unlock it so I needed one that couldn't flex. 

As we walked around Odin got many pets from lots of different people. Having a dog invites people in, to say hi, smile, and pet your animal. A little girl even ran up and hugged him as soon as she saw him! I'm glad he's so gentle and sweet. 

Eventually we got around to the Espresso Bar and I tied the leash under a chair leg. I was nervous about leaving him outside while I went in to order, even though it was only for a few minutes, but he did a great job. He laid down and waited...albeit right in the middle of the entrance aisle. 

We had a great day together, he must have been outside for four hours and he was loving it. 

Coffee Date at the Espresso Bar

05 December 2013

I meet my friend Ashley each Tuesday either for coffee or lunch and my favorite place to meet is at the Espresso Bar on the downtown walking mall. We love getting downtown and, in fact, she just got offered an internship with the downtown communications department. She'll be working graphic design for them and I'm so proud of her for going after what she wants!

It's great to get some girl time each week especially with a chai tea latte in hand.

Reason to Smile: I'm thankful for my friends.

Thanksgiving in Photos

Thanksgiving this year was busy for us. We spent the big day cooking in the morning and the afternoon was with my mother-in-law followed by a black Friday with my dad and then father-in-law. We get pretty busy!

After a long food coma we went to see Catching Fire on Friday evening. It was fantastic! If you've read the Hunger Games series (heck, even if you haven't) you will love the new movie. We went to the new theater in Winchester and snacked on popcorn and sprite.

Now we're gearing up for Christmas time!


03 December 2013

Hey there! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful weekend. Here's a few links that caught my eye over the past week.

Laura talks about how places bring out certain aspects of us.

This pasta bake by Amanda looks delicious.

mugger apologizes to a man he robbed thirty years ago.

Here are four guys on one piano playing a Christmas song.
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