Thursday, January 2, 2014

So Long, to the Best Year Yet!

You know that feeling when you get so caught up in something it feels like it will last forever? That's sort of how 2013 felt for me, a year that would never end, because I didn't want it to. Yet, here I am, finally updating my blog on the SECOND day of January in the year 2014. Yes, despite my best efforts to ignore it, 2014 came anyway.

An early 2013 snowfall.
Last year began with a lot of anticipation because I was preparing to get married and well, weddings are pretty redonk these days. Thank you, Pinterest and celebrity weddings for setting ridiculously high expectations. So Nick and I began 2013 preparing for our wedding, first with a much-needed Whole30 diet. We set January as our month to complete the fast-diet and get back into the gym, and I'd say we were successful.

Celebrating Nick's birthday.
The months that followed were filled with tons of wedding planning--since we were doing everything ourselves--interspersed with normal life things. In February we celebrated Nick's birthday. Then there was some fun work stuff that happened for me, including some awards for my and my colleagues' work. March brought more awards and my birthday.

Angie just before her wedding.
In April, I was a bridesmaid in my good friend Angie's wedding, which was exactly three months to the day before my wedding. In May we did fun things, like shop for stuff to wear on our honeymoon and travel to Chicago for the annual Rockies-Cubs game (at which we got engaged the year before). Then I went on a "blog about wedding planning" spree through June.
At the Rockies/Cubs game in May.
Nick was sad to trade in his New Jersey
plates for Iowa ones.
In June we physically received our award at work, and Nick and I joined the church softball team. Later in June, my mom threw me an awesome bridal shower in an old mansion, which was really fun and very special. Then came July.

My mom and I at the Curtis Mansion.
At the Fourth of July parade in Clinton.
The first two weeks of July were a blur, a mad dash to finish up the smaller details and simultaneously work on job stuff for Nick (which I would later write about in September). And then everything came together and it was like dominoes falling down: people arriving, decorating for the reception and ceremony, parties, practicing, putting on the dress, flowers, photos, vows, a kiss, cake cutting, dancing, jumping in the getaway car, jetting off to Jamaica.

With my bridesmaids at my bridal luncheon.
My bouquet, designed by my cousin Crystal.
In my dress, all ready to go.
Our first dance.
There are some moments now when I think about that day, that I would love to do it over, just to relive it and go on our honeymoon again, because it all flew by so fast. I tried to remember as many details as possible, and write them all down, but there are so many things I missed or have simply forgotten.

Shortly after arriving in Jamaica, snapped this
from our tour bus as it took us to the resort.
Sunset on our resort.
On our way home, flying over a rainbow.
We spent the last night of our
honeymoon in Chicago.
We had a lot of fun on our honeymoon, which we spent at a Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It was all-inclusive which was so nice. We could go to any restaurant or bar and order anything we wanted. We also got a couple's massage (divine!) and went on a cruise which featured snorkeling over a coral reef and hiking up Dunn's River Falls. I still haven't written a full post about the honeymoon, so maybe I'll do that this year for a "look back." :)

Our little home in Clinton.

After the last softball game of the season.
Jade loved the stairs in our new home.
Things didn't really slow down like I thought they would when we got back. We jumped right back in to job searching for Nick and trying to figure out what we were going to do when his job in Clinton ended. We also had to move everything out of my apartment and into Nick's place which we were now sharing. August started with the end of the church softball season, then our friends TJ and Serina's wedding, followed by a trip to Ohio and Michigan (during which we got to visit Brielle, my cousin's adorable baby girl).

The church where TJ and Serina
got married in Fulton, Ill.
On the way to visit Iowa City.
Our time in Clinton began to wind down in September. Nick accepted a job at a church in Iowa City and we started preparing to move--including house hunting and telling my job that I would be leaving at the end of the month. On September 28 we left Clinton and moved into our condo in North Liberty.

Moving day!
In October we took a trip to San Diego for a youth workers' conference (our first time in California and we had so much fun). It included a trip to the beach as well as some sight seeing. The conference was also a lot of fun, with great music, speakers and vendors. We even made some new friends!

A day at Mission Beach.
More pics of the beach and site-seeing.
California was so beautiful.
We spent the rest of the month settling in, exploring the area and visiting an apple orchard. In November we attended our first Iowa football and basketball games, went to see "Catching Fire" and traveled back to Clinton for Thanksgiving. I also found out I was losing my part-time job working from home for a news organization effective in December.

On the road, close to our new home.
Jade loved the pumpkin we got for Halloween.
On a hike in a park near our home.
This past month has been challenging, with some health problems for both of us and many trips to the dentist for me. But, we still found time to enjoy the season and were able to spend Christmas with my family in Clinton.
On our way to Clinton for Christmas.
Jade in her Christmas sweater by the tree.
My parents' new puppy, Sheeran,
just after a refreshing bath.
Overall, 2013 was a year of huge changes, even more than we had anticipated, but at the same time, it has been an amazing year. Nick and I have been able to grow together through the challenges we've faced and we've been able to make some new, close friends who, along with old friends, have come beside us and supported us through the difficulties. It was a truly great year, and I am excited to see what 2014 will hold for us. :)

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