Bring It On

The last part of 2013 was such a non-stop whirlwind, I started to wonder if it would ever end. I wanted to leave the rough spots of 2013 behind me and jump head first into making 2014 the best year yet. But when I had time to stop and think about it — while vacuuming water out of our basement — it occurred to me that we did a lot last year. Most of it was great, some of it was tough, but it was all time well-spent.

We started 2013 on top of Camelback Mountain in Arizona.

Camelback Mountain, AZ, New Year's Day 2013

I bought Mickey Mouse sunglasses at Epcot.

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Roadtripped to Charleston with a bunch of girlfriends.

Matching tees!

Hosted a bridal shower.

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Got peer pressured into running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

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We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with an afternoon at the batting cages where Hugh proposed.

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I cried through our best friends’ wedding.

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We spent my grandpa’s birthday with him in the hospital.

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Packed Memorial Day weekend full of outdoor adventures with friends and both of our families.

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We carried on an annual beach tradition with friends.

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We reunited with family in Virginia.

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And in Oklahoma.

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And vacationed in Isle of Palms, SC.

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I spent an incredible girls weekend in Nashville.

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We got to attend Lucy’s baptism.

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We bought a little house.

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We celebrated the life of one of my most cherished family members.

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Dressed up our home with Hugh’s very first live Christmas tree.

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And rang in the new year in New Jersey with old friends.

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Yes, 2013 taught me a little about loss and change and wet basements, but it also taught me that I can run and that Hugh and I make a pretty good home improvement team. It also reminded me that we are surrounded by incredible friends and family who helped us through home-buying, moving and maintenance and who are generous with hugs when you need them.

And as for 2014, well it’s already off to a big start. I began [yet another] new job on January 2nd, and Hugh is becoming a master landscaper as I type this. I don’t like to make resolutions, but I do like to make goals and set milestones to look forward to.

In 2014 we will:

  • Dry out the basement, once and for all, then tackle our two-page project list
  • Run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler together
  • Celebrate two anniversaries and a big birthday in Key West with great friends
  • Not let work run our lives, but strive to be great at our jobs
  • Watch my brother graduate from our alma mater
  • Spend time vacationing with both sides of Hugh’s family
  • Never lose sight of how fortunate we are

Bring it on, 2014. Bring it on.

I Am Thankful for Friends Who Can Cook

Friends Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t have lasted past its first attempt in 2009 if our friends weren’t such good cooks. But it did because they are, and Sunday we hosted the fifth annual Friends Thanksgiving potluck at our house (which has been our motivation to get unpacked and settled in the last month).

A vat of mashed potatoes. Creamy pumpkin mac and cheese. Corn casserole, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, oh my. And a festive cider-bourbon cocktail to wash down pecan, pumpkin and derby pies. If any of you want to start inviting me over for Sunday dinner on the regular, that’d be alright by me.

This motley crew of 20 fit squeezed at one family-style dining table set up in our modest living room.

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And it was awesome.

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Despite their reluctance and their snarls and their sarcastic comments as I say squeeze in tighter…almoooost readdyyy, every time I get to pull out the tripod and set the self timer it means I’m with some of my favorite people — having a good time, celebrating something, adventuring, or just enjoying a huge meal on a frigid Sunday evening in November.

And really, who wouldn’t be thankful enough for that to want to grab it in a picture?

The Weekend According to our iPhones

According to our iPhones, Hugh and I hung out with dogs this weekend.

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But we did other things too.

We spent Friday night on my parents’ deck snacking, grooving, and catching up with visitors — Aunt B and Uncle Tim. Saturday morning I enjoyed a nice, flat run through all the neighborhoods surrounding ours, where I used to meet up with friends for bike rides, sleepovers, and kickball. It certainly took me back. We hit the Manassas farmers’ market followed by brunch at City Square Cafe, both right in Old Town. It’s always nice to show Hugh a beautiful day in my hometown. A visit to the grandparents, an afternoon cook out, a trip to Lowe’s, some home improvement chores, and Sunday dinner with a friend capped off the weekend.

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Photodump: July 4th Friends Beach Trip

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Our friends beach trip tradition began back in May of 2008. We woke up only a few hours after our graduation celebration at TOTS ended, piled ourselves into cars and caravanned down to Myrtle Beach for a week in a tiny, run down three bedroom beach shack filled to the brim with 19 people.

It was the best time.

And so — every year since 2008 — we’ve made our annual pilgramage to the beach with some of our best buds. For the past few years we’ve been going to Nags Head over the 4th of July because fireworks on the beach are hard to beat (as is a free vacation day).

While Thursday was spent celebrating this great country of ours, Friday and Saturday were for the knock down drag out competition of Beach Olympics. Sixteen people, four teams, countless rounds in six different events over two days. Because I love a good excuse to use my tripod, we paused before the final event for some pretty priceless team photos and one last group shot of all the competitors.

The competition was so serious that Commissioner Hugh kept track of it on a complicated scoreboard that hung inside the tent all weekend reminding us to keep our game faces on.

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My team unfortunately had a few tough breaks and did not quite come out on top. But there’s always next year.