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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Look Back

Here we are, another year to look back on. It's always one of my favorite blog posts I write, to look back at my year in reflection. It's one reason I'm insanely thankful for this blog of mine...I can always look back and read about things we've done that I would've forgotten about otherwise!

2015 was definitely a memorable year. It was the craziest, busiest, most challenging year I've ever had, but I'm better because of it, and had an amazing time! So in order, here are some of the top moments from my last year!

Caleb and I rang in the new year at one of my best friends weddings...

I set my 2015 goals, and we did a fun DIY project!
Our out of town friends came to visit and we adventured through our city!

My friends and I celebrated one of our besties at her baby shower!

Photographed our first wedding of the year, and loved it! We had 29 total!
Really learned how important "me time" is and took advantage of the time I got!

Ran 7 miles with my man in preparation for my 2nd half marathon!
Worked my butt off with an exercise challenge (and rocked it)!

Celebrated my Great Grandma Agnes' 85th birthday and Easter all in one weekend!!

Visited Becca in the hospital the night she had Norah!
Watched my brother in the Red's Opening Day parade!! Such a proud big sister moment!

Ran my 2nd half marathon with my husband and brother in law!

Enjoyed our SECOND (whaaat?!) anniversary with a trip to Pittsburgh! We ate way too much food, and had way too much fun :)

Had a blast at our summer kick-off and got SUPER burned the morning of at the "largest yard sale" ever.

Photographed one of our favorite weddings to date and met the real Buckeye BRUTUS!!!!
We paid off two loans by June and are still hitting it hard!
Shot two weddings the 4th of July weekend - and enjoyed the coolest firework show we'd ever seen!

Spent a life changing week with the teens of our youth group in Tennessee...
Finally got to white water raft!!!!!

Shared the best, easiest dessert recipe EVER...
Spent my 24th birthday with our best friends in a new city!!

Ordered my first Erin Condren planner -- yes, this tops the "big moments" of 2015.
Rediscovered my love for family photography!!

We even moved to a nearby town to save some monthly cash - and even got more square footage!

Celebrated Caleb's birthday - he turned 27!!
We went to one of the best Bengals games of our lives!

Found out we're going to be an AUNT AND UNCLE! Coolest day ever :)

Enjoyed a bonfire, lots of birthday celebrations with family, and Thanksgiving all in November.

We spent an entire week off work together doing whatever our hearts desired - no work allowed!

We enjoyed our 3rd married Christmas together and are ready to ring in a new year once the clock hits midnight tonight. I'm so thankful to be able to look back at all of these memories! I hope you can do the same!

Bring it on, 2016!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas overload!

Christmas rocked. We had 4 total Christmas gatherings, and I actually got overwhelmed once Sunday night hit and I saw our house - in a total mess - covered in presents and wrapping paper. What a blessing! Let me back up.

Thursday I actually got out of work early, and we met with my Dad's side of the family like we usually do. It was a blast... pizza was ordered and lots of mountain dew was consumed! One of my favorite presents? I got a fitbit! I'm really excited to get that baby charged and start on my fitness goals!!!!! I've really let myself go the past 3-4 months and I'm ready to get back on track.

BUT - my favorite gift from them was all of my old dance uniforms (from ages 3 and up) It absolutely made me cry. I had no idea my Dad kept all of that stuff! It was a box full of them, and at the bottom, there were 2 baby blankets I didn't even know existed that my grandmother had knit before I was born. I'm so thankful for these possessions! I can only hope for a little girl one day to remake all of my silly dance photos :)

Christmas morning with Caleb is DEFINITELY one of my favorite days of the year. Something about it is just so fun. We wake up in no rush at all, take our sweet time exchanging some presents, and eat donuts and/or brownies. I love knowing how much thought we both put into the gifts we have for each other, and getting to see his reaction is my favorite part. He did SO well in the gift department, as always. But I do have to say... my favorite part of Christmas is just spending so much time together and with our families!

We always go to my Nanny and Buddy's house for brunch, along with my aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins! My mom only has one brother, so we're very close with them and my only 2 first cousins. They make life so fun!!

We read our notes of thankfulness that we all wrote on Thanskgiving, per our annual tradition, and a few of them made me tear up.

Saturday Caleb and I (believe it or not) got started on NEXT CHRISTMAS, ALREADY!!! We've designated a box in the basement solely for future christmas presents so we don't forget where they are/what we've already bought. It wasn't much, but hey, its a start.

Sunday we had our Christmas with Caleb's family and it was a blast, as well! Just recapping all of this is making me so thankful, all over again! His parents love to get extra silly with the gifts which added lots of extra laughter. We got an awesome griddle for our counter so I can make all the pancakes EVER, the cutest polaroid post-it holder, and lots of other awesome goodies!!

I've taken a bit of a blogging break these last few days and its been kind of nice. Just trying to enjoy all that these last days of the year have to offer! Although I have to say, I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us!! :) 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

We hope you and yours have the merriest Christmas of all!! Enjoy what these next few days have to offer, drink way too much hot chocolate, and don't forget your festive hats ;)


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's easy to get caught up

Usually, this is the time of year (aka: a few short days from Christmas) that I am in freak-out mode trying to finish all my shopping, cleaning the house, doing the laundry and making sure I have everything in order for the upcoming holiday. For some reason though, this year its a little different. Caleb and I have made sure to be more intentional with our time to really make the most of it.

Like last night, we were able to slow down and grab dinner with some of our dearest friends. We talked about everything from video games to pursuing dreams, from kraft cheese to career paths. 

It's so easy this time of year to get caught up in making sure you have all the items on your to-do list checked off, and while that's still important, don't let it take you away from the REAL reason of the season.

Sure, I still have a few small things left to do before I get off at lunch tomorrow, but I'm going to make sure that even if they don't all get done - I'll still be able to enjoy everything Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have to offer. There is too much fun to be had! I just won't allow myself to freak out over the tiny things that really no one else cares about but me. I'm excited to spend the next few days with my closest friends and family, sip WAY too much of my aunts famous iced coffee, and take too many blurry light photos.

The one thing I'm a little bummed about is that it hasn't really FELT like Winter here lately. Which, I kind of feel bad complaining about because who really ASKS for snow!? Well, I'm being that girl. It'd be amazing to actually see SNOW on Christmas. I know that more than likely won't happen, but maybe a nice Christmas movie tonight would help?? We have plans of walking to my aunt and uncles for dinner tonight (love how close they live!!!) and I'm really hoping they are up for popping a fun Christmas movie in!

In other news, our work let go of the business attire rule for the day and let us wear our best Christmas sweaters. I'm pumped! This little holiday break can't come quickly enough!

I'm feeling random today, but am curious to know what YOUR families traditions are on/around Christmas time. Please share them below!!! I just think it's so cool to me how no two families do Christmas the same.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Staycation success!

Here I am, back in my cube at work. I've got to say its not my ideal place to be when I just spent the last nine days alongside my husband doing whatever we felt like. BUT I'm thankful to have a job that allows me some flexibility/paid vacation time/etc., so I'll roll with the punches and deal with this Monday. After all, Christmas IS right around the corner and how can I not be thankful? I've got a husband to celebrate with, a home to open our presents in, and a God who is crazy about me.

Let me back up though, and fill you in on what we spent our free week doing!

Monday was full of pure laziness (Caleb had to work), and I loved every second. I did manage to watch 3 movies, do a ton of laundry and edit hundreds of photos - but other than that? I hardly left the couch. #itrocked

We spent a lot of time throughout the week doing some last minute Christmas shopping, and eating out entirely too much - but isn't that what "vacation" is for?! ;)

We hit up the Cincinnati Zoo for the Festival of Lights one night! It was amazing. We've never been together and it was so much fun!

We grabbed lunch at Joe's crab shack and I was reminded how obsessed I am with coconut shrimp!

We also found time to go thrifting and hit up our local Target about 3 times. Caleb said he was taking a trip to the restroom but came back a few minutes later with my favorite drink from Starbucks...

Took a trip to Bob Evans for breakfast at 9pm because we could! Not having to get up before the sun every day means later nights!

A star wars marathon began, too! We started with the "prequels" (4th, 5th and 6th movies released) and I surprisingly loved them. We're hoping to watch the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd movies before the New Year - but we'll see! There are also lots of Christmas movies to be seen!!

Friday, we took a trip to the Outlet malls so Caleb could finally use a gift card from his birthday! That evening we made our annual tradition happen with our best friends! A local church puts on a HUGE Christmas play and it never disappoints.

So all in all, we had a great week together. Some days were spent with awesome, new adventures, and other days were filled with pure laziness. I wouldn't have had it any other way! Going wherever the wind wanted to take us. I'm excited for a semi-short week and enjoying our 3rd Christmas as husband and wife!

I hope everyone had a great week last week. I've missed keeping up with everyone via your blogs! I'm off to catch up ;) happy Monday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Let the stay-cation begin!

Although Caleb had to work a normal day yesterday, I was at home. I began our stay cation with a day of productivity! I think I did about 4 loads of laundry, edited an insane amount of photos and successfully watched nearly 3 movies all at the same time! Sadly, I've picked up a really nasty cold/sore throat, but I'm doing everything I can to kick it so we can enjoy the freedom of this stay-cation together! :)

Let me rewind though, we had a fabulous weekend! The ladies of my family had our 2nd annual day of baking and it was seriously awesome. We spent hours catching up, being silly, and baking our fingers off.

My mom couldn't make it this year (she started her new job in Hawaii as a traveling nurse on a 13 week assignment yesterday - prayers please), so I stepped in and made her amazing salted caramel mocha fudge - omg. So tasty. Recipe to follow!

My company Christmas party was over the weekend and it was nothing short of amazing! Caleb and I  had a blast at Eddie Merlots. It's seriously the best food I get to enjoy all year! It was also fun getting to dress up, and act like real adults ;)

Sunday was a lazy day. It's hard for me to even mention the word Sunday since our Bengals QB is out with a thumb injury. We have total faith in our backup, but still, we miss Dalton. Despite the loss, we had a great day in.

I'll probably be a little absent this week as Caleb and I have LOTS of fun planned for this awesome week off work! Enjoy your day, friends!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015


Oh Friday, we finally made it. I'll be so thankful when that clock hits 4:30 and can head home! I've got my "annual review" at work today, and I'm so not a fan of these things. I'm just one of those people that always prepares for the worst, for no real reason, even when I've done a great job. So I'll be thankful when that's over!

Leaving work this evening also means its the beginning of our STAY-CATION. I have lots of fun planned for next week, and it will be GLORIOUS to just spend an entire week with Caleb, doing whatever our hearts desire. Although we aren't flying to some fancy beach, we're getting pretty lucky in the weather-department. Normally Ohio has freezing temps by November, but not this year We're hitting mid 60's. My body is so confused, but I don't hate it.
...okay so maybe I DO wish we were on a sandy beach ;) but we will just pretend!

Tomorrow is also one of my favorite nights of the holiday season. My companies Christmas party! They serve what I consider to be the best meal of our year (steak, lobster, bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp, family style sides, etc.!), so you could say I'm excited.
woah - throwback to dark hair.
All in all, Caleb and I had a pretty great week! I made the most simple yummy crock pot meal and had so much leftover. If you're looking for something easy and quick, click this! Creamy Ranch Chicken -- the only complaint was I couldn't really taste the ranch, so I believe next time I'll be adding more mix.

We went on quite a few long walks after dinner, marveled at all the gorgeous lights in our neighborhood, and just enjoyed our time together this week. Nothing fancy, but it was just perfect.

I hope you all have a fun weekend ahead of you! Enjoy it :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My blog is beautified - again!

This post is about to be super random. Sorry bout it!

I got so wrapped up in the relaxation that was Thanksgiving break, then spilling the news that I'm going to be an aunt, that I forgot to mention my exciting BLOG MAKEOVER. Can we take a second to admire that perfect watercolor up there?! I'm biased, but its pretty stinkin' cute. Erin does great work, so if you're in the market, look no further!!!! I promise, you'll love anything she comes up with!

-In other news. I'm taking way too many polaroids lately. Just kidding. NO such thing as too many polaroids.

-At church recently, one of the gals from youth group came over to me with a few tasty treats. 6 cupcakes to be exact. What's even sweeter? She had no real reason to make these for me. She just wanted to be nice. Not to mention, these are SO festive!!! The world could use some more people like her :)

-Thanks for any and all prayers- my mom passed a HUGE test this week and will be starting her new job as a traveling nurse very shortly. She's so excited. Although she may not be home for Christmas, I know this is the right thing for her to do. We're so thankful for her new opportunity!

-Christmas shopping for my husband has been kinda difficult this year - normally I feel like I'm ON it with creativity and all that, but this year? I'm struggling a bit! I have a FEW cute ideas but really need to buckle down to figure out a BIG gift for him!

-At-home workouts rock. I also found some inexpensive kettle bell weights last weekend, so I can save a drive to the gym some mornings - which lets be honest, hasn't happened in a while.

-I'm so excited!! I found a dress for my Christmas party this weekend. Caleb also got a KILLER deal on 2 suits at JCPenney's (thanks to my brother for the mega-discount) and I do believe Caleb is going to show me up in the fancy department this year ;)

-I made this amazing "brunch bake" recently . I'll probably post this recipe sometime. It was so easy, and so, SO, amazing. We had leftovers for days #thankspinterest

and last but DEFINITELY not least. My girl, Becky just booked a plane ticket to come visit!!! I am out of my mind excited to squeeze this girl again. It truly is crazy to think about the friendships that can be formed through the internet. I'm glad Caleb doesn't think I'm crazy. Can't wait for February (so we can visit Skyline, Jungle Jims, and make as much french toast as our bellies can handle!).

I hope everyone has a fun, random Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's the most wonderful time!

Last night, Caleb made me get off the couch, grabbed my hand, and took me on a long walk around our subdivision. It meant so much to me. We talked forever, conversations that probably wouldn't have happened if we sat in front of the TV all night. He took me to a nearby street that had some of the coolest Christmas lights (accompanied by Christmas music, of course) and we just stared. The owner was even outside and we thanked him for the free entertainment.

No other time of year is it really acceptable to stare at someone's home, and its considered normal, or even encouraged. Something about this time of year makes people seem happier, more approachable, and more giving. I can't help it - I love this time of year!!! Of course, surprising friends with gifts is always a blast, but I love the traditions that come along with this time of year.

Traditions like...
...making brownies for breakfast with Caleb on Christmas morning and trying to finish as many as we can before celebrating with my family for brunch.

...writing notes every Thanksgiving with my family (we write down what we're thankful for privately, and we go around the table on Christmas and pick one out of the tin, and read it out loud).

...Caleb and I each giving each other one small gift the night before Christmas because we just can't help ourselves! ;)

...going to the coolest free Christmas play in Cincinnati every year with our best friends.

...and like getting new ornaments every year to hang on our tree. This is an old one of my mom's - part of the Wizard of Oz set we've got on our tree! Love!!

Christmas is honestly just one of my favorite times of year. Caleb and I always get SO excited to decorate the house, play as much Christmas music as possible the entire month of December and light our tree the second we walk in the door! I love the traditions we have just as a family of 2, and can't wait to make new ones as the years pass by!

Linking up with Pinky today for anything-goes- Christmas style ;)

Everyone enjoy your Tuesday!