Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Year Come and Gone

Wow. 2014 has already come and gone. Can you believe it?

Tonight, we will spend our New Year's Eve with Connor and a few other friends who plan to come over. He has never had this holiday with Adam before, so we're excited to stay up late, have some tasty treats, count down to midnight, and toast some mocktails!

I always find myself reflecting a bit on the past year, but I am mostly looking forward to the new one. Nonetheless, 2014 has treated us pretty well.

After a great Christmas and New Year's in TN with our families last year, Adam and I spent New Year's Day driving back to Indianapolis. The next day we saw one of the biggest snows we've ever seen... which led to three months of snow and cold like we've never experienced before. We got a little cabin fever, but we watched all seven seasons of West Wing, cooked a lot, and did our best to stay warm. Connor got to play in some of the snow, and that was really fun for all of us since he's never seen more than a few flurries.

When spring hit, we started house hunting back in Tennessee.  In June, we closed on our first home! This led to a busy summer with a lot of trips back and forth between Indy and Nashville to work on the house and get ready to move. We also took Connor to the beach for a few days, and Adam and I went to Denver to celebrate our first anniversary in August.

Connor began 1st grade, and we moved back to TN for good in late August! It's hard to believe how quickly the last 4 months have passed. We've stayed busy getting the house in order, seeing friends and family, spending time with Connor (we see him so much more now that we're home, which is awesome!) and just enjoying life back in our favorite city. We've been to sporting events, concerts and other activities around town.

To say we are happy to be home is an understatement. We are certainly thankful for Adam's job and know that the temporary time in Indy was the right choice for his career and our future... but we really did not like it there. We are southerners through and through.

The last two years have both brought a ton of changes and adventures for our life together. We have a few things in mind that we'd like to do in 2015, but for the most part we are really looking forward to just living life and not having to drive up and down I-65 a bazillion times, or try to find a home, or figure out logistics for moving across 3 states again, etc. (All of these things occurred in both 2013 and 2014.) Oh, and we don't have a wedding to plan either, haha!

It's going to be awesome to live in the same place all year... to see friends and family almost any time we want... to attend all sorts of fun Nashville events... And, fingers crossed, not spend 3 months snowed in freezing our crunchberries off!

We have a few goals for the year and a couple of things on the list that we'd like to do for fun - both as a couple and as a family with Connor. We're excited to see how our marriage grows in this season of being a bit more "settled" in our life together. Don't get me wrong - our marriage definitely benefited from all we've experience together thus far... but it's exciting to feel like we're in this new stage of being "home."

I'm really looking forward to dreaming more in 2015... I can't wait to see what this year has in store for us.

Blessings to you all in the year to come!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Marvel Universe Live with CJ

Connor LOVES all things Marvel these days, so it was not hard for us to make the decision to get tickets for Marvel Universe Live when it came to Nashville about 10 days before Christmas. The morning of the show, we told him he could open a present early...

He found the tickets inside and thought it was pretty exciting...

And then he realized, "We're going TODAY?!"

We got dressed, had some lunch and made our way downtown. Little man was decked out in his Avengers shirt, Thor hat and a cape!

After checking out the merchandise (which was all incredibly cheap, yet expensive... we've found better Marvel items at Target), we made our way to our seats.

We weren't totally sure what to expect, but it ended up being really awesome. Of course, Connor was mesmerized the entire time. It was a pretty neat show, and we loved getting to take him!

He had a great time, and we all enjoyed seeing it together. I think it definitely ended up being one of his favorite Christmas presents from us!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Engagement Anniversary

Two years ago today, Adam and I got engaged!

We spent a long weekend in NYC just before Christmas to go to a Dave Matthews Band concert and explore the city during the holiday season. I had NO idea what was coming, but I did know I was bound and determined to get a good picture in front of the big Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

When I spotted a photographer where you could stand in line and pay for a photo, I didn't care what it might cost - I knew this was the way to get the photo. We went back on our last night, and I had warned Adam that I didn't care how long the line was because we were doing it!  It ended up being fairly long, and he was being really quiet - even though I got to laughing and talking with the couple in line ahead of us.  I wasn't sure if he was tired or if he was grumpy I was making him stand in line for a photo.

I also insisted we take off our coats so that we looked nice in the picture and not all bundled up. We had dressed up a bit since this was our "date night" on the trip. What I didn't know was that ultimately I had given him the perfect setting.

We took a few photos...

And then he started talking about how much he loved me, and the next thing I knew he was down on his knee holding up a ring! I was shocked!

I said yes, and I think I kept laughing out of all of the surprise and just the whole experience. The crowd (because with that long line, there was definitely a crowd) started cheering and clapping. And fortunately the photographer kept snapping photos.

Adam is always so romantic and thoughtful, and I love that he found such a special way to propose. He later told me that he intended to do it on the trip and that he was determined to find a way to do it where someone would take pictures... but he didn't know for sure when we left Nashville how it would work out. So when I insisted on taking the picture at this spot, I made it easy for him without even realizing it!

He also told me he was so nervous all night (he was carrying the ring in his pocket as we went to eat at Serendipity and wandered around the city a bit), and it definitely made more sense to me why he was so quiet in line!

While we want to get back to NYC sometime in the next few years for a few days around this time of year, this year we are celebrating in Nashville. We both have to work today, but later tonight we're heading out to The Pharmacy. We went there on the very first night we hung out in 2012 that set everything in motion to lead to December 22, 2012 when he proposed.

This memory and these photos mean so much to us, and this time of year is all the more special to us because of this special day! Happy engagement anniversary, Adam!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

One of the things that I love about this time of year is that there are so many fun things to do! It can be a little hectic and busy, but I always feel like it's worth it.  Adam and I have of course been thrilled to be back in Nashville so that we could do more of our favorite things with our favorite people.

Early in December, we attended the Red Tie Gala benefitting Blood:Water Mission. This is one of our favorite charities, and it was pretty fun to have a reason to get dressed up! It was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the view of the Nashville skyline was incredible. We enjoyed a delicious meal, music from one of our favorite local artists Dave Barnes, and learned more about the work the cause is doing.

A little later in the month, my mom, sister and I went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry. As someone who danced for years, I was fascinated watching the Rockettes! The live nativity at the end was pretty cool, too.

On another evening, Adam and I joined some of our friends for a Christmas dinner at Silo. We love this restaurant, and we love the company we ate with even more! We also found out they had a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, so we splurged a little bit and tried a class. It was delicious.

Since we love being a host, we invited Adam's entire family to our house for the annual family Christmas gathering (always held a weekend or two before Christmas). We planned it on a weekend that Connor was with us, so everyone was tickled to see him. A lot of these folks hadn't seen him since our wedding!

In the midst of all of this, we've of course had work and normal day-to-day life... but there's just something fun about having the spirit of Christmas woven into our days. I love sitting by our Christmas tree as I get some work done, and I've been listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. We've even been able to watch a few favorites with Connor when he's been with us. We are really look forward to actual Christmas, too, but I love all of the activities and the atmosphere leading up to the big day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Race Report: Mt. Juliet Holiday 5K

Earlier this month, Adam and I completed his 2014 resolution to run at least one race per month during the year. We ran in the Mt. Juliet Holiday 5K!

This race precedes the Mt. Juliet Christmas parade, so it has a fairly late start of 11am. We had no complaints there!  We had picked up our packets on Friday evening so that we could show up just in time to race.

It was a bit windy, but otherwise it wasn't too terribly cold. The course was pretty hilly, so I was thankful we've been logging runs in our very hilly neighborhood. We ran pretty much the whole time, but we definitely kept it at an easy pace.

We were pleased to find hot chili at the post-race food in addition to fruit, chips and cokes. Ultimately, Adam won his age group! I was so proud!

I ended up placing 4th in my age group, and I totally could have placed if Adam and I had ran separately - but this resolution wasn't about placing or times or anything like that. It was about staying active, completing each month's race, and crossing both the start and finish lines of every race together.

We have some great memories of the 12 races from this year. Some were in the bitter cold and snow in Indiana. One had us running around the Indy Speedway. Some were back in our home in TN, and several were races that I have run every year for a few years.

We're considering what we'd like to do to stay active in 2015. I'm not sure it'll be the same goal of one race per month... we're considering our first triathlon, and I'd like to do a fall marathon (and there's no talking Adam into that!). So we shall see.

We hung out at home that afternoon before going to see the Preds play that night. Sadly, they lost - but we're still thrilled with how well the Preds are doing and hope to go to a few more games in the new year.

On Sunday, we continued to show our hometown pride and went to the Titans game. Adam is a BIG Titans fan (and I always support the home team), so we bought a 2-game pack back during the pre-season. They haven't been doing so hot, so we sort of knew going into it that it would be a rough game. Honestly, I was pretty excited to see Eli Manning play for the Giants as I love the Manning family! We made it until about half time and then decided we were cold and went home to watch the sad ending on tv. Here's to hoping for a good draft pick for next year!

All in all, we had a really fun weekend to kick off our December and all of our holiday activities!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ICE! and Dancing Lights - A Christmas Tradition

Every year, one of our Christmas traditions is to spend time with Gram going to ICE! at Opryland and then driving through the Dancing Lights nearby. We decided this year that since Connor was with us for his Thanksgiving break, we'd go then so that we have more time over Christmas break for other things.

On Sunday, Gram came over so that Connor could show her all of our Christmas decorations.

He was SO excited when she told him our plans for the day, and then we hopped in the truck and headed to Opryland.  Our first stop was ICE! This year's theme is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We are always amazed at how they carve these amazing pieces of work as well as how colorful they are able to make them. Connor also especially loves the slides!

This year, they added an Ice Bar for the adults. Adam and I decided to check it out and enjoyed a tasty mix of Maker's Mark and cranberry juice.

We always make sure to get one of the photos of all of us from the outing. It's so fun to compare them each year, especially seeing how much Connor has changed.

After we finished there, we went over to the mall to visit Santa! He has a great spot in the Bass Pro Shop, and they give you free photos!  We decided to hop in one of them with him, too!

We grabbed some dinner at T. G. I. Fridays and then went over to see the Dancing Lights! One of the local campgrounds always has this light show where you drive through (rather, you barely inch through it... it takes 30 minutes), listening to music that the lights are set to through the radio. We always think it's pretty neat, and Connor loves it when he's able to watch through the sunroof. It was a really nice evening at 65 degrees, so we had all the windows down so that we could see well.

As usual, little man loved it!  It was a great day, and it was a perfect end to our Thanksgiving weekend festivities!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Decorating for Christmas!

On the day after Thanksgiving, we set to work decorating our home for Christmas. I was pretty excited since this is our first Christmas in our new home. We bought a new tree (and on sale half off!), and we picked up some other odds and ends like a wreath and some stockings. Once Connor was up, we got busy hauling everything out from the attic and finding the perfect place for everything.

Once we got everything done, I think little man was pretty pleased with how it all turned out. I know I was!

Friday evening, we were super excited to have my best friend Stephanie and her husband and son over for dinner! We haven't seen them since the day he was born last year, and we definitely haven't spent much time with them since our wedding festivities. It was so great to see them while they were in town for Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, we did the rest of our Christmas shopping and then got some of the presents wrapped up. Connor was excited to wrap the gifts he helped pick out! We also picked up a few more ornaments and got them on the tree, too.

We spent the rest of the evening curled up on the couch watching Elf! It was a perfect two days spent kicking off the Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Part 2

Little man slept in after our big night out at the Preds game, and then I took him on an afternoon date to take care of some Christmas presents for some folks. After dinner, we dropped him off for a sleepover with Gram. He was so excited to get to spend the night in her new home for the first time!

After we got back on Thanksgiving morning from the Boro Dash, Gram, Connor, Nana and Papa all came over for the day. We were really excited to host the holiday for the first time in our own home!

Adam got the turkey going first thing, and over the next few hours everyone worked on other sides.

Papa's birthday was the day before, so we were able to give him his birthday present. Connor was pretty excited to give him a picture he worked on for him before they got there, too!

We also had fun playing with Meredith's new kitten, Leo. Nana and Papa brought him over since they were cat sitting for the weekend.

Before long, it was time to eat! We were really proud of how well the turkey turned out, and the spread we enjoyed was delicious!

We relaxed for a bit after we ate until we were ready for dessert. Before long, everyone else had to head back home. All in all, it was a successful first Thanksgiving in our home!