2013, You Were Awesome

I seriously cannot believe another year has come and gone. It seems like each year goes by faster and faster. I wish time would slow down a bit! Here is a fun recap of the biggest moments of my 2013. It was a great one!

January 2013. Since my husband works in law enforcement, he sometimes has to work on holidays. It stinks, but the holiday pay isn’t so bad! He had to work on New Years Eve last year, so I spent it with my bestie, Christine! We went to dinner with her fiancé, John and then went to watch fireworks. The fireworks were a bust, so we went home to watch the ball drop! I’m all about a low key NYE these days.

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February 2013. David and I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Classic Center in Athens. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! I forgot to take my camera on this adventure, so there are no photos to show. Sadness.

March 2013. David and I flew to Ireland for an amazing adventure. He planned the entire trip, so it was nice to sit back and enjoy one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We started off in Dublin, then drove across the country to the west coast to visit the Cliffs of Moher, Shannon, Ennis, Newmarket on Fergus, and more, then ended our trip in the south of Ireland in Waterford, Tramore, and Kilkenny. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, we did drive on the opposite side of the road (we meaning David). Of course he had no trouble at all, he succeeds at everything he does (I’m not kidding, it makes me jealous, haha). It was one of the best trips of my life and I’d love to go back someday! I am so thankful for the ability to travel and see the world!

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April 2013. The month where the weather FINALLY starts to consistently stay warm. We enjoyed lots of nature walks with the dogs and prayed for temperatures to stay above 70 degrees (I am not a cold weather person). I also chopped off all of my hair, which I will never do again–I missed my long ponytail and the ability to get out of the shower and let my hair air dry. I couldn’t do that with short hair. April is also my birthday month, and I celebrated the start of my 25th year out and about in Athens with some awesome people and some delicious sushi.

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May 2013. There were lots of fun celebrations during this month–my mom’s birthday and mother’s day! We had fun eating boatloads of Greek food with my mom’s side of the family on mother’s day. We also celebrated David’s 26th birthday by–you guessed it–going out for sushi and our 2nd wedding anniversary with a delicious steak dinner at home. I love being married to my best friend!

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June 2013. David and I traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida for some scuba diving adventures! It felt so good to be back in the water after a pretty long hiatus. We had a blast playing with the fish, sharks, and crabs 70 or so feet under the water. In between dives we laid out in the sun, swam in the crystal-clear water, ate carrots, hummus, and rotisserie chicken in the sand, and just enjoyed one of God’s most glorious creations–THE BEACH! I’m pretty sure it took months for me to clean the sand out of my car and suitcase from this trip. We also celebrated father’s day–with my dad at a sushi bar (big surprise) and BBQ chicken with my father-in-law!

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July 2013. We celebrated the birth of our country at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. We enjoyed an attempt at wakeboarding, boating, tubing, jetskiing, tanning, eating, and swimming. The weiner dogs loved it too! July was actually a pretty important month because I left my beloved teaching job at Elite Academy to work for a newspaper full-time. I decided to make the switch because my hours are flexible and I make my own schedule at the paper, which will be better for us in the long-run. Plus, I am a writer (I have a BA in Communication Studies) and the pay was much better. I sure wish I could do both teaching and writing, but I can’t…luckily I can substitute teach on some Fridays when I finish my newspaper work for the week! I am so grateful for my job!

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August 2013. This was a pretty packed month, and I loved it! We hiked to the top of Table Rock in South Carolina (8 miles total) with our two dachshunds. It poured for two hours during this hike, but it was still an adventure. I went to Spartanburg, South Carolina to visit my bestie, Christine, and help her get ready for a new school year (she’s a school counselor). She also came back to Atlanta for a weekend and she and I explored every nook and cranny of our hometown. Sometimes it’s fun to explore the city you’ve been around for so long and see what all it has to offer. The end of August included my aunt Susan’s wedding celebration at Lake Lanier’s University Yacht Club, my very first muddy obstacle course race, Primal Rush, which was at Crow’s Lake in Jefferson, and lastly, the Hero’s Ball at the Braselton Stover House. I also stomped grapes at Chateau Elan’s Annual Vineyard Fest, where I enjoyed the King of Pops booth more than the wine.

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September 2013. I traveled to New York City with my family. We explored the city that never sleeps and went to the U.S. Open. We saw lots of famous tennis stars and even met a few of them. I’m so sad that I didn’t meet my Rafa 😦 Huge thanks to my parents for taking my brother and me on this amazing trip! It was a blast and I secretly want to live in NYC. David and I also traveled to Jekyll Island, Georgia for a nice beachy getaway one last time before summer officially ended. We had perfect weather and big waves, too! We also celebrated my dad and brother’s birthdays as well as the homecoming of Caleb Igor, my new brother-in-law who was adopted from Ukraine!

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October 2013. I was blessed to be able to travel to Ukraine with Melissa, my father-in-law’s wife. They had already brought Caleb Igor home, and Simon Nazar was next. Melissa was originally going to get Simon by herself since my father-in-law had already been in Ukraine for five weeks and was finally home with Caleb. I went with her to accompany her and be her English speaking buddy. It was an amazing trip! We spent time in Kiev, Zhytomyr (Jitomir), and Berdichev and I was able to see all of the behind the scenes adoption stuff happen. It was fun to bond with Simon too! This was also the first time I traveled halfway around the world by myself (I’ve traveled a lot, but have always been in a group or with someone else) because Melissa and Simon had a longer stay due to passport issues. I flew from Kiev, Ukraine to Frankfurt, Germany, to Washington DC, to Atlanta. It was such an adventure! I am so thankful for that trip. When I returned home, I was surprised to see a brand new closet that was built by my father-in-law and husband while I was overseas! My group of friends from middle and high school also had a fun reunion in October. It was so great to see everyone and catch up!

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November 2013. I attended my first wild game night (which was for my job) and tried all sorts of creatures (quail, frog legs, elk, quail eggs, etc.), and while I really wasn’t a fan of the food, it was still fun! David and I took a trip to the north Georgia mountains to enjoy hiking, mountain towns, and the beautiful fall foliage with our dogs. Hiking trips to the mountains in the fall bring me so much joy. I wish the fall season was longer. We also found out what it’s like to be a parent of two teenage boys, which is actually really fun. David and I stayed with our brothers who were adopted from Ukraine while my father-in-law underwent a medical procedure (all is well!). We listened to lots of music, ate a lot of food, and burned leaves (the boys did this, not me). I really missed them after being with them for 4 days straight! We ended the month with a “friendsgiving” celebration and Thanksgiving with our families.

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December 2013. I love December! A month filled with Christmas cheer, family time, and cozy warm fires in the fireplace. My brother-in-law graduated from Georgia Tech with his masters degree. He did this while working full-time, so we are all so proud of him! David and I also participated in the Braselton Run For Reading 8K race which took place during 40 degree weather and pouring rain. Despite the weather, it was a really great race and we both actually got 3rd place for our age groups. We attended a few Christmas parties, went to the magical nights of lights at Lake Lanier with a big group of friends, and my best friend since 3rd grade got ENGAGED. I am going to be her maid of honor and I am so excited for June 28th. I was honored to help her pick out her wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses, and we even had a little party for her to kick-off the celebrations! What an awesome month.

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Wow, 2013 was a great year. I cannot wait to see what 2014 holds! I’m looking forward to our 3 year wedding anniversary, a big trip this spring (we haven’t decided where yet, but it is going to be somewhere warm and tropical with ample scuba opportunities), and my best friend’s wedding on June 28th. Bring it on!