I am terrible with Christmas cards. I mean, I love them—both giving and receiving—but in the busy-ness of the holidays, I never seem to get them out. The last year we sent out Christmas cards was 2010. So if you’re a friend and wondering why you haven’t gotten yours, please know that you weren’t crossed off the list, I promise.
A good friend of mine took to doing the newsy segment of her holiday letter on her blog. I love this idea so much that I am going to copy it, right now. But I also wanted to take a minute to look back at 2014 and offer up some gratitude for many of the wonderful moments that made up this year.
First up, January.
We really kicked this year off big. We bought our first home. If you have yet to embark on this particular adventure, know that it is both daunting and wonderful. I love our house and our neighborhood. It has already come with its fair share of un-fun, but it is also amazing to have a space of our own. Here’s a silly picture:
Also in January, we celebrated the 30th birthday of a good friend. He and his wife found a vacation home to which he invited us and three other couples. It was a wonderful getaway to launch us on another year of fun travel. Also, all of our friends were good enough to listen to me yammer on about all of my concerns with the homebuying process, which really meant a lot to me. Pictured here, the full complement of bananas the group managed to bring on this two-day vacation.
Home Sweet Home
A new home comes with a long (really never-ending) list of projects and desires. We managed to check a few of those off this year, like painting over the radioactive sour apple green walls in our guest room. One of my favorite projects in 2014 was building a paver stone patio. I took lots of photos of this project with the intention of putting it on the blog—hopefully I will get to that at some point in 2015—but it really has been a great addition to our back yard.
Also, I grew a lemon. Two actually. My husband fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams and bought me a lemon tree for my birthday—(don’t worry, he took care of the pony dream years ago)—and despite our low expectations, it has two yellow fruits! I have plans to turn them into lemon curd this weekend. Wish me luck.
Late last year my career took a turn in a bit of a new direction. A colleague moved away and I moved into the vacant position, taking on all of our organization’s social media marketing and online content needs. It has been a big change—bigger, perhaps, than I originally anticipated. But all of this change has come with amazing opportunities. This summer, I was selected for the Destination Marketing Association International’s 2014 30 Under 30 class. I got to attend the trade association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, where I met some of the coolest and smartest young people working in our industry, plus a lot of experienced professionals. The wow-factor of Vegas aside, it was a stellar trip.
Fortunately, I was able to catch up with some of the other Under30s at the Social Media Tourism Symposium in Nashville. Another awesome city, another awesome group of people I want to grow up to be. Even though I have a wonderful team in my office, all of this networking and story-sharing has been invaluable to my social media department of one.
But believe it or not, those two trips were not the most unusual thing that happened at work this year. That prize would have to go to the holiday cat video (yes, cat video) that we managed to put together and launch in about a month. I’ll let it speak for itself, but if you really want to know more, you can watch my interview with the local news.
On the Road
Not all of this year’s travel was business-driven. My husband and I joined my family on a great summer trip to Madison, Wisconsin in August, where we enjoyed cheese, beer, sunshine and lots of great restaurants thanks to Yelp. Seriously, we had some of the best food. And then just this past week, we drove down to Florida to visit my husband’s parents and then grandparents, and that trip also included one of our bucket list items—a stop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Totally, totally worth the hype.
We also squeezed in a couple of mini-trips in 2014—a one-day, one-night adventure for our fourth wedding anniversary and a weekend escape to the beach in the fall.
Of course, it’s really the little things…
The things that make up a year are not all these big milestones, it’s the small things too. Like joining a new gym that I love (and need to get back to), going to my 10-year class reunion without freaking out, becoming a deacon at our church, knitting a baby sweater for a good friend who is expecting, having a memorable girls’ night with friends, going through some rough patches and finding the support to do something about it, giving myself a spa day, frying chicken for a summer picnic by the water, attending afternoon tea with a girlfriend, having someone I admire say nice things about me.
The biggest little thing this year has actually been the awesome human beings I have found through the internet. Like Brandon at Humans of New York who finds humanity everywhere and shares it with words and pictures. Like Glennon over at Momastery, who shares the most important thoughts about love and hard work and tough life. Like Liz the cartoonist who makes me giggle almost daily. Like Jess at Get Gutsy who has challenged me. (Look for my #GetGutsy essay entry soon!) And so many more. I want to share more of these people with you in the coming year and discover more for myself.
I am so thankful for 2014 and all it has brought. So, so thankful. And also grateful for a fresh new year. See you in 2015!