Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - The Year of Alaska

I can't believe it's New Year's Eve. This year has flown by! 

The last few years, we've gotten in the habit of finding a word or phrase to characterize the year. This year was definitely the year of Alaska. When we moved there, I had no idea what to expect. And when we suddenly moved back to Texas, I had no idea how much I would miss Alaska. It has a piece of my heart. And always will. It's no surprise that my best memories of the year came from living in Alaska. 

I thought it would be fun to do a short recap of fun happenings from each month this year. 

January - 
We celebrated our first anniversary at the Hotel Alyeska. Nathanial pulled out all the stops and had so many surprises for me during the weekend. 

February - I ran my first freezing 5k. Let's be honest, I did it for the scarf. 

March -
So much happened in March. We got to experience the Iditarod and all the events that went along with Fur Rondy. My favorite was running with the reindeer. It was incredible! I also ran a St. Patrick's 5k. It was -3 at the start and my hair froze. The sunroof on my car randomly exploded as I was going down the highway. 

April - We celebrated Easter, Nathanial's birthday and I ran another 5k. 

May - The lights went out while we were attending a performance of Sister Act. This is also the month my running training group started. 

June - This is the month we got the most sunlight. We took full advantage by replanting our flower bed at midnight and watching a baseball game that didn't start until 10 p.m. I ran a 12k. My parents came to visit in the midst of a heat wave. 

July - Nathanial's grandparents came to visit us. A story I pitched at work got picked up by all the local outlets so I was on the news quite a bit. I ran a half marathon. 

August - I had the best birthday ever when Nathanial surprised me with a behind the scenes tour at the Wildlife center. We got to feed the animals! Nathanial's parents came to visit and we all ran a 1 mile race (complete with Alaska shaped medal). 

September - We attended the Alaska State Fair. We picked vegetables at a farm over Labor Day. 

October - This month it snowed for the first time this year. We found out we were moving and moved two weeks later. 

November - We started adjusting to life back in Texas. We closed on our house two days before Thanksgiving. I ran the Route 66 Half Marathon with my father-in -law. 

December - We got the house in order and spent the month with friends and family. We hosted our first (and second) Christmas. 

What a year! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The first thing people want to know about our time in Alaska was how we handled the weather. It makes me laugh to think about it because dressing for Texas weather lately is much worse than dressing for Alaska. 80 degrees in December is crazy. 

Despite the warm weather, we're doing our best to be in the holiday spirit. We celebrated all weekend long. 

Friday night, our Sunday School class did an "As Seen on TV" white elephant gift exchange. We almost walked away with the clapper (clap on, clap off) but it was snatched up at the last second. 

Saturday afternoon we celebrated Christmas with my brother and his family since they'll be traveling Christmas Day. It was an afternoon filled with fun and lots of laughter. 

On the way home, Nathanial's car kept giving us weather alerts. That was especially exciting since we had his company party that evening. 

We got the worst of the weather on the way to the party. Once we were parked, it wasn't an issue. The evening was an elegant affair complete with magician. 

After church on Sunday, N hung a mirror over the mantle and helped me with some other projects around the house. I love how the Christmas decor looks. 

Here's our dining room. It was green last week. It looks so much better now! 

Can I just keep Christmas decorations up year round?

I just got this table on Friday. I love it and the Christmas prints from a talented college friend but am still figuring out how to style them. 

Even our dining table is festive!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Now if we could just get the weather to feel like Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Weekend of Animals: Zoo Lights and Christmas Parades

I'm happy to report I escaped the land of boxes and got everything unpacked. Our garage is crammed full of said boxes so I'm pretty embarrassed to open it these days. 

I spent the rest of my time last week running errands and trying to decide how to decorate the house. This house is shaped a lot differently so what worked in our Alaska house won't work here. It's a little daunting. 

I was especially overwhelmed at picking paint colors. Unfortunately that part hasn't gotten any better. The painter is 3/4 of the way done with the downstairs and I still can't decide if I like the color. Fingers crossed, that's just the paint fumes talking. 

Friday night, we hung out with our niece and nephew while their parents were at a Christmas party. We played a board game some friends of our introduced us to and had a blast. Saturday we saw them again as we watched the Baylor game. This meme pretty accurately sums it up. 

We also took in our community's Christmas parade. That kind of thing makes me love living in the suburbs. My favorite parts were the miniature donkey - I now need one - and the Polar Express float. 

Saturday evening, we met up with our friends Mason and Ashley, and convinced them to drive downtown to see the Zoo Lights. Neither husband was too impressed (with traffic, the hour long line to get in, or the LED lights, even though there were over a million of them.) They were good sports though. It was great getting to spend time with old friends. 

Found a moose!

The giraffes stole the show. 

Sunday, we went to church and got ready for the painter. 

I'm hoping he finishes today and I can decorate the Christmas tree without looking at this. 

The previous homeowners really liked color. I love avocado but not on my wall. Stay tuned to see how we transform the space.