Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

I began compiling this post on January 15th. Nearly nothing had happened yet in 2015 and all sorts of possibilities were to be imagined. I filled in things that would probably happen each month, like our anniversary, birthdays and major holidays. There's no way to know at the beginning of the year what the following months will hold. They may be good, or they may be terrible. They may be terrible but we see them in a good light, or good, but we have different expectations and see them as bad. I love writing these recaps and putting things in over the course of a year because in just twelve months, lots happens. There's plenty that is blogged about, and also lots of things that aren't. I didn't write about the icky things that happened last March or the great conversation we had after church last Sunday, but as I compile, those things come to mind and make me thankful for the gift of remembrance.

This blog's purpose is to remember each year and to compile a snapshot of our life together that isn't complete, but can remind us of where we've come, what we looked like, what was going on. Just like whatever will happen (has happened) this year, it's imperfect and not whole, but we can be thankful for the little things, the big things, and the in between things that blogs just can't capture. So thanks for reading in 2015, for following along with us this year, and for understanding that this little blog is really just a way to capture some of the things we've done.


Lindsay met baby Clayton in Virginia
Carson taught his first class
We went to Ocala


We felt very confident in our ability to make-over furniture so we stained the rocking chair, effectively ending our plans of becoming furniture refinishers.
We had a quiet Valentine's Day
Went to Savannah for a weekend with friends


Over Spring Break, we had quite the adventure:
We went to Birmingham, Nashville and Atlanta, and Lindsay went to Louisville
Lindsay had a birthday!
Morgan visited us in Tallahassee/we went to the beach for the first time!


We celebrated Easter in Beaufort
Zack and Erica visited Tallahassee for 24 hours
We also went to the beach on a weekday during the school year, which is impressive


We went to Disney World (Magic Kingdom and Epcot) with Carson's brother and family
Met my parents in Jacksonville for the weekend
We celebrated 5 years of marriage (and went to Disney World again)
Brooke and little Clayton came to visit


I went to Ocala for Morgan's first baby shower
and to Beaufort for Morgan's shower, which turned into an adventure
Carson drove up to Beaufort to meet me and we went to Hilton Head (part of the aforementioned adventure)


Jillian, Graceanna and Wren came to visit us (here)!
We went up to Thomasville for the first time!
We visited the Northwest for the first time in almost three years (recap is here)!

Fall semester began 

Went to the first football game of the season and beat Texas State! 
Lindsay went to Birmingham for a girls' weekend


We went camping!
Chloe and Ricky got married in Beaufort
Carson went to Harvard to present a paper (and I don't have pictures of him so here's what I did)
We celebrated Halloween in Ocala with our first-ever group costume


Lindsay started a new job!
Carson went to Washington for his grandpa's funeral 
Carson went to Atlanta for a conference
We traveled to Beaufort for Thanksgiving


Carson's parents visited from Washington!
Carson turned 29
We celebrated Christmas in Tallahassee

Places we traveled and explored:
Virginia (January)
Savannah (February)
Nashville (March)
Louisville (March)
Atlanta (March)
Charleston (April, August)
Birmingham (March, September)
Hilton Head (June)
Washington and Oregon (July)
Panama City (September)
Cambridge/Boston (October)

A theme of this year was:
I asked Carson for help on this, and he came up with this:
Unsettled, settling, settled
For a long time we didn't feel like we had a place in Tallahasee and while it's a fine place to live, it's a little hard to be in a place with no friends and not really have a church family, so we felt unsettled. We've visited lots of churches (easily over 10) and have tried to settle at four of them. We finally feel settled in this fourth church, which we began attending in September. Because of the holidays and such we won't become members until after the new year, but we finally have a community group that we feel a part of and we are starting to feel like this is our home. The church is what made Cleveland so dear to us in such a short period of time and I'm so thankful to have finally found that here. It's nice to have friends that aren't just "nearby but still three hours (or more) away" but people who are right here who we can do life with.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Pictures

I sat down to work on something as Carson finished up the vacuuming and thought my feet up would make a funny picture. We spent the day cleaning and making things Chrismassy.

A quick dinner of spinach ravioli, mushrooms and raspberries. 

The first time I was on my own drawer at work. I asked if I could take a picture of the screen because I was SO NERVOUS that I was going to be missing millions of dollars (note I have not and will never touch millions of dollars but I over think everything). I am really liking it still and I'm so glad I made the change. 

While Carson's been on break he's been driving me to work, picking me up to have lunch together, and picking me up at the end of the day. I work longer hours now but we are definitely seeing each other much more often now that I'm closer to the school.

We sometimes walk around Lake Ella on my lunch breaks since I work in Midtown. It looks fallish, doesn't it?!

We finished our Christmas shopping on Decemeber 5th (started in late September because I spotted the perfect thing for Dad and thought it would be a nice thing to not spend all our money at one time in December but rather spread it out just in case). We went to the mall to find a few last things for people that day and discovered that Bath and Body Works had three wick candles for $8.50 when they are usually $22.50. We love the mall at Christmas and didn't mind the long windy line in there to stock up on said candles. 

I made headbands for my nieces Christmas gifts this year! Although I did finish shopping in early December, it was a week or two later that I finished the gifts I made. I will have to start earlier next year. 

The ugly sweater I got for ugly sweater day at work. It's not the most ugly and is really just HUGE and not flattering and way too hot to actually wear. 

I sometimes make Carson brush my hair while we watch a movie. I had Christmas Eve-Eve (December 23rd) off work so we made that the day of our annual Christmas movie marathon and so I got my hair brushed a lot. 

Our Community Group Christmas party was fun! It was the night Carson's parents came into town. We had lots of tasty food, a white elephant gift exchanged, and played telephone pictionary. We've played a lot before but if you haven't the idea is that everyone has a stack of paper with as many sheets as there are people. On the first sheet, you write something down (I wrote "away in a manger", but people can do phrases or describe something or write someone's name), then you pass your stack of paper to the left with the sheet you wrote on top. Using whatever the person wrote, you draw a picture of whatever it is and put the thing they wrote on the bottom. Again, you pass to the left. You keep going alternating writing-drawing-writing-drawing trying to best describe or depict what you see or read. It goes around until everyone ends up with their original stack of paper and then you read them all aloud. For instance, mine that said "Away in a manger" started out with someone drawing a manger scene, someone writing "the first christmas", someone else drawing a manger scene... then it changed when someone wrote "the most wonderful time of the year". A huge football fanatic took that as a sign and drew a football stadium.  and then by the time it got back to me somehow there was a manger scene again. Some were hilarious and others stayed pretty true, but it's a pretty good group game. 

I drew the cow jumps over the moon here,  but I can't remember if the original one was indeed supposed to be a cow jumping over a moon.

And for the white elephant, I brought the armadillo purse I'd somehow received from someone one year. Yep, real armadillo. Yep, you can buy them on Ebay. Yep, it's a little scary and lived in the back of my closet until now. But someone stole this gift and was planning on giving it for someone as a real Christmas gift, so it went to a good home. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

We had a merry Christmas at our little apartment in Tallahassee! It's not the first Christmas we've had just the two of us but was the first in Florida and it was actually enjoyable and relaxing. In the past we've had our own "Christmas morning" a day or two before or after the actual holiday because we were going to be with family. 

We started by sleeping in. I was up late on Christmas Eve doing laundry (so festive! But it was a busy week) so we slept in and didn't open presents until later in the morning. 

We had to take our Christmas morning picture first, of course. 

And while the phone was still on the tripod, mom and dad called and we Facetimed with them for a little bit before starting on unwrapping.

We left the phone on the tripod and took pictures every once in awhile with the timer, so we didn't actually know when a picture was being taken but we were still able to have pictures. 
Here we are opening a thoughtful gift from Carson's uncle: both of his grandparents (on the Bay side) died this year, so Carson's uncle put together a book of pictures of their lives and sent one to us. It wasn't expected and it's special to have.

I got a FitBit!

Carson got a Calvin and Hobbes comic book. His family always had a shelf of books like this, and on the top shelf in this picture is part of our little collection.

I guess you could say that a tradition my family has is to not clean up the wrappings as we go, but to leave them on the floor. It feels more festive to me somehow, so we did that and just left a mess while we watched Brave, which is one of Carson's favorite Disney movies and was oddly difficult to track down for Christmas.

This Christmas broke records! It was 85 degrees on Christmas day. We went with it and wore short sleeves and sandals to the movie theater. You may have noticed this already, but Carson is wearing his Home Alone shirt that my mom made for him last year.

We saw The Big Short, which we enjoyed but probably didn't understand all that well. I've never been to the movies on Christmas but I know that lots of people go; it was packed!

After the movie, we went to the only place we found open (we knew they were open because we called the day before) and got Chinese take-out. Either Chinese food on Christmas is a thing, or this place is super popular, but they were quite busy. It came out so quickly though!

We forgot that they give you a lot of food. It was all really good though!

And we finished our advent calendar from Trader Joes!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Eve

We spent Christmas in Florida this year! It was nice to have a quiet Christmas, as we've been busier during this season than we are usually (I think this is in part to me having a job with more hours, and not being able to have free time to relax like I used to). 

I spent the first half of Christmas Eve at work. It was really busy and really warm, so I couldn't wear my ugly Christmas sweater that we were all encouraged to wear that day. Carson picked me up from work and we went home to relax for a little bit before we went to church that evening. 

Our church had two Christmas Eve services, and we decided to go to the first one at 4:30pm. It was a beautiful and reflective service, and I love candlelight services. We sang carols and listened to Scripture being read, then the children's pastor gave a children's message and then our pastor gave a message for the adults. It was appropriate and encouraged us to remember how all of this really is about Christ coming so that he could die for our sins. At the end, the lights were dimmed and we sang "Silent Night" as we held candles. The fourth and fifth graders were invited to come up and be the ones who lit candles for each row, and you could tell that they were just overjoyed with that responsibility. 

After the service, Carson and I picked up a pizza for dinner and headed home. Several presents had arrived, and the boxes weren't marked so I accidentally opened them. I got a coloring book from my sister in law that we enjoyed using as we watched While You Were Sleeping.

We'd had a busy week with Carson's family in town, so I took that evening as a time to not just relax but also to catch up on laundry and a little tidying. Carson fell asleep on the couch as I worked, so Fixer Upper on Netflix kept me company until quite late.

It was too warm to wear flannel to bed, so I laid out our festive Christmas PJs for the morning

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