December in a Nutshell

December 31, 2014

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December is always busy, but this was the busiest Christmas season I have ever had. A few days before Christmas, Jake and I were talking after a crazy day and I looked back at my calendar and realized it had been 3 weeks since we had a day or evening with nothing scheduled and no where to be. This little tree that we bought when we were first married somehow survived another year even though we ALWAYS say we are going to get a new one. Maybe next year we will try a real one! 
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^This was after one of Jake's work party dinners at Joe's Stone Crab in the Forum Shops. We look forward to this dinner all year- they have the best King crab legs everrrr. 
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^I made soup early on that got us through a few nights and discovered Red Pears! 
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^My amazing friend Tyree every December puts together a service project for the homeless downtown. A group of us put together these bags full of sandwiches, trail mix, beef jerky, hats, gloves, socks, and homemade cookies and passed them out the next morning. My mother in law Janae came with me that day and it was the most eye-opening and incredible experience. We had 300 bags and they were all gone within 10 minutes. The people were so thankful, but as we drove home all we could think about was the fact that in 3 hours, they would be hungry again and searching for their next meal. All our worries seemed so small, and we were reminded that just the simple fact that we have food to eat makes us more blessed than a huge percentage of the world. We promised each other we wouldn't wait another year to do more. I'm so glad Tyree did all the work she did to put this together so that we as the participants could have our eyes opened to how abundantly blessed we are on a daily basis and how much we are needed even in our own backyard. I'm confident that this helped me more than it did anyone on that street. 

Another similar experience we had as a family was put together by my angel mother in law Janae. She found two families that were in desperate financial need and we were able to shop and get the children gifts and deliver them along with food for the families. I'm so glad I have people in my life that take the initiative to serve and let me be apart of it so I can experience the true meaning of the season. They have inspired me to actually be the one to take the initiative and not just hang on the coattails of others! 
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^I got my wrapping done last minute which ended up being a good thing because all of the Christmas wrapping and decor was 50% off at Hobby Lobby! I always keep kraft paper in my supply because it works for everything, but to spruce it up I got some ribbon and a full branch and cut off sprigs for each present. I love how it turned out! Hooray for sales! 
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We spent Christmas with the Runyons and it was SO FUN…especially with my adorable nieces Reese and Elle. Christmas through a child's eyes is 1000% more magical. I love the little humans in my life! That is Keith and Janae's tree.. photos don't even come close to doing it justice! It was gorgeous! I'm sad I didn't get more pictures. My camera lens broke during our last trip and I still have yet to get it fixed because I'm scared for the cash I'm going to have to shell out..Ha. 
I can't believe it is New Year's Eve already. I will always have a special place in my heart for 2014 and all it brought me, but I'm looking forward and ready for a new year! Wishing all things good to you and yours!  

Quad-State Trip Part 4: Outerbanks North Carolina/Thanksgiving/Jake's Birthday

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See part 1 of our trip here, part 2 here, and part 3 here
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^While we were in D.C. we heard there was a big storm coming in, and since we were renting a car and driving to the Outerbanks we decided to leave at 5:30 in the morning to get out before the worst of it. It rained the whole 5 hour drive, but we loved it, talked, and listened to Jason Reeves Songs are Silent Films. I'm so glad we had the chance to drive a bit through the East Coast. I want to re-live this. 
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^It's really hard to get all my immediate family together because we are spread out across the country, so this Thanksgiving was truly special and our anticipation for this part of the trip was out of control! The whole family met at a house in Corolla, NC on the beach and my oldest brother brought his Pit Barrel Cooker to make the Turkey. Look at that thing! It was even better than it looks! 
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^Under the direction of my Sister in Law Emily, She, Ashley and I made 7 pies. I made Chocolate Chess, Ashley made Pumpkin Chiffon, and Emily made Raspberry Peach and Cherry Blueberry. We had pie every night and it was amaaaazing! 
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^Jake's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, so not only did we have pie, but I also made sure to make his funny favorite, Funfetti with rainbow chip frosting. I always feel grateful for life on birthdays. Especially for this life. I love him. It was an extra thankful day. 
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^The next day we climbed up to the top of the Currituck Lighthouse. I don't really consider myself afraid of heights, but when the guide was telling us how old the stairs were to get there, and I looked down, I felt a slight touch of panic haha. This view was worth that and the work out! 
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^All of my brothers!
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And that's the end of our Quad-State Trip! I'm so grateful we were able to do this. It was one of the biggest highlights of my year and I finished posting it just in time for a new year to start… haha..December was insane and time got away. Anyway- here's to all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences of 2014!

Quad-state trip part 3: Washington D.C.

December 28, 2014

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See part 1 of our trip here, and part 2 here.
We only spent one day/night in D.C. but it was one of the most beautiful days of the entire trip. Cold, but the leaves were gorgeous. 

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^The photo on the left is on the bus from NYC to Philadelphia and the one on the right is the early morning bus from Philadelphia to D.C. ...Someone get that girl a nap and a coke! (Don't worry I looked more alive after lunch).
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^This little guy wanted to join in on the fun. He sat right by Jake on the bench to eat a snack. 
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^The only time I had ever been to D.C. before this trip was one day during a church history tour in High School. I had been anxiously waiting to see the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and as soon as I arrived at the doors they closed for the day because of electrical complications from the rain. I was devastated, so being able to spend hours there this time was huge for me. 
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^Look closely at the picture on the right and you can see how the sunset made the Washington Monument glow! So awesome.
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We left the next morning saying, "We haaave to go back!" This time for more than one day. 

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