Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 in retrospect.

Consider yourself forewarned - I think that this is one of my longest posts ever but I'm so grateful to have this look-back at 2013 and I know I'll feel the same way in years to come. 

Let's take a look at the past year!

We started out the year in Arizona, as we have together since 2006-2007.
While in AZ we also visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which was pretty great.
Once back in DC, salsa was made, an amaryllis was planted, I celebrated my birthday, started a new job, and there was an inauguration in our city.
Birthday tulips and a sweet card.
¡Feliz cumpleaños! I celebrated by bowling with friends and then a day at the museums.
"Not a fan."
We experienced our first DC snow which was actually Guinness' first any snow.
Pretty fish gutter attachments that are all over Savannah.
I got myself a job back in education and unexpectedly spent the last days of the month on a surprise trip to Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah was beautiful for the first few days of the month. 
Upon returning back to DC we watched the 49ers lose to the Ravens in the Superbowl and then celebrated Valentine's Day.
A Valentine's treat.
Basically, we just hung around DC for the shortest month.

In the third month of the year we experienced some more snow; Guinness still didn't like it.
"More of this?"
Michael celebrated his own special day with a gift from his uncle in Arizona {cheers!}.
Happy Birthday!
We explored the kite festival as the days got warmer.
I also admired some faux-cherry blossoms {I might have figured out what those guys actually are but I can't remember now} in anticipation of the real deal.
Not really cherry blossoms.
And Easter brought the Easter bunny to our little apartment.
Who was here?
I also ended up at another school which is where I'm currently teaching.

With some patience the real cherry blossoms came to greet us.
Cherry blossoms!
And they brought Becs with them too! We ran the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race together which was a true pleasure; it was my first big run since an injury from more than a year before and the first race Becs and I had done together since college - what a wonderful weekend we had!
I enjoyed the blooms almost each day of their tenure and there were even a few early warm days to spur them along.
We went to our first 2013 Nationals' game on one of those balmy nights but I can't remember if they won or lost.
I loved the color of the new green leaves up against the pink when they started to replace the cherry blossoms.
Pink and green.
We also enjoyed the spring White House garden tour; thanks to our tour guide!
White House.

We spent a nice day at the National Arboretum. 
Capitol columns.
The original Capitol columns are a beautiful part of the grounds.
I also discovered their really cool outdoor Bonsai museum {those bonsai are so old!}.
Skies and baseball.
We enjoyed the Nationals a bit more and the crazy clouds just as much.
I ran a half marathon with some friends; the longest distance since that injury from December 2011 and I was very happy that day; a good and fun course, cool/balmy weather, and a good time - yippee!!
Memorial Day weekend.
We checked out the monuments with new eyes with some out-of-town visitors over the Memorial Day weekend.
And we tried Ethiopian food for the first time with them too! I wasn't a huge fan.
"I'm on a plane!"
After wrapping up the school year, Guinness and I ended the month with his first plane ride to California.

My brother's high school graduation was a lovely excuse to spend a week in my home town.
When we returned to DC we hooked up with some old Peace Corps friends and spent a long weekend in Wildwood, New Jersey, which we loved.
Beach bums.
We both experienced our first blue crab feed back in the district. 
Old Bay galore.
It's so much work for such little meat but fun nonetheless.
Poor thing's face is blocked.
Ellie-Fence visited!!!!!!
More columns.
And we returned to the arboretum for a warmer visit than our May time there.

Unbeknownst to us there was an itty bitty little one already squirming around inside of me, but we'd soon find out.

We started off the month on a plane to a faraway place.
Interactive map.
Iceland was an amazing vacation for us and we loved helping our friends celebrate their wedding and seeing the bride's hometown.
Behind a waterfall.
We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful sight-seeing; waterfalls! Geysers! Hot springs! A glacier!
On top of a waterfall.
When we returned stateside our thoughts were confirmed and we saw a little blob bouncing back at us from the screen. 
Little blob.
We soon shared with Michael's parents since they happened to be visiting us; they were some happy grandparents!
Hot feet.
We jazzed it up in the sculpture garden on a really hot day.
Cold water!
I got to go back to California to share our baby news and to make a much welcomed trek to Lake Tahoe {I hadn't been there in several years}.

I spent the first few days of the month in California still. 
City by the Bay.
My dad and I enjoyed a great day in San Francisco together {I was feeling so big and pregnant already but I really and truly wasn't big at all!}. 

When I returned to the east coast, though, the rest of August was a BLUR as I rushed back to school. But we got in some camping in Shenandoah!
Watch out for the bears!
We got rained out there but it was still fun.

At the end of this month I called it quits on running. I had been training for a November marathon and was willing to give it a try {doc had said "OK"} but at this point I started to experience extremely bad foot pain {on the soles of my feet} paired with dead legs. I didn't think that either had to do with pregnancy but I'm pretty sure both are related to my "family way" and I figured it wasn't worth over exerting myself in such a way. 

Cutting out running, and, as it turns out, exercise, was a big decision for me. 

Apart from the foot pain and dead legs, It didn't help that I started work and that the commute involves two hours in the car each day. During those two hours I could be getting out more but I was so pooped at the end of the day, plus with our usual evening routine and a desire to get in bed at a decent hour, I was finding that I was filling each moment of the day. Some might call it excuses but I went easy on myself and wasn't going to feel poorly about my choice.

Apart from the craziness of the school year, September brought us a beautiful cast iron skillet that has since made us many a yummy meal.
We also returned to Shenandoah, this time with a group of friends, for some more camping and hiking.
Friends outside!
But, the best part - Becs got married!!!! It was a wonderful weekend in our old stomping grounds of Minnesota's twin cities.
Heeeeey pretty ladies!
I was SO happy to see my dear friends and to celebrate such a loving relationship. Yea for Becs and her hubby!!!

School continued to kick both of our booties in October but we still managed some great times.
Pumpkins and apples were picked on a late season steamy day.
Truly, it was in the 80s that day!
But we got a good one that's actually still sitting next to our door; we never got a chance to carve the guy...what can I do with a perfectly good pumpkin in January?
Hey Dad!
My dad came to visit us which was so much fun; we enjoyed the monuments {despite the shut down}, the maritime museum in Baltimore, and ate some yummy food. I'm so happy my dad got to see us in DC!
Our creation.
We did do some carving, but just not that original one.
Pearl Jam came to town and we rocked out; baby's first concert and my first time seeing my husband's favorite group.
"Put me down."
And we horseplayed with Guinness in ways he probably didn't appreciate {but that happened every month}.

We had one last weekend in Shenandoah, this time in the lodge.
In the process of getting a tick.
Fall was in full force and we enjoyed a couple of nice and easy hikes.
We also enjoyed a delicious brunch at Founding Fathers courtesy of an anniversary gift from my brother-in-law.
Michael had a bloody mary and we both had beignets; so good!
Fake baby.
We made a trek to Buy Buy Baby to register for our sex-less baby {she had kept her legs crossed at earlier ultrasounds} and Michael did a good job modeling the baby carrier.
We also visited Philadelphia for a weekend.
Run, run, run!
Michael, his brother, and his brother's girlfriend ran the half marathon together and I cheered from the side lines {I had actually originally planned to run this marathon but pregnancy got in the way [see August].}
I love that little profile.
Our child finally revealed to us that she is a she. And that she is healthy and flourishing; we couldn't be happier!
November continued to be a busy month with a weekend trip to New York city to visit some friends {& for my first time there!}. We got our car towed and enjoyed seeing the ground zero museum and the new building down there {& it was frigid!!!}.
The month finished off with a late Thanksgiving that we hosted for the second year in a row. For the first time I celebrated with no family, only friends.
And a Christmas tree, our lack of which I lamented last year, topped it all off.

What a month!

The last month went by pretty quickly. Michael and I both wrapped up school before break, during which time we had a White Elephant/Yankee Swap party at our place - I won a gift that a pregnant woman can't make use of but it was still fun.
There was the first snow of the season and the accompanying two snow days. Even though none of it really stuck, everything shut down. Guinness, again, wasn't thrilled with the situation.
"Please; no more."
We checked out the White House's Christmas decorations.
It was a cold and rainy night - but they had such pretties!
Bedtime reading!
Our daughter's library got started - here's to a literate child!
Once we got to California, I was given a beautiful first baby shower; I had such a nice time celebrating with family and friends.
We celebrated Christmas apart; Michael in Arizona with his family and Guinness and I in San Jose still.
When I got to Arizona we were given our second baby shower and it was an extremely fun and special time with all of the family and friends I've come to know and love in Arizona.
And then it was New Year's Eve!


2013 was a lovely year. It was challenging at times but I'm so grateful for the experiences it brought us. I'm really looking forward to the next one, for the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. Here we go 2014!!!!
xoxo, natty ♥


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