I don’t know how I will do it. I don’t know how this blog post won’t be a mile long after the amazing year we’ve had. I hope that 2013 doesn’t trump all years as far as travel is concerned, as it has only whetted our appetite for seeing more of the world and experiencing more culture… outside of the U.S. for a change. Since there’s so much to highlight, I’m just going to jump right in! (Don’t miss a “P.S.” from Kristian at the bottom of my post!)
2013 started out at full speed! I ran my first half marathon, the 3M, with running buddy, Hannah! We had so much fun that we promptly signed up to participate in the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon the following month! Later on in the month, Gramma (Kristian’s mom) came to visit! She was a delight to have here as she helped out with the boys so Kristian and I could attend a business convention together locally. It was great to see her and show off our Austin to her, as it was her first visit! We only wished that Austin was more beautiful in January, as we have yet to succeed in tempting them to move here to be near us. Ha!
The 6th day of the month marked our 14 year wedding anniversary! Kristian took me to a beautiful dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Austin. The food was delicious and the service was above and beyond. When they found out we were celebrating our anniversary, they presented a beautiful dessert platter – on the house! In any given month, exploring is always on the agenda!
Our spring highlight was a 10-day visit from my mom and dad! Even though we had not begun traveling yet, we’re so glad that they decided to! We made new Austin memories and visited some of the beautiful natural wonders that “The Hill Country” has to offer.
Kristian got invited to see Muse in concert in Houston by his buddy Taylor….Kristian’s glad he went and came back a pretty hardcore Muse fan 🙂
After a year of living in South Austin, we traded in…
…and we’re not sorry about it. We’re so grateful to have found this place, and though we’re living a good 25 minute drive from anything, we’re enjoying the peace and quiet. It’s just us… and deer, skunk, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, roadrunners… For the first time since living in Texas, we experienced Blue Bonnet season!
This is Kole and Karter’s 1st soccer season, but they began they’re 2nd in the fall of this year. They have wonderful coaches who are really caring and are focused more on having fun and building character than on winning. Kole loves playing offense while Karter mostly only cares about the snacks after the game. May also starts the beginning of our travels! We started small and in-state with a 3-day trip to Dallas where Kristian’s brother, Jeremy, and his family were visiting. We had a great time watching the cousins bond over legos and iPad games and also enjoyed a visit to the Dallas Aquarium!
Earlier in the year, I took up archery again and after a couple months of finding my groove, participated in my first outdoor tournament. It wasn’t really a big deal, but it sure was fun and fueled me toward more competition! I completed one more outdoor tournament this year and am working toward participating nationally next year! I also became certified as a USA Archery Instructor. One of our favorite local mini-vacay spots is Galveston Island. It’s a little (I mean tiny) bit of paradise only 4 hours away. We usually go a few times per year, but only made it down there once this time. We enjoy time on the sand and in the surf, as well as visits to Moody Gardens, where this time they had a dinosaur exhibit. OK, now we’re heading straight into the pinnacle of our year – our trip to Panama! I could go on and on about this trip that we planned 8 days in advance. EIGHT DAYS! It’s a miracle that we even got passports by then. I’m going to spare you (for now) and only include a couple of pictures highlighting this 28-day trip, because you can get the full scoop right here on this blog! Yes, I blogged each day that we were there, so you too can read the most exciting as well as the most mundane things we did and saw.
About a week after arriving home from Panama, we received sad news that Kristian’s childhood friend had passed away. We immediately began making plans for a road trip to California for the memorial. Though the reasons for going weren’t ideal, we were so excited to see Kristian’s family and visit with friends again after 3 years of being away.
If Dallas, Galveston, Panama and California weren’t enough, I could not resist a 10-day, mom only, get away to Washington. The main reason for going was to throw a bridal shower for my “baby” sister, but a huge perk was getting to spend some quality time with some of my best gal pals! You can see from the picture that the bride-t0-be is in denial that we are her family.
Whew! So that seems pretty good, right? Or not, depending on if you like flying by the seat of your pants all year. For us, it was a welcome retreat from the normal stay-at-home-ness that we’ve had for the past 8 years. But we’re not finished yet…
After being home for a good 2 weeks, we were off again! This time, what started out as being a business-only trip to Nashville, Tennessee, turned into a detour ride home through Mississippi and on to New Orleans! We’d never been before, but wish we had gone sooner and can’t wait to go back again. Oh, the history and culture! Mm!
Don’t unpack yet. Remember that bride-to-be from August? Well, she got married to a wonderful man, Rory Knox! The whole family flew to Washington for this main event. I’m a maitron of honor, Karter is the ringbearer and Kole is the lantern bearer! They made the cutest and goofiest of all “bearers.” But a few days before we left, we celebrated Karter’s 6th birthday!
As we got closer to the holidays, our lives became surprisingly less crazy! Our traveling has come to a close and we are SO ready to keep things low-key over the next 2 months. We invited a few friends over for Thanksgiving and I roasted my first turkey! We were so pleased to spend this day with a few people that we’re grateful for, Darren, Amanda and Steve.
We spent another Christmas as a family, with everyone being spread out into four states now! It was easier this year, having shared our traditional Christmas Eve dinner with a friend and then inviting the neighbors over for dessert on Christmas evening. I think sharing with others really helps everything to come together. It’s all about LOVE.
As the year comes to a close, I am so grateful for all that God has given us: a wonderful family that is full of love, friends near and far, experiences that we never dreamed we would be having, and so much hope for a fabulous 2014!