Every year before my birthday (or a little bit after), I take the time to reflect on the year I’ve just had and all of the great things that have happened. I find it helps to start the next year right and on a positive note.
One of my goals for this year is to be more grateful in general, so I think this is a great way to jump-start that goal.
1 - Visiting Disney World, Universal, and the other parks
In February, my parents and John were nice enough to accompany me to Florida where I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon and Dad ran the Disney Princess 5k. While I did not enjoy the race (crowded, too much on the highways, VERY humid), I did have a blast walking around the parks. It was really fun to be back in Disney, which is just as magical as an adult (unless you get stuck on a ride and then the magic is slightly diminished). We got to see Diagon Alley at Universal and go on a safari at Animal Kingdom.
2 - Running my 12th half marathon
While in Disney World I decided that I was going to take a break from distance running. It just wasn’t as fun anymore and my body was starting to take much longer to recover. However, I was at half marathon 11 and I could not quit on an odd number. In April, I did the LoCo Challenge one more time and completed my 12th half. It was hard, but luckily I made friends with a fellow runner and we talked throughout at least 7 miles, which made it all much easier.
3 - Getting Promoted
In July, I got promoted at work. It was great because it was something I had worked so hard for and was great to get some recognition for my efforts.
4 - Helping with a rescue
Towards the beginning of 2018, I started volunteering with the rescue organization where we got Turbo. I screened some apps, helped with adoption events, and was able to see a lot of dogs get great homes. It was a crazy few months, but I am so glad I was able to help a few of the dogs from Texas find their forever homes in VA!
As a part of helping with this rescue, I introduced Mom to her new dog Maddie! She came with me to an adoption event and it was pretty instant love. She took Maddie home that day and has been spoiling her ever since.
5 - Continued Chiro Care
Last year, I started seeing Dr Corey and Dr Viv at Palmercare. It was a great start, but this year I really started taking it seriously. Regular appointments with both of them has lead to me ...
6 - Getting off meds
I am definitely all for medication if you need it, but at this point in my life (and looking to the future) I want to try to not rely on medications for awhile. I've been off of my medications for about seven months and it has been going really well! Seeing Dr Viv has been pivotal in continued mental health care.
7 - Vegas, Baby!
John and I went to Vegas with some friends this year, and it was so much fun! I’ve never done an adult friends trip, but I’m glad we did because it ended up being a blast! I had never been to Vegas before so it was definitely a new experience, but we had a fun cabana day, did some gambling, and I got in a nice massage before we went home.
8 - Strength Small Group
This year was all about confronting my discomfort head on. And the one place that really showed was at CrossFit. During the summer, I did a strength small group that terrified me. I didn't think I was good enough or strong enough, but I had a great time and really did get stronger.
9 - Bachelorette Bash in Charleston
Another awesome trip this year was my bachelorette party in Charleston! A big group of my closest friends made the trip with me and we had the most amazing long weekend in Charleston drinking cocktails, eating the best food, and making a lot of fun memories. My MOH did a great job planning it and it was such a great group of people.
10 - The CrossFit Open
Adding to the list of Noble and CrossFit related things I did, is the CrossFit Open. It happens every February and I wasn't going to participate at first, but my friend Jess agreed to do it too. Every Friday the workouts are released and you have three days to complete them and record your score. Of course the really good athletes are in competition, but for me it was just proving to myself that I could do it. I did a lot of really hard things for the first time and I was really proud of myself. Can't wait to do it again this year!
11 - Getting Married
So probably the best thing that happened in year 29 was marrying my best friend and the love of my life, John. We spent most of the year planning and prepping for the wedding and just like everyone said, it went by way too fast! It was a whirlwind, but honestly the.best.day.
12 - New Kitchen color
I almost forgot that over the summer, John and Richard repainted the kitchen! This is a project that was on my list for two years. I had the color swatches on the wall for literally two years but never got around to painting it. They painted it a nice light blue and it feels like a new place!
13 - Richard here for the summer
It has been awesome that for the past two summers, John's brothers have been here for an extended period of time. Last summer, Ben, was here for about a month. This summer, Richard stayed with us for almost two months. It was nice having him around and the extra help with the dogs was something that we definitely missed during the fall!
14 - Honeymoon with the dogs
Instead of a big honeymoon, we decided to drive up to Cape Cod with the dogs for five days. We rented out a beach side apartment and it was perfect. We lounged around, took the dogs on the beach, saw some lighthouses, and ate great food!
15 - One Year of CrossFit
This October, I hit one year of doing CrossFit at Noble Athletics. I have done SO much this year and am constantly surprising myself. At our most recent testing, I PR'd everything.
16 - Josh Groban and Idina Menzel
One of the things I got John as a wedding present was tickets to see one of his favorite singers, Josh Groban. We went to the concert in November and it was so great! We ended up sitting right where he and Idina moved to in the middle of the show. Such a fun date night.
17 - Strongman Competition
Two weeks before the wedding, I competed in Noble's Strongest at Noble Athletics. I did things I never thought I would be able to do and even though I didn't place, I did pull a truck so that was awesome.
18 - Natural end to my run streak
I ran for 396 days straight. I was really proud of myself for getting to 365 days and had no intention of ending the streak. However, one day I just forgot! So I listened to myself and have not regretted that decision. I'm glad that the streak ended on my terms.
19 - Family Notre Dame Game
Another yearly tradition that we could actually participate in this year was going to Notre Dame for a football game. We went in November this year so it was quite cold. It’s always so fun having the whole family together.
20 - Healthy Eating
To prepare for the wedding, I worked with Coach Laura at Noble Nutrition to get my eating in shape. I don't eat terribly, but I don't always know what to eat so she was instrumental in helping me figure out what I should be eating and getting the right amount of calories. It has been so helpful to get a better idea about what I need to eat and it has also inspired me to cook a lot more!
21 - Adopting Tulip
While volunteering with the rescue, I saw the picture of the cutest little pupper that was up for adoption in Texas. Her name was Prada and she was only six pounds. I sent her picture to John and he immediately said Yes! While we hadn’t planned on adding a third dog (this year), we saw her and knew she was perfect. We got her over the summer and I’ve loved having another little pup in our crew.
22 - Going to Vietnam
All year, we had been looking forward to our big end of the year trip to Vietnam. I had never been and John hadn't been back in at least 10 years. On top of that, we had lots of family and friends coming too! I was really worried about the flight and being there for over two weeks, but it was an amazing trip and I loved it. We will definitely be going back!
23 - Meeting John's family
Hands down the best part of Vietnam was meeting all of John's family. I have never felt more welcome and loved despite the language barrier. You don't need words to express your feelings. I knew when his aunt had her arm around me while we walked down the street that she cared about me. I knew his four year old cousin was happy with me when she smiled and gave me a thumb's up. It was really hard to leave everyone after having such a wonderful two weeks with them.
24 - Vietnamese Wedding
While in Vietnam, we had another wedding celebration since most of John's extended family could not make the wedding in September. We all got traditional outfits made and had a semi traditional day. John picked me up at our Air BnB, our rented bridesmaids and groomsmen handled the gifts, and after paying respects at his grandmother's house we headed to a restaurant for a delicious reception.
25 - Margarita Nights
I am so lucky to have a wonderful group of friends who love to drink margaritas and eat Mexican food. These are two of my favorite activities and this year the margarita gang held strong. I won't name names, but this group of women is so inspirational to me. I love them all and really cherish our girls nights.
26 - Spa Day in Nha Trang
One of the best parts of the trip to Vietnam was when we went to the beach at Nha Trang with John’s cousins. We went to an amazing spa and spent the day having a mud bath, herbal bath, and 1.5 hour long massages. Really the best way to end the trip.
27 - seeing friends get married
One of the best things about 29 was getting to see so many friends and loved ones get married! It was the year of weddings and I was not mad about it. John's college friend got married in May, my work friend got married in August, one of John's close friends got married in September, and another college friend got married in October. It was so great seeing all these people we care about making that commitment.
28 - New project at work
Towards the end of the fall, the project that I had been on for the last three and a half years naturally came to an end. The last year had been really tough so it was a welcome change. It has been a little nerve wracking, but also really fun to learn a new industry and a new business process.
29 - Running all the 5ks
A few months into being 29, I gave myself permission to run shorter distances. I had signed up for a few races already, but decided to only do 5ks and 10ks. I did some really fun 5ks this year including: a 5k with my dad and brother the day before the wedding, our traditional Thanksgiving Day turkey trot, the Spend Yourself 5k for work, and I did a few virtual 5ks on the trail in my backyard that ended up being some of my favorite runs.
Without doubt, I have never felt more loved than this year. I would be remiss to not include a shout out to everyone who made this year so great!
John, thank you for loving me and supporting me ALWAYS. Mom and Dad, thank you for everything. There is too much to list, but know that I appreciate it all. Conor and Sara, thank you for all your help and support and love this year. Bridesmaids, thank you for being my friends and being there for me throughout all the wedding craziness. Friends, thank you for helping me have the best year yet! Readers, thank you for keeping this little dream of mine alive. I really appreciate all your support.
I can't wait to see what 30 will hold!