Auld Lang Syne: Part II

Swirly

I do not embellish when I say this was a big year. It packed a wallop.  As such, it needs a proper send-out. So hopefully you can forgive the length of the following…

Without further ado, here is my “scrapbook” and reflection of the year 2015.

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This was the month proceeding our engagement. So naturally, wedding thoughts rather flooded the scene. It was spent trying to nail down that first piece of wedding planning – the venue – and falling in love with the Vintage Garden. My (then soon-to-be) sister-in-law Becca and I also also braved the Bridal Prevue, which taught us that the wedding field is a huge market, and to not ever ‘register’ for a wedding show, if you don’t want to constantly be pestered by businesses vying for their piece of your wedding expenses. I also joined Becca and her mom and sisters in picking out her wedding dress, at which point I became enamored with a wedding dress design for myself.

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Due to it’s expense, it lingered out of reach. It led to many months of never finding a dress that could compare, until I finally forced myself to get thrifty and located the same one second-hand for half the price.

A small, treasured token of the endeavor is the handwritten note that came with the dress when it arrived:

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This was a pretty quiet month. We viewed our soon-to-be house one weekend during an open house they were holding. I, of course, fell in love with it and D gave it his blessing, which of course spurred the whole home buying chain-of-events. This also the month where I did my first of furniture refurbishing, by stripping and staining my old, rickety kitchen table. Also the month when I vowed to get an orbital sander…

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We just put our offer in on the house and were starting into the anticipation of closing day, which would not be for a couple months. There was a lot of talk going into plans for the home, decorating and outdoor ideas to update and make it our own. D was still living at the hunting cabin, so I was spending a lot of time out there, antsy for the warmer weather to get underway. We were also talking a lot about plans for the farm that year – the garden, maybe chickens, maybe pigs..

In retrospect, I’m glad most of those fell through, because we were certainly trying to bite off way more than we could chew…

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We made a day trip of driving up to hear a talk at Bergeson Nursery on growing fruits in the North. We bought a bunch of raspberry varieties to try at the farm, as well as scouted out antique stores on the way home, still having no luck in finding a replacement kitchen island for when we moved into the house.

Also this month was Becca’s bridal shower up in Minto, and then a night out on the town in Grand Forks and surrounding areas.

More time was also spent at the farm, which was finally thawing out from winter.

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What a month.

We finally closed on the house!

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Suddenly I was in design mode, constantly searching for ideas on personalizing our new space. D and I checked out the Junk Market at the fair grounds, where we found our four, quirky dining room chairs. This fueled my interest in ‘up-cycling’ and finding beauty in making old new again, instead of always buying new.

We did a lot of work around the house, and our 3 year dating anniversary passed, quietly.

I ventured out for an overnight near Brainerd for a coworker’s bachelorette party at a rented cabin. It was a lot of fun, especially catching up with some old friends and coworkers.

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Becca and I also took our first trek on the Superior Hiking Trail.

We look back now and have a good laugh at our experience.

We had many moments of discouragements on the trail and even swore off our whole hiking adventure plan for good. But after time healed our oh- so-sore muscles and we realized our rookie mistakes, we are looking forward to Round 2 sometime this year.

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A month full of joy 😏

We finally got a garden planted at the farm, as a section of the planned new plot was finally plowed. Better late then never, as they say, but there wasn’t a whole lot of planning that went into it due to the haste. We hope to do better this year on that.

Our first wedding of the month was that of a coworker, at the venue that we had passed up.  We tore up the dance floor, as usual.

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The other wonderful wedding that resided in this month’s was that of Becca and my big brother John. It was a fun and beautiful day, and such a blessing to be able to get this time with my family, including  my newest niece, Ava. And to gain another sister!

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The day after the wedding, my sister’s threw me a little bachelorette party at my apartment, since we wouldn’t all be together again until my wedding. Wine, cheese, Pin the Junk on the Hunk… it was a good night.

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This month started the so called “crunch time” to the wedding. D and I were both pretty tired of planning and paying for a wedding at this point. But we trucked on. I was starting to seriously get my apartment packed up and belongings slowly starting to make their way to the house in multiple loads. I was trying to get used to the idea of saying goodbye to my singledom and freedom.

We also spent the 4th of July down at the lake with D’s family. It was a pretty good weekend, with swimming, playing with the dogs in the water, tubing, fireworks, and some of my only trips out in my kayak for the whole year. We also went to a local winery and may have overindulged on jello shots…

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August started out with a trip to the cities for the wedding of an Army friend. We had a pretty good time, perhaps a little unwanted late night excitement, but a much needed weekend out of town, regardless.

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I tried to fit in as much time as possible shooting my bow at the farm. We also were starting to get our first harvest from the garden (a plethora of beans, cukes, and (stupid) zucchinni.

D’s aunts and other lady family members also threw me a bridal shower at Gran, which was very kind of them.

Had a grand time at my first Potato Days with with John, Becca, and Mom,  while D was at the lake for his bachelor party. This month also officially marks the end of my commitment in the service. A little bittersweet.

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One month to the big day, so lots of wedding prep, consulting with my sister on last minute details. Eloping looked so tempting.

We took a time out to head to Itasca for a Labor Day break, picked some delicious apples at the Lake Ida Apple Farm, and made a few last Sunday visits to Ella Marie’s before it closed for the year.

The produce was flying out of the farm, but we didn’t do the best at keeping up with it. Another goal to improve on in the coming year. We also took in a Red Hawks game with the work crew and were graciously gifted with a beautiful kitchen island.

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The big day was finally here. It was as good a day I could ever imagine. We started off with a mini birthday celebration for Meghan at Mom’s, with mimosas and bagels. Then we girls headed out to get our nails done and hair done up. Pictures, ceremony, reception, a new Mr. and Mrs. took their first steps in their married adventure.

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Of course, the month also held our relaxing and beautiful honeymoon to Glacier. We said our sorrowful goodbyes to our Gunner, and we celebrated our very first holiday in our house and as a married couple: Halloween.

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We started to come down off the rush of the year in November and start to settle down. I got my first taste of deer season and deer camp, made big strides on the bookshelves, and we celebrated a cozy Thanksgiving with Dan’s family. It was another month of loss, when D was let go from his job in the middle of the month. It has been difficult, but we’re making do., and has been our first major obstacle since being married. We’re hoping in the new year something comes up very soon.

The holiday season also holds a lot of birthday’s on D’s side. We celebrated the twin’s third birthdays.

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December brought with it the first snow, lots of decorating going on in the house, gift buying, and just trying to live up the season.We cut down our first Christmas tree at the Priewe Tree Farm. We celebrated two Christmas’. One at D’s parents, with Christmas Eve church service, dinner, and gift exchange.

Christmas Day was at our house this year.  We had a delicious meal, opened Secret Santa presents, Skyped with Annie overseas, and played some of our favorite family games. We were so lucky that Adam and Meghan were able to make it home to celebrate, and just lucky in general to be surrounded by family. It was a full house, with an extra dog and a cat and just missing #1 and #8, but a very good Christmas.

Of course, New Year’s Eve is the last stop. Mom invited D and I to her house for a turkey dinner (Adam hadn’t gotten a  Thanksgiving dinner this year on base, so she was making up for it for him). The crowd had thinned some, just me D, Mom, Adam, and Andy, but it was just a really nice dinner and conversation, especially before Adam heads out again.

We also got some overseas belated Christmas boxes from Annie to open!

We cut it really close, but made it back home just in time to pour our wedding gift of champagne into our beautiful glasses from Uncle Dick and simultaneously send out that crazy, exciting, wonderful year we just had and welcome in the new one. We sort of missed the NYC ball drop, so we instead brought up the millenium ball drop on YouTube and relived it with Dick Clark. Followed by multiple versions of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. And then some Celtic Thunder…

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What. A. Year.

I forget much too often how blessed I am and have been…

Swirly

And now…

Welcome 2016! What have you in store for us, I wonder…?

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