Here we are, December 31st, 2015. The final day of the year - and what a year it was! Everyone seems to be posting collages of their "year in review" on Facebook and Instagram, but I had too many things happening to post just a handful of photos....so instead are the 'highlights' from my year!.
Of course, my #1 highlight and favorite part of the year was marrying Dave, on the beach in Mexico with all of our closest friends and family. That, my friends, made this year perfect, regardless of anything else.
Here are more of my favorites!
Higgins beach is always a great time - family vacation tradition for as long as I remember!
Our fantastic Gulf Hagas hike in July!
The Tough Mountain Challenge in July - best idea ever! So much fun
Dave and I had the chance to do a ton of traveling this year - seriously, I don't know how 2016 can rival it! We hit: Mexico, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tortola, St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and so many places in between.
Second (of course) to our wedding in terms of fun this year was the 10-day cruise Dave, Megan, Elysia, and I went on in October. It was AMAZING. Our favorite island was Tortola.
November this year had some unseasonably warm weather, so I was able to steal my two nieces for a fun nature walk in the city forest. They are too adorable.
In December we threw a baby shower for my sis-in-law Melissa, lumberjack style!
2015 was EPIC
I seriously can't even begin to think about how crazy and amazing this year has been. Not only did I marry my best friend, we got to travel to a bunch of really cool places, put our house on the market (and WOO....put it under contract this week!) decided to move to Charleston, SC, and spent tons of time with family in the meantime.
2015 had its rough times too, my dad had to have back surgery, the state shut our company down on a few made-up charges that cost us several months on projects and started some pretty nasty rumors, our house listing was challenging, but the tough times help to make the good times stand out even more.
So long 2015, it sure had been a wild one.
We live in a world where guns are a hugely controversial - mass shootings, murders, violence in our own backyards - but we're a family who believe that arming ourselves is the best way to combat the violence.
An unarmed person is a victim waiting to happen.
So - we like to spend some of our free-time learning to be safe and comfortable around many different kinds of firearms!
There is an indoor range in our (current) town in Maine, but we prefer shooting outside. We bring our own targets, and head out to old gravel pits.
Two of our sisters came with us, so we took turns firing each other's guns to get the hang of different calibers and styles. Everyone's favorite is was definitely our AR-15.
The photo on the left is the hill with targets (from many different shooters) - the right is where we were shooting from.
Since guns are such a sensitive topic we do talk about them a lot. As (obviously) we are an armed household we need to make sure we are all on the same page as to what that means.
Ignorance: lack of knowledge or information.
"he acted in ignorance of basic procedures"
synonyms:incomprehension of, unawareness of, unconsciousness of, unfamiliarity with, inexperience with, lack of knowledge about, lack of information about;
Ignorance = danger. In my opinion....so we practice.
Thanks, Dave, for taking a few photos of me!
This is what happens when you shoot targets meant for pellet guns or 22's with a .223. Oops!
Our fingers were all starting to freeze at this point (the sun was going down and it only hit about 29 degrees today) so we decided it'd be a good idea to finish up. We all took turns with the 22, and then the girls shot my .40 for the first time!
Elysia & I looking snazzy in our awesome safety glasses and earplugs (or headphones)
So, my final thought on firearms - they exist, so I want to own them and feel comfortable with them. I'd rather the entire public be armed then only the bad guys (who are going to find them anyway, let's face it). I'd even go so far as to say I think firearm safety should be taught in school....but I also think we should teach personal finance in school (imagine that, teach kids how to actually survive?! no way) and that's years away...so for now I'll just train myself and my family.
Cheers, and safe shooting. <3
Let me explain
One of my sisters had a conference in Charleston (as you all know...our soon-to-be home!) and last-minute decided to drive rather than fly - SO - she needed someone to drive with!
Here's the whole situation:
Friday at 2pm: Conference begins
Saturday at 9pm: Conference ends
She had class and I worked till 5 on Thursday - which left us very little time to get from Maine to South Carolina - plus I had to work again on Monday morning.
Obviously we went for it! (plus another sister)
I've always loved road trips, so it wasn't really hard for Elysia to convince me to drive down for the weekend (even though it's nearly a 20hr drive for a weekend...) but it was a little more work for us to convince Megan (Elysia's twin) to come too.
We left Bangor right around 6pm Thursday night - and drove STRAIGHT THROUGH until 2pm Friday afternoon when we (finally) made it to Charleston!
Megan and I dropped Elysia off at Blue Bicycle Books for her conference and then went back to the hotel to shower, nap, and relax a bit till dinner. I have no idea how that girl got through the conference without a refresh like we had, but she did. Trooper. (Although I did drive the whole way down)
After she was out of the conference Friday night we did a quick tour of the city, then headed over to Sesame Burger for dinner. Then BED!!! Woo.
Elysia was in the conference all day Saturday, so Megan and I had time to really enjoy Charleston.
We went to breakfast at Hominy Grill - SO FREAKING GOOD. Definitely worth a visit. The lady at the front desk of our hotel suggested it, and since we had no other ideas we actually listened for once. Take my advice, check it out yourself for sure.
We had amazing weather for our travels, so first we drove around Mount Pleasant, Sullivan's Island, and then Folly Beach. When we got back to Charleston proper we decided to head off on foot.
The pier was gorgeous right before sunset (totally a mistake...we didn't mean to get all the way to the water) so we hung out and took a few pictures, then walked down to the Battery wall.
We left at 4am Sunday morning and drove all the way home - we didn't get back to Bangor until a little after midnight (awful traffic in NYC) but other then that the drive was actually pretty good.
Can't wait until this is our home!! Just a few more weeks.
Every year for as long as I can remember my family has taken a trip to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree farm in Newburgh, Maine. It's only about 30 minutes from Bangor, and not only do we get to go out onto the tree farm and pick our own tree - we cut it ourselves too! (Not sure why this is a plus, but the guys do this part so I've never worried about it)
As soon as you drive in there's a little stand where someone gives you a bow-saw, and then you get to choose from several different lots and walk around to choose the perfect tree.
The first (and best, in my opinion...even as an adult) thing I remember about Piper Mountain, is they have wagon or sleigh rides! I've always loved horses, so any excuse to hang out with them is good for me. We don't really do much with the wagon/sleigh rides anymore, but I love to see the horses.
Most of the time we spend at the tree farm now is spent playing with the girls, and hunting through endless rows of trees for that "perfect" one.
The dogs who accompany us (believe me....there is always AT LEAST one dog with us) are always changing - this year Dad brought his dog, Havok, and Taylor brought one of her little ones, Crash.
Eden was pretty sure she could be as tall as the tree she wanted - almost!
Don't expect any of this family to be serious for longer than a minute or two!
Can you even stand that cuteness?! Esther rather dominates the photos at this point, but once her little brother shows up she'll have to relinquish her position as "cutest & littlest".
I'm pretty sure we paid more attention to the dogs and the little ones than we did to actually finding a tree!
Dave and I didn't get a Christmas tree this year (first time for me since I bought my first house almost 10 years ago) since we're moving soon - so we had a good excuse. Everyone else was just easily distracted ;)
And FINALLY Mike found a tree! At this point (we'd been here for at least a half hour..) Adam and Melissa still hadn't found their perfect tree, so we ventured up to a different lot.
My turn with Esther! I (gladly) handed my camera off to Dave for a little bit, so these next few photos are courtesy of him. :)
See Dad, attempting to take charge of the wandering group of tree hunters.
See tree hunters completely ignore Dad's charge attempt and be their silliest
Finally Dave (and baby) lead the group across the street and on to our next task....finding Adam and Melissa's tree!
We failed at finding a tree suitable (aka - good enough for Adam's standards...which means he ought to just buy a fake tree) ;-) in the other lots, so we just took some family photos instead.
In the end Dad & Mom got a tree, and Michael got a tree, Dave and I found a pretty wreath, and we had the chance to be fools with each other and run around a tree farm. Success!
We ended our whole trip with a cup of hot apple cider & a homemade doughnut in the store - best tradition ever.
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.