Thursday, December 31, 2009

A year in review: 2009

Jake and I don't write those letters that accompany Christmas cards. While we love receiving them, we're not witty or important enough to write one ourselves. Maybe at some point in life...With that being said, a look back at 2009 is a worthwhile thing. Jake and I have grown a lot together this year and have been very fortunate.

2009 started the best way possible: with a wedding! Jake and I got married on January 17, 2009. It was a fun night shared with family and friends. We had so much fun and the wedding was exactly as I'd pictured - a huge celebration surrounded by those that have, do, and will support us through our marriage.

Since I was teaching and couldn't take off, we had a "mini moon" at the Peabody Downtown (Jake's parents gift to us was a room in the hotel) and spent Sunday and Monday living the big life running around downtown. We saw a show (the Drowsy Chaperone) at the Orpheum, had dinner at Encore, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Then it was back to the normal life for us. Jake was working at the Veteran's Hospital on the Accord study and I was (and still am) teaching Geography. We lived the married life, cooking and decorating our little hearts out.

March brought our "full moon" (honeymoon) to Fort Myer's Beach in Florida. An island nestled in with Sanibel in the area of Florida near Tampa, we picked it because of its location (further south so it would be warm during spring break), the beaches (they have been voted best sand in Florida before), and the set up of the island. We stayed in the Edison Beach House - a small building of condo units directly on the beach. We enjoyed the trip immensely. It was so nice to be right on the beach and able to walk wherever we wanted. About a block away were all these shops and restaurants and a pier - we saw dolphins, manatees, and pelicans from it! We visited Jake's family in Florida for a day as well in Boca.

In April, we decided to expand our family - to get a cat. We found Tyson through Pet Finder online. He was born at the Family Vet Practice in Bartlett. His mother was a stray and was sick so she was taken in. She had Tyson and his litter mates and directly after giving birth she had to be separated from them because she was so sick. He was a little slow getting weight on him but once he did, he was ready for us to take home.

May brought the end of school for me (yay! summer vacation!). In June, I left for a month for camp, to be Assistant Director at Camp Gailor Maxon. That month was rewarding and challenging in many ways. Camp Gailor Maxon means a great deal to me and aided in my spiritual and emotional development so much - I am glad I get to help build it up and help it continue to do so for generations to come.

In July, Jake started his Master's program at UT Health Science Center. He is in a Master's of Pharmacology program. This was a big adjustment for us, going from two incomes to one, but honestly was a good thing for many reasons. Jake is much happier, studying what he is interested in and wants to learn about. Also, it forced us to look at our finances and budget better.

August brought the return of school. Since this was my second year teaching full-time, I felt much stronger and better about the start of school. So far, this year has been challenging in different ways - better than last year for sure but different. We're on block schedule now (which I love - contrary to most) and I have less kids in my classroom thanks to a hire of an extra Geography teacher. Yet we have less planning time than last year and more kids to teach (due to teaching 7 sections of kids rather than 5) and more paperwork on top of that. This year has helped me continue to grow as a teacher.

In addition to the new school year, August was a time of celebrations for us. We travelled to Knoxville for Beth and Brad's wedding. Beth is one of my best friends and I was right there with her from the start of her relationship with Brad. He's a great guy and I was so glad to be a part of their wedding. It was my first as a bridesmaid! While we were in Knoxville, we also got to help my brothers move in to their dorms for college. They both chose to go to UT and I was so glad (I'm a little biased, though!). I was really glad to get to be there while they moved in - an important first step in adulthood.

The fall has been filled with trips to LSU to see Josh play, a Young Adult river canoe trip, lots of church events, and most importantly, buying a house. This has been a huge change for us and we have enjoyed making the house "our home." We've got a long way to go but have had a lot of support from our family and friends.

We ended this year with the holidays - spending our first Christmas together as a married couple. We got to spend a lot of time with family, going to church, and cooking (all of our favorite things!). We decorated our Christmas tree and put our gifts to each other under the tree. We downsized on presents but ended up giving things that were thoughtful and meaningful. I felt that the spirit of Christmas was not compromised by the fact that we spent less money. In fact, I felt it made it mean more.

We ended the year with a visit from Beth and Eric, then by hosting a small gathering of friends at our house to ring in the new year. I can't wait to see what 2010 will bring - hopefully it will be just as great as 2009 was.

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