This year has been quite the whopper and I had hoped to do a fun post with pictures from each month. But alas, I was not that good at documenting the first part of the year, so we’ll make do with what we got. In 2015 I resolve to be better about taking pictures so that on this day next year I can write a fun post with pictures from each month.
We put our Nashville townhouse up for sale and had a buyer in three days. During one of the showings I went to Burlington Coat Factory to get heavier coats for us to use once we moved to Michigan. ::pause for laughter:: Then the polar vortex happened and I was trekking to lab in my new knee-length, fur-hooded, down coat layered with a ski mask covering my face and hand warmers stuffed in my mittens. While Chris was out of state for a conference I realized my heater was not just having a hard time keeping up with the frigid weather, but was, in fact, not heating. Praise be to God no pipes burst and I think the house only went down to the upper 40s, which is pretty impressive considering how cold it was. I’m also thankful for some awesome friends who gave me a warm bed and a much needed shower.
We soaked up our last full month in Nashville. Chris played a bunch of gigs around town, many with his jazz band, Krewe. I tried to run with my bestie Brittany as much as possible despite frigid temperatures and the onset of my foot pain. We talked about her potential engagement on a few runs and I managed to keep a poker face knowing that Nate had a plan set in motion. We did a double date on Valentine’s Day and we got to help with Nate’s proposal at Krewe’s show – Chris got the mic in Nate’s hand and had the band play a sweet song after they got engaged and I documented. 🙂
This was the end of our time in Nashville. There were lots of boxes in the living room, Craigslist sales, and Goodwill donations. We had a yard sale on a beautiful Spring Saturday when it was in the 60s and managed to sell most of our large furniture. I had a cold and slept on our love seat in the driveway. We had a sweet visit from NC friends. There was a Mardi Gras party, going-away dinners and drinks. And many ‘lasts’ spent with dear friends and labmates. My mom flew down to Nashville and we loaded the moving truck in shorts and t-shirts with the help of friends. The next day Chris drove the big truck up to Ann Arbor and my mom and I each drove a car from the land of sunshine and spring to the land of overcast skies and another month of frozen lakes and snow piles. We got everything into our apartment that was half the size of our townhouse and 95% grosser.
I began my new job at U of M and we just got acclimated to life in Michigan. My car got towed for the spring football game (we got our money back upon appeal) and got broken into (nothing was taken) – welcome to Ann Arbor! I happily found that Aldi sells wine in Michigan. My mom came and visited us after her work trip to Detroit, stocked up on wine from Aldi and Costco, and showed us around downtown Detroit. My sister came for Easter and enjoyed the spring weather and took some walks in the nicer neighborhoods across the street. By the end of April we were thankful that Chris landed a job working as the long-term substitute music teacher at a local Catholic school.
I started this little blog and met some sweet blogging ladies in real life – Dwija, Jenna, & Patty. We decided that renting a house in Ann Arbor was not practical so we began looking for a permanent Michigan residence. We looked at SO MANY houses with our agent Travis Otto. He made our wild goose chase to find a home as enjoyable as possible. We made an offer on a house at the end of May and came to an agreement over Memorial Day weekend. The sellers never signed their papers and backed out the first week in June.
Knowing that our lease ended in less than a couple months, we spent the first couple weeks of June scurrying to find a house and get it under contract. Thankfully the price on one house dropped, we saw it, made an offer the next day and the sellers accepted our offer right away. Sick of being sidelined from running, I nervously joined a masters swim team for the summer and it turned out to be a great choice. I had so much fun learning how to be a good swimmer. I made my maiden voyage to Chicago on the (not) glamorous Megabus and visited Brittany at her parents’ house while she did some wedding planning including finding the dress.
We got to go home to Pittsburgh for the 4th of July and made it to my dad’s family reunion for the first time in a long time. We had fun at Chris’ twin brothers’ 5th of July picnic. I got stitches for the first time. I worked hard preparing a training grant application and at the last minute decided to postpone the submission until December. I was upset about that at first, but it was definitely the right decision. We were thrilled Chris got a job at a publishing company and of course it started the day we closed on our new house. Since we never fully unpacked in our apartment, we were ready to move pretty quickly. Our parents came and helped us move into our new house.
I swam so much in August because I had gotten behind on my passes (thanks to my stitches) that my muscles got bigger and my shirts got tighter. I sent Megan the blanket I made for her sweet baby. I realized I never took a finished picture, so I am sharing a picture of the back of it while Megan was opening it here. You can see close-ups of the individual panels here and here. I made a solo trip back to PA to hang out with my lady cousins and go to my cousin Lisa’s shower. My sister and her freshly minted fiancé came to visit for Labor Day. We had great first times at the German Park Picnic and the Detroit Jazz Festival.
I kicked off the month by opening my Etsy shop in order to make some extra money. I made my second trip to Chicago, this time for a work conference. It was great to catch up with many of my friends from Vanderbilt who were also preset. I stayed in town for the afternoon after the conference was over and got to do some sightseeing. Thanks to their losing year, we snagged some tickets to the Michigan v. Minnesota football game. It was a great experience, but we got dehydrated thanks to the unseasonably hot weather. The game was taking a major nosedive so we left a little early and got ice cream at our favorite Washtenaw Dairy. It was really only at the end of September that I started to feel adjusted to life in Michigan.
Fall was gorgeous here. We went apple picking and I got to visit Kellogg Biological Center (near Battle Creek) for work. We loved getting fresh veggies through my department’s CSA and were sad when it ended in October. Our pumpkins got attacked by squirrels (confirmed by our neighbors). Chris and I had long planned to be Popeye & Olive Oyl for Halloween, but we hadn’t been able to execute this dream until this year….then I failed to get a good picture of us in our costumes. Enjoy the blurry glory!
This month was the calm before the storm. I finished two quilts, one for Jenna’s giveaway and another for a family friend. I also finished knitting a hat for my sister but it was wayyyy too large. I promptly unwound the whole hat and tucked away that valuable illustration of the importance of checking gauge. Alice, who runs our CSA, gave us our first pets – composting worms! Chris was less-than-thrilled about keeping them in the basement, haha, but we haven’t had any escapees. This was the first time we’d been home for Thanksgiving in many, many years. We drove home Wednesday in time for Chris’ birthday dinner with his family and then did the usual holiday shuffle. All of my family on my mom’s side were in town (the first great-grandbaby will do that!) so we spent a lot of time visiting with the family.
I submitted my grant application and joyously returned to the bench full time (for now!). I co-celebrated my birthday with some new friends here, one of whom has her birthday the day after mine. We also saw Handel’s Messiah at UMich. Chris started a new job working at the School of Music, Theater & Dance. That week we drove back to PA for a wedding in which Chris was best man. I had a nice day visiting with my mom while Chris was busy with the bachelor party. We came back to Michigan for a quick week and a half of work and then back to PA for Christmas! These travels, plus the usual prep for Christmas, was the crazy storm of December and I think this piccollage captures the goodness and fullness of this December. I was hoping to get a post written about December, but this might just have to be my recap. I made Gram’s molasses sugar cookies, gingerbread man, a much better hat for my sister, fun fabric light bulb ornaments and garland, and a collar for the Vinster. The tree got put up halfway through Advent and cards got mailed the Friday before Christmas, whew. Oh, and Chris’ brother Nick came the weekend before Christmas and they installed a basement door to give Chris a better practice space. Next year, I’ll try to get more done BEFORE Advent. That would be much better.
Happy New Year!