February's most notable event was my bachelorette party in Atlanta. Kelsey did the planning all the way from California. We also had the RPM titleholder retreat in Charlotte so I got to spend time with all 8 of the girls.
Sunday, December 30
It's New Year's Eve Eve. The day after tomorrow will be 2013. It's weird how quickly the year seems to have passed when you're looking back from the tail end of it.
When we got to Snowshoe on Sunday, it was cold and windy but there was little to no snow in the forecast. In fact, our first day on the slopes was supposed to be (and was indeed) rainy. We spent a few hours walking around the village on Monday, got the kids (and those who needed it) set up with their rental gear, bought lift tickets, and then bummed some free Wifi from Starbucks. Our cabin, cute as it was, didn't have internet. It barely had phone service - only AT&T had signal and it was rare. We did have Satellite TV, so on our down time I got to watch Animal Planet (love me some Big Cat Diaries).
It was a great week. We had a few visits from wildlife - several deer and one very creepy looking owl.
I exhausted myself with 4 full days (and nights) of snowboarding, and towards the end of the week, we got more than a foot of snow thanks to "Winter Storm Draco." I hate that they're naming winter storms now.
I really love snow. It makes me so happy when the whole world is quiet and white and fluffy.
Saturday, December 29
It's been a while since I did one of these, eh?
To summarize, I put the tree up right after Thanksgiving. Had I not been out of town for work so much during October and November, it probably would have gone up earlier. We also decorated the outside of the house with lights but I haven't gotten around to taking any pictures. I think the cats might love the tree more than I do.
Mike and I went to my mom's Christmas party, I got to visit with my Aunt Betsy and her dog Willy, my old dog. When we moved to London after my 8th grade year, we didn't want to put him through their strict quarantine procedure for domestic animals, so we let my Aunt keep him. Thankfully I still get to see him. He's 14 years old now.
I got a mani/pedi for the first time in what must have been a decade.
We went to Snowshoe, WV and got to experience Winter Storm Draco at his east coast finest. It snowed on and off all week long, but more than a foot of fresh snow was dumped during our last day & night in the cabin.
We got home just in time for Christmas.
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Friday, December 28
On our way to the West Virginia ski trip, we stopped at my mom's house in Virginia to be her dates to the annual Christmas party. I wish her eyes were open in that first photo...
It was pretty fun, even though we were the youngest people there. They showed a couple of videos - my mom's entire office did a "Gangnam Style" parody, and my mom had a cameo in their take on "Call Me, Maybe."
I had a good time. And I got to wear my sparkly new outfit.
Thursday, December 27
There's a cat in two of those photos. Can you spot the less obvious one?
My mom came to SC for Christmas this year. It was her first time spending the holidays with us in Aiken and also the first year she didn't put up a tree at home in Virginia. Lucky for her, we had a tree. The animals are an added bonus.
On Christmas morning we opened presents at the house, finished cooking the turkey and our other two entrees, and then headed over to Barbara's house for the afternoon.
As it usually goes with holidays, I over ate. The food is just so good. And carby. And cheesy.
Wednesday, December 19
I feel like I've been moving non-stop since October. I enjoy complaining about life being too busy, but if I'm being honest, that's how I like it.
On Friday we got on the road at around 3 AM to head for my mom's house in Virginia. I drove while Mike slept. There was a meteor shower going on, so I was treated to several shooting stars. It was nice. They were headed the same direction I was. Like we were racing.
I also got to witness a pretty stunning sunrise, complete with mist-covered bridges and frosty fields. After a short pit-stop at my mom's for the weekend, we headed up to Snowshoe, WV and started our first week of Christmas vacation at a cabin in the mountains. Life is busy but sometimes that's good.
Monday, December 17
So whenever we do a photo shoot for the girls, I get to test the light.
Well, more like I make Ryan take pictures of me until the girls are ready and dressed.
We happened to do a Christmas themed shoot the other week when we were in Alabama (I know, amaze) so I took full advantage of the set up.
Since we never actually send out Christmas cards, I just made my own.
Also, here are the ones that did not make the final cut.
Sunday, December 16
Since Friday morning's first reports about the shooting in Connecticut, I've been struggling to find words. Not that I necessarily need to say them aloud, just to myself. I went about my weekend with a heaviness in my chest, but at least everyone I love is alive right now. I've been trying to make things okay in my head, but the world for so many families this Christmas, and from now on, will never seem to spin on the right axis. No matter what the motive or explanation (and many seem to be so dismissive and pitiful), I cannot comprehend such a senseless loss of life. My heart is broken.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Sometimes the TV reports seem incessant and repetitive and I'd like to stop watching. I think by reading about the victims, sharing their photos, and focusing on why the world is better for having had them around at all, whether for 6 or 56 years, is the best thing I can do. I cry for the lost children and their parents, especially because I know it's more than a passing media fixation for them.
This is their new life.
Wednesday, December 12
We drove down to Montgomery, AL on Wednesday. I don't think we could have fit another paper clip in the car.
We had quite a few errands to run before pageant weekend officially kicked off, but I definitely took advantage of my limited time to act like a tourist.
Thank goodness the people I travel with are so patient and cooperative.
The hotel where we host the pageant had a ton of Christmas decorations and I was totally loving it.
So, after four pageants and non-stop travel since October, we finally have our eight 2013 titleholders.
I'm heading up to VA for my Mom's Christmas party on Friday, followed by a week-long trip to Snowshoe, WV to snowboard with the family.
It never stops.
Wednesday, December 5
So I'm trying to re-do my blog again and this is just a stopping point... I'm heading to Montgomery today for the Miss Alabama USA pageant and won't have time to work on it again for a few days.
I have been wasting NO time getting into the holiday spirit. My mom sent me this awesome wine glass and it is my new fave.
She also sent this wine bottle outfit. How. Cute.
Buffalo and Moose are enjoying the tree, too.
Anyway, I'll be back soon with an update and more pictures than you know what to do with, I'm sure.
Tuesday, December 4
So I followed the Seminoles to another road game, and this time the outcome was far more favorable. We won the ACC Championship in Charlotte at Bank of America stadium. I think there were all of 500 people in the whole place, but it was a great day.
I kicked the weekend off on Friday night with Jackie and Amanda in downtown Charlotte. Whisky River threw a Seminole Welcome party and I wore green because I am a bad fan.
See how empty the stands were? Shortly before half time part of my group and I tried to move down closer to the field to get better seats. We managed to sit in our new location for close to 30 minutes before a stadium attendant asked to see our tickets.
In the process I managed to get separated from my friends and stood for a few too many seconds in an "emergency" walk way. I got escorted out after getting a little bit attitudey with the lady I was dealing with. It didn't take long to reunite with everyone and we just went back to our assigned seats to watch the rest of the game.
We went out afterwards to celebrate our victory and I was accosted by an obnoxious West Virginia fan. It didn't help that we were in the most crowded bar in the history of bars. I don't remember what it was called. The only plus is that one of the bartenders and I made some sort of cosmic connection so my friends and I didn't have to pay for drinks all night...