A Christmas nightmare & a New Year.

Well, it's New Year's Eve. I'm sad the Christmas season is over, but at the same time I'm so ready for a new year.

Christmas Eve :)

Christmas did not go as planned. In fact, it started as my worst nightmare. My dad was admitted to the ICU early Christmas morning for heart problems. After hours of praying, God did a serious miracle with his heart, and he was released from the hospital that evening. It's a long and drawn out story, but I'm just so thankful that it had a happy ending. The hospital is just a few miles away, so my mom was there with him and James and I stayed home fielding phone calls from family and cooking Christmas dinner in hopes we could all eat together, and thankfully, we did. My dad was extremely weak and drowsy when he got home, but he was able to open gifts with us with some help. It turned out to be a great night and really put everything in perspective. Christmas is just another day to be thankful for everyone and everything we have. My dad's health was the only present I wanted.

Christmas was just how this entire year has been. Nothing has gone as planned. There have been so many ups and downs to the point where I can't decide if it's been a great year or a horrible year. Does that even make sense? I've hit several huge milestones this year. It's been such a year of transitions and emotions and I just hope 2012 is a little calmer and steadier. Let's begin, shall we?

At the beginning of 2011 I was starting my last semester of college at East Carolina and planning the wedding. January-May were by far the most stressful months I've ever experienced. I think I'm still recovering! It was brutal in a way words can't describe. I was juggling French research projects (something I adored but took so much time), and planning my North Carolina wedding while my family and bridesmaids were in Ohio. Nightmare.

On Spring break I had two bridal showers. One hosted by the church I grew up in, and one by my maid of honor.
My bridesmaids and me (minus one who was in NC) at my bridal shower.

Spring break was crazy. My dad was in the hospital for the same thing that hospitalized him on Christmas, I had two showers, all my dress fittings, we celebrated my parent's 28th (I think?! I can't even count right now. Ha!) wedding anniversary, and we had to wrap up a ton of wedding details. It was a whirlwind.

April was madness. But then May rolled around! May was the highlight of my year. It was amazing. On May 6th I graduated Magna Cum Laude (only by the grace of God, I assure you) with my Bachelor's in English and minor in French.

The week after graduation I moved my stuff into James's apartment, my bridesmaids flew & drove in from Ohio, we ran a million errands finishing up wedding details, but the day that stands out to me the most was the day my parents took me to the Outerbanks. We all needed a break from the graduation/wedding chaos, so we took a day off from everything and went to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. It was perfect. We ate fresh crab cake at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the side of the road, walked the warm beaches, and grabbed coffee at my favorite surfer-style coffee house next door the the board shop. It was so fun. My mom and I even found an amazing yarn shop right off the beach.
(This was actually taken at Atlantic Beach later that week, but you get the idea)

Of course, the caterer called on the way home from the beach, and we had to argue with her over flowers (yes, flowers. She took over the wedding and nearly ruined it. Another story for another day). But I cherish that day still.

My mother-in-law hosted a lovely bridesmaid luncheon for me at a cute little cafe. One of my BM's was on her way from Ohio and couldn't make it, but it was fun. We got fro yo and got our nails done too :)

And then, May 14th! The best day of 2011. James and I finally got married. A million and a half things went wrong, but we're married. And that's what I choose to focus on.

And then our AWESOME honeymoon in Jamaica.

And then the airports went on strike the day we were supposed to leave. And then we were stranded in a foreign country with next to no money and nowhere to stay. Also another story for another day. (But it's a good one! And I will tell it.) Our lives, seriously.

Then came June and July. I had no job. James had a job that paid horribly. We were miserable in NC. Our friendships fizzled. It was a very difficult few months. Then I got a job offer in Columbus, Ohio. Exactly where we wanted to be. Near my family. In Ohio. The state I hated for so long that grew to become my home. We had three weeks to pack our lives, find a place to live, and move. Stress I do not wish to remember. But we moved to a charming, tiny townhouse that we love. James got a job. Things looked up. My job turned into a nightmare. I literally cried everyday. Months of job searching, and I found another job and started at the beginning of December. It's not perfect, but it's an improvement. I thank God we can pay the bills now and not have to worry about affording groceries. 

And that's where we are now. A lot of good things happened. A lot of heartbreaks. I have a list of plans for 2012 I'll probably share tomorrow. We don't any big plans tonight. I'm going to spend it with my family. I plan to make up the time we lost at Christmas, and my mom is going to help me knit a scarf while watching movies and the ball drop. I used to have big plans of going to NYC or dressing up in a fancy dress and going to a swanky party downtown. But after this year, a night in my pajamas with my family, kitties, and knitting needles sounds like heaven. 

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