2013 in Review (Part One)

Monday, December 16, 2013


Married on December 29, 2012.. we run in the new year on our honeymoon in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a beautiful, Southern city that we loved exploring.

I will never forget how good it felt for us to arrive to our home together for the first time. I still can't get over how crazy it is that we share a monogram. Love you, towels!

Something we didn't love was when Ben had to spend two weeks back in College Station, finishing his coursework before starting student teaching. Even though he came home on the weekend in between.. we hated this.. especially so early into marriage! These big smiles were celebrating him coming home after finishing!

Meanwhile... I was trying to figure out how to make a house look good with minimal furniture and miniature money. This random photo was to commemorate hanging curtains (I think?) and it's hilarious how different our house looks now. Notice a few empty frames in the background!


We celebrated my first married birthday with breakfast at Panera with my mom, and a Strader family trip to the rodeo!

With both of us beginning student teaching just a few days after we got back from our honeymoon.. our nights were often spent with movies on the couch and cups of soup. Looking back, we were constantly so exhausted. During this season, we often crawled in bed sometime between 8:30 and 9!

... Matilda loved it!


We took our first trip back to College Station together, for Ben to run his first half marathon with his old roommate and bestie, Collin.

We loved reuniting with friends and celebrating the race! They crossed the finish line after around an hour and forty five minutes.. and were a lot closer to the front of the pack than we anticipated!

During our Spring Break, I was headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to attend Making Things Happen. This photo of my travel supplies makes me remember how nervous I was.. for no good reason at all. Reflecting on this trip truly brings tears to my eyes... it was so clearly God's will for me to go and learn from so many amazing ladies and make such sweet friends.

While I was gone, Ben focused on building some raised beds in my mom's backyard!

 Photo courtesy of Makenzie Kern

Making Things Happen was such an encouragement, and exactly what I needed to finish up the final few weeks of student teaching.

I don't know if it was how much MTH pruned my heart or just how much I love Ben and our home, but arriving home was SO STINKING SWEET!

We also hosted a couples shower, for our friends Aaron and Sarita (read about their wedding here). March was a full month!


I finished student teaching and basically loved life!

This month we visited food trucks, golfed, watched the entire series of Downton Abbey (Ben's first ever tv show to follow!) attended Aggie Muster, and had lots of friends over! We also started walking through Financial Peace University.. that triggered a huge change in our lives!


We started the month with our graduation from Texas A&M University. Reaching this milestone was such a celebration!

I also got to have a girls day with my bestie and MOH Lucy, before she moved to Maryland!

We traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma for Aaron and Sarita's wedding. Ben looked like a hobbit in our group photo. I got to help Liz and Kristen pack up their college apartment.

I completed my first ever sewing project.. curtains for our living room!

I went with some dear friends to the TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT!!! Such a blast and I would continue seeing her in concert again and again until I'm 80.

I also painted our bedroom from gray to beige.. which you can read about here. :)


We went on family vacation to California. We visited Hollywood, Beverly Hills, a beautiful vineyard,  Ben surfed, and I tried In and Out Burger for the first time. (Ps I LOVE it!)

Ben also decided to do some major demolition in our backyard and build a fence!

Woah. You're probably sick of hearing about us forever more after that hefty post. Yikes! :) Happy Monday, y'all!


  1. So happy for you sweet girl. It seems like your year was an absolute blast! You will have to tell me more about this Making Things Happen conference! It sounds very interesting!!

  2. You are so adorable! I loved this post and just want to squeeze on you and your sweet self :) I hope you enjoyed your 2013 and I know 2014 will be filled with so many fun things to look forward too! <3

  3. You two are precious! I love seeing year in review posts - it reminds me of all the things I have forgotten over the past year! Life just keeps getting better and better!

  4. This was an awesome post! Y'all are so sweet! Keep these memories and savor them forever! You will treasure the little moments so much in the years to come!

  5. Wow, it's been a big year for yall! :) Random, but I love your couches, do you mind sharing where you found them?

  6. I loved this post! Keep them coming! 1/26?

  7. I loved this post! Keep them coming! 1/26?

  8. Um... I love you!!!!! This just makes me happy. I need to go back and read all your past posts!! There was so much I didn't know!!

  9. Wow, I love how you even remember the little things! I am also wondering... are you pursuing teaching anymore?

  10. Your review makes this Utah girl it, my friend!

  11. What a fun post!!! You two are adorable!

  12. loved reading through this! So many sweet memories, precious pictures and lots of joy! Have a merry christmas!

  13. I can't think of a better way to start the year than being on your honeymoon :) loved reading about your year, and especially loved all the pics of your darling home decor and that doggie.

    PS I have a year in review link up on my blog. If you have 30 seconds, I'd love for you to come link this post up :)



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