2014 in Review.

On December 31, 2013, I shared this image on my social media accounts:

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I had a good feeling about 2014. 2013 was not the best year of my life. I hated leaving our home and my friends in Arkansas, and when we moved to Virginia, I was pretty depressed. Being unemployed and friendless didn’t help that. I was optimistic that 2014 would be better. And in some ways it was. But while there were highs, there were also some pretty low lows.

Highs:

  • Graham was promoted to Tech Sergeant and made straight A’s both semesters since he’s been back to school, and I am so proud of him!
  • I finally found a good job. I only work part time (but honestly, I’m not too sad about having Friday-Monday off…) and the job isn’t very exciting, but it’s with a good, stable, customer service oriented company. This company still does things like 401K matching and Christmas bonuses, and I’m so thankful to work here.
  • So many fun day trips to DC, including the 4th of July & the Cherry Blossom Festival.

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  • We’re making the most of our time here, and experienced so many fun beach days & hikes with Hermione.

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  • I got to meet my blogging idols, John & Sherry Petersik from Young House Love.

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  • We finally made friends. This is a biggie, since I’m an introvert by nature. It’s very, very hard for me to make friends, and one of the reasons I was so depressed when we first moved here. I had no job, no friends, and I was so, so lonely. This year has been SO different! Between the dog park, the apartment social events every month and blogging, I’ve met some really great people here and I’m so thankful for that. My social calendar has had more on it since August than it has in a very, very long time.
  • It snowed! We’ve always just missed snow while we were living in Arkansas. One year it snowed about 13″ in Arkansas, while we were home for Christmas, and it was all gone when we got back. So getting snow (and a lot of it) was pretty exciting for me! Especially since I was unemployed and didn’t have to worry about driving in it. And Hermione had SO much fun playing in it! We took her out to Yorktown and let her play on the deserted, snow covered battlefield. It was perfect. And seeing the beach covered in snow was pretty cool too.

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  • I got a new car! We’ve talked about trading in my Civic for the past couple of years, in favor of something a little bigger. This year we finally did it, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

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  • We sold Graham’s motorcycle & paid off a good chunk of our debt.
  • We refinanced our house in Arkansas! This was a HUGE ordeal. Part of the VA loan refinance is being able to have energy efficient improvements factored in to the new loan. The house needed new windows, so we decided to do that. And apparently no one at Chase had a clue as to how to do this, so the whole process took about 4 months. But it’s so nice to have one of the higher priced items our house needed taken care of, and we’re no longer coming up negative every month with the house. And best of all? When the window guys were finishing up, Graham was on the phone with one of them and asked if my blue wall was still there. IT IS!!!

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  • We were able to go to Lake Jocassee with Graham’s family this year. He hasn’t been with them since 2009, since he usually deploys in the summer. I’ve never been, so it was nice to go and finally see this place he’s been raving about for years. And it was every bit as beautiful as he described it to be.

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Lows:

  • In September, one of my Arkansas friends from Crye-Leike was kidnapped and murdered. She was a kind, funny, wonderful person, and I am completely devastated by what happened to her, and the pain her sweet family is going through. There hasn’t been a day since she went missing that I haven’t thought about her, and prayed for her family.

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  • Frances, my favorite Arkansan, lost her father in April and lost her mother a couple of weeks ago. Frances is one of the best people I know, and knowing she’s hurting breaks my heart.
  • My brother became a father on December 14, 2013, and this year has been one long custody battle between him & my nephews mother. This has put so much stress on my family.
  • Buddy had some serious health issues again. He went for his shots and his annual check-up, and we learned he has a low grade heart murmur. Two days after that, he was back at the vet for urinary issues. Worrying about the furry love of my life has probably taken a few years off of my own life.
  • I know it’s silly, but the Hallmark store I spent seven years working at closed on January 11th. I stopped in last year about 2 weeks before they closed, and it was so depressing. I changed so much within those walls. I started my two most significant romantic relationships while I worked there, and I was there when one of them fell apart. I went back to college, graduated from college, and started grad school while working there. My mom remarried while I worked there. I grew up in that store. I loved my job, and I was good at it. It honestly hurts to go to that wing of the mall anymore, knowing my store is no longer there.

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  • Also silly, but Young House Love is no longer an active blog. They were the bloggers who started my love of home improvement and crafty/DIY projects. Their absence from the blog world leaves a pretty big hole in my weekday mornings.

What I want out of 2015:

  • I want to fill January-April with as much fun and memory making with Graham as I possibly can. He’s deploying in April for six months. We’re going to be apart on our anniversary for the first time, and I know that’s going to be pretty brutal for me. So, I want lots of experiences and memories to help keep me sane while he’s away.
  • I want to start the house hunting process. Since we’ve moved here, we’ve gone back and forth on the idea of buying a house out here, or continuing to rent. The cost of property out here is outrageous, but so is paying $1700 a month for a two bedroom apartment (with a garage). We recently decided to stay here for as long as we can, so we’ve decided to buy a house. We’re going to spend the next year saving money like crazy and researching neighborhoods and areas, and when he returns in October, we’re going to look for a house. Since this isn’t our forever home, and will eventually be an investment property, we have to think about things like school districts, backyards, and busy streets, as well as looking for the things that matter to US in a home. We’ve decided we want to be in Yorktown or Williamsburg, and finding a home that meets most of our needs and fits in our budgets will definitely be a challenge!
  • I want to lose weight. I say this every year. I try every year. And nothing ever happens. This year, I actually came to the conclusion that my birth control may be a problem. So, I went to the doctor and we switched to a different type. I lost three pounds that first week, without really trying. I haven’t lost much more since then (but I haven’t gained either), since we’ve been so busy lately, but 2015 is going to be the year that changes. I hope to lose the 30 lbs. I’ve gained since 2009 once and for all. Since Graham will be gone for six months, I’m pretty confident it will happen. I tend to lose weight while he’s gone, because I don’t bake nearly as much and I pretty much live on homemade soup and cereal.
  • I want to continut to cultivate my creative interests. I’d like to take a photography class and actually learn how to use my camera. I’d like to take a sewing class and learn how to use my sewing machine.
  • I would like to give up my four day weekends, and go full time at work. Making double what I’m making now would go a long way for that whole ‘saving for a house’ thing.
  • I want 2015 to be happy & prosperous for us all. Happy New Year, everyone!

4 thoughts on “2014 in Review.

  1. Cluttercafe says:

    Happy New Year Heather! I had the pleasure of getting to know you this year! As I was writing my own New Year’s post, I thought each year it’s kind of the same thing, a mixture of good and bad. It’s just “degrees” of good and bad that make it what it is. I am sorry for your loss. I cried for you and your friend. Lots of prayers for your husband on his deployment, stay strong. Wishing you lots of great things this year! Lisa

  2. Susan @ 2 cats & chloe says:

    HEY! It looks like you had an okay year! And I hope that we can plan to hang out more in 2015, especially when graham leaves! Let’s make plans to try to get together once a month or something. And so much for that whole, crazy, let’s-go-to-the-gym idea. Hahaha! ALSO – if you find a photography class, especially if it’s a foodie related one, I would love to take one too!

    • Heather says:

      YES. We need to hang out more. Definitely at least once a month! And if I find a class that sounds promising, I’ll let you know. I’m even looking for a class in Richmond. I was intrigued by the one Liz (I Heart Vegetables) took, but they haven’t offered it again yet.

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