16. It’s a Boy: Finding out this little one is a boy made the whole “having a child inside of me” feel more real and a lot easier for both of us to feel connected to the baby. I’ll always remember that first ultrasound with Ben (he wasn’t at my 9 week ultrasound) and how glued to the screen we both were.
Thursday night while getting ready for bed I was hit with how grateful I am for this past year with Ben. Between losing his job, leaving our beloved Cincinnati, and struggling to get pregnant, there were a few times when we wondered why things weren’t working out. But, luckily we spent most of the year trusting that God’s plan is better than ours and just having having fun with it (and in retrospect, all along, it’s been our favorite year yet). We had so much time to spend together that I believe has been really helpful in preparing to have a baby. We also got to have so much fun! The “time off” left room for travel and plenty of time for family, friends, and each other.
As I was working on a fun family gift (just scroll to the bottom for the giveaway + how to get your own for free), I ended up going through thousands of pictures from 2014. I want to do another whole post on our ten favorite moments, but for today I have our (well, my) 20 favorite pictures of us from this year (I didn’t include any from our anniversary session/Saks Fifth Avenue shoot other than that top picture because then we’d have about fifty). Some of these I picked because I love the shot, but most of them I picked because I love what they remind me of:
1. Cincinnati Sundays: We took this shot on self timer after church one rather warm Sunday in January. It was right before I headed off to Alt Summit and before our lives got turned a bit upside down. I’m also a bit partial to any picture in which Ben is wearing glasses 🙂
2. Forever Laughing: This picture, taken shortly after I got back from Utah in the beginning of February, reminds me of how much fun we have together and how happy we are able to be even in the face of scary circumstances.
3. Valentine’s Day: For Valentine’s this year we went ice skating in the middle of downtown Cincinnati after eating at my favorite Tom & Chee for lunch. This shot, taken sometime that weekend always makes me laugh. It’s another self timer one that caught me wiping lipstick off of Ben’s cheek.
4. Our favorite apartment + midday dates: February and March meant lots of time in our apartment together and this picture was from one of our random midday dates (which really meant a break from working for me and job hunting for Ben). I love the reminder of the little things we were able to do together and the awesome gallery wall we had in that apartment.
5. An Interview: I’m not sure when this picture was actually taken but I shared it on the blog the night Ben was driving up for a big job interview with P&G (or maybe that’s when I wrote the post and shared it later?). It reminds me of how proud I am of him and his work ethic (and also how great he looks in my favorite suit).
6. Sunshine Therapy: After a crazy winter in Cincinnati (well, during a crazy winter in Cincinnati) and once things took a great turn for the better on the job front, we booked a very last minute cruise at 70% off and set sail less than a week later. This was taken on the beach in Mexico and just makes me smile.
7. Guatemala Adventures: Our favorite day on the cruise was our stop in Guatemala where we really felt like we got to know the country and the people. We took a small boat up a river and spent the day meeting locals, helping at a school, and exploring a little port town (oh, and almost melting in these natural saunas/caves).
8. Ship Life: Another highlight was our Dancing with the Stars experience on board the Ryndam (Holland America Cruise Line) — We took advantage of the fun dance classes all week and ended up being selected to compete along with four other guests in the final show. The judges told Ben he had “great hip action” and was “smooth for a white guy” as he performed his samba and I got to relive my ballroom competition days with the Jive (ironically the only one of the dances we learned that I hadn’t ever done before). This shot was taken right after the final competition and even though the lighting is terrible, it reminds me of the thrill of dancing, being stars on board (everyone kept congratulating us all evening), and the ship life with Ben.
9. New Hampshire: We also snuck in a little trip to New Hampshire to see my family and took this picture on the same swing we have wedding pictures on. When I see this I think of our rock climbing fiasco from that week and all the fun we had with my sisters.
10. Easter Sunday: Brunch with friends, silk dyed easter eggs, a ressurected Savior, and killer shoes made for a wonderful Eater this year.
11. Kentucky Derby: No, we didn’t go – but we did dress up for some pictures for a fun Derby collaboration and I just love this one. It reminds me of all the things Ben puts up with for me (and that he has an awesome seersucker suit).
12. Rock Climbing: I asked Ben what he really wanted to do before he started work again and rock climbing in Utah was the top of this list (it also might have been the whole list). So, we spent two and a half weeks at the end of may/beginning of June back in our favorite mountains seeing some of our very favorite people. This shot was from a full day of climbing in Maple Canyon and reminds me of the fun we had on that trip along with all the other awesome rock climbing memories we have from our years of living in Utah.
13. Bye-bye Cincy: This was taken about five minutes before we got in the car and drove the two and a half hours to Findlay, OH. It reminds me to appreciate this opportunity we have here but it also reminds me of the great friends we left behind (whose house we were at when we snapped this picture). We’ll be forever grateful for the fun year we had in Cincinnati (and pretty glad that Findlay isn’t too far for frequent weekend trips …one of which we’re leaving for in about half an hour).
14. Chicago: One of our first weekends in Findlay we packed up the car and met some friends from St. Louis in Chicago for the weekend. I was about 10 weeks pregnant at this point and still dealing with morning sickness but we had so much fun regardless. I love this picture because the dress I’m wearing belonged to my mother (and she wore it when she was first pregnant with me).
15. My Favorite Place on Earth: Another quick weekend trip those early weeks in Findlay was to meet my family in upstate New York to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant (a large outdoor theater production of the Book of Mormon). My family was in the 600 person cast 3 of my high school summers and that hill will always be very special place to me. It was my first time taking Ben to see the pageant, along with our favorite ice cream spot, and a fun family hike.
17. Middle of Nowhere, Ohio: Findlay is actually not quite the middle of nowhere, but we are surrounded by cornfields. This shot really captures life in Findlay for me and starting over just the two of us, again.
18. The Bump: So this is another self-timer shot (usually I have it set up so it takes 9 in a row, a few seconds apart). I decided to jump on Ben’s back for a picture, totally forgetting I had a 30 week bump in the way. This picture reminds me of all the unexpected changes in pregnancy and how we’ve chosen to laugh at them (most of the time).
19. The House: We don’t have a picture in front of our new house but we took this in our new neighborhood our first weekend here. It represents the victory of surviving the process of purchasing our first home…and doing so without a realtor (it was a part time job for many, many weeks for me). We never felt at home in our first apartment here in Findlay so it feels so great to be making progress on this new place.
20. California Thanksgiving: Just one of my favorites from our past two weeks in California for Thanksgiving. It’s the longest we’ve ever spent in California together and it is crazy to think that next time we’re there we’ll have a baby in tow! I sure do love this California boy of mine 🙂
And now for a fun giveaway! I’ve been working some of our favorite pictures from 2014 into a scrapbook using MyPlublisher, an incredibly easy book builder that lets you print your pictures in beautiful books. I used the program years ago to make a memory book from high school and its just as straightforward as I remember. They have a feature that builds the book for you if you don’t want to have to arrange each page, but you also have total flexibility to customize everything (which I love).
Here’s a snapshot of our book in progress (and some pictures from California):
Fun, huh? MyPublisher is giving away $100 to one of you to make your very own book (or two or three) and you can check out their Cyber Week sale here. To enter, just leave a comment letting me know what you’d use your book for and leave your email address. Maybe you’d gift it to your in-laws (I made a wedding book for my m.i.l. which she loved), or create a coffee table book of your latest vacation. Either way, leave a comment and I’ll email the winner next week!
P.S. You can get 30% off your purchase of $50 using this coupon, and if you’re a first time customer, check out their website for another great deal.