I'll admit I'm not on the top of my game for Christmas. I decorated our apartment in a frenzy upon returning to the States 15 days before Christmas, but you won't be receiving a Christmas card from the Dahls for their first married Christmas and you definitely won't be seeing us hosting a Christmas party. But it's okay because I'm back in America and I'm soaking up a lot of relaxing time at home with my husband and close friends. In my home. Eating a lot of cookies. So here is our own Christmas card of sorts, with a recap of my/our 2012:
2012 has been perfect in so many ways, yet I have never been so s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d as I was this year. And there were LOTS of big milestones hit!! Shall we look at the highlights?
1. Foot surgery happened at the end of 2011, but I kicked off the first few minutes of 2012 by attempting to play Just Dance in my parents' living room in my awesome post-op shoes. It was interesting. My new walking skills were compared to those of a stork, baby fawn, and a one-year-old child. Needless to say, we grew as a soon-to-be-married couple when he carried me to the bathroom and washed my hair for me. How cute. One year later, I have beautifully scarred and bunion-less feet!
2. With the wedding coming up, I spent all of my free time creating wedding things and attending bridal showers. I have sweet friends! When I wasn't doing schoolwork, my days were consumed with creating boutonnieres and finding the right clothes for the bridal party. David helped eat shower food and nod his head in approval of every item we registered for. Actually, that last part isn't 100% true. Woohoo for wedding planning!
3. Big Milestone #1: Renting our first home. One week before the wedding, we moved into the most PRECIOUS townhouse apartment in Louisville. I love love love our first home; it has been a huge joy to spend our first year of marriage in this area!
4. Big Milestone #2: Marriage. On May 19, I married my best friend and promised to love him forever. It has only gotten better since then, and I'm oh-so-thankful for a husband who has grown and matured in 7 months SO much more than I ever could have anticipated. The love fern we planted on that first day of marriage is still thriving in our living room, even though D didn't water it for the entire month I was out of the country... even so, the fern thrives!!! What does that tell you about our AWESOME marriage?! We also went on a honeymoon to Jamaica, where we stuffed ourselves with good food and slept like there was no tomorrow. Weddings are exhausting.
5. With our wedding over, it was time to get ready for another family matrimony! David's sister Jamie got married to sweet Blake in August. We went to lots of weddings for friends this year, but this one was definitely the most special. I loved getting to meet many of David's family members and spend some time getting to know them. And now, even more exciting news... we will be aunt and uncle to sweet little Brantley in May!! We're so excited for the Harwoods!!!
7. Big Milestone #3: Student teaching. D worked full-time (and usually overtime) at his job so that I would be able to do student teaching without worrying about working. That man is a GEM. Student teaching was a precious experience that confirmed for me what the Lord has created me to do. I loved teaching those 1st and 3rd graders, but it certainly kept me busy! Through my students, I learned to see the gifts that God truly has placed in each individual person that could uniquely give Him glory. I learned to embrace the gifts He has given me so that I can serve Him in the best way I know how. One artistically-gifted child chose to depict me on a unicorn, riding on a rainbow, as a departing gift for me... how ironic.
8. The last month of my student teaching was spent in Quito, Ecuador. I worked with a kinder class and a wonderful teacher in a K-12 bilingual (ish) school. D was such a trooper for letting me go on this trip that I had planned for since sophomore year of college, and I am so thankful!! This month was a strengthener in our marriage and an affirmation that we definitely work better together than apart.
9. Big Milestone #4: Graduation! Less than a week after returning to the States, we graduated from college! This is a photo of the other student teacher at my elementary school. It was so sweet to graduate with each of the people who worked so hard with me to complete each semester. I'm thankful for WKU and all that it has meant to me over the past 4 1/2 years. I've got prospects for teaching jobs in the future, but I'll share more when things are more definite!
That's our 2012 in review. It was a big year for us with a LOT of changes... but we are looking forward to 2013 with big expectations and lots of hope! Merry Christmas :)