Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Memories {2013}

Twenty-Thirteen has definitely been one of the best years of my life and I am so thankful to be able to look back on many great memories! Even though I did have a fair share of stress, tears, and worry, I'm glad those things have passed and I have either learned or became stronger because of it. I can't believe this past year went by in just a blink of an eye. It sure does seem like as we age, life goes faster and faster by the day. Which makes me realize that every single moment {big or small} is worth a million dollars, smiles, laughs, and pictures. 

Seeing as today is the final day of 2013, I'd like to look back and cherish some amazing memories that I know we will look back on for years to come! 

First and foremost.... The day I married my best friend. The man I could never imagine my life without. The day we became Husband and Wife is one of the greatest blessings I will ever have.

Seeing this captured moment melts my heart every time
Along with becoming Mr. & Mrs, I treasure the moments we shared with such special people in our lives. Every single guest that shared our day with us will never be forgotten. Especially my brother, who traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington. {Although he stressed me the hell out when he almost didn't get on his plane two days before the wedding.} I hadn't seen him in years. Michael only met him once. Having him home for a full week and standing next to us as at the alter meant the world to me. Along with the rest of our beautiful bridal party. Each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart that I will never forget.

Our trip to Alaska was nothing short of ahhhhhh-mazing! It really made us realize how beautiful this world is and how much there is to see. It also gave us a big itch to travel. We took over 3,000 pictures on our trip and these few don't even do complete justice for how great of a time we had. Michael planned the honeymoon and I couldn't be happier with where we went! We loved it!

Deer hunting {gun season in particular} was extemrely successful for us this year and it was definitely one of the most exciting weekends we had together! Opening day, Michael shot 2 bucks and I was extremely mad and jealous. The following morning I shot a buck and a doe out of the same blind. My first buck as a matter of fact! I'm not sure how we got so lucky, but it was so awesome. I'll also never forget how hard we partied in celebration of these bucks. So many memories and so many laughs! I can't wait until these beauties come back from the taxidermist to add to our collection of mounts. This will be my first one to add to the collection so that's even more exciting! 
All of these special people {and many more that aren't pictured} mean the world to us! Family, friends, parents, cousins, siblings - life wouldn't be complete without them.

Last but not least, so many memories with our furbabies. I don't know what I would do without these animals. When Michael is away at work, they are the only thing that keeps me sane! Although some days, they make me want to pull my hair out. From accidents in the house, chewing apart toys and making a disaster of the house, begging, fighting, vet appointments costing a fortune, taking over our bed, allergies worse than humans, to sweet kisses and cuddles. All of those memories with them are priceless. 

Losing our big guy, Dan, was certainly not easy, but we sure did enjoy our time with him while it lasted. Having him outside also taught us that we didn't want to do that to another animal again. We always felt bad for him. Especially considering our other dogs got so much love and attention. 

A few of my other top moments from 2013: 
- New job opportunity (same career path & employer)
- Purchased 18 acres behind our house (as well as technically own a home after we refinanced the house and Michael put my name on it - which was nerve wrecking for me to have so much debt!)
- Became the Treasurer for QDMA Thumb Branch!
- Became a consultant for both Princess House and AdvoCare!
- Started this little blog! :) 

What are your top memories from 2013?!

Happy New Year's Eve! Be safe!

May every day of the New Year bring you prosperity, good health, happiness, and love!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Vacation Recap!

Even though the past week has flown by, I must say, Christmas combined with vacation was one of the greatest things ever! Why haven't I taken Christmas vacation before?! It made the holidays much more enjoyable! 

{Shout-out to Brittany for working on redesigning my blog! We're still working on a few things but so far, I'm loving it!}

I've got a lot of recapping to do now that 2 full weekends of Christmas celebrations have passed... 

Rewind to Friday, December 20th. My first day off and Michael's first day home from being gone at work for two weeks. We were able to spend it together, which was way over due! We did some shopping and grabbed some lunch before we headed home. Great way to start a vacation!

Saturday, December 21st, we attended Christmas at the family farm. Consisted of an overabundance of food, beer, and bs'ing. We also do a secret Santa exchange. I received a water bath canner! Yay! And Michael received some food injector thing he wanted! We normally play lots of euchre as well, however we left early to help out some friends...  

We left Christmas at the farm to help set up a proposal for one of my friends. The orignal plan was to go to Frankenmuth where he planned on proposing, and I would be able to capture pictures of the moment. However, we had a terrible ice storm and we weren't thrilled about driving two hours in the bad weather. So we wound up setting up some lights and wrote in the snow in their front yard so when they came home, I was able to capture it. Even though it wasn't what he had planned, it was still an exciting moment for both of them and we were thrilled to be a part of it! 

Sunday, December 22nd - aka - Sunday Funday! We went over to a friends and then wound up back at our house playing cards and pool. Many drinks and laughs! Good times were had! And we got more snow, which was beautiful!
Snowmobiles officially out! 
Jack enjoyed digging in the 12+ inches of snow

Monday, December 23rd was a full day of relaxation!

Christmas Eve we celebrated with my Dad and family. It's been a tradition for many years since my parents are divorced. My stepmom cooks a delicious meal of lobster tails and steak. They go to church before we come over and we usually leave early and make it home for candlelight mass. We exchange gifts, drink wine, and relax. They got us some really nice placemats (since I have none) and some clothes!  

Waking up Christmas morning for the first time as husband and wife didn't seem much different since we've lived together for two years now... although there was still great meaning to waking up together and knowing there will be many more great years, memories, and traditions to come!

Christmas morning we slept in {which isn't much of "sleeping in" considering our dogs wake us up by 7 regardless}. I made Michael some coffee and we exchanged gifts with the dogs first. We got them some shoes since the snow can be so hard on their feet when hunting in the winter. So far, they don't like them. It's quite comical. Jack knew his gifts were under the tree somewhere and he has been whining about them for well over a week. We definitely didn't want to make him wait any longer. Sandy, on the other hand, hasn't been feeling very well and she had zero interest in anything besides being on Michael's lap. 

Jack destroyed two balls within minutes. Never fails. 

Michael and I got our laughs out of Jack with his new toys and exchanged our gifts. I must say, he always does a good job of surprising me with gifts and he always gets me the best stuff! Myself on the other hand... not so much. He opened 5 things, and all but one box he guess what was inside it. Either he snoops, I'm a terrible gift giver, or he's just that good!

He had me completely stumped with this huge heavy box... it was awesome new hunting boots! 1600 threads are going to make for some warm footsies! I think he must be sick of hearing me whine about cold feet! Haha! He also got me some gloves, a hat, and under armor cold gear {which was on my wish list}! Yay for gifts that keep me warm!
Another gift I really love from him, is my Owl Oragami Locket. I had bought the locket a month ago and it just came in the week before Christmas and it was kind of one of those things you buy yourself and say, here, give this to me for a gift because I feel bad I just spent the money on it. Well Michael also got some more charms to go inside the locket that I didn't know about. I mean, I made the suggestion when he said he needed to get me some stocking stuffers but he told me that was stupid and he wasn't doing it. Well played, Michael. 

Michael's gift pile is alllll one theme.Camo. Imagine that!
He did get quite a few "non-hunting" items as well, but I thought it was funny to see all this camo stuff under the tree.

Christmas Morning 2013
{Amazingly this photo took one try on the self timer. The dogs are gettin' good!}

Christmas {late} morning we head to his Mom's for the day. It's not far from home so it's not too bad. She cooks lunch and supper and we all just hang out around her house. We exchange gifts for each other and we also do a Chinese gift exchange. It's always hilarious. I was super lucky and had the last card this year. I decided to steal someone's gift of a small shop vacuum! What can I say, I like a clean house. Michael walked away with some tools so he was happy!

Some of the awesome gifts she got us included a utinsil set for the fireplace, hunting backpack for carrying a bow or rifle, an electric track for deer hanging, pink camo jacket, pink camo hoodshirt, scarves, and house decor. My favorite gift from my MIL was this afghan rack! I've been wanting one so bad and I didn't even know she knew that!

Christmas Day we also snuck in some snowmobiling! Totally had to take advantage of all the snow we have! We rode the sleds back to town for supper. It was a good little ride! Can't wait to go again! 

Unfortunately, Michael came down with a bad virus on Thursday so we had been keeping low key. One of the things I asked for for Christmas was flooring to be done in our entry way and our half bathroom. So on Saturday, Michael did the flooring in both rooms! {Thanks babe!} I think I'm going to stain the wood trim darker and then paint.. any suggestions!?? I'm terrible at picking out paint colors! 

Today, Sunday, December 29th, wraps up our last Christmas Celebration. Frist, we went to my Mom's and exchanged gifts between the five of us. We got another fire place utinsel set! This one has deer antlers on it! We also got some Tequilia Rose and Bailey's. Yum! And lastly, some misc. hair products since my Mom owns a salon and always stocks us up for Christmas with the goods!

In the afternoon, we went to my Aunt's for the Schunk's side of the family gathering. We relax at their bar and eat lots of appetizers. It's always nice to see everyone, most of them which we haven't seen since our wedding in July. However, driving two hours there and two hours home make for a car full of exhaustion between us and the dogs!

All in all, it was an amazing "vacation" and first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. We couldn't be more grateful for all of the love and gifts we received. We completely spoiled each other and our families spoiled us as well!

I hope you had a memorable Christmas! What was your favorite memory and/or gift?!

XO, Julie

 Linking up with Showered with Design and Dateless in Dallas for a weekend recap! Or in my case, two weekends and a weeks worth! :) 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Holiday Home Tour}

Merry Christmas Eve!
Keeping busy over here at the Joy residence...
I can't believe Christmas is here! So far, it's been fun and relaxing!

Prepare for pictures upon pictures of holiday decor around our home! I've seen a couple other posts of holiday decor and I think it's a great way to share decoration ideas! Enjoy!

Side door! Welcome to holiday season at the Joy's!
 Welcome to the front door that no one uses! Haha!
This table runner was in the process of being made by my Grandma before she passed. My stepmom finished it and gave it to me the 1st Christmas after her passing. I love it!
Christmas Countdown!
I realize it may be corny to have everything with our last name on it... but it's kind of inevitable during the holiday season!
Christmas Card Display! I love all the cards we receive! 

Jack is just as bad as a child that knows there is presents under the tree for him/her... 

Last but not least, this years newest ornaments for the tree!
This one is from The Fry's for our first ornament exchange! So cute!!! Thanks again, Brittany & Anthony!
This one is Michael and I's pick for this years ornament from Bronners!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! And I hope Santa leaves something good under the tree for you! 

Merry Christmas!

XO, Julie