Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: Year in Review

Wow!  I can't believe that 2015 is almost over - just a few days left.  To conclude the year I am going to write a brief year in review.  This year has definitely been a year of changes - and changes for the better, I'd say.

January:  I was working at Broad Street Cafe and living with my parents.  I had a big birthday celebration and enjoyed turning 27.  Here's a pic from my birthday get together.

February:  February 4th was when baby Ayla Mae Carlson was born!  What a joyous time that was.  My parents and I got to go out and visit her when she was one week old.  What a blessing!

March:  March was the month of my interviews at Area Agency, and finally starting my job as a care manager social worker on March 30th!  No more Broad Street - I was finally on to bigger and better things!  We also had a baby shower for Nikki and I was able to get together with old friends.

April:  April was the start of my new job, and when I did Weight Watchers.  I lost 8 pounds, so that was exciting!  We had Easter dinner with the Margols and I was blessed with the opportunity to go see Sufjan Stevens in concert at Calvin with some friends.

May:  In May we celebrated Mother's Day with my wonderful mother, and I also attempted to run a 5K.  I didn't do so well because I did not train one bit, but at least I tried!

June:  In June I got into the sports!  I played tennis a couple of times with my friend Kayla, and I even joined a group of guys from Whirlpool and played soccer with them once.  I was terrible and it was downpouring - but it was the first time I'd played soccer since high school!  I had fun. 

July:  July began with a fun visit from my friend Beth on fourth of July weekend, but was interrupted by the death of my Aunt Dianne.  She worked at Area Agency same as me but stopped working quickly after I started.  She was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a quick process and she was gone early July.  It's been hard on all of us.  But we know she's in a better place (cliche, but true).  Also, some family came in to visit from out East, so it was good to see them as well.  July ended with a camping trip with my old small group from Grand Rapids.  That was a blast and I had so much fun!

August:  In August I began hanging out with some co-workers and I went wine tasting for the first time!  Though I'm not a big fan of wine, it was a lot of fun!  The Christian Reformed Church had a 50 year celebration which was fun to see old pastors and old members of the church.  Then the best of all, Ben and Kristen and Ayla came out for a visit!

September:  In September I finished up a 3 month training program and ran my fastest 5K ever!  I trained with a group of like 50 people and it was so fun!  I don't remember my time, but I was super proud of all of the hard work that I did.  In early September I also started going to the First Church of God's young adult group called House again.  I got connected with some really cool people; that was fun.  There I met Ashley, my eventual roommate.  We began painting our apartment.  I also went to my first wine and canvas!

October:  In October, Ashley, my awesome roommate and I, moved into our little downtown Broad Street apartment!  We absolutely love it!  It's walking distance to downtown and the beach and (after it was painted) is super cute and cozy!  We love it.  And I love rooming with her - she's great.  Also in October we had a mini Calvin girls reunion.  Kels came in from Indiana and LoBo came in from California!  It was so good to see everyone and connect.  Rach couldn't make it - so that was a bummer.  But we had fun.  And we got to see Nik's baby, Riven David.  Also in October I got to hang out more with the girls from House.  What a blast!  And I played Ultimate frisbee with a group of people from House on Monday nights too - fun!

November:  Toward the middle of October and throughout November, I started talking to this cool guy named John.  We had a lot of fun getting to know each other.  I also went bowling with some coworkers!  That was fun too!

December:  John and I became an official couple.  Yay!  I had a bunch of Christmas parties including some with his family, my family, his coworkers, and my coworkers.  Christmas was a great celebration this year (despite the lack of snow).  Soon we will be celebrating the New Year!  I just can't believe how time has flown.

All in all, it was a (mostly) great year!  I am so happy and content and yet also ready for whatever new 2016 brings me.  I praise God for his many blessings and I hope to serve him in the coming year however he leads me.  Sending you my love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Busy busy bee!

I have THE cutest niece in the whole world.  Check out this pic of Ben (my brother) and little Ayla being silly.  

I love it.  I miss them so much!  I don't know when I will get to see them next - which makes me sad.  But thank goodness for technology and being able to send videos and pics and being able to Skype/FaceTime!  Here's their Christmas picture of the little nugget with an adorable crocheted hat that Kristen (my sister-in-law) made.

John was in town last weekend and we were busy!  On Thursday I had a work Christmas party with all of the other care managers at one of my coworker's homemade log cabin house (VERY cool).  Here's a selfie stick shot of me with my coworkers, and John too!  Haha.  He felt very self-conscious about this pic because he thought the other guys there were going to join in, but they didn't.  Love it.

The party was a blast.  John is such a sweetheart.  He got me the following - just because!  

Then on Friday we went bowling.  We had bets for each of our three games.  The first game - the winner, for every ten points above the loser, earned a 5 minute back/shoulder massage.  I lost by 29 points, so I owed John a 10 minute massage.  I've done 5 of the 10 so far...fun fun.  In the second game, the loser had to peel the potatoes at dinner - which I had to do....but the third game, and most important game, if John lost, he had to read ALL of the Harry Potter books.  And HE LOST!  Wahoo!  I got 133 points (my very best score ever!) and he got I think 124 or something close.  So I am very excited - he started reading the first book last night.

Then Friday night we made meatloaf and mashed potatoes and played Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit on a double date with Mike, my good friend, and Ashley, my roommate.  It was fun!  I haven't read or watched HP since 2013 so I was a bit rusty, but it was fun none-the-less.

Saturday John and I drove up to Grand Rapids suuuuper early (we left at 7am!) and met some of my favorites for breakfast.  We met Nikki, Mike, Em Paauw, and Beth at Marie Catrib's and had a great time.  After that John and I walked around the mall a bit.  And then as part of my Christmas present - we got a couple's facial together at Design 1.  It was glorious.  So relaxing.  I loved the steam machine and the scalp massage.  Oh man.  Then I got my make up done and my hair cut and styled by my good friend Lisa.  I think I might grow my hair out now, but for now, it's short.  Here's a selfie to show the curls.

Then we met up with Danny and Christina and their little girl Lilliana.  We made Christmas cookies and then the adults went and grabbed some dinner at The Electric Cheetah.  Then we went to The Meanwhile and played Spot It and had some great conversation.  It was a super fun night.  I'm glad they got to meet and get to know John.

Sunday was relaxing.  We went to church and then out to lunch with everyone from church.  Then John napped while I went through my mail/bills.  Then we grabbed root beers/sarsaparilla at Bound for Freedom and played games.  John was awesome at Bananagrams!

Then after playing games we went to Grace Lutheran and walked around the Living Nativity.  That was really neat.  Then we grabbed some Qdoba and went back to my place and watched The Sound of Music sing-along.  Haha.  That was fun!

We sure make a cute couple; don't we?

And Monday this week. my team got third place in Trivia at The Buck.  Wahoo!  That was exciting.  I didn't contribute much of anything, but it was a fun time.  Last night I had dinner at my parents', then I went home and blasted some Christmas music while making cookies and wrapping presents.  Such fun!  I can't believe Christmas is only two days away.  Man oh man this year has absolutely flown by!  

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!  May God's love and blessings be evident in your life and may you enjoy this time of celebration with family and friends.  Love to you all!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy days

Well, to update you from the last post, I am feeling much better!  So that is good.  I went in to my supervisor's office today to ask for some feedback and constructive criticism on how I'm doing and she said (and I quote) "I couldn't be any happier with the quality of your work and your enthusiasm."  So that made me feel really good.  She said in the new year they will be doing official reviews but for now, not to worry.  Yay!

Also, another update - I have a man in my life!  His name is John (yes, another John, haha!).  I met him through my friend Kathryn.  It's her husband, Alex's friend from from college.  They all went to Michigan State.  We've known of each other for a couple of years but only recently (in October) reconnected at Kathryn and Alex's house warming party.  We became "official" this past weekend.  So that's exciting!

He is a data processor for Dawn Foods and lives in Dexter, Michigan near Ann Arbor.  So it's like 2.5 hours away which kind of stinks - but that's okay.  He's super sweet and kind and he's kind of a big dork - which I absolutely love.  He's funny and smart and has dashing good looks.  He plays guitar, loves to read, and loves to watch MSU sports.  He's a pretty cool guy and I'm pretty lucky to have him in my life.  :)

We went to Indy for the State game.
Not much else is new other than that.  I am looking forward to Christmas and getting a couple of days off of work.  My uncle and cousins will be in Minnesota so I'm sad that we won't get to spend any time with them.  I'm going to John's family Christmas this weekend, and he's coming over the evening of Christmas day to have dinner with me and my parents.  That should be fun.

What do y'all have planned for the coming weeks?  Anything fun?  Feel free to motivate me to work out and eat healthily.  I've been slacking in that department.  Hope all is well!  Love to you my friends.