2013 in Review

Wow… 2013 is over tonight!!! It’s been a whirlwind of a year because it’s been so busy. Overall, it was a blessed & memorable year! Moving into our first home and going on our honeymoon were the top two highlights. I definitely feel grateful for everything we were able to do. I turned 25 this year (Ryan turned 26) and we celebrated 1 year of marriage! I am looking forward to 2014, after all it has to be our lucky year with the numbers 214 in it!

Here’s some of our highlights from 2013….

Closed and moved into our first house on the south side of Indy!!!

Moving to the south side meant I was able to babysit a little for a couple of our friends’ kids – Simon earlier in the year and Harry in the fall! It also meant that we grew closer to friends and made new friendships through a small group on Wednesday nights. So grateful!

Traveled to Atlanta for my first WordCamp with Ryan.

Adopted a Corgi –  named him Jasper! Became an official traveling circus with two cats and a dog.

Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law made us an Aunt & Uncle to Aubrey in May!

Experimented with a lot of new foods and recipes (like vegetarian biscuits & gravy).

Travelled to Michigan for a wedding (only my 2nd time there!)

Went to Indiana Dunes State Park on our way back from a wedding in South Bend.

We had several visitors this year – our Moms, Ryan’s Grandparents, my cousin Darah & friends, and my Aunt Marcie! We were able to see Darah & Marcie a lot this year, and even got to see my cousin Christy & her family over Thanksgiving.

Got a new bike – Cannondale Quick 4.

Got poison ivy for the first time. Itchy memory. :(

Rid our house/lives of toxins as much as possible. Still a work in progress. We now use simple cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s soap for everything from the bathrooms to the laundry to the kitchen.

Our friends Seth & Kelly had their baby Eden, and we filmed an awesome family documentary for them. Coming soon!

Went on our belated honeymoon! It was so so awesome. Road tripped to North Carolina; spent half of it in Asheville, NC and half of it in the Outer Banks of NC. That was my first time to both. Also – first time in a lighthouse. First time seeing wild horses and wild bears. First time using AirBnb (we’re hooked!). First time exploring the mountains. Probably more firsts that I’m forgetting. :)

We returned to Asheville in September for the 1st Annual Sole Hope Ambassador’s Retreat. The next month I was able to help with a huge shoe cutting party in downtown Indianapolis and meet Asher, the founder of Sole Hope. :)

Renovated our office from the ceiling to the floor! Other home improvement projects: whitewashing fireplace, tearing down the shed and building garden boxes, putting in a Nest and a new garbage disposal.

Shot my first wedding without Ryan while he was on a WooTrip! A great friend filled in for him thankfully.

Speaking of weddings,  we filmed/photographed 16 weddings and officially focused our business on videography. We loved working alongside The Parkers at 3 weddings and met many other awesome people this year!

On the same note, we switched our gear – no more DSLRs!

The Parkers took our photos this fall!

Made gingerbread cookies for the first time (they weren’t just any gingerbread man cookies though, they were ninjas!)

Sole Hope Ambassador Retreat

September 13th-15th was the 1st Annual Sole Hope Ambassador Retreat in Asheville, North Carolina! Ryan and I were fortunate to be able to go, even though we had just been in Asheville about a month ago on our honeymoon. We went back and forth a lot on whether we could/should go, but I’m so glad that we did. Ryan was so sweet to spend his birthday at a retreat with me. :) But – I think he thought it was worth it when we snuck away and had delicious dinner & dessert in Asheville on Saturday night.

The retreat really motivated me to continue to be involved with Sole Hope – which is why I really wanted to go to the retreat. I knew it would help me feel connected and inspired. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been super busy and Sole Hope has taken the back burner. I have been an ambassador for a little over a year, and was a roll for a while making videos and graphics for Sole Hope. Now I plan to get back to that and dedicate consistent time to it again.

Before we left to the retreat, I (finally!) had my first shoe-cutting party. I’ve attended several of Ashley’s parties, but never had my own. I had it during our regular small group time on Wednesday night and the ladies loved it! Not everyone could come because toddlers & scissors may not be the best combination, but that’s okay! ;) With 6 of us, we made 13 pairs of shoes and sponsored 6 of them – yay! Everyone was already talking about having another shoe-cutting party and I’m so glad they’re on board.

I feel like I learned SO much during the short time at the retreat. We talked about shoe parties, brainstormed, and made monthly ambassador goals for the year. A professional talked to us about fundraising, a man from Uganda told about his first hand account with jiggers, and we heard about the medical clinics that Sole Hope is hosting in Uganda. We even got to video chat with Asher & Dru (the founders) in Uganda! With every session and discussion, we were able to ask questions. Oh and – we took a barefoot hike -uphill on rocks, sticks, etc – to put ourselves in the place of the shoeless. It was eye opening and painful! The trip ended with a “tour” of the Sole Hope office in downtown Asheville.

This week I will be helping with a huge shoe-cutting party at the Influence Conference in downtown Indy. I’m really excited about that and excited to continue to spread the word about Sole Hope. :)

Right now Sole Hope is trying to raise funds to buy more sewing machines and hire more shoemakers in Uganda. A sewing machine costs about $1,000 and will enable Sole Hope to produce and give away even more shoes. Consider buying this t-shirt from Chrome Buffalo and $11 will go to Sole Hope. The fundraiser ends in one week.

Shed Demolition & Garden Bed Creation

When we bought our house, it had a huge, ugly shed in the backyard that was falling apart. We asked the sellers if they would remove it after our inspector said it wasn’t worth keeping, especially with all the termite damage. However, they denied our request, as they must’ve thought it was in good shape because they had just repainted it (a horrible paint job, may I add). The shed had an addition that didn’t even have a floor and was never built correctly. What would we have used it for anyway?! We have a huge addition on the back of our garage that is great for storage and it opens to the backyard. The shed was just an eyesore in our backyard – and pointless. So.. we thought we would  knock it down, haul it out, and be done with it. Easier said than done. :)

You know how things never go as planned with home projects…. Well, demolition was fun at first and then became a pain. Poor Ryan was really sore from swinging the sledgehammer and axe. We thought we could rent a moving truck and take everything to the dump and it would be cheaper than renting a dumpster. Well, after renting the moving truck and throwing a bunch of the shed in there..we found out 1) it wouldn’t all fit in there and 2) it would cost $200+ to take it to the dump. The plan failed big time. I guess that’s what we get for planning poorly and trying to a take a shortcut.

So we unloaded everything out of the truck, took the truck back, and rented a dumpster. Take our advice – just rent the dumpster. ;) Oh and we even burned a little bit of it because the dumpster wasn’t quite big enough. Go figure. We also gave away the huge roof that was on the addition of the shed. It felt good to finally get everything in the dumpster and have a huge area of our yard back.

With the newfound space, we decided to build six 4×4 raised garden beds. The size of the garden boxes was determined by what size boards fit into our car. ;) At the time, my cousin and her friends were visiting so they actually kind of took over the building of the garden boxes. That was so awesome and helpful!!!

We secured them into the ground and our yard took on a much better look!! We wanted to get dirt and start a somewhat late garden (in June), but then that was a huge expense to buy it and have it delivered. So instead, we thought we’d find some free dirt on Craigslist (yes, that is listed a lot from people building pools, etc), rent Menards pick-up and go get some free dirt. Well.. unfortunately we never got around to it. Plus we were gone a lot over the summer and didn’t want our garden to dry up. So – next year – we will have six awesome raised garden beds with a bountiful harvest! Wishful thinking?! :)

Aunt Mindy & Uncle Ryan!

As of yesterday, we are officially Aunt Mindy & Uncle Ryan! Ryan’s brother and his wife welcomed their first baby, Aubrey Marie, into the world! She was a perfect and healthy 8 lbs and 20 inches long! We cannot wait to meet her when we go back home and visit! We’re so happy for their new little family. I love how proud Ryan’s Mom is as Grandma too. :)

Look how cute and sweet she is…