January 4, 2018
I love New Year’s. I think it’s highly underrated and might even call it my favorite holiday. It’s just big enough to get people time off of work, but not so big that people usually have important or traditional plans with family, which makes it a great time to pull your friends together and light things on fire, especially if those things explode (but not the friends).
My favorite aspect of New Year’s is that it’s one of the few holidays that encourages you to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future, which is great because I think everyone can be excited about what’s to come. If your year has been amazing and joyful, you can smile at the hope of more to come. If your year has felt like the world has been falling apart around you, you can smile at the chance to restart, at the hope of a whole new year that may be nothing like the last one or at least a little bit better. And you can decide whether to smile or frown at the thought that you have absolutely no idea where you will be a year from now.
But before we look ahead at the new year, it’s always nice to spend some time reflecting on the year we’re leaving behind. Following are 7 highlights of 2017 that we hope to remember from this year, a few personal snapshots, and Evan’s “Year in my Pocket” iPhone recap! Enjoy!
7 in ’17
1. Evan and Jenna Creative brand launch!
We made some exciting new changes to the business this year, including a new name and website and me (Jenna) transitioning to be a full time business owner/photographer. I have loved being able to focus fully on the business and get [some of] my evenings back. I also joined a coworking space in Lawrenceville, Cornerstone Coworking, which has made a huge improvement in my focus and work-life balance.
Our biggest goal of the year was to finish paying off my student loans and we did it!! We took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class through our church last summer and realized that with a few changes and a little sacrifice, that goal wasn’t so out of reach after all. We re-structured our monthly budget and savings plan, I took a part-time job at GAC, and we made our final payment in June, one year later. For anyone looking to pay off debt or simply learn more about managing your personal money, we highly recommend Dave’s Financial Peace University!
Traveling is always the highlight of our year, and we enjoyed several wonderful trips this year!
-Our first trip of the year was to North Carolina with the “young folk” of our Missional Community. What better way to start the year than a cabin in the woods with good friends, our favorite board games and no adults telling us what to do?
-Hilton Head: Not exactly an adventure, but we managed to sneak away for a few days on Spring Break to lay on the beach and drink Margaritas with our friends, Zach and Nina.
-ALASKA: The big adventure of the year was to Alaska with my parents. That happened in June and I STILL haven’t edited the pictures from that trip (what’s that story about the shoemaker’s son that didn’t have shoes? That’s me with personal photos…), but I will get around to it one day soon. Promise. We saw so many beautiful sights and spent lots of time hiking and canoeing and trekking through ice caves. Exactly the breath of fresh air that I want in a good summer trip.
-Greenville, SC: We went to Greenville for our second anniversary and ate our way through the city for the weekend. We biked off the calories, though, and laid by the pool, and it was a perfect little getaway to celebrate year two of marriage.
-Disney World: The Huckaby family skipped Thanksgiving this year and spent the whole week at Disney. We ate a steak for every meal, got to the parks before they opened, stayed till the fireworks, and wore Mickey + Minnie ears the whole time. Though I’m typically not one to break holiday tradition, it was a magical week.
-New York City: I left Evan at home for a weekend with my sisters + friends in NYC at Christmas time. Though it was a girls weekend, we spent the weekend stalking Baker Mayfield and crashed the Heisman Gala to heckle him (true story). We also did the traditional stuff – saw the Radio City Rockettes, went to the top of the Rock, took selfies in the snow at Central Park, saw a show on Broadway, ate at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and ferried to the Statue of Liberty. My favorite part was probably seeing the 9/11 museum and reading all the stories of what happened that day before riding to the top of the One Trade Center for a spectacular view of the city. It’s true what they say – NYC is magical at Christmas time (but painfully cold).
-Los Angeles, CA: As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel at Pasadena, anxiously awaiting the Rose Bowl. We’ve flooded the city with red and black, along with a few thousand of our closest friends, and have packed as much touristy stuff as we could into the weekend. As I edit and post this, I’m still basking in the glory of winning the Rose Bowl and experiencing one of the greatest football games I’ve ever seen. What a perfect way to end the year – Go Dawgs!
We didn’t do any Spartan Races this year, but In the early spring, we competed in a 24 hour scavenger race across Georgia with our friends Russell, Patrick, and Micah. We drove around Atlanta doing ridiculous social, physical, mental, food, and community challenges on no sleep. Out of over 500 teams we managed to come in 11th place – one spot away from being a finalist – and I’m still bitter that we didn’t race the clock a little more in the beginning.
We had so much fun that Evan and I decided to host our own Questival-style scavenger hunt in Gwinnett County in August. We sent about 35 of our friends out to explore our community and pull ridiculous stunts, while we judged them from our living room. We had one friend drink milk straight from a goat and another shaved their head into a mohawk, so I’d say it was a success.
5. Wild West Whodunnit
Speaking of events, we threw our second murder mystery party and it is quickly becoming our favorite tradition. This year we wrote a story about a saloon owner, Ellie Oakley, who murdered the town drunk/bar pianist so she could keep her saloon out of the hands of the greedy Banker (who was secretly making plans to build a Six Flags) by allowing the drunkard’s daughter to inherit his land and sell it so she could run away with the outlaw’s sidekick, Sitting Duck. We ate chili and drank whiskey and a grand time, even if the town did vote to hang its own hostess.
6. Pandemic Legacy
This year we stepped up our bi-weekly game nights with Hannah and Marcus with a year-long campaign of Pandemic. If you like cooperative board games and want to commit to a challenge with your closest friends, we highly recommend this game! We tried our best to save the world (and semi-succeeded), and had fun creating names and stories for all the characters. If you do start this endeavor, we recommend finding a table you can leave the game out on, and saving your stronger cocktails till after you’ve completed the night’s gameplay. You’ll need all your wits to fight the zombies and make it out alive.
7. Becoming dog parents
Technically, we got Sirius at the end of 2016, but we have had the best year watching him grow as a puppy into the best dog ever. I know everyone probably says that, but you couldn’t convince us otherwise. He is super spoiled, and we spend way too much time staring at him and telling him how cute he is, but he really is so. dang. cute. He is also very well behaved for such a young dog, and I don’t know if that’s because of my neurotic reading of dog training books or if we just got lucky, but I’m grateful to have such a sweet little companion around all the time. I can’t imagine our lives without this bundle of fur!
A Year in My Pocket