Love, Joleen: 2013 : A Year in Review

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 : A Year in Review

What a year 2013 has been; full of blessings and change!
On February 5th, Baby Benjamin and I said Goodbye, Cali and joined Ben in Atlanta permanently. Benjamin was exactly 10 weeks old during his first cross-country flight!  
Even though we had already been planning our wedding from afar, Benjamin officially proposed to me once we were in Atlanta. He proposed in front of the Woodruff Arts Center where we had our first date at the High Museum and saw the Picasso to Warhol exhibit.
On February 15th, Ben and I were married at the DeKalb County Courthouse with some of our closest family members in attendance. We hired the talented Nina Parker to capture our day. You can find all the photos here, here, and here. The dress I wore was a labor of love, and I wrote all about it here.
[newlywed selfie]
On March 17th I turned 30! My best friend, Candice, flew out from California to celebrate with me during my birthday week
Since Benjamin was born after Thanksgiving last year, every holiday but Christmas, this year, was his first! 
We also celebrated Benjamin's first birthday this year! His Vintage Storybook First Birthday Party was on November 9th and his actual birthday was celebrated with just the three of us on November 27th.
Each month I wrote a letter to Benjamin, to keep track of his milestones. We were so blessed with the opportunity to make friends in the form of a mom's group, shortly after moving here in February, and through that our life has been full of playdates and parties. We were also able to travel this year, visiting our family and friends in California back in the Spring, attending the Pete Family Reunion in Florida this Summer (see here, here, and here), and most recently spending Christmas in St. Louis.

It has been a truly wonderful year for me -- my best year, in every way that matters. I know that 2014 will come with more changes and challenges. I am so happy that I get to face it with a supportive and encouraging husband, and a son who I feel blessed to call mine, every day of his life. My "One Little Word" for 2013 was FAMILY and we absolutely lived up to it! Here is a look at my goals for the year, and where I stand with them today:
* Marry my best friend.
* Enjoy being Benjamin's Mama.
* Move to Atlanta.
* Find a job that allows me to be with Benjamin. Check! I am pursuing my photography business, Joleen Pete Photography, and this year was my most successful to date. I am also working part time, from home, for InkSpot Workshop.
* Creatively date my husband.
* Explore + Experience [Atlanta] with my family.
* Become a better photographer.
* Embrace new opportunities.
* Finish a SMASH book.
* Be frugal.
* Baby book for Benjamin.
* Aggressively address debt; Put together a financial plan to become debt free.
* Study the Word more + Nurture my relationship with Jesus Christ.
* Get Christmas cards sent early.
* Join a moms/playgroup + Make new friends.
* Blog regularly. (With the exception of December.) 
* Learn something new.
* Cook for my family.
* Read 6 fiction novels. I ended up reading eight novels this year! 1. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah // 2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // 3. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton// 4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell // 5. The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard // 6. Home Again by Kristin Hannah // 7. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin // 8. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
* Run a 5k.
* Make a quilt.
* Volunteer.
* Get family photos taken at least two times.
* Bake a different cupcake every month. 
Thank you so much for reading and following Love, Joleen over the past year! It means so much to me to be able to connect with so many of you around the world. I am so looking forward to 2014 and I hope you are too! Happy New Year, friends!

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