Best of 2013

Happy new year! Zach and I definitely didn't ring in 2014 the way we had planned, since my sister ended up returning to the hospital on December 29 and is currently being treated for multiple infection-filled abscesses in her abdomen. However, we were together and with family, which is really all that mattered after everything we faced in 2013. My parents, sisters, Zach, and I stayed up to watch the ball drop on a tiny TV in the hospital room, glow sticks and all :) Here's to hoping that the new year is bringing much happier (and healthier!) memories our way!

Although I'm eager to jump right into everything I have planned for 2014 (and trust me, I have a lot planned!), I wanted to look back at the highlights that filled this space during the past year. Here are the top ten most viewed blog posts of 2013:



10. Create-Your-Own Coffee Mug. I'm so excited this made the top ten list, since it was one of my most favorite little projects I did this year. I absolutely love that quote ("All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.") and I'm really happy with how it turned out!
9. The End of an Era. I blogged about my family's Christmas card photo and realized a few days later that the title of the post could possibly imply "my last blog post ever." Whoops! Not to worry: the only "era" that came to an end in 2013 was the time in our lives where my mother made my sisters and I sign all 200+ of the family Christmas cards.
8. He Said, She Said. Inspired by some of the "newlywed link-ups" in the blogworld that I didn't actually link-up with, Zach and I each answered a set of questions individually and then compared our answers. Thankfully, our answers matched up for the most part. Otherwise, that would've made for a semi-embarrassing post.
7. Currently // October. I wrote a "currently" post each month in 2013, but October's post flew off the charts simply because October was the month that my world drastically changed and at the time, life was "currently" a little crazy.
6. Project Life 2013 // Intro. Oh, Project Life... undoubtedly my biggest fail of a project in 2013. I had grand plans to tackle Project Life all year long, but I learned rather quickly that I am not a scrapbooker, even in the most unconventional form. I can, however, use my savvy graphic design skills to create digital weekly spreads and get them all printed off in a giant book at the end of the year, which is what this project evolved into. Nonetheless, I got a pretty sweet intro page out of the attempt, which you apparently loved it, seeing as how it made its way into the top ten most viewed posts of the year.
5. Sketchbook: First Month of Marriage. Zach made a list of everything he had learned during our first month of being married... and I illustrated it :)
4. Corrie + Colitis | The Hospital Journey. I attempted to chronicle all of Corrie's health issues from 2013 into a single post. The diagnosis of severe ulcerative colitis, the surgery to remove her colon, the countless setbacks during her recovery... it's all there. Lest we ever forget how far God brought us in 2013.
3. Home Sweet Apartment. I love that the tour of our apartment made the top ten most viewed list, because I love this space and I have absolutely loved living in this space with Zach during the past year! I think we'll both look back on "our first place" someday with fond memories :)
2. Welcome Home, Corrie. This post was definitely one of the highlights of the year: chronicling Corrie's return to my parents' house in Winston-Salem after 60+ days in the hospital.
1. Let's Shower Corrie With Love. I wrote about everything that happened the night that my sister coded and went fifteen minutes without a heartbeat. While it was such a traumatic and scary time for my family, the outpouring of love and prayers (and hundreds of cards!) meant more to us than we could ever express. This blog post instantly soared to the top of the charts with more views than the next seven most viewed posts combined as you all rallied for Corrie to make a full recovery.

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While a significant portion of 2013 was overshadowed by my sister's illness and hospitalization, the year did bring quite a few highlights... most of which were shared here on the blog! While they aren't the most viewed, here are a few of my favorite moments of 2013:



Zach and I rang in the new year on our honeymoon in the Baltimore Inner Harbor! We celebrated Zach's last day as an active duty Marine at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (with dinner at Tun Tavern), and Zach began taking college classes to receive his degree in criminal justice just two days later.

I finally got the courage to get bangs, Corrie asked me to take her senior photos, and we all cheered as the baby of the Haynes family graduated from high school. Zach and I adventured into the world of juicing and gardening (part 1, part 2), and while neither endeavor was overly-successful, we still learned a lot and had quite a few laughs.

Together, we traveled to Charlotte, Camp Bethel (twice), Roanoke, and vacationed with my family at North Myrtle Beach. We enjoyed celebrating holidays together as a married couple (4th of July post here), especially Zach's first Veteran's Day as a no-longer-active-duty veteran and our birthdays (we both turned 24)! Without a doubt, my favorite moment of 2013 (apart from Corrie coming home from the hospital, of course) was biking the Virginia Creeper Trail with Zach.

2013, you brought some rough times our way, but I suppose you were okay simply because you gave me the chance to hug Zach on 365 consecutive days. Before 2013, our record of consecutive days together was 10. Not being in a long distance relationship anymore is the best!

Thanks for reminiscing with me, friends :) I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start and 2014 brings lots of love and adventures your way!