I've been putting off this "letter" for some time now as it hasn't felt like Santa Claus is coming to town next week. With temps in the mid-60's and snowflakes few and far between, can you blame me? Christmas music plays in my car all while the windows are rolled down and the sun beams in. This post has been sitting on my to-do list much too long so without further ado, here is a reflection of my life in 2013!
Mel came to visit for two reasons: New Years Eve and to see if she could join me in saying bye-bye to her Minnesota address and hello to a Denver one. A group of us got a hotel room downtown for NYE and had a, how do I put this, “eventful” time ringing in the new year. Favorite thing from this month? The burger and fries purchased January 1st. You do the math…
My mom came to visit a couple days before my birthday and I was more than ready to have some mother-daughter time. Unfortunately, a blizzard blew in and her trip was cut short. We both were bummed but came to the realization that 24 hours together is better than 0! We didn't get to do as many things as originally planned but a Target run was made, our nails were did, and a birthday dinner was enjoyed with my girlfriends!
I went home for a long weekend to attend the Minnesota State High School boys state hockey tournament. While there, I was reminded of what I didn’t miss: snow, wind, ice. Safe to say that Denver has made me a “softie” towards this trio. It was a great trip back and was nice to be with family and also meet up with some of my friends that live in the cities.
I ran the Platte River half marathon, making it my third 13.1-mile race. The race started in Littleton and ended in downtown Denver. It was my first running event since moving to Colorado and it was evident when the terrain was up and down, up and down, up and down. A little different than running back in Minnesota which is flat and flat, flat and flat, flat and flat.
I’ve always loved surprises but this one has to take the prize. I flew home to not only make my mom scream and cry and yell in Tutti Frutti (after seeing me walk through the door) but also to throw her a birthday party without her knowing. It was a busy weekend but one full of laughter, hugs, past memories being recalled and races being finished at the Fargo Marathon! Soon after my return to Denver, I ran BolderBoulder, a 10k race in Boulder, Colorado. Side comment: You know you're in Boulder when people are sitting on their front lawn peeling vegetables and puffing the magic dragon.
The whole Stav clan traveled to San Diego for our second family reunion. Activities included SeaWorld, Legoland, SD Zoo, Sea Port Village, and my favorite, the Embassy Suites happy hour. It was a trip where the hashtag #stavdiego was born, happy hour meant a blurry dinner (it was ONE time!), I introduced my nephew to Napoleon Dynamite, and our last dinner was at Kansas City Barbeque where a scene from Top Gun was filmed.
My favorite month thanks to my favorite holiday – the fourth of July! I spent the week back in Minnesota at our lake cabin with family and friends (Taylor came along, too!). The weather was perfect and I enjoyed showing her that our state can be beautiful and warm and have color other than white. I think I really sealed the deal with her after we finished off a plate of Macho Nachos from Zorbaz. Zhe waz zold!
After weeks of going back and forth on whether to choose money and job security over happiness, I took a leap of faith and put my two weeks in as Office Manager at Team Speed. Soon after, I took a paraprofessional position in 4th and 5th grade at an elementary school only minutes from my house. If being around kids all day wasn't enough, I began nannying a nine year old four days a week. My days are long – alarm goes off at 5:30am and I don't get home till after 7pm – but I can confidently say that I love what I do and wouldn’t want to be employed by anyone else! At the end of the month, I accepted a challenge and hiked the Manitou Springs Incline under 50 minutes!
Another hashtag was born this month: #slotsandshots2013. Eight girls, including myself, ventured to Vegas over the long holiday weekend. We walked the strip, sipped overly priced fruity drinks by the pool, pigged out on Dominos at 3am, pulled all nighters, and got VIP service all three nights.
Another month, another half marathon. I always joke that people should be happy I’m addicted to running rather than that “certain plant” that is legal in this state. Right? I ran the Rock-n-Roll Denver half marathon and got a personal PR (personal record)! What made this race so special was my friend Ali came to Denver solely to run this race – her first half marathon, too! We were “long-distance” training partners as she lives in Omaha, so crossing that finish line meant that much more for the both of us.
I took two trips this month, the first being to Vancouver, WA to spend time with family, including my mom, brother Chris, and nephew Carter who flew in from Minnesota. I ate too much of my grandmas coffee cake, laughed till I snorted with my aunt and mom after one or three cups of Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie liquor, hiked Beacon Rock, and celebrated my cousins sons 1st birthday party! Next up was a weekend in Winter Park with a group of girlfriends. I felt like I was in a movie for 3 days -we stayed in a log cabin nestled in the mountains, drank in the hot tub while the snow fell, started each morning nestled under covers while sipping coffee, and a number of other things that make me want to hop in the car and travel west.
For Koda’s Christmas present, I took her to the performance of The Nutcracker put on by Colorado Ballet. It was a wonderful show but we both agreed that boys should not be able to wear tights! She had a sparkle in her eye the entire time which made my grin an even bigger one! This Friday I will be flying back home for two weeks and am beyond excited for no work and all play (and sleep!).
Slowing down to reflect back on 2013 has reminded me that I am a lucky lady who is grateful for all I have experienced this year - the trips, the challenges, the friends I've crossed paths with, new job opportunities and the race medals that have been added to my collection.
This holiday season, I dare you to stare and listen. Gaze in amazement at the sights and sounds around you; the people, the food, the conversation that you find yourself wrapped up in. The bells that ring outside store doors, the soft twinkle of lights, the music that you can't stop humming along to.
I wish you all a bountiful amount of blessings this season! Merry Christmas!