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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Other Half of the Year

A recap of the entire 2015 would be so fitting on this New Years Eve. But seeing as I have failed to post for months, a fresh recap of the second half of the year is the next best thing.

Let's start way back in August...

I turned 23! Although there are no pictures to prove it, the event was celebrated with tacos and parking lot chats with friends, Italian dinner and ice cream cake with family, and donuts at work. It was low-key, just the way I like it.

Went to D23, a Disney convention, with coworker friends.

Our goals while there:
1. Track down all the freebies
2. Avoid all the lines

We were as successful as we could be, considering the best freebies had the longest lines, haha. Goal #2 was slightly more successful than Goal #1.

Enjoyed $1 pancakes with this frugal friend.

In September...

Celebrated a friend's birthday with brunch and polaroid pictures. We met at a darling little cafe called Stir Market.

Traveled to New York and had a blast.

In October...
After work, some friends and I drove down to visit Disneyland with just enough time to watch the parade, fireworks show, and ride Space Mountain. By the time I made it back home, it was 2am! For some odd reason, I've always wanted to go down to Disneyland just to watch the fireworks show, so this was an especially magical trip.

Also spent Halloween day at Disneyland. 
Olaf and two Minions on the Teacups.

We woke up bright and early, and when we arrived there were hardly any lines. 

I love sleeping in on the weekends. It's one of my favorite things. But getting through all of the big rides by noon is totally worth the sacrifice. I told my friends I might be a convert to early mornings at Disneyland.

In November...

Disneyland again! 

We celebrated thanksgiving with an extended family dinner.
Our small contribution to the feast was this shrimp and veggies platter. My mom made them and I arranged them on the plate, haha.

Our apple tree bared so much fruit this year. We are swimming in apples. 

I've made apple sauce, apple cider, apple wraps, apple oatmeal, and peeled tons of apples just to eat plain. I saw some apple rose tarts on pinterest and decided to try them out.

2 hours later...

They turned out ok, but not sure that I'd make them again.

Visited the Getty Villa. It's in the most gorgeous location right along the beach, near Santa Monica and has a stunning garden.

In December...

My team from work volunteered at the Children's Hospital's Star Wars event. We met some of the most precious little (and big) kids. It almost broke my heart, but I walked away so humbled. An event like that puts the fragility of life into perspective.

No pictures of the kiddos were allowed, but these characters weren't shy around the cameras.
Mark Hamill (a.k.a. Mr. Luke Skywalker) was there and we got to meet him in between the event sessions. He was really sweet and friendly and did not act like a celebrity. He even put his arms around everyone when posing for pictures. I'm ashamed but just have to admit that my coworker and I googled "Mark Hamill" before the event. *face palm* Now we know and love him.

I passed the CPA ethics exam and am finally qualified for licensure. Hooray! 

My mom, grandma, and I whipped up hundreds of cookies for Christmas in our annual baking extravaganza. It's one of my favorite traditions! Grandma also announced that she's retiring from Christmas baking once she turns 80, haha, so I'm soaking up these next few years before mom and I are on our own.

A holiday event at work isn't complete without fancy donuts and Minnie Mouse.

Celebrated Christmas with family presents in the morning, big family dinner & presents at my grandparents house, and then cookies and presents with the other side of the family at our house.

*   *   *

As I look back, the year has been marked with many sweet memories...the most noteworthy probably being travels to the Midwest and East Coast, but also in the little things like slow Sundays re-watching entire seasons of 24 with my brother, or couple-hour spurts at Disneyland with precious friends. The Lord has been so very gracious and I am thankful! 

Onward to 2016!