About this time last year, Jeff and I were saying to each other “2012 is gonna be our year.”  And it was.

In many ways there are things in 2013 that we still hope to accomplish.  Mainly having a steady and higher source of income.

But in so many more ways, 2012 was our year.

January began with a pretty memorable at-home wine tasting.  Although the order was filled completely incorrectly and to this day has not been resolved, the actual event was pretty fun.


In March and April we tried to relive our Epic April of 2011, where we went on a hike or did something outdoorsy every weekend.  We didn’t quite accomplish what we set out for, but we still saw some pretty great places.

hike hiking alex hiking jeff

April also brought a very special visit by Will from Peru!


As well as a very colorful 5k! Although our team name was overlooked by many of the youngsters at this event, I still think Team Never Nudes was priceless (especially combined with the cut off jeans).

color run

May brought a pretty epic “Before Christ” theme birthday party for Brookie, as well as a great 50th birthday party for my mother (inspired mostly by Pinterest ideas)

bc part mom

May also brought the wedding of Courtney and Rich in Phoenix, Arizona.  I was incredibly honored to be their officiant :)

court n rich

May also brought a great weekend of wine tasting in Temecula with some fabulous ladies!

wine tasting

June brought a great visit from and boat expedition with the Arizona Armstrong’s.

boat 1 boat 2

The end of June brought the union of two great individuals: Dana and Aaron.  I was so incredibly blessed to be a special part of their day. I also still tell stories about how their friend Joey introduced the bridal party to hilarious, and fake, stories about each person in the bridal party.

July brought a farewell to a great friend who left us for warmer waters in Cabo San Lucas, but not before a wonderful bon voyage pool party.

pool posing

This is also the pool party where I saved Brookie’s life…

saving brookie

The last weekend in June was the wedding of Dana and Aaron, which I felt incredibly lucky to be a special part of.  I still tell stories of how their friend, Joey, introduced the bridal party to wild and crazy (fictional) stories, which were embraced with roaring laughter and tons of applause.

July took us up to San Francisco for a weekend, to celebrate Billie and Ethan’s wedding, and also served as a mini UCSB reunion. Plus we got to hang out with Sarah and Kyle, so much fun!

billies wedding

4th of July brought an all American BBQ at the Armstrong residence, along with the most adorable strawberry desserts!

4th of july

June and July also brought some pretty great events for Jeff Armstrong Photography.  We were able to be a part of two memorable weddings, both of which turned out amazing!

chelsbry jca_4018

August brought a boat trip thanks to Annie and Dan, in which I’m not gonna lie, I felt pretty fancy!


The Fall also brought a new high for Haiti Scholarships, as we obtained both our state and federal tax exemptions.  We also disbursed the most amount of scholarships in one semester yet.  My hope is that 2013 will be an even better year for Haiti Scholarships, although I feel like the challenges of raising money for the organization just keep growing.

September brought a pretty epic and much awaited trip to GERMANY!  We got to visit with family and explore some new and awesome areas of Germany in our 400 mile road trip from Fussen to Koln. Most of our trip involved drinking beer and seeing lots of awesome churches!

beer church

Throughout our trip, we kept talking about how once we got back home, we really had to figure things out and make some kind of big moves.

A couple weeks after we got back, we made what I would say was a HUGE move, and bought a business.  In case you missed it, you can read it up on it here.

nuestras manos

October was also a very busy month for The Merry Ministers.  So far I have two weddings booked for 2013, and I’m excited to keep growing this little side business.

Before our trip we had applied for Patchwork, and found out as soon as we landed at LAX that our application was approved.  So November brought our first experience as retailers at an arts and crafts festival.  The highlight: our booth!  It was all designed by Jeff and crafted by both of us (although mostly Jeff).


November brought a first for Friendsgiving: we all actually sat around a real dinner table!  Usually it’s an assortment of picnic tables and random tables and chairs that we can find, but Kadota’s parents were generous in letting us have Friendsgiving at their home, which came with a huge dinning room table!

And December brought one of our most memorable Christmas’ yet, surrounded by so many amazing family members.

This year hasn’t been without it’s challenges, and I know next year will bring it’s own set of challenges, but I can’t help but look through these memories and think of how incredibly fortunate Jeff and I are in our lives.  For one, we have each other.  For two, we have incredible families that love and support us in all that we do.  For three, we have some pretty amazing friends.

2013 is certain to bring some major changes to our lives, and we welcome them with open arms.  Happy New Year every one!