may your night be filled with champagne and kisses

there were certainly trying times in 2014 (412 did not have electricity for like, two weeks), but now that this year is coming to an end, I am so appreciative and thankful for everything that happened and transpired as a result. seeing that it is NYE, and I am a huge fan (so clich√©, I know), I’ve decided to share some of my favorite parts of 2014, because it was awesome.

so, since I alluded to it in the intro, let me tell you about the time some idiot at Xcel Energy did not put the full electric bill in my name when I called to set up new services when we moved into the blue house at 412. that’s pretty much the story, except that of course nothing happened for the first 11 months we lived there. and then of course during the last month, when we had a ton of social activities to attend, our electricity was turned off because we had not been paying a bill for the past year. it was awesome. just kidding, it was terrible. tons of tears.

then, at graduation dinner, we were telling Ben’s parents that my electricity had been turned off, and his dad jokingly said, “Oh, did you not pay your bill?”…yes, yes that is exactly what happened. I promise I’m a responsible person.

fast forward a few months to August when I ugly cried through the wedding of two of my favorite friends. it was a beautiful day and on more than one drunken occasion I have said that I’m not sure my wedding will top how happy I was at theirs (that’s a joke).

in between the above, Ben and I spent what felt like months looking for a place to live in La Crosse. fortunately, we found a cozy duplex and have successfully violated multiple parts of our lease by hanging stuff over doors, putting holes in the walls, and attaching things to the exterior. sorry, Karl!

after moving in with my better half, I got a job that ended up being not so great, but then I got a different job that has turned out to be awesome. it has given me a sense of direction in my professional life, so I’ll take the good with the bad. even though I still want to have 23 different careers, I feel better knowing I’m doing something I want to be doing.

there have been plenty of visits with family, friends, and lazy Sundays at home with just the three of us. and I have loved every moment. we will finallyyy be finishing the “Rescue Me” series in the next day or so, which means it took us almost an entire year to get through it, but I guess that’s sort of an accomplishment.

even though I love NYE, I have come to discover that when it is cold outside, I would rather be wearing yoga pants and one of my boyfriend’s sweatshirts while watching the ball drop, and then stumbling to bed after too much to drink instead of trying to hail a cab.

last NYE Jennie and I played board games while simultaneously (each) drinking a bottle champagne and eating stuffed crust pizza, because my NYE kiss was in Puerto Rico and we had no friends. lol. good times.

regardless, I enjoyed last year’s activities so much that Ben and I will be doing something similar tonight. games. pizza. champagne. it’s all you need to welcome a wonderful new year…

dear 2015,

2014 was incredible, and it is going to be tough to top, but I look forward to seeing what you have in store (hopefully it includes me finally beating Ben in Mario Kart)!

my 15 in 2015:

learn how to grill.
attend at least one outdoor concert.
take a trip to Vegas.
go camping/biking/canoeing/kayaking.
attempt water skiing.
take a cooking class.
refinish our coffee table.
more running.
more sleeping (lol).
more sunsets.
more wine tasting.
more Wild games.
more writing.
more loving.
more experiencing.

cheers 2014, it’s been real.

unnamed

deck your (boyfriend’s) desk

there is one thing I will give Ben credit where credit is due.

and that is the fact that he is open to the element of cheese. not cheese on pizza or when I was obsessed with trying the Gouda cheese sandwich from Wendy’s, but cheese such as the spirit of ringing in the holiday season with festive, fun activities such as driving through the Christmas lights by the river.
-15

he even feigned amusement when I talked about (for days) how we were decorating our cube at work. he may have said something about how he was happy that I found coworkers that were just as excited about decorating as I am, since he seems to lack joy in that particular area, but I’ll take it.
so, when I heard about a contest a local radio station was putting on where you nominate a coworker or friend, and then they show up at that person’s place of employment to decorate their desk for the holidays…I had to nominate Ben.

and, you guys, HE WAS PICKED.

here’s how everything transpired:

I sent this email on a Wednesday afternoon:
“Hi! My name is Becca and I am nominating my boyfriend, Ben Gill, for Deck Your Desk. I love decorating for Christmas, and I decorated my desk at work, but Ben is definitely lacking a little Christmas cheer around his desk at the YMCA. I think your enthusiasm and spirit is exactly what he needs to get into the Christmas spirit! Ben is the head swim coach at the Y, and he is constantly giving his time to his swimmers, both in the pool and at his desk, and I would really like to show him how much everyone appreciates everything he does by seeing him get surprised in such a festive way!
Thank you for the opportunity to nominate someone who means so much to me during one of my favorite times of the year!”

(looking back, I’m a little surprised I only used four exclamation points, but I more than made up for that later…)

now, fast forward to Friday morning. I am off from work, so Ben and I enjoyed a very leisurely morning, and I did not check my email until almost noon when Ben had to go into work for a meeting.

(I’m really good at telling stories.)

so imagine my surprise when I check my email and I see THIS:
“Becca,
We would love to surprise Ben for “Deck your Desk!” We have Thursday or Friday open, next week. Are you guys at the La Crosse, or Onalaska, YMCA? It has to be after 10am. What would work best?”

HOLY HANNAH.

I immediately call Jennie because she was one of the people I had told about the contest… so I call her, and I’m freaking out. like, legitimately freaking out. you would have thought I won a million dollars. and then so many things are running through my head. will he be there Thursday? when did he say he spends time in his office? where is the swim meet next weekend? what if they already picked someone else because I didn’t look at my phone for three hours!!!

but I quickly had to compose myself because after freaking out for three minutes, Ben’s car pulls into the driveway. so I abruptly get off the phone with Jennie, and then I tried my best to go back to my lazy morning self that is not the least bit excited about events that are happening almost a week away.

ANYWAY, after figuring out the email address for Ben’s boss, I exchanged a few messages with her, explaining what was going on so that I could ensure Ben would be at his desk around noon on Thursday…

so, Thursday happens. I get a text from Ben around 11:40 that says something about our dishwasher, and I think to myself, “uh hope he’s sending that from work…” and I leave my place of employment around 11:45 to get to the Y so I can be there when the radio station people show up. soo imagine my surprise when I drive around the Y parking lot and do not see Ben’s car! I went inside and a few minutes later the radio station people showed up, and weird, Ben Gill is not where he’s supposed to be!

thankfully, Ben showed up just mere minutes after everyone’s arrival, and because he was in a hurry to get to his desk for a fake conference call, he did not notice the small mob of people (myself included) standing in the middle of the Y.

this should link to the video the station, Z93 Morning Buzz put up on their facebook page, and it sums up all of the “deck your desk” events nicely:

soo how hard was it keeping this secret from Ben for almost a week? the hardest. I couldn’t even look at him without wanting to spill everything and tell him how excited I was for what was going to happen.

but I am proud of myself for keeping it a secret, and for not ruining the surprise, because it made me so happy to surprise him! also, just because I think it’s hilarious, after the radio station people left, he told me that he had forgotten about the meeting on his calendar, and was in the middle of cleaning at our house, so he hadn’t even showered and just threw on clothes to get to work ASAP. it makes me laugh a lot, but him rushing was so worth it, and seeing his face so surprised was priceless.

little moments

for some festive reason, I have decided to fully embrace Christmas this year. Ben is thrilled, truly.

it’s not like I haven’t always loved Christmas, because if there is one thing Kathy (my mom) does right, it’s Christmas. which means that when I was growing up it was my favorite time of the year. there’s just something special about the way the house smells and the lights glow. growing up, it was a tradition that the tree went up the day after, or a couple days after, Thanksgiving.

sooo… I obviously needed to carry on that tradition, and thank god the childhood thrill of putting up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving has not faded. I still get giddy even anticipating the tree, but seeing it actually come together with all the decor, and listening to Christmas songs while we add the ornaments is seriously a favorite time of the whole year.

oh, christmas tree
oh, christmas tree

sometimes, when I’m sitting at work, all I can think about is how excited I am to go home and cuddle on the couch with the Christmas lights turned on. and sometimes, when we’re watching something on tv, I find myself mesmerized by the lights, and then I smile to myself thinking about how wonderful it is to share such a happy time with such a wonderful person.

anyway, I am already getting much too sappy. so let’s talk about more traditions.

this year, I decided that Ben, Lucy, and I would start a new ornament tradition. mostly because I HAD TO HAVE these new, glass initial ornaments from Target, so it obviously only made sense to make up a tradition that justifies buying new ornaments every year.
bling bling
also, I have never been prouder than when Ben picked out the Mad Men Christmas CD the morning I made him take me to Target to get Christmas lights that were on sale for the front of our house. we listened to it on the way up to the cabin to meet Ben’s family to cut down their Christmas tree, and we highly recommend it.

 

after we picked out the perfect tree!
after we picked out the perfect tree!
after indulging so much Thanksgiving week, I decided that this week we would eat ice cream at all of the local La Crosse ice cream shops. just jokes. it is actually for a freelance assignment I’m working on, but I’m also thinking about making it a Christmas tradition, because why not. last night we went to this cool place downtown called The Pearl, and I enjoyed a peppermint stick hot fudge sundae. Ben sorta enjoyed his cookie dough malt, but he would have enjoyed it more if it had been a shake, because as it turns out, he’s not actually a fan of that “malt stuff” and always seems to forget that when he orders. =)

 

and just in case any of you need new traditions, or ideas about how to spend your December, here are other “Christmas” activities I’m planning for us to enjoy…

 

Nachos Navidad from Taco John’s (!!!).

 

baking Christmas cookies.

 

getting hot cocoa and then driving around looking at Christmas lights.
if you want our address to drive by our lights, let me know!
if you want our address to drive by our lights, let me know!
watching Christmas movies (or Wild games) and snuggling under the electric blanket.

 

but, most importantly, no matter what we are doing, or how we are spending our time together,¬† I’m just excited to create memories with Ben.

 

brb gotta go grab a tissue.