We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Top 10 (And A Half) Moments From 2018

While the end of the New Year doesn't always spark renewed motivation for me to set goals or revamp my life in anyway, it's hard to not reminisce about our accomplishments, favorite little everyday moments and adventures taken. Every year we spend in this house, we think back a lot more during this time of the year because we usually take some time to do a whole lot of nothing, and look back on the projects we've finished. This also got me thinking about all the little moments that had huge impacts, how lucky we are that we've gotten to travel more as of late, and how great life really is - every single day. Looking back on 2018, I put together a list of my top 10 memories; well, more like 10 and a half, which I'll explain later. I always try to find something good in every day, even the very worst of days, so it goes without saying that coming home to Josh and the doggies every day after work is always a favorite memory. But these are definitely the rest of the standouts from the past year.

1. Our Canadian Martimes Trip
Not only had I daydreamed about what this trip would look like for years, actually having it surpass my expectations was a moment in and of itself. It was the longest adventure Josh and I have taken to date, so that alone made it even more special because we were away from home for so long. We got to spend so much quality time together and see some amazing things that really just put life into perspective for us. I will never forget the night we barely slept because the wind blew over our tent, and we had to pack everything back into our car in the middle of the night, laughing hysterically at the predicament. And I'm not sure if I've ever felt more calm walking on the red sand beaches at sunset, seeing the entire world glow with beautiful, amber colors. I'll never take any of those moments for granted. 

I think about this walk in PEI at least a few times a week. No editing was done to this photo.

2. Taking My Mom to Nantucket
The older we get, the less stuff we want. And also, the more we crave new experiences, and time with our families because life seems to move faster. My mom is easy to shop for because I know her so well, but I knew she didn't really need anything last year for her birthday. So, I decided to take her to one of my favorite places on earth, and a place she had never been - Nantucket. She loved it, and I had so much fun showing her all my favorite stores and sites. And best of all, we got to reminisce about all the fun times we had in the Cape when we went there years ago as a family. It was kind of a last-minute trip, and I cherish it so much. We actually didn't take any pictures together while there, which makes me sad, but I have vivid memories that live on in my head.

3. Switching My Mentality
This year, my job has been more stressful than ever, and I've grown more anxious to get our house finished, wishing it wouldn't take as much time as it always does. I'm not one for motivational quotes (I usually despise them, actually), but something I saw somewhere in the social media world just spoke to me one day while I was mindlessly scrolling: 

"When you replace 'Why is this happening to me,' with 'What is this trying to teach me?' everything shifts." 

And for whatever reason, I just really connected with this. With job stress, house stress, health issues and life in general, I felt at times, this year more than ever, I was allowing myself to get swept up into the negativity vortex. But then I saw this, and I was able to completely switch my perspective and remind myself that every moment in life is an opportunity to learn something, and I found comfort in that. There are still days I come home from work feeling defeated, or feeling like our house should be done by now, or that I'm not doing enough in general, and I still have moments where my anxiety really gets the best of me. But reminding myself that I learned something from each day is truly valuable. And that has helped to make the stressful days seems a little brighter. Coming home to a handsome man and two of the cutest little doggies helps, too.

4. Welcoming Emma Into Our Home
I've touched on it here, but simply put, bringing little Emmie home just made me so incredibly happy. Betty is still our OG, and having both doggies in the house has been such an adventure. Watching Emma's personality develop from her puppy months to her adulthood has, honestly, just been pure fun. I've always wanted to have a puppy, to watch them develop over time, and learn the things you teach them, and this year, we got to make that dream a reality. And Emma is seriously such a sweet, cuddly, sassy little pup who has made our house so happy in a whole new way.

This little pup adores the snow. She would play in it all day if we let her.

Yes, she falls asleep on us like this all the time. Looks, comfortable, right?

5. Walking around Woodstock, VT at night during a snowfall
Our entire weekend in Woodstock felt like a fairy tale, but the one moment I remember the most, perhaps tied with our wheel workshop at Farmhouse Pottery, was spontaneously getting out of the car on our way home from dinner to walk around in a beautiful snowfall. We had just had the best meal of our lives, and while we were passing through the town center on our way back to our hotel, we saw it lit up with ice carvers doing their thing, and the snow was light, fluffy and dancing all over. We immediately pulled over, and just walked around the entire town, which was so peaceful and lit with string lights everywhere. And we ended up watching the ice carvers take huge blocks of ice, and make them into incredible sculptures. Just thinking about this moment makes my heart grow three sizes. It also reminds me that something as simple as a snowfall makes the very best memories.

Really bad quality phone photo, but man, it was a perfect moment.

6. Our day inside in Lake Placid
I took Josh to the Adirondacks for his birthday gift this year, and we budgeted one day of our trip to just stay inside the cabin all day, and do absolutely nothing. We had a fire going all day, we read books, watched movies, and didn't really move much from the couch. Also, in the morning, it began to snow - a lot - which was a little unexpected for us since it was October. But we loved it, and we ran outside to let Emma run around in her first snowfall of the season. But really, taking that time to do nothing felt amazing because when we're home, and we have a day off together, we're working on the house. The rest of our Lake Placid trip was so much fun that we pretty much immediately rebooked our cabin for a long weekend together this February to possibly go skiing for a day at Whiteface and explore a little more. But honestly, staying inside all day was so amazing. 

Before it snowed and we thought we were on an autumn getaway.

Our cozy little log cabin during the October snowfall.

The cabin didn't have an actual shower, but had this amazing tub with a huge window overlooking the woods.
A warm bath while watching the snow dance allowed for some serious relaxation.

7. Taking Emma To The Cape
I know, I know - Emma is a dog. But honestly, she has the personality of a human, moreso than any dog I've met. And getting to see her experience new things, especially the beach, was so much fun. It took her a while to warm up to being in the water, but she eventually went in on her own. And she loved digging around the sand. It was just so cool to see her reactions to this weird, new surrounding, and now we want to bring her every time we go to the Cape.

8. Finishing our bathroom
This was the project we wanted to do right after we moved in, but our guts were telling us to take a step back, get our guest bathroom done first, and allow ourselves time to really think this project through. And I'm so glad we did because were able to give ourselves a bathroom that was perfect for our lifestyle. Having this space complete feels like the gift that keeps on giving every day when we walk into it. I take baths in here to de-stress minimum once a week, and I could not be more grateful for every inch of this room. It also showed me how truly hardworking and talented Josh really is, and I was so happy for him to have this enormous sense of accomplishment under his belt. I could go on and on, but I'll just say that the day we finished this room was definitely one of our absolute best days.

9. Sunday mornings when we slowed down (a little)
This past winter, we did take some quiet time on quite a few Sunday mornings to sit in our dining room, overlooking our snow-covered yard, and eat a nice home-cooked breakfast before starting projects for the day. We started to make things from scratch, including taking the time to master the art of the perfect pancake, make the best waffles, and I even successfully made the perfect NY style bagel at home - from scratch. Can we talk about how amazing it is to eat fresh-from-the-oven bagels on a Sunday morning while the snow falls outside? I made them for my mom one weekend when she came to visit, and she raved about them. I felt incredibly accomplished after that. These mornings are so simple, and they allowed us to regroup after long, stressful weeks. Looking back on this year, I'm now realizing that I never want to take them for granted.

I follow this bagel recipe and encourage everyone to try it. I make the dough the night before so the next morning all you need to do is make the bagels. It's a lot of steps, but once you get it down, it's not that bad, and so worth all your efforts.

10. Planting my spring bulbs
Getting to the landscaping on our house has probably been the slowest-moving thing we've done. We started to paint our garage this summer, but between me getting Shingles, the fickle weather, which was pretty much just rain-rain-rain, and then an insanely busy fall season, our garage remains half-brown, and half-white. It's an eyesore to say the least. We also had plans to install a brick stairway to our front porch, and do some additional brick work in the front of our house, but it just never happened because we had our hands full inside the house. 

But, I did make a point to plant some daffodils this fall so I had something to look forward to outside  in the Spring. I kind of despise the traditional yellow daffodils you see in grocery stores, but some of the different varieties I found online were so stunning and cheerful, and I ordered a ton of them, mostly inspired by Floret Flowers. I planted them all over the front of our front-yard garden beds, which currently are only home to a few shrubs we planted in the spring. And I can not wait until the Spring to see if my efforts will pay off, and also, to see that happy, colorful flower come to greet us to remind us that Spring is just around the corner. Even if the whole thing ends up being a complete failure, the anticipation of seeing something I planted pop up from the ground is still worth it. And I'm happy to keep trying until I succeed (but seriously, fingers-crossed that some of them work out).

10.5. Planning our travel for 2019
It's not quite a full, stand-alone moment since it's been sporadic snippets of time here and there, but these are definitely some of the more exciting moments of our days for me. As much as I'm always sad that Christmas is over, I love, love, love finalizing our plans for our upcoming adventures the following year. Josh and I have made a point to continue to do the gift of memories and travel for our birthdays, anniversaries and even Christmas, so this year, we were able to plan some really wonderful vacations.

After a pretty long winter season last year in the Northeast, Josh and I pretty much immediately planned a tropical vacation for Spring '19, and we landed on the Bahamas. I'm very excited to be staying at an AirBnB close to a pink sand beach near North Eleuthera and just living like an islander for a bit. On our way home, we're stopping in Savannah for a few nights, and then flying out of Charleston so we can get a taste of some of these beautiful Southern cities.

We plan to continue our traditional week-long stay at our cottage in the Cape in July, and also, possibly squeeze in a long weekend here and there if we can to maximize our warm Summer months.

And finally, our last trip of the year is probably our most exciting yet. Since we'll be celebrating 10 years of marriage (I know everyone says this, but I seriously have no idea where time has gone), we decided to do something memorable and special. And we landed on Iceland. 

I'm not sure if it's possible to be more excited, and it's all I've been able to think about. We both became interested in visiting the land of fire and ice after watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I adore this movie, and we watch it every year around Springtime. My favorite scene in the movie is when Kristin Wiig's character starts to sing Ground Control to Major Tom at the bar in Greenland (filmed in Iceland!), and it gives Walter the gumption he needs to catch that helicopter flight just as it takes off. Every time I watch this scene, I'm overwhelmed with happiness, and I just this huge punch in the gut of wanderlust that will last me the whole rest of the year until we watch it again. There have actually been a few times I considered just booking a solo trip on a whim because I've wanted to go that badly, and have my own unique adventure. But when it comes down to it, I wanted Josh to experience it, too, and he's also wanted to go after seeing the movie. Since booking our flights, Josh has been laughing at me because he'll be trying to go to sleep next to me, and I tap him on the shoulder to announce I'm too excited to sleep because we're going to Iceland in nine months. But I'm really, truly so excited to explore this amazing country. 

I didn't realize what a popular travel destination Iceland had become recently, and there's so much information out there from so many people who have gone, so I've already pretty much mapped out our entire itinerary. September can't come soon enough (although, it can also take its time because I want to make the most of our upcoming Summer, too).

And that's a wrap on 2018. Happy New Year, everyone! In between re-doing our living rooms this winter, we also plan to veg out on the couch, binge-watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which we started the day after Christmas, and got totally hooked on. I'm also looking forward to hibernating with pasta and wine as much as possible to recharge my batteries, and enjoy every second of this still, quiet time of the year. 


  1. Happy New Year and Happy 10th anniversary. Love your travel plans and look forward to seeing your posts about them. Of course I enjoy seeing all the house updates...it amazes me that you accomplished so much in such a short time. I have recently become hooked on a you tube channel called The Endless Adventure. I get to travel via arm chair with a delightful young couple who decided to travel the world while they were young. When I was their age I had three children so that was not a possibility for me but I love their idea. Emma is so cute, it almost makes me want to get a dog!

    1. Happy New Year, Arlene! Aren't travel channels on YouTube the best? I watch so many of them and get inspired to see so many different things. Thank you, as always, for your very kind words! Emma thanks you, too :)

  2. Happy new year to you and Josh! Thank you for sharing. You’ve inspired me to plan some trips, I think it’s an excellent idea to get over the after Christmas blues.

    Xo - Shirley

    1. Happy New Year, Shirley! Yes, it's such a great way to set up your year while also having something to look forward to in the calmer days of winter. I hope you get to plan some wonderful things - even a long weekend somewhere is so special :)

  3. I always loved watching your new year plans videos. I very much missed them. So this post was the next best thing. I kinda inspired me to do my own reflections of this past year and what to look forward too. The mentality switch I can very much relate too!I'm originally from north Florida but now live in southern VT. I think you both will enjoy Savannah and Charleston. I miss the south so much! Look forward to reading about your adventures

    1. I hope you have some wonderful things to look forward to! I tend to roll my eyes at all the "I'm going to the gym!" and "I'm starting a diet today!" New Year's type things, but planning travel? Now that's how we kick things off :)

  4. I love this idea! I don't blog, but I think I'm going to sit down with my husband and come up with our top 10 moments from 2018. And I always loved watching your new year travel plans videos, so this was great. It always inspires me to make our own travel plans. We loved Savannah and Charleston and I really think you will too. Looking forward to seeing a post or video about your upcoming trips! Iceland is definitely on my list!

  5. Hi, have just discovered & catching up on your beautiful travel & reno story all morning. I grew up in UpState NY, then lived in & around Boston w/ great memories of both as retired Senior.

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