Zac Brown Band New Year’s Eve 2014

Happy 2015!

I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new year with people you love (or at least enjoy)! At 8 months pregnant, we decided on a low-key, low pressure evening this year. I could have gone for good movies on the couch, but we’ve been doing a lot of that lately, so I thought the man could use a night out. Not looking for a fancy deal, we had dinner at Oak City Grille in Royal Oak before heading over to our friends house to party in the new year. We had a reservation for 8pm and about half way through dinner the live music started on the stage over the bar. All-in-all it was a fun, festive environment. The food was decent, and it was nice to get out of the house. Once at the party I found a nice comfy post in the corner, put my feet up, cup of water in hand, and eased my way into 2015 in style.

Feet up, kicked back. Happy 2015!
Feet up, kicked back. Happy 2015!

Last Year

But last year, last year we celebrated just a little bigger. We had been TTC for a few months already, and were really hopeful that New Year 2014 would be our last as a family of 3 (including Brinkley dog of course). I figured that once we have kids it will be harder to justify expensive concert tickets, so I went all-in and bought 2 general admission floor tickets to the Zac Brown Band at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

It was a frigid night, and we nearly froze our buns waiting in line to enter the arena with our light coats. I was worried we wouldn’t have a good view if we got there too late (since it was general admission), so once inside we had to wait some more for things to get going. Man was it worth it.

Close-up view from the general admission pit. Not too bad!
Close-up view from the general admission pit. Not too bad! Image by Ready Set Sarah

We ended up just left of the peninsula sticking out of the stage. Brian was concerned it would be too loud if we got too close, so we found a good view a little ways out. Man, did it turn out to be perfect. The band made it out to the end of the stage many times throughout the show, and it was a great view of the main part of the stage.

Up close and personal with Zac Brown.
Up close and personal with Zac Brown. Image by Ready Set Sarah

Surprisingly, the Canadians in the crowd were the really rowdy ones! We had some trouble with pushy drunkards, but not nearly as much as would have suspected for a new year’s eve show. It was a great atmosphere, and a really great show. There are just some bands that are even better live, and this is one of them. These guys are true musicians. There are so many different instruments on the stage, the sound is incredible (Brian hardly needed his protective ear plugs, they kept the sound level at a good point), and the play list is really well put together. They didn’t play my favorite song, Free, but they played a number from what was their newer albums, and we found a few new favorites to love.

Best New Year ever!
Best New Year ever!

When it got to just before midnight, they projected the New York City ball-drop countdown on the big screen, and the whole arena counted in the New Year together. This was followed by a flurry of red, white and blue confetti from the rafters. Seriously, one of my favorite New Year’s Eve countdown moments ever.

Black light skeleton encore.
Black light skeleton encore. Image by Ready Set Sarah

For the encore, the guys came out in mechanic’s suites painted as skeletons. It looked pretty awesome in the black lights. I wish I could recall more about the line-up, but the songs they chose for the encore went perfectly with the scene.

Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Image by Ready Set Sarah

If you ever have the chance to see the Zac Brown Band, I would definitely recommend you do. Brian isn’t a country music fan and was really skeptical about how much he would enjoy the evening. A few songs in and he was sold. We had an amazing New Year’s Eve, and made memories that helped get us through the year to come.

A Look Back at 2014

It’s been a long year…. full of good, full of change, and full of learning experiences. The turbulent weather seemed to match the tone of life. Unpredictable, overwhelming, exciting and scary. Life has sped up so much these last few years, with big shifts in my life coming faster and faster. Looking back reminds me how much we really did and how many really good times we had, amid the chaos of lose and change.

January:

I’m not huge on parties, so when it came to planning our New Year’s Eve I knew I wanted to do something special but different. We decided to make dinner at home together, then head Downtown to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to ring in the new year with the Zac Brown Band. With so many instruments and high quality musicians on stage, how can you go wrong? I would definitely put this at the top of my favorite live shows list. It was an intimate and thrilling way to count down to 2014.

Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Last winter was cold. I don’t have to remind you about our fantastically freezing Polar Vortex. There was something exciting about how extreme the weather was, and how life just had to slow down and shift to accommodate it. With that said, I’m glad we aren’t pushing through negative degree weather and heavy snow this year! I’m not as sure on my feet with a basketball belly under my coat, you know what I mean?

Crazy deep Polar Vortex snow
Crazy deep Polar Vortex snow

February:

By February we had settled in to the deep snow and cozy days inside (binge watching shows on Netflix, snacking and cuddling our pup of course). My mom comes to town every February, which I always love and look forward to. We decided to take her on an adventure this year and drive up north to Traverse City for a few days to show her our favorite parts of the state. Little did we know, I was already expecting for the first time…. 

Mom's Visit Feb 2014
Mom’s Visit Feb 2014
Traverse City with mom Feb 2014
Traverse City with mom Feb 2014

March:

I loved my work, but was ready for a change. In March I got a new start at a smaller digital company in Ann Arbor and dove in to the new work. It was scary starting a new job, with an hour commute, right as I found out I was pregnant, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Brian, the loving husband he is, knew that I was ready to get back to Ann Arbor (one step closer to a feeling of home), and we started our plans to move.

April:

After the long cold months of winter, we were eager to head home to California in April. Excited that we would be 12 weeks along while we were there, we made plans to announce the pregnancy in person to my friends and family. It was to be a trip full of celebrations and love with my sister’s baby shower and my best friend’s bachelorette. There was so much joy in the first half of the trip… only to be balanced by the heartbreaking end of our trip and our first pregnancy.

Napa bachelorette for the soon to be Mrs. April 2014
Napa bachelorette for the soon to be Mrs. April 2014

May:

We returned to Michigan after the miscarriage and went into hibernation. I can’t imagine a better team I’d rather have by my side than Brian and Brinkley. May was a blur… an adjustment to life without the little baby in my belly. Learning to see life through a new lens.

Our little family... minus the one we were expecting.
Our little family… minus the one we were expecting.

June:

As fast as loss can come on and sweep the rug right out from under you, love and abundance can swoop right back in and fill the dark spaces lifting you right back up. In early June we were shocked and elated to learn we are once again expecting a sweet little baby. My best friend got married, and though it was a planned elopement and I wasn’t able to attend in person, I was overjoyed for her and her new husband. To top it all off, the end of June brought the arrival of sweet, sweet little Stella Ray. My sister gave us one of the best gifts we could ever receive and we’ve spent the rest of 2014 just loving on her and watching this adorable little bundle of happiness grow!

Our niece, Stella Ray born June 2014
Our niece, Stella Ray born June 2014

July:

Ann Arbor here we come!! July 1st we moved into our new Ann Arbor apartment. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one. There are things we miss about life in Royal Oak, but there are many things we love about Ann Arbor too (including the many summertime festivities that we were able to take part in, like Sonic Lunch, Art Fair, and Summer Fest).

Brinkley helping us pack. Moved to Ann Arbor July 1st 2014!
Brinkley helping us pack. Moved to Ann Arbor July 1st 2014!

We celebrated our first anniversary on July 21st with a trip back up north, you guessed it, to Traverse City! What can I say? We love it up there. We had big plans to spend a few days in Traverse City and then to head to Mackinac City to take the ferry over to Mackinac Island for our romantic anniversary. That plan was thwarted by another pregnancy scare and a day in the ER. So, instead of gallivanting around a historic island, we took it easy and spent the rest of the weekend with good friends, healing and waiting to see if we would get to keep our little one. Thank G-d for good friends and for things turning out alright.

Year 1 of marriage in the books. I can't wait to see how our lives have changed by the end of year 2.
Year 1 of marriage in the books. I can’t wait to see how our lives have changed by the end of year 2.

August-September:

We headed back to California again for my cousins beautiful Santa Barbara wedding. We spent a week taking in the sunshine and loving on little Stella Ray, and another week making the rounds with family and friends in the Bay Area. It was a great trip slightly tainted by our nerves, but we made it home all in one piece, the bun still baking in my oven. Whew.

October:

I LOVE MICHIGAN FALL. I know, what comes after isn’t so hot (pun intended), but I can’t help but love everything about the crisp, sunny days of fall. My college roommate, Anne, came to visit us and we showed her some of the best fall has to offer. After asking around we decided to go apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard in Fenton. The drive wasn’t bad from Ann Arbor, and it was a great experience! We will definitely be heading back next year. The tractor ride through the orchard, bright blue sky, delicious apples, cider and donuts are all part of what makes fall here so special. We would definitely recommend Spicer’s for families looking for a day of fall fun. We can’t wait to go back with little ones someday.

Apple picking at Spicer's Orchard, Fall 2014
Apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard, Fall 2014

November:

The gorgeous days of fall football and apple picking quickly shift to grey skies… thank goodness for warm family holidays like Thanksgiving to help get us through. We haven’t had much snow this year, but we got plenty during our interstate drive from Michigan to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend. Brian is a master driver, and I’m glad he is cause I would have been a whimpering fool if I had to drive!

We spent the weekend with my cousins in New Jersey, playing with her little ones and reminiscing about our extended family. We even got in a day in Manhattan to check out the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I love exploring with Brian, but I don’t recommend traveling when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s just me, but long drives and long days trekking through cities are better enjoyed without worrying about pregnancy troubles (like swollen feet and fatigue). I know many women are able to go hard during pregnancy, but for me it felt like a little too much action. Still, we had a great time. 🙂

Snowy drive to New Jersey for Thanksgiving
Snowy drive to New Jersey for Thanksgiving

December:

My dad came to visit! I love spending time with my dad. He’s great to adventure with and he has a gung ho attitude when it comes to projects. We spent the weekend hanging out, clearing out the baby’s room/closet and working to prep the nursery for when the little one (hopefully!) arrives. There is nothing better than time with family, and we have had so much of it this year, despite long distances and tough times. It’s really been a journey. I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than ever this year (easy to say when you’ve been pregnant most of the year, but I mean it figuratively as well).

We truly can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Hopefully it’s tons and tons of happy times and snuggles with our sweet baby girl. Cheers to the new year! 

Baby Girl Lubetsky arriving February 2015!  Cheers to the New Year!
Baby Girl Lubetsky arriving February 2015!