Hi friends! I can hardly believe that 2020 is just two days away. A new year AND a new decade. But before I jump into what the future holds, I always enjoy looking back and reflecting on all that happened throughout the year. But why keep all the fun to myself? I personally enjoy seeing other people’s end-of-year reviews, and so I wanted to take not just one, but TWO days to give you all a glimpse into my 2019.
Today I’ll be recapping this year’s most defining moments, memories, and adventures. And then, be sure to come back tomorrow to check out my ‘Best of 2019’ list. I hope you enjoy!
2019 started off a bit out of the ordinary for us. A few days into the new year, Adam left for a work trip/training for 7 weeks in Alabama, so we spent the first two months of the year apart. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but we managed alright – our many years of long-distance dating seemed to have prepared us. I spent a lot of our time apart hanging out with the dogs, focusing a little harder on my workouts and nutrition, and getting together more frequently with some friends to help pass – and make the most of – the time. But I was absolutely giddy when Adam finally returned home. You can read a bit more of what was going on in my heart after those two months in my first coffee date post here.
In both March and April we were able to spend some quality time with our friends Steve and Megan, and their three boys, while they were in town from Montana for a couple work trips. Although it’s because of the Air Force that we don’t live near each other anymore, I’m also so thankful that because of the Air Force we were able to have some time together. Our friendship was founded on game nights, so much of their time in town was spent doing just that, but we also ventured down to the Denver Aquarium one day to meet up with some of their college friends, and we even survived Cheyenne’s Bomb Cyclone while they were here.
At the end of March we went to see Switchfoot, our favorite band, play in Denver at the Fillmore. This was my 5th Switchfoot concert (and Adam’s 4th), and every time I see them I have more and more respect and love for their music, and for how they live their lives. Plus, there’s something so magical about live music – so needless to say, we had a great time.
In April, we flew to Michigan for the wedding of one of my college friends. It was a perfect opportunity to not only celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs., but also spend the weekend with our friends Joe & Vanessa, and their daughter, who drove down from Minnesota. We rented a lake house Airbnb for the weekend. Apart from the wedding festivities, we also explored a bit in downtown Detroit, but mostly our time was spent catching up and reminiscing while trying to complete a puzzle that had at least 10 missing pieces.
We started attending a new church this year, after never feeling truly settled in the church we first attended when we moved to Cheyenne. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that one of the hardest parts of the military life for me has been finding a new church every time we move. There have still been some expectations I’ve needed to adjust and walls that I’ve had to break down from experiences with past churches, but we’ve been meeting more people and slowly getting more plugged in with the church community through a small group.
For our anniversary this year we took advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend and went to Colorado Springs for the first time. It was the perfect little getaway in the most perfect little Airbnb. You can see a detailed recap of our weekend here including what we did, where we ate, and what I’d like to do when we get the chance to go back.
As an anniversary gift this year we started using the Marriage Journal to help us grow in communication and strengthen our marriage, and I have two words for you: GAME. CHANGER. I plan to share more about our experience with the Marriage Journal in the future here, so I won’t dive too deep now, but it was such a monumental part of our year that it is certainly worth mentioning.
While the entire year has been marked with a great deal of progress and growth in my health and wellness journey, I started off the summer with a fitness competition amongst the staff at the gym I worked at. While I didn’t win, it was within the challenge that I gave intermittent fasting a try for the first time, and it was a major breakthrough for me. I also plan to share more about this in the future, so I’ll have to leave you hanging, but it’s something that has really marked the second half of my year.
A somewhat challenging part of the year for us was some concern over Boone’s health. In May he experienced what we believe now was a sprain in his leg after playing fetch outside. There was some initial concern that he had a partial tear to his ACL, but after some pain meds and strict rest for a few weeks, he started to recover well, making it less likely that it was anything more than a sprain. Then just a month or two later, he had started showing some similar symptoms with his other leg. It spiraled us both into worst case scenario thinking, and I was concerned that something more serious was going on since this seemed like a repeat injury, but thankfully we discovered that he had a broken toe. Our vet here has been awesome at helping ease our minds that he is doing a-okay. He had a few more weeks of strict rest, which was challenging since he’s a fairly active pup and his brother wanted to play with him too, but after doing so, and after starting him on a joint supplement, he thankfully has finished the year strong, and as sweet as ever.
At the end of June/beginning of July we made the trek back to Illinois (where we both are from) to visit with family and friends. Our trips home are usually a whirlwind, full of fitting in as many loved ones as possible, and this one was no different. This trip was highlighted with a surprise birthday party for Adam’s mom, a family reunion with Adam’s family, visiting our home church, seeing Spiderman with my family, and plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates with family, high school and college friends, family friends, and mentors. While we can never manage to see everyone we want to or hope to on these trips, I was able to extend myself a bit of extra grace for not being able to do everything with everyone – which was an answer to prayer, because in recent years the stress of it all has weighed heavier on me with each trip.
Smack dab in the middle of our IL trip we spent a weekend up in Michigan for one of my best friend’s weddings. I was a bridesmaid, and Adam joined in with the groom’s festivities, so we spent the entire weekend celebrating Hannah & Brent’s union, as well as spending quality time catching up with some of my dearest college friends. My heart tank was definitely feeling full after that.
In July I finally got to put my new hiking boots to use as we embarked on a couple adventures. We took the pups for a light hike at Curt Gowdy State Park, spent a super hot day hiking up Horsetooth Mountain in Fort Collins, and took on a challenging alpine hike on the Ute Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have loved turning hiking into a hobby since we have lived in Cheyenne and have close access to some beautiful places (a.k.a. gimme all them mountains!), so these adventures were a special treat.
Last summer I experienced a minor injury to my shoulder/bicep tendon that didn’t seem to want to go away, so at the end of 2018 I started physical therapy, which carried on through the first half of this year. It felt a bit slow going, and I experienced a set back at one point, but I was officially discharged from physical therapy in July. I still have to be mindful of my shoulder as it can occasionally get agitated, but through the process I learned a lot and am much more aware of how to better care for it, as well as how to be more in tune with my body.
August held multiple opportunities for us to spend time with some of “our people.” Joe and Vanessa, who I mentioned we met up in Michigan with, traveled to Denver for their anniversary and invited us to spend the day with them. We adventured around town, taking them to some of our favorite places, as well as trying out some new ones.
Then at the end of the month, we drove up to Montana over Labor Day weekend to see a whole slew of our Air Force family. A good majority of our friends from our first base in North Dakota now live in Montana, so it was amazing to be able to reunite with so many familiar faces and catch up. It was one of those trips that you feel like you are home in an entirely new place just because of the people you are with. Some of our friends even surprised me for a late birthday adventure with an escape room and ice cream – some of my favorites.
Adam set out at the beginning of this year to challenge himself with a hard goal, and he decided to run a marathon, even though he admittedly hates running. After training all year, in September he ran the Cheyenne marathon, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Surprisingly, it has spurred him on to push himself to new limits and he’s already training for his next one (I don’t believe him anymore when he says he hates running). An extra treat was a friend of ours from high school, Zack, coming to town after Adam finished, so we had some quality time to catch up on life with him.
Because of Adam’s marathon training over the summer, we held off on going on a big hike that I had been aiming to do all year until he was finished. So the week after, we finally made the trek up to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. I definitely want to share more about this hike on the blog, as well as some of the others I mentioned before, so that is something to look forward to (all these teasers, I know). But man, I still get heart eyes when I see the pictures from this gorgeous hike up to Loch Lake, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond.
Towards the end of this year Adam took on a new role at work as a flight commander, which has shifted his responsibilities from managing training products to managing people, and I already think it is exercising and sharpening his skills and strengths. It’s been a great opportunity already for him and I’m excited to see how he continues to grow and learn as he does something new.
In November, we had an opportunity to see Switchfoot for a second time this year – this time in Boulder. Over the summer they announced their Fantastic Traveling Music Show, which was a double-set tour, and I am SO glad that they made a stop near where we live so we could see it. I love seeing them live regardless, but to have the chance to hear some deeper tracks that you wouldn’t normally get at a show was awesome.
One of our best highlights of the year was FINALLY going on a big vacation that we had been saving up for. We spent a week at a Sandals resort in St. Lucia. I definitely plan to recap the trip in detail here soon, so I won’t give away too much yet, but it was absolutely everything we wanted the trip to be, and more: So much relaxation, with a little bit of adventure mixed in.
One of the biggest markers of 2019 for me came at the end of the year with the gym I worked for going out of business. I dove into more of the nitty gritty details here if you are interested, but I have spent these last few weeks of the year transitioning to a new season of abstaining from working to devote more time to blogging and tending to relationships in our lives. This will definitely be a catalyst for whatever is to come in 2020.
Since we took a vacation in November, and Adam switched to a new squadron with his flight commander position, we knew getting time off to travel home for Christmas was going to be unlikely, so we stuck around Cheyenne for a quiet, cozy holiday this year. Adam’s parent’s came for a quick visit at the start of December to spend some time with us and we had a pretty laid back visit with them. Then we had a week or so of Christmas parties and get togethers, followed by a week or so of being hermits and cozying up inside for the holidays. While being away from family and friends over the holidays can be hard, there’s also something really special to me about slowing down, so it has been a great way to finish off the year.
Whew! That was a doozy. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in there. There’s nothing like looking back on 365 days to realize how much actually happened. As I reflect back on this year, I love getting to see the threads that God has strung throughout.
It was a year of endurance through a variety of changes I experienced with my job, including the ultimate end of it. It was a year of diving deeper into new and current friendships as we established more of a community here. It was a year of growth for our marriage. It was a year of progress with my health and wellness. And as evidenced by what I shared here, it was a year of some fun adventures. I can look back on 2019 with fondness, even amidst the challenges, because what is coming out of it on the other side feels fruitful and good. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store. And as you can see, I’ve alluded to plenty of content that you can hope to be seeing in 2020 as well.
BUT, before we go there, join me TOMORROW for my “best of 2019” list. Think of it as some fun superlatives to further highlight the big and little things from this year.
What were some of your highlights from 2019? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!