2019 is coming to a close…
Well, 2019 is almost over and done, and what a fun-filled year it has been! 2019 was Ryan and I’s first FULL year married. This year I feel like we really have become more of a team in our marriage & have matured a lot. We are learning how to love each other better, how to handle arguments better, and how to make every day full of fun and laughter. We have also gotten to have more spectacular experiences and been blessed more than we could have imagined!
A Thank You
While reflecting on all the places we’ve been this year, all the places we’ve had the chance to travel in 2019, we realized there was one common factor in almost every single one. Charlie and Andrea DeCook. Ryan’s mother and father, and my awesome mother and father-in-law.
These people are the most giving people I know. They are so hardworking and dedicated and have sacrificed a lot for the success they’ve earned.
If it wasn’t for them, Ryan and I probably wouldn’t be married right now. We sure as heck would’ve been eloping in Vegas if they didn’t support our wedding. Plus, if they didn’t help us with a place to live, we’d be struggling to afford rent and living expenses. I mean, we are both broke students right now! They’ve done so much to make our life comfortable.
But it hasn’t stopped there. This past year we’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many breathtaking places. And 95% of the places we’ve had the chance to experience was thanks to them. So, thank you, mom and dad (and mom and dad-in-law). We love you guys and all you’ve done for us this year & in the past! You’ll never have to live in a nursing home, don’t worry. 😉 But really, we hope we can repay you one day… but for now, we hope you can read this and know you are truly appreciated.
Here’s a recap of all the places we’ve been lucky enough to explore in 2019.
Our year started out with a bang as we stayed in my number one bucket list hotel location- overwater bungalows in Moorea, French Polynesia. Andrea planned an awesome annual family trip and reserved pretty much every excursion on the island. A personal favorite- one we continued to go back to- was the thrilling experience of swimming right along-side wild sharks and stingrays. We also ATVed through pineapple fields and up mountains, scuba dove with sharks, stingrays, and manta rays, and jet skied across the crystal-clear water. I was excited when we made it back from the trip, though, because that meant coming back to my puppy I got for Christmas, Aspen. We flew back to Utah & came back to reality- freezing cold, school, & work.
In February, we drove to meet up with Andrea, Charlie, Mary, Lillian, and Morgan- their foster kid at the time. We had a blast skiing Vail and staying in a beautiful cabin. At home, I was doing really well at meal prepping and cooking for Ryan and I (Ryan would say what happened to that :P). I also got a new job, my absolute favorite job I’ve had in my life so far! I worked at an elementary school as a health clerk to gain direct patient care hours for PA school. I also got acrylic nails for the first time (don’t do that anymore for my nails’ sake- it made them SO weak)
March had some unforgettable times- both for the best and worst. I also started this blog. 😛 We took a long weekend trip to LA with friends and Ryan’s brother, Max. We checked out some of the best sites & spent an afternoon at Venice beach. Definitely an unforgettable experience. I also experienced major trauma as my beautiful-fluffy Aspen was SHAVED entirely head to toe. I actually cried about it, & she has shave shock from it to this day… but we still love our awkward-looking pup. We also started teaching primary together! Our 7-year olds are the best (we typically have 3 boys and a girl- maybe that’ll be like our family one day??). It’s incredible seeing just how smart, talkative, and even spiritual kids can be.
April: Universal, Disney, & southern Utah
I began April at the happiest place on Earth with Andrea, Mary, Lillian, and friends. Ryan joined us the day after, & we went to Universal with him. Never a bad trip at Universal. Later that month, our middle school/high school/my college friend Josh came out to visit. We traveled down to southern Utah, where we camped out at a free campsite we found. Right on the edge of a giant cliff. We hiked Zion National Park, sand boarded, and visited Bryce Canyon. Honestly, one of the most adventurous trips ever.
In May, we spent time celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday in our family vacation spot, The Bahamas. We stayed at our timeshare (thanks mom and dad Hilderhoff!) & enjoyed swimming with sea turtles and reminiscing where we fell in love back in 2013 (we’re old). We also did cross-fit, and although we only stuck with it for a month (it’s kinda expensive)- I loved it so much! Although, I was also the SOREST I’ve ever been in my life.
Summer came & we had some lazy days hanging out with friends by the pool, going to the shooting range, playing tennis, & just enjoying life together. We celebrated Ryan’s birthday in Park City at Utah Olympic Park in the morning & dinner with friends at night. All topped off with BYU creamery’s famous Graham Canyon- in a birthday cake! Eventually, we were motivated enough to make the two-day trek to Georgia. We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary with Billie Elish, Ted’s Montana Grill, & our year-old wedding cake. (Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good!).
July: New York City, Palmyra, Niagara Falls, Hawaii
In July, we were away from Georgia for most of the month. At the beginning of the month, we visited New York City & then headed up to Palmyra to visit some church history sites. One morning we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Niagara Falls. Then, the best vacation of the year- Hawaii. We spent TWO whole weeks in Hawaii, & I absolutely fell in love. The nature, adventure, water, wildlife… & Ryan and I were sealed there. Can’t get much better than that. I think we both agree we really hope that Hawaii can be our future family’s vacation spot.
In August, my dream came true. For years, I had been talking up Disney to Ryan (the ex-Disney hater). This all changed when we went down to Disney on an INCREDIBLE trip. Ryan’s entire family was supposed to go, but couldn’t last minute. So Ryan and I took Lillian and her friend, Harper. We stayed at the BEST Disney resort there is (The Four Seasons), & were surprised by Andrea with a VIP tour!! Plus, it was the opening weekend for Galaxy’s Edge, which made a lot of the other parks WAY less crowded. We planned the trip really well, and I even converted Ryan to a Disney fan 😉
After our insanely fun summer, we returned home to Utah for school. Ryan continued his undergrad & I began a master’s program in public health. The fun adventures far from home kinda dissipated with the demands of school, but we had tons of fun in Utah. We started spending a lot more time with friends- who we now spend nearly every weekend with! I also decided to commit myself to blogging weekly, which I’ve been doing pretty well at so far!
October: Utah & Georgia
October came along, & we celebrated my birthday with one of our favorite bands, AJR. We flew home for a weekend to celebrate Ryan’s grandpa’s wedding & were able to celebrate me and Bryce’s birthdays, too. We also carved pumpkins and watched one too many scary movies!! (not my cup of tea)
November: Philadelphia, North Carolina
My MPH program offered me a fantastic opportunity to go to Philadelphia for a public health conference called APHA. My aunt met up with me there, & we enjoyed an evening of excellent, historic food and a ghost tour! I also had a blast with my cohort friends, exploring what I think is the most historical city in the US. Later in the month, we went home for Thanksgiving. Ryan went hunting for the first time, I cooked homemade pies for the first time, & we sat at the grown-up table for the first time. We then rang in Christmas with a weekend at the Grove Park Inn with the DeCooks. We hiked, explored downtown Asheville, and RELAXED at the spa.
December: St. Maarten, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania
Now, we are going home for Christmas and New Years. We are about to go on a cruise with the DeCooks, Holletts, and Giles families. We are going to take over the cruise ship with all of us :P. Then, we fly straight from our port city to Pittsburgh to spend New Years with my family.
& Now, 2020
2019… What a year! It’s crazy to look back & reminisce on all of the places we’ve been & great times we’ve had during 2019. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store, & I’m excited to document it here. I pray that no matter where 2020 takes Ryan and I, we will be happy, healthy, safe, & keep loving each other.
We wish you the most joyful, fun, & adventurous 2020 as well!