MMXVI — Our Year in Review
Our first family photo from 2016 was back in February on Valentines Day where we walked the river trail with our little poochini Rylie. Two thousand and sixteen stretched me in ways I didn't even think were possible, but I guess that's a good measure of improvement right, letting go of our comfort zones for change, and in that current of change still being able to find comfort. Once again this year was full of travel and cross-country road trips, great friendships, family time, and meaningful memories we will cherish for years to come. This was my first full year of having my blog after undergone a two-year hiatus and it felt so good to finally get into my flow and feel like I knew what I wanted to say. Through my theme of "embracing" this year, I felt that pressure of perfection slowly diminish, and though it's still a work in progress, I feel myself understanding more and more what I want out of this space, and out of myself creatively. We traveled so much this past year, and yet despite all the new sights, sounds, and experiences, New York still stands supreme of the place that I love the most, and how that love was magnified being there married to the man I'll grow old with. Two thousand and sixteen was a beautiful year, a full year, and here is in all its glorious mess.
California was our first travel destination in 2016, we whale watched in Point Dume, toured museums in the Los Angeles area, mainly the Natural History Museum, the Getty, La Brea Tar Pits, ate too many street tacos, and finally wrapped up our trip visiting the Ace Hotel where we took a slew of photo booth film strips which were every bit as magical as I thought they would be.
Next we trekked east on our cross country trip back to New York where we surprised my mama for Mother's Day. I wish I could relive that day over and over again, her face was priceless and New York was every bit as cozy as I remember it.
Probably my favorite thing about being back east besides spending time with my family would be how lush and green everything is. I miss feeling the soft grass between my feet, and running out to the garden to grab dinner for the evening. The east coast spoiled me this summer and in the best way.
We had the most lovely addition to my parent's farm, Sophia had three beautiful, strong, and elegant kids, Totoro, Wasabi, and Zen whom we love dearly. I'm not even going to try and act like I didn't have a favorite because I did, Totoro, and I snuggled every chance we could. I can hardly believe that the next time I visit he'll be too big for me to pick up and cradle.
I think along with summer bringing us those beautiful babes, I so enjoyed spending the beginning hours of the mornings and those after dinner dusks at my parents home milking Sophia. This summer was all about life and appreciating what that means.
One thing that I loved most about this year was getting the chance to fulfill my life long dream of working on a goat farm, well of course not just any goat farm, but this romantic one tucked away with it's private ponds and historical hemlock barns. We actually moved into a little cottage on the property, which I loved with it's quirks and enormous windows. Taking a sabbatical from my typical freelance work was so rejuvenating. I never expected that goat farming would be some of the most rewarding work I think I've ever done in my life. Learning and following their mindset of nurturing life was truly so good for my soul. I had the chance and the great privilege of caring for new born kids, cleaning the stalls, and going on the occasional goat herd walk through the farm's trees and fields in the evenings.
Over the summer we were so blessed to have an abundance of family time, three day weekends meant more time to explore, and oh how we made good use of that time. One of our first adventures was to Kinzua with my parents, it was magnificently breath taking, and contained lots of funny stories and miracles I'm sure we will remember for an awfully long time.
Being back in New York also meant farmers market runs just about every weekend or every morning I could find them with my mama and trying new hole in the wall places, my favorite including the tiny in size yet large in flavor creamy, White Cow Dairy which is an extension of the deliciously famous Blue Hill Farm. I didn't make that connection until just recently and I'm almost kicking myself because of it. You may find that name familiar if you've watched the Netflix documentary, "Chef's Table" The creamery is in a quaint location, and is only open for a select amount of hours on the weekends. Everything comes in fresh and the flavors are seasonal, forever changing with what the cows are eating. For me it embodies what it means to eat local food in the Buffalo, New York area and the connection between farm and table back east.
Brian did his first Metric Century (65.6 Miles) cycling endeavor to raise money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It was an emotional accomplishment and I could not have been more proud of him. He rode with specific people in mind, and it was a joy to watch him cross that finish line.
We celebrated our first wedding anniversary doing what we love to do most, making food together. We started our day with a trip to the Amish store to buy flours, cheeses, maple syrup and other treats for our road trip back to Utah. From there we stopped at a little farm stand on the side of the road where we bought a whole heap of banana peppers, and finished the day sitting at the kitchen table making pepper jelly, and Brian cooking the most flavorful Thai food for dinner. My happiness could hardly be contained.
Our remaining couple of weeks in New York were well spent, and then we made our drive back to Utah, making stops in the Kirtland, Ohio & Nauvoo, Illinois for a bit of a Latter Day Saint church history tour, learning about Brian's ancestors and getting the chance to walk the sights of the Mormon pioneers.
Of course this year's best moment was announcing that our family of two would be growing to three in the beginnings of the upcoming year.
Our temple tour didn't stop when we moved back to Utah, as just the day after arriving home we made our way to the Manti Latter Day Saint Temple for one of our dear friends weddings.
We kicked off our Autumn with starting the school semester and beginning to post bumpdates.
I attended my first photography workshop in Salt Lake City, where part of our lessons and shoot time were held in Empire Pass, it was an interesting experience and it definitely sent me on a creative discovery once we got home. My favorite part was listening and learning from Kate, the owner and founder of Magnolia Rouge, and having her instill that whatever we create it must first speak to our souls before it can speak to others. We came across a magnificent yet dangerous storm on our way to the photoshoot site, I was so grateful that Brian was there with me, especially when lightening hit just about 150 feet away from our car. Brian also took the captivating image of the lightening striking near Park City once the storm was at a safe distance from us.
We also had another run in with the Emergency Room this year, but this time it was for B. The day after photographing a wedding together in the Northern Utah area, Brian got violently ill, we're talking convulsions and the whole nine yards. After taking him to a nearby Urgent Care he was taken by ambulance to a hospital since they believed that his appendix had ruptured. Long story short, we had a plethora of friends take care of us while he recovered, and it turned out that he was actually just having a severe case of gastritis, they believed it to be caused from the junk food he ate the day before. Needless to say Brian was very recommitted to eating healthy after that. From there we went to California and were surprised with a trip to Disneyland from our personal fairy godmother. When we got home to Utah we went to for our annual Halloween pumpkin hunt, and just a few days later Brian went in for his hip surgery. Through everything of our crazy October I discovered much during that time of what grace means to me and we're glad that he is on the road to repair as he is now off his crutches and brace.
We also spent a week or so in California for Thanksgiving which was much needed, as we thoroughly enjoyed getting to see family, and made some purchases like our stroller to welcome our little one come February.
Between Christmas, Brian's Birthday, finishing up our finals, entering the third trimester of pregnancy, and having family visit it's safe to say that December was well worn of hearty laughter and fond memories.
2016 has been an amazing year, and we are looking towards 2017 with anticipation, love, and joy, ready to take on our new adventures an document the beauty of life that unfolds right before us.