My “year in a nutshell” posts are absolutely my favorite to write! (For my previous years see: 2018, 2017, 2016) Somehow, though, 2019 slipped by and now we’re in 2020 and I never wrote one (and I plan on backdating for the chronological purposes). Currently, we’re in the middle of the pandemic (#corornavirus) and it seems a bit easier to think about all the fun things we did last year, and things I’m looking forward than to think about the present.
All year, I take notes & photos to make this post happen, so I today I am going back in time to 2019. We did so much: bought a house, sold a house, visited family and friends, met new family members, lost family members, got out into nature, and went to Hawaii… to name a few things.
My favorite part of starting a new year, and January in general is the hope and anticipation for what’s to come! At the end of December/first part of January, we embarked on our fertility journey. I have always known that having children may require medical assistance, so the first step was going to the doctor to see where I stood. I could write an entire post on this (which I will, when I’m ready), but it felt like my entire month was spent going to/from the fertility doc, pharmacy, getting tests done, counting the days of my cycle, and taking new medications. You don’t realize how much it consumes you until you look backwards.
We also tried Imperfect Produce, which was fun, but we realized we were in a good groove with our meal-delivery kits that adding a produce box on top of it was a little too much.
Early in the month, we experienced a huge wind storm which was very intense and impactful! The next day, we walked down the trail near our house and picked up some of the large branches blocking the path but it took weeks to get cleaned up. The worst part was the power outages that followed. Luckily, our energy company worked round-the-clock to get the region back on the grid and we’re very thankful for their speed.
For most of the month (short days, long nights) we took advantage of the good weather days by hiking/walking and I spent time reading inside.
For MLK Day Weekend, I went to visit Wannee in Dallas and we had a girls’ trip in Austin! We ate great food, took lots of photos, did touristy things, and rode scooters all over town. It’s always refreshing to see my long time besties and explore new places.
February started off with a monkey wrench— snow!? I know, sounds silly since, you know, it’s the winter… But! We learned quickly that the PNW (Seattle area, specifically) was unprepared for any type of significant snowfall. Brighton thought it was funny that everyone was so overwhelmed by the snow since Utah gets much heavier snow on the regular without batting an eye. We woke up to a winter wonderland outside our doors! Though I had a short drive to work, the roads were a mess and I didn’t want to risk it, so I took a snow day and played with Koda at the park near our house. Sometimes, I forget how magical it is right after the snow falls. After the first day of the surprise (where pretty much everyone was caught off-guard?), about a week later, another “HUGE” storm was coming according to the news so they shut down everyone’s work and told people to go home and hunker down for the weekend. Unfortunately, that led to some HUGE traffic jams and it took Brighton 3.5+ hours to get home from Bellevue to Issaquah (normally a 20-25 minute drive without traffic). Crazy!!
During the cold snowy days, I got some reading done and we took advantage of the sunny days to play in the snow with Koda. She’s like a puppy when she sees snow!
Oliver also got word from the vet that he needed a significant amount of teeth removed due to risk for infection, poor thing. At least we could be at home with him while he recovered.
Towards the end of the month, we began the house hunting journey. It was just the beginning, but we spent many weekends going out searching over the next couple months.
At the beginning of March, Brighton flew out to help his mom move out from Park City to Bainbridge Island. In the meantime, I met a new friend off Bumble (yay, online friend-dating?!) and we went to pet llamas (among other things). I also went house shopping with our realtor who was always a hoot; We had too much fun walking through all the model homes!
We snuck in a hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge in (an oldie, but a goodie) and went to visit Brighton’s mom in Bainbridge via the ferry. At work, we did a sales blitz for St. Patrick’s Day and I got to dress up in festive attire for the week.
For St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we drove down to Portland to meet Brighton’s half-sister (and family) for the first time. It was a short visit, but very fun for him to connect with a new side of his family. We also got some hiking at Silver Falls State Park, and exploring of Portland in while we were down there. (Portland is one of my favorite quick weekend-trip destinations now that we live here!)
After spontaneously finding out about the Holi Festival at Lake Sammamish State Park, we invited our new friends and had some colorful fun! Who knew that throwing colored powder would be so fun?! Everyone at the festival we met was so nice and happy, and I enjoyed the food!
We continued our house hunting throughout the month in between our adventures and weekend trips.
At the end of the month, I was lucky enough to get a deal on a whale watching tour, so we got to get out on the water for some whale-watching and then went to see the cherry blossoms in bloom at UW afterwards. It was a beautiful spring weekend!
The beginning of April is our anniversary, so I planned a weekend trip to Victoria, BC. It was so fun! We visited the Butchart Gardens, had high tea, threw axes, and walked around downtown Victoria to our hearts’ content! It was lovely.
After our weekend away, Kelli came to visit for the weekend. She got to house hunt with us too. It was a pretty grueling day… I think we saw like 13-15 houses that day alone! It was a fun outing with all four of us though. There were snacks involved!
Kelli and I also went to the Tulip Festival up in Skagit Valley. I love springtime because of all of the colorful flowers and nature seems to come back to life!
For Easter, we saw Somer, Leo and Brighton’s mom at Point Defiance in Tacoma. Leo is so cute and I could tell that Brighton was really rocking being an uncle. 🙂 We wandered around the beautiful park (we’ll definitely be back, so pretty!) and then went over to Ruston Point for lunch and to ride the trail.
By the end of April, we finally found the home we wanted to buy and they accepted our offer with a quick closing time of 3 weeks. It was so exciting! Even though we closed in May, it was such a win to finally get under contract on the right house for us.
May was mostly centered around making sure everything went smoothly with our house transactions. We were coordinating selling our Utah house and then buying our Washington house simultaneously. The cross-state element added a little more depth, but thankfully everything went well and we were happy how everything shook out. We ended up closing in Utah a little early which caused us to also close in Washington a little sooner. We moved in on June 1st!
We got in a hike at Sauer’s Mountain near Leavenworth to see the wildflowers at the beginning of the month. It was hot but always so refreshing to get out and hike. We got in one more for the Memorial Day holiday weekend to Dirty Harry’s Balcony.
The second half our May was spent packing and preparing for our move— trips to Home Depot, packing, trips to give away old items, etc. Moving is something we’ve done so many times in our relationship that it feels like a routine for us at this point. I hope this is one of the last moves we have to do in our life!
After the house transactions settled, we put a chunk of our earnings towards debt to take another step towards our financial freedom— a long time goal of ours. What a weight lifted!
We made the official move on June 1st! A perfect way to start the month (and with A/C, finally!) June felt like it flew by at first since every opportunity was spent unpacking, shopping for the perfect living room set, and settling into our new neighborhood. Brighton’s birthday was low-key and uneventful (as he usually prefers!).
For Father’s Day, we flew to Salt Lake to visit family and friends. We saw both sides of Brighton’s family, including meeting his dad and brothers. It was an awesome visit! It made me miss Utah a lot, but I am always happy to back home.
At the end of the month, we tried a new trail called Glacier View. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty cloudy so we only got a glimpse of the view but it was still a great day out on the trails.
July finally felt like it was truly summer, heat & all! I shot a surprise proposal on 4th of July during the day at Snoqualmie Falls, and then we saw the fireworks in our new city in the evening. Later on that long weekend, we went to Angie’s wedding and then got queso dip with Tara & Rob.
One of the best highlights of the month was going to Dirtfish’s SummerFest and riding in a helicopter over Snoqualmie Falls and next to Mount Si! It was one of the coolest ways to experience Washington, and this later inspired us to take a helicopter ride while in Maui.
Since we live a little closer to Mount Rainier, we took a trip to Paradise area and wandered around to see her in all her beauty. Sometimes, I forget how close to this nature we really live! We even got to see a marmot!
For Leo’s 3rd birthday, Somer and Leo came for a visit and we had dinner and spent some time at Lake Wilderness.
At the end of the month, we received news that Brighton’s uncles had gone missing in a freak boating accident and the whole family was hoping for their swift return. The whole thing didn’t feel quite real or possible.
By the beginning of August, it was confirmed that they had passed away in the accident and we immediately went to Utah to go be with the family for their funerals. It was an emotional time, but we were happy that we were able to travel to be with the family during this difficult time.
Again, we saw friends and family as much as we could while we were in Utah again.
Later that month, we learned Brighton’s grandmother also passed away unexpectedly within weeks of us returning from Utah. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel again due to work obligations so we celebrated her life with Brighton’s family here in Washington.
Desperately trying to soak up all of the summer hiking, we also made the trek to the famous (in Washington) Colchuck Lake. It was as breath-taking as I had imagined and I was so happy to finally be able to see it in person.
After the whirlwind of house buying and selling, moving, visiting family, and unexpected tragedies, we felt like September was finally the time we should try to continue our fertility journey. Life is precious and short, and we didn’t want to wait any longer to start. I was back to counting the days of my cycle, many doctor visits, and so much waiting.
In the waiting time, we went on a hike to Sheep Lake with friends and took a trip to Bellingham. I had the best dutch baby ever there, and part of me wants to go back just for that!
I also learned to start embracing my curly/wavy hair. Sounds silly, but this was a big deal for me! I’ve spent a lot of time straightening my hair and never really tried to embrace the curl and it was a big time saver and a fun change in look for me.
We also enjoyed the last bits of summer and welcomed fall wrapping up the farmer’s market season.
By the end of September, we learned that our first round of fertility treatment didn’t work, so we started the next cycle all over again in October. This round resulted in a chemical pregnancy, meaning pregnancy hormones were released but nothing ever was able to grow. Again, there’s a lot more to the story there, but it was a really tough blow to lose something that could’ve been.
We also decided it was time to see what Issaquah’s annual event, Salmon Days, was all about and enjoyed the afternoon wandering around eating street food and checking out the vendors all over Issaquah. Fall is also a popular time for photo sessions, so I tend to be quite busy during the fall and this year was no exception!
Fall officially arrived, and one of my main goals in 2019 was to see the larches. What are larches? They are needled conifers look like evergreens in spring and summer, but in the fall the needles turn golden yellow and drop to the ground. In Washington, people are big about going to see the larches and I wanted to see it for myself too. We did the Heather-Maple Pass Loop up in the North Cascades and it was so beautiful!
At work, we hosted a client appreciation party which was 80s themed. Brighton’s outfit was THE BEST!
We also decorated the house a little bit with our carved pumpkins, lights and (Brighton’s favorite) a skeleton. For the night of Halloween, we stayed home and passed out candy to all of our neighborhood. It turns out we have a LOT of kids in our neighborhood! I hope that in the years to come, we can bring our children around the neighborhood too.
Finally, my birthday month! November seemed to go by really quickly. We exercised our right to vote in our local election (and we walked to the ballot box to drop them off). We went out to Seattle to eat at a classic Seattle restaurant, Ivar’s Salmon House. We enjoyed watching sunset and the boats pass.
On the non-rainy days, we hiked and took in the last of the fall color at Little Mashel Falls.
I was able to snag some tickets to the Big & Rich concert thanks to my coworker, so Brighton fulfilled some of his country music dreams and we went up to the Snoqualmie Casino to see them play. It was weird to be at a concert in a ballroom, but they were a lot of fun and know how to put on a good show!
For my birthday, I did a short day of work and my coworkers decorated my desk/office and showered me with goodies!
Kelli came up from Utah for the weekend, and we went down to Portland and the Oregon Coast for a quick girls weekend. We had a delicious dinner in Portland first, and then drove down the Oregon Coast to see Cannon Beach (Haystack Rock), Devil’s Punchbowl, Thor’s Well, Devil’s Churn, and Cape Perpetua. It was a lot of driving, but that’s typical for me— gotta squeeze in what you can when you’re there!
For Thanksgiving, we were planning on going to Utah to see Brighton’s family, but Mother Nature had other plans. A big snow storm was moving through the region and we decided it was best not to risk the drive and stayed put for a quiet Thanksgiving at home (sans turkey!). We went to Fogo de Chao and had plenty of other delicious food. For the Thanksgiving weekend (since it was so late this year), we went up to Steven’s Pass to revisit a hike I did in 2018, Mount McCausland. There was plenty of fresh snow and it really felt like winter! Poor Koda enjoyed it for the first half, but her paws were covered in snowballs by the second half. We had to pick them out periodically as we hiked back.
December flew by, just like November! We got into the holiday season by going to pick out and cut our own Christmas tree before we left for Hawaii. I’m pretty sure it was 8+ feet tall!
The next week, we left for Hawaii for a week long vacation. I’d never been, and it had been a while Brighton had visited the islands! I was so excited. We went to Maui and lived the island life in luxury! We did so much in the 5 days we were there: strolled Lahaina, ate and drank at a luau, viewed the Haleakalā sunrise, drove the Road to Hana, helicoptered over the island and to Molokai, explored Paia, tried shaved ice, watched the Nakalele Blowhole, hiked to see the Iao Needle and drove the upcountry of Maui.
When we got back, we decorated the house for Christmas and briefly had a break before all our visitors came into town. First, Cody spent a few days with us before and after his visit with his girlfriend’s family visit. My family arrived shortly after for the Christmas week.
I wanted to take them to Portland for a fun visit and stay in a fun hotel since they’d never been before. We saw the Pittock Mansion and Multnomah Falls, ate Voodoo Donuts, spent hours at Powell’s and then drove home. Meanwhile, Brighton was at home collecting all the packages— Christmas is always #poweredbyAmazon in my house.
Christmas was full of light, food, games, and family! We got to host my family in our new house which was really special. My mom was shocked I didn’t have a tablecloth… so we saved the wrapping paper from the gifts and she made a makeshift one. It was pretty funny and very in character for my mom. LOL!
As per usual, I require family photos every Christmas (or whenever, really) and we loaded up the car and drove to Lake Wilderness for a mini family shoot.
The day after Christmas, I wanted to show my family the beauty and fun of Washington, so we took a day trip to Leavenworth. We ate some brats and pretzels, and then wandered through the shops, and finished our day by trying cider and playing some games in the warmth.
After my family left, we had a couple more days with Cody before he went back to Florida too.
By the time New Year’s came around, we were ready to chill at home with some movies and relax. Seems to be a trend for us the last few years!