I have no words to describe 2015. Even if I spent hours trying, words could never do justice to the adventures and experiences of this last year. 2015 was easily the craziest, busiest, most wonderfully amazing year that I have experienced in my entire life, and looking back I see nothing but endless blessings. I had the opportunity to graduate from college, get married, honeymoon, and move across the country with my husband… all in less than one month! And that was only part of our adventure.
I couldn’t let 2015 slip away without reminiscing about all the experiences that I had this year, from the very beginning through to the end.
I know this post will be long, but that is because so much happened that I don’t want to forget. I want to look back in ten years and remember everything that I have experienced this year.
Please, join me on my journey of reminiscing 2015.
New York Trip #1: Ringing in 2015
Every year that Connor was at West Point, he had to return to New York only a few days after Christmas so that he could train for the upcoming gymnastics seasons. Because of that, there was only one way that I could spend New Year’s with him, and that was to go out to New York as well. Two years ago, Connor and I rang in 2014 in Times Square, something I think everyone should experience at least once. So to celebrate a new 2015 we decided to keep things low-key with a romantic dinner near West Point. We went to Painters, a cozy restaurant in Cornwall, NY, shared a bottle of wine, and celebrated the beginning of a life-changing year. What was most important to us that night was that we were together.
Planning a Wedding
This gets its own mention because I put so much work into planning my wedding. It was like a part-time job. Not that he would have been too much help anyway, but since Connor was 1500 miles away at West Point, I pretty much planned the entire wedding myself. I only could have done that with the help of my family and my bridesmaids, most of whom were, fortunately, very close by (which means they got to calm me down from my wedding planning freak-outs). I spent hours making my own wedding invitations, picking the flowers, and making the centerpieces. Thankfully it only took me about one hour to find my wedding dress.
If you’re interested some of the things that it took to plan my military wedding, you can peruse my post, My Military Wedding: Military Etiquette.
I had two bridal luncheons, one thrown by a wonderful friend of my mother-in-law, and one thrown by my mom and my sister. I’ve never felt so spoiled, and I truly appreciate everything that everyone did for me in the months leading up to my wedding.
I had one… the rest is super-secret. No, just kidding! My amazing bridesmaids spoiled me with a night at the historic Brown Palace, an Italian dinner, wine, games, laughs, and… more wine. More than anything, it was the perfect night to spend with my best friends before I moved across the country.
I spent five months in a Colorado classroom teaching 150 seventh graders the importance of world history. And, as cliché as it may sound, I truly learned more from them than they ever could have learned from me. I learned about my passion, I learned about my flaws and my skills, I learned about the kids, I learned how to overcome obstacles, and I learned a lot about teaching. I was blessed by a great supporting teacher, a great school, and great kids, and I definitely shed some tears on my last day there.
My College Graduation
I graduated! With the presence of my fiancé, my family, and my best friends, I walked across that stage and received my Bachelor of Arts in History with a concentration in Secondary Social Studies Education (I know, it’s a mouthful, isn’t it?). And, despite the fact that the announcer forgot to mention it, I graduated magna cum laude.
New York Trip #2: Connor’s Graduation from West Point
I traveled with Connor’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, aunt, and grandparents to West Point for an entire week of excitement leading up to Connor’s graduation. We toured West Point, took a train to New York City, I attended a bridal tea with my mother-in-law, we dinned, and Connor graduated and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. From the day he left for basic training his freshman year, to the moment he tossed his hat in the air, we made it through West Point together. Now it was time to get home so we could finally get married!
05.30.15 – Our Wedding Day
I married my best friend and it was a perfect day. That’s all there is to it.
Honeymoon in Napa Valley
Our honeymoon, though short, was perfect. We spend six days in Napa, California wine-tasting, sight-seeing, and just being newlyweds. Check out some of our pictures and experiences in my blog post, Honeymooners Guide to Napa Valley.
Cross Country Road Trip: CO…KS…MO…KY…WV…MD
Our first major experience as husband and wife was driving across the country from Colorado to Maryland. Between the honeymoon and the road trip, I think we spent more time together in those two weeks than we did the entire time Connor was at West Point. Well… that may be an exaggeration, but we spent a wonderful amount of quality time together and I loved every minute of it. We traveled from Denver to Kansas City, then through St. Louis to Lexington, KY, and ended up in Washington D.C. I wish we had more time to stop and explore, but we will have to save that for another trip.
We also had an exciting experience when we finally arrived in Maryland, which you can read about in my first blog post, We Drove across the Country on Eagles Wings.
More Time Apart: Connor at BOLC in Texas
We arrived at our new home on Tuesday, and Connor flew to Texas for officer training on Friday. He was away almost all summer. That meant that I got to set up the entire house myself. I’m not going to lie, I was very lonely this summer, being a newlywed in a new state without my husband. But I thank God that my mom was able to visit for a week, then my sister visited for a week, and I was able to spend time with my family in the area. I guess six weeks alone in a new state isn’t so bad.
Mother Daughter trip to Gettysburg
When I found out that Gettysburg is only about an hour away from D.C. I couldn’t wait to go visit the historic battle field. Because I was a history major, because every American should appreciate it’s significance, and because I have such passion for America’s history. When my mom came to visit me, we drove up to Gettysburg for the day and spent hours touring the battlefields. I was overcome with amazement, and I felt something indescribable when I was in the place of one of America’s most influential moments.
Surprise 4th of July!
This was the best surprise I received all year! My sister was visiting over the 4th of July weekend, and we made plans to tour Washington, D.C. with our aunt and uncle. I was glad that I could be with family, but I was still missing my husband. Connor had told me a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t be able to come home for the 4th of July because he has military commitments until late Friday night, and had to be back Sunday evening. We agreed that it wouldn’t be worth hundreds of dollars and multiple travel hours to spend only 24 hours home. On Friday July 3rd, while touring D.C., my sister and I walked into a restaurant that my uncle had previously made lunch reservations at. When I walked in the door, I looked around, and there stood my husband! He actually came home! He had lied to me (forgivable under the circumstances) and actually had a long weekend off – so he quietly bought a plan ticket and came to see me. He’s pretty great, I think I’ll keep him.
New York Trip #3: Road Trip to West Point
The 2015 gymnastics season was great for Connor and his team, and they were ECAC champions! I guess winning a conference competition is sort of like winning the Super Bowl… and yes, that includes the big ring. At a West Point football game in September, the gymnasts received their championship rings, and Connor wanted to be there to get his with the rest of the team. So we packed up the car and drove four hours to West Point for the weekend. Connor loved being back as an Old Grad, and I had a lot of emotions as I remembered the past four years, and how happy I was that we were finally married. I have to say, West Point is a lot prettier when you’re there holding the hand of your Lieutenant.
I Got a Job!
It only took six months, but I finally got a job! No, it isn’t a teaching job, but it is in education administration. The best part is that I work where Connor does! I may not be in a career-long position, but I’m enjoying this time of transition and I’m so thankful that I am able to contribute to my family’s well-being.
Philadelphia Road Trip
What I love most about living on the east coast is that there are so many places to visit that are within driving distance. I have always wanted to explore Philadelphia, and I finally got the chance when Connor and I went to the Army Navy football game. We spent Friday night exploring, Saturday footballing, and Sunday exploring some more. I just couldn’t get over the history of Philadelphia, and the culture that is present there now.
Home to Colorado for Christmas
To end our perfect year, Connor and I traveled home to Colorado for Christmas. Our visit was far too short, but we are blessed with a wonderful family who will always welcome us home. We are also blessed because our families live within blocks of one another, and they get along very well, so spending time with everyone is easy. We wish that we could have spent more time home, but our Colorado Christmas was full of joy, love, blessings, and even Christmas snow. There truly is no place like home for Christmas, and we couldn’t be more blessed by this wonderful life.
We’re so thankful for 2015, and we cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store for us. But no matter what, we know that it will be full of joy, blessings, adventures, and even more love.