Saturday, December 12, 2015

From Atlantic to Pacific, our 2015 was terrific!

11 months, 12 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 13,000 miles

Our adventurous 2015 was full of change and opportunities to spend more time with family, friends and each other. We began the year in one of our favorite places – Walt Disney World – ringing in the New Year and celebrating James’ birthday. James escaped the bitterly cold Ohio winter to cover the Oscars in California. Matthew joined the Catholic Church with the guidance of James’ grandma, who served as his sponsor. In April, James was happy to celebrate his sister’s intimate wedding and be the photographer to capture the love and smiles.

In late spring, Toledo Free Press closed, leaving James without full-time employment and the city with one less voice. But we took advantage of James’ flexible freelance schedule by embarking on some exciting summer adventures.

In June, we traveled with the Toledo Swiss Singers to New Glarus, Wisconsin, for Saengerfest, bringing home gold and silver prizes! James’ aunt drove up from Chicago to enjoy the yodelicious fun.

We traveled to Perryville, Maryland, for our 3rd annual Independence Day celebration with friends and took an impromptu day trip to Washington, D.C. In late July, we joined Matthew’s parents in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and spent quality time with his cousins who were there at the same time. Best of all, we took Kitty along on the road trip! On the way home, we spent a long weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and visited Dollywood – a true Smoky Mountains delight!

In August, James welcomed his third niece – Kennedy – and we embarked on a two-week California adventure. We celebrated Disneyland’s 60th anniversary and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway with stops in San Simeon for the Hearst Castle, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Monterey, Castroville and San Francisco. After visiting wineries in Sonoma and Napa, we finished the trip in San Francisco, where we visited Alcatraz, the Walt Disney Family Museum, Muir Woods, traversed the Golden Gate Bridge on foot, and walked over 55 miles through the city! The biggest – and best – news to report happened in front of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle when Matthew proposed. And James said yes! Yes… we are engaged! (No wedding details yet, but stay tuned.)

In September, Matthew traveled to Nashville on a business trip and James and Kitty tagged along. On the way home, we spent the weekend in Columbus and got a VIP tour of the Columbus Zoo from Matthew’s cousin, an award-winning student guide, and fed the giraffes!

This fall, we decided to adopt a little sister for Kitty from the Toledo Area Humane Society and named her Sonoma in honor of our California trip. We took mini-adventures into Michigan, visiting Frankenmuth, Detroit for Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, and Ann Arbor for Norah Jones.

As the year comes to a close, 2016 is looking bright! In January, James will begin a position at the University of Toledo’s Health Science campus, managing digital media for the College of Medicine. Matthew’s project with Maritz was renewed and is growing by leaps and bounds. And Kitty and Sonoma are looking forward to road trips this summer.

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