Saturday, December 22, 2018

2018: A year of travel, friends & family

We kicked off a year of travel, friends and family by celebrating the New Year with a traditional dinner. We also celebrated James' and our niece Olivia's birthdays.

We kicked off 2018 with our delayed honeymoon: A Trip to Walt Disney World! We had also planned a weeklong Disney Cruise, but the hurricanes in the fall changed our minds. It was a memorable week filled with Disney magic, fireworks, a behind-the-scenes VIP tour, and a trip to the world of Pandora/Avatar. We also had serendipitous meetups at the parks with good friends.


At the end of January, we lived for a performance of “The Bodyguard” on tour in Detroit with Deborah Cox and got to meet at the stage door afterward.

In the Spring, James continued his studies.

On March 1, James appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for his Oscars fanaticism. His smiling face was forever preserved in a special stipple drawing. A few days later, James met his friend Kristine in Hollywood for the Oscars. They sat along the Red Carpet at the 90th Academy Awards in the bleacher seats, watching all the stars walk by. It was a quick but golden weekend!

Read the article See Red Carpet photos


Later that month, James traveled to Seattle for a work conference, a convergence of communications and marketing teams from medical schools across the country. James also connected with friend Sharina for an extended trip and a tour around the city. What a town!


A few weeks later, Matthew’s work kicked into high gear. He spent a week in Vegas for the Global Chevrolet Dealer Meeting. It was a whirlwind week, which saw Matthew and his colleagues in a booth 14 hours per day for most of the week! James flew in for a weekend of relaxation and entertainment. Turns out, Matthew and James both had friends in town and were able to hang out with them all.


Celebrating family: Emma’s 16th birthday, Justis’ college graduation, Addison’s Pre-K graduation!


At the end of May, we attended James’ BFF Sarah’s wedding in Chicago. It was a wonderful weekend reuniting with friends.

June was a blur. The Toledo Swiss Singers hosted Saengerfest, an international yodeling festival, and James was the marketing committee. It was a success, but the hard work sure made us all tired. Matthew’s aunt and uncle even drove up for the event!

At the same time, there was a monumental change in our household. We adopted a kitten from James’ sister, Jessica. 


Meet Kira. If you haven’t already seen her photos on Facebook and Instagram, she is a split-faced tortie cat, and we fell in love with her the moment Jessica sent us a picture. We have dubbed her our “wedding cat.” (Sonoma is our “Engagement Cat,” and Kitty is our “Promise Cat,” for the record.)

With such a busy summer already, we made a few more weekend trips in August: Lexington to meet with Matthew’s family, a wedding in Indianapolis and our good friends Hunter and Matt’s wedding in Phoenix (hot hot hot!). They were all enjoyable trips, and we relished seeing and spending time with good friends and family.

In September, Matthew surprised James for their first anniversary with paper tickets to see shows in Stratford, Canada, as part of the Stratford Festival! We saw some great Shakespeare, including “The Tempest,” and some phenomenal musicals, “Music Man” and “Rocky Horror Show.”

In October, we went on an extended vacation out west. We started in Vegas, drove out to California, and flew back home from Vegas 11 days later. While in Vegas, we saw Barry Manilow and relaxed (though James had quite a bit of homework).


Driving to California, we met up with good friends Megan and Cesar, then David and Michael, whom we joined on a trip to Santa Barbara Wine Country and then Disneyland. Wine country was incredible. We traced key moments and locations from “Sideways,” the Oscar-winning movie with Paul Giamatti.


We made lots of magical memories at Disneyland, including meeting up with our Red Carpet reporting friend Kristyn.

On the way back to Vegas, we visited the Seven Magic Mountains and met up for dinner with Matthew’s friend Bo.

In October, we also celebrated the baptisms of our nieces, Olivia, Addison and Kennedy.

At the end of October, our friends David and Michael came up for a visit for a road trip to Frankenmuth for Matthew’s dad’s birthday.

To close the year, we had a wonderful trip to Walt Disney World to ring in the New Year! Matthew’s cousin’s daughter, Elisabeth, marched with her high school band in a parade at the Magic Kingdom on December 30.

We always enjoy ringing in the New Year at one of our favorite places, even if the crowds a pretty intense!


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