Our Christmas Letter, 2014
It's that time of year again. Christmas is already here and the year's almost over. And what a year it was!
In the last year, we traveled thousands of miles, watched our puppy grow up more, and went to a baseball game or two. We've been able to spend quality time with friends and family, had career changes, and had the experience of a lifetime visiting Europe.
In May, we hopped on a plane and flew to London (with an unexpected night in Toronto). Over the next two weeks we explored London, Bruges, Paris, Annecy, and Barcelona. We saw Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Stonehenge, the British Museum, the Bruges Madonna, lots of chocolate and waffles, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, Lake Annecy, the Alps, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, tapas galore, the Mediterranean Sea, and far too many more incredible things to list in one paragraph. It was an amazing trip, filled with amazing experiences.
While those two weeks in May were some of our most memorable of the year, it wasn't the biggest occasion of the year: we both had job changes. In June, Tyler began a new job, doing user experience design and front-end development for CaptainU. The company is based in Denver, and Tyler is one of a handful of employees who work remotely. In the fall, Lori was offered a position in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Mercy. She's now fully transitioned into her new role as one of the dietitians in that unit, and she takes care of the nutritional needs of tiny babies. Lori also taught two semesters of a nutrition class at Avila University in the spring and fall.
Another big part of our year was attending Royals games throughout the summer and fall. For the second year, we bought a ticket package at the beginning of the season. We went to thirteen games through the regular season, and when the Royals went to the postseason for the first time in 29 years, we went to all the home playoff games. The Wild Card Game was the best ever, the ALDS and ALCS sweeps were incredible, and the World Series (while heartbreaking) was amazing to see.
We also continued running in races, starting with the Battle of the Bean 5K in January. Although it was cold, the race offered hot chocolate, coffee, ice cream, and chocolates at the finish line. For the second time, we ran with Jax (and, this year, one of his friends) in the Dog N Jog race on the Plaza. Once again, Jax pulled us to a much faster mile time than usual. We also ran a 10K through the hills around El Dorado Springs during The Picnic in July. In September, we ran our fourth half marathon at the ScoutStrong Challenge. This race started at Sporting Park and finished on the track at Kansas Speedway. It was a smaller race than our previous half marathons, but it was definitely a fun experience. We ended the year with the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K held underground, making running in December much more pleasant.
This summer was our second anniversary of getting our house and we continued settling in throughout the year. We painted a few rooms, built some furniture (like Tyler's desk), did some dishwasher repair, and installed a patio in the backyard. The patio was one of our more ambitious projects, but we did it all ourselves, nearly doubling the seating area in the backyard. Next year we'll be able to enjoy it all summer long!
We went a few other places (besides Europe) this year, with short trips to Branson with Tyler's family in the spring, Northwest Arkansas for our friends Anthony and Miranda's wedding, and Lawrence for our anniversary. The Branson trip has become a recent tradition and we enjoyed a weekend in a cabin with family. Arkansas was tons of fun; Tyler was a groomsman in the wedding, and we had a great time with lots of friends. Lawrence was just a day trip, but it was fun to explore the town. Tyler also spent a couple of days in Denver for work, meeting most of his coworkers in person for the first time!
We had a few other unique experiences this year too. Early in the year, Lori surprised Tyler with a curling class. Along with six of our friends, we learned how to play the winter sport. It was quite challenging! Another random event was Tyler's Kansas City local news appearance. For a segment about Royals fans, KCTV5 interviewed him about his Race to the Pennant app. He chatted about how he built it to watch the Royals climb to the top and how it was actually happening.
Jax got in on the fun this year too. Besides the Dog N Jog, he got to go swimming the day after Labor Day at the Leawood Pool. They opened it up to dogs and their owners, and Jax ran head-first (literally) into the pool. It was his first time being in water, and (after a bit) he was fetching a ball from the deep(er) end with the best of them. Another fun event was his visit to Santa. The Humane Society offered pet pictures with Santa on the Plaza, and we took him to meet St Nick. He did pretty good; he must've known Santa was watching.
It's been a wonderful year, and we can't wait to see what 2015 brings. From us to you, Merry Christmas and happy New Year!