Christmas Letter 2023


 What. A. Year 2023 turned out to be. 

Full of more traveling than we imagined would happen + lots of family time, hot air balloon events, and many new experiences!

Family time!
We were able to take our nieces and nephews to do fun things when we visited Idaho in September such as going to a Boise State game, car races at the track in Meridian, and an arcade in Nampa just to name a few things. 
Tony had his family reunion in September in Idaho as well, we went to Bogus Basin for the day and my brother James came down from Arkansas for a visit while we were in Idaho as well. Tony & I went to Washington earlier in the year to hang out with a couple of my nieces while their parents took a trip. We went all over the Seattle area and also visited some nearby islands via ferries which was really cool. Huge thanks to my brother-in-law for letting us use his car to cross over into Canada for a day also. I went to Coeur d'Alene for a week to hang out with a niece and nephew while their parents went on a trip. We got to visit my brother Matt and his family in Arizona for Easter. Also in July, I took another trip back to Washington to attend my 8-year-old niece's baptism and celebrate my birthday by riding the rails at Mt. Rainier in their pedal cars and visited the town of Leavenworth where we found a nutcracker museum as well as riding an alpine slide for the first time at the adventure park there.

Hot air ballooning was busy too! 
Tony & I got to some of our favorite events and saw some of our favorite pilots, crew, and friends in Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, New Mexico, and even Japan! We were so fortunate to crew for 2 different pilots while we were in Albuquerque and even got a ride a couple of times up above and among 500+ balloons that were there. It was wonderful to have a lot better weather this year than last year and we also got to experience the solar eclipse out on the balloon field. Unfortunately, the balloons were not able to inflate due to wind but it was still fun overall.

New things 
First I should mention, that Tony continued his weight loss journey this year by doing keto from January to July and on and off since then. To date (since 2022), he's lost 100 lbs. which is so incredible! 
We got to experience Tony participating in a few 5k runs around California, a 2-week trip to Japan with Tony's parents which included Disneyland, Disney Sea, owl cafes, temples, Japanese pancakes, a sumo wrestling event, and Halloween mixed with fall and on into the Christmas season. For Valentine's Day we continued our tradition of trying food we've never had by finding a Jamaican restaurant in Las Vegas. We attended a Festival of Trees in Idaho and went to Canada to see tulips and a super neat hanging bridge hike. We got to visit Mt. Rainier for the first time as well as Olympic National Park. Tony got a new position at his job that he really likes and I started doing online customer support for Airbnb in September which has been a fun, learning & growing experience.

The saddest thing this year was that my dearest cockatiel who I've had since I was 12 years old, passed away on November 1st while I was in Japan. That was really tough and I'm still sad every day that he's gone. In the meantime, I have 3 other cockatiels to love on and Rococo will live on in my thoughts and heart every day.

Our regular favorite activities happened as well such as my volunteering at Camp Ritchie for a week on rappelling staff, volunteering at Craftcation and Alt Summit in California, some hiking, good food made at home and eating out occasionally, a few trips to Utah including being able to see the fall leaves changing color, attending Pinners conference, our Airbnb room was fairly busy with people coming to visit Death Valley among other things, we got in some beach trips and Disneyland visits where I renewed my pass in August - who wants to go with me next year?! Tony is still running the Zoom broadcast at church on Sundays that he is there and I still have my stake social media calling that is busy on and off throughout the year.

Looking back over photos of our year and this recap, we can't help but feel majorly blessed that Tony has had a great job, we have a nice house to live in and our health has been fairly good overall.  We hope you have all had many good things happen this year and we look forward to keeping in touch in 2024 and tackling whatever comes our way. Love you all!


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