January 1st was the worst day of the year. I was insanely hungover and had already purchased tickets to go see The Hateful Eight with my brother and sister, which turned out to be the longest movie in the world. But luckily for me, that meant I could only go up from there, right? My family went on our annual cross country ski trip that usually takes place in December or January. It was a lot of fun because my brother was able to go with us while he was home on leave from Korea. I did something out of my comfort zone and agreed to foster two adorable puppies, whom I affectionally named Finn and Rey. (Since I had seen Star Wars Episode VII three times at this point.) Of course I watched a lot of playoff football as the Broncos made another Super Bowl run. And at the end of the month, I sold my car and purchased a new one, this time all by myself!
The Broncos won the Super Bowl. At work, we had every intention of starting monthly hang outs, but it never really got any traction. I got my annual "Roses are red" poem from my dad along with a single red rose and that basically sums up Valentine's Day 2016. I was also selected to go to England in May with my church and our partner, Globalscope.
Early in the month I headed up to the YMCA of the Rockies outside of Winter Park with my church group. We stayed two nights, one with the leaders, and one with everyone and I had a great time. One of the old Pure Barre teachers came into town for training, so we all got together for brunch in Denver. I went to team training for my upcoming trip to England with my church. I worked on Easter and then joined my family for a late lunch in the opposite of Easter clothes.
I had friends over for a game night and made Oreo cupcakes, which made me realize how much I miss hosting and how much I miss baking. I started a weekly Bible study called "Better" with my new friend Delina. I went back up to the mountains to serve on the work crew for the men's retreat, which was completely out of my comfort zone, but put me in a good mindset for service. April wrapped up with a very snowy wedding in Colorado Springs. My stepmom's cousin got married at a beautiful ranch, but surely they were expecting a beautiful spring wedding. Instead, they got the blizzard of the year, but the wedding was wonderful all the same.
We continued our Mother's Day tradition of taking my mom out for high tea at the St. Julien hotel in Denver. Later that week, I was leaving on a jet plane for England, my first time to Europe! I went to England with 5 other young adults from my church and I fell in love with the country the second I set foot in London. We spent half a day in London after we arrived, then traveled by train to Birmingham, where we spent the week at a Globalscope ministry near the University of Birmingham. The trip was incredible. I learned a lot about the culture, my faith, and myself. I met a lot of wonderful people, including the man that would later become my boyfriend, Luke! We wrapped up the trip with another half day in London (and visited Platform 9 3/4). The final day of the trip, I got up early and wandered out in London by myself for a few hours. The city was quiet and peaceful. It was the perfect way to end the trip, although I certainly did not want to come home. At the end of the month, my little sister graduated from high school. I spent Memorial Day at the Bolder Boulder, as per tradition.
The first weekend in June, I hopped on a plane to Arizona for a weekend called Soul Beauty. The weekend was painful and incredible and it grew and stretched me in ways I couldn't have imagined. The craziest thing is, at the end of 2015, I made it my goal to go to Europe in 2016 and to go to new states in 2016, including Arizona (because it would be the easiest due to its proximity to Colorado). I had no idea that I actually would travel to Europe and Arizona in the first six months of the year, but because God would lead me there, not for a meaningless vacation. Anyway, my sisters and I invested in a giant swan for the pool, who we named Ron Swanson, of course. We celebrated Father's Day in Boulder a week late. And I tried to get outside a bit with hiking after work and camping with my church group outside of Frisco.
I celebrated the Fourth of July both on the third and the fourth. I celebrated my year anniversary at my dream job and a week later, celebrated three years since I had taken my first class at Pure Barre Boulder. At the end of the month, I traveled with my dad, stepmom, and little sister to Massachusetts for my cousin's wedding. We had a great long weekend away and I was able to add another state to my list of visited.
On the first day of August, Luke and I had a conversation over the phone and decided to become "official". The first weekend in August, I celebrated my 26th birthday at my friend's wedding in Michigan. Delina and I jumped in the car early in the morning the day before the wedding, drove 17 hours to Lansing, spent the morning in Lansing and the afternoon at the wedding, then got up the next day and drove back. It was crazy, but fun! I spent the remainder of the month counting down until Luke would arrive for our first visit on the 31st. On the final day of the month, I picked him up from the airport (I was so nervous!) and we had our first date where we went for oysters and sushi in Boulder.
Luke was visiting for the first week of the month. We went to the first CU game together with my little sister and brother-in-law. We went up to the mountains for two days and stayed at Devil's Thumb and visited Grand Lake. The visit was fantastic, but all too short. I went back up to Winter Park with my church group, this time for a bigger and longer weekend retreat. Pure Barre Boulder put on our very first pop up class to benefit the Boulder Humane Society and we even had a few puppies running around as well.
Sadly, October started on a somber note when my parents had to put down Bonnie, our family dog, on my little sister's birthday. I drove down to Colorado Springs for a weekend with my little sister to see her new life and spend time with her. I voted early.
Of course November was filled with CU games, which were actually fun all year because CU was actually good! I participated in the turkey drive with my church group again this year. I had Friendsgiving the week before Thanksgiving. I went to a Nuggets game with my dad and sat in the second row, just like I had the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2014. I had two Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving. I did some minor shopping on Black Friday after I had to work. And then the rest of the month seemed the drag on, I guess because Thanksgiving was so early this year.
To be honest, I started decorating (and baking) for Christmas the night before Thanksgiving. I always love when the house is decorated for Christmas. It just seems so much more peaceful and magical. I drove down to Colorado Springs again to visit my sister, this time allowing her to dye my hair and a cosmetology student. (She did a great job!) I went to an amazing Harry Potter party, because why not? We celebrated six year of Pure Barre Boulder. And then Luke came to visit! We went out for his birthday (which had been the previous week), seeing Rogue One and then going out for sushi, which is now our first night of the trip tradition. We got really fancy for The Nutcracker in Denver. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with my family. We went cross country skiing with my family on Boxing Day. We celebrated another family wedding. We drove down to Dallas in one day, spent one day with his brother and his brother's girlfriend, and then drove back in time to get in pajamas and ring in the new year watching Westworld (which we finished on New Years Day).
2016 was a hard year for the world, to be sure. But 2016 also brought me a lot of blessings. I think the biggest of all was finding Luke at a pub in Birmingham, England. I'm very excited for what blessings and changes 2017 will bring!
Updated March 2019.