One Year in Utah!

January 18th, 2017 marked one year that Nick and I have been living in Utah! It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year- it flew by.

We have been through so much in this year. There have been joys and sorrows, celebration and mourning. Through it all, we have seen the stability and faithfulness of God. It has been quite a year.

I enjoyed going through photos from the past 365 days, looking back on all of our adventures and friends we’ve made.

In the beginning of the year, we lived with Jordan Wiebe in a tiny basement apartment. The end of January was us moving our things in, reorganizing the apartment and decorating the bare walls. We made the place our home for 3 months and then got out of the dungeon.

We had visitors pretty quickly. My dad came out to help as did Nick’s parents and sister. My dad ended up finding a lot of things wrong with the apartment – the dryer wasn’t filtering itself outside, it was disconnected and was just pumping hot air into the apartment! Ew. Luckily, my dad is basically Mr. Fix It. He connected the dryer outside and also found out the bathroom fan wasn’t filtering itself either! So he fixed that too, naturally.


While family was here, we skied and showed them around the little of our new city that we knew. We tried Red Iguana as a suggestion from my dad and never stopped going. It’s Nick’s favorite restaurant now! We were blessed with very generous parents who all chipped in for us to have all the supplies we needed – food, toiletries, a dresser, mirrors, etc. They hung our stuff up with us and cleaned our kitchen. We thanked them with discounted skiing and missed them as soon as they were gone.


When we moved out here, Nick had a job lined up at Canyons Resort in Park City. He worked there with Jordan and I spent a lot of my days in the dungeon (I affectionately call it this now).  A lot of these days, I cried. I didn’t know how much I’d miss my friends and proximity to family. I was crushed and pretty bitter. I was angry that I had been called to follow my husband out here and I had no direction. Nick came home pretty unhappy every day too. He hated his job and was really antsy for something new almost immediately. It was nice that he could ski for free as an employee during that time – that was a huge load off us financially. But it became clear very quickly that this job was not going to last and I was glad.


Once February hit, I was actively searching for a job. The second week I had an interview and by the 22nd I had started a job at Medical Review Institute of America. If you’ve asked me about this job, you know I’m not exactly in love with it. I took the first job that was offered to me because I knew how badly Nick wanted to quit and how much we could use the money to start saving more and more for our future. I’m good at this job, but I’m definitely not going to be doing it forever – I hope.

Those first months we spent a lot of time arguing because we were both trying to deal with all the emotions that come with moving 1700 miles away from home. We fought and we didn’t hold back. A lot of tears were shed in that dungeon. We were both angry, sad, and confused in our own ways. It was the most difficult time of our marriage.

The saving grace for us came in the form of The Well Church. We started going because Jordan had been since he moved. In the beginning, we had talked about going to different churches, trying them out to see which would the best fit for us. It was weird to me at first, how responsive the audience was to the pastor. It made me feel a little uncomfortable, having been raised Catholic. I even remembering telling my friend from home that I wasn’t sure about the Well. She suggested we give it at least 6 weeks to feel it out. I don’t even remember how many times it took me to decide that I liked the Well – maybe 3? It definitely didn’t take me 6. I was hooked.


The biggest thing I felt at the Well was an immediate community. I met a girl there, Erin (haha) and she invited me out with some other girls she had met at the Well. We were all pretty new to each other, but when I met up with them at Spitz (oh my gosh, the sandwiches here! – amazing) we immediately clicked. We got our food to go and went back to one of their apartments, ate and drank wine and danced. This was the most random group of girls, but we clicked so well and had so much fun together. I am forever grateful for how they accepted me and included me so well. One girl from Indiana, one from Texas, two from Utah, the Ohioan, and one from Wisconsin all ended up in Salt Lake. How does God do that?!


That was the first time in my life I had a “group” or “squad” of girlfriends instead of a sprinkling of friends. We hung out most weekends after that, and then one moved back to Texas. Ugh, Brit. It was crushing! We took farewell photos at Target that still make me giggle because five 20 something girls trying to take professional photos at Target is just ridiculous….


(Lol)

Nick and I made it a priority to explore Salt Lake and get to know the city. We went hiking on snow in April and ended up sliding down a snow covered frozen waterfall in shorts – I do not recommend that.


We hiked as much as we could and tried to remind ourselves that it was incredibly available to us. We are still not really used to having mountains in our backyard!

Speaking of which – we moved out of the dungeon in April and Nick also quit his job that month. Woof.

Our new place is wonderful. All white walls, a multitude of windows and a neighbor we’ve gotten incredibly close with.


This is our driveway. I mean just look at that view!

Over the year we went back to Ohio three times – the first was for my dad’s wedding to my step-mom. I loved that day. Too short of a trip though!


(Props to Corie Osterfeld for these awesome pics!!)

In May, we celebrated 2 years of marriage and went out for a fancy dinner.

The summer was our most active time! We traveled to Chicago for about 25 hours to go to my cousin’s wedding (no regrets) and the next weekend we drove to San Diego for another cousin wedding and stopped in Vegas! I never want to go back to Vegas, but San Diego was lovely. I’m a beach girl, I’d say.

And the next weekend…

As you can see by lack of photos, I did not like Vegas.

 

But this –

Later in June I got my hair dyed for the first time!! Despite my worries, it was so fun! I love balayage because I only have to get it done once a year! I think next time I’m going to go a little ashier – eep!

That summer we had so many visitors! Our friend Matt came to visit us and got the mountain fever. Matt, if you’re reading this, I know you’ll end up out here eventually. My bestie Dre came out in August for my birthday! Getting to host people in a new city in your newly furnished guest room is so much fun. On my actual birthday, Nick through me a surprise party and COMPLETELY shocked me. I’m oblivious, but he did an amazing job with it! So many people came that I love and it could not have been a better birthday.

Nick also started a new job in July! It was a huge answer to prayer and came from a guy we had met at the Well. We’d spend Thanksgiving at his family’s house in November – ugh, this church, what a blessing.
The last half of 2016 was pretty intense.
In early August, I lost my grandfather. A man I adored and looked up to more than anyone else. He was 94 and brilliant. I will miss him always. It was heartbreaking to not be at his funeral, but I got to speak to him before he passed and I will always treasure that.


A week later, I spent the weekend with those 5 girls + 1 new one who had just moved from Indiana. We rented a cabin in the woods, drank wine, danced, laughed until we cried and yelled at a scary movie. Well, I mostly yelled because I’m a wimp and everyone else yelled at me to shut up. It was so refreshing and beautiful. I want to do it again ASAP!


For my birthday, Nick got us tickets to see the musical Newsies in a beautiful old theatre in downtown Salt Lake. He’s a keeper. We got all dressed up, went to dinner and the musical and it was magical.

In mid-September, my dad and step-mom Teri came to Utah for a week! We drove down to a stay in a cabin exactly in between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. We spent two days exploring Zion – walking in a river for 4 hours to see the Narrows and then climbed (almost) to the top of the highest point in the Park- Angel’s Landing. It was a little too much for the pansy (me) so I stopped at a high enough point and waited for my dad and Teri to be brave. Bryce Canyon was my favorite of the two parks. It has these insanely cool rock formations and is just incredibly beautiful. We did a loop hike that takes you through the entire park and took a million pictures. What a week!

 

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Bryce was so beautiful. The first day at Zion National Park we walked the Narrows. This was a hike almost entirely in the Virgin River. We rented special socks and boots and walking sticks. Some parts were a lot deeper than others so there was always that fear that you’d fall in completely…

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The second day at Zion we (my Dad and Teri) hiked Angel’s Landing. This monster hike is 5 miles long and the top is 5,785 feet in the air. Haha, nope. I did not get up to the top.

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I made it to this point ^ and got freaked out. I’m decently afraid of heights, so this was enough for me.

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_______________________________________

The hardest part for me to write about comes next. On the 16th of September, my brother passed away. It was a huge shock to me and my dad. There is a lot of pain and anger associated with this. I have never felt so broken. It was all I could do to not completely fall apart.

This was the second time we’d be back in Ohio. While this was the most difficult time of my life, it taught me so much. My brother’s life verse was Joshua 1:9. He lived courage out to a T. This motivated me to live my life differently. I felt pushed to step out of comfort and do something I’ve dreamed of doing in honor of my brother.

 

So, five days after this realization, about a month after I lost Quinn, I auditioned to sing on the Worship Team at the Well. I shook with nerves the entire time I was singing, but I knew I had to do it. My brother loved worship. He would have been proud, and I knew that with complete confidence. It’s what I needed to do what I knew I should have been doing for years.

On November 13, almost 2 months after losing Quinn, I sang at church. My grandmother was having a service in honor of my brother at her church that day too. It was so special.

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Sorry for the blurriness – Nick is learning (lol). I’m the one on the right.

I’ve sung at church twice since then – about once a month – and it has been everything I thought it would be. It is a feeling I cannot accurately articulate, but I know I am meant to be on that stage. I’m grateful my brother pushed me to do it.

Three days later, Nick turned 24 and I threw him a little surprise party. We must like surprises, huh?

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Ugh, love this girl.

Thanksgiving was a little weird because it was our first holiday away from family in Ohio. Nevertheless, it was refreshing and so much fun. We had two! The first one was with some of those amazing girls I met. We spent the actual day of Thanksgiving with 30 people from church and I took zero pictures because I had my phone in my purse the entire 5 hours. That’s how you know you have great company.

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December was like a complete blur. We went to Company Holiday Parties, ice skated, attended church gatherings and went back to Ohio a third time for Christmas. Being home with family was precious for us. It went by way too quickly and I already can’t wait to go back.

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Girls from the Well – they’re the best!

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Nick’s company’s holiday party was ridiculously lovely. We “gambled” and Nick was incredibly lucky which I don’t understand at all but it makes him want to go to Vegas which freaks me out a little.

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Ice skating was a blast. And this bar in Salt Lake called the Royal had AMAZING live music. Woo!

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Oh and then we went to Ohio and I got to see this gem. One of my favorite people on the planet, this one.

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Family – the greatest gift this year.

We ended the year at our friend’s house playing games and drinking, as you do on New Year’s Eve. It was a splendid end to a very difficult but rewarding year.

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Keep your eyes peeled for a little more activity on this piece of the web – I have a few goals for 2017!

 

 

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