30 December 2016

My 2016 Letter: With a few updates and way more pictures

This year: I read 55 books. I took 8 business trips to St George. I ran my fourth, fifth and sixth marathons.

I started obsessively using essential oils. I spent massive amounts of time FaceTiming with my long distance family.

I did a meditation exercise for 38 days in a row before missing a day (it was a 40 day challenge and I decided not to restart it). I went to Canada for the first time.

I started using Instagram again. I became the Regional Manager for the customer service centers at work. I celebrated my bird's 8th hatch day.

I expanded my reservation center and subsequently moved into a new office. I saw fireflies for the first time. I applied for a new job and cried when it didn’t work out.  I went to an Ingrid Michaelson concert with my dad.

I ran through 8 miles of sand in the middle of a marathon.

I hired and trained 40 employees (more than double the amount I trained last year). I did work in the St George, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Rexburg temples. I ran over 1,000 miles.

I ate massive amounts of tacos. I saw a couple of my closest friends have babies. I ran a marathon 20 days before getting married (that may have been a mistake).

I didn’t slip on the ice once. I explored Mt Vernon in Virginia. I geeked out over the Summer Olympics. I attended my 9th Salt Lake Express Christmas party. I ran 1,256 laps on the indoor track--which is equivalent to around 220 miles (which is from Rexburg all the way to Salt Lake City!)

I competed in a trail relay race, in which I ran up a mountain in the Tetons.

I opened and staffed a new call center in St George.

The biggest thing this year? “I” became part of a “we.”

WE got married.
We got the worse case of food poisoning ever. We swam at Lava Hot Springs. We got called to be Gospel Doctrine teachers. We hiked along a portion of the Appalachian trail. We got handed medals from Storm Troopers at the end of one of our half marathons.

We voted. We traveled through 16 states. We ate two pounds of blueberries in two days that we picked ourselves in New Hampshire.

We counted glaciers through both Jasper and Banff National Parks in Canada. We made peach and apple fruit leather.
We hiked Angel’s landing in Zion National Park. 

We went to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston. 

We saw a great production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Peter and the Starcatchers.” We went covered bridge hunting in Amish country in Lancaster County, PA. We soaked in hot springs at the base of a waterfall. 

We dealt with car problems in the middle of nowhere Southern Utah. We went snowmobiling through Yellowstone National Park in the winter.

We made and canned pickles, pickled beets, chokecherry syrup, strawberry jam, peach jam, and chokecherry jelly.

We hiked around the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in Canada.

e bought maple syrup from a sugar house in Vermont. We hiked Table Mountain in the Tetons.

We did either a major hike or a race every Saturday for 7 weeks in a row in the summer. 

We cut down our own Christmas tree.

We ran a race through Monument Valley, Arizona in the middle of the Navajo Nation.

We didn’t dress up for Halloween. We read Shel Silverstein and A. A. Milne together. 
We canoed down Big Springs with our niece and nephew.

We explored the National Mall in Washington DC.

We went waterfall chasing in Yellowstone.

We watched the sunset on Cape Cod.
We did a two night, three day backpacking trip through Glacier National Park (in which we dealt with mud, snow, rain, wind, cold and the stomach flu and still made it over the mountain).
We got two flat tires. We ate Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. We went cross country skiing.

Behind all of the adventuring, the backside is good too. It’s not as exciting and it’s not as scenic. Instead of stellar views, there are peaceful evenings reading. There are mountains of laundry and dishes in place of real peaks to scale. Instead of sore muscles, there are the bruises of combining the lives of two very stubborn and very different people. But the payoff of a happy home exceeds that of even the most gorgeous waterfall--even if it takes just as much or more effort to get there.

I consider us insanely blessed on so many levels. We are blessed to have good, steady jobs, we have a lovely home, we have good health and the chance to serve in our ward. Most of all, we are blessed in our relationship. I am blessed to have a strong, selfless, pure, gentle and good husband. Of all the stunningly beautiful sites throughout this past year, our favorite is seeing the start of our own little family of two.

Aaron Jennifer Wedding-Wedding-0089.jpg
“That’s the most beautiful thing in the world: when two people become fluent in choosing one another.” - Hannah Brencher
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