One of our most eventful, challenging, and wonderful years yet. I still can’t believe I get to live life with Scott by my side. It’s simply the best. We were thrilled to celebrate our third anniversary in Bruges, Belgium! But before I get lost reminiscing about Belgian chocolate, waffles, craft beer, romantic bridges…wait, where was I? Oh, right. Without further ado, our year in review.
After over a month apart, I flew to Montgomery at the end of February to celebrate Scott’s graduation from Squadron Officer School. (I always love when he has to get all spiffed up.) We went out on the town and then prepared for the long road trip back to Del Rio.
A stop in New Orleans was the best way to break up the trip. Sharing beignets and coffee at Café du Monde was a huge highlight during our very short stay, but wandering the French Quarter with my love topped the list. After a stop in Houston, we finally made it home to Del Rio and settled back into our normal routine. But that didn’t mean another trip wasn’t already planned–this time to Big Bend. A trial tent assembly occurred in the living room. Success!
We celebrated Easter in Houston and soaked up some quality family time. Later that month, we flew to San Diego for a friend’s wedding (congrats Trevor & Cortney!) where we celebrated with almost all of the Aggie buddies. We explored the incredible San Diego Zoo and tasted wine at a vineyard in Temecula. It was all so lovely that we didn’t want to go home. The West Coast is just too beautiful and gets me every time.
Off to Big Bend! We had a blast hiking and taking in the absolutely stunning scenery. Between evening rain clouds we did some of the best stargazing of our lives. The tent held up and we survived in the desolate but gorgeous conditions. The nights were still cool and they served ice cream at the park store, which we obviously took advantage of when we went for our quick yet highly-anticipated showers. We even helped a couple of Belgians get back to their car after one of them had injured their ankle on the trail. All in all, we had a fantastic time and I loved making camping memories with Scott.
At the end of the month, we spent a perfect Memorial Day weekend in Rockport with my family soaking up the sun, surf, and just a few alcoholic beverages. We can’t wait to do that again when we’re back stateside.
We were ecstatic to host Evan and Courtney for a weekend in Del Rio where we took a dip in the lake, tasted the most fabulous port wine at Val Verde Winery and ate
too much just enough blackberry cobbler from the berries my dad and Evan have grown in Tomball.
After that, June was a long series of farewells and see-you-soon’s: one last going-away gathering in Houston and then Scott’s fini (final) flight at Laughlin, which we were so glad Scott’s dad and my parents made it for. We sprayed him down with champagne and celebrated with Whataburger for all. It was the best send-off and made me so thankful for the time we spent in Del Rio.
The next day, the movers came and took almost all of our stuff as we waved goodbye to it for the next six months. A few days later, we packed what was left into both cars, pulled away from our little house on base, left Del Rio, got a flat tire on our way out of town, came back to Del Rio to get the tire fixed, and THEN we made our way to Little Rock, Arkansas.
We settled right into Little Rock and loved it. July 4th was spent on the lake with friends, and later that month we began our hiking adventures by climbing Pinnacle Mountain. A few weeks into our new life in Arkansas, we flew back to Del Rio for our friends’ wedding. (Love you, Brian & Marina!) Matthew and Monica were our first visitors in Little Rock that month, and we were delighted to host them for an evening and sad to see them go.
My favorite months of the year are often the simplest. Long hikes at Petit Jean State Park. Catching a gorgeous sunset at Mount Nebo (after fighting off a few ticks). Trips to the Little Rock farmer’s market, touring a WWII-era submarine, and tickets to an Arkansas Travelers baseball game. Chocolate birthday cake for Scott when he turned 27. We had the best summer in Little Rock and I love looking back on our memories there.
We spent a lovely Labor Day weekend with the Blasiks in Little Rock! After getting our fill of lattes and lounging, we hiked through Garvan Gardens and had the best time just chatting with Emily & Scott and eating paleo chocolate chip cookies.
In September, Scott became much busier with training and I spent a lot more time at my computer working remotely for the farm. But of course we still made time for things like walks in the park and ice cream dates.
October was a busy one. When we weren’t hunting for the best pumpkin in the patch, Scott was studying and I was doing my best to get us ready to move. One of those tasks was dropping the car off in Dallas to ship it overseas where I snuck in one last visit to the besties–and got to meet Baby Reese! She’s a doll, and I didn’t want to leave my girls.
Later that month, we celebrated Courtney’s bundle of joy at her baby shower for little Levi. It was the most bittersweet weekend–the happiest occasion of a new nephew on the way, but the last weekend spent with my whole family. After some long goodbyes, I was back on a plane to Little Rock and it was time to get serious about preparing for our move to Germany.
We don’t have many pictures from this month–which says it all. This was a tough month. Scott graduated from his training program, the movers came to pick up our last shipment of things, we packed our suitcases into a Suburban, and drove Ralph all the way to North Carolina where we spent Thanksgiving with Scott’s family. We enjoyed a couple of blessedly restful days there, I turned 28, and then we stopped in Washington DC to spend time with Scott’s brother Rand and his family. After we were spoiled with good food, board games, and fun with the nephews, it was time to drive to Baltimore to board our plane. Next stop–Germany!
Easily our busiest month of the year, December began with our grandest adventure yet. We flew to Germany, set up life as best we could in our temporary lodging, and began checking off items on our very, very long to-do list. Between house-hunting, car-shopping, registering with a million different base offices, watching Hallmark movies, and figuring out how to do the simplest things, we squeezed in a little travel.
Our first trip was via train to the Trier and Merzig Christmas markets where we discovered glühwein and never looked back. We also visited Cochem and climbed to the castle there for a tour in English and nativity play in German.
We spent Christmas Eve attending a beautiful Mass on base and then made (in Jones family tradition) Mexican food in our temporary kitchen. Our friends had us over to celebrate on Christmas Day with their family and we had a blast playing endless board games and devouring sugar cookies.
We finally found our house and moved in with some temporary furniture. On New Year’s Eve we took a trip to Baden Baden for dinner with Ralph where he got lots of love from surrounding tables. When we came home, we opened the windows on the top floor of our new house and watched the most incredible fireworks show we’ve ever seen. Germans take their fireworks VERY seriously, and we were ecstatic to have front row seats.
January involved a lot of unpacking when our household goods arrived. We continued to get settled into the house while also taking our first out-of-country trip to France. We went to Strasbourg and literally gawked at–and then climbed to the top of–the most beautiful cathedral we’ve ever seen. The next night we stopped in the charming little town of Riquewihr, which was apparently the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast. Walking along its cobblestone streets, you could definitely believe it. I was half-expecting to stumble upon Belle with her nose in a book. I’m hoping we can make it back to the Alsace region when it’s warmer and the vineyards are green again.
Winter weather here is
a little very gloomy, so when the sun does come out, we capitalize on it. Also, we could only go so long without a good hike, so we bundled up, trekked to nearby castle ruins and did a bonus five miles through the forest.
Scott started flying this month, so he’s a very happy–and active–co pilot. Ralph and I have kept busy working on the house (We want it ready for visitors ASAP!), taking walks to the park in all kinds of weather, and planning our next travels.
We went back to Strasbourg with our friends Shane and Lauren for a wine expo, which involved a large convention center filled with booths as far as the eye could see. Local vineyards and wineries come to sell their wine, so we tasted more than a few–and ended up with 27 bottles. It was a whirlwind. (And I think we’re good on wine for a while.)
Lastly, we celebrated our anniversary this year in one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen: Bruges, Belgium. We stayed in a true B&B where the owner rents out her (adorable) spare room and lavishes her guests with fresh pastries in the morning. Each day was filled with delicious food, beer, and lots of exploring. Our walking tour taught us all about the history of the city and we loved getting caught up in the charm and romance of Bruges.
If you made it this far–thanks for reading! I love walking down memory lane every year and compiling these posts.
Happy Anniversary, Scott!
Cheers to another wonderful year with you by my side. I love you so much, sweetheart, and I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store.