The end of the year is here and cliche as it is to act totally surprised that it came so quickly, I sit here in total amazement at what this year has brought us. Whether you are a new friend or a long time friend (notice I didn’t say old because no one wants to be called that) we really appreciate you taking the time to hop over here and read this! It has been the busiest year of both our individual lives and our marriage and while in some ways it seems this year went quickly, there were definitely moments when we wished it to go much faster. So rather than a traditional Christmas letter, this is my attempt at recapping the year 2017! I’m sure I will miss something, but these are the moments that certainly stood out the most.
The Season of Waiting
This year started with what felt like the longest period of waiting. We were waiting to hear which residency program Brett would be accepted to. It all feels like a blur, but we waited for several months for “Match Day” to arrive. Those who know me well would say that patience was not a trait that the Lord blessed me with, so this season was HARD!
Thankfully, when the day arrived it was a happy one! We were overjoyed to discover that Brett had been placed at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando! It was our first choice for many reasons, but after working there for almost six months now, Brett and I are both certain it was truly God’s plan for us to be here. Brett is surrounded with some incredible people and even though we haven’t been here long, it feels like home.
We felt like we were announcing that Brett is running for President when we saw this photo!
Let’s Buy a House!
So any of you who are homeowners out there know that the process isn’t easy. It is time consuming, rather stressful, and usually long to find the perfect house. Well, we didn’t have time on our side and just one short week after finding out where we were going, we were in the position to need to get the process started to buy a house. Orlando is totally different than back up in Michigan. Houses are going up so quickly down here that even after looking online at housing developments, we would call a few days later only to find out that there are no houses left! This combined with our relatively smaller budget, resulted in a stressful search to find a house and ultimately, we found it would be more logical to build. Of course that came with all of its other joys, but again God’s plan was revealed to us with our home!
It was already half finished when we arrived, so we would be able to move in on time and not be in limbo which was a huge plus! We even lucked out with being able to pick some features of our home, so now we can both proudly say we can go to Lowe’s and guess how expensive each light fixture and flooring type is! Knowledge I really didn’t feel necessary to retain, but it is stuck there for life! Our home is still a work in progress, but it is getting really close to being ready for a future blog post of a home tour!
After Match Day it was hard to not feel like it was all over, but Brett still had a few more months left of rotations. He graduated in May and from then on we got to call him Dr. Brett! I couldn’t stop laughing at the crazy hat he had to wear and when he walked by us, I couldn’t help myself but to say “five points for Gryffindor!”
Annual Pass Holders
This is probably my favorite highlight of the year! A huge part of our excitement of moving to Orlando was the close distance to Disney World! I’m just a tad obsessed and this has always been a huge dream of mine to live much closer to Disney! It took a little convincing, but I finally made Brett see the light and in four short months, we have been there more times than we can count! I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our sweet friends Olivia and Evan for honeymooning at Disney and wanting honeymoon photos, because that was the final decisive factor for us to get the passes when we did!
We have an overabundance of photos from Disney 🙂 Thank goodness for Photo Pass!
Huge Career Shift
I never formally announced this, but I figure by now it is quite out in the open that I no longer am teaching high school. After two years of public school teaching, I decided to make the transition to go full time with my photography. This has been a dream come true and has allowed us way more freedom and flexibility. Again, God’s plan was seriously at work here as residency for Brett has proved to be far more demanding than even we could anticipate, and I the role of doctor’s wife is nearly a full time job itself. It has been such a blessing to be able to pour my full energy into my sweet clients and I can’t wait for all the joyful moments that 2018 will bring.
Nothing like the biggest hurricane that Florida has seen in a long while to welcome you to the state! Goodness, was that an experience that we really could have done without, but we are so glad and thankful that we, our friends, and our homes are okay! We have never experienced chaos quite like that, but now we are fully prepared for next year! What a crazy time!
I’m completely behind on my blogging, so this will soon have its own blog post, but this November I attended my first United Conference! It was such a whirlwind to meet so many industry leaders and I felt like I was a total fan girl the whole time! My sweet dear friend Amanda was such a gracious host and showed me around the desert! I cannot wait to get back to Arizona again to visit! It was also a wonderful opportunity to go visit my family out in Arizona!
I’m still so in awe that I got to meet these two 🙂
Katelyn James brought me to tears! This woman is so incredible!!!
My second Demos sandwich! Love these two!
Again, so behind, but this was one of the most exciting parts of the year! I drove up to Charleston for Callie Lindsey’s workshop and I am still on a post-workshop high from it all! Not only is Charleston ALL is cracked up to be and more, but Callie is truly a gem in this industry and it was such an amazing experience! I made incredible friends and I didn’t want to leave! My colonial loving self also couldn’t get over just how beautiful all the homes and buildings are, so there will definitely be another trip there in the near future!
This has been a year of many trips! Brett did a residency interview tour that had him gone for several days in January. When we knew we were moving to Orlando, we drove down from Michigan to go on our great house hunt and also stopped in DC on our way back! We made a quick stop over to Chicago while it was still a relatively short drive and ate way more food that I care to admit! Give me all the pizza and carbs! We also made it to the beach a couple of times, but made the huge mistake of going in the summer, but we had to sneak a trip in before Brett started residency! I also went up to Michigan several times this summer and early fall for weddings and senior photos! I love how easy a flight back up to Michigan is, so all my Michigan friends, I’ll be back several times each year!
We are closing out the year with Brett working the night shift while I try to make it feel like Christmas even though it is warm with no snow! I’m not complaining one bit, but it is a challenge to get into the Christmas spirit! We are so thankful for this year, despite all of its crazy seasons. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading! This year would have been much more challenging if it wasn’t for the help and support of our family and friends. While we are far away from a lot of our family and friends, we are so blessed by how God is taking care of us and bringing such wonderful people into our lives. It has been a true gift to make this move and finally feel like we are where we belong.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jennifer & Brett