Happy 2024!

Well, here we are, with another trip around the sun nearly complete. 2023 started for us in glorious fashion with the spectacular scene below after a storm on New Year’s Day:

January 1st, 2023 – taken from our roof

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves—since these updates only arrive every two years, let’s rewind to some important events from the latter part of 2022, starting with Dylan’s Senior prom and graduation from Arcadia High School.

Dylan basically crushed high school, finishing with great grades, a bunch of college credit, a scholarship from the track and field team, and most importantly many memories of a fun-filled time in his life.

Dylan is also a talented photographer (you can follow him on his Instagram account: @dylandbphotos) and even cut together an ode to high school in the video below.

Dylan’s ode to high school

Over the summer, Carolynn had one last chance to transfer her brilliant culinary skills to Dylan before heading off to college. She was also able to be a passenger for the first time on a flight piloted by none other than her sister Kathleen, who has been a commercial airline pilot for many years. We have all been fortunate to spend some time in Kathleen’s beautiful home in Laguna Beach.

July 17, 2022 also marked Grammie Sandy’s 80th birthday, which was celebrated in grand style at her home at StoneRidge in Prescott Valley.

We took our first family cruise (but hopefully not the last) shortly before Dylan began college, seven days from Boston to Montreal on Holland America, with beautiful ports of call such as Bar Harbor and Quebec City along the way.

Montreal waterfront at night

Our next adventure was to see Dylan off to college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, which we once called home a couple of years before he was born. Somehow we managed to hang around the area for nearly three weeks after checking him into his dorm. Dylan did a great job of staying a safe distance from his embarrassing parents for most of that time, affording us a chance to visit with friends in the area.

As freshly minted empty nesters, we needed a project to distract us from our loss so we promptly started tearing apart nearly a third of our home, with the goal of restoring an additional bedroom and bath that had been converted to a den by previous owners.

We eventually put it back together, with a little help. The bulk of the project took about four months.

Next, it was time for visitors! Really this was throughout the year, beginning with Dennis’ family visiting in early March. This was followed shortly by Spring Break/Training, when we had a full house with our friend Steve and Dylan and his girlfriend, all visiting from Washington. Later in the year, Dennis was able to reconnect with his fraternity brother Winston, whom he hadn’t seen in 30 years.

During the summer, work related travel ramped up and took Dennis to the destinations below, and more:

Meanwhile, Carolynn did some traveling of her own, on a trip to Scandinavia with Kathleen. They landed in Copenhagen and took a train and a bus to Gothenburg, Sweden to take in the culture for a few days before jumping on a ferry to the island of Styrsö where they were lucky to be hosted by an actual man named Viking! One of the highlights of the trip was meeting the welcoming Swedish people and taking a few dips in the North Sea while at the local sauna. While on their trip they received word they secured a cabin on a Silversea cruise where they experienced Game of Thrones vantage points and fabulous fjords. Sadly, Carolynn is getting “bumped” from her coveted first place traveling companion place on Kathleen’s travel benefits, but it’s time for their other sister, Brenda (who is back from teaching in Santiago, Chile) to enjoy them!

On one of Dennis’ business trips he rented the blue Tesla seen below and was so smitten with it that we bought one to replace our full-sized pickup truck. We have quickly adapted to traveling lighter and planning our charging stops on long trips. We definitely haven’t missed gas stations!

Meanwhile, Dylan started his Sophomore year at WWU where he is serving as a resident advisor and exploring new places. Apparently there’s a great city called Vancouver just a short drive north of Bellingham…

We were able to take an amazing week-long vacation to Zion National Park at the end of October with Jan and her friend Don. Spectacular views in all directions, and the occasional confrontation with a fear of heights!

We were fortunate to spend Thanksgiving, along with Dylan and Sandy, at the home of our good friends and neighbors – Dave and Bonnie with their children and grandchildren. Fantastic food and conversation in a stunning setting.

The Cunningham clan in their spectacular back “yard”.

We closed out the year with a quick weekend getaway to Ventana Canyon resort near Tucson, for the second year in a row on the same weekend before Christmas. This beautiful property is aging gracefully and becoming an under-rated gem in the desert.

That wraps it up for our adventures to date. Thanks for catching up with us, and we hope you have a a gratifying 2024 and beyond!