The 2016 Recap

2016 was the year we thought up the “Do Cool Stuff” mantra, and it did nudge us in a more adventurous direction, although not as much as I would have liked. If I were to make a highlight reel, though, it would include:

Trip #1 to the Keys
Okay, not our first trip ever, just the first of 2016. I absolutely adore the Keys—nothing makes me feel more relaxed and at home (away from home) than when I first see the sea green concrete divider on the Overseas Highway. It was a planned-in-less-than-three-weeks, “get me outta here” trip, and as always, the Keys delivered. We found an amazing apartment rental on the beach in the Marathon area and dove right in to our favorite activities: renting a boat to get out on the water, visiting our favorite restaurants, hiking the trails at the state parks, and overall relaxing.

Loraleis Sunset

Sunset at Loralei’s in Islamorada…you can see why it’s a favorite.

Trip to Virginia
Our amazing niece and nephew and most of Brandon’s family now lives in Virginia, so we made a trip to see the family. Fun times ensued, including: visiting two wineries, a day of fun with the kids at the trampoline park (followed by ice cream), dancing parties on the deck, and…

Washington D.C.
Our first-ever trip to the nation’s capital was a jam-packed day that included Arlington Cemetery, the National Mall (fun fact: it is actually a national park, not a shopping mall. I couldn’t understand why our family thought I would want to go shopping…), and dinner at Founding Farmers. I think I hit a new record on my step counter that day.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial in D.C.  One of my favorite places we saw.

Family Weekend in KC
My family generally meets up for a weekend at a lake in the region—but this year we decided to try a “stay-cation” in KC. We hosted Saturday at our house and *may* have over scheduled, but hey, I didn’t want anyone to get bored. We’re talking: marshmallow building contest, trip to a winery, trip to a big cat sanctuary, night bowling (we still have a glow stick necklace stuck up in one of our trees), and S’MORES!

Night Hike Under the Harvest Moon
It was a Friday evening in September and I was feeling a bit bummed–another Friday night during football season and I was spending the night at home by myself (Brandon is a referee). Out of nowhere, it popped in to my head that I had seen an email come through about a night hike at the Overland Park Arboretum with the local kayaking group. My initial response was “nah….that’s a drive, and I’ve been gone all day, and I don’t even know these people.” Luckily, I caught a glimpse of my “Do Cool Stuff” sign, decided to push past my laziness, and went. I had a blast meeting new people, got in a great hike, and felt that amazing boost in confidence that comes from getting out of your comfort zone.

Night Hike

I need to take some photography lessons.  This just doesn’t do the Harvest moon justice.

FLIBS, Vero Beach, and Keys Trip #2
What’s a Kansas girl who is in love with yachts to do? Go to the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS for people in the know) and admire the stunning vessels in person! I cannot explain to you the amazingness of seeing the ships up close; I was like a kid in a candy store. And since we were going to be headed down to Florida, we arranged to meet up with some close friends in Vero Beach for the weekend. It was a cute little town, and the company was excellent. Finally, we made it back down to the Keys (we were so close we HAD to go) and in addition to our normal activities, we found two new favorites: the Turtle Hospital and Crane Point.

Yacht

This is considered a “need,” right?

Sea Turtle

Well, hello there, Mr. Sea Turtle!

Honorable Mentions:
A few other things from last year that were pretty darn cool:
-Starting to learn Spanish
-Kayaking the local lake (why did it take us so long to try this?)
-WaterFire on the Plaza
-Quest to find the best street tacos in KC

So that’s the highlight reel—more to come in 2017! What cool stuff did you do you have planned this year?

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