• Melanie Vespestad

2017 Christmas letter

“And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

What powerful words full of hope for this Christmas season.

We hope that everyone has had a blessed year and has enjoyed these beginning moments of celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Our year has again been full of trips, weddings, and excitement.

In January, Erick was able to go ice fishing with some of his cousins up in northern Minnesota. He thrives in the outdoors, so it was quite a fun trip for him.

We visited Kansas City with friends, where I introduced Erick to IKEA. Let’s just say he wasn’t a fan of the amount of money I could potentially spend there. We also enjoyed a night with his cousin’s family playing games.

Throughout the months, we’ve again taken several trips to Nebraska to visit both family and friends. It’s awfully hard to resist a cute nephew who changes every time we visit. We are definitely eager to make another trip soon to welcome baby number 2!

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster year for me professionally. I worked at Hy-Vee for the beginning of the year until I started my internship at Intoxalock in May. I juggled both jobs until mid-May when I decided that I wanted a bit of free time. It was definitely an adjustment to actually have some. My internship ended in September, and God provided a contractor position at Wells Fargo for me just in time. I was able to leave the internship on Friday and start working at WF Monday morning. With a major pay increase, Erick and I have been able to pay off all our student loans just a little over a year after completing our education. Seriously, God is so good.

In May, we were able to A) purchase a GoPro, and B) take a trip with my sister and brother-in-law to Arizona. I’m not sure which we were more excited about. We were able to see a few pretty neat things, including the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. Horseshoe Bend is the best bang for your buck because it’s free! We ended up having a nice balance of going out and seeing things as well as lounging by the pool. We even got the boys to sing a little karaoke.

I went on a girls trip to Mexico in June. It was a blast. The resort that we stayed at had a lot to offer, including fun pool activities like water dancing and aerobics. The weather, though incredibly warm, was perfect for coaxing us into the water. We were able to see Chichen Itza, which was really cool to hear how purposeful they were in the building of it.

Our first anniversary was June 18, and we enjoyed a day of recreating our wedding weekend. We went to brunch and watched a lot of Fixer Upper in our hotel room. Leading up to this day, I enjoyed rereading shower notes, wedding speeches, and our ceremony message.

At the end of June we celebrated Erick’s sister’s marriage to Eric DePenning. Talk about confusing when there are two Eric(k) Johns in the house. It was a fun one to witness, the party was great, and adding another brother to our family has been wonderful!

July and August were busy in the way Summer always is. Short travels, more weddings, work and softball. Erick and I joined a slow pitch rec league team that played on Sunday afternoons, and we had a ton of fun. Our skills were a little rusty, and we got sore, which is something I don’t remember happening five years ago, but we really enjoyed it. We spent a lot of time outside, hammocking, hiking, canoeing the river, and even attend the balloon festival.

Over Labor Day weekend, Erick was able to go back up to Minnesota for a camping trip in the boundary waters. He took the GoPro, now named Pepe, and got some great shots of the serene nature up there. He came back with those as well as the idea that he wants me to come with next year. We’ll see about that...

Erick and I have both greatly enjoyed reading this past year. I think part of it was due to being deprived of free reading while we were in school, but because of this desire, we’ve read a lot of good books. Some of my favorites of the year have been Surprised by Oxford and A Man Called Ove, and Erick said he enjoyed Code Thief.

We’ve both found more time for our interests this year. We’ve found mutual enjoyment in hiking, and I love bringing the camera along. Oh, and Erick bought a vest before his trip to the boundary waters. He now wears it pretty much every day.

Overall, it’s been another year of growth and learning how to live life with our opposite scheduling. Erick is still working as a night nurse in the ER at Mercy, and I’m working days. However, we are learning to cherish the time we have together, whether it's a night out, or lazy nights on the couch.

As this year closes, we are thankful for the opportunities we were blessed with in 2017, but we are eager to continue making more memories in the new year. We will be traveling in March to finally take a honeymoon, and I believe I can say that the feeling is mutual; we. are. so. excited.

We pray that you feel God’s all-encompassing peace this Christmas season.

With love,

the Vespestads

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