2015 has been another crazy year in the Burke-Haba household!
We started the year in Ecuador with a diving trip to the Galapagos Islands. We saw more sharks, turtles and sea lions than on all of our entire previous dive trips combined – the huge sun fish and hammerhead sharks were a special delight that were amazing to see! Of course, we also saw plenty of the famous Galapagos tortoises and Darwin’s finches as well!
After diving and touring the islands, we returned to the mainland of Ecuador and visited the area around Quito and the magnificent volcanoes that surround the city. We spent New Years Eve in Quito and enjoyed the local tradition of jumping over a burning effigy at midnight – any year that starts like that has got to be good. J
This year we decided to focus on family visits and we traveled to visit family several times and enjoyed their visits to Denver. Todd’s nephew, Dane, joined us for another ski weekend and Kelly’s sister Colleen and her family trekked all around the country in an RV this summer; stopping by Denver on their way home. Spring break was spent in Florida with Todd’s brother, Charles, and niece, Laiken. We spent more time with family over the Memorial Day weekend by attending the wedding of Kelly’s cousin, Mike, in St. Louis. As part of our goal to visit all 50 states, we flew into Indiana and drove down to St. Louis for the wedding. Along the way we got to see World’s Largest Golf Tee and the World’s Largest Wind Chime! There’s nothing more American than combining cheesy road-side attractions with family visits!
We also expanded our family this year with a new puppy. Her name is Dharma, and she has become a valued member of our household already. She loves camping and being outside (in addition to harassing our two cats), so we ended up spending most of our summer weekends enjoying the great Colorado outdoors with her.
This year was our 10th anniversary, so we made a trip back to Italy; where it all began. We are always trying to get new countries checked off, so we began our trip in Nice, France and headed for Monaco before moving on to Italy’s Cinque Terre region and eventually ended up in Rome. Hiking the Cinque Terre, swimming in the Mediterranean and enjoying the local wine made for a relaxing yet adventurous vacation.
This year was also Kelly’s 40th birthday. Kelly celebrated late with a trip to Oregon in September, with her friend Nicole (who is also 40 this year). For Todd’s birthday in November this year we finally made a trip to Aspen. We lucked out with some early season snow and got to ski while we were there – two weeks earlier than they had anticipated opening!
Thanksgiving was spent wandering down memory lane for Todd. We went back to Cambridge, Maryland to enjoy Thanksgiving with some family friends and actually got to stay in the house that Todd grew up in! The current owners now rent the room above the garage on AirBnB! They were gracious enough to take us on a tour of the house and we got to see the place in the attic where Todd & his brother, Charles, signed their names on the wall. Thanksgiving was enjoyed greatly with Miss Doris (as Todd calls her) and her family. From there we moved on to check off yet another state (we are down to 9 remaining states!), West Virginia. There is a lovely area at the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers called Harper’s Ferry. It is preserved as a historic site now because of its importance in the events that started the Civil War. It is a beautiful area and we spent our time there hiking the West Virginia mountains and biking along river and enjoy the outdoors.
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, we are also getting ready for a big move! Todd has gotten a promotion and we will be moving to Brisbane, Australia for the next 2-3 years. We have sold our house (had a signed offer less that 24 hours after listing it) and the people that bought it have been gracious enough to rent it back to us until we leave for Australia. Todd has already started his travels there and will be back and forth until about March when he will settle in there full time. There are some complicated steps to get our pets over to Australia, so Kelly will remain in the US until the end of April ensuring that all the logistics, testing and paperwork is completed for our four-legged family members.
Of course, once we settle in Brisbane, everyone is welcome to come and visit! We plan to do a better job of keeping our blog up to date for everyone, so keep an eye on it at www.livingthelifeextraordinaire.com
We wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season!!!