“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures”-Lewis Carroll
9 years ago, Ryan and I were married in one of my favorite places on this planet. I’ll spare you the sappy paragraph, but he’s the best!
Ryan and I met through a mutual friend very soon after I moved to Dallas. He was a resident at the time so he had rotations at a few different hospitals affiliated with UT Southwestern. One of those hospitals happened to be the hospital where I was in orientation for my very first job out of nursing school!
We dated for about a year and a half and then he proposed in his hometown of Sarasota during Thanksgiving week in 2010. He proposed the night we flew in and then we spent the whole week celebrating with our families!
We got married on October 1, 2011 in Destin, Florida in front of about 150 of our favorite people. Destin is a very special place to me because it is where I grew up vacationing with my family and friends. I have so many happy memories here, but the wedding weekend is definitely my favorite.
Here are some photos from the past 8 years of our travels and our biggest milestones.
After planning a wedding we just wanted to relax and chill on a Caribbean beach. So we went to Antigua for our honeymoon. It was perfect.
Mexico was our first vacation as a married couple (other than the honeymoon). We went to Cabo which is always a fun time.
We got a lab puppy
Now he’s 110 pounds of dumb. But we love him!
It’s a boy!
I found out I was pregnant in the spring of 2012.
We decided to plan a baby moon in the US Virgin Islands.
We went to Destin to celebrate our first wedding anniversary
This is the deck at the Emerald Grande in Destin where we got married. I gained a little weight in that first year of marriage!
Jack was born on November 26, 2012.
Wedding in Jamaica
In March 2013, some very close friends were getting married in Jamaica. Jack wasn’t even 4 months old, but we didn’t want to miss the wedding. So we asked my parents to keep Jack. They were happy to do so and I am so glad that we went to our friends’ wedding. We learned very early on that it’s okay to leave our kids with the grandparents for a few nights.
We brought Jack to the beach for the first time. The beach was love at first sight for him.
Jack stayed with my parents while Ryan and I went to Chicago for a work trip. Urology conferences are always fun!
Second Anniversary: Costa Rica
We celebrated our second anniversary in Costa Rica.
We went to Baton Rouge to visit friends and my parents and for an LSU game. Jack went to his first tailgate.
First trip on miles
Early 2014 was our very first trip on points. We went skiing in Whistler, Canada. I booked our flights on miles but I wasn’t quite savvy enough for hotels yet. We also checked dog sledding off the bucket list on this trip.
This trip launched my obsession with miles and points, and you can read about that at the beginning of our Beginner’s Guide For Miles And Points.
More close friends got married in 2014 so we traveled to Alabama and California to attend those.
We went to the beach with my family again. Jack was (and still is) attached to my dad so it was really hard to get him to cooperate with pictures when my dad was around! He has gotten much better though!
First trip with our hotel stay on points
August 2014 was our first trip on miles and points for flights and hotels! This was the Hawaii trip that we booked for only ~$600 out of pocket!
We went to Palm Springs for a urology conference.
Baton Rouge for LSU vs. Bama
Christmas in Baton Rouge
Again, Jack had no interest in photos.
New Year’s Eve wedding
Our friends got married on New Year’s Eve in Sarasota. What. A. Party.
Back to Whistler
We went back to Whistler, but this time we brought my parents and Jack.
Our friends invited us to their family’s home in Puerto Vallarta. Of course, we booked the flights with miles. Awesome trip with awesome people.
Back to Florida
The trip of all trips
Amsterdam, Croatia, and Paris. We chartered a catamaran and island-hopped in Croatia with another couple who are some of our favorite travel companions! Amsterdam and Paris were added on because those were the easiest cities to fly in and out of for our dates. I wrote about booking it with miles and points here and here.
Baby # 2 (or so we thought)
I found out I was pregnant with our second child. But it turns out I was actually pregnant with our second and third child! I did not know I was having twins when this photo was taken.
Surprise!!! It’s TWINS!
Ryan and I started squeezing in all of the trips we could since a twin pregnancy would end my travel days sooner than a normal pregnancy! We took Jack to San Diego for a weekend. He loved the sea lions and… ice cream.
One last babymoon before the twins… we went back to Puerto Vallarta with the same friends and both of the other couples were also expecting! I booked our flights on miles using British Airways Avios.
It’s two girls!
One more trip to the beach before twins!
This was our 4th anniversary. It was also the last trip I was able to take before delivery.
Taylor and Olivia were born on January 29, 2016.
I made it to just under 36 weeks!
First trip as a family of 5!
Shortly after the girls were born, we were ready to take on the challenge of traveling with 3 kids. I booked our first trip to the beach as a family of 5. It helps that we live in Dallas and have direct flights. But we did it! Thanks to free lap infants and the Southwest Companion Pass, we only had to buy 2 tickets!
My parents were ready to accept the challenge of twin babies and Jack. So Ryan and I went to Belize to celebrate my birthday in July of 2016. Belize isn’t great for hotels on points, but we used the Southwest Companion Pass and got our flights on points and free!
What kind of wife would I be if I planned a trip for my birthday and not Ryan’s? In November 2016, we went to Napa to celebrate his birthday. I used the Southwest Companion Pass so we only had to pay (use points) for one person. I used Hyatt points (transferred from Ultimate Rewards) to book the Andaz Napa.
Jack’s first tip to Disney
Jack’s birthday is always around (or on) Thanksgiving. We decided his 4th birthday was a good time to take him to Disney World. But we felt like the girls were too young. So my parents kept the girls at the beach while Ryan and I took Jack to Disney. He loved it, of course.
We spent a few days at the beach after Disney world.
I caught some sharks. Don’t worry, we released them.
Back to Whistler
We went to Whistler again using miles and points. We booked our flights on American Airlines using British Airways Avios and we booked the Westin Whistler using Starwood points. This time, we checked ice fishing off the bucket list.
Family beach trip
In the spring of 2017, our new house was close to completion so it was time to put our old house on the market. Staging a house with kids is a nightmare so we decided to skip town for the beach the week our house went on the market. Thanks to some wonderful realtors, our house sold the first day and we got to enjoy a nice beach vacation!
We closed on our new home in the summer of 2017 and during that time, Chase was awarding 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Chase Sapphire customers who closed on a mortgage through Chase.
We went to Italy with some of our favorite travel buddies and booked all of our hotels with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so that mortgage bonus helped a ton! You can read lots more details about this trip here.
The girls’ first trip to Disney
We went back to Disney World for Thanksgiving 2017 but this time the whole family, including our parents and siblings and nephews, were there! We stayed at the Disney Dolphin on points, but this isn’t really a great deal anymore unfortunately.
We went to Hawaii with my family. I booked all of our flights on points. We love Big Island!
We went to New Orleans in February for my friend’s wedding. Oh how I miss that place!
We went to San Francisco for a urology conference.
My best friend finally decided to dive into this hobby and we booked a trip to Costa Rica with our husbands! It was one of our favorite trips. Lexie and Chris will be joining us in Peru on our South American adventure later this month.
Back to the beach
Early in 2018, American Airlines added nonstop flights to the airport that serves the area where my parents live in Florida. We took an end-of-the-summer trip to my parents’ house. I booked the American Airlines plane tickets using British Airways Avios.
Temples, sushi, friendly people, beautiful scenery… We loved Japan so much! It was one of our most valuable redemptions to date. You can read all about it here.
The Mari cart tour is one of our favorite memories of all time.
Holidays at the beach
This is our version of the polar express:
We got to see my parents and my brother and his girlfriend. They’re now engaged and hope to get married in 2021 if COVID allows them to have the party they deserve!
New Year’s Eve
My parents watched the girls at the beach while we took Jack on the ultimate spring break adventure.
We took him down to Orlando to Universal and to see Ryan’s parents. Then we surprised him with an awesome trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. That might sound over the top for a kindergartener, but we booked flights and Atlantis on points!
Savanna, the other BFF got married in Vail. It was beautiful.
We ended the summer with a trip to Florida.
Ryan turned 40 in November so I planned the birthday trip that he deserves. Our first big trip together was Brazil for his 30th birthday, so it only made sense to head back to South America for his 40th. We started in Argentina and then met up with our friends in Peru.
Christmas in Florida
We took the kids to visit all 4 grandparents. We spent Christmas Day at Busch Gardens Tampa and then headed to Clearwater for some beach time.
New Mexico Ski Trip
We took the kids to New Mexico to ski for spring break. This was the first ski trip for the girls.
Extended spring break and the beginning of the Covid Era
We were on our way home from spring break when we got the news that Jack’s school would be closed for at least 2 more weeks. Not knowing what level of risk Ryan was taking by going back to work at the hospital, we decided that it would be best to keep him isolated from the family. So we drove to my parents’ house in the 30a area of Florida. Ryan went back to Texas to work and the kids and I stayed in Florida for a while. A few weeks later, it was clear that Covid is here to stay for the foreseeable future, so we went back to Texas.
Back to Florida
After about 2 months of not seeing family or friends, we needed some beach time.
That brings us to today. Yesterday, we walked down the aisle again (of a plane) and we’re celebrating in California! Happy Anniversary, Ryan. Thanks for giving me the best 9 years!!