Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Decade in Review

December 30, 2005

On December 31, 1999, we rang in a new millennium.  I celebrated this historic event at a huge LDS singles dance.  I went with a group of friends, including one really cute boy with bright blue eyes named Dan.  My friend told me she thought Dan might have a crush on me.  I was surprised at how happy that idea made me.

December 30, 2000 - Dan and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Temperature for pictures: 17 degrees. We didn't care.  At least the blizzard missed us.

December 30, 2001 - We attended the rehearsal dinner for Uncle Bob and Aunt Ro's wedding. Dan taught cousin Rachel (age 4) to touch her nose with her tongue.  A proud moment for all.

December 30, 2002 - We had a four-week-old baby.  We were tired.  But happy.

December 30, 2003 - We left one-year-old Jake and the dog overnight for the first time.  We saw Mama Mia at the National Theater.  Oh, and did I mention I was three months pregnant? Our family was growing fast - as was my belly.

December 30, 2004 - We were settling into our new home in Cape Cod, MA with two little boys.  We ate dinner out somewhere.  With two little boys.

December 30, 2005 - We said goodbye to our Cape Cod home by cleaning, turning in our key, and visiting Dan's ship in dry dock.

December 30, 2006 - We left two little boys with their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunt, and uncle.  We went out with their other grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  We got mocked for our young age on our sixth anniversary.  It was worth it for the special desert.

December 30, 2007 - We were settling into our new home in VA.  "The Seven Year Itch" was on television.  We watched.  We decided our marriage would make it as long as Marilyn Monroe doesn't show up.

December 30, 2008 - We hung out at home.  We were happy to spend time together as a family.  We knew we wouldn't have much of that kind of time for quite a while.

December 30, 2009 - Dan is in Iraq.  I'm in VA.  We're far apart.  But in love.  And that's really what matters most.

This has been a good decade.  I married the man of my dreams.  We both graduated college. We had two incredibly handsome and brilliant sons, and adopted an incredibly beautiful and neurotic dog.  We moved nine times.  We've begun the adventure of a lifetime, and it's been a great one.  Can't wait to see what the next years bring!

P.S. For next year's anniversary (ten years!), I expect a trip with my husband.  Without kids. You can let him know I said that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Max and Mayo

Mandisa has a best friend.  His name is Max and he lives next door.  He came to stay with us the weekend before Christmas and the two of them had a wonderful time together.  He taught her to stick her head in the dishwasher.  She taught him to frolic in the snow (Max is from Arizona).  A good time was had by all.  And now that he is back home, well, Mayo is moping.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

Santa was very good to us this year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

May we all feel His love on this very special day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blizzard of '09

Day 1:
It snowed all day Saturday.  By the time we went to bed we had about two feet of snow! Remember, this is Virginia.  This is Virginia in December.  This is unheard of!  And pretty much the best thing ever.

Day 2:
Please excuse my poor snowman-building skills.  I've never been very good at the art.  But my boys thought our snowman was the greatest one since Frosty himself.  The dogs were incredibly wary of the strange man lurking around our house.

Day 3:
When you're out playing and get hungry, just snack on the snow.  It sure beats the hassle of stripping off the wet clothes so Mommy will let you in the house.  Our diet for the last few days has definitely been heavy on the snow and hot chocolate categories.

Day 4:
Some people think they're really clever.  Yes, I did get hit by that (well-aimed) snowball.  And yes, I did get him back!

Day 5:
We have really great friends and neighbors, who dug us out.  We have a pretty pitiful county who did not plow us.  There were plows.  I saw two go by yesterday.  But they weren't actually plowing.  Just driving along on top of the foot of snow left on the street.

On Day 5, we ventured out.  I would have been perfectly content to stay snowed in for several more weeks, but there's a little holiday called Christmas coming up pretty soon.  And Santa already stowed his gifts at the great-grandparents' house...

Posted from the great-grandparents' house.  That's right, we made it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Angels Did Sing

We went to our Ward Christmas Party on Friday evening.  It was supposed to be two weeks ago, but got snowed out.  Somebody (it was the Bishop) was listening to the Spirit when he rescheduled for Friday instead of Saturday.  By the time we left the party Friday the snow was falling hard.  Had we rescheduled for Saturday...  well, that just wouldn't have worked.

To be perfectly honest, I had a really bad attitude about the party.  I just wasn't feeling it.  My children were being hoodlums, I was tired and thinking about the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to get up my obnoxiously steep driveway in the snow, and I just wanted to go home and wallow is self pity.  Especially when two other deployed husbands skyped in to read the Christmas story to us.  My deployed husband can't skype.  Bummer.

But then.  Then the children got up to sing.  My little hoodlums (and I'm not using that term loosely here - they really were terrible!) got up to sing.  And you know what?  As the little angels (again, not loosely - they really were angels) sang "The First Noel" I was hit by the Christmas Spirit.  I remembered why we were there.  We were celebrating the birth of Christ. Our Savior.  We were celebrating His love for us, and our love for Him. 

And you know what?  It's okay that my children went right back to their hoodlum ways immediately following the song.  And it' s okay that my car is still in the neighbors' driveway because we slid sideways down ours that night.  And it's okay that my husband can't skype.  God loves me so much that He sent His Son.  A little boy like mine.

And I feel so blessed to spend this season celebrating His birth.  With my hoodlums and my steep driveway.

PS.  I want you all to notice the children's costumes.  Forget the traditional towels draped over their heads.  Yes, there were plenty of those, but my children chose to wear what their Daddy wears in that part of the world.  And I bet you didn't know that Cleopatra came to the First Christmas, now did you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cam and the Cow

I have a lot to say; thoughts I've been stewing over for some time now.  But they're not coming out into words.  Seriously, I know it's hard to believe since I usually have trouble shutting up, but this time the words just aren't coming.  Hopefully it'll happen soon.

But I couldn't wait any longer to share my favorite photo from the Kindergator trip to the Children's Museum.  We had a great time, and Camden learned that milking a cow is a little tougher than it looks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decking the Halls

Camden loves to decorate for Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Easy Party, Troubled Mayo

Yesterday, right smack dab in the middle of our first snowstorm of the season, seven little boys descended upon my home.  They were expecting a party.  So I obliged.

I handed everyone a long skinny balloon "light saber" and set them lose on each other.  Easiest party ever (though I think my hearing has suffered irreparable damage).  The boys had a blast, I wasn't stressed, and Mayo...

Well, Mayo may not have enjoyed it as much as the rest of us.  She just can't understand why I don't control those puppies like [she thinks] I should!

I think I redeemed myself a tad when the seven little boys left and I asked her to clean up the floor under the cake table.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It worked!

Last night we went to bed like this...

... so that today it would do this!

Editor's note: We probably didn't need to do the pajama trick, since we had Jake's birthday party scheduled for today.  It always snows on Jake's birthday party.  We do it on purpose to find out who loves us enough to brave the snowy roads!  (Everybody came!  Wow, we're popular!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poor FIrefighter Mark

Firefighter Mark: "This camera lets us see in the dark.  It uses heat to make the picture.  See, your mom is hot."

Poor Firefighter Mark.  Jake asked why his face got all red.

Personally, I'm hoping Firefighter Mark remembers that line and pulls it out in a more appropriate situation.  I'm thinking it could definitely work for him.  Just maybe not the "your mom" part...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This morning Camden woke up really excited - and really early.  He was ready for birthday presents!  For his brother.

That's right!  It's Jake's birthday!

I sure do love this kid.  Seven years ago he changed my life.  No longer was I Jen.  I became, in one moment, Mom.  For that, I am so grateful.

He is kind and compassionate.  He is honest.  He is a hard worker who always does his very best. He's an artist.  He's passionate and feels things deeply.  He is wild and busy.  He is loud. He is Jake!

Happy Birthday Seven-Year-Old!  I love you!
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