I had every intention of sending out a nice Christmas letter this year, with details of what happened to us….just proof that good intentions are sometimes futile. The baby is sleeping, the boys are at school, and the dog is outside, so I’ll try to begin and see how far we can go before one of the dominos falls. Think of this as a sort of Valentine, to you from me. 🙂


We spent last year finishing up Andy’s army schooling in Leavenworth, Kansas. We lived on post, and walked almost everywhere. We loved our neighbors from Bangladesh, and all of the boys running the neighborhood. Good neighbors, good ward, nice town. It was a utopia of sorts, not to be found anywhere else in the army.

Gus turned 8 years old last February (almost a year ago!) and was baptized. His grandparents were able to all come visit, and we had a busy and full house for that weekend.

Last year I worked at the boys’ elementary school with autistic kindergarteners. My favorite student was one who said he wants to be Elmo when he grows up. It was my first-ever real job where I had to go to work every day. I’m not sure I enjoyed that type of lifestyle. It is not conducive to my impulsive ways.

After school finished for the boys and for Andy, the boys and Andy attended scout camp. Then we packed up made our way east. Along the way, we made kind of a Church History tour in reverse. (Leavenworth is close to Liberty, MO, Adam-Ondi-Ahman, and Independence. We were also able to go to Winter Quarters while living there.) On our trek east we stopped at Nauvoo, Illinois, and visited our old bishop in Indiana. We spent some time in Kirtland, Ohio, and ended our trip at Ft Drum, NY (where we have since visited Palmyra and Cumorah). It was cool to be able to see everything (almost everything) and that it was pretty much on our way.

Once in NY, we settled down in our hotel room for almost two months before getting a house. The boys and I moved in without Andy, who always manages to be busy or gone when moving has to be done. (j/k…it just seems that way). The boys started school at Carthage Augustinian Academy, a private Catholic school nearby. Andy spent a few months in the Californian oasis of Death Valley and I bought a hound dog while he was gone. The boys named the dog “Trousers.” I love Trousers, but the dog likes Andy the best. ;P

In November we welcomed our little girl, Greta Mae. From day 1, she has had Andy wrapped around her finger. He may claim to not have a favorite child, but I’ve never seen him so excited to see one of them when he comes home from work as he is to see her. She is a sweet baby with super ear piercing screams. We all love her. My mom was able to come spend a few weeks with us after Greta was born. It was the last time I took a guilt-free shower. Thanks, mom!

Andy’s sister and brother-in-law joined us for Thanksgiving. We had a good time. And Grandma Jackie came out for Greta’s blessing, which was so nice.

In December, Bryce had two of his good friends move away. One of them was the general’s son. I think it was the first time Bryce exhibited anxiety over losing one of his friends. He talked about the impending separation for weeks prior to it happening. So, as a parting gesture, the general took Bryce and another friend along with his son for a fun sleepover evening at their cabin the day before they were to leave town. Bryce ended up losing all his breakfast pancakes the following morning. Lovely parting gift for the general.

We spent Christmas with my sister’s and brother’s families in Washington DC. My parents were also there. I think it was the best time I’ve had with my siblings since I can remember. 555. (Doesn’t take much, for me…I have really bad memory) We were able to see lots of cool things in DC and the boys enjoyed seeing their cousins. We also escaped the two feet of snow that fell on Ft Drum while we were gone.

Bryce has been playing basketball for his school’s team since the new year began. He is doing well and really enjoys it. Gus also started playing for a team here on post, with Andy as the assistant coach. We have busy weeknights and weekends with games, practice and church.

We are looking forward to celebrating Gus’ 9th birthday soon. The boys have a week off from school, so I’m sure we’ll do something exciting to write about. For now, we are trying to stay warm, train the dog, sleep through the night, and adjust to all of the life changes we’ve had over the last few months.

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