Christmas in Song

“Grown a little sadder/Grown a little older/And I need a little angel/Sitting on my shoulder/Need a little Christmas now” – We Need a Little Christmas

I love Christmas, but this year it was hard to get into. Granted, we were abnormally busy this year – on December 19, DJ successfully defended his PhD. He’s officially* a doctor! But removed from that, we both just felt like something was missing. I mentioned this in my previous post, so I’m not going to dwell on it, but we thought we would celebrating this Christmas as a family of three, instead of a family of two. So preparing for Christmas was a little sadder than normal this year.


“And everyone is singing/I hear those sleigh bells ringing/Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?/Won’t you please bring my baby to me?”All I Want for Christmas is You

This is my favorite Christmas song (and I can sing this song almost as well as Mariah Carey herself, although DJ and the dogs tend to disagree). Again, we thought we’d be a family of three this year, so it was hard to hear this song and not think of the baby we were hoping Santa would bring us.


“Have yourself a merry little Christmas/may your heart be light/In a year our troubles will be out of sight.” – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This is a close second as my favorite Christmas song. It really resonated with me this year, thinking back over the last year and especially where we were this time last year. I had just been laid off, so DJ and I were both applying and interviewing for jobs. We didn’t know where we were going to be living come summer, if we were going to be living in the same city or different cities, or even if we would find jobs. Our troubles of last are truly out of sight this year. We both have good jobs, we are still living in our home (which I love so much more at Christmas), and, most important, we are together. Everything may not be the way we would like, but that’s okay. We both believe that “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”


We had a wonderful Christmas. We both had to work Christmas eve, but we had a great day home together yesterday. We spent the evening with friends, sharing a meal and each other’s company. So Christmas was good, we are good, and we’re ever hopeful for a family of three for Christmas 2015. We hope that you are well and that you had a good Christmas. We hope for good things for everyone in 2015.


*It won’t be “official” until graduation in May, but he’s done all the work. All that’s left is to walk across the stage on May 9!


Our kitchen

Our kitchen area is my favorite place in the whole house.  We chose fun, bright colors for the kitchen and the adjoining sunporch that has become our breakfast nook type area. The porch is the room that sold me on this house.

Our (very orange) kitchen

Our (very orange) kitchen

My favorite room in the whole house

My favorite room in the whole house

A confession though. I hate cleaning the kitchen. Abhor it. I love the kitchen being clean, but will play tetris in the sink rather than load (or more in my case, unload) the dishwasher. I will wash utensils on an as-needed basis to avoid messing with the dishwasher. Bless DJ for being diligent about the dishwasher or else we would probably eat from paper plates every night.

In the six years we’ve been married, we’ve moved three times. We moved into our first cute apartment in RVA right after we got married. We moved into a different apartment in a different part of town with about 5 days notice when the aforementioned cute apartment had no heat. And in July 2010, we moved into our first house, our first space that we owned and that we could truly do with what we wish.

Every time we’ve moved, my objective is to always get the kitchen unpacked and functioning first. As long as you have a mattress and boxes of clothes, the rest of the house can come along as it pleases, but the kitchen is the anchor of the house. It’s the room where we usually say good morning after DJ’s lovingly gotten up early with the dogs and I stumble out of bed ten minutes later.

It’s the room that made us buy a reciprocating saw at 8:45pm the night before our new refrigerator was to be delivered because I didn’t know refrigerators came in different heights and we had to cut a cabinet off the wall.

It’s the room where I screamed because there was a spricket on the floor (I don’t do bugs) and DJ wasn’t home. Our first dog, Corky, came wandering lazily into the kitchen and upon deciding he didn’t want to eat the spricket, stepped on it for me.

It’s the room where we’ve prepared so many meals for more friends and family than we can count. We’ve made two Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners, Easter lunches, party food. We’ve made hundreds of cookies to gift to our friends and neighbors.

It’s the room where we’ll make bottles at 1:30am for our babies. We’ll set-up a high chair in the breakfast nook, overlooking the back yard when it’s sunny or when it’s raining or snowing. It’s the room where I’ll make our kids’ first birthday cakes. It’s the room, in the house, where we will be parents.


Why this blog

It took us a while to decide to start this blog. When we started, and still now, we struggle with what to write, what to include. We’ve been feeling our way through it and it’s helped us as an outlet as much as we’re hoping it helps you to get to know us better.

One thing that I hope you will understand from our blog is that we are present. We are there. Our posts might not be as often as we like and we might have an occasional dry spell without posts. But we always write and we always catch up. We’re not perfect, but we’re here. And that’s what we want you to know about us. We’re not perfect. We make mistakes. But when it comes to our family, we are there and are going to continue to be there. No matter how open you want our relationship to be, or if that relationship changes over the years, you are  a part of our family.

This blog has been a letter to you, a letter ten months in the making. We feel like we’ve been able to give you a better idea of who we are than just with our profile with CHS. It was hard to describe ourselves in a single letter for our profile, so we started writing the blog.

I hope that you’re reading this. I hope that you’ve gotten to know us better and that you know that we’re more than what can fit in a single letter.

Baseball and Anniversary

Hello.  It’s DJ here.  It has been a while since we posted anything, but we’ve been pretty busy.  A week and half ago, the Phillies were in DC to play the Nationals.  We always try to get up when the Phillies are in town, even when they’re one of the worst teams in baseball like this year.  The good news is that with them so bad and the general disinterest in the Nationals, we got some killer seats right down the third baseline.  The Phillies were shutout, but even that couldn’t ruin some of the best seats I’ve ever had at a baseball game. 20140614-163506-59706422.jpg Then, the following weekend was Julie and I’s 6th wedding anniversary.  We took the opportunity to make a beach weekend in the Outer Banks. Nags Head 06-2014-1000100

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Memorial Day

DJ and I both had to work today, so we celebrated Memorial Day yesterday with food, fireworks, and friends.

After the late night Friday early morning Saturday, we did a whole lot of, well, nothing on Saturday. We were going to make pork bbq (one of our yummy favorites), but our lazing around got in the way of that. So we got up early yesterday morning instead and smoked that meat for seven deliciously-smelling, neighbor-envying hours. The smell of charcoal is summer for me. I also made my mom’s much sought-after baked beans and brownies to finish the menu off.

Best. Smell. Ever.

Best. Smell. Ever.

We packed up our cooler and chairs and headed down to the river. The music was great, the weather was perfect, and the food was superb. We went with some new friends and the company was exactly what we needed this weekend.

After I told him to smile about three times.

After I told him to smile about three times.



I’m a sucker for a good fireworks show and last night surely didn’t disappoint. The fireworks were set off just as the sun was setting, making the landscape a photographer’s dream. I love this city and the skyline served as a perfect backdrop.

I love fireworks and RVA.

I love fireworks and RVA.

These are traditions and memories that I can’t wait to share with our kids. Some of my best memories from growing up are at fireworks shows with friends and family. They’re moments that are irreplaceable and I cherish them forever. My heart is so ready to share these experiences with my family and hope that our children will love these traditions as much as I do.

Memorial Day is about more than fireworks and food, though. DJ’s paternal grandfather and my maternal grandfather both served in the military. My paternal grandfather was a conscientious objector during WWII. My paternal grandfather was raised German Baptist, an old-order religion similar to Mennonite, which believes in non-violence. Instead of going to battle, he stayed stateside and performed other necessary work.

My dad served in the army after high school as well. Their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of countless others, allow us to live in a country where we are free to make our own decisions, speak our own minds, and live our lives constantly striving for the better, so we never squander what others have given us the opportunity to have. Thank you!

My dad in the army.

My dad in the army.

What I Want to Teach My Daughter

On our Arizona trip, I took a solo road trip to Sedona. A photo friend had sent me directions to a beautiful, secluded shooting spot. The directions involved walking down a river bank, alone, over a rough terrain. On the way down, I kept thinking how terrified I would be if I knew my daughter was doing what I was doing. But when I reached the bend in the river, it was all completely worth it. The view, the location, the experience. On my drive back to Phoenix, I was really thinking about the things I want to instill in my daughter, if I am lucky enough to have one.

I want her to be brave. I want her to never be scared to go after what she wants, be it with someone or alone. I want her to be driven, ambitious, and assertive.

I want her to be adventurous. I want her to live every minute of her life and get as much out of it as possible. I want to travel with her and show her the world and the adventures it has in store.

I want her to be strong. And no matter if she wants to be a CEO, a mother, the President, she can do any of it. She can do all of it. She is strong enough to make it happen.

I want her to be kind. I want her to know that she is part of a greater world and that she can make it a better place, but to do that, she must be kind. And I want her to know that you CAN be kind and strong together.

I want her to like science. Or history. Or art. I want her to love learning and to always be pursuing something new. I want to make sure she knows learning is not limited to books and classrooms.

I want her to know her story and how she became part of two families. I want her to know about her families and how important both families are to her story.

But most importantly, I want her to know she is always loved. That she will be so lucky to have not one, but two mothers that love her. That she will have two mothers that are proud of her, no matter what she does.

And I finally decided, I want her to take solo road trips and do something that scares her.