I'm pretty sure this is officially our first Christmas letter. You'd think we would have had our stuff together before now, but apparently not. Anyway, I figured it was high time we got something out into the world. This year has definitely been a good one for us.
Ben still works at Takata, where he is in the quality lab. He got a bit of a raise when he was promoted to a Tech Apprentice. Hopefully he will get through the apprenticeship quickly, and become a full blown tech, and the raise that goes with it. :) Ben also does full time online school through Washington State University, and plans on completing his Bachelor's in Business Administration December of next year. He works hard to provide for our little family, and still keeps a positive attitude, never really grumbling about everything on his plate. He is a part of an A Cappella quartet, Shades of Blue, and they are really starting to get noticed in our community. They are pretty awesome. They are so cool, they even have a Facebook page. Ben and I are both on the board of a local Non-Profit Organization called Basin Community Theatre. Ben likes to be on stage, while I prefer back stage, but we both really love being a part of something this special. The people involved with this group are so passionate, talented, and all around amazing! I know that both of us feel really honored to be a part of it. This past year, he directed "Oliver", sang with his quartet for "Forever Plaid", sang in "Les Miserables" as Marius, and "Singing in the Rain" as Cosmo, sang in "Oklahoma", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat", "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum", all in the chorus. He was SUPER busy. This year, we are doing "The Music Man" and Ben will be singing in the quartet...it is going to be so fun. Even with everything he has going on in his life, he still makes plenty of time for his family.
I (Jamie) am...most days...loving being a stay at home mom. I can't wait until I can go back to school once Ben is done, but for now, I'm trying to enjoy the time I get to spend with Brooklynn. I may not be working as a Medical Assistant in a "for real" setting, but oh, how many times I have been grateful for the medical understanding and training I have. We get a lot of bumps and bruises here with a two year old running around (on Brooke, and on mommy and daddy)!! I'm loving having a new house that I can dream big when it comes to decorating! Now to narrow down the choices since I only have about a million ideas for each room! Since I have a new kitchen, I'm trying to broaden my cooking horizons. I always get flustered in the kitchen and think I'm going to ruin dinner, but Ben usually thinks the stuff I make is fairly yummy, so I must be doing something right. I've always enjoyed crafting, in general, and that hasn't changed, but I found that I really have a thing for sewing. Apparently the sewing gene skips a generation (sorry mom). Both of my grandmas sew, so I feel a little connected to my roots when I sit at a sewing machine. I just really love seeing something come together out of nothing. It makes me smile! This year has been a rough one for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, as it settled hard and deep in the pad of my foot, making walking really difficult most days. Luckily, I won't have to deal with that for a while. Like I mentioned before, I am also involved in the Basin Community Theatre. Last year I directed "Annie" as part of our Broadway Revue, and had a blast. I found a little courage, and joined the chorus this year. We will see if I go through with singing on stage. A girl can dream that she doesn't have the worst stage fright ever. I love singing...in the shower...where no one can hear me. Haha! Ben is still dead set about helping me get over this crazy stage fright, so hopefully it works!
Brooklynn is growing like crazy. She is so smart, some days it is hard for me to remember that she just turned two. She can count to four, then jumps to seven. Haha. She knows "Popcorn Popping", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and "Patty Cake" with all the hand motions. She really has a knack for singing, and truly has a gift...the child can pitch match! She has always...sorta....done this. Every once in a while, we would noticed her holding out the last note of church hymns, but thought it was a fluke. But it really hit us when we were singing "I am a Child of God" at Ben's Grandfather's funeral in November, and she was "la-ing" the notes on key. She knows the dong as it is one of her night time lullabies. She also loves to dance. You can usually find her standing in front of the TV watching some musical (usually Barbie) in her tutu, or one of her princess dress-ups. She will either copy what she sees, or go rogue and come up with something completely original. I don't know where she got the wicked dance moves, not from me. She LOVES the color blue...a girl after my own heart. She knows her colors, she just doesn't always match them (word to color) correctly. She's trying so hard though. She will point to something, yell out a color, then look to us for confirmation. When she's not quite right, we correct her, and she copies. I hope that means she understands the importance of repetition while studying. Haha, yeah right. She LOVES shoes, the girl can wear my high heels better than I can. If there is one thing she will cost us a fortune in...it's shoes. She loves dresses and tutus. She adores hair bows, or "hai' bows" as she calls them (her English blood is coming through...she has a hard time pronouncing the "R" on the end of words.) She loves OJ, strawberries, corn, potatoes with gravy, popcorn chicken, grapes, chocolate, and of all things, black licorice Good N' Plenty candies. YUCK! Luckily for us, she's willing to try just about anything. We really love trying cuisines from around the world, so we are really happy she inherited that! She's a bit OCD, (those who know her are reading this, questioning my add in of "a bit"...) which at times drives my OCD hiney nuts...but I still love her! Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know about Brooke, but what can I say, I am one proud mama!
This year has truly been amazing. Lots of opportunities have been afforded to us. We bought a brand spanking new house, where we were even able to pick out colors and such. We love it. It's a smaller 3 bed 2 bath, but it fits our needs and wants for a starter home. We live in a safe neighborhood surrounded by friends in an awesome ward. We are truly blessed. We were able to go to Disney World with my family this year, and oh my heavens, was it ever amazing! We can't wait to go back! Epcot was way more awesome that I thought it was going to be...and I thought it was going to be pretty awesome!!! Brooklynn had sensory overload! It was great! We traded the car we bought when we were first married, and bought a 2010 Chevy Equinox crossover. Best choice we have made when it comes to vehicles! I personally like the big booty for the groceries, camping, traveling, or whatever I choose to put back there! Mmm! I am in heaven driving that car. Well, I think that about covers our news from this year with one exception that kind of covers next year's big story too. We are going to be expanding our family by have another baby in June 2013!! Brooke is excited to be a big sister, and keeps kissing my belly while saying "I love you baby!" Ben and I are over the moon excited to have a family of four! This was a well planned attempt, that went way better (and quicker) than we were anticipating, but figure there is a reason for everything.
We love you all, and wish you and your families the very merriest of holidays!